Luisa's husband pursued her sexually with great passion during their first year of marriage, but that changed. Ramon began getting up at night and sleeping on the couch. He explained that his back was giving him problems and that sleeping on the couch was more comfortable. Luisa, however, feared that it meant his sexual interest in her was diminishing. "It's like he's leaving me on purpose," she shared. "He's been initiating sex less often, and I think it's because he is not happy with our sex life."
Luisa's first and second husband both left her for other women; her fear ghost believed Ramon would as well. Even though Ramon explained that his behavior was related to back pain, Luisa's fears caused her to judge his motives in a negative way; she believed that his sleeping on the couch was a sign that his desire for her was waning.
When asked about their partner's previous sexual relationships, 90 percent of healthy couples in a large national study of blended family couples agreed that there was nothing to be worried about. However, in 42 percent of less healthy couples, at least one partner showed concern about their partner's previous sexual experiences.1
In addition, unhappy couples were twice as likely as moderately satisfied couples, and four times as likely as strong couples, to report feeling concerned about the previous sexual experiences of their partner. Luisa's fears are one example of what seems to cause couples difficulty; how previous sexual experiences compare to the current sexual relationship is another.
It's very important you move beyond these concerns so they don't hide below the surface of your relationship. Discuss any concerns you might have with your mate; be careful not to compare the current sexual relationship with the past, but express your desire for how you would like to see your relationship improve.
With intentional effort, Luisa and Ramon were able to overcome their sexual frustrations. First, they worked together to create opportunities for lovemaking to occur. Given Ramon's back problems, the couple had to be more intentional and rely less on night-time spontaneity to present them with opportunities to engage in sex. They began periodically meeting at home for lunch while the kids were at school, and they planned other opportune times to connect sexually.
Second, Luisa began to work on how her fear ghost was influencing her to misjudge her husband's heart. She made a list of triggers (behaviors, words and feelings) that activated her fear and what actions she took when upset. She and Ramon then worked together over time to help her reduce the ghost's influence on their marriage. Eventually, her fears decreased significantly. As their relational and sexual communication increased over time, a strong sexual intimacy developed.