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Ask the Experts

December 2021

Being a parent can be all-consuming

Trying new things can spice up a sex life that has gone stale

November 2021

Married couples can get into a rut

Are we now a lazy couple?

Dear Maura: I joke that I only stay with my husband for two ‘C’s’ — his cash and his c**k. I don’t work and we have no family. Two dogs are like our kids. This has been going on for 15 years since his business took off and we started to live a certain lifestyle. Recently he had issues with his heart and I was shocked with my reaction. Thinking that he could die from this condition, I didn’t feel very upset or sad. In fact, all I thought of was that I would be well taken care of financially and that I would keep myself occupied with the dogs and maybe a bit of travel. I mentally went to a place where my husband was no longer alive. Have I become immune to feelings for him because of the way we have lived our lives? We don’t see a lot of each other some weeks depending on his work. Before Covid we went on one or two cruises a year. He usually ended up chatting to some man at the bar and I read my book. Has the money stopped us making an effort? Have we got it so easy that we have become lazy about our feelings for each other? Answer: For quite some time your lifestyle has distracted you from your marriage. You can afford luxury holidays and everything else that goes with financial stability, but the simple things that bond a couple have been put to the side. Your husband’s business takes him away quite a lot so there is a need to hit pause on this routine with his health scare and see what is going on emotionally for both of you. Your joke tells me that you dislike the influence money has had on your relationship but feel powerless to change this because of your husband’s work. Perhaps you feel that he is away so much he has forgotten you. There has been very little dialogue. Make time to talk, something you haven’t done in a long time.

Family members can be unforgiving

October 2021

Sex on a rug is adventurous but it can be uncomfortable.

Childhood stress can impact adults later

She’s still upset her dad left us

Dear Maura: My daughter is 24 and still has questions for her dad about our divorce. He left when she was eight years old. I thought we handled everything quite well. I tried to move forward as best I could for my daughter’s sake. Her issue is with her dad because he never talked to her or let her ask questions about why he left. He was going through a difficult time with work, and we had drifted apart, but there’s nothing he couldn’t have discussed with her even when she was young. He could have put these things into a language she could have understood. But he never did. She grew up with all these pent-up feelings and never got a chance to open up to him, or should I say he never allowed her to ask questions on any level. Now she is in her mid-20s and still wants to talk to him. She’s strong but I’m encouraging her to go to counselling first. Do you think that’s necessary? She says I’m fussing, but I think it would help her to discover what she really wants to say to him. She has regular contact with her dad, by the way. Answers: As a child she absorbed some tension and stress, no matter how much you tried to protect her. But it’s good she has a relationship with her dad. There are different angles to this situation. She has questions stored up from when she was very young. In the intervening years, these have gathered another layer as she considers this time in her life, looking back as a young adult. It would really help her to talk with a professional. She will be able to articulate key questions from a place of healing and understanding. He owes her answers but, vitally, he needs to really listen to his daughter to allow both to move forward in a relationship strengthened by letting the past go.

Some people aren’t keen on marriage.

Don’t give in to selfish family members.

Brother ruining wedding plans

Dear Maura: My brother is refusing to come to my wedding because I haven’t invited all of his family. We’re having a small group and we’ve had to cancel twice already because of Covid-19. I can’t believe he’s like this. We’re not having any children and we told everyone that from the start. Our mother has talked to him but he’s digging in his heels and wants his two daughters, aged 16 and 18, invited. Part of me feels like I’ll just give in, but then I’m thinking, why should I? This has been organised nearly two years. Why is he being so annoying? It’s my wedding day after all. The problem is that now I’m stressed over this instead of the usual stuff a bride should be anxious about. He’s ruining the build-up for all of us. We’re not exactly close to begin with and if he decides not to speak to me then there’s nothing I can do. His wife is as bad. The whole thing is just so ridiculous. There’s a shadow hanging over the entire day and I don’t know what to do about it. What would you do? Answer: So let me start by congratulating you on your wedding and reminding you that this is a very special day for both of you. You were clear from the start about only having adults. I don’t know what his problem is and he’s making this all about him and his daughters which is unfair. Look at what he’s putting your mother through as well. How about asking to meet him, on his own, for a coffee or drink. Make it friendly and simply ask him to understand that this is what you want for your wedding. Put him in your shoes. Tell him your hope is that everyone has a great day of celebration and not an issue in sight. Can he do that for you, for his sister?

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

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