A woman has been denied sex for twenty-six years by her husband and he simply does not give space for them to talk about it. She has recently been getting sexual advances from a friend and is wondering whether to go for it. She has also had some affairs in the past. Our agony aunt responds to her.
Dear I Woman,
Conversations about sex with long-term partners is one of the most difficult things to do. Especially if you are not satisfied with your sex life. With regards to this quandary, there are some fundamental questions to answer… first, what is different this time that you are considering going outside of the relationship to meet your sexual needs?
It sounds as though something about your having to do this is not setting well with you. Second, have you let your partner know that you have had affairs in the past? Are you being completely honest with him about how you are managing your sexual needs and how the lack of sex has been affecting you?
Third, If you really want something to change in your relationship you need to be willing to be vulnerable, willing to be completely honest and willing to risk what you have for what could be. You could go and have sex with this friend and hide it but it sounds as though what you are wanting is something more… For any relationship to foster growth and connection, there must be a willingness to have the hard conversations. Saying those things that you are afraid to say, like “I have had several affairs.” “Our not having sex for all of these years has left me wanting and I have gone outside of our relationship to fill that want.” “I am thinking of sleeping with another man and I really don’t want to.”
The relationship may or may not be able to sustain such conversations and at the same time, diving into these difficult and risky conversations are always rich in growth. There are things that your partner is not telling you and your forging the way could open the doors for him to speak, too. These conversations may not be easy, but they are simple. Open your mouth and say those things that you are afraid to say.
If you are soul mates, your connection will grow. Using your partner’s lack of wanting sex as a justification for taking actions that are inconsistent with your own values is a no-win situation. Being a powerful woman who dives into those challenging conversations, telling the truth about what you are needing demands that things change. This is the place where you and your partner will grow. The relationship will either grow with you or it will end to make room for you both to grow. Life is precious. Live courageously.
Shirley Brown is a Certified Professional Coach. You can read more about her work here.