WHAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE PARTNER
I was at a conference this weekend where it was once again reiterated to me how impactful our attachment in our early relationships is on our current relationships. When we talk about “attachment,” we usually mean how safe and connected we feel to our partner (or friend, or parent, etc.). What the research has shown over the years is that our attachment style is mostly dictated by the relationship we had with our parents when we were little, but it can change as we have new relationship experiences throughout our lives. There are a few main attachment styles that I want to unpack today, because I think they’re often misunderstood and this misunderstanding can cause major problems in relationships.
When you meet someone with a secure attachment style, they probably grew up with a steady flow of comfort, validation, empathy, and love from their parents and family. These are the people who aren’t too anxious, but aren’t scared of relationships either.
CHRONIC STONEWALLING IMPRISONS A RELATIONSHIP
Have you ever watched a child try to get attention from their mom or dad?
“Pay attention to me.”
“Look at me.”
“Mommy, daddy, watch me.”
But what happens if the child’s attachment figure is unavailable and unresponsive? The child will experience distress.
It doesn’t matter if you are 5 months old or 45 years. There are still two basic responses to an unavailable attachment figure.
7 ENHANCING LOVEMAKING CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES
Lovemaking in a monogamous relationship is said to be heart-pounding, breath-taking, and anxiety-freeing. If that’s true, then how come a committed relationship is when many of us settle for the same sexual positions?
Far too often, spouses become “too important” for experimenting in the bedroom. This takes the mysterious element of sex between two people and puts our wild erotic nature into a jar that will never be opened again.
Sometimes partners stop putting in the effort to seduce their partner. They assume the ring on the finger means they don’t have to try; that a wedding band means you’ll be turned on by me, no matter what I do or how I look. You’ll love me till death do us part.
WHY COUPLES STOP HAVING SEX: THE PARADOX OF YES IN SAYING NO
Sexual desire is leaving the American bedroom faster than a Kansas tornado will rip apart a house.
Long-term relationships, far too often, experience a dwindling sex life. “Experts” often blame the coals of passion on women; their vanishing libido post-marriage. Their keen focus on raising the little ones while ignoring the man next to them.
The lack of female desire is a profitable industry. Thousands of books, full of “theories” on why women lose desire, fill bookstores. Meanwhile drug companies with pills like Addyi are “closing the gap” with a Viagra like pill for women.
5 THINGS YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU HAVE LOST THE DESIRE FOR SEX
A common complaint couples present me with is desire discrepancy.
Typically, the complaint is that one partner wants sex more and the other could either take it or leave it.
In long term heterosexual relationships, women typically need to feel emotionally connected before they can have sex. Men typically feel emotionally connected AFTER they have sex.
HOW TO SPICE UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP: SEX, PASSION, INTIMACY & SEDUCTION IN COMMITTED RELATIONS
By Richard Nicastro, Ph.D.
Why I created How to Spice Up Your Relationship:
So many of the couples I work with desire a passionate marriage or relationship but thought they had to settle for a sexless marriage, or a relationship with little emotional intimacy.
No matter what stage your relationship is in (whether you’re dating, preparing for marriage or have been together for fifty years), sex, passion and intimacy are integral parts to a vibrant and fulfilling union…
…But the sad reality is that too many couples start to neglect this vital part of their marriage or relationship at some point. They wrongly assume that love will carry their relationship along and that passion and intense sexual desire will happen naturally.
10 WAYS TO REKINDLE THE PASSION IN YOUR MARRIAGE
Jason and Kendra have been married for 12 years and have three children. Most of their conversations are about work, chores, their kids’ activities, and mundane aspects of their stale marriage.
Kendra puts it like this: “I love Jason, but the passion just isn’t there anymore.”
When Kendra drops this bombshell, Jason responds, “I thought we were doing okay, I really did. Even though we don’t have sex much anymore, it just seems like a phase we’re going through. I don’t have any energy left by the time I hit the bed at night.”
3 TIPS FOR HANDLING CONFLICTS ABOUT MONEY
If you’ve struggled with these issues, it may or may not be comforting to know that the most common causes of conflict within marriages and intimate relationships are sex and money. For many people, they’re understandably immediately concerned with how their own lives are playing out. For many others, they still have that immediate concern, but they also can take solace from the fact that they’re not alone and that their struggles are not unusual.
Regardless of where you stand on the comfort-little comfort spectrum, it is true that when couples have lasting or recurring fights, power struggles about money frequently tops the list.
No couple is impervious to arguing over finances
SEXUAL ANOREXIA AND THE CUDDLE HORMONE
Ralph calls me up and schedules an appointment. He is in crisis because his girlfriend, Sarah, discovered his sex chat with another woman and has threatened to end the relationship. Ralph recounts his history of looking at porn, masturbation, a long history of one-night stands in the dating scene, and, more-recently, forays into the intrigue of online sex chat and sexual hookups. He describes the relationship he’s had with Sarah as the best relationship he’s ever had. Their sexual relationship was great for the first few months of their relationship, but then his interest waned. She has often complained about the lack of sex and now is devastated by his infidelity.
How can Ralph have been so obsessed with sex most of his life and yet have so little interest in being sexual with the woman next to him in bed? A brief answer is that Ralph hasn’t learned how to use his oxytocin to have good sex. Oxytocin is the hormone that signals child birth and milk let-down in women. But it is also the hormone that generates a warm, secure feeling by being close to your partner. It is often called the cuddle hormone. Ralph learned to use sex to get a high (from dopamine) along with a fantasy of connection with a partner (e.g., pornography or online sex chat). He learned to get the same high from one-night stands or early dating relationships. But he hadn’t built the foundation of deep attachment with these women as a foundation for a sexual connection. Sex ought to scare us a bit. But when we’ve learned how to connect with a partner in a loving, connecting way, we generate oxytocin that calms our anxiety.
A study* in 2006 by Donatella Marazziti, et. al., found that “oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security around the mate.” This science supports the traditional view of sex that sex should be added to secure, committed relationships. To generate enough oxytocin with a sexual partner one needs to learn how to cuddle and create a close emotional connection in sex. Ralph’s old pattern in sex supplied him plenty of dopamine, but little oxytocin. When the sex quit delivering the dopamine (as is normal), there was insufficient oxytocin to make the sexual connection feel both rewarding and safe. When couples learn to have sex that gets the oxytocin flowing, they create a sexual bond that draws them back together over the long haul.
3 MUST DO’S FOR AMAZING SEX
Amazing sex lies at the intersection of romance and passion.
Romance – an emotional state that happens when two people nurture and encourage acts and thoughts that cherish each other.
Passion – an emotional state that arises when a strong interest of desire, curiosity, and attraction.
Put these two emotions together and you have the opposite of impersonal sex: you have intimate trust.
Sex is rather simple: put the penis in the vagina, and move your hips.