As a loving partner or husband, your role in supporting your wife’s healing journey from vaginismus is invaluable. You are a valuable support system that can come beside her in her recovery and offer her the support, love, and encouragement she needs to keep persevering in this. One crucial aspect of the vaginismus journey is to be mindful of potential triggers that may cause anxiety or discomfort. By helping her to identify and minimizing these triggers, you can help her create a safe and supportive environment that fosters her healing and growth.
In my Mind-Body-Sex Reset Vaginismus Program, my husband created a “Vaginismus for Partners” mini-course where you can learn more about how to best come beside your partner in love and support to really encourage her in her journey. This course is also designed to help meet your unique and specific needs in this process as well. In the program, we address the triggers and subconscious patterns of thinking that can affect libido, intimacy, and the relationship, because we want you and your partner to heal from vaginismus so you can restore all aspects of intimacy in your relationship.
Here are 6 practical tips and strategies to help you navigate this important aspect of supporting your partner through her vaginismus journey.
- Open Communication: Effective communication is the foundation of any strong relationship. Encourage your partner to openly share her feelings, concerns, and triggers with you. Create a safe space where she feels comfortable expressing herself without fear of judgment or needing to meet expectations. Listen attentively and empathetically, validating her experiences and emotions. By actively engaging in open communication, you can better understand her triggers and provide the support she needs. Remember that active listening is not about finding solutions, but about being present and empathetic.
- Identify Triggers: Triggers can vary from person to person and may be related to past traumatic experiences or unexpected situations. Many triggers sit in our subconscious or unconscious and can be difficult to identify. It is essential to work together to identify the specific triggers that may cause anxiety or discomfort for your partner. These triggers can range from physical touch (even just a simple hug) to certain words or situations. By understanding her individual triggers, you can adjust your behavior and create a safer environment for her. But despite your best effort, it’s important to recognize that you yourself can be a potential trigger to her progress. From painful or discouraging past intimacy experiences, she may have developed negative associations between you and pain- sending her nervous system into a “fight, flight, or freeze” response when she interacts with you. It’s important to recognize this and be patient with her as she heals.
- Minimize Triggers: Once you have identified the triggers, take proactive steps to minimize their impact. This involves making conscious adjustments to create a safe and supportive space for your partner’s healing. Respect her boundaries and avoid situations or topics that may trigger anxiety. Implement clear boundaries around physical touch, ensuring she feels in control of her own body. Communicate openly your intentions and expectations (i.e, “I would love to give you a hug, but nothing more, just a hug!”). By taking these measures, you create an environment that fosters trust, security, and emotional well-being.
- Patience and Understanding: Healing takes time, and each person’s journey is unique. Be patient and understanding of the challenges your partner may face along the way. Avoid placing pressure on her progress and instead offer unwavering support and encouragement. Celebrate even the smallest victories and remind her that her healing journey is not a race but a process of self-discovery and growth. Your patience and understanding will provide a solid foundation for her healing.
- Seek Professional Help: Encourage your wife to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to address any underlying trauma or emotional issues that may contribute to her triggers. Professional guidance can provide valuable tools and strategies for managing triggers and fostering healing. This may look like you finding a counselor or therapist for her, as the mental energy and effort required can be triggering or exhausting in and of itself. Assure her that seeking help is a sign of strength, as it shows her commitment to her well-being and the strength of your partnership. Also consider finding a mind-body nervous system informed pelvic floor therapist who is skilled in vaginismus to help her heal from the physical, psychological, emotional, and relational aspects of vaginismus.
- Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about vaginismus and its effects. Understanding the condition and its impact on your wife’s physical and emotional well-being will enable you to be more supportive and empathetic. Read articles, books, or blog posts to gain insights into the experiences of other couples dealing with vaginismus. Knowledge empowers you to provide the best support possible.
By being mindful of potential triggers and actively creating a safe and supportive environment, you play a vital role in your partner’s healing journey from vaginismus. Effective communication, the identification of triggers, and proactive measures to minimize their impact are essential steps in supporting her through this process. Remember to practice patience, understanding, and unwavering support. Together, you can overcome challenges and build a stronger, more intimate connection. Your commitment to creating a safe space for her healing will make a significant difference in her journey towards a healthier and more fulfilling intimacy.
Supporting your partner through her vaginismus journey requires dedication, empathy, and a deep understanding of her needs. By implementing these strategies, you are actively contributing to her growth and helping her build a solid foundation for healing. Together, you can navigate the challenges, celebrate the victories, and forge a stronger, more intimate bond that will enrich both of your lives.