My husband and I have a terrible sex life. It used to be fabulous! I’m worried we’ll end up in divorce court because of it. Please help!

We have two children together. It all started with a comment he made about me needing to lose weight after my last baby, and I lost it.

I lost my self-control, lost my respect for him, lost my sex drive completely. I just cannot get into bed and have sex with a man if he doesn’t find me attractive the way I am – even if he is my husband. He says I should put in some effort, I say he should respect me for who I am. When I refuse him, he will get so angry and verbally abusive, making me want to refuse him even more! It’s a vicious circle that I don’t see getting better any time soon. I’m worried we’ll end up in a divorce court because of it! Please help!

An opportunity for an intimate conversation

It is understandable that you are hurt by your husband’s comments. When an incident has occurred that is hurtful to either partner, it is important to process and do some repair work to re-establish emotional connection and intimacy. This is an opportunity for you and your husband to have an intimate conversation.

You can begin an intimate conversation with an open-ended question, that is, a question with a longer answer than just “yes” or “no”. An example may be, “What kinds of thing can we do together, besides sex, that would help us feel more connected?”

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Once the conversation has started, there are three skills that can be used to help you explore and talk about your feelings as the conversation proceeds.

The first skill is putting your feelings into words. Some examples may be I feel unappreciated, I feel insulted, I feel misunderstood, or I don’t feel accepted.

The second skill is asking questions. Some examples of these types of questions may be; What are the feelings you are afraid to bring up? Do you have any mixed feelings? What are they? What, if anything, makes you angry here?. 

The third skill is to express empathy and understanding. Empathetic statements show that you deeply understand your partner and some examples are You’re making total sense, I understand how you feel, and It hurts me to hear that.

An intimate conversation can be the beginning of the healing process and, when you understand what is behind the angry words, you may feel differently towards each other and can begin to rebuild emotional connection.