“Love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time withstand many ending, and many many beginnings – all in the same relationship.”- Women who run with the Wolves
Warmth and affection between partners is as important outside of the bedroom as well as in it.
Resentment, hurt, unresolved conflict and lack of communication can all put a deep freeze on the relationship. As time goes on, we might put in less effort or take each other for granted more. So often, we need to look outside the bedroom to find out what’s causing the problems within the bedroom.
I was really worried about considering that there might be a problem in my relationship.
I instantly panicked and went straight to the “OMG we’re going to have to break up” train of thought, so tried to ignore this part for ages and just focussed on myself.
But, the more I thought about it, it’s really healthy to examine your relationship and whether it’s dampening your desire.
After all, we can always improve.
So, I’ve compiled some tips below on how I’m trying to improve the warmth and affection between the two of us. Hopefully they’ll be useful to you too.
Step one: the relationship health check:
I popped the kettle on for this, and wanted to brainstorm how my relationship currently is and how it makes me feel. Read more on this here (COMING SOON).
Step two: Conflict Resolution
The first thing that I looked at was conflict resolution, and I think this is key to a healthy relationship and sex life.
For me, I realised that over time, unresolved conflict was simmering away in the background and this had created distance between the two of us that was chipping away at my sex drive.
Mainly, I just didn’t want to have sex because it meant opening myself up in an intimate way to my boyfriend. And because I felt a constant, background hum of pissed-off-ness off at him, this was such a turn off!
For many women, unresolved conflict and open wounds can leave them feeling as though they don’t want to make themselves vulnerable and can’t feel close to their partner or want to have sex with them. it’s like pouring cold water over your desire!
Often, conflict resolution centres around how good your communication is when issues arise. The great news is- it’s a skill that can be taught!
Read this post for more on conflict resolution, resentment and expressing yourself (COMING SOON)
Step three: Getting to know each other again (AGAIN):
This bit’s fun. Trust.
Sure it’s cheesy- are you blue, green, red or yellow? But it gave us something to do, helped us reflect on our conflict styles, and also opened up some really great areas to talk about.
Another quiz (who doesn’t love quizzes!) is the 16 personalities Myers Briggs test. Get some wine, a takeaway and do it together like we did. We also talked loads about our results- what makes us similar? What makes us different?
Step four: We need to talk:
If one of you has been experiencing a low sex drive, I’m willing to put money on it that its also begun driving a wedge between you. Feelings of shame, rejection, unwantedness, attraction, frustration abound. Not a good mix.
Understanding that it’s time to open up the channels of communication and stop being embarrassed about it is a HUGE step in beginning to understand each other and how this issue is affecting you. BOTH of you.
Often it’s the shame that clams us up, so I watched this TED talk by Brene Brown about the power of vulnerability. Opening up might just be the thing that brings you closer together.
Find out more on how to talk to your partner about a low sex drive here.
Step five: Maintain a united front
Use “The work” worksheets. I only discovered these recently and I’m yet to do them with the boyf, but he’s going to be subjected to this (whether he likes it or not!). These are worksheets that help you stop “judging thy neighbour”- aka encouraging you to empathise a bit more with your partners (often stupid) opinion. So far, they’re actually quite good!
Step Six: Spending quality time together, don’t focus on sex but rather why we fell in love in the first place
A really key part of this for me was how I could reconnect to the person that my partner is and see his good points?
(When drunk haha) I wrote a list of all the reasons why I like and love him. I held so much resentment towards him, and the aim was to melt that big iceberg inside and to remembering why we’re together in the first place. The warm feelings that came after the big thaw were really powerful ones, and I really felt so much love and appreciation towards him that I hadn’t felt in a while.
The aim is to remember why we fell in love. So the plan was to:
- Plan some date nights
- Write a list of what I love about him
- Do a random act of kindness
It’s about thawing out the anger and annoyance and bringing back the lurrrve.
What has helped you reconnect to your partner?
P.S. Remember, there are experts that are able to help you resolve these issues through counselling. Check out the therapists registered by Respect or the Tavistock Clinic, or visit your GP/sexual health clinic for more support and information.