1. Dear Shree, I just had a baby and my whole life has changed. Earlier I would be sexy and thin and now I am fifteen kilos overweight. My partner and me have no sex life because all we do is change soiled nappies. We dont get time to sleep ---thanks to our crying baby. And even when the kid sleeps I don’t feel any sex drive. While our child has cemented our marriage of six years, I feel it’s also driving is apart as we are always stressed. What do you suggest?
Sreelekha Pal, Kolkata
After childbirth, the last thing you feel like is sex. No, there’s nothing wrong with you or your marriage as long as you acknowledge that your hormones are crashing and possibly contributing to your feeling this way. You may have post partum depression without realizing it, and especially if you’re nursing, your sex drive is pretty much gone. But don’t forget your husband. While you are earth mother divine, and you have just done an amazing thing by having this baby, your husband is important to you and to your child. So take care of him – to take care of both you and your baby. Make a date with your husband. Even if it’s just for intimacy, not sex. Don’t feel guilty about hiring a babysitter (or your sister or mother) for a couple of hours. Build this into a routine. Three hours away you’re your baby, once a week, are not going to damage your baby psychologically or any other way. Even though you're exhausted, make an effort to look appealing. If you shower and put on some lip-gloss, you’ll feel better. Get a manicure. Your hair and nails are growing like crazy now, anyway, so you need it. Even if you can’t fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, buy some transitional clothes. Have some kind of sex with him, even if you’re not into it. If intercourse is out of the question for a few weeks because you had an episiotomy and/or a natural birth, then consider oral sex or other forms of sex that are pleasing to him and make you feel aroused and wanted too.
2. Dear Shree, my husband and me are planning to start a new business and while it is exciting I am also worried about the impact on my relationship. The start up phase that is known to be stressful and I don’t want that tension to seep into my home and create a tense atmosphere. Can you guide me?
Neelima Kothari, Indore
Follow these four rules to ensure both business and pleasure are yours.
Have a specific time each day where business is not discussed. If you don’t have this, you may both be walking around on eggshells in the house just waiting for one or the other of you to spring some business talk when you’re trying to decompress and relax. At least you’ll know, this way, that from, for instance, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., there’s no business talk.
Have a specific room in the house where business is not discussed. I suggest you make it the bedroom and the bathroom. There’s nothing like work to kill your sex life, or even make your morning shower incredibly tense if your spouse is trying to talk business with you in the same shower with you — or through the glass window or shower curtain.
Don’t be afraid to treat your spouse the same way you would another co-worker.
If you have something important or something that you know my evoke emotions, and it has to do with business, ask your spouse if you can meet at a coffee shop at a particular time to have a quick or long meeting. Taking the business out of your house allows for boundary and a cool down time — whether it’s together at the meeting or on the drive/s home or if one of you needs to be alone or go to the gym on the way home.
Make sure you still act like a married couple when you're not working.
Go on dates with each other! And be lovers and friends, first.
3. Dear Shree, my husband and I have decided not to have children. We are of ‘prime childbearing age’ and ‘our clocks are ticking’ as our families often remind us, but no one seems to be able to get it through their heads that we don’t want to have kids.
I don’t want to be condescending or tell people that their choice to have children is wrong, because I don’t think it is, but I am getting tired of hearing people constantly tell me I need to have children and I’m worried that I’ll snap. Do you have any advice on how I can handle these people who feel the need to determine what happens in my relationship with my husband?
Deepa Vasudevan, Chennai
Children are a traditional part of family life, but tradition no longer rules. Tolerance does. It’s okay for people to marry and not have children or not marry and not have children or to not marry and have children! There are so many different kinds of relationships, and all are acceptable!
Children used to be an accessory to announce status. Then the novelty wore off, and smug marrieds with children began looking wistfully to their DINK (double income no kids) friends and neighbors. And while there will always be those people who think they know what is right for everyone when it comes to marriage, children and family, those who protest too much, may just be acting out.
Clearly children are expensive, exhausting and they change everything in a marriage forever. If you do find yourself engaging in negative feelings with the family member, examine the reasons for it. But if you're looking for a goodone liner, just say, “It’ not how I choose to live right now,” will work wonders. Especially if you smile and walk away. It’s your relationship and your personal choice.
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