I’m not attracted to my partner any more. My partner doesn’t seem to be attracted to me. What can we do?May 06, 2019
If you are reading this blog you may be in a relationship which has gone a bit stale. You love your partner and perhaps enjoy the family you have created with them. But the sex is non-existent and worse still you are not sure if you want sex with your partner again. And little things are starting to niggle you. You might be thinking, “maybe I am not attracted to my partner anymore – but I don’t want to leave the relationship”, and wrestling with conflicting emotions over it.
When couples or individuals I work with disclose concerns about attraction, they usually say things like “I feel like I’m living with a sibling”, “I feel like we are in a functional relationship”, “We are leading separate lives which I have to admit doesn’t bother me”. There is alarm and worry at the lack of attraction they feel towards their partner. And there is longing for something more.
So how can you get attraction back for the person you still love?
- Take a break from the boring functional relationship stuff. Get a babysitter and plan some romantic time together. If you have got out of the habit of sex, then sometimes it’s better to actually hire a hotel room for the express purpose of romance to break the cycle. Try and bring your positive experiences from the hotel room back to your own bedroom. For tired parents, make the time for sex and romance during the day when kids are at school or on playdates.
- At least once or twice a week, commit to turning off screens or other ‘unwind by myself’ activities and spend time together talking (about non-functional things). Kids must not be around for this.
- Going on a holiday or a weekend away is a really good way to jump-start a relationship again. I have clients who say they realise how much they enjoy spending time with their partner when they remove everyday stresses. Incorporate an aspect of your weekend away into your everyday life when you get back home to keep the attraction going.
- People change as they grow older. Revisit what your partner finds attractive in a person and incorporate these ideas into your relationship.
- Looking into each other’s eyes for a few minutes, a 5 second kiss and spooning in bed can all help to create chemicals that feed attraction. Give yourselves a challenge to do this twice a day – it does work.
- If you are in a relationship where you have fallen into bad habits around criticism and resentment either stop it or seek couples counselling right away. Complimenting and being kind to your partner not only makes them feel good but will make you feel good too.
- Have you socialised recently with other adults and watched you partner interact with work colleagues? Do you really know what they are doing at work, what their goals are, what they think about? There is nothing like seeing your partner in full swing being good and respected in the life they have that doesn’t include you – interest and respect create attraction.
- Common goals. Most people I see in couples counselling who say they’re no longer attracted to their partner have also lost sight of shared goals (or, those goals are no longer as important to one person). If that’s you, make some new shared goals. Goals equal excitement. Excitement equals attraction.
- Understanding that the chemical attraction we felt at the beginning of our relationship doesn’t last for anyone will provide you both with realistic expectations. Relationships are work – pure and simple. Do the work.
- Couples counselling – some people worry that if they see a marriage therapist about lack of attraction, then this will result at some point in the relationship ending. A lot of people I see are scared of this because they actually do love their partner or they don’t want to break up the family. But couples counselling is very good for providing an intimate setting for you and your partner to start to connect again. And I have seen many many couples over my 20+ years re-connect in a way they thought wasn’t possible.
The bottom line is you have to work to keep the attraction going in a relationship. And if it’s beyond you and your partner, you need to get professional help. If this is you, book in for marriage or couple counselling and find the attraction in your relationship or marriage again.
Jacqueline has been in private practice for more than two decades, helping individuals, couples and families. She has extensive experience in couple and family therapy and is considered a specialist in these areas.
In her clinical practice, she has helped people deal with complex trauma, affairs, complex mental health issues, eating disorders, adolescent behavioural problems (including self-harm and suicidal ideation), behavioural issues in young children which are impacting parents and families, relationship issues and post-separation work.
Jacqueline works with many different dynamics: couples, parents, families with young children, same-sex couples, foster/adopted families, families with teenagers and also adult families. She is particularly interested in helping parents of children with behavioural issues, or with diagnosed conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, ASD and so on.
Although Jacqueline’s work is supportive and friendly, she will challenge her couples and families to make the necessary behavioural changes, to repair relationships and to move towards healthier communication styles in the future.
Jacqueline’s style is direct and fast paced and she is known for quickly getting to the heart of the matter. Clients report that they feel safe and understood with Jacqueline.
Qualifications and Professional Membership
Jacqueline has a Masters in Couple and Family Therapy (UNSW). She has a Bachelor degree in Counselling and Human Change, and a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling.
Jacqueline is a Clinical Supervisor for Counsellors and Therapists. She lectures in couple and family therapy at Masters and Post Graduate level, and is currently Head Lecturer for the Couple and Family Therapy course (Masters) at the Jansen Newman Institute. She has been a Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney and Sydney University, and continues to guest lecture at other tertiary institutions.
Jacqueline is also the Director of the Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs regular professional development workshops and seminars for Therapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Health Industry Workers who are looking to gain skills in this specialist area.