Ludo: My friend and his wife live like brother and sister. Can their relationship be saved?

“I’m ordering this for a friend,” Ludo wrote. Ludo’s boyfriend is 66 years old and he and his wife (50) have a 10-year-old together. Now comes: My boyfriend and his wife haven’t had sex with each other in four years and have been living as brother and sister all this time. His wife has gained a few kilos since their baby was born, which makes her no more attractive to my boyfriend. Plus she doesn’t want to wear skirts or tight stockings anymore and he asks me My friend says about it, and then says, “If you should marry another woman.”

Ludo’s boyfriend is now considering seeking his sexual desires from someone other than his wife. Ludo: “I advised him not to. But what can I advise him about? What can he do to avoid having to take refuge elsewhere? And most importantly: Can my friend and his wife still have a relationship with all the trimmings?”

“Yes,” says sexologist Julien Spoelstra, who regularly interviews couples who have similar problems with her practice. “Sure their relationship can still be saved, but then they have to be flexible and communicate better with each other. Now I feel very little flexibility in their conversations and some things – like not wanting to dress differently – lead to an argument It’s good for them to realize that people change, that you have to keep doing your best for each other and that the other doesn’t necessarily stay with you.”

It doesn’t make sense, according to Spoilstra, to stay focused on “one kilogram or one wrinkle” for your partner. “If you only focus on looks – on the fleeting things – you’re going in the wrong direction. You’ve changed over the years. No doubt he’s done that too. You’re always changing, which makes sense, especially as they get older and when a baby is born and when people and their relationships change Circumstances also change gender by definition, and the trick is to adapt to the new situation and answer the questions: Why do I not want to have more sex? What suits us now?”

Spoelstra often hears husbands saying “in the beginning everything just went by itself”. “Then I always have to laugh a little because if one thing is for sure, it’s that everything gets organized in the beginning. If you have a first date, you often spend days in it. It seems to be well taken care of, your house is tidy, your bed has been changed. And the restaurant was carefully chosen. Then it clicks, you end up in your clean bed together and it seems as if everything went by itself, but in practice, I was already there for three days busy preparing everything to the last detail.”

Netflix in sweatpants

Once you get into a (long-term) relationship, that setting often goes away, you put less effort into each other and before you know you’re exhausted in sweatpants next to each other on the couch watching Netflix, Spoelstra outlines. “For most people, there’s nothing sexual about that. But what isn’t there at the time, it can arise. I often instruct couples to look for a different form of connection. Praise the other. Have a nice kiss again, shower together and/ Or give each other a massage. Touch each other. These things can then lead to other things, maybe even sex.”

Spoilstra says that women in particular often have what’s called “responsive cravings.” “This means that they can get a sex drive when they are sexually stimulated. Many men think, ‘Why should I touch you, say you look beautiful, or take a shower with you if you don’t feel like sex?'” “But in these ways you can actually build the sentence.”

Does this also fail to reconnect? Then Spoelstra recommends taking a step back. “Be nice to each other. Go out to dinner and try to have a good conversation. Play a game with each other. It starts with doing your best for each other (again).

Sex “outsourcing”

In the case of Ludo’s girlfriend, he might inquire why he started wearing different clothes. For example, he can ask the question: “I see that you no longer wear skirts. Is there a reason to change that? “Of course she doesn’t need anything if you don’t feel like it or not. I don’t feel comfortable anymore, but if you know he finds skirts too attractive, you might consider it. He starts asking questions, opening up to each other, and discussing your desires with each other.”

Cheating – which Ludo’s friend considered – is definitely not a good idea. “If you have sex with another person behind someone’s back, you are compromising the trusting relationship and it is often very difficult to restore it,” says sexologist Spoelstra. “If it turns out that they don’t really need to have sex with each other, but would like to stay together, you can consider ‘outsourcing’ this piece. Then agree that you can have sex with others. If you make good agreements about this it can work. They will not be the first couple to do this.”

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