-Infidelity: In my office I tell people that “there’s no bad guy in cheating”. It’s a hard sell, I know. But by that I mean that both members of the couple contribute to the relationship dynamic that led to one of them having an affair. The one who has been cheated on is not to blame, but an empowered stance is to examine what they could have done differently. This avoids them feeling like a victim, and can help in the future…in the same relationship or in the next one.
-Loss of sexual desire: There are as many causes of decreased sexual desire as there are people. I won’t list them all, but there’s a whole chapter on that in my book, Erotic Integrity. One distinction I offer is the difference between desire and arousal. The heavy breathing, contorting and lubrication, that is arousal. That comes later. Desire is the willingness to get started, to engage your partner sexually. We can come to desire from 3 places: our crotch, that horny, throbbing loins feeling. Or we can come to it from our hearts, out of love feelings for our mate. Or from our head, because sex would be a good idea, and would have us feeling closer. Too often people think they have no desire because they’re not horny. That’s shortsighted. (I have a video on this on my website)
–Traumatic life events, such as the death of a parent, cancer, the loss of a job: Life happens and when it does you need to circle the wagons and make sure that you and your spouse unite rather than break apart. You must focus on staying bonded, holding and supporting each other, and talking about it rather than alienating each other. Life will kick you in the butt, but you must be a united front in the face of it.
–Boredom: I don’t believe that it really exists. It has been my experience that when people complain of boredom what is really happening is that they’re experiencing uncomfortable feelings that they don’t really want to feel. So the brain does this nifty bypass around pain and goes straight to boredom. If you feel bored, ask yourself what emotional pain you might be avoiding. Are you feeling sad, guilty, trapped, disconnected? Seek the help of a therapist to get to the bottom of what is ailing you. You can then move through it and feel more alive and engaged.
-Chores/division of labor: Feeling unsupported around household chores is a very common predicament among couples. I recommend making a list of what needs to happen and how often, and each person assigning themselves tasks. And committing to them. Whatever does not get done, or whatever tasks do not get claimed, hire them out. If it means a housecleaner coming once a month to do the dirtiest work, it is cheaper than divorce. Cooking: order in once a week, and make a big dish that provide left overs for several nights. There are simple solutions to these problems if you don’t get upset and make a mountain out of a molehill. And everybody does their own laundry, even the kids. Come on, it’s easy.
Katherine W says
Outstanding post, Dr. Claudia! Arguments in a relationship are common and are indicative of a happy relationship since they demonstrate that you care. However, things go nasty if disagreements over trivial concerns grow frequent and intense. It reflects a lack of trust and regard for the relationship. However, there are solutions to overcome the crisis. Adopting a positive attitude, discussing your concerns, attempting to understand your spouse, and giving up the urge to always be right can all assist the cause.