1. Your Bedroom is an Office
As a general rule for a healthy relationship, the bed ought to be used for two things and two things only: Sleep and sex.
The demands on most working couples with kids have a way of subtly introducing things to the bedroom that have no rightful place being there. Blackberries and smartphones make the bed an office, and put a wall between partners. TV’s make your bed the living room couch. Food makes your bed the kitchen table. When this happens regularly, a couple loses the only place they have specifically designated for intimate couple-time, and thus lose a huge portion of the intimacy they rely on to sustain the relationship.
Couples Counselling isn’t always necessary to improve your relationship with your partner. One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to enhance the intimacy in your relationship is agree to keep the bedroom only a bedroom, and strictly disallow anything that isn’t sleep or sex from occurring in bed. Netflix can happen on the couch. Emails can be checked in the office. Food is to be eaten in the kitchen. If you are in bed, your relationship will be improved if your awareness is only on you and your partner.
2. You Fight About Sex
This is generally a communication issue. One partner has needs that he/she expresses, encounters resistance from partner. Often the partner doesn’t explicitly know why he/she is resisting, and if they do generally they don’t want to talk about it for one of a multitude of reasons dependant on the circumstances of who they are and what’s going on in their life.
Most frequently, all that needs to happen to get past this block in your relationship is to make the factor contributing to the problem visible to both partners. Sometimes the reticent individual isn’t even aware of the emotional factors in his/her life causing this block, and simply becoming aware of what is causing the problem is enough to solve it entirely.
Getting to the bottom of why sex is such a tense issue in the relationship, and putting it out there as an object that can be clearly seen by both parties is an extremely difficult task, even in a couples counselling environment, but it cannot be understated that it is something that needs to be done. The issue underlying the symptom is set to only grow if the underlying problems in your relationship are not visible.
3. Sex is Work
It doesn’t take much to know that this is not what sex is supposed to be. Often this is a result of mis-matched sex drives. When one partner has a high sex drive and the other low, it can seem like a chore or grim duty to address the others sexual needs.
It’s important to recognize, however, that the concept of ‘sexual needs’ is a huge one. Sex is more than just the physical release of orgasm. It also includes intimacy. Oftentimes, this is what the partner truly desires, and he/she simply understands sex to be the most effective route to it.
If sex is seen as a chore to the other partner, this acts like a wall between the one in need and the intimacy he/she desires. Because the ‘intimacy itch’ is not scratched, the partner in need simply comes back again and again in search of the intimacy they are looking for. One partner keeps asking for sex, and the other gets more and more frustrated with having to provide it, leading the other to ask for it more. With the help of a couples counselling, the couple can recognize the root of the problem and address it. When the ‘intimacy itch’ is scratched, both partners benefit by getting what they want out of the relationship.
4. Spontaneity is Gone
There is nothing wrong with sex becoming a routine, but there is something wrong when sex is only part of your routine.
The demands of being married with kids in the western world simply require a couple’s life to fall in step with a certain pattern. Between work and kids, not much time is left over for a couple to be intimate with each-other, so setting aside time for sex as part of a couples routine is a part of any healthy married relationship.
Problems arise when opportunities for spontaneous intimacy present themselves and consistently go by unexploited. The necessity for routine sex can sometimes insidiously replace a couple’s awareness that they also have opportunities for non-routine sex. We fall into habits, and habits are useful; but when there is nothing else but our habits, especially with our sexuality, life loses its colour.
More often than not this happens simply because one or both members of a couple are so overwhelmed with the constant awareness of everything going on in their busy lives that they lose the important awareness of what’s going on in their own minds. The best way to deal with this is to take the time on a regular basis to address what’s happening inside both your relationship and your own internal environment with the guidance of a trained professional to give you perspective and input in couples counselling.
5. You See Others in Love and Think ‘I Remember When’
Every relationship matures through stages, so it’s not entirely fair to compare a mature relationship to a new one, but if you see a couple out in public being intimate and you feel a pang of envy; it’s important to not dismiss that feeling and dig to the root of its cause, because it might indicate a problem in your relationship.
New relationships generally are characterized by an extreme level of physical intimacy. Hand holding and kissing in public, frequent sexual activity, constant communication and physical closeness, all these things are expected from a young relationship, and are also expected to fade somewhat as a relationship matures.
Because people expect these things to fade in a mature relationship, they can often be prone to allowing them to fade too much. Yes, its true that mature relationships look different from young ones; but it could be the case that yours has changed too much.
When you see a couple in public being intimate and feel envious, this indicates that you are looking for more intimacy in your relationship. Unfortunately what generally happens in this situation is that a person will dismiss this feeling because they feel that they should expect less from their relationship than the one they are observing. While this is true, they don’t consider how much less. While maybe you don’t expect to be making out with your SO at the park, you shouldn’t dismiss your needs for intimacy entirely because your relationship isn’t young anymore.
6. Intimacy is Not a Priority.
This is an indication of a fundamental problem and, left unchecked, can be a death sentence for a romantic relationship.
Intimacy is nothing more than comfortably sharing experience with someone. It is absolutely fundamental to your partnership, and if it is absent for long enough, will almost certainly undermine it in one way or another. If you are experiencing roadblocks with respect to sharing experience with one another, you have a problem in your relationship that you ought to take seriously.
No problem is without a solution however, so if you are experiencing a lack of intimacy in your relationship, don’t feel as if your partnership is beyond saving. How to do so is more than can be addressed in a single blog post because the reasons for it are likely specific to the particularities of your relationship.
Taking the opportunity to sit down with a couples therapist in couples counselling is an important step towards figuring this out. Often couples get so lost in their own perspective that they lose the ability to step beyond it and give their relationship problems the objective analysis they need in order to find solution. This is where Capital Choice Counselling can help. If any of these problems, or any others not listed are affecting your relationship, and you think you need help, get in touch with us. We are here and ready to help.
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