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Q: I've been married for 11 years to an older man, and I'm having a very difficult time finding compassion for and attraction to him.
When we got married, I didn't have a lot of self-esteem, but lately I've been doing a lot of soul searching and feel more self-secure.
Now, I'm sitting here thinking, "My husband is not a very romantic guy, and I want romance, I want to make out, I want to kiss." But I don't want to do those things with him. Can this relationship still work?
A: The good part, Susan, is that you have come to a different place in your life—this is what happens in relationships—and you have come to a place where you feel like you deserve more.
I think women get into relationships with men who don't meet their emotional or romantic needs because they think, "This is the best I can do; I don't deserve any better." Then, somewhere along the line, they realize that their lives are much bigger and much more robust that they ever imagined they could be, and they feel they deserve more.
The conversation you need to have with your husband is: "This is who I am; this is what I want. Are you willing to step up with me?" Maybe he is, and maybe you're going to be the one who inspires him. Maybe once he really sees that you mean it and this is what you are going to require of him if you are going to stay in this relationship, he will start to step up. But, you are probably going to need a little bit of couples therapy to get him there. Give him a chance if you want the relationship to work. You would be surprised what he is capable of once you tell him what you require.
— Dr. Laura Berman