One of the questions that re-appears regularly in my relationship performance quiz asks about sex.
Are we having enough sex? Is our sex life fulfilling enough? Do we both feel secure, satisfied and understood?
This is not surprising because we all see the connection between happiness and sex. But is this really true? Does more sex mean more happiness? The answer is plain and simple – it does not.
Scientists in the US have conducted a survey and asked happy couples how often they have sex. The average answer was between two and three times a fortnight – or around 60 times per year. Remember these were the couples who considered themselves as being happy.
Then they asked people who had sex more often and asked them whether they are in a happy relationship and found out that it is not necessarily always the case.
In other words, more sex does not always equate to more happiness.
Still many people consider boredom in the bedroom or few sexual encounters as an alarming sign for their relationship and would like to change that.
Easier said than done.
I hear this so often from so many couples that their desire and hunger for sex is different or has developed in different stages.
Often times it the male who wants sex more and feels unsatisfied or undesired when his sexual needs are different to his partners.
And for many couples it is the other way round, she wants more and feels neglected or worse unattractive because he is not responding.
There are so many reasons for this discrepancy…
Stress is definitely the biggest factor, but also age and physical issues are contributing to a lack of sex in many relationships.
If the libido drops and penetration might be hurtful for one or both partners, the result can be devastating.
Pills, creams and other “toys” can only help so far…
Why is it so difficult?
Our sexual desires and pleasures are constantly changing and are connected to many outside factors. Stress being one of them. But the list is much longer and contains monthly cycles, pregnancies, and menopause in women and in men, declining testosterone levels, children, aging, tiredness, financial stress, work stress, illness, pain levels and more.
To make matters more complicated, you need to remember that both of you need to be free of all the issues in the list above and in the mood and at the same time. If not, one of you wants sex and the other does not or just can’t for whatever reasons.
What you can do?
The most important step is to be accepting of the situation. You won’t be changing it by demanding or pleading – on the contrary that only makes matters worse.
Accept the fact that you are not 25 anymore and that the times where you could have a quickie in the afternoon while the kids were playing in the backyard are gone.
Voice your feelings. Let your partner know how much you desire them and how much you would love to improve your sex-life. It is not easy to speak about sex without emotions. Still, the clearer you can describe your wishes and concerns the better the two of you can communicate about it.
Now is the time to explore new options. Maybe try something new. Maybe try somewhere new. Changing the scenery helps to relax your brain.
Because the biggest erogenous zone sits not between your legs, but between your ears.
In other words, if you brain is worried about pain, stress, illnesses, money issues, past rejections and so many more things, than the sexual arousal is very difficult. And that is true for both genders.
To make it very clear it is not the usual stereotype that men always want and always can and women don’t. When I look at my questionnaire there are an equal number of women who would like to have more sex in their lives.
My tip for you: enjoy the intimacy, enjoy the togetherness and enjoy the times when the cuddling and caressing leads into more.
Even though this is such a touchy (pun intended) subject, I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. Please reach out via email@example.com
I have some interesting conversations with couples from time to time.
More often than not, there is one partner who feels the need to raise an alarm on their relationship. They are not happy. Something is amiss. They feel that their relationship is going through some really tough times.
The other partner on the other hand is quite oblivious to the situation. “Do we really have a problem?” they might ask.
So, how do you deal with a situation like this?
A relationship is between two people. If one of the two thinks their relationship is near the end and the other one does not even see the cracks, you have a big mismatch.
The fact is that the attitude “why fix it, if it is not broken” might work for your plumbing issue, but definitely not for your relationship. If your water main burst, after showing some cracks, you have to call the plumber, get it fixed and deal with the mess.
If your relationship breaks and separation becomes a real option, you are dealing with a way bigger and more serious issue. It goes to the core of each of you and can be quite dramatic.
We are all well informed on the consequences of a divorce – you divide the assets, you divide the friends, you divide the money and you try to divide the kids to your best abilities. You are left with a tonne of broken pieces and a broken heart. Sometimes even with a shattered mind and self-worth.
Letting the cracks in your relationship get bigger and bigger is not a good approach. You want to fix those cracks before it is too late.
Begin to look at your relationship as a system built of two people. Your system currently has certain patterns of behaviour. Some of them are working in your favour. Some of these patterns are obviously not working, otherwise you wouldn’t feel unhappy or uneasy.
Let’s put it in plain English: if you start to act differently in your relationship, your spouse cannot NOT change their behaviour accordingly. Whether you are bringing new communication to the relationsghip, a new vigour for spending quality time together, a heightened sense of what needs to change, your partner needs to adapt. They need to act differently. And your relationship does change too.
What you could do
The first thing I recommend to anyone coming to me with their concerns and worries is to take stock. How do you do this? You simply answer the 25 question of my relationship performance quiz and that will give you a pretty good indication of where you are at right now.
You might be able to entice your partner to do the same. And that might alert them to the fact that their relationship is far from ideal.
By then comparing your score gives you a chance to unemotionally talk about the fact that you are fearing for your relationship and that you want something to change.
Still your partner might react with the same “why fix it…” but at least they know that you are not happy and that might trigger some reaction.
Secondly I recommend to you to read some of my blogs on my website and learn and observe. The more tips, tools and techniques you can use in your relationship, the more you are going to change those patterns I described earlier.
How I could support you
There are a couple of coaching packages or individual sessions I could offer you to support you and your partner in creating a lasting relationship. The best way to evaluate those is through a free 15-minute call. Simply book your preferred time in my calendar following this link.
If you do not consciously take care of the things you cherish, they WILL decline in value.
You maintain your house, your car, your computer, your health, and your teeth because if you don’t, they lose their value.
To wait to fix your relationship only once it’s broken is a flawed approach. If you do not look after your relationship, it declines in value. It is inevitable.
A while ago a friend of mine told me a story – she was dating a nice man and she was rally in love with him. She said everything was going very well. He had planned a trip before they met and so, when the time came, he went away for a three-week holiday. My friend did not consider this a big drama at all, just a new partner following through with previously planned commitments. They had spent a couple of nights together and she considered it to be the beginning of a serious relationship.
On the first day of his trip he sent a long and loving text. Then she didn’t hear from him until the third day she heard from him. Again it was a text – shorter and cooler in tone though. Then she never heard back from him.
He kind of left the face of the earth. Well, he could be in an area with little or no internet she thought. But the longer the silence lasted the more upset she became.
On the day he was to return she even went out of her way to pick him up from the airport – he wasn’t there. So she called him – he was already home – the flight came in early.
The next time they met she obviously asked him “You have been away for three weeks, wasn’t there any Internet, wasn’t there any way to connect with me?” and he replied “I am not interested in a long-term relationship”
My friend was devastated.
She was committed, he obviously was not.
Let’s look therefore at the question – when can you consider your relationship to be a committed one, and at what point can you safely say that you are committed?
Is it the first kiss or the first night together?
Is it after a month of exclusively dating the one person?
Is it when you have slept together a couple of times?
Or is it when you move in together?
For some it might be only after they’ve got married.
The answer to these questions are different for everyone and can easily cause a lot of friction and stress between you and your partner if it is not clear.
What you can do
First you need to ask yourself what it is that you want, especially when it is at the start of a new relationship. Do you want a partner for a night, a month or a year? Do you want to settle down and plan a family and have kids? Do you just want to have fun?
Maybe you want to start a serious relationship and at first want to see how it might pan out. This gives you a clear understanding and allows you to focus on your new relationship – without the need to organise your nuptials after your first or second date.
Once you are clear for yourself, it would be a good idea to find out from your partner. Where does she or he stand? What do they want to get out of your encounter?
In most cases, at the start of a relationship, you won’t be able to see or determine whether your relationship has the potential to be a life-long relationship, but you can at least be committed and treat your new relationship as being exclusive – meaning you won’t date others at the same time.
Over the years
You might think this conversation is all well and good for those who are starting a relationship or that discussions of commitment are only relevant for the first few months for a fledgling couple.
But it is not.
You need to constantly ask yourself and your partner “How committed are you?”
I see so many relationships where one partner is looking for ways to improve their relationship because they sense that something is not right, while their partner often times is totally oblivious to their feelings and concerns.
But the feeling of disconnection might turn into a real relationship problem. When one of you is constantly unsure about the relationship; when one of you is feeling misunderstood or not being heard; when one of you is in fear of losing the connection . . . this all can easily lead to a drop in commitment.
What you can do
Now, if you would take a moment during your next active appointment and ask your partner “on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being high) how committed are you right now?” you could get an understanding of where you are at together.
And don’t freak out or call the divorce lawyer if your partner says “seven out of ten”. Rather ask yourself “does this come as a surprise?” And in any case, ask your partner, what would need to happen so that they are back on to a 10/10 commitment.
You know, a 5, 6 or 7 out of 10 does not mean the end of your relationship. But left undetected or unattended, it could drop even further and leave your relationship is in danger.
Maybe you and your partner should (individually) take my Relationship Performance Indicator test and find out for both your RPI-score. It is quick, it is fun and it is remarkably accurate.
As for my friend and her disappointing story – she responded to me when asked, “How do you feel?” with, “Luckily it wasn’t too far into our relationship that it happened, it would have happened anyway, and I am fine now.”
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?
The other day a woman contacted me and voiced her concern for her partner. She really felt for him and asked me: “How do I get my partner to not put so much pressure on himself?”
So here we are in the 21st century, where the automated support we have at our disposal is nearly endless and yet we are still putting ourselves under extreme pressure.
The washing is done automatically, we don’t have to memorise phone numbers any more, finding our way is a bliss thanks to the maps on our smartphone. We can have a coffee at literally every corner of the country and if we missed a movie we could download it from the web at a fraction of the cost of the movie tickets.
And still we are not content. We want more in less time.
If this sounds all too familiar and you have identified that you put enormous pressure on yourself, the reason behind it undoubtedly stems from your personality traits.
This self-prescribed pressure might be because you see yourself as the provider for a family and your own money beliefs dictate you to make more money every day.
Or you might be in a job where you are stressed because of the peer-pressure and the expectations of your boss and customers.
When you are in a relationship there is also a great deal of pressure coming from within the relationship. Depending on your personality you might (subconsciously) compete with your partner. Or you may even put pressure on your partner through your own expectations. Maybe you want to start a family or to move into a bigger home and your partner feels your expectations of them as additional pressure.
If you find that your partner is under extreme pressure, maybe you need to stop for a minute and reflect on what you are actually contributing to their stress. Often times it is not a verbal contribution or at least not explicit. We all pick up more or less on the subtleties of communication, meaning you might involuntarily add to the overall mixture of stress for your partner.
The solution? Well, my answer to the lady who contacted me was to look at how she could assist in reducing the stress within the relationship.
You know that you can’t make your partner change. To get your partner to put less pressure on himself you can only start by changing your actions. You could make him feel your support no matter what curve balls have been thrown at him. You could show your unconditional love and your unwavering empathy.
Only once he has realised that he is in fact putting too much pressure on himself, will he do something about it. He needs to realise for himself that too much pressure does lead to stress and frustration and health issues. Once he makes those connections he is more likely to put a plan into place to eliminate the pressure – he needs to be the one to do something about it.
What you can do…
Talk to your partner and listen carefully for clues. You’ll notice the difference between a momentary stress or a constant pressure that is pushing him close to breaking point.
Also be open and show empathy. You might also want to ask your partner whether you are adding to his or her pressure. Or you could ask what you might be able to do to help.
Remember you are a team. And as it is with every chain – it breaks at the weakest link.
How I could help you…
Contact me if you think an outside perspective might be helpful. We can always arrange for a 15-minute obligation free call where you can find out how I could offer support and guidance.
Try finding out the status of your relationship first, by completing this short quiz. Answering 25 questions will give you pretty good assessment of your current relationship.
Can you believe it is already that time of the year again? The start of Summer is upon us, Christmas is fast approaching and we are beginning to turn our minds to planning a memorable New Years eve. It is all so exciting.
So here we are. 2018 slowly closing and 2019 lifting its head from the ground. How do you hope the next year will turn out to be? Do you hope to get a promotion? Do you plan on finally falling pregnant? Where would you like to go on holidays? And is it possible to revive your relationship and be happy and satisfied again with your partner?
As you sit here with your thoughts reaching out to the next 12 months, does your mind turn to making a New Year’s Eve resolution?
The problem here is that these somewhat infamous New Years resolutions usually only last a week or two. Why? Because all too often, and we are all guilty of this at some point in our lives, we tend to concentrate on the idea but not on the outcome.
I want to drink less.
I want to do more sport.
I want to fight less with my partner.
I want to stop yelling at the kids.
I want to lose weight.
Those are all well and good intentions but what is the outcome? Where do these resolutions lead you to? Not really far. And the other issue here is that many of our well-intended resolutions are stated as negation. The problem with negation is that that our subconscious cannot understand negations.
“Don’t go when the light is red” is very dangerous because our subconscious registers only “go”, “light” and “red”. The better statement would be “Only go when the light is green.” Now our brain hangs on to “go”, “light” and “green”.
So instead of “I want to drink less” you could say “I’ll only drink 2 standard drinks on 3 nights each week”.
Instead of “I want to fight less with my partner” you could state “I want a harmonious relationship where we solve our differences in peaceful discussions.”
But when you really want to create a New Year’s resolution that works and drives you forward you need to think of the outcome and give your mind a visual representation. My mentor Chris Howard taught us a great way of creating those goals and how to frame them in our mind. His formula follows an acronym which is CREATE.
The C stands for Concise – is your goal worded in a clear and concise manner?
R stands for Realistic – is your goal achievable within the timeframe you give to it?
E stands for Ecologic – is it safe for you, safe for others and safe for the planet? You want a goal that creates something great for you without hurting other people or taking advantage of them. You don’t want to exploit nature either.
A stands for Attractive – is your goal attractive enough for you to drive you towards it? How bad do you want it?
T stands for Timed – do you have a specific date by when you want to have your goal achieved?
The final E stands for End Step – questioning what is the final puzzle piece that needs to fall into place so that you know that you have achieved your goal. This End Step is the most powerful element of Chris’ CREATE formula, because our subconscious is working with images and feelings. This means that if you can get a clear image of what it looks like when you have achieved your goal, then your subconscious will work with you towards that goal.
How does this CREATE formula work in practice?
When you think of the goal to “fight less with your partner” your goal could look like this (write it down on a piece of paper or as a note in your phone).
“It is now 25th December 2019. My partner and I are sitting on our balcony with a glass of champagne toasting to a peaceful and harmonious twelve months we just had.”
This goal ticks all the boxes. It is very clear and concise, it is realistic, it is ecologic (safe to everyone involved), for sure it is attractive, it is clearly timed and it has a very nice end step.
Now your task is to make this picture of you and your partner toasting to each other as vivid as possible in your mind and store this image in your mind. Then you read your description daily to yourself. In time, you will see that once and for all, your New Year’s Resolution is actually working.
If you have any further question on how to CREATE your best NY resolution don’t hesitate to contact me – I am happy to help. welcome@Inspiring-Relationships.com.au