My wife and I, both early 30s, have been married for six years, together for four years before that. We have no children, yet.
During the past two years, my father was diagnosed and passed from a terminal illness, my sister went through a bad divorce, and I started a new, high profile job away from both of our families halfway across the country.
My wife and I became increasingly disconnected. I was always stressed and she’d escape emotionally.
Now, though we’re still very much in love and our relationship is still incredibly tender, my wife feels she’s lost her passion for me.
I still feel just as passionate about her, especially now that so much stress is gone.
It’s been many months since we’ve made love, and neither of us know what we can do to re-ignite the fire inside her, or if it’ll ever come back.
We talk about this all the time but are scared and uncertain of our future.
Confused In Love
The basic bond is still there.
Now you two need to re-capture what was lost. You’ve recovered from stress. But she hasn’t recovered from the disappointment and loneliness she felt when you were preoccupied through your difficult time.
It was natural for you to be absorbed with serious issues… but she was left to the sidelines, and also had to make her own adjustment to your job move.
Woo her, emotionally.
Tell her how sorry you are that she felt alone, say that you want both of you to never again experience emotional separation.
Suggest that you go for marital counselling NOT because there’s anything wrong with your marriage, but rather because you both want to learn how to not let future issues or crises come between you.
Woo her, physically. Hug her when you leave her, and when you return, and stroke her whenever you can.
Give this time. BUT, if it persists after a few months, ask the counsellor to recommend a sex therapist.
My husband and I are working on our relationship again, after a rough, rocky period.
My problem is that he’s a cell phone addict, constantly on his device, and oblivious to people or his surroundings.
Whenever we go out for a meal, he’s on his phone the whole time while I’m staring at nothing.
He’s distracted, either replying to casual messages, checking Facebook, or on his e-mail.
His excuse is that he’s networking. He apologizes when I express my dissatisfaction, but he’s soon back on it.
Sometimes he doesn't even realize that I have sat next to him, to relax together.
This doesn't help us bond when we’re trying to work on our relationship.
How do I make him understand that his addiction is driving us apart?
Tell him. This isn’t your only problem, but it’s a symptom of the larger one that’s between you:
You don’t speak up about real issues, and he doesn’t change anything.
Whatever put you through a rocky period wasn’t just the phone. But you’re focused on the obvious irritant without addressing the underlying disconnect between you.
Start with his apology. He says he’s sorry when he’s distracted, so act on it and remove the phone to another room while you two try to relax together, watch a movie, or go out for dinner (phoneless or turned off.)
Meanwhile, if you can’t discuss the other reasons you needed to work on your relationship, get back to the counsellor who advised it… or see someone new.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who gets extremely angry, yells, and throws things when watching sports events and his team is losing (July 10):
Reader - “Ellie, I think maybe you may’ve missed one point - the husband must have had a bet on the losing team to get that angry, regardless of his having “a short fuse.”
“Bottom line is that he’s betting on sports, if it triggers what his wife calls "stronger reactions."
Ellie – Some readers’ feedbacks reflect their personal experience, and can provide insights.
Several men wrote that they were certain the angry sports spectator was a gambler watching his debts pile up. Maybe so. However, his wife mentioned no financial issues and an otherwise “stress-free life.”
Another reader said the wife should pack her things and run before he harms her and her unborn child.
I wrote that it’s crucial he get anger management therapy, immediately. If he refuses, she’ll have to consider leaving.
Tip of the day:
When love remains, passion can return if you confront the hurts that still linger.