December 16, 2010 | 3:20 pm
Posted by Merissa Nathan Gerson
Is there anyway to fall back in love with your husband after 23 yrs of a roller coaster marriage? Would it better to move on and try to build a new life at 50. If I we’re to try and make it work, that’s assuming he still wants to get w me, how would I go about having sex with him again after 4-6 years?
Desperate for Directions
For you, I consulted two Rebbetzins, ie, the wives of good Rabbis. According to the first wise woman I asked, “I do think with a history of 23 years it is possible to fall back in love, its worth seeking help for this. Alone and single at 50 is not as simple as it sounds and the chance of meeting someone is not huge… I know too many women here who are still single at 60 and 70 etc and really regret it. I would say try every option first.”
As we discussed this dilemma we concurred that marriage counseling is in order. That, and upping the communication between husband and wife. Have you talked about your sex life openly with your husband in six years? Have you directly addressed the issues that are mushrooming between you? Communication builds intimacy; intimacy builds trust; trust builds safety; safety yields the possibility for wild sexual expression. Follow suit.
Later I contacted AskMoses.com, where there are live people with great Jewish knowledge waiting online to help people with their questions. I asked the woman there about your dilemma and she immediately said, “I certainly DO believe people can fall in love again…though it takes work. There are many many good books and counselors who can help a couple rekindle what they believe is lost.” (See below for titles.)
“Would you agree?” she asked me. “Yes,” I answered. Adding my own two cents I went on, “I agree. But there is something sad to me about a woman who is beautiful, alive and intelligent trying to make it work with a man who might not be good for her. I have faith in marriage, and respect its sanctity, but also know that we die one day and only live once. So to invest a lifetime in making a dead relationship alive again could be a gamble.”
Together we decided that you need to remember why you married this man, remember what held you together on that roller coaster for 23 years. Yes, it sounds like you had dips and whirls and nausea and everything that goes with a ride, but it also sounds like there was a proper seat belt keeping you alive, close to someone in the seat next to you, and possibly, a thrill.
Or, you held on for the sake of the kids, or out of fear. Or, you married out of obligation, or ignorance, or need. Do you love him? Do you want it to work? Are you staying only because you fear starting over again? I ADORE the brave women I meet in their 50′s and 60′s who did the hard work of leaving a bad thing and finding themselves all over again. Why? Because leaving the man they were with for 30 years and starting over leaves them at a virtual age 28.
I know that women are strong and can endure things for the sake of holding a family and children together. I also know that women make mistakes in choosing partners. But 23 years is a long time. Six years is too. So before you quit, put your heart into this like a brave warrior and see what it yields. The woman at AskMoses reminded me that the Mishna teaches, “according to the toil is the reward.” “In other words,” she explained, “the effort she invests in her relationship will reward her as they can grow to feel intimate (emotionally and otherwise) once again.”
Places to seek help:
Find a marriage counselor, stat, to see what is keeping you from getting intimate with the man you once loved.
For a Jewish spin on marriage and working with it, check out Can This Marriage Be Saved? a blog hosted by Chabad.org. This week’s feature is on what an empty nest does to a marriage.
I do wonder, do you have kids? One thing that happens as children age, is that couples can no longer deflect their issues into caring for their offspring. Once the kids become adults, the parents are left with each other again. In those years of child-rearing it can be easy to lose touch with one another, burying issues under soccer practices and birthday parties. Now you have to sweep up shop after all that production.
Also check out creepy but brilliant John Gray, author of Women are From Mars, Men are From Venus. His website has a whole arsenal of marriage-saving resources including Online Counseling, the How Do You Rate In The Bedroom Quiz, or the Monthly Romance Planner.
Or, check out the even creepier Surrendered Wife for marriage-saving ideas by Laura Doyle.
And finally… “As for her question on physical intimacy,” wrote the AskMoses.com operator, “I think she can invite him for an evening of long overdue romance and do all the classic things, music, candles etc., to get things rekindled that way.”
Or, try reading Kim Catrall’s book, (although she did write it with her EX-husband) Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm
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