Written by Gloria Ogunbadejo - Nigeria
I will be writing about psychological effects of relationship issues. I have chosen to do this at this time for a combination of reasons. I have recently received several letters from readers about very difficult and painful emotional experiences within their relationships.
Similarly, I also recently had a number of discussions with colleagues and friends about the same topic. Hence, I see this as a sign for me to explore it with you. I hope you find the information helpful or at the very least entertaining.
It goes without saying that relationships in the 21st Century are under tremendous strain, attack and are always at risk if the participants are not vigilant. Any relationship requires nurturing and attention. How much you put in and the application depends on the type of relationship. A reader sent me a very moving letter that pretty much touched on almost all the topics I will be covering in the near future. I have altered a few details to protect the reader's identity but her the story is every bit her own.
Dear Sister Gloria,
I certainly hope you will be able to help me because I am at my wits end and I actually think I am going crazy. Please do not use my real name or contact details, but I don't mind if you publish it as I am sure other people must be able to identify with it.
I have been married for close to twenty years and I have three children. I am a professional and so is my husband. We are not rich but we have managed to have a good life. When I first met my husband, I fell madly in love with him and I think I was more in love than he was. It didn't matter to me because I believed I had enough love for both of us and I thought I would not be able to live without him.
We dated for almost three years and I got pregnant. I think that was the only reason he agreed to marry me at that particular time. His parents insisted he had to marry me because I don't think he wanted to. A year after we married, he seemed to develop a stronger love for me and I think we became equal or he seemed to be more protective and jealous of any man around me.
At first I was flattered by the attention and welcomed it. After our second child, I found myself finding it more and more difficult to enjoy sexual relations with him. I just thought maybe it was post-natal blues because I had heard how it can put one off sex. I figured things would get better, but sadly it didn't.
It gradually got worse and by the time we had the third child I could hardly allow him touch me.
What I just don't understand is how I can feel so repulsed by a man I adored and couldn't get enough of in the past. I still love him, after all he is the father of my children and he has not really done anything to me that would make me dislike him. I just can't allow him touch me. What is interesting is that I don't know if I am hiding it well, or he doesn't notice the huge changes in my responses to him or he doesn't mind. I don't see how he can miss the obvious signs, such as my taking extremely long to physically respond to his affections and my lukewarm engagement to anything sexual with him. He must remember what I was like before and how enthusiastic I was.
What has come as an even bigger shock to me is the powerful feelings I recently experienced with a co- worker. All those emotions I thought I no longer felt, all came rushing back when I was around this man. I felt I wanted him to do things to me that I cannot repeat to you, but I am sure you understand what I mean. I am so confused, I don't know what to do. I am a moral woman and I take my marriage vows seriously that's why I have not crossed that line. But I cannot see myself going through my life in a passionless marriage. I am still young and I want to enjoy a physical relationship with my partner.
I was wondering if it is possible for passion to die in a relationship and there is nothing one can do. Maybe that is why people have affairs.
I do not necessarily want to leave my husband, but if I cannot bear him to touch me, then I think that is a problem. I was thinking if I satisfied the physical side with this guy it might open things up again with my husband. I know most people will immediately say it is wrong but I know a lot of people who remain in loveless marriages just because they want to be married. I don't think I can do this and it doesn't feel there is anything he can do to make things better. Having a healthy physical relationship with one's partner is a necessity in a marriage (at least it is for me). I desperately need your advice.
From the writer's desk:
Dear readers, I am extending an invitation to you to respond to a fellow reader. Try to have some empathy and imagine what it might feel like if you were in her situation.