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When He Turns You Off

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Maybe he's let himself go, maybe he's become really annoying, maybe he ticks you off because he's not pulling his weight at home--whatever the reason, you're just not attracted to your husband anymore.

woman turned off by her man

The fact is, lots of long-term couples go through phases like this. Dr. Jane Greer, a marriage and family therapist in New York City and host of the radio show Doctor On Call, tells us how to rekindle the flame. (Yes, it's possible!)

• Remind yourself why you fell in love with him. "Take inventory," Jane Greer says. "Ask yourself what about him turned you on in the first place. Was it his sense of humor? His conversation skills? Whatever those characteristics were, chances are that things have been getting in the way of them lately. Maybe things haven't been good financially--so you're fighting more. Maybe you're both so busy you barely talk at all, maybe childcare stress is killing the laughs. Whatever the case, once you identify the culprits, you can take action to bring out his lovable qualities again and put some fun back into your relationship--and your desire will be renewed."

• Become his role model. "Be an example," Greer says. "Channel your irritation at him into taking care of yourself. It kind of goes back to the show-and-tell thing we did in first and second grade: Show your husband the changes you'd like him to make by changing them in yourself first. Then verbalize it. Devote a little more time to your appearance, start eating healthier, exercise more--whatever, then tell him, 'I'd love it if we did some physical exercise together.' When you change your own behavior, it will automatically have an impact on your partner. You've broken the pattern, so he'll have to break his!"

• Practice positive reinforcement. "Lots of times, our partners have no idea they're upsetting us," Greer notes. "They're oblivious! They aren't aware of it until the other person starts nagging. Then it becomes, 'No matter what I try, she's never satisfied.' Everybody hears the negative. So stop complaining and be positive with the things you say and do. Tell him, 'I love that you're wearing the shirt I like,' or, 'Thanks for putting down the toilet seat,' or, 'Thanks for shaving again tonight--your face feels so good!' There are a million small things your partner does each day to make you happy; start being aware when he does them, and let him know you appreciate it. Ultimately, most of us want to please the person we're with; we're looking for acknowledgment. If you give that to him more often, he'll respond by doing more things to make you happy. That will turn you on emotionally--you'll feel cared about and understood, because your partner has genuinely listened to what want and responded to that. As a result, you'll feel closer, more connected, and safe. And that's when sexual feelings can come into play."

next: Surviving the Death of a Child
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lesa August 28, 2008, 9:22 AM

I agree with the topic paragraph and the first idea but the rest sounds like a bunch of bend over and take it while smiling cheerfully so as to not upset him with nagging.

Hey, if he’s the root of the problem I’ll be damned before I keep my mouth shut out of fear that he’ll be upset about getting fussed at. After 13yrs of trying the nice way…Screw that. I am not a stepford wife and if he’s doing something that gets him fussed at in the first place then he JUST SIMPLY HAS GOT TO figure out that if he wasn’t doing whatever it was to upset ME in the first place then he wouldn’t getting fussed at in the 2nd place. DEAL WITH IT.

He’s not a kid but it’s o.k. for him to act like one or be treated like one?? NOT. I don’t think so. So an example scenario goes:

He leaves spittle all over the bathroom mirror AGAIN; and AGAIN I fuss at him (nag) to wipe up after himself. He gets upset that he’s getting fussed at (nagged). So your answer to this is try to train him sweetly with a smile or just wipe up after him so he doesn’t end up being upset by my being upset with him????

YOU’RE NUTS. He’s gonna to wipe up after himself (or whatever else he gets ‘nagged’ for) come hell or high water.

Seriously August 28, 2008, 11:09 AM

I tried your second suggestion. Started to wear makeup and dress nice, sometimes sexy. Hoping he would notice. Also did nutri system and started to exercise more. Then for Xmas, my darling husband left me for a older and uglier woman. One that doesn’t take care of herself. Bar Stool Girl. So that doesn’t work….

Aurora Rose January 7, 2009, 11:54 PM

Dear Seriuosly- I am sorry that happened to you, you clearly did not deserve that, but the majority of the time they do leave you for an uglier girl and it is usually someone they met at a bar. But what he doesnt know is that the chick he left you for will probably do the same thing she did with him with another man. Your so-called husband will get whats coming to him 2x as hard. If he doesnt get a disease first, he’ll end up getting cheated on by her. And you (you sexy thang you) will end up with a beautiful man who you deserve. And if you end up getting back with your husband, he’ll have a new foung respect for you. Whatever the future holds for you, I hope you move on from this experience a better woman and realize that by being a better woman, you deserve a better man.

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