I have recently gained 20 pounds and have noticed that my husband does not want to have sex as much as he used to. Should I ask him about it or is there a way to make myself more appealing to him? I am trying to lose it but it is hard!
Thank you for your advice.
It’s important that you speak with your husband about this. You need to make sure that the two of you can have an open dialogue about sex—despite the potential awkwardness. Sexual issues come up throughout a marriage.
Start by telling him you’ve noticed that he hasn’t wanted to have sex as often as he once did and that you’ve assumed it’s because of your weight. Ask him if your assumption is correct. If he’s dismissive and says something along the lines of “Oh I’m just stressed at work and haven’t been feeling like it,” then let him know how important it is for you to have this conversation. You can respond with something like, “I feel hurt and self-conscious because we haven’t been having sex regularly and I would like to talk about it.” That should get his attention.
It’s understandable if he’s uncomfortable with the topic. If his disinterest in sex does turn out to be a direct result of the weight you’ve gained, I’m sure he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings by saying so. If you sense this to be the case, tell him you appreciate his not wanting to upset you but ignoring the issue will do greater long-term damage to your relationship.
Tell him how badly you would like to lose weight and ask him for his support. Is he willing to go to the gym with you? Indulge healthier meals. Maybe you could get in shape together. With him cheering you on, losing weight will be easier and will, ideally, send the two of you back to bed.
LOVE COLUMNIST: SAMARA O’SHEA
Samara O’Shea is the author of Loves Me…Not: How to Survive (and Thrive!) in the Face of Unrequited Love. She has written for Marie Claire and The Huffington Post.Samara is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Temple University with the end goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker and having her own therapy practice. Stop by and say hi at SamaraOShea.com.
My husband and I had dinner with our neighbors, last month. The conversation turned to politics. We had an almost heated discussion, and at the end of the evening tried to make light of it by saying how great it was that we were friends and could agree to disagree, amicably. Since then, they won’t even talk to us or wave to us when we are outside practically next to each other.
How do we smooth this over?
Dear Politically Different,
If we are to consider what makes the world go round, we will likely come to the same conclusion: our differences. Our ways of being with others, our understandings of them and of ourselves, our acceptance of what is unfamiliar, the assimilation of what we come to know through the world; this is what creates our realities. So truly, there is room for difference. It’s our work to accept those differences with grace, wonder, and gratitude, knowing that each difference we meet has the capacity to sharpen us, and further create who we are. However, this is easier for some than others.
It’s important to remember that we can only speak our truths, be our selves, and that we cannot control how others receive us or respond to us. You will find relief from much suffering if you can put this into practice: Let go of what others think and simply act and speak with intention. To that, I will also remind you that we all have a moment-to-moment choice in who and how we spend our time. Further, we have the choice to maintain attitudes of kindness and authenticity, as well. So, let them own their perceptions. Let them disagree. Let it smart a little bit. Some people need time to digest and time to reflect. And it’s not always easy when the perceptions that we like to hold tight to are challenged. Anger is a typical reaction to social discomfort. It’s an important process of growth for all of us. Let it be. No smoothing is really necessary, even if that brings up discomfort for you. Perhaps there is room to simply see how things go. Time can be powerful.
On the other hand, when it comes to friends, honesty can often be uncomfortable but necessary. Regardless of your political affiliation, knowing that it can occasionally be hard for some to accept you as you are, it is most important to be honest about how the interaction and aftermath has made you to feel. This should matter among friends. And if you cannot share this I might examine why you choose to spend your time with people that don’t accept you or your honesty. That said, it’s entirely possible too, that your neighbors are somewhat stuck in their own world, not ready to confront anything outside of that. Maybe it is unnecessary to take their lack of responsiveness to you too personally.
I leave you with this: Consider what you have invested in the relationship you’ve cultivated with your neighbors. What is it that compels you to smooth things over? Is it the relationship? Is it an issue of political adherence? Is it simply the discomfort of leaving things unresolved? If this really does mean something to you, envision an honest way to approach them and then do it, with a little humility, and a centered sense of Self. This doesn’t mean minimizing your position or your beliefs. It means expressing your appreciation for the relationship without needing to compromise yourself to maintain it. Finally, accept whatever your neighbors offer in return, even if it is very little. That’s all you can do. It is my experience that differences and disagreements are much less about the issues at hand and far more about our conceptions and investments in the relationships we build. You might use this as practice for building even healthier and more enlightened relationships with those around you. We could all use such practice.
LIFE COLUMNIST: CAROLINE WALES
Caroline Wales is a Certified Holistic Life Coach and a PhD candidate in the field of Transpersonal Clinical Psychology. Her focus is in helping individuals learn to identify their strengths and to utilize tools and skills in coping with whatever life throws their way. Caroline’s philosophy is that with the practice of intention and the desire to go deeper, coaching can help provide insight into recognizing one’s own personal power, and to teach individuals how to tune into the body-mind, energy, and spirit, as a practice of loving and supporting oneself.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.