Coping in a Sexless Marriage

Photo By: David W Johnson

Coping in a Sexless Marriage
By Dr. Andrew D. Atwood, LMFT

Coping in a sexless marriage can be a real challenge. But, then, much of life can be a real challenge. Rather than focusing on the specific challenge, let me first invite you to think about the broad question of “how to cope with life,” and then how a woman can cope in a sexless marriage.

There are two words of encouragement I give people in this situation: “Learn how to hold your own hand,” and “If you can’t have what you want, want something else.”

In the first simple piece of advice, I offer up for you a great deal of profoundly deep wisdom.

When you are confronted with distress in your life, your ability to stay centered, to stay calm, and to be free from either guilt or anxiety… is very important.

When you are centered you have self-esteem that keeps you well no matter what the circumstances of your life. Wishful thinking? No. I’ve experienced the well-being that comes from a centered life, and I’ve witnessed the enormous goodness that can come from developing the capacity to have true self-esteem.

Most of us, most of the time, look to others for validation; most of us look for others to esteem us. Early in life we look outside of ourselves for validation of who we are - until we develop the capacity to look within, there to find the self-love that is born of Love itself.

Instead of looking outside of your own self for love, look inside to the Love that is there. That is what will set you free.

Once you have cultivated self-love, once you have learned to hold your own hand, then you will be free from efforts to control those around you in an effort to make them love you. When you stop trying to get others to validate you, because you have learned to validate and love yourself, then you are free to be in the present moment.

In the present moment, you are free from the guilt and shame of the past, and free from anxiety about the future.

In the present moment, holding your own hand, you are perfectly fine.

Right now, in this present moment, you are perfectly fine.

If you are woman in a sexless marriage (or a man) you are perfectly fine.

Right now.

If you are struggling because you want more sex, or because you wish you wanted more sex, then hold your own hand. Stop right now. Take a deep breath, and realize that Life is within you, and Life is Good.

You are Goodness.

Calm down. Face the facts. Set a plan in motion. Take action.

You are Goodness.

The more anxious you are, the more you are struggling to cope, the more disconnected you are from your own Goodness.

If your partner is not participating with you in sex, and your are having a hard time coping with the frustration, calm down and get centered. Confront your partner out of your center. Get centered and confront your partner. A confrontation out of your center will be much more powerful than a confrontation from the part of you that is frightened and insecure.

If you have determined that your partner is not going to engage you in sexual intimacy, or that you are not going to muster up enough sexual desire within your self, then you are going to have to make a huge change.

If you can’t have what you want, want something else.

That is my second piece of advice.

If you keep wanting what you can not have, you will keep yourself in perpetual frustration. In the Buddhist tradition, striving and grasping are understood to be the sources of pain.

We all cope better when we live in the present moment with Goodness, striving after nothing more.

If you can’t have what you want, want something else.

Look at all the Goodness around you, Goodness in your partner, in your self, and in your relationship, and pour your energy into building upon that Goodness.

Learn how to hold your own hand, and how to let go when you can’t have what you want.

For more marriage tips click here.