After our fifth anniversary, my husband started pulling away from me but things changed when my sister visited us for the holidays.
Mine was a typical arranged marriage. After graduating from college, my father fixed my marriage with Suresh, his friend’s son. Both the families have known each other for a long time, so my father was confident in the alliance. Suresh and I met once before our engagement, and I liked how he treated me with respect. Based on just that one meeting, I said yes to the wedding.
We married, and I shifted with him to Bangalore, leaving our families behind in Gwalior. The first few years of our marriage were like a fairytale. He loved me and never failed to show that. I’ve never been intimate with anyone else before, and Suresh opened a whole new world of sensations to me. We used to go out for a romantic dinner once a week, and he often brought flowers on his way home from work. I think it’s safe to say that we had a typical vanilla relationship, and I enjoyed it.
But after our fifth anniversary, I noticed a drastic change in Suresh’s behavior. He stopped showing affection towards me, and our weekly date nights turned into fortnightly and then monthly. Even then, he spent most of his time on the phone.
He stopped initiating sex, and he made some excuse when I initiated or talked about it. Things got so worse that we didn’t have sex for almost six months.
Then one day, my cousin Sunita called me and said that she would be visiting us for the holidays. I informed Suresh, and as usual, he showed no interest in what I was saying.
The following week Sunita arrived. I was very excited to see her after so many years. She is an air hostess and usually stays abroad. She wasn’t even able to make it to our wedding, so it was the first time Suresh and Sunita were meeting each other.
Suresh got home in the evening from work and was surprised to see Sunita; maybe he wasn’t expecting her; as I said, he never listened to me. As soon as Sunita saw him, she went in for a hug; she wasn’t the shy Indian girl I was, so I didn’t make any of it. But what weirded me out was the erection that Suresh got after the hug. I brushed it off as one of those spontaneous erections that men get and have nothing to do with sex. But his behavior changed the next couple of days again.
Suddenly Suresh wanted to spend more time with Sunita and me. He showed interest in whatever travel stories she had to tell. He even started initiating sex, but now he kept his eyes closed instead of looking into my eyes like he did before.
A week later, Sunita left, and Suresh returned to being the boring, rude husband.
Something didn’t feel right. I was puzzled by these sudden behavioral changes I observed in Suresh that appeared and disappeared with Sunita.
One day Suresh got a message notification on his phone. He was in the washroom at the time. He never leaves his phone alone for even a second, but I guess that day, he forgot about it. I casually looked at the mobile screen; it was a message from Aman, Suresh’s best friend, and it read, “Abhi bhi saali sahiba ki yaadon me ghum ho?” Translation, “Are you still missing your sister-in-law?”
I was taken aback by this message. Never in my worst nightmare had I imagined that my husband, for whom I left my life behind at Gwalior, left my dreams, and my family and friends would cheat me in this way.
I was lost in these thoughts when Suresh came out of the washroom. He saw his phone in my hand, and his face went white with fear. He understood I knew something. I confronted him, and he started speaking, “Before you, I had a pretty active sex life with various girls from my college and office. After we married, I promised myself that I’d stay faithful to you and break all the knots with these women. But I guess monogamy is just not for me because soon, I got bored with you and lost interest in our relationship. And then Sunita visited us. I got sexually attracted to her and started fantasizing about her while we had sex.”
I didn’t know what to say. I locked myself in the other room and cried all night. The next day I packed my stuff and went to my parents’ house.
A month passed by, and I didn’t talk to Suresh even after his countless calls and messages. One day he visited us unannounced. He proposed to speak to me in private, and I agreed. He told me a friend suggested we take couple counseling, and he has even talked to a few counselors and finalized one. He offered to work on our relationship and was ready to give it another try. I was reluctant at first, but I love him, and seeing him putting in efforts to save our marriage, I agreed to take the counseling.
The next day we went home and went to the counselor’s office straight from the airport.
Here are all the advices our counselor gave us that reignited the spark between us:
1. The good old ‘Communication is the key.’
Undoubtedly this incident created some distance between us, but it wasn’t the only thing that resulted in a lack of emotional intimacy. When Suresh started pulling away from me, deep resentment set in my heart towards him. He was also bothered by my constant bickering and revealed that sometimes he did not even want to come home from work. With so many complaints and negative feelings, sex was bound to take a backseat in our marriage.
During counseling, we openly talked about all these feelings, tried to understand each other’s perspectives, and apologized. I haven’t felt this close to Suresh for years.
Our counselor suggested some tips to improve physical intimacy and rekindle the excitement and thrill in our sex life. One of those was teasing in public. We had to go out on dates in public places and tease each other either by brief touching or I could wear something tempting and tease him visually.
With all this teasing, we wanted to have each other then and there, but because we couldn’t and had to delay gratification, sex became even more passionate.
3. Spend more time foreplaying and after playing.
Earlier, we used to spend less time on foreplay. The counselor explained that foreplay is as important as the ‘happy ending’ when it comes to having an orgasm.
The term afterplay was new to us. The counselor described it as cuddling after the sex. After you’ve just had an orgasm with your partner, you mentally reach a very calm and happy place. You also experience a gush of emotions for them. Cuddling or after playing will enhance these emotions manifold and will help increase emotional intimacy.
4. Kink up the bed.
As I mentioned before, our marriage was pretty vanilla, and while I was satisfied with it, Suresh wasn’t. The monotony bored him. To overcome this, the counselor suggested trying something new every week. Over the next few months, we tried roleplaying, BDSM, sex toys, and so many new positions that I can’t even count.
I even brought some inciting lingerie and often surprised him when he came home from work.
5. Anything but sex.
One more beneficial tip that we received was to delay gratification. We were not allowed to have sex for a few weeks. We could tease each other during this time, do some foreplay, and make out, but sex was off-limits. If we felt specially worked up, we could do mutual masturbation but no sex.
During the course of these few weeks, all I could think about was how much I wanted Suresh to have me and vice versa. We daydreamed and even fantasized about each other. It’s safe to say that our lust for one another was growing, and so was our love.
6. Take it out of the bedroom.
To overcome boredom (which was the biggest issue for Suresh) and stir up our sex life, the counselor suggested we take it outside the bedroom. We started by making love in each room of our house. Then we visited our parents and had sex in our bedroom while they were all sitting right outside in the living room. We even did it in the public washroom of a mall. I know it is wrong, but this is what made sex more thrilling for us.
We did everything our counselor advised, and all these tips not only saved our marriage but made it a thousand times better. Suresh realized that it wasn’t monogamy that was boring him but the routine we were following.
And I realized that there is a lot more to sex than missionary. To this day, we use the above-mentioned tips, and it reflects in our emotional and physical intimacy.