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Dear Lezzies Advice Column 3
for Lesbians On The Loose (LOTL)
Online Magazine in Australia:

Question: I'm in a lesbian relationship, but our sex life has fallen away!

Dear Lezzies,

I am two years into my 'new' relationship and the sex has died. At the beginning it was amazing: we had prolonged romantic sessions several times a day. We couldn't seem to get enough of each other. But ever since we got to know each other, moved in together, met each others parents, had a few fights, listened to each others boring work dramas ... the sex has just fallen away. Sometimes we even go to bed angry at each other. I've now started looking at other women. HELP! How do we turn back the clock and make it like it was before?


Dear Lezzies Answer:

Dear Cindy,

There is good and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t turn back the clock. The good news is that you can create a passionate, stable and loving relationship with work and perseverance.

What you describe at the beginning of your relationship is known as limerance. It is also called the stage of romantic love, which is the phase of a relationship that begins when we meet and can last for 6 months to 2 years. This beginning phase is really about hormones and brain chemistry. It is Mother Nature’s way of bringing two people together.

Pat Love, Ed.D. has done a lot of research about this subject. She says that it boils down to DNA, and that when we meet someone our bodies react with a message. That message is telling us that the person we are attracted to has DNA that we don't have, and that we have DNA that we are missing, so there is an immediate attraction. She reports that the process is the same regardless of sexual orientation. This then triggers brain chemistry and hormones and limerance is born. To learn more about this phenomena, read our article from LesbiaNation titled: "The Naked Truth: Lust vs. Love." The link to this article is:

In limerance, everything is wonderful and new and exciting. The stories are more fascinating, the mannerisms and habits are cute. When you fall out of this phase, then you start to get on each others nerves. What was cute is now irritating, and behaviors that were tolerable are now intolerable.

There are stages to relationships as there are stages to grief. There is some discussion concerning what to call the stages and how many stages there are. Most researchers agree on the five listed below, and they don't have to be in the order listed.

The stages of relationships are:
1) Romantic Love also known as Limerance
2) The Power Struggle or Adjusting to Reality
3) Reevaluation or Transformation
4) Reconciliation or Real Love
5) Real Love or Acceptance
Some couples will go through all stages, while other couples will only experience a few of them. Some couples may go back and forth from one stage to another at different times in their lives. This means that the relationship doesn't have to be over after Romantic Love fades away.

We have already gone over stage one about Romantic Love. Stage Two, The Power Struggle or Adjusting to Reality is more about the fantasy of your relationship morphing into reality. This is the stage you describe yourself in right now, where your differences come to light, such as: she likes to leave her clothes on the floor, and you like things neat and tidy. She likes the toilet paper to roll from the top, and you from the bottom. Issues around shared finances, or wanting to live here or there may surface, just to name a few.

Fears about intimacy begin to arise, and you must learn to deal with your differences, as you are no longer basking in the similarities. The fights, ambivalence and anger, blaming, accusing, sarcasm, and resentments start to form. This is due to a diminishment of PEA, a brain chemical present in the romantic stage of a relationship. You are less concerned about harmony and more concerned about who is right or wrong. There is the idea that if you give ground you will loose power in the relationship.

This, as you have already mentioned, can lead to looking at, or for, someone else to meet your needs. The focus then becomes less about who you are with, and more about feeling a need to protect yourself and finding the new relationship that will have you back to floating on a cloud of stage ones Romantic Love.

The reality is that your relationship doesn't have to end, and you could say that this is where the real relationship begins. It can be the beginning where you really learn about yourself and your partner, move past your life-long patterns, learn to negotiate without taking prisoners, and begin to actually listen.

You both have to ask yourselves what positive actions are you going to take to help your relationship grow? If either of you turns to another person, as in an affair (or ending the relationship and getting into another) you will only have the same issues six months to two years down the road. If you have an affair, you will still have those issues after Limerance fades, that are then compounded with the inability to trust a partner completely because you started the relationship off in an affair.

What are the solutions? Learn and develop ways to resolve conflicts by learning to communicate effectively. Our book, "How To Be A Happy Lesbian" has a chapter on communication. Learn how to negotiate and compromise. Don’t discuss issues when either of you is losing control of your anger. Escalating just leads you to say what will be most hurtful, which then builds resentments.

Look at yourself. Are you playing out your parents' dramas because that was your model of what a relationship was supposed to look like? Find others in long-term relationships, and ask them how they got through the hard times (and how they still do). Check into relationship self-help books and read them together. As they say in 12 step groups, "Take your own inventory." Look at what you are doing to contribute to the conflict, and work on changing those words, that tone, or body language.

If these things don't work, then seek out a counselor. You just may need an outside party, who has training, to look at your issues and help you work through what is going on in your relationship right now. After all, you wereattracted to positive qualities in this woman to begin with; they are still there. It's just that the glitter and shine have become smudged in the second stage of your life together.

NOTE: The advice in this column is the opinion of the writers and is not intended as a
substitute for medical or psychological treatment from a health care professional.

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