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Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.
Let's start with the counseling: how did the couple therapy work? Was it helpful?
Hi Dr Mark, thanks! Couples therapy was good with certain issues in our relationship - anger mgmt, how to fight fairly, but not so much with the passion aspect.
Why, do you think, that wasn't addressed in the therapy?
It was and she offered some suggestions, but they didn't really work.
She said I would have to initiate more if i wanted more. But then I would, and would get turned down so I stopped.
He's had his hormone levels tested and they're fine .
He has a stressful job, so I think that's probably it.
But sometimes I feel so frustrated, I start a fight which makes things worse :(
Okay. That helps a lot. Let's talk about your son: he's 4 and sleeping in your room, right?
Yes, he is 4 and my husband usually puts him to sleep around 9 pm. he tried getting him to sleep in his room and lying next to him but he didn't like that. He's scared of the dark. We tried nightlights and pillow pals in the past.
Okay. You didn't ask because of your son, so that's fine. Is there another room you and your husband can go to for your "fun" room after your son's fallen asleep?
Yes, we have a guest room that we utilize . but sometimes my husband falls asleep at 9 pm too lol.
Right. We all sometimes want to fall asleep at 9...
Maybe I could try putting my son to bed earlier? what do you think?
But about how many nights a week does your husband NOT fall asleep at 9?
he will let me lie next to him and i usually sneak out to my own room .
hmmm...he usually is in bed by 9 or 9:30 during the week bc he has to get up so early the next morning.
Well now I'm confused: what is "my own room". Do you not sleep in the same room as your husband? I thought your son slept in your bedroom, meaning you and your husband's?
I'm sorry , I meant when I used to put my son to sleep in the past, i would go back to the master bedroom ( where my hubby sleeps).
But now my husband has been giving him a bath and putting him to bed.
And all 3 of you sleep in the same room all night?
yes, unless there is no room then I go sleep in the guest room. My son is a bed hog.
Okay. Got it, whew!
Yes, your son is the key here, you're very right.
My understanding now is that your husband goes to sleep with your son, gets up early. When does your son get up?
he has separation anxiety.
he gets up around 7 am and I take him to school around 8 -8:15 am
Okay. I'm a little concerned that you study up on separation anxiety, but again, that's not our main topic here. But if you remind me, I'll try to find in my files what I've written for parents on it before we leave, okay?
Now back to our topic:
do you think I should change up the nighttime routine?
You and your husband need to agree to set your son's target sleep time to 7:30. That means by 7 he should be getting ready for bed.
Now that's the target.
Our plan is to implement it in 15 minute increments each week to 10 days,
so tonight i will put him to bed at 8:45 pm?
instead of 9 pm?
You and your husband must agree on this guerrilla tactic (hope that made you smile). It's not just for sex, it's for love and intimacy, okay?
and then friday night at 8:30 pm?
No, Friday is probably too soon.
But he may learn quickly and adjust. I'm giving him 7-10 days with each increment.
oh ok i see.
But if he does well, you can speed it up, but NO pressure. This is guerrilla warfare, right?
so 8:45 pm for 7-10 days ; then 8:30 pm x 7-10 days etc...
until we get to our goal of 7:30 pm?
Now, he may need to wake up a little earlier, so you're in for it...
If he sleeps still straight through till 7 like before, great.
He may because he may be more relaxed going to sleep earlier, but if not,
then you can snuggle with him in the morning. It will help his separation anxiety perhaps.
Or you can let him play before going to school, okay?
ok sounds good!
All right, now for the important part: the sex...
Don't spring it on your husband like a leopard.
Well, leopards are sort of sexy for men, but don't spring it on him anyways.
yeah he prolly feels like i'm attacking him
As you've got some time where he's awake in the evening, use it to have a cup of tea together or a glass of wine and have some adult conversation. Is that something he will hate?
no he likes sitting outside at night w a glass of wine/cigar
is this after i put my son to bed?
Are you willing to sit with him outside with the wine minus the cigar?
Right. Your son falls asleep, you two go outside.
If you're paranoid, take a monitor with you, or open the window so you can hear (preferable).
But the two of you spending adult time together, right?
Because he's stressed. A stressed man needs to be relaxed by his wife to appreciate how sexy she is.
This is not a 2 minute foreplay kind of thing for a man,
it's an attitude.
He, like your son, has to get used to a new way of looking at things:
that you're part of what makes his stressful job worthwhile.
So, enjoy his company.
touch him. Affectionately.
As your son goes to sleep at a more reasonable hour in a few weeks, every so often, caress his back and be more obvious.
Every so often you can let him know he turns you on.
Just not be hyperfocused.
Let it become part of how the two of you share yourselves with each other, like sharing his day, your day, memories, hopes, plans, and let it become more part of your week.
Does this make sense?
Does it help?
yes thanks I will try a more subtle approach lol!
You're the best!
you've been very helpful and I appreciate your time!
i was feeling pretty bad/hopeless bout things
but now i feel like I have something to work towards!
I agree with you. That's what it should be like: not a sexual attack, so to speak. But something to work on. Intimacy.
Shall I look in my files now for the separation anxiety essay for you?
sure thank you!
Give me a few minutes.
no problem !
I found it, I'm going to excerpt it for you:
I appreciate it :)
I see that it's not specifically for night time, it's more about leaving him at school. Can you adapt the principles to your situation for me? It also mentions therapy, but I'm not sure you need to go there. Just use the techniques I mention, okay?
Now on to the techniques to use: you're looking for behavior modification techniques. You can look that up if you like. It's so well documented today that you for sure won't get many strange results on the Google websites.
The first thing is very sweet. It will get you in the spirit of behavior modification. I want you to have a handkerchief that gets put in his coat pocket, pant pocket, or lunch when you take him to preschool. The handkerchief is something you and he will cuddle with when he's on your lap or next to you on the couch at home. You'll use it in story time about a boy who's so sad when his mother has to leave in the morning and he has to stay in the school she took him to. But he has this handkerchief his mom left with him to remind him she will always be back at the right time to pick him up and give him a big smile and kiss and go home happy again. And you kiss the handkerchief and he kisses it and you hug it and he hugs it. Etc. Get the idea? This handkerchief IS your love for him. And you do this every night for a while. And it goes into his pocket. Keep repeating this until it's a ritual. Then when you get to school he takes it out and you kiss it goodbye and he kisses it, then it goes back in his pocket. And then you kiss him goodbye and then you leave. And after a few nights you discuss with him if maybe the pretend boy would like his teacher to hold on to the handkerchief in her desk each morning until he leaves in the afternoon. And maybe the pretend aide can put it in the teacher's special place on/in her desk. (If all this is practical.) You begin including them as your surrogates while you're gone. So that's a sweet and important ritual to set up for him so that he begins to know there is constancy in the world. He doesn't have to have anxiety about mom disappearing. She comes back. Okay?
Please note that I'm not hesitant to let him be young. He's six but he's dealing with trauma he doesn't really remember in cognitive terms, only emotional terms. And it's in the present for him. That's stretching his developmental abilities, even though he's a bright little boy. So, don't worry about my treating him young, that's okay.
That one is very sweet and loving. Next, practice all the usual ones for regular separation anxiety: a stable schedule as much as possible (again constancy in the world); continually reassure him of your love each morning and when he comes home from school; reward him for any slight improvement (SMALL rewards, but very important); discuss at home each evening what fun thing he did at school that day. To vary the above routine, you play with him with some of his little plastic figures (animals okay) going to school, how the little boy (animal) cries that mommy leaves, but knows he's going to have a good day because he will...then supply the nice thing that happened that day...and how he knows mommy will be back to pick him up for a fun evening with supper. In other words, start rehearsing having a good time at school, having a nice time seeing mommy, having a nice evening home. You insert each time you play more of how the little boy cries less when mommy leaves. Oh, and you also don't make a big scene when you leave him in the morning. You remind him of the game you played and how much you are going to enjoy coming to pick him up in the afternoon so you can go home and play some more. Then you leave and breathe deeply and prepare your strategy for the evening. Okay?
So, follow these procedures. See if there are other ways to involve the teachers as well. And at home, let him be young.
Now, here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (they show you a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list children as their focus population and play therapy or sandtray (a good method). Interview the therapist and make sure his/her values are similar to you and you feel confident and comfortable with him/her.
Good Therapy is a non profit directory. Same idea as the one above:
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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Okay, so there it is. I hope it will help you as well. If you could give a positive rating before you leave, I'd be very grateful. You can copy and paste the chat or save the address of the chat:
All the best to you. You're a very fine wife and mother.
thank you very much dr mark!
I'll keep you posted to our progress in the next few weeks!
have a good evening!
Stay in touch!
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