You know how whenever you’re in the chair at the hair salon or barber shop (for the guys) you end up sharing your life’s story with the stylist—just for an hour or so, you spill your guts and get some free advice along with a fresh cut and color?
Well, in my line of work, I always seem to find myself on the listening end of these conversations—call it an occupational hazard.
And that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago—there I was, waiting for my blowout and beachy waves, when out of nowhere my stylist decided to share some pretty personal information with me. Luckily, I was happy to listen and to help.
“Don’t get me wrong,” she told me, “I love my husband. But some nights, I look over at him and I’m just not in the mood. In those moments, I just don’t find myself attracted to him—is there something wrong with me?”
Of course not, I assured her. But our conversation really got me thinking: when it comes to sex, why do we have such unrealistic expectations of ourselves?
We all have this picture in our heads from movies or TV of what a marriage should look like: a beautiful dinner on the table every night, perfectly behaved children, steamy sex at least three times a week, and romance that lasts a lifetime.
But the reality is life is not a romantic comedy—life is messy. Diapers need to be changed, carpools need to be driven, work is stressful, and people get sick and they are exhausted, sometimes on a daily basis. And much to our disappointment, our bodies don’t stay 21 forever.
Maybe you ate too much for dinner that night and you’re feeling kind of bloated. Or maybe your partner has a big pimple or was not being kind to you that day, so you’re just not feeling it. Chances are, there will be times when you won’t feel attractive and times you are the one who is not feeling the attraction.
And then there’s the pure fact that when you’re with the same person for a long time, sometimes there will be lots of opportunity for romance, and other times not so much. Relationships—even the really good ones—go in phases.
This is a normal part of life and of a relationship. So when this happens—and it will—please, be kind to yourself and to your partner. Make sure you communicate so he or she doesn’t feel completely dejected by your rebuff. Explain how you’re feeling and make an effort to bring on the romance when you’re back in the mood… and when you are, do your best to make it fun and spontaneous.
So here’s the bottom line: if every once in a while you look over at the person on the other side of the bed and think, “eh, not really feeling it” don’t sweat it—we’ve all been there. I promise there is nothing wrong with you.
On the other hand, if you find yourself turning down your husband’s advances seven days a week or you feel you are always getting told by your wife that she isn’t in the mood, then that’s a good time to come see me (or IM chat with me on my website) or any relationship therapist so you can figure out what’s really happening in your relationship.
If you’re not happy in your relationship, I highly recommend doing something about it- life is too short and there is too much sweetness to enjoy to let it just pass you by.