We’ve turned to our relationship experts, Janet Ellis and Phillip Hodson, to answer some of your most pressing life questions and offer their professional opinion and advice on all things related to sex, love and marriage. Read on to find out what they had to say…
I hate my job and want to start my own business, but my husband won’t support me. I’m unhappy working in marketing and dream of running a coffee shop. My husband earns a good salary and my savings will cover the start-up costs. However, he thinks it’s foolish to give up a well-paid job for a ‘whim’. I need his support to make the change. Should I try to persuade him?
Janets says, “It sounds like you’ve never shared your dreams with your husband and that’s why he doesn’t support yours. Is he happy in his job? Does he have his own dream, and is he now feeling envious of how near to your goal you are? He may resent having to stay at the coalface so you can be free of it. He needs to feel included in your vision. Say that his input matters to you and that it’s because of him and your relationship that you’re feeling brave enough to make the leap.”
Phillips adds, “His argument makes sense at a time of high unemployment but fails to address the cause of your unhappiness. Instead of sneering, he could have said, “Let’s find you a job that you do like.” Try him again. Tell him you need a career change. Talk him through your business plan. Do you have a friend who might be your business partner? If so, introduce them. Is there a way to take time off to launch the coffee shop before anyone has to leave their day job, to see whether the ‘whim’ has legs?”
Could my husband’s laziness be putting me off sex? He and I both work, but he never helps out at home. Every domestic detail is left to me. As my irritation has reached boiling point, our sex life has dwindled. Could the two be linked? What should I do?
Phillips suggests, “Just let him know he could have a wonderful physical experience with you in the future in return for doing chores. Or, tell him he hasn’t had sex for weeks for one reason alone – his domestic selfishness. This has generated so much resentment inside you that your system can’t respond physically. His choice is between celibacy and doing the dishes – and you eagerly await the outcome.”
“It sounds like a vicious circle, with sex a casualty, not a weapon, and he’s carrying on in – nearly blissful – ignorance. I would suggest you try gently giving him a number of tasks to carry out: ask him to do it with a smile and not with any anger, and then let him know that getting all that stuff out of the way benefits you both and leaves you with a lot more time for all kinds of shenanigans,” explains Janet.
My former husband is marrying my friend. We divorced three years ago, and he and I have worked at having a great relationship for the sake of our two sons. I introduced my friend to my ex and they started dating. At first, it didn’t bother me, but now they’re engaged and I suddenly feel upset. How can I manage these irrational feelings?
“It’s not irrational to be upset when two important figures in your life form an intimate partnership that excludes you. It’s called grief. He was your lover and is the father to your sons,” says Phillip. “This woman is a close friend. Their union will force you to look at what you’ve lost, so allow yourself time to be sad before considering the benefits. You have loads in common (including the kids). In time, you’ll adjust to them as a couple and start to relate to them in their new roles. Eventually, you’ll find a new partner for your exclusive enjoyment – and it will be their turn to suffer and adapt.”
“Although you suspected – rightly – that your friend and ex would get on, there’s a difference between that and her becoming your children’s stepmom,” Janet points out. “She’s now the one friend you can’t discuss your ex with, and that will create a gap. Find yourself a group of supporters; people with whom you can shout and cry if necessary. Then you can be grown up and serene with the happy couple.”
DISCLAIMER: You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.
“Yes, like the country,” is India’s go-to phrase when meeting people for the first time. A lover of the English language, India is a sub-editor and occasional writer, who pores over words on a daily basis. In her spare time, you’ll likely find her at a concert or daydreaming about her next overseas trip (with the Pinterest boards to prove it).