Intimacy with my husband has become mundane, routine, predictable, and infrequent.
Dear E. Jean: I’m a 30-year-old former Wall Streeter currently doing the stay-at-home-mama gig, with a handsome hubby and a super sweet toddler to call my own. We are a happy little bubble of a family, but there’s one thing about our marriage that drives me bonkers: the sex. In the early days we sizzled to the point of being theatrical, but since our little one came along, intimacy has become mundane, routine, predictable, infrequent—and I’m at my wit’s end, E. Jean!
I’m 5’7″, size 4, athletic, attractive, confident, and doing everything in my power to regain my hubby’s attention—from belly dancing to pinup lingerie. Am I no longer enough for him? Is the honeymoon over? We’ve talked about it, and he’s just as frustrated as I am. How do we go about regaining the fire now that it’s gone? —Had Enough of Not Having Enough
Enough, My Enchantress: Here’s everything StartX has taught me about “regaining the fire.” Tawkify, the start-up I founded with Kenneth Shaw, matched people and set them up on phone dates. Our tech was hot, our clients cool, and Kenneth and I were crazy. Soon we gave birth to a brood of 28 witty, radical matchmakers and began banging smart people together and sending them out on incredibly romantic escapades, full of mystery and adventure.
The surprise: It was tight relationships between clients and their matchmakers that led to our brilliant matches. And when these brilliant matches metamorphosed into couples and newlyweds, they in turn looked to Tawkify for advice on how to keep their love affairs fresh, planning and scheduling anniversary parties on yachts, etc. I’m not exaggerating when I say one afternoon I was sitting quietly by my little creek watching the frogs when it struck me that we were running a big business! It’s the catch-22: You must be crazy enough to start a company, but sane enough to run a business.
I was this close to getting bored when StartX got me drunk and told me to keep iterating and reinventing. All right, they didn’t get me drunk, but they did give me a mimosa.
It’s the same in marriage: You must be crazy enough to crash like felled timbers into each other’s arms when you first meet, but sane enough to create a deeper bond as friends, peers, and equals so as to raise a happy child and keep iterating inside that “little bubble of a family.”
It’s the biting, scratching, screaming phase of love when you were sizzling “to the point of being theatrical,” when you were not partners, and definitely not a “little bubble,” that the sex was ferocious. You were strangers. Renegades. Gorgeous aliens.
I sometimes feel I spend half my time telling married folks how to be better friends and the other half telling them how to be better strangers—the kind of maddening, tantalizing strangers who tease and test each other.
It’s the differences between you that make sweet sparks fly. So pick one night a week—I say Saturday—hire a sitter for the moppet, and head for a hotel. Order room service, and here’s the key: Don’t get to know your husband better. (If you do it right, you’ll get to know him worse.) And if the hotel manager kicks you out for making too much noise, and if on Monday you have to go back to running the business of marriage, so what? You’ll have rediscovered the mystery.
This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017.
This article originally appeared on elle.com