Tuesday, March 03, 2009


This week, a friend of mine confided in me. He is in his mid-20s and got married 18 months ago. He hinted that he is not happy and things are not going well between them. When I sounded him out about why, he said his wife had stopped having sex with him.

She just didn't seem interested any more. He had suggested a few remedies and she hadn't tried any of them. He was so upset by this that, only 18 months into the marriage, he was wondering if they should separate. They had been talking very excitedly about having children in the near future, but now he wondered if they should. A friend of his had become very ill recently and it had struck him that life is very short.

He asked me what I thought. I said that sex was very important in a relationship and he needed to make that very clear. I said that he shouldn't allow the situation to just drift, that they should talk about it, and that he should make sure they went beyond just talk - he would need to see some progress to feel more confident about their relationship.

I felt that was all I could say. After all, in real life, I try not to give too much advice because I am prone to that. I also don't want to be the one who prompts the breaking up of such a new marriage.

But if I had said what I really thought, what it was in my heart to say, I would have said something more like this:

You and your wife are young and healthy and have been married for about five minutes. If she is already losing sexual interest after such a short time, then, in my experience, the chances are that this is about who she is - things aren't going to improve much, if at all. You could spend decades working and trying patiently for your sex life to improve and sometimes it might - for a while. Mostly, it will just lapse back into sexless habits and you are likely to be very unhappy.

It's difficult, really difficult, for a healthy adult person to live without sex or to live with sex doled out grudgingly by someone who just isn't interested. To live without feeling wanted, desired, appreciated for your sexuality. To feel lonely and rejected. It can leave you with a feeling of melancholy that never quite leaves you and an open wound at the core of your relationship, even if you truly love your partner. You are young and you have your whole life ahead of you. You have no children to be affected by a breakup. So why would you do that to yourself?

Maybe I should have said it because, actually, I do care about him.

But if that's what I really think, what am I doing here?


Blogger Sailor said...

Perhaps the advise you didn't continue to give, is something that you didn't know yourself, until you'd been there- and to see it now as a reflection makes it clearer to you? I don't know... seems like often we can see or say for someone else, even mentally, what we can't do for ourselves.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Fiona said...

Gosh, Emily, your 'would have said' is to close to what happened to my husband, almost from the moment he and his ex were married. Lots of sex before, and a screeching halt afterwards, except begrudgingly or a couple of times to procreate. He wanted to work on it, she didn't. I agree that for some people, that's just who they are, human beings who don't desire, or need, physical affection. I think they should go and find someone who feels the same way because there's nothing sadder than the waste of an affectionate, sensual being on someone who doesn't appreciate that.

Sometimes we don't see ourselves until someone else becomes a mirror, I know that happened to me. I also know that I accepted things in my last relationship which I always swore I wouldn't. It was easy being idealistic until I found myself living through what I said I never would.

I agree though with what you say, they should deal with this quickly and be honest about it all. Noone should waste a life living unhappily.

I hope things are going well for you hon.

Take care


4:33 PM  
Blogger freebird said...

I think the advice that you actually gave him was very good. I wish that when I was young someone could have come right out and said how important sex was in a relationship. That's just not the way I was brought up. The subject was played down or just not talked about. I hope he took your advice and doesn't allow things to drift. If he does, maybe then it's time for the harder-hitting stuff.

11:08 PM  

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