Advice-Couples-Communication-and-Intimacy

Ask Dr. J. Archives






Dear Dr. J

I kissed a man and now my partner doesn’t want to have sex with me anymore because they feel disgusted with me. We are very much in love and wonder if this problem can be fixed or if this betrayal will always stop us from getting back our passionate sex life???

Desperately seeking hope.

Susan


Dear Hope

You don’t mention your gender or the gender of your partner. Obviously, it would be necessary for me to know this to address your question.

But, for the sake of the question, let’s assume you are a woman and your partner is a man. First of all, you would need to figure out why you are kissing another man. You say you are very much in love with your partner, so going outside the relationship for romantic affection is not congruent with that. I’m also assuming there is no possibility that you would repeat this behavior.

On the other hand, your partner’s reaction is extreme. He doesn’t want to have sex with you anymore because of this transgression? If he can’t work through this, you two would need to end the relationship. Is this kiss worth ending the relationship over?

Dr. J






Dear Dr. J

Are there books that you would recommend for better communication between marriage partners? I would like to have better ways to share my true feelings topics without it ending up in a fight.

Carol




Dear Carol

Yes! I have a section on the website for book recommendations, but let me highlight a couple that I am particularly fond of.

Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix is excellent, and I use it continuously with couples who come to me for couples counseling. We actually use the exercises in the back of the Hendrix book in therapy. The couple works on a particular exercise or set of exercises, and then we use it in the next session in order to move forward with exploring their relationship. Couples do well with a structured format, and the exercises provide that. When communication has broken down, it is easier for a couple to be guided, either by a therapist, or in some kind of structured way toward a new way of talking to one another.

The premise of Hendrix's book is that we pick out our partner in part because of unconscious motivations. This unconscious material consists of unresolved issues from our childhood. Usually, when we get into a fight with our partner while trying to talk about an issue, it is because these unconscious "triggers" get pushed. So, going through the structured exercises in the back of the Hendrix book can help each of you identify why you react as you do. It helps you take responsibility for your behavior, and change it by making healthier choices. The premise is that if we knew how to react better, we would. But, because most of this is operating on an unconscious level, we just keep doing the same old things and never getting positive results.

The companion book is The Couples Companion: Meditations and Exercises for Getting the Love You Want, Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt. It's really the best compilation of intimacy-building exercises I've seen. This book is more for couples who are not in crisis, but just want to talk to each other more intimately (share feelings as you mentioned). There is an exercise for every day for a year. Some take only a few minutes, and some are more complex. But they are all very do-able. The exercises are presented in a way that eases a couple back into the intimacy they had, or introduces them to the intimacy they want. Again, the structure is very comforting to a couple who has lost touch, because it's all right there....just follow the instructions, and you will become closer. I highly recommend it.

In addition, there is a conflict resolution model on the website that also might be helpful to you when it comes to those difficult issues that lead to a fight. I hope this recommendation is helpful. These books are readily available so I hope you can get them soon!

Dr. J.



Advice-Couples-Communication-and-Intimacy. Also see other Book Recommendations


Advice-Couples-Communication-and-Intimacy: Also See Couples Communication