Many couples experience a dip in their relationship satisfaction in the period after childbirth. This is due to many reasons; most often lack of physical and emotional intimacy. Intimacy is that feeling of closeness that is sometimes lost when life demands take over our time and energy.
Sometimes what happens is one partner of the relationship loses the level of sexual desire they used to have. This may lead to feelings of rejection and neglect by the other partner. Over time the less desirous partner starts to avoid all physical touch because it can give the impression they are in the mood when they are not. Usually this is followed by a complete stop of any intimacy, initiating behavior on the part of the higher sex drive partner. This causes a lack of intimacy and a feeling of being disconnected or alienated from your partner.
There is a better way to handle these dips in desire!
Talk about it.
It’s hard to be there fully for your partner whenever life gets complicated so it is important to explain how you are feeling. If your partner knows that it is nothing personal about them, then it makes it much easier to be patient and understanding.
Maintain physical and emotional intimacy even if sexual intimacy is temporarily off the table.
Continue to hug, kiss, have joint showers, allow foot massage and/or full body massage, snuggle/spoon together. Even if arousal occurs, the less desirous partner can lean into the intimacy safely knowing sexual intimacy will not be forced.
Continue to build a culture of appreciation in your relationship.
Use technology to stay connected and feel close. Send your partner unsolicited messages of love and appreciation. Be the first one to say you are sorry if you find yourself short on patience.
Make a plan to spend time together.
This can be tough to do when resources are scarce but even a walk together outside can bring a couple together and reset the emotional atonement.
Talk about what your dreams and hopes are for the future. There are not many things that can bring a couple closer together then sharing our hopes and dreams for the future. We are vulnerable when we dream, our partners fall in love with that vulnerable quality.
Whenever disconnection rears its ugly head in our intimate relationships, we get afraid we will never again experience the same closeness. This is especially true for people who have anxious or disorganized attachment styles. Treat your partner as your emotional safe haven and lean in when you need soothing!
Sigrun Sigurjonsdottir Couples and Sex therapist License; Registered Psychotherapist,
Sigrun was born and raised in Iceland. She grew up with liberal attitudes towards sexuality. She took a Master degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The University of Central Florida and is pursuing a PhD in Human Sexuality from the International Institute of Clinical Sexology in Miami. Sigrun has completed extensive training in various approaches to couples therapy, among them an externship in Emotionally Focused Training, Gottman levels 1 and 2, and she is certified in EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to deal with trauma. Sigrun is the only sex therapist in Canada who has been trained in the administration of hormones for sexual concerns, health and menopause.
Sigrun works for her own company Couples Solutions International in Markham
and sees clients for individual and couples’ therapy and specializes in sex therapy. Sigrun is a member in the American and Canadian Marriage and Family Association and an associate of BESTCO (Board of Sex Therapists and Counselors of Ontario).