Marriage Counseling: Go Beyond Codependency and Low Self-Esteem for Increased Sexual Intimacy.

Depending on your partner too much? Lost your self in your relationship? Controlling or being controlled too much? These are common issues that walk in my office that need not reduce your desire for better sexual intimacy! From a normal marital “knot” of anger, fear of aloneness, over-reliance, and inadequacy, learn from marital counseling how to self-soothe, be more autonomous, and enhance the sexual satisfaction for both in your intimate relationship.

What is codependency? Wikipedia describes it partly this way: “Codependency is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another; and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns.”

Three Tips
1)Practice Autonomy. You might say “How will this help our relationship?” By this practice I mean begin to expand your sense of self by doing smaller and larger things on your own. Explore if you have a tendency to do most things together, and schedule some shorter or longer periods of time where you can practice being with your self in a healthy way. This does not have to be at the expense of your relationship. Many clients report back that their intimate relationship improves when they learn to spend appropriate time apart. What is the appropriate amount of time apart for you and your relationship? Find out in relationship counseling what works for both of you, so you can be closer later. Some tend to prioritize other’s needs before their own, and when you are going “solo” for a period of time, you learn to healthily be autonomous, which increases self esteem.

2)Practice self-soothing. We all have a habit of looking out for the needs of our partner, which shows we care for them. When the caring and the over-doing is expected, it can feel like asking too much, and the relationship drags one down. When you believe that only you can take care of the other’s needs, a sort of “fusion” or “velcro” can happen in the relationship. Also, individual low self-esteem can result, and you don’t feel INTERNALLY worthy or valuable. It’s not your duty or obligation to overly take care of your partner’s needs! With marital therapy, learn how to soothe your own anxiety with these normal occurrences through healthy relationship boundaries, breath work techniques, and mindfulness practices. Monitoring your internal value and worthiness to your self is not selfish, just healthy.

3) Practice connecting with your partner from a place of healthy autonomy. In other words, through awareness practices and exploring new ways to connect, practice being your self AND being connected with your partner, as equals. When you are both equals, time together and time apart can be meaningful in new ways, which can spark intimacy when together, as you share your solo adventures and are happy for what THEY are doing. We all truly want to be KNOWN by our partner, which increases sexual intimacy. When one relies too much on one’s partner for excitement, satisfaction, and validation, togetherness can feel like a duty or obligation, which decreases sexual desire. Learn how the balance of togetherness and autonomy can be a life-long dance of sexual intimacy, where unexpected twists and turns of solo adventures can fuel an alive sexual relationship that’s based on “here and now” happiness.


Jim Bowen MA LPC has been assisting individuals and couples since 1992, with offices in Boulder and Denver. Contact Jim with email or call him at 303-534-8717. Why not call for a free consultation?