WOULD YOU STAY IN A SEXLESS MARRIAGE?

I posted this question on the Divorced Women’s Club page a couple of weeks ago and it sure opened up some interesting discussion and comments.

It’s difficult or near impossible to establish just how many relationships are in serious ‘trouble’ due to the issues or conflict in the areas of sex and intimacy however I would have to say that from my experience working with a number of women it is right up at the top of the list of contributing factors, either directly or indirectly, of failed marriages and relationships.

Judith Steinhart, a clinical sexologist in New York City, says, “Problems in a marriage [like] lack of trust, anxiety, financial issues, misunderstandings, pressure from children, all can impact a couple’s sexual patterns.”  The question, of course, is whether refraining from sex causes other problems, or if the other problems stop the sex in the first place?

Yes, there are a zillion different reasons why some couples are not having sex, some still intimate, many of these are legitimate and it takes two committed people to manage this as best they can. What I’m talking about here are marriages that are more like sharing your life with a room-mate.

Many people are embarrassed or ashamed to admit that when it comes to all things sex and intimacy things are not that great and decide that it’s easier to just ignore the situation, cross their fingers and hope everything gets better all by itself!

We all know how that plays out!

If you find yourself as the one feeling sexually unsatisfied, or craving physical touch and caressing which is, certainly from my perspective, a very basic human need, what do you do?

Most unattended situations that arise become problems and then big problems due to lack of clear and honest communication between the people involved.  One or both parties holding back on saying the things that need to be said, expressing their concerns or desires for something to be different and asking for help from the other person to work through the problem together.  It takes two people together to want things to be different and if you find yourself being the only one who is prepared to do something about it then from my perspective you have two choices.

You suck it up and accept that this is the way it’s going to be for the rest of you life together or you decide that you want and deserve something better than this and would prefer to go it alone and get on with your life.

Some of the ladies who commented on my question “Would You Stay In A Sexless Marriage’ on our Facebook page had this to say!

  • Definitely sex and intimacy are two different things. Some people are “sex only” types and don’t understand how important other types of intimacy are to a relationship. But a life without intimacy is definitely roommate status. Intimacy can be anything from hugs – happy to see you hugs, shoulder to cry on hugs – or just snuggles to watch a movie and much more. But I don’t know many successful relationships with no intimacy and certainly couldn’t be in one.
  • I did for 8 years too long!! Until I found the strength to move on xxx
  • I did it for 10yrs, wishing & hoping it would magically get better – it never did – in fact got worse.
  • Leaving a loveless and sexless relationship was best decision I ever made!
  • Umm let me think…. No way!!

And just to keep things on an even keel from a male perspective my friend Bob Paff had this to say:-It’s a sad irony that sometimes it takes leaving the marriage to find the best sex! The reasons people withhold physical intimacy are complex and multilayered. Control, fear, embarrassment, prior abuse, depression, anxiety, etc. Unless they are dealt with, talked about and resolved, no one who seeks intimacy should have to live with a partner like this. It’s time to put sexual intimacy on the table for discussion, for both men and women.
It’s the most beautiful gift two committed people can give one another. For me, lack of this is a deal breaker.

I sometimes observe couples when I am in a coffee shop.  It’s easy to pick the ones who are in the early stages of a new relationship where they are hanging onto each others words and completely engrossed in each other and then there are the ones who have obviously been together for a number of years, have very little to say to each other and just seem to be completely disconnected. And of course there are the ones that fit somewhere within that spectrum that just seem to have ‘something special’ – they way they smile at each other or a look that speaks a thousand words and just watching them warms my heart.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic but why wouldn’t everyone want to be in a relationship where what you share with the other person is a very deep and special connection unlike any other in your life?

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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FINDING STRENGTH AFTER A SUDDEN BREAKUP

If you have just had one of those life-changing shitballs come completely out of the blue and totally rock your world and how you see yourself then I have a few things to share with you!

One minute everything seems great with your relationship, sharing intimate moments, making plans for the future, enjoying being together, had great sex that morning and wham! Your partner arrives home and says, ‘I need to talk to you about something!’

The actual words they are saying are not registering as you struggle to hold everything together in an attempt to comprehend what the hell is going on. Then the words ‘someone else’ start to register as they tell you they have met someone else, they are leaving oh! and adding pathetic words like, “I really do care for you!”

How women react in a situation like this will very much depend on the person involved. From erupting like a volcano and spewing forth all manner of profanities, to falling into a hopeless heap on the fall begging for this not to happen and everything in between.

It’s interesting after the fact to observe yourself in this situation, (well I thought it was!). Once the words actually registered with me I erupted like Mount Vesuvius and I let fly with a string of profanities that even shocked me. When he left, because that was the ‘thing’ to do, I went into a frenzy of collecting everything he owned and all the things he had given me that I could lay my hands on, piling it up in a big heap on the floor. Then I messaged him and said he had an hour to come and collect it all or I would trash the whole lot. The saying ‘hell hath no fury like a women scorned,’ that was me. If they were making a movie and needed someone to play this part I would have nailed it!

And, yes I then took the really mature approach of having a few glasses of wine that night which ignited a tirade of slandering text messages. Seriously this is one approach that I would not recommend, ever!

I’m the cut and run, ‘fuck you’ kind of girl as a response in some situations, not always useful when the reality is that we have to maintain some sort of communication on a fairly regular basis just to sort through all the practical issues that have to be addressed and the decisions to make on ‘how to separate’ (with our dignity intact :))

Here are some practical tips to help put you in control of a situation that could potentially have you operating ‘out of control much of the time.

    1. You will need those special people in your life now more than ever. Make sure you keep talking, ‘a lot,’ and have them close by to listen, to help you think more clearly and see possible alternative approaches to important decisions you will be required to make
    2. Look at your situation from a practical point of view to determine how you want to move forward. Your self interests come first!
    3. Write down a list of what needs to happen, what you are prepared to do and what you are not prepared to do
    4. Get sound legal and financial advice on exactly where you stand
    5. If you need to see a coach or a counsellor do so! They will be able to give you some tools to help you manage your emotions, practical tips and an impartial ear to really listen to you
    6. Accept that this is real and that the only way out to the other side is by moving through it and the sooner the better
    7. If you prefer not to have any communication other than through an intermediary then do this
    8. Many people are just too upset to eat anything because they are feeling so nauseous. If you are like this force yourself to have a nutritious smoothie with all the goodness you need and sip it over a period of time during the day
    9. Every single day do something for yourself that will help you manage the emotional overwhelm that you will be experiencing
    10. Going to the gym, getting out for a walk, spending time with people who make you laugh, having a massage, begin to feel OK about spending more time by yourself when even the mundane chores can be helpful.
    11. Recognising and acknowledging your feelings! There will be many and they will engulf you from time to time. Allow yourself to really feel them.
    12. Their leaving will rarely be about you!  Working in this field for several years now I have began to recognise a pattern in many people. There is something missing in their lives and instead of doing the inner work they look for a new partner, or a new ‘something’ external things in the hope they these will make them ‘feel better’.

Within a few months, things will begin to settle down and although you have a little way to go to really get back on your feet again implementing some of these tips will make a big difference.

In time we all find our way through it, some of us left feeling a little battered and bruised from the experience, life lessons that we can take on board to ensure we move into the next relationship more discerning in who we chose to share our life with, an inner strength to support us as we shape our new lives and the gift of wisdom that comes from any life changing experience.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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ARE YOU A NUMB SPECTATOR TO THIS GAME CALLED ‘LIFE’?

This is a subject that is so very close to my heart!

I lived my life as a numb spectator for many years. On the surface it appeared to everyone that all was right in my world, I had the house, great kids, a good husband, and all the while I was slowly dying inside and I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!

Sadly this is not an experience that was unique to me. I know that far, far too many women continue to simply exist from day to day, going through the motions of the ‘daily grind.’ Housework, meals on the table, raising kids, holding down a job, physical and emotional distance between themselves and their partner, completely numb to their feelings and crawling into bed at night exhausted, only to wake the next morning and begin the daily cycle all over again and silently hearing a inner voice asking “is this it, is this really what life is all about?”

Living like this is of course a recipe for physical and emotional disaster and no matter how hard, or for how long we continue to bury and ignore the internal messages that our body is sending us there will be a point when there will be an eruption and much like a volcano once it starts there is no turning back.  All the anger, resentment, grief, guilt and hurt will begin to spew out with a force that scares the most hardened of us.

Everyone will move through this period in their own way and in their own time as reaching this turning point begins the struggle to unleash the real ‘us’ that has been buried deep inside for far too long and as much it creates fear and confusion at the time everyone who has already been through this period of transition will acknowledge that it was also the beginning of their journey of personal discovery and self-awareness.

It is not however a journey without its challenges.

Creating any significant change in our lives will mean that there will be opposition and resistance from the people around us.

As we begin to make the conscious decision to discard all the beliefs that we have created or those that have been past on to us as we allowed the influence of our family and society to shape us into a clone of other peoples expectations those closest to us will feel threatened and fearful.

But …….

  • What if reaching the point of no return was exactly what needed to happen?
  • What if we were doing the very best we could with the resources we currently had available to us?
  • What if all the heartache and pain we had buried for so long was actually helping us to survive?
  • What if the eruption of the volcano meant the complete destruction of the road we were currently travelling?
  • What if it meant that for the very first time we could see a new road ahead, new horizons with a sign post that read ‘The real you, 100 miles in this direction?’
  • What if we discovered that with every single step we took we began to explore and discover our deep inner wisdom and new found belief in ourselves
  • What if we discovered our voice, our passion for life and began to live with a sense of peace, contentment and joy?

I firmly believe that this is our birthright.

In the words of Nora Ephron “Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim.”

What are you waiting for?
To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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