I have been married for 28 years I have two children 25 and 22 years of age. I have just started to go through menopause and am unhappy in my relationship. I am seeing a clinical psychologist to help with my self-esteem.
I don't feel happy in the relationship anymore. There is no intimacy, cuddling, kissing and at present no sex at all. I feel that if he touches me I'll scream. I seem to have lost all feeling for him and find looking at other men appealing. I am not having another relationship and I would like to know how to bring back the passion in our marriage or should I just walk away. He will not go to counselling as I have already been asked this. Please help.
It sounds to me that you are searching for something that you are missing in your relationship. There are lot of changes in your life at the moment. Physical, such as menopause, and also your children have gotten older and probably more independent and your marriage has become more about you and your husband again, and rediscovering your relationship within this new dynamic.
The big question you are asking is whether you should just walk away. My answer is: not until you have tried everything to make it work. Overall, as I always say, children would rather come from a broken home than live in one. However, when your children in 10 years from now come to you and ask you: "Mum, why did you leave Dad?" you do not want your answer to be: "I just had enough and left." You at least want to say that you have tried everything you could to make it work and then realised it was best not to stay together.
It could be useful for you to think about what your "language of love" is. It sounds to me that your husband is not giving this to you, but that you may also not let him in to give this to you. There are said to be five love languages.
1. Physical intimacy: hugs, kisses, sex
2. Emotional intimacy: feeling listened to, and being told things such as "I love you", "you look great", "I miss you"
3. Acts of kindness: doing the dishes, vacuuming, helping out with insurance paperwork
4. Quality time: going out for dinners or movies etc
5. Gifts: chocolates or flowers etc
Often you have one or two main love languages, which means what your partner can give you to feel loved. I heard you talking about physical intimacy, such as hugs and kisses. It is important to realise that what makes you feel loved is most likely not the same as what makes your husband feel loved, and that is okay.
But the golden rule to re-romanticise your relationship is to treat your partner the way they want to be treated. So you need to give your husband his love language for him to be happy, and he needs to start giving you what makes you happy, in order for you both to be in a happy and healthy relationship.
It is important to realise that it takes two to tango. So if you look at your relationship as a dance, both of you need to start giving each other your love languages in order to see if this relationship can work. Initially this may feel strange and uncomfortable, but then it should start to flow. You also need to give him a chance and let him in, for you to see if your relationship can survive.
For more information please visit the Sexual Health Australia website.