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Q. After we've had a fight, my husband wants "make-up sex." But most times, I'm still too angry to get in the mood, and then he pouts. Is there a way to resolve this?
Susan Healy Demosthenous, C.S.W., an individual and family therapist in Merrick, New York, answers:
A. Every couple has a pattern to their fights. Fortunately, simply identifying that pattern goes a long way toward changing it.
I often find that once couples are aware of the ruts they slip into, a powerful shift occurs in their attitudes toward each other. In a quiet moment, discuss what you both are feeling during this recurring gridlock, as well as what you each need to better handle your negative feelings, such as a 10-minute cool-down in separate rooms, or having him hold you for a while after you argue without expecting sex.
When you fight, it's easy to forget that you still love your mate, and you have to force yourself to connect to the part of your brain that knows this. Remind yourself regularly what you love and appreciate about your husband, so that you'll be able to call upon those positive feelings more quickly when the going gets rough.