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Are You Spouses or Just Roommates?

You've drifted into a sexless marriage. Can this relationship be saved? Yes, experts say.

The Anatomy of Love continued...

"It moves from the romantic and exciting to an attachment kind of loving, fondness," Foley tells WebMD. "That gotta have it, gotta have it feeling is gone."

Take stock of what you want, she advises. If you want a sex life, then commit to making it happen, Foley says. "Not everyone wants a sex life as they head into last third of life. But AARP studies show that 65% remain sexually active."

Put aside the romanticized, silver-screen notions of sex, Foley says. "The majority of people your age are having good-enough sex. Occasionally, they have sex that knocks it out of the ballpark. But they're having sex regularly. They're getting into bed, hugging and touching, canoodling as I call it, and they're doing it on a regular basis."

You've also got to set aside negative attitudes about your spouse. "You have to give up fantasy notions that he or she is suddenly going to be 20 pounds lighter with no cellulite. You have to decide, 'This is what I want, how do I proceed,'" she advises.

Then, have "the talk" with your spouse. You have to be willing to say this to your partner: "We need to jazz up our sex life. We have fallen into some bad habits. I'm not going to settle for this level. We need to have sex, the same as we do other things that are important to us. We have to set aside time for it.'"

He's Just Not Up for It?

If your partner is unwilling, here's your dialogue: "We need to go for a brief round of counseling to get our priorities straight. I'm not willing to settle for a relationship where you sit in a chair, pop a few beers, and our sex life is over."

The stereotype of grumpy old men exists for a reason, Foley explains. "With aging comes an increase in depression and irritability. Women complain to me -- I was ready to try these things, but I couldn't get my partner to do it."

Often, the irritability and crankiness is actually masking anxiety and depression. If your partner is downright snarly about it, then you've got to stand your ground. "This isn't the kind of thing in this day and age that people live with," she says. "Our parents or grandparents may have lived that way, but we don't anymore."

With therapy and the right medication, the irritable anxiousness and depression can disappear. If your partner won't go to counseling, then you need to go alone, she says. "Counseling can help you figure out strategies to help yourself."

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