Remember when you first met your mate? How the world seemed fresh and exciting and you were in a perpetual state of feeling high, when your thoughts were filled with your beloved and that feeling was all-encompassing, nourishing?
Time marched on and that blissful state started to erode. Daily sexual activity became a couple times a week, then weekly, then weeks go by without the desire to connect. Life slid back into its previous routine and you hardly noticed something had shifted. The sexual chemistry between you and your mate has changed over time.
Many couples go through these stages in their relationship. Some people come to me expressing sadness and bewilderment, trying to figure out what went wrong. Is there something wrong with the relationship? Did I make a big mistake thinking this person was the one and now I’m not so sure? I reassure them and tell them not to second-guess their relationship. What they felt at the start were true feelings and it’s natural that those intense feelings at the beginning will level off but that now it’s time to do the real work of a relationship that will carry them from now on into the future. And yes, you can bring back that sexual spark.
What You’re Feeling Now
It’s important to look under the hood of your feelings right now. Express the thoughts and feelings going through your head. Here are some common themes:
• I feel unattached, emotionally separated, not interested.
• My relationship feels forced, pressured.
• I feel uncomfortable, like I’m not being honest with my mate.
• Sex feels like a habit; familiar and boring.
• I feel like I’m growing dependent on my mate.
• I don’t feel confident about myself.
• I’m making excuses for not having sex or not wanting to spend time with my partner.
Your relationship feels inauthentic and boring, perhaps because you’ve replaced routine for spontaneity. Instead of bringing energy and affection to the relationship, you’ve allowed yourself to accept only the safety and comfort. In the process, you’ve given up being the independent, confident person you were and replaced it with dependency. Along with it, you’ve lost some of the attraction you once felt for your mate because what drew you to one another was in part being attracted to the uniqueness of one another.
What can also happen is you may be suppressing expectations and when they don’t happen, you or they feel resentful. That’s when conflict can set in, stubbornness, and even a feeling of dislike, creating more distance. And when you lose hope in the relationship you might choose to look elsewhere to get that lost spark.
Ways to Heal
Don’t be afraid to work on your relationship. Isn’t it worth the effort to try to make things better between you? Here are some things to keep in mind:
• It doesn’t have to be this way forever. But if you don’t do anything, nothing will change and could get worse.
• Don’t be in denial. Be brave. Face that there’s a problem.
• Don’t play the victim and blame circumstances for your situation.
• Be brutally honest with yourself. Take a closer look at yourself and how you may have contributed to the emotional separation.
• When you feel like you’re coasting, make the effort; things don’t fix themselves. Try new things sexually to spice things up.
• Don’t feel the work to rebuild is all on you; it takes two.
• Find new experiences together, new things to do and try.
• Don’t let comfort draw you into neglecting your physical appearance. Show care in how you look, dress, and take care of yourself physically. This can affect your attractiveness to your mate and your own self-esteem.
• There are other ways to be intimate other than having sex. Intimacy and sex are both connections.
• Understand that just having sex doesn’t fix a relationship; in fact, it can be a way of covering up problems, staying in denial; this can lead to more discomfort, dissatisfaction, etc. because you are not being true to yourself.
• Have meaningful conversations. Share your thoughts, your interior life as well as your physical life with your mate. Deal with problems and voice your thoughts by discussing them openly. If you hold things in, you can build resentment, be critical, and be unhappy.