Dear Dr. Buckingham,
My love life with my wife is going down the drain. Her mother moved in with us six months ago and we rarely have sex. She feels uncomfortable and sometimes states that it is disrespectful for us to make love while her mother in the house. I am lucky if I get some cookie once a month. I tried to understand her perspective, initially, but I cannot live like this anymore because her mother is 73 years old and never goes anywhere. We have three children together so her mother knows that we did something. Am I Wrong for Wanting to Make Love While My Mother-In-Law in My House?
Sex Deprived Husband
Dear Sex Deprived Husband,
I appreciate you for reaching out to me. To answer your question, I do not feel that you are wrong for wanting to make love to your wife. I have experienced this dilemma in the past and can say that I was somewhat bothered. However, I can relate to your wife feeling uncomfortable. Many of us grow up believing in maintaining boundaries with our parents. We also grow up believing in the importance of honoring our parents.
To some people honoring their parents means maintaining good communication and a physical presence in their lives. To others, it means never doing anything that makes their parents feel uncomfortable. It sounds like your wife embraced the latter belief. Whatever we believe growing up typically does not cease when we get married.
I recommend that you talk more about your emotional frustration as opposed to your sexual frustration. The best way to open up lines of communication about the topic is to speak your wife’s language. Women are emotional beings who typically understand emotion and like to know that their emotions are respected.
Be mindful that you do not have to agree with her perspective, but you should try to reflect on what she is sharing. Listening to her will increase the likelihood that she will listen to you. Also, seek to negotiate by asking your wife for suggestions. You will have better luck with finding middle ground than you will with trying to get your way. Although you prefer to make love in your own home, be willing to change venues occasionally.
Your situation is delicate because you have to maintain respect for your wife while also communicating your need for respect and physical intimacy. If you are not sure about how to accomplish this, please seek professional counseling. Professionals like myself can conduct family therapy and facilitate the discussion. I mentioned family therapy because your mother-in law may need to be part of the intervention. While this issue is between you and your wife, your mother in-law is partially the cause.
Whatever you do, do not make your desire for the sex sound more important than your desire to understand your wife. Understanding over sex brings about sustainable love.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.
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