DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife and I haven't had sex in nearly two years. She says it is too painful and has completely lost all interest. She did try hormone treatment but no success. I love her deeply and I know it is mutual. I'm trying to suppress my desires which is difficult because I still find my wife very sexually attractive. Feelings of resentment are creeping in and I am considering having extra-marital sex. Any advice on how I/we can deal with this? -- Desperate, Winnipeg.
Dear Desperate: It is definitely not the time to cheat with someone else. It is time to get counselling and go see all the experts. Satisfy yourself whenever it's needed, meanwhile trying every possible thing to get this problem solved so you can show your love to one another physically again. One important question is why your wife isn't seeking help herself. A lubricant called Replens lasts two or three days, so painful dryness would not be a problem. Is she tightening up at your approach? That is sometimes a condition called vaginismus and is very painful. She must get help for that -- first a physical exam to make sure there's no obstructions or growths, and psychological help if she is frightened and clenching for some reason. What did the doctor say? Has she been to gynecologist, not just a physician? What happened two years ago to stop the sex? Is she scared stiff of pregnancy? Maybe she doesn't want to admit she doesn't want any children, or more children if you already have some. I know these are a lot of questions coming at you, but that's how you will start to unravel the problems going on, in a counselling situation.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife is unhappy about her wrinkles and wants to go have laser work done on her face. I love her just the way she is; every line is beautiful to me. She says she looks like an old apple dolly and she's ashamed. I can't stop her -- she works and it's all her money -- but I am worried. What should I say to her now? -- Loving Husband, St. Vital
Dear Loving: Try a different approach. If this is something she really wants to do, and she's determined to go ahead, do a 180 and support her in it. You are her love partner. Hopefully you want what she wants, when it's really important to her. If this will help her restore lost self-esteem, then it may be a good thing all round -- as long as you are not shaming her about it. Read up about the procedure and go with her to ask questions of the doctor if that will help you relax. When she comes home, help her with the at-home care. Sometimes it's important to know when to back off the criticizing and take a different stance.