After many years of marriage, attraction wanes. It just does. If you look at your spouse and think, “I’d like to get it on right now, but I don’t necessarily want to get it on with you,” you are so normal. So. So. Normal.
Attraction wanes for many reasons, some of which include:
1. Genetically speaking, it’s not supposed to last. All of those wild hormones that made our hearts go a flutter when we first met our mates? Those are designed to encourage us to hump away over and over again until, voila, we produce a baby. This chemical rush was never designed to sustain us into our 80s.
2. You get older. Genetically, we’re designed to be attracted to youthful bodies because youthful bodies are more likely to be fertile. As we age, our skin gets rougher, our body parts sag, hair grows where we don’t want it and it disappears where we do want it, and, well, I’ll just stop right there before I completely thrust myself into a full blown midlife crisis. The point is this: it’s not all in your mind. Your spouse really doesn’t look as attractive as he or she did when you first met.
3. Staying married to the same person for 60 years straight is an exercise in patience and compassion, two virtues that few of us have in abundant supply. As a result, most couples – like most roommates–end up hating each other at some point. With the exception of those couples that get off on make up sex, it’s nearly impossible to feel attracted to someone you despise.
4. You get bored. In the beginning, part of what you are attracted to is the great unknown. You don’t know precisely how any sexual encounter is going to go. That’s exhilarating. After many years of marriage? There isn’t a part of his or her body that you haven’t seen. It’s like eating chicken for dinner every night. It might be healthy, but sometimes you crave ravioli, steak, breakfast cereal…. Anything but the meal sitting in front of you.
There are probably many other reasons, too. I could go on for pages if I tried, but convincing you that attraction wanes isn’t really the point of this post. I’m guessing, since you read this far, you’re already with me on that one. The real point is this: you can do something about it. I know because I have. What follows is what worked for me.
Fix your marriage. This has to come first. Part of feeling attracted to your spouse comes from knowing that your spouse adores you. If you feel unappreciated and taken advantage of, you’re not going to feel attracted to your spouse.
Start flirting again. Yes, it sounds simple, so simple that someone is bound to write a comment about how all of my tips are overly simple and just won’t work. All I can say is this: try it. Teach your spouse how to flirt with you. Perhaps you feel good when he looks at you a certain way. Maybe you’d like a long, lingering hug every morning. Or, it might be about her complimenting you. For example, whenever I walk into my husband’s coffee shop in the morning, he greets me with a loud, “Hi Good Looking!” This, without fail, makes me smile. It’s the little things that bring us closer. If you need ideas, study some of the happier couples you know, especially older couples who have been married for 50 or 60 years. Notice the little expressions and gestures they use everyday to show their love for one another. You can also examine your sexual fantasies. Use them to teach you what’s missing from your real romantic life.
Start touching again. Hold hands. Hug. Cuddle. Give each other shoulder and back rubs. Kiss each other. Pat each other on the rear. Invade each other’s personal space several times a day. The more you touch, the more you will want to touch.
Revere each other. Make your spouse feel like the most important person in your universe and ask him or her to do the same for you. You might accomplish this by doing favors for each other-say washing the dishes even though that’s usually her job. You might do it by telling others how great your spouse is. Just do it.
Do what you need to do to feel sexy. Eat a healthy diet. Learn how to relax. Exercise. Get a wardrobe makeover. Get a bikini wax. Paint your nails. Do what works for you.
Have sex regularly. This is one of those chicken and egg things that we could all argue about until we’re blue in the face. Some of you, no doubt, are going to think (and comment) that you can’t possibly have sex with someone who you are not attracted to. I used to feel the same way. Then my husband and I had a 6-month long dry spell. If I had waited to feel attracted to my husband before re-initiating our sex life? We’d still be celibate and I still wouldn’t feel attracted to him. We needed skin-to-skin time. Sex is what makes your relationship with your spouse different from your relationships with your friends and siblings. The longer you go without it? The more platonic your relationship will become. If you can’t bring yourself to have sex just yet, then at least cuddle together naked. Progress from that to pleasing each other manually and/or orally. Then, when you are ready, you can go for the home run.
Get saucy. New positions, lingerie, role playing, and new locations are just a few things that can make sex with your same-old partner seem new and exciting. It’s just like serving up that daily chicken dinner with a new and interesting sauce. Suddenly, the chicken doesn’t seem so boring. Get creative.
Notice what your spouse does right. Especially notice the things your spouse does that you can’t do for yourself. For instance, I loved BBQ chicken, but I don’t know how to light a charcoal grill. I’m also not particularly good at the kind of cooking that requires one to stand in front of the food that is cooking for a long period of time to make sure it doesn’t catch on fire. I’m much better at the type of cooking that involves putting things and an oven and waiting for a timer to tell me when it’s done. My husband, on the other hand, knows his way around the grill. I find that sexy. I also think it’s sexy that he doesn’t mind killing bugs, because I hate doing that. And he knows what kind of light bulb to buy and where to get it whenever the porch light goes out. If I was in charge of the porch light? We’d be in the dark. It’s easy to overlook these things after many years of marriage because we get so used to our partners doing them. Yet, if we take the time to appreciate our spouses, attraction grows.
Be adventurous. Mystery flames attraction. You can create mystery in your relationship by continually pushing each other past your comfort zones. This might be as minor as having sex in a different room of the house or as major as going on an adventure vacation together. It might be as simple as riding roller coasters together or as complex and helping each other achieve life dreams. Face your fears together. It brings you closer and creates a strong magnetic bond that is tough to break.
What have you done to rekindle attraction in your relationship? Leave a comment.