Monday 19 March 2018

Majella O'Donnell solves all your problems

Majella O'Donnell
Majella O'Donnell

Majella O'Donnell

Dear Majella...

I have been married for just over 15 years. My husband is a kind and giving man, who treats me well. However, I have stopped finding him attractive and can't bring myself to be intimate with him. We enjoyed a full relationship for a long time, but for the past three years we have not had sex at all.

I do care for him and I love him in many ways, but I am not interested in being physical with him - I don't even want to kiss him. I am 53 and going through the menopause, and don't know if that is playing a part. I try to imagine having sex with other men to see if I am turned off in general, and I think I am.

I can't bring myself to discuss it with my husband and we have gotten into a pattern where sex never comes up. I would hate to think that this is it for the rest of our lives, but how can I switch it back on?

Mairead, Co. Clare

Dear Mairead,

I think many women at your stage of life are experiencing very similar feelings, so don't think you are alone. Looking at the positives, you have a kind, generous man and he looks after you well. There's a lot to be said for that. Relationships change and evolve over time. They are never going to stay the way that they were when you first fell in love.

You can probably look back and remember a time when you couldn't get enough of your husband - but as we move through life and get older, relationships can become deeper and less frantic. We don't have to prove ourselves anymore. We become more comfortable in our own skin and with each other.

You have said you are going through the menopause, which I believe is a huge contributory factor. During that stage of life, all our hormones are changing , we are changing physically and we can lose our sex drive.

You didn't mention if the lack of sex was a problem between you and your husband. Is he unhappy that you are not having sex or is he satisfied with the relationship the way it is?

You really need to talk to him to see how he feels. This is not something you can solve on your own because it needs two of you to put it right.

Sometimes people think they have to be having regular sex or else the marriage is over.

He does nothing around the house

Dear Majella

My husband doesn't appreciate all the things that I do during the day. He doesn't understand all the work involved in keeping the home and bringing up our three children.

He doesn't lift a finger around the house. I have to beg him to even put out the bins.

He leaves his clothes on the floor and dirty dishes everywhere and expects me to clean up after him.

If I raise it, he says I have the best life at home all day and I should try doing his job.

I feel I am turning into a nag, but I didn't sign up to pick up his dirty underwear in my marriage vows.

Julie, Dublin

Dear Julie,

I'm sure lots of women will identify with this scenario! Many years ago your role would have been very different. The husband was the breadwinner and the woman bore the children and looked after the house.

Nowadays, however, we want our partners to understand us, to respect us and to be equal as much as possible. That's absolutely as it should be, but we should realise that some men need to be trained to be good house partners. I blame the mothers myself!

Some women spoil their sons and think jobs around the house are not their responsibility. So the son grows up with mum having done everything for him all his life. Then he marries. He, of course, expects that everything will be the same - and with some women it is. He quite happily continues his old routine of getting home from work to have his dinner served up to him, and then relaxes watching TV all evening before dropping his clothes on the floor and getting into bed.

Obviously this behaviour bothers you, so the problem now is communicating your feelings to him without sounding like a nag, as you say.

There are a couple of things that you could try. You can explain to him in a matter-of-fact way that you feel he is like a lodger in the house. Don't sound like you are complaining but explain you would like him to be more involved in the home. Explain that you don't presume to know how difficult and demanding his role is - and you're sure it must be - but that he shouldn't presume things about your role either. He goes out to work every day, but being the person who stays at home looking after the household doesn't mean your role is a 24-hour one.

If he doesn't respond to that you could tackle it in a different way and do as he does! It may drive you crazy for a while but it might be worth it to prove a point.

Write to Majella

Ask Majella, Weekend magazine, Irish Independent,

27-32 Talbot Street,

Dublin 1 or email

Majella regrets she cannot enter into any personal correspondence.

Irish Independent

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