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We may carry the hurt from past relationships, so we protect ourselves by trying to appear in control.
So often, things can be resolved by learning to listen. When you have kids you adore, find time to be just you alone so you remember and remind each other of who you were before they arrived, who you are now, and who you will be when they are gone.
It’s natural that attention shifts to the children, but it’s a good idea to remember why you are together, and have a child together, in the first place.
It’s possible to make it work by setting aside a time in the week and asking a relative to mind the children. Invest in the relationship with your partner’s family. Keep yours smooth by remembering birthdays and anniversaries, by butting out of family disputes, and by never forcing your partner into the position of taking sides with you against their mother, father or siblings – those relationships go back a long way.
It can feel easier to avoid being honest if we feel that could be hurtful, but it is only with honesty that trust is built, and trust is the essence of a good relationship. There are different qualities to sex at different stages in a long relationship: first, passion; the urgency of reproductive sex; snatched sex in the early years of parenthood; then the slower intimacy of midlife onwards.
But our culture presents only one type as being valid: youthful, vigorous, usually penetrative.
Go to a place where you used to laugh or where there’s a good chance of laughter.