Its that time again - time to dig into the mailbag and address your most burning relationship questions.
Q: How do you handle a partner who has no interest in romance? He spends more time with his computer or iPhone than he does with me. - Kady
A: Technological devices often become the third party in a marital ménage a trois. In my house, we have a battle cry: "Down All Devices" (an acronym that spells DAD entirely coincidentally). This rallying call is to be used when situations are dire. That said, you say you long for romance, but I dont entirely believe you. I think you crave attention, which is quite different. You may have more success with your spouse if you take some of the pressure off. Make clear that you arent looking for Casanova-worthy courtship, but just connection and time. And hey, if you dont get a verbal response, text him.
Q: I've been married for two years, and the sex is nonexistent. My husband is warm with the kids. So at times I find myself jealous of their bond. How do I get some of that? - Kate
A: It sounds like you are craving connection, or emotional intimacy. Physical connection is one way to get it, but its not the only way. Last year, I wrote about Dr. Gary Chapmans theory of the five languages of love. Chapman contends that we all "hear" love in a different dialect, as if each of us is a receiver set to a unique channel. If we want our messages to be received, we need to send them on the right channel. Figure out which love language you are speaking - and which one your partner understands. In order to build connection, you need to start vibrating on the same frequency.
Where did our love go?
Q: Since our baby was born, my partner and I have drifted apart. Now he says he isn't sure he still loves me. I sleep in my sons bed, and my partner thinks this is normal. Help! - Hien Ly
A: Theres a great line in one of my favourite movies, Dan In Real Life: "Love is not a feeling, its an ability." So what are you and your partner capable of? We talk about love like its a magical entity. In reality, though, love is a product of hard labour; it's grown and requires action. If that sounds dreary and utilitarian, consider this: If love is created, then it can also be re-created. How? First, commit to the process. Second, put in time (regular date nights, frequent communication). Third, build physical closeness (kiss, hug). Time to roll up your sleeves.
Stessed to the max
Q: Many couples in my province are still remortgaging homes to pay for IVF. How do you deal with both the grief/loss aspect of infertility and financial hardship? - Paula
A: Financial strain is among the top five stresses that can fracture relationships. Combine that with feelings of sadness and inadequacy, and you get a double whammy no couple should have to face. The good news is that you dont have to face it alone. In difficult times, couples tend to turn away from, rather than toward, each other. Set aside blame and shame, and focus on the needs of the situation. Uniting together and focusing on the problem at hand will alleviate some of the pressure. You might also seek out a support groupthrough the Internet, your doctor or local hospital.
For the sake of the kids
Q: I recently discovered my husband has been emailing his exes. I should be upset, but I've realized I'm no longer in love with him. Hes a wonderful father, though, and I don't want to tear apart my family. What should I do? - Callie
A: Do not put children in the middle of this. We are hiding behind our children when we say we are staying together for their sake. Let's be frank: You say you don't want your children hurt, but are you hurting them by staying in a loveless relationship? Don't you think they deserve parents who model what a loving, trusting and respectful partnership looks like? Now, I am not advising you to leave your husband; I am asking you to be honest with yourself.
Photo: Troels Graugaard/iStockphoto
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