Is the end of lust the end of a marriage?
Married women from our grandparents generation would put up with all sorts of things due to lack of professional skills, education, money and fear of being alone in a judgmental society. Fortunately, the younger generations can fully support themselves and don’t need to stay in a bad marriage due to lack of resources.
There are many factors that can destroy a marriage. Many think couples just don’t want to put up with anything anymore, leading to the high divorce rate. Boredom, bad sex life, personality disorders, fighting…many of these issues can be dealt with by a willing couple or with the help of individual or couple’s counseling.
Then there are the deal breakers like infidelity, drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness and physical violence. These are very hard to overlook and extremely destructive. Still, there are people who can survive them too, when there is a REAL desire to change, treat or modify these habits.
What people don’t talk about much is how the lack of lust can end a marriage and lead to distancing and infidelity. Some women’s magazine columns (why don’t we see men’s magazine giving relationship advice instead of “36 ways to get that girl”?) suggest “spicing up your marriage” by going to exotic vacations, fancy hotels, wearing sexy lingerie or playing with toys. Not too many couples can afford the luxury resorts, and sometimes all the toys in the world don’t hide the fact that the original lust that drew couples together is just gone. Why does it end?
There are biological and evolutionary reasons why lust ends. Scientists say couples (especially women) release oxytocin while having sex with a man, and it’s called the “bonding hormone”. Serotonin is also released in the brain when couples fall in love, but after a while the tendency is for these hormones to lose their power. That’s when the incredible sex you had in the beginning loses its thrill and becomes more of a love act than an animal act. Provided a couple has other common interests and goals, likes each other’s company or are intent in keeping their family unit together, their relationship will flourish. Another reason is the famous “familiarity breeds contempt” and the daily grind. It’s not very sexy to see your mate in baggy sweatpants, burping and farting every day. Still, lust can become love.
But what happens when lust ends and you cannot feel attracted to your spouse anymore? In the old days, men would just find a lover, especially if their wives stopped wanting sex, for various reasons. Couples would stay together for conventionality’s sake and even sleep in separate rooms. Nowadays, with less societal pressure to stay together in the culture of ME, usually the end of lust signifies the end of a marriage. People want to feel the same rush they felt in the beginning, and start looking for a replacement. Middle aged men and women feel they still can still have romance and good sex since our life span is much longer now. People over 40 still look young and healthy and know they are able to find new partners. If they don’t see a way to bring lust back to their marriage, they want to find lust again. In that scenario, it is very easy to find attraction to someone else, especially in work environments and in the easy world of the internet.
Many marriages dissolve not because of the deal breakers we mentioned, but because of the end of attraction. Can we fight nature and evolution and being lust back? Can we live without lust when we love someone and have a good family life? Any reader who has had a marriage end because of the loss of lust? Do you think there’s a way to bring lust back to a lackluster relationship?
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