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Dr Gabrielle Morrissey: Sexologist

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey has been a sexologist — sexuality educator, sex therapist and sex researcher — since 1990. She is also the author a number of successful books. ASK ME A QUESTION

Husband bored in marriage

Sunday, January 3, 2010
Bored in marriage. Image: Getty

I’m bored in my marriage. We’ve been together for 22 years and my wife now bores me to tears. Unless we’re talking about the kids, who are grown now, we have nothing in common anymore. She constantly wants to talk to me, but I’m not interested in her book club or gardening or the lives of her girlfriends. The passion has completely left us and frankly I do my best to avoid her now because she irritates me. Once we had a good love life but now that is all but gone. If I don’t find her interesting and we don’t have sex you may wonder why I don’t just leave her, and I have thought of it, but truthfully I don’t want to because I can’t imagine living alone now and I do love her. But is it even possible to make this work so we’re both happy again (and she stops bugging me?).

First of all, take time every day, and frequently, to remind yourself that you love her and you actively, daily, make the choice to continue to share your life together. Rather than be consumed by all the ways she irritates you, or bores you, choose to look at the positives in your life together. What benefits does staying married hold for you? What aspects of being married to your wife make you happy, satisfied, fulfilled? Try not to save your marriage simply to avoid living alone, but focus on the love you feel for her and the positive parts that make being together worthwhile for you.

Instead of being bored, use that energy to find ways to become un-bored, together! You need to change gears from being passive and negative to taking an active role in changing your life in more satisfying ways. So you and your wife have been together for a long time and now you’re bored? Don’t accept that, or the sense of loveless-ness and lack of passion. Do something about it! Find things in common and if you truly have nothing in common anymore, create things in common! Just because your wife wants to connect with you by sharing her interests in things like books and gardening doesn’t mean those are your only avenues for connection anymore.

If you want to light up an old spark, invite her to do some of the things you used to do as a couple — maybe even 22 years ago, and/or before the children were born. Did you go out dancing? To romantic dinners? To the movies? Play a social sport like tennis? You don’t have to choose hobbies that sit you across from each other with nothing to talk about. Go to a play and discuss it. Take her shopping for lingerie or surprise her with a weekend at a hotel or at a retreat where you attend activities together but everything is structured for you. Join a cooking class together or take up yoga as a couple.

Don’t look at your life, be bored by it and the partner you are sharing it with and simply do nothing but continue to be irritated by it/her. How will that improve your relationship or your love life?

Most people assume that when you’re with someone you love that your lovelife will just tick happily and healthily along in the background, always at the ready, always on call, for when those bedroom opportunities arise, so to speak. But that is simply myth. We are humans, not machines, and our libidos, our desires, our passions, not only change, but need to be nurtured at every phase.

Your marriage didn’t suddenly shift from healthy to boring overnight. Mostly, in situations like this, it’s years of a decreasing neglect which contributes to putting each other lower and lower on the totem pole of your life’s priorities until it feels that you have nothing in common or worse, are strangers sharing a bed and not a life. If you continue to make the daily choice to share your life with your wife then you have to stop avoiding her and start choosing her company in ways that spark and interest you both.

So you're bored? What a great challenge for you! When she “bugs” you, take a deep breath, remind yourself why you love her (write it down if you have to), and set about courting her again so your life together stops being boring and bothersome and starts to once again feel passionate, pleasurable and truly partnered.

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