“Dear Diedre” is a new column on Radio Free Richmond. With life coach experience and an intimate knowledge of Richmond, Diedre Goree offers her advice to members of the community. Do you have a question for Diedre? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is George, and I’ve been married to my lovely wife for 37 years. We’ve built a family, careers, and great memories. I love my wife, but I feel like we’ve turned into more like roommates than husband and wife. She’s always busy with her friends, non-profit volunteerism, her job, and our grandkids. That’s not to say that I don’t have a life of my own — I have a job and watch sports with friends, too. My wife and I get together and tell each other about our days over breakfast or dinner — IF we’re home at the same time. But what I first thought was freedom now feels like separation. I don’t feel connected to her anymore. She’s more a sounding board or an escort when necessary. When we are at home at the same time, she usually wants to read or get caught up on her numerous TV shows she watches. So she can have her space, I’ll usually go to my man cave and watch sports or just go to bed. We’ve probably had sex twice in the last 6 or 7 months. This isn’t really working for me anymore, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help?
Sexless in El Sobrante,
Well, George, situations like yours are not uncommon. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 marriages are “sexless.” First let’s get the definition cleared up. A sexless marriage is one where a spouse feels there's isn't enough sex or there is no sex at all. Your problem may be that there's a huge difference in the sexual needs of you and your wife.
Here are several suggestions I recommend:
1. There’s going to have to be a time you two have “the talk.” You need to express your concerns and see what hers are. This may have been going on so long she thinks you like it like this. If this is going to be a sensitive subject I would encourage you to practice what you’re going to say, and let her know what to expect so she won’t feel ambushed.
2. Changing your daily routines will be a big help. It sounds like it’s time to reevaluate who you’re spending your time with and where your time is going. Some of your outside activities may have to be streamlined so you two can start spending more time together. Simplify your lives.
3. Start dating her again like when you first met. Start flirting, courting, dating, teasing, and laughing again. Revisit spots where you two shared great times, reminisce about the “good old days”, change the pictures around in the house with old ones that you haven’t seen in a long time, text her during the day with love and sexual thoughts.
4. Spend more time with the TV off. Rekindle your friendship. Friendship in a marriage is the basis of an emotional and physical attraction. It sounds like you two could use some good old fashion fun and stomach laughs to break up the monotony of the “check ins” you two have been having.
5. Consider and bring up the option of couples therapy. Therapy gives you both a forum to discuss some sensitive issues with a mediator explaining each person’s perspective and introducing another. A good therapist will also be giving you and your wife some skills to use that could solidify and improve your marriage’s weaknesses.
Keep your head up, George. You can overcome this problem and start having a passionate sex life that will make you both happy. Please keep me posted on your progress.
Keep making positive changes,