On-Off Loving

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The advice below applies equally to males or females regardless of sexual orientation or preferences


Question:

I am 62 years old I love my new partner so much some days..... We have great sex, in fact the best I have ever had! (Not as often as in the past but now it’s a case of quality rather than quantity... I like that)


But some days although I like him a lot I just don’t feel the same strong sense of love. Does that mean he is the wrong man for me, or is there something wrong with me because I can’t love him all the time, the way I used to love my husband when I was 23 years old?


Answer:

There is nothing wrong with you (or with him). Once we reach 55 or 60 years our capacity for love changes. It is still there but it is driven by different feelings and emotions.


One of the advantages of seniority is that with age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes the ability to override the  hormone driven love feelings that overwhelmed us when we were younger.


If you’d like to ask yourself personal question....   Are your feelings for him strongest before a love-making session?

And do they tend to slacken off a  bit after you’ve had what you describe as the best sex ever?


If you think about it, this makes sense. You have just temporarily used up what remains of those earlier love hormones.  But it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. And fortunately there is another hormone that is still at work even in an our later years and even after a great orgasm or two.  That is the famous “cuddling hormone”, oxytocin.  You can look it up on Google or go to


http://www.oxytocin.org/oxytoc/


It’s not a sex hormone but it will keep the new relationship alive and growing if you allow it to, especially when your sex. drive is a bit lower than usual.  Hint: It is the same hormone that creates a mother’s love to her baby.


The other thing you can do  at those times when you feel  a bit “out of love” with your new partner, is something very positive and that is to share your experience with him. You’ll probably find that he is going through exactly the same up and down sense of temporarily  loving more and less and is just as worried about it as you are.


By talking about it openly together you reduce the fear and the sense of (unnecessary)  panic. After a while you will both come to accept that that’s the way things are, there’s nothing wrong with either of you and you can still go ahead and enjoy all the other wonderful aspects of that relationship know that they are all still  there and still waiting to be enjoyed.


You will probably find that quite quickly you get to the stage where you can both laugh about it, and at that point the oxytocin will start to cut in and you’ll both find yourself feeling comfortable and cuddling again.


Fear of being hurt

There is a second problem that can compound the “out of love” feeling. Deep down inside do you harbour a fear of your being hurt... .... once again?.  The more you allow  yourself to feel a deep love for another person the more vulnerable you are. The greater the chance that you could be hurt again. The more times  this has happened in the past the greater your instinctive sense of caution. Too much of this kind of reaction can undermine a potentially wonderful relationship before it has a chance to develop so don’t just bottle it up. Bring it out into the open.


You need to talk about this firstly with your partner and perhaps with a counsellor or psychotherapist who specialises in this area. No, don’t ask your doctor unless she or he is a specialist in working with fears and negative core beliefs. Doctors who don’t know about this stuff too often tend to prescribe tranquillisers which reduces  your feelings of love even more!.


The On-Off Dance- a much more serious problem

 If, however, you experience extremely strong on and off feelings, and the “off” feelings are  gaining the upper hand   this could be pointing to something far more serious.  


1.  Perhaps, there are some sound reasons why this relationship is not going to last long term. That may be something you will need to face up to and deal with when you are ready.


2. This could be pointing  towards a different, very serious but fixable problem, where one or both partners have unresolved abandonment or engulfment issues.  Even the best adjusted people have some issues about being too alone too much of the time. (abandonment). They also have discomfort about the opposite situation that is being too close too often (engulfment or enmeshment). It’s normal to experience some of each feeling some of the time, but it is a different matter for people who are deeply troubled by either of these issues.

This is one of those times to remember that we are just not equipped to solve every complex relationship problems by ourselves. Nor can you just ignore powerful issues like these and hope they will settle down of their own accord. You do so at your peril. The outcome is usually the opposite of what you wanted anyway.


For an more detailed explanation (warning it’s a bit complicated) .  Go to


Abandonment and Engulfmnent issues page


It is one of my most read pages and I receive e-mails about it from all around the world


For more in formation on Negative Core Beliefs and the damage they can do to relationships go to my Growing Awareness website


http://www.core-beliefs-balance.com/


You can also contact me  John Bligh Nutting -click here to e-mail


nutting@growingaware.com


Good luck.

My love switches on and off -  what is wrong