What Do You Do When Passion Dies?
When passion dies in a long-standing committed relationship, what do you do?
Recently, a woman wrote to us saying that she had been in a committed relationship for 7 years and that although they live together compatibly, her partner was no longer interested in sex. He had had a heart attack 3 years ago, takes a lot of medicine and their love-making just isn't what it used to be. She said he told her that she doesn't do anything to turn him on and she said that he does nothing to change. She went on to say that he needed to exercise and that she's scared of future health problems. She's very frustrated and wanted help.
Here's the advice we gave her...
1. Quit nagging about exercising. we're sure that he needs to do it, especially after a heart attack, but
he's only going to close to you and dig in his heels and NOT do it if you keep reminding him to. It sounds like you are futurizing about his health (and maybe rightly so) but the truth is that any one of us could be gone tomorrow. We never know. It's what we do in the present moment that's important. If he doesn't turn you on because he's fat, then we suggest that begin focusing on what you love about him.
2. Ask him what you could do to turn him on and ask from a point of curiosity and true interest. You will get more of what you want if you find out what he wants and then if it feels good for you to do it, then try it--with love. There's probably so much resentment between the two of you--on your side because you aren't getting the love/sex you want and on his because he feels like a failure and not a man anymore. Both of you need to agree to quit pointing the finger at each other and find out what you both want right now in your relationship.
This probably sounds to you like we're telling you to do everything and him nothing. That's not what we're saying. We're saying that if you want your relationship to have a chance, then find out what might rekindle passion for him, begin appreciating him for what he does do, and trying opening to him in a new way. Then let him know what turns you on--and not in generalities but be specific. Keep your suggestions provocative and juicy--and be honest about what you'd like.
We know you've been hurt and upset by him, his physical condition and his lack of interest in creating a wonderful love-making experience with you. If he's not interested in doing anything differently, as you say, after
you have asked him what he wants and what would turn him on, sharing what turns you on-and then trying some things--then you have a decision to make. The idea is to focus on what you love about each other and stay open to that actually happening. Since you really want change, you take the first step.