Sex and Relationships

Madeleine Richardson – Sex and Relationship Psychotherapist

Relationships, especially sexual ones, like plants, need tending and feeding to keep them growing and blossoming, which is demonstrated in the following common questions.

We have a three-month-old baby son and, at first, John was very supportive and helpful, but now all he can think of is going to play football or the pub with his mates. I am very tired all the time looking after him all day I don’t feel in the mood for sex and this upsets John too. I can’t understand what has gone wrong and what can I do?

Having a new baby can be one of the most stressful events of your life. Babies are very demanding and they tend to cry a lot, depriving both parents of much needed sleep. It sounds as if John was looking forward to being a Dad but hadn’t realized that it was going to radically change his life. I imagine that the time you used to spend together is now taken up with the baby and although it is quite natural for mothers to be absorbed by the baby, fathers can feel quite left out and jealous of this new person who appears to have displaced him in their wife’s affections. Why don’t you begin by cooking a special meal together. Set the table nicely, have some low lights and music . The atmosphere may help you to begin talking again. After a big gap its difficult to jump straight back into sex, one or two romantic evenings may put you more in the mood for some intimacy.

I am very much afraid my marriage is over. My wife went back to work full-time about a year ago and has changed, she now gets dressed up to go to work and often goes out with her friends in the evening. Our children aged 15 and 17 miss her and have started going round to friends’ houses rather than coming home. I spend a lot of time in the house on my own and everything has lost its appeal. My wife no longer seems to want me. What can I do to get her back?

It sounds as if you and your wife are at different stages in your lives at the moment. No doubt all the time the children were growing up you went to work every day, bringing home the bread and now you may feel it’s time to slow down. On the other hand your wife may have been at home caring for the children who are now becoming independent, so she can get back to being a woman in her own right, rather than just a mother.
You need to court your wife again. Be creative, surprise her with something that you are pretty sure she will enjoy. Maybe there are some activities that you used to enjoy together, reactivate them, inject some fun into the relationship. It may be that she has become bored and this is an opportunity to put a little excitement back into your lives.

My partner and I have four children and the last one has just gone off to University. As a result the house feels empty, just like our lives. We don’t talk any more and we haven’t had sex for several years, I don’t know why but I just lost interest and now I feel really awkward if we get into any kind of intimacy. My husband has started to buy some new clothes and goes out several nights a week. I wanted to go with him, but he said it was just a drink with his mates. I want to get close to him again, but I don’t know where to begin. How can I start to improve our relationship and re-kindle the love and friendship we once had?

I wonder when was the last time you told your husband you loved him? When did you take the initiative to give him a hug and a kiss? My experience is that couples who have just reached a time when the last of children has left home, often are in a rut and wondering how to spend the time to retirement. Men especially seem to feel that they have focused their career on getting ahead and have probably reached the peak of their career.
I think you have to remind him that you are still there and wanting to be with him. Why don’t you arrange something as a surprise and invite him to join you?
The longer you go without having sex the more awkward you feel when you try to get back into it. It can feel as if you have forgotten how to do it and are embarrassed fearing that your partner may no longer fancy you. If taking the initiative to make love seems too daunting at this stage, try just being a little more affectionate by holding hands, sitting next to him on the sofa and cooking him a special meal.
It may be that visiting a sexual therapist who will encourage you both to do some enjoyable exercises, will increase the intimacy between you.

Here are some top tips for a healthy relationship.

1. Try to surprise your partner at least once a month
2. Remember important dates and anniversaries
3. Never go to sleep on an argument
4. Never take your partner for granted

Madeleine is a Sex and Relationship psychotherapist with over 30 years’ experience in helping couples and families with communication problems, including helping couples to enjoy a better sexual relationship. Madeleine is accredited by the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and registered with the UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy). She runs her own private practice managing and supervising other therapists under the auspices of The Beech Group. Madeleine has qualified in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and has used this in the successful treatment of clients suffering from anxiety and depression. It is especially successful in enabling couples to reestablish communication after it has broken down. Madeleine takes a very collaborative and flexible approach with her clients, helping them to help themselves to deal with stressful and often traumatic situations.
Please feel free to contact Madeleine direct at: