"Sexlessness is an inherent part of nearly all relationships, but a lot of couples don't have honest conversations about relationship problems until they're at a point of wanting to divorce," says Donaghue. "By then, it's too late." It's natural that your sex drive declines when you're with the same person since what's most sexually exciting to humans is newness and novelty. Marriage, in all its you-plucking-his-back-hairs and him-watching-you-pee glory, inherently does away with that. "Monogamy is difficult," says Donaghue. "Your sex drive
Beyond that, Donaghue is of the mind that Americans might bungle relationships from the get-go thanks to individualism. "In general, America is all about this rugged individualism," says Donaghue. "There's less of an understanding that in a healthy marriage, there's a loss of self. It requires more empathy and consideration on different levels." To be clear, he's not talking about the kind of codependency that sets off alarm bells and could be the creepy plot line of a Hollywood thriller. If you worry this "loss of self"-type of approach is at odds with feminism, Donaghue argues that it may actually be helping it along.
"A lot of feminist models are exploring how women operate and think in relational terms," he says. "They tend to be more about 'us,' while men are raised to think individually. Maybe we should stop holding people to this male yardstick of what the healthy self looks like, of being on your own, and look at the other side of being in a partnership." Murray refers to this as "me-ness" and "we-ness" factors and says that, for a lot of people, men especially, it's a challenge to make that necessary transition from the former to the latter once you're in a lifelong partnership. "You have to recognize your partner is a separate human being with their own wants and needs," says Murray, "but you also have to think about how you can be a complement to their life and vice-versa. It's about being on the same team together."
Ah, technology! The newest threat to happy couples everywhere. Between the temptation of Tinder and the attention-grabbing power of the average Instagram timeline, it's no surprise the new digital landscape offers up a few relationship pitfalls. "I'm a fan of technology, but of course there are downsides," says Donaghue. "A lot of couples will choose to get social stimulation from their phone over their partner." Beyond that, technology has infused some relationships with what he calls "a consumerist perspective." "It's the tyranny of too many options," he says. "Even if you're already married, access to Facebook and Instagram can provide the consumerist ideal that there's something better out there, and you can form various other relationships to test that out."
The constant lure of technology also has a way of shifting people's attention away from any relationship problems they may have. "One of the major findings in research on marital satisfaction is that, over time, the number of problems each couple experiences remains stable, but the dissatisfaction still increases," says Murray. "People just aren't as equipped to tolerate distress as they used to be." The surprising potential cause behind Americans' diminished ability to deal? Helicopter parents. "The more we have parents solving problem for their kids, the more likely those children will be less able to tolerate distress as adults," says Murray. When you have a little device that makes it so easy to distract yourself from any uncomfortable feelings rather than sit in them and really parse them out, your relationship can suffer.
When you factor in technology's ability to stoke the flames of FOMO, it can create a perfect storm for a relationship. "FOMO is really just an affair with your mind chatter, or your constant belief that you have to know what's going on in order to feel like a participant in the world," says Murray. That pushes you to play into a variable ratio schedule of reinforcement, which basically means you're inclined to constantly check your phone because it's like an emotional slot machine. You might see an exciting notification, which will release feel-good dopamine in your brain, but you might not. "This constant checking of technology means you're not being witness to your partner's life, when in my opinion, that's why people get married or get into relationships," says Murray. "We long to have a witness to our lives."
One of the most fascinating findings in this new report is that marriage satisfaction was on an upward trajectory while America's economy was in the toilet. Starting in 2008, people began feeling happier in their relationships. The number climbed from 62 percent in 2008 to 65 percent in 2012, then dipped to 60 percent in 2014, when the economy started to rebound. "There needs to be more data on the subject to truly call it a trend, but crises can often bring people closer together," says Murray. "When money is tight, you may focus more on experiences rather than the accumulation of things." Then, when the nation as a whole became more financially comfortable, some people may have turned their attention to making more money, which only created a spike in happiness for a moment, while potentially setting the stage for a lot of long-term stress that puts strain on a relationship.
Women may be smashing glass ceilings left and right, but there's still emotional disparity when it comes to marriage. Only 57 percent of women said their marriage was happy in 2014, compared to nearly 65 percent two years before. What's more, 4.4 percent of women were "not too happy" in their relationships in 2014, more than ever before. "In our culture, a disproportionate amount of domestic responsibility falls upon women," says Murray. "There's male privilege in relationships in that men can be oblivious to the dynamics of relationships, while women have to be the domestic managers." You may feel like if you don't take care of certain household or childcare-related tasks, they just won't get done. That only reinforces the obliviousness of men because then they get no consequences for not paying attention to how things are going at home and how they need to pitch in. Instead, they get rewarded for it because you continue to handle everything, Olivia Pope-style.
This cycle breeds resentment and leads to de-eroticizing your partner, which goes back to the whole sexlessness point. "After a time, you no longer see your partner as an exciting, enticing, mesmerizing creature," says Murray. "You see him as a good provider for the family or a good father—and vice-versa." The easiest way to combat that is by working on your balance of intimacy and closeness. Closeness is the comfort that comes with knowing someone inside and out, but intimacy is what you get when you take anxiety-inducing risks together. "You don't need to take these risks 365 days a year, and it doesn't need to be on the level of bungee jumping, although that can certainly work," says Murray. All you need to do is regularly participate in new, exciting adventures, whether that's rock climbing or role-playing. "When you work on cultivating intimacy, you can avoid winding up in a sexless, unhappy relationship," says Murray.
Original article and pictures take http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/more-are-unhappy-in-their-marriage-than-ever-before site