Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Is your sex life as dead as this tree?

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

 

Has your sex life become a chore? Do you long for the days when it was exciting and vibrant, making you feel good to be alive? Maybe you fantasize about other partners or times past in order to get yourself in the mood for the ritual performance with your loved one. It isn’t just that the novelty has worn off, or that you are bored. Something in your relationship has shifted making it almost impossible for you to look forward to sex with your partner.

Falon and Conner were caught in just such a situation. Falon was desperate for regular sex with Conner. To her it signified that she was still attractive and could turn her partner on – just like before they settled down together, when they couldn’t take their hands off one another. Now they barely touched. Hugs and hand holding were ritualistic rather than desired, a sham, covering up the intense rivalry in the relationship.

For the last few months Falon had been getting increasingly envious of Conner. He didn’t do any stuff around the house or help out with her elderly parents. All she could see was her partner living the easy life while she slaved to the bone. Conner was angry and upset with Falon because she didn’t notice or acknowledge the sacrifices he made to bring home the money she used to deck herself and the house with expensive taste. He felt second best to Falon’s obsession with image.

Most of the conversations that Falon and Conner had these days were based on comparisons between them. Who had the most free time, who did the most work, who took care of bills, who did more chores and therefore who deserved the most credit and or pity. Who had the more helpful parent, or who got spoiled by their family and didn’t deserve it.

Childhood envy and longing plague both Falon and Conner

Falon had been brought up within a five daughter household, all of whom fought for dominance and attention. Falon had never felt successful in getting what she felt was her fair share of being special and number one. She grew up full of envy and bitterness determined to be priority number one when she had her adult relationship with a partner.

Connor grew up as the eldest of six children, all coming in quick succession with the youngest always getting the most love and attention. He missed out by never having his full share of love and attention, before it was whipped away for the next one. He had things taken away, while Falon never had them at all. Both were dealing with sibling rivalry that had never been acknowledged or dealt with.

Sex takes the hit when envy and rivalry re-enters the arena

In the early days of their relationship they feasted on affection and sex filling each other up. But that was a temporary situation, being in a bubble of togetherness without any rivalry.  Once they settled into a normal life, the old envies, jealousies and rivalries that they had not resolved from the past became center stage and the relationship deteriorated, with sex taking the hit.

Locked in a warfare based on envy and jealousy, Conner and Falon were like squabbling siblings without an authority figure to settle the score. If either had something nice they kept it secret for fear that the other would spoil it or take it away. Both guarded their goodies be it free time, meals with friends or new music on their Ipods.

Falon and Conner were like siblings at war with each other for being excused from chores, earning privileges by doing jobs that neither wanted to do, and for taking time out for themselves. When a couple are locked in a sibling like rivalry situation there is no desire for sex. There is only desire for power, gaining the upper hand, and feeling entitled to the lion’s share of whatever goodies there are in the proverbial ‘cookie jar!’ There is also the finger pointing and the outrage when one appears to have gotten away with something while the other has to pay his/her dues.

Siblings don’t have sex. They fight and get physically rough with one another, but they don’t have tender loving sex. They are mean and rude to one another but they don’t have the sexual pleasure of a couple who have soft warm feelings of union for and with one another. Loving couples don’t mete out duties in a fair or unfair way, making things ‘your job’ or ‘my job.’ That’s what siblings at war do. Falon and Conner were in this position, making sex into a job that one or other had to perform or be ready to endure.

Loving couples use words like ‘we’ and ‘us’, where every job is for their mutual benefit, rather than for just one person or the other.  For them sex is a part of a loving act that both enter into willingly, giving and taking naturally, rather than putting a notch on the score card. When Falon and Conner compare themselves in terms of jobs done or got away with, there can be no sex.

 

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spike up your sex life with color with a strong base in firm roots.

photograph copyright Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

How can Conner and Falon find sex pleasurable again?

1.    Do things together so that they don’t feel unfairly put upon.

2.    Take time to note what they have together as a couple rather than just as individuals.

3.    Avoid comparisons with each other or families of origin, staying focused on the here and now.

4.    Rewarding each other for being around and in the relationship with frequent touching rather than posturing for ascendency.

5.    5.  Learning to share and feel full, is the key to becoming equal partners who can enjoy sex.

S   Sharing the tiny everyday things of life that cannot be ‘mine’ or ‘yours’, to build up a reservoir of connection that is nurturing, rather than driven by rivalry. Examples include the sunset, nature, cooking, the movies they like, and noncompetitive games.


 

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Disclaimer: this article is for educative and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have while reading the article or implementing any suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.

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