I often hear my female clients say “My husband is like having another child.” “I have to tell him how to do everything: how to load the dishwasher the right way, remind him about his doctor appointments, tell him where the kid’s pajamas are, or tell him how much money is in our bank account, or that he should stop looking at his phone (porn/video games/etc) all The time and look at me instead.”
I often hear my male clients say “My wife nags me and is always on my ass. It seems like I can’t do anything right. If I help out with the kids, I didn’t do it her way or the RIGHT way, if I ask how to do it to please her, she's mad that I don’t just know how to do it, and if I don’t do it at all, then I’m really screwed. I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”
(Sometimes we see these roles reversed, but this is the example we are using for the sake of the point we are about to make.)
Does it feel like you have to parent your spouse? Or does it feel like you spouse is policing and critiquing your every move? Then, this is for you.
If you get caught up in mommying or daddying your partner, or treating them like an employee, then it is KILLING your libido. Who wants to have sex with a micromanaging boss? Or their parent? It is a total turn off. Wives end up emasculating their husbands (cutting their testicles off) and the husbands end up making their wives feel like they are lackluster employees or little girls getting scolded by the principle. This leaves us to respond in 1 of 2 ways: we either get compliant to “please” or we want to “rebel.” Both of which are major boner killers (lady boners included).
So, without getting offended, I ask you to consider how might you be parenting your spouse, treating them like a child, infantilizing them, protecting them? The result is almost always a power struggle which leads to conflict and discord both in and out of the bedroom.
Learning to have difficult conversations as adults means we have to stop acting like toddlers and start acting like grown ups so that we can start negotiating as LOVERS, which is what you were to begin with anyway, right? This means we have to learn how to ask for our wants and needs to be met without DEMANDING or setting unrealistic expectations that are rigid and don’t allow for any flexibility. If you want a lover or An equal, you have to dig deep and be willing to examine what responses, actions, and reactions you have that create the opposite effect. And for what it’s worth, we all have a little work to do it this department. The really hard part is being willing to do the work.
“But doing the work feels like effort! I’m already tapped out!”
I get it. And totally understand that it does seem like effort you invest with possible little or questionable return on your investment. However, I challenge you…. whatever you're doing now also takes a lot of effort. Staying stuck, mad, frustrated, unappreciated, unhappy, unloved, unsexy, bored and fighting about it is draining your energy and sucking the life out of you and the sex out of your relationship. Sitting in a dry desert without any water is hard. Walking to a water source when you’re wilted and exhausted is hard. But finally drinking some fresh, cool water is revitalizing and worth it to be revitalized. I promise you, sitting in the dry Desert, thirsty, is much harder. Don’t be afraid of the work if it will breathe life, love, and romance back into your relationship.
In the meantime, be aware of your actions, reactions, and interactions with your partner. Are you angry? Frustrated? Why? Are you going into mommy-mode/daddy-mode or playing cop? Can you express your feelings, needs, wants clearly, kindly, and without blame or critique? Can do you it in a way that doesn't create emotional contagion that runs rampant and uproots the good seeds that have been planted?
Feel like you need some help with this? Unsure of how to talk as lovers instead of parents? Want to feel like lovers again? One of our marriage therapists or sex therapists can help you learn how to level the playing field and rev your sex life back up! Call today at 678-796-8255, schedule online, or inquire about affordable email options to get started!