What do you do if desire fades either yours or your partner’s?
That question is similar to one that a woman asked us awhile ago and not only were we intrigued by her question but her situation seemed similar to the challenges that many people face in their relationships.
Because of this, we decided to share our answer to this question with all of you.
First of all, when desire fades in a relationship, it’s the kind of thing no one likes to admit, let alone deal with.
This is especially true if you have been with your partner for many years, truly love him or her and have no intention of leaving your relationship.
You just want it back to the way it used to be and you don’t know how to get there.
We’ve discovered that when physical intimacy is lacking or non-existent in a marriage or long-lasting relationship, there can be a lot of unspoken thoughts, feelings and beliefs that build walls instead of create connection.
The relationship usually limps along and one or both people find that they have a desire for something more somewhere inside themselves.
So what’s going on when there’s love between two people but the desire just isn’t there any longer? How does this happen?
Even if you are in a great, close, connected relationship, there are times when desire fades a little so it’s a good question for any couple to ask if you want to recapture love and keep the flame alive.
When desire fades, there’s not one simple answer to this question but here are a few ideas…
–The two people were once “in sync” with one another but they now have different interests, desires, goals for their lives and/or for their relationship.
–They have allowed the busyness of life–raising kids, career challenges, other responsibilities–to pull them apart and they haven’t made their relationship a priority or time for it.
–The two people take each other and their love for granted.
–Although the two people say they love each other, one person may have lost respect for the other.
–There may be trust issues between them and they may be holding on to old hurts that have not been forgiven.
–There may be physical or mental illness. In older couples, dementia can play havoc with intimacy and connection.
The list could go on and on but you get the idea…
Here are a few things we recommend if desire has faded and you want to rekindle the love that used to be there…
1. First, look within yourself for the reasons that you have been unwilling until now to look at or talk about that are
keeping you from connecting in all ways with your partner.
If you’re stuck, re-read our above list.
2. If you have felt desire in the past for your partner, ask yourself what was going on when you did have this type
How were you treating each other then that is different from how you are interacting with one another now?
What thoughts, feelings and beliefs did you have about your partner and about your relationship when you did desire each other?
Decide if these thoughts, feelings and beliefs are ones that you can and want to emphasize more or if you need to adopt different ones that fit who you both are today.
Remember what Henry David Thoreau said about change…”Things do not change; we change.” If this is true, then we are in control of what is changing and we can make a difference in what happens in our relationships.
3. What kind of “stories” are you telling yourself about what’s going on and why you haven’t truly addressed this problem before now.
Remember, your thoughts and “stories” are completely your perception and may have nothing to do with your partner’s perception of what is real for him or her.
4. Are you withholding something that needs to be said for fear of “hurting the other’s feelings”?
In our experience, withholding thoughts and feelings that are persistently present builds walls and desire has no chance to grow. Even if what you might reveal hurts the other person, you can say it with love and with the intention of wanting your relationship to be better, closer and more alive.
5. Be willing to risk jumping out our your habitual ways of doing things and trying something new.
It might be reading material together that will give you some new ideas about how to rev up your desire. It might be looking at your beloved with “new” eyes. It might be being honest. It might be being open to more romance and love-making. It might mean working with a coach or therapist to help you work through your challenges.
Whatever risk is called for, if you don’t have the passion and intimacy that you want, you are faced with the choice of either risking doing something differently or living your life with less love and passion than you want.
Each of us has a choice in every moment how we are going to live our lives.
That choice that comes from fear is what keeps you from truly experiencing life and love as deeply as possible.
Our hope is that you choose love more of the time.