Dear Dr. Love,I think one of the hardest things for two people to do, is to have a genuine empathy for the other ‘s feelings. All our own feelings and experiences tend to cloud our comprehension of what another may, or may not be feeling. For this reason, I find it difficult to understand how one person could ‘fall out of love’ with another, such as my wife claims in our case. I can understand obstacles being placed in a person’s path of optimism, which would allow for more of the negative things that occur in a relationship to be focused upon rather than the positive things.It’s kind of like the glass is seen as either half-full or half-empty. . . I don’t personally believe that one person can ‘make’ another person fall in love with them. All they can do is minimize the obstacles that might get in the way of the person’s own love developing and growing. So when my wife agrees to stick around and let me try to make things better between us, it is difficult to know where to start.My wife has always place a higher importance on ‘sex’ while I desire romance and intimacy. (Sounds like role reversal, doesn’t it?) Because of this, neither of us have consistently been fulfilled through our sex lives together. I was, and am willing to adjust and change as needed to improve our relationship, but she has sought the easier approach of going outside our marriage for sexual fulfillment.This ‘distraction’ only added to the problems that existed in the rest of our relationship, since it led to the inevitable lies, and drove us farther apart. I can honestly say that the idea of my wife having sex with another man does not bother me. In fact, I have fantasized about her with other men, and become aroused. As far as the whole incident goes, I am bothered more by the fact that by having the affair, she was, basically giving up on trying to resolve our problems, and giving up on our relationship.Ok, so when I told her to make a decision between him and me, she decided to stay with me. No other commitments have been made by her. She says she feels no desire for me, and that the lack of sex in our relationship will doom it. It’s the basic ‘caught between a rock and a hard spot’ scenario, in that our relationship won’t improve without sex, but sex isn’t going to happen until our relationship improves. Any thoughts you have on this would be greatly appreciated.Thanks for your time. Regards
You asked me to tell you what I think is happening in your relationship. Fasten your seat belt for a big surprise.Your lack of sexual desire for your wife, and feeling turned on at the thought that she is sleeping with another man, tells me that your unconscious mind actually wants to send your wife into another man’s arms. Why would your mind want to imagine your wife as another man’s sexual partner?Whenever a triangle like this occurs, the unconscious mind is actually replaying unfinished business from the first triangle of life (mother, father, child).To understand what unfinished business your mind is playing out, you need to know that, in the first triangle, every child (boy and girl) has sexual feelings for the parent of the opposite sex. But, those sexual urges cannot be satisfied in reality, because the parent belongs to his or her spouse, and because society has rules against incest. So, these desires for the parent of the opposite are buried and can reemerge later in life.If you look at your marital problem, you can see the first triangle occuring in your marriage. Since our unconscious minds often turn our mates into parental figures, it is not surprising that your mind would view your wife as ‘mother.’ And, if I am correct, seeing your wife as mother can explain why your mind won’t allow you to have strong sexual urges for her.Next, the unconscious mind sends her to another man for fulfillment and the first triangle is recreated. You feel turned on at the thought of mom with another man, which is probably how you felt as a kid. And all these feelings were thoroughly normal.So, where can you go from here? Because you felt that it was unacceptable to have sexual desires for your mother, your mind hasn’t been able to permit you to have desire for your wife. In order to heal your marriage, you need to come to accept the fact that you had sexual feelings for your mother, and that it was all right.Once, you allow yourself to accept that you had these feelings for your mom, you will find it easier to allow your sexual feelings to blossom for your wife. And, when this happens, you will find that you have plenty of sexual desire for your wife. And, your desire will not only emerge at the thought of her with another man.The process of healing this unfinished business can take time. If you need help with it, you can talk to me further or ask me to help you find someone that you can work on this with in your area.