Sex

3 Key Fixes To Make Early In Your Relationship — That Prevent Future Heartbreak

Photo: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com
Woman smile and looks over her shoulder next to man.

One thing marriage counselors write that takes everyone by surprise: They see couples in their 80s, complete with physical problems, who are still having sex, while they see couples in their 30s who have stopped already.

Shocking, isn’t it? Therapist Jacob Brown writes that this is one piece of proof that age and life stage are not the reasons sex dies in a marriage.

If you make sure your sex life is thriving for decades at a time, you can give your relationship its best chance. But how?

Laurie Watson, author of Wanting Sex Again, hints at the answer when she takes us through the story of a very recently married couple whose sex life, vigorous and active before marriage, died on the vine after the first crumb of wedding cake.

Anonymous writer The Adulteree, who details his story of affair recovery after his wife’s infidelity, comes to the same conclusion.

What is it that makes couples a.) stop having sex, and/or b.) end up hurting in the aftermath of a sexual affair?

What can you do to stop it in its tracks so you can stay happily married forever?

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Marriage — And Fall Back In Love With Your Spouse

Three ways to 'fix' your sex life early, to avoid heartbreak later on

1. Avoid misunderstandings.

The weapon you need to combat this enemy? Courage.

In Wanting Sex Again, Watson traces all the misunderstandings that cropped up after this pair of newlyweds got married. He turned her down on their honeymoon and crawled into bed.

No one realized until the next day that he was actually coming down with the severe stomach flu that had him weak and vomiting for half the honeymoon, but the wife carried the shame of rejection in her heart and started feeling afraid to initiate sex.

She just couldn’t spit out the words, “I’m afraid you’ll say no. I’m afraid of why you might say no.”

She also started turning down her husband because she had to get up much earlier and wasn’t getting enough sleep. She just couldn’t spit those words out, either.

Pretty soon, they had a situation where the wife missed long, connected, leisurely sex and couldn’t get off with a quickie, but the husband only offered quickies because she never wanted to make love anyway, and he thought he was doing her a favor.

The real problem was: Nobody had the courage, to tell the truth. And, in the absence of the truth, people make the worst possible assumptions about why something is happening.

Before long, couples aren’t best friends anymore. As they become more and more afraid to talk, sex shuts down, romance shuts down, and they start going through the motions of keeping a home and managing children, while they each feel more and more desperately alone.

RELATED: How A Broken Heart Killed The Romantic In Me

2. Speak your hardest feelings out loud.

Let’s let Watson tell it: “Young couples can be afraid of arguments and thus avoid the important airing of differences, which might lead to greater understanding. Part of the bubble of new love is the misconception that the two are soul mates, emotional twins. The sudden bursting of this illusion often causes the husband or the wife—or both—to begin fearing that they chose the wrong mate. Deep down, whether they’re aware of it or not, they long for a symbiotic ideal where their spouse can read their mind.”

This happened to me once when my husband’s loud snoring was keeping me awake at night. I once drove to the gym after work, barely able to keep my eyes open, closed my eyes once I parked the car, and woke up two hours later!

When I did the math, I realized I was getting maybe three hours of sleep a night. Yet, it was nearly impossible to convince my husband that the only reason I was turning him down for sex was that I was knock-down, drag-around tired!

I ended up with a naked guy in my arms one night, in tears because he thought I didn’t want him.

Thank God he talked about it, no matter how hard it was or how embarrassing or humiliating it felt, or what he was afraid I might say.

We negotiated a sleep divorce, which kept us close, communicating, and having sex right through my hysterectomy, all the hormonal hiccups that happened after that, up until two months before he passed away from a brain tumor.

RELATED: 9 Things Couples Can Do To Fix A Broken Relationship

3. Keep your communication skills tuned up.

This is why therapist Brown says that you can’t heal a lack of sex in a marriage with a few date nights, or try to spice up your sex life with something new like BDSM toys.

“What usually kills your sex life is not a loss of desire, instead, it’s a loss of intimacy, trust, and emotional connection.  That loving intimacy is eroded by unresolved issues in the marriage; including resentments, unspoken feelings, shame, and disappointment,” he writes.

Sadly, when the ability to talk about anything and everything falls by the wayside, not only is sex a casualty but the marriage is opened up to the threat of an affair. Lastly, The Adulteree has this to say about what he discovered as he and his wife put their marriage back together:

“I look back on our previous marriage now and can see how the distance slowly grew between us, like tectonic plates splitting apart. The growing chasm manifested itself as occasional passive aggression, overreactions, dismissals, defensiveness, resentments, and secret thoughts we didn’t share with one another. The biggest one prior to her affair was her plan to leave me when my daughter graduated high school, but I also feel like I let my wife down by not sharing with her how much I wanted to reconnect with her.

"Then again, some of her behavior caused me to feel like I couldn’t. And some of my behavior caused her to engage in that behavior. After nearly twenty-five years of that kind of marriage, tracing the thread back to the point of initial fault in order to properly place blame becomes an impossibility. Neither my wife nor I want that marriage back.” 

The ounce of prevention that’s worth a pound of this cure: Be like John Mayer and "Say What You Need To Say."

Even when it’s hard. Even when you’re scared.

Because losing touch with the one you love is a lot scarier.

RELATED: If Your Broken Relationship Shows These 19 Signs, It's Worth Saving

P.D. Reader writes about infidelity, astrology, and relationships on her website and runs Unfaithful: Perspectives on the Third Party Relationship on Medium.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!