Relationships are hard work. Aren’t they?
Unlike what we were told as little girls, a prince doesn’t always swoop us up on his white horse and save the day. The shutters of a luxurious palace do not always open onto a sunshine-y days with birds fluttering in the trees, freshly baked bread and home-whipped butter prepared by the kitchen help. And we don’t spend our evenings bedecked in jewels while dancing with all the handsome suitors in the neighbourhood.
It is true that we may spend up to 3 years in a heady bubble of romance in a new relationship. We may travel together, discover all kinds of interesting things about each other, learn the delightful and uncharted territory of each other’s bodies and minds with passion and ease, but at some point in all relationships, THE HONEYMOON PHASE ENDS!!
I break this news to my clients all the time. Because the media doesn’t. The film industry doesn’t. Even our elders didn’t. Although we did see them struggling in their relationships….
So it’s no wonder that when the going gets tough, the tough doesn’t get going! We simply don’t have “the tough” built into our toolkit. That is why so many of my clients are stuck in double binds:
” I love him but I don’t want to have sex with him.”
“He’s so hot, but he never listens to me.”
“If she really loved me, she would know what I need and want.”
If you are in a “should I stay or should I go” stage. (I was once there for about a year of my life). Or if you plain feel like throwing in the towel once a day, here are 4 common reasons that my clients list for being stuck:
1. My partner is not a mind reader
My partner doesn’t seem to understand what I need and want when it comes to lifestyle, sex, date nights, touch or foreplay. They don’t touch me in a way that turns me on. They don’t know what I like or the right thing to say. They don’t know how to read my cues or body signals.
MYTH: They are not attuned to me, so they must not care or truly love me.
TRUTH: No one is a perfect mind reader. Everyone is focused on themselves more than anyone else. We are all human. We forget. We get tired. We get triggered. And in general, we all need to be reminded, asked directly, and educated on how to love and treat one another in ways that feel the most fulfilling and unique to each of us!
It is not realistic to expect another person to be psychic and perfectly attuned to you all the time. What is realistic is to expect to continue to communicate constantly to stay connected.
2. My partner doesn’t share their emotions
I find myself always leading the emotional conversations or trying to engage my partner in deep authentic connection. I am the one who goes to all the self help workshops. My partner would rather watch their favourite show on TV or play tennis with some friends than sit at the fireplace and talk and listen honestly about feelings.
MYTH: Men feel emotionally fulfilled as long as they are getting enough sex. Men do not have as many emotions as women.
TRUTH: Men-folk have been shamed from a young age for expressing their feelings. They are in fact often way more emotionally vulnerable in relationship compared to women. This is why men often turn to sex, to feel close. It is sometimes the only strategy they have that works for them. They are not focusing on sex over emotions because they are more sexual. It is because they don’t know how to DO emotions, much as they may want to. This applies to many women too.
3. My partner doesn’t initiate sex or romance
I am the one who always gets the ball rolling, if I want to have sex. I am the one to take the arm, put down the newspaper or the pot on the stove, start the kisses on the back of the neck, pull off the shirt. I am the one who schedules the date nights, gets the babysitter, books the restaurant, buys the tickets to the show.
I am longing to be seduced, caressed, surprised, taken on a vacation, thrown down on the bed. But instead, if I don’t make the moves, nothing happens.
MYTH: Desire discrepancy for sex between partners must mean we are sexually incompatible.
TRUTH: There are tons of reasons for desire discrepancy. Often it is a case of not understanding how each other’s turn on actually works (once the love chemicals of the honeymoon stage wear off).
It is necessary to talk openly about all desires, boundaries and preferences and to come to agreements based on honesty rather than avoidance. Most couples have a tough time doing this at first as it has not been modelled and it can feel scary and shame-producing. It is important to seek support or coaching and to educate yourselves on different sex styles and preferences as well as each other’s emotional backgrounds and traumas. Sex and attachment wounds are closely linked. This is when relationships start to truly deepen and enrich, when the true communication work begins.
4. My partner does not want to spend time with just me or prioritize me.
Are you longing for quality time alone together? Not only family time, but time for just the two of you? Are you the one suggesting taking a night off or spending a weekend day together? Is your partner vying for social parties with others, time in the community, recreation time with others instead?
MYTH: All partners should prioritize their mates naturally without question. Couples time together should be a given.
TRUTH: Carving out quality couples time takes effort. Most people have so many commitments and desires pulling from so many directions. Be gentle with yourself to bring this into balance in your life!
Also, spending quality time together is often avoided because partners have different desires for how to spend that time together. And then there’s the myth that sex should be spontaneous instead of scheduled.
But don’t you schedule the rest of your important life commitments? Dentist appointment? Child’s school play? Food shopping? House cleaning? Bathing? Car maintenance? Those things don’t happen spontaneously…..
And much as we ‘d like to think that sex happened spontaneously in the honeymoon stage it really didn’t. Even in the honeymoon stage, there was a lot of forethought, anticipation, and time put into the lead up to sex. Eg. What should I wear? Where should we go? I wonder what he will ask me? What type of flowers would she like?
So, please don’t think I am saying it’s sad that the honeymoon stage ends. Because it is!! And please don’t expect yourself or your partner to be prince or princess charming. It’s not realistic. And it sure isn’t fun!
Relationships are hard work. For sure. And relationships do have expiry dates.
After 19 years of my marriage, I reached an impasse in my marriage and thought it could (I could) go no further. In my case I was wrong.
Because I had some totally unrealistic expectations and stories. And I didn’t know there was such a thing as a sex and relationship coach. And it doesn’t mean my partner and I still don’t work at it……Like EVERY DAY!!
But if you are feeling tempted to throw it all away, and aren’t sure, or aren’t sure what is actually wrong, please call me for a free 15 minute chat anytime. I’m here to support you!
Check out my Youtube Channel for videos on intimacy wellness, women’s empowerment, and juicy loving!
Love is Your Nature,
– Zoey Wren