Valentine, I really enjoy your article in the Star and I need your help. Four years ago, my husband cheated on me. I decided that I did not trust him and we stopped having sex. He offered to go for counselling and he apologised but after about two years, he gave up even trying to have sex with me. Now I have realised that I have been punishing him and I want to initiate sex. How do I do this? We don’t touch, in fact it's like we don’t really talk, only about the kids. I am 43 so I have put on some weight, will he find me attractive?
Aaaawww Anita! Congratulations on finding forgiveness for your husband and taking responsibility for punishing him. I don’t know if you have forgiven yourself for treating him badly but you should. I can only imagine that living with you while you felt ‘self-righteous and wronged’ could not have been a leisurely day in the Arboretum for your husband.
It doesn’t sound like the attraction and sexual tension are gone from your marriage. It sounds like you rejected your husband so much he stopped putting himself out there by initiating sex. It is clear that there is a lot that is unsaid between you so how about you initiate conversation, before you initiate sex? After four years of feeling guilty and ashamed for ruining your marriage, can you imagine how relieved your husband would be to hear that you have finally forgiven him?
You have been punishing him and isolating him from all that is sexy and loving and lovable about you. You, in effect left your marriage four years ago. Can you imagine the impact that an apology from you would have? If you apologised for leaving, for abandoning him and your union? It does not make what he did right, but it does acknowledge your role in the demise of your marriage.
I think if you start with this super difficult conversation, you will find that rebuilding your sex life is the easy part. Letting air back into your marriage, bringing some warmth and sunlight in, that is the difficult part and that is why it took you four years to get here. Try having the conversation while you drive somewhere or walk round your neighbourhood. Men have an easier time talking when we aren’t looking them directly in the eye, interrogation style.
Well done Anita!
I recently stumbled upon an online seminar by Katherine Woodward Thomas and her work on ‘conscious uncoupling’ blew my mind. If you have ever gone through a breakup, aka you are over the age of 14, check out www.evolvingwisdom.com/consciousuncoupling/free-onlineclass. I guarantee she has something to offer you.
We tend to think of breakups as failures. From the big ones that end year or decade long relationships, to the seemingly little breakups that end short term relationships, each of these endings has an impact on us and our future dating lives. Until we let them go, these past traumas sit in our current relationships, affecting our behaviour in ways we are sometimes unclear about. Woodward Thomas gives you tools on how to let your ex go, and how to stop living with that audio loop that keeps playing in our brains ‘this shouldn’t have happened’; ‘he treated me badly’; ‘he let me down’; ‘she didn’t love me’….
Is it possible to end relationships well? Is it possible to leave the other person whole and honour what you had even after the carnage of a breakup or divorce? She says it is and I believe her.