She wants to be intimate on the couch

Now is the time to ask a question about your relationship (or the relationship you're looking for). Email your question to [email protected] or fill out this form.

And updates: former letter writers from all years, please tell us how you're doing and what you need to know (if anything). Email your update to [email protected] with "UPDATE" in the subject line. Make sure you include info about which letter you wrote.

Meredith,

I have been married to my wife for six-plus years now. I am 57 and she turned 50 in October. Before we were married, we would sometimes get intimate on a couch while watching a movie, at her place or mine. Over the last few years, though, I no longer find this enjoyable. I much prefer to be in bed.

My wife still tries to seduce me on the couch and I try, but it just doesn't work for me anymore. When it doesn't she gets upset and blames herself, saying “it's because I’m fat and gross." This is not the case.  She has put on weight since we got married, but she is not gross at all and I tell her this. But essentially the night is ruined at that point. She doesn't try on the couch anymore, but she hints about it, then says "but no, you don't like that. Never mind.”

That makes me feel really badly about myself because I know she enjoys it and I'm not giving her what she wants. I get resentful at her at this point because I feel like she is trying to guilt me into being intimate in a situation that doesn't work for me. I don't know what to do at this point. I feel badly because I feel I'm not fulfilling her desires, but at the same time, if it doesn’t work for me there, there isn't anything I can do. Everything works well in bed, and she enjoys that, but this couch encounter is what she really wants, but I can't give her that.

- Better in Bed


Is there a third option? Like, the floor with a nice blanket? Or maybe a really big lounge chair? (If you don't have one, that might be something fun to buy together.)

Or maybe you could get an entirely new couch that is big and supportive. Changing up the furniture might be expensive, but it could be worth it.

Honestly, though, this problem seems to be about how you both communicate your needs. Your wife seems to believe that the bedroom thing is about her appearance, and of course it's not. Meanwhile, you feel like you can't make her happy ... but you do.

The two of you need to sit down and talk about what you like – what feels good, bad, etc. Then discuss location and specifics. Again, this is not a couch vs. bedroom world. You can change rooms, music, lighting ... there are so many options.

This is a  good time for validation. The whole point of this conversation is that you both want to be intimate with each other. That's pretty great.

If this isn't a fun, empathetic talk – if it begins to be more about her confidence, or about you wind up feeling bad about your boundaries – I do recommend counseling. People (and bodies) change, and what was comfy at 50 isn't always great at 57. It helps to accept this evolution without making a partner feel terrible.

Talk and then talk some more. Think about the middle ground (which might actually be the ground).

– Meredith

Readers? What's this about? What about those chairs with cup holders? Those are always pretty big.