Lisa and Curt have been married for four years. For the past two years, Lisa says they've had sex five times. Lisa usually initiates sex, and she says Curt often turns her down. "Right now sex feels like a chore," Curt says. "I miss the [intimacy]. I miss the feelings, you know? Just the connection."
The lack of sex has led Lisa and Curt to fantasize about other people. Curt says he's never cheated on Lisa, but he does find himself looking at other women. Lisa has put up a profile on an online dating site, just to "see what's out there."
Lisa says the rejection she's experienced from Curt in the bedroom has taken an emotional and physical toll. She's gained weight and her self-esteem is at an all-time low. "I eat to fill the void that I have from the lack of intimacy with my husband. … I'm so ugly and fat and I feel disgusting."
To sustain a loving connection, Dr. Robin says couples should invest in their "marital ATM account." Just like a cash ATM, a couple's relationship needs regular deposits if they hope to get anything out of it.
Instead of working at their relationship, people in troubled marriages may be tempted to wish for a better partner who would meet their needs—a fantasy that's far from reality, Dr. Robin says. "Until [you] become the right person, then [you] cannot draw out in someone else what [you] want to have happen. It's about you healing yourself."
Dr. Robin says courage is the one thing that can bring Lisa and Curt back together.
"Courage means action," says Dr. Robin. "Right now, all you're doing is drifting apart. … [Ask yourself], 'What am I afraid of?' That's why you need courage. This is about facing fears."
Lisa says she's most afraid of being rejected by Curt. Dr. Robin says Lisa's courage is an important step in resolving their problem.
"It's hard to be close to someone," Dr. Robin says. "It's much easier to stay distant. Embrace the courage that you're starting today."
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