Where Have All The Flowers Gone


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Sandra A Doron LCSW

Dear Sandra:


My husband and I have been married for ten years. We don’t seem to have anything in common any more. I want to go out more. He doesn’t even like to go out to eat. He stays at home and is perfectly content to be at home 24/7. And at this point, I wonder sometimes if I really love him. We don’t say: ”I love you” any more, the passion of our lovemaking is fading fast, to the point of being non-existent. There seems to be no intimacy any more, and I ask myself if this is “normal” after ten years, or whether there is indeed something seriously wrong with our marriage. Where-Have-All-The-Flowers-Gone

Dear Where-Have-All-The-Flowers-Gone:

Many couples think that their marriage is dying when the passion they felt when they first met and fell in love does not seem to be there any more. That original passion changes as we change. Many good books have been written to kindle the passion that you may have believed is gone. Light His Fire-How,to Keep Your Man Passionately and Hopelessly in Love with You, by Ellen Kreidman, and Pleasures, True Stories that Reveal Woman’s Sexuality as it is Experienced by Women Themselves, by Lonnie Barbach, are books you may find helpful.

However, I would like to focus on the meaning of intimacy as I understand it. How do we know if we have an intimate relationship?

1) We can speak openly about important emotional issues. If you are angry because your husband does not like to do the same things that you do, and go out much, , it would be important to let him know how this affects you, without allowing the resentment to build.

2) We can set limits with our partner. Writing a “contract” together works for many couples. For example, an agreement that is worked out by both of you to go out for dinner. How often and where needs be included in this contract. Or you may work out a written agreement to go out with your friends once or twice a month without your husband. Acceptance on his part is vital to a successful contract. Having to write the specifics down, in terms of which restaurants, often generates an understanding of underlying reasons why your husband may object to this type of activity. He may be more worried about finances than you were aware of.

3) We can stay connected to our partner, even though we think or feel differently. Even if you and your husband find yourselves in a situation where you talk about your differences, and still cannot agree, you may need to look at your husband’s differences as differences in temperament. He may find pleasure and contentment in being at home because he is less outgoing, less social than you are. Focusing on what he is, and the qualities that you first fell in love with may help. So often, we fall in love with our partners because they are so different from us, whose qualities complemented the qualities that we didn’t have, and then, later in our marriage, we try to change our partners to be just like us. That doesn’t work.

If your marriage will endure, it will endure because you both want this marriage to work, and both of you are willing to look within, and see what you can change in yourselves. This often happens because you understand how important certain issues are to your partner. Small changes that you are both making need to be acknowledged and appreciation expressed. Nothing creates positive change as much as letting your partner know how much you appreciate his or her efforts. Neither of you benefit by responding with silence, or by making sacrifices that hurt yourselves. Silence and self-sacrifice only lead to deeper anger and resentment. However, to acknowledge when we are wrong, or to acknowledge that we caused our partner pain or disappointment, is a strength, although it may feel like a vulnerability or a weakness. Acknowledging when we are wrong encourages your partner to do the same. When we are open and honest, trusting, and kind, revealing ourselves will open the door to the beauty of real intimacy.

Sandra A Doron is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker A & A Couples Counseling Acknowledge and Appreciate (Keys to a Successful Relationship)

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This site was last updated 01/22/06