| || || | One of my most intimate friends, Christopher, had been depressed for the past several months. Suddenly, it seemed that we had grown apart and she was no longer the person I knew. It was surprising that at an age when people had matured, Christopher was undergoing a change. A cheerful, chirpy Christopher, who had been an eager participant in everything at home and office, became increasingly aloof, sad, dejected and lethargic.
To my knowledge there was no visible cause for such a drastic change. Not only that, she cleverly evaded all my queries in this regard. Her standard reply to all my queries were that there are some problems which cannot be spoken of. But I was not ready to bow out.
Eventually Christopher shared her problem with me but it was, to me, a bolt from the blue. Somewhat hesitatingly, Christopher told me that in spite of living with her husband under the same roof, for the past one year there had been no sexual contact between them. Outwardly, everything is normal. There are no quarrels between them, neither does her husband have any extramarital affairs. Only her husband has become sexually unresponsive. He openly concedes that now he doesn't have an interest in sex. These words, coming from a husband of 45 years of age, hurt the womanhood of his 41 year old wife.
At times, Christopher felt insulted. Or, at other times, she suspected her husband of having an extramarital affair. Since there were 2 grown-up children in the house, it was not possible for them to openly discuss the problem. She could not even express her anger towards her husband, as otherwise he took good care of her.
She was sure that her husband had no traumatic experience which could be responsible for this. In general, a wife is too coy to initiate a sexual intercourse. She also fears that if her advances are repudiated, she will feel ashamed and insulted.
Being used to sleeping under the warm caress of her husband for the past several years, it was difficult for her to sleep alone now. Throughout the night she would be changing sides in a futile attempt to get a few hours of sleep, whereas on the other side of the bed, her husband would be enjoying a deep sleep. He, perhaps, understood her restlessness, and began sleeping in the adjoining room.
On the other hand, Christopher would spend her nights recalling either the past romantic moments, or the romantic scenes of some movies. The more she tried to take her mind off these matters, the more she got entangled in it. All these had an adverse effect on her lifestyle, behavior and her work efficiency.
In spite of her best efforts, she couldn't laugh heartily. She had developed an inferiority complex. She felt lacking in some respect or the other. Sometimes, she felt that her husband lacked virility. But she couldn't share her sorry plight with anyone. She was just wearing out in silence.
Many people, apart from Christopher, experience a similar problem. But it remains buried within themselves only. If a husband shows such disinterest in a sexual relationship at the beginning of the marriage, a wife could take extreme steps. One can ignore neither the necessity nor the inevitability of sex in a married life. But if the husband becomes disinclined in having sex a few years after the marriage, it becomes a tormenting problem for the wife and the married life of the couple gets adversely affected.
A good number of letters addressed to the personal columns of various magazines are from those women who owing to the disinterest in sex shown by their husbands, establish extramarital relations, and are now paying the price for it. They want a way out of the difficulties, dilemmas, guilt and traumas, resulting from these extramarital affairs.
The psychological analysis of such behavioral changes in husbands shows that in most cases the husbands harbor a feeling of hostility, malice, sorrow, distress or anger towards their wives in their subconscious mind. Such feelings have deep roots in the past, where the husband has had some bitter experiences with his wife, and these were never discussed openly.
Some men also experience such behavioral changes due to a lingering suspicion about growing old. Some men, who do not derive any pleasure and satisfaction during sex owing to the temporary phases of illnesses or stress, consider this to be a sign of their weakness, and then try and avoid sex altogether.
A husband who has a relationship outside of marriage, or who has regular brawls with his wife, becomes disinclined to have sex with his wife. Some men who are totally devoted to their careers or who have a desire to earn a huge amount of money, may be too tired to have regular sex with their wives.
Since they are in a hurry, they do not experience the full joy of a sexual encounter and, as a result, they become reluctant to have sex. They become totally devoted to their aim of earning money. The only responsibility they have for their wives is to create wealth for them. Then, there are some men who detest having sex due to a traumatic experience or mental shock.
If a wife becomes uninterested in sex, the husband can establish relationships elsewhere. The rules and norms of society are not as stringent for men as they are for women. A man may be criticized for having extramarital affairs, but a woman in a similar situation may be socially boycotted.
A woman who indulges in sex outside of marriage to solve one problem of sexual satisfaction soon finds herself mired in several more complex problems. For a woman who has to look after her husband and children, having an extramarital affair is not just immoral but also difficult. Such relationships cannot be established at once, but involves a long process of introduction, friendship, courting and romancing around.
A woman will not sacrifice the happiness of her husband and children for a life of greater sexual gratification. Those who have done so, reaped nothing more than dishonour and repentance for their foolish acts. Even, if in the heat of the moment, or in an effort to get even with their husbands, they take the extreme step of establishing extramarital relationships, they soon become guilty in their own eyes.
As soon as their secret is out, they immediately lose all that was theirs within their families - honor, happiness, security, rights and family life.
A woman who errs even once has to pay the price for it throughout her life. Such women become ready victims of blackmail. Their consorts use them, sexually and monetarily. She spends the rest of her life, living in the shadow of fear, sobbing or telling lies.
And when the beans are spilled, as it usually happens, all they get is disgrace, humiliation and shame. Even when the husband is indifferent to sex, it is difficult and painful to establish an extramarital affair.
UNION OF 2 SOULS
What can a woman who has hitherto led a life of virtue and who is dedicated to her husband and family do when she finds herself in such a situation. Can she do nothing more than spend her life in suffocation? How can she control her emotions and feelings? Can she do anything to change the attitude, behavior, thinking and interests of her husband? And if her attempts are futile, what kind of life shall she lead?
Marriage is not just a social agreement or union of 2 bodies. Instead, it is the union of 2 families and 2 souls. Sexual satisfaction is just a part of marital bliss, not the whole of it. A woman who is in her midlife, or who has to take care of her children, or who is dependent on her husband for her basic needs, cannot even think of divorcing her husband.
It will be wrong to hold only the husband responsible for his disinclination towards sex. Within a marriage, a husband and a wife are equally responsible for any problem between them. A wife should, first of all, analyze her behavior towards her husband.
Has she, even if unknowingly, disregarded or insulted her husband. Has she been hurting the pride of a sensitive husband? Or does she batter him with her problems and frustrations? Does the husband get a happy, tension-free environment at home? Does she share his feelings, opinions and his successes and failures. Does she understand the stress he has to bear at work ? Or does she weigh him down with her ever-increasing list of demands.
NEVER ACCUSE HUSBAND
All these may seem to be extremely minor matters, but a person who has to constantly suffer any of these within a relationship, slowly but surely, gets disenchanted with it. A husband who has to bear this for years develops a feeling of hostility, malice and anger towards his wife in his subconscious mind.
He becomes altogether disenchanted and fed up with her. For the first few years of marriage these feelings don't show up, due to the novelty of the marriage or due to the heightened attraction of the opposite sex during those years. As this heightened attraction subsides, the negative feelings show up.
If, on a thorough analysis, the wife finds that her behavior has been deficient in some respects, she has to take steps to change that. It will be a long and slow process. She will have to change her behavior towards her husband, taking care of even the tiny irritants. It is possible, then, that she may regain the love, physical nearness and sexual attention of her husband.
If due to increasing work pressure, stress, weakness, illness or due to his busy schedule, the husband is unable, on certain occasions, to satisfy his wife sexually, never ever accuse him of lack of virility or old age. Men cannot bear these accusations. On the other hand, encourage your husband to share his feelings and opinions with you so that he should think of you as a true partner in all aspects of his life.
Whenever there is a certain coldness in the relationship, the wife will have to become more active. She will have to make herself presentable. She will have to take care of her body and make-up to make herself more attractive. She will have to become more romantic. She may also have to make the first move on certain occasions. There is certainly no shame or dishonor involved in this.
In fact, the husband will love the changed behavior of his wife, and there is also a realistic chance that his dwindling interest in sex may be revived. A sexual interest is not a favour done by a wife on her husband; it is his legitimate right.
Don't even try to get your husband agree to your demands before letting him have sex with you. Many wives present a list of demands before a sexual encounter. Sometimes they may succeed, but slowly the husbands get disenchanted. He may also forcibly have sex or become sexually apathetic.
Sex is the legitimate need of both the partners; nobody is doing the other a favour. It is possible to have sexual satisfaction only by mutual cooperation. If the wife indulges in sex with her husband without getting inhibited by the feelings of hesitation, shame or ego, there will be less chances of the husband losing interest in sex.
If all your efforts to have normal sexual relations with your spouse fails, then convince him to see a marriage counselor or a psychologist. Many men consider this to be humiliating and inimical to their manliness and honor. Such feelings will have to be driven out his mind.
A psychologist or marriage counselor will go through the entire case history and will give a practically viable solution. Even if the husband refuses to see a psychologist, don't put yourself into a quagmire by establishing sexual relationships outside of marriage.
DEVELOP A HOBBY
Under these circumstances you can only try and control your emotions and feelings. The most important thing is to develop a hobby and give your spare time to it. Take up any creative work like art, music, dance, tailoring, knitting or teaching and dedicate all your energy and talent to that.
Even if you can't do anything else, you can get yourself informed in some social work. Have a meaningful aim and goal in life. Make some changes in your lifestyle too. Eat less of salty and hot, spicy food. Refuse any thing that is stimulating or exciting. Abstain from non-vegetarian food. Do not see romantic or X-rated movies nor read pornographic literature.
Read good books on politics, literature, sociology, history and sociopolitical problems. Normally, a woman past 40 experiences a decrease in her sexual desire. But you lead a normal life without any complex, anger, malice or tension. Don't ignore your husband. Having a friendly relation with him will provide a happy and normal environment for the family, your husband and even yourself.
How to Stop Being Apathetic
With so much sensory input and the difficulties that everyday life can bring, sometimes it is easier to shut down and not feel anything. However, an apathetic person will miss so many great feelings and experiences. The feeling of apathy is not permanent--with some effort and will power an individual can stop being apathetic.
- Understand that we are all connected and what you do and feel really does matter. Often people that are apathetic just don't believe that anything matters, but if they realize that each person can have a positive effect on the world, it can help change this attitude.
- Visit a home for underprivileged or orphaned children. If an apathetic person can see the tenuous situations many children face, this can change opinions about life. Usually children can give a proper perspective on life.
- Examine the reason for the apathy. Sometimes apathy can result from a specific and possibly traumatic event that caused a person to shut down emotionally. Finding this reason can help solve and find the way out of apathy.
- Stop watching and reading about the latest current events. Most news shows will only reinforce your apathy and make you a better viewer. Most every newscast and story is about some tragic event that can lead you to believe that feeling anything is just too much.
- Go to the park and read a good book. With all that is happening in our lives and all the negative things we hear and read, sometimes it is best to shut everything out. Get a new hobby that interests you that can help you stop being apathetic.
Is Your Spouse an Easy Target for an Affair? Even If You Say No, Read This:
Do you ever take your spouse for granted? Do you ever say, "My spouse would never cheat on me?" If so, you need to be careful. Here's why... Many affairs come completely out of the blue. They happen to those who least expect it. And many of them happen to people you would least expect. I once heard a woman who had an affair say, "I wasn't looking to have an affair. And I never dreamed I would fall into one. It just happened." Well, it didn't just happen. It is possible she never thought about it. But the affair happened because she didn't have her guard up. Any time you say, "I'll never have an affair" or "I'm sure my spouse would never have an affair," it's a clear sign that you've become apathetic toward sin -- and don't fully understand its power. 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." If you let your guard down, you become a prime target for sin to creep in. The devil loves it when you become apathetic and take things for granted. But even worse than apathy is the self-righteousness these thoughts produce. They are a sign that we think we (or our spouse or someone else) is above sin and unable to fall into sin. And that simply isn't true. Remember, God's strength is best exhibited in our weakness. So when we acknowledge our weakness and how easy it would be for us to fall into sin, we are far more likely to remain dependent on God and His watchful protection. Admitting our weakness also shows that we are "sober-minded." We understand the reality of our situation and our powerlessness in the face of temptation. It's in this weakness that God's power is made evident. As a spouse, you have to stay on guard for your loved one. While you can't prevent someone else from giving into temptation, there are some things you can do help them stay faithful. You can show your spouse consistent devotion. And you can serve them with your words and deeds. Remember, your spouse is human. They need to be built up and encouraged. Tearing them down all the time is a sure way to drive them away. If you provide the right kind of environment, any temptation to infidelity is far less prone to take root, much less grow into maturity.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA