My wife said her ex was a better lover than me – and we haven’t had sex since

<span>Composite: Getty</span>
Composite: Getty

I’ve been with my wife for 20 years. For the first few years we had a fairly active sex life, but suddenly, during an argument, she announced that sex with her former husband was better than with me. Since then we have not had sex. I guess this is because I subconsciously believe that if we do, I will be competing to be better than her ex. I have attempted to discuss this with her but she has closed the door on that possibility. She has also moved into her own bedroom because of my snoring. Is there any way back (or forward maybe)?

A statement made in anger by one’s partner that is designed to hurt and humiliate is rarely fully accurate. Try not to take this as the truth. What is most relevant is that your wife has pushed you away and withdrawn … and it’s not really about your snoring. As a couple, you have some vital repair work that needs to be done. I would start by seeking some help for your self-esteem, and learn how to best open the conversation. It is likely that you would greatly benefit from couples counselling. Many people reach an impasse in their relationship, then simply retreat and live in misery from then on. Don’t let this happen to you. Remind your wife that you both enjoyed being together once, and implore her to join you in doing your very best to get that back.

  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.

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