40+ women will recognise mirror angst "syndrome" where they become acutely aware and overly...
She had the baby and he lost his lust...As with all articles all personal details are changed: A friend, Alison, 38, discovered her husband Graham, 41, no longer sees her as desirable. He loves her without question, but lusting after her? That was a thing of the past.
During their six years of marriage they’ve had a great sex life. You know how we girls chat – I've heard nothing but praise for his skills. But this changed once they had a baby.
Alison noticed Graham was sensitive to her well-being during labour - that was long and difficult - and over the four months since the birth. Alison remarked a month post-birth that his attentiveness made her feel treasured.
With increasing alarm, though, she realised Graham's resisted having sex. She confided her fears he no longer found her attractive. But that didn't equate with his frequent remarks that ‘she made a beautiful mother’.
I suggested coaxing him along with romance as maybe he hadn't wanted to rush her. Alison and I were fishing around in the dark at this point. One candlelit dinner later, as the baby slept, Alison flirtatiously suggested they seize the moment.
Graham balked at this and I realised he may have a Madonna complex: only seeing Alison as mother of his child and no longer as a lover. This is quite common.
Some tips to remedy this include banning excessive "baby talk" taking over conversations. Instead chat about grown-up topics, too. Not always being seen in your nursing-bra but getting out the seductive gear when up to it. Leading with your own behaviour - flirtatious texts and romantic gestures. And reassuring a man who may think you've been damaged in childbirth that you're a.o.k for adult action.
Thankfully by carving out more adult time, and with gentle reminders that they were still the same couple - and not simply parents - Graham slowly came round to the idea that it was fine to see Alison as both desirable and mother of his child. Otherwise they may have needed couples counselling.
An edited version of this was published in The Times
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