The 911 ER Relationship Category
People want help and to have fun on the forum, but accidentally stumbling on some of the more painful and dramatic stories on the forum can get draining.
(1) This is the place to share the icky stuff like affairs and your moments of panic that all is not well. Some forum members will give this category closer attention, some won’t.
(2) This is NOT the place to come if you’re not willing to deal with the icky stuff today. Seriously, enjoy the rest of the forum and do something else if you’re not in the right place to be helping. There’s no shame in not burning out on this stuff. It’s very raw and personal in here sometimes.
(3) We occasionally move threads in and out of this category… er… on our whim. If it’s icky, we move it here, if it’s not so serious, we move it somewhere else.
(4) Message a moderator if there’s an icky thread outside of this category that should be moved here.
(5) If you are posting in the 911 ER Category, please turn the page for the Triage section of the booklet and answer the questions in the full relationship history in your thread.
Triaging Your Relationship
MMSL has a very wide ranging approach to determining your relationship issues and has a lot of content to get through, but if you’re hurting, you just want help now.
In order for other forum members to give you the best help in the fastest way possible, we need a lot of information from you. So when you post your issue, please fill us in on the entire background story to your issue. More detail is better than less detail, and you’ll probably find that just telling the story is a weight off your shoulders.
Question One – Rule Out Medical
Tell us about any medications, medical issues, birth control history and the all-purpose general physical health of both of you. There are plenty of medical things that can nerf sex drive and the ability to function sexually. We ask this first because there’s minimal benefit from trying to “be all sexy with” a partner that just has zero sex drive or struggles physically to orgasm.
If the problem is a medical issue, the solution is to seek medical attention and have it addressed. You must educate yourself as fully as possible on the critical medical needs affecting your sex life. You can’t simply book a medical appointment and hope for the best. You need to read up and ask questions. The entire goal of running the MAP may simply be to get your partner to seek medical attention for their issue.
Question Two – Rule Out Structural Attraction Issues
The structural attraction stuff is something you are lacking that 90%+ of the general public would find a serious obstacle to being interested in you. I’m talking about stuff like whether or not you have/can hold a job. Whether you have a mountain of debt. Whether you are badly obese. Whether you own your own car (outside of a city like New York of course). Whether your home is in a safe neighborhood. Whether you have a serious illness. Anything that is currently a big problem in your life now that would have been a deal breaker when they first got involved with you.
Again… these are all things that you can’t sweet-talk your way out of. If she’s lying awake at night thinking about how you don’t have a job and the debt is piling up, and you’re 150 pounds overweight, she’s simply not going to respond as well as if you were in shape and there was $5,000 in the checking account. Just not happening.
Therefore, the solution is to fix those long-term structural attraction issues. This may well take a long time and require huge effort, but it’s the only way to advance into the future with any degree of success.
Question Three – Rule Out Critical Moments and Neglect
Sometimes you just really screw up and it creates a moment of such negative emotion that it wounds your partner. Stuff like you didn’t come to the birth of your kid. His best friend died and you went shopping for shoes. Anyone hitting anyone for any reason. Any cheating (no matter how long ago). Public humiliation. Anything that would appear to an outside observer to be completely out of line. Likewise extreme long term ignoring – whether that’s by video game addiction, long hours at work, or endless travel.
The solution is to apologize and be genuine about it. Often the initial problem stems from a lack of positive relationship attention, so whatever that lack was, you have to supply it now.
Question Four – Rule Out Outside Sexual Sources
If your partner is physically healthy, everything is running smoothly and there’s no big soul crushing moment dampening things, but the sex is minimal and they are mentally absent and acting strangely… odds are there is another sexual source involved. They will always hide it from you as best they can, so you will need to play detective and ferret out the phone records, credit card statements, phone and text logs, Internet history and so on.
I know that’s horrible to think about, but I have learned to always ask the question about ruling out someone else. I am unfortunately right about this a regrettably high amount of the time. They aren’t going to respond to you with high interest over some sexy moves, when someone else has them all jacked up on dopamine from illicit text messages and swapping nude photos. You must intervene firmly, swiftly and decisively.
Likewise extremely high porn use can play that same role, as can other addictive behavior.
Question Five – When Did the Sex Go Bad?
“Anytime you notice your partner being unusually moody, odd, avoidant or devious with you, never let it go on more than two weeks without getting to the bottom of it.”
This is a non-simple question. There are any number of reasons that sex could decline with a couple: Birth trauma, new kids, sick kids, sick wife, sick husband, work pressure, deployment, work travel, medications… and on and on and on.
However, unless you both can point to a clear reason that the sex is starting to disappear, you both need to find out what that reason is. The trouble is that with the mundane pressures of life, illness and ill fortune, the sex doesn’t just stop dead overnight, it slowly ebbs away over a few months or even a year.
You have to think back long and hard as to what changed in your lives, when the sex started to go downhill. If you can figure it out, and take steps to fix that issue, that might be the very best thing you can do for your sex life.
Question Six – What Was the Sex Like at the Start of the Relationship?
Typically, the sexual experience before/around the wedding sets the high water mark of what the sex will be like together. As you age together you can certainly gain in skill and knowledge of each other and have much better sex later in the marriage, but in terms of the basic interest in you, before the marriage is as good as it gets.
If there was a sudden and notable change in the sex immediately after the wedding…the old “bait and switch”…tell us about it.
Question Seven – What’s the Elephant in the Room?
What’s that one thing you really don’t want to tell anyone?
That thing that you really don’t want to come clean about is very likely the thing that’s screwing up your whole marriage. That’s the thing you need to face up to and get out into the open. MMSL isn’t going to be able to save your marriage while you try to keep three tons of elephant droppings from seeing the light of day.
To be 100% clear here, no one on the forum should judge you for your problem. The only thing we care about is fixing your problem. As in, if you’re a total porn addict, I’m not going to tell you you’re a horrible person that should be ashamed of yourself, I’m just going to tell you how to kick it and get on with a happy marriage. Everyone comes to MMSL with a bag of trash, no one is perfect, we all need help. It’s just all a waste of time if you withhold the critical information.
Question Eight – Who is the Leader in your Marriage?
In any relationship, there’s always a leader and a follower. Tell us about how that’s been playing out in your marriage so far.
Question Nine – Tell Us About the Good Times
When your marriage was going really well, why do you think that was? When was that? What are you doing differently now?
All of these questions can take a long time to answer. There’s a 4000 character limit on a single comment, so you may need to break up your story over a couple of comments. The more information you give, the better the help will be.
Even just telling your story can be a weight off your mind.
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