By Zelda West-Meads
PUBLISHED: 18:01 EST, 28 September 2013 | UPDATED: 18:01 EST, 28 September 2013
Is it possible to have a sex-free marriage?
I love my husband dearly, and wouldn't dream of hurting him, but if he turned around and said he never wanted sex again I would be ecstatic. I am in my late 40s, he is 55 and we have been married for 15 years. I would rather have a cup of tea than sex. I would just like a cuddle but he might see this as an invitation for sex.
I know it sounds horrible - but I can't be bothered. We had sex two weeks ago and before that it was last summer. I don't fancy him but I don't fancy anyone else either. If I told him that it would break his heart. If we stop making love altogether, I think we would end up divorcing. I would be sad but almost relieved. Is there anything I can do to get my libido back? Surely there must be successful marriages out there that don't rely on sex.
It is possible to be happily married and not have a sexual relationship, but - and it's a big but - only if you both feel the same way.
I get lots of letters about the loss of sexual desire from women - and some from men, though fewer. The first question for someone who no longer wants to make love should be: is it that you no longer fancy your partner, or that you have lost your libido completely?
Loss of sexual desire is often due to problems in the relationship but it sounds as if you have a good marriage, so I think we can rule that out. Complete loss of sexual desire can be caused by stress, depression, diabetes, an underactive thyroid, drug or alcohol misuse - all of which can suppress your libido.
With your menopause just around the corner, it could be a diminishing level of hormones such as oestrogen or testosterone. So discuss all of this with your GP. There is help available such as HRT or testosterone patches. Tell your husband that you still love him but you are suffering with a low libido or hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD, as it is known) and that you are going to get help.
As you have made love only once in the past year, he must have some idea that there is a problem and he could be feeling quite rejected. It is better to admit to a general loss of sexual desire, rather than just making excuses not to make love, or not daring to show him any affection in case it leads to sex.
Our dog is taking over our life
Six years ago my husband and I bought a puppy who we both love to bits, but I have developed a fear of leaving her when we go on holiday. It's getting so bad that I don't want to go away and this is annoying my husband.
We have been married for 18 years and are happy together. We chose not to have children. Although we have found a very reliable dogsitter, in the weeks leading up to our departure I have been unable to sleep and I don't want to go away. On one occasion we cancelled the holiday at the last minute and suffered a heavy financial loss. If we do go, I wish the time away so I can get back to the dog. I would like to be able to relax and enjoy going on holiday again but I can't.
Think of it this way - you are not exactly being fair to your husband or yourself. If you keep refusing to go or are counting the days until you return, your husband could accuse you in a cross moment of putting the dog before him. Dogs are thought not to have the same concept of time as we do but to live more in the moment, so she won't be counting the days until you return, though of course she will be delighted to see you.
If you look a little deeper I suspect the dog has become a substitute child. Or it could be that it's taking you back to a deeply buried feeling that you had when you were a child. Perhaps you were separated from your mother because she went away and this is igniting all those past fears of loss and separation. Contact Anxiety Alliance (anxietyalliance.org.uk, 0845 296 7877) to help you deal with your worries about leaving her.
How can I tell her how I feel?
I am in love with my best friend but I don't know how she feels about me. We are on the same course at university. I see her every day and we go out to supper a lot and she says she loves my company. However, she also spends a lot of time with strapping rowers, leaving me with a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to my body. I'm quite fat and she is very beautiful. I don't want to ruin our friendship by blurting out how I feel. This isn't just a lust thing - she is a fragile, intelligent and truly gorgeous person.
It does seem that she sees you as a lovely and close friend rather than a prospective romantic partner. So it's probably best to tread carefully and don't blurt anything out. If the opportunity arises, you could say something such as: 'Do you ever see us going out on a proper date together?' If she replies along the lines of: 'I wouldn't want to spoil our friendship', then you will know where you stand and you could still be friends, but loosen the ties a little and date other girls zelda costume. Could you try exercising to lose weight or take up a sport? It would be good for your health and your self-esteem.
If you have a problem, write to Zelda West-Meads at: YOU, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS, or em ail Zelda reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally firstname.lastname@example.org