When Did the Flame Go Out?

Learning the hard way: Why work, cleaning, errands and the kids should come after my husband does.

When Courtney first met her husband, as sophomores in college it was “love and lust at first sight” and they could hardly keep their hands off one another. Sex 301 was their favorite subject.  Courtney said she had never kissed anyone so passionately or had such desire for anyone as she had for her husband.  She described their sexual compatibility as nothing like she had ever experienced before spending countless hours in bed or anywhere for that matter  playing with and pleasing one another all through the night.

Courtney presented to my clinical practice with a look of defeat on her face. “Much has happened in the ten years since our glory days of freedom and sexual bliss,” she said.  They had graduated, gotten married and wasted no time starting a family. Two kids, two stressful jobs, a marriage, a mortgage and one extramarital affair pretty much sums up my life for the past decade, she said.   It seems I got on a treadmill wanting everything in my life to be perfect and I have learned recently that it is all a farce, one big lie.  

Courtney learned of her husband’s extramarital affair through some text messages she found when scrolling through his phone looking for his sister’s number. Some seven months prior, her beloved Scott had invited a woman out for a drink and the woman accepted right away.  There was evidence of them sexting back and forth over the past several months.  Credit card bills revealed purchases of flowers, dinners and lingerie.

Courtney was despondent. She said she was so depleted she could not really “feel” her emotions at this discovery. She wanted to be angry but she was even too tired for that. She noticed that Scott was on his phone frequently, but she assumed it was work related.

Courtney did not want to end her marriage but she wanted to take a look at herself instead as she knew she held some responsibility for his indiscretion. She wanted to see if she and Scott could get back to some semblance of who they used to be, a loving couple. As she said, she wanted to give her marriage the “old college try.” She knew her low sexual desire had contributed to Scott’s infidelity and understood that men have biological urges and needs different to women.

Upon looking at her own actions she discovered she gave to everyone else except for Scott.  A previous initiator of sex, she could not remember the last time she had made any moves. Could it be that Scott felt neglected?  Through stress and children her body was nothing like “College Courtney” and she found herself in “stretchy” clothing more often than not, lingerie being the last thing on her mind. Sleep not sex was on the forefront of her mind and she realized she and Scott were widely disconnected.

I applauded Courtney’s self reflection.  For men, sex is a biological need, when men are not having sex in their primary relationship, they may seek it elsewhere especially if they have lower self -esteem. Men sometimes just need to know that they still got it as their ego seems to be tied to their sexual prowess.

With her new found realization Courtney decided to take action to get her and Scott back on track. For starters, she sent a text message to Scott’s “lover”, unbeknownst to him, simply saying “not sure if you are aware but Scott is married with children.”  Scott and Courtney never talked about this text and she never heard back from the woman herself, further checking of Scott’s phone revealed the text messaging and sexting seemingly stopped.

Courtney’s next step was to start taking time out for herself every day, She changed her diet in an effort to lose weight, found ways to manage her stress better and had a set bedtime each night. After a few weeks, Courtney began to feel better about herself and she and Scott were connecting again. 

Finally starting to feel better about her body, she choose to initiate sex  by holding Scott’s face in her hands and kissing him passionately, telling him how much she loved him as she began to undress him.  He responded as she had only hoped he would. After suggesting he stay right there, she quickly tucked the children into bed and returned to set the mood with candles and then began caressing him as she continued to remove his clothes. She began to rub his back with massage oil asking him to hold her close, which he did. 

That night was the first time in a long time that they were able to put life and the time that had passed since those glorious college days to the side and be Courtney and Scott once again.  Though not a lot was said she looked into Scott’s  eyes and somehow she knew that taking some responsibility for the breakdown in their marriage and taking action in this way would not just set them back on track but on a new one.

For more information on sexual desire, please visit: www.enertopia.com/sexual-health