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Nothing wrong with relighting the romance

Dear Dr. Nekia,

My wife and I have been married for forty years and I think that we have settled into a routine. We have had a good life together. Raised our children, and enjoy our grandchildren, but I don't think that we enjoy one another as much as we should.

I love my wife and I know that she loves me but I feel like we are just there sometimes. Sex is not an issue to me. I can take it or leave it, but it's the friendship that I miss. We are both recently retired and sometimes I look back to when we first were dating how much fun we had. Am I just an old fool to still want the romance after all of these years?


An Old Fool For Love

Dear An Old Fool For Love,

Absolutely not! There is nothing wrong or foolish about you wanting to reconnect with your wife. Love, romance, friendship, companionship, etc. all of these things do not have an expiration date; and all are very possible and natural for anyone to want at any age or stage of their lives.

To me, it is a little piece of you that dies the day that you give up on or shut out the thought, desire, or possibility for genuine human connections. And this is especially true for connections that are of an intimate nature. Life is all about living and part of living is the experiencing of new things and the feeling of emotions that serve as a language of communication with ourselves and between us and our experience of the world around us.

You have so much life to still live, and what better way to live that life than to share it with the woman you love. Along the way, the day-to-day responsibilities, and obligations may have left you both in a mundane routine of cohabitation rather than companionship, but all is not lost. I would suggest that you use the benchmark of retirement as an opportunity to see and create a new beginning.

Honour your relationship for what it has been at every stage of your lives thus far, but look forward to this new phase of life full of hope and expectation of getting closer to your wife. Forty years of marriage seems almost an impossible reality for most young couples today, so celebrate yourselves by making the decision to recommit yourselves to enjoying one another again. This will take time and energy, but the good thing is that since you are both retired, you are free to allocated some of your freed up time and available energy to one another and the creation of new experiences.

Think back to when you both were younger and dating. What did you enjoy doing together? What are some of the things that you did for or with her that made her happy? Pretend that you are that young man once again and try to woo your girl into falling in love with you all over again. Try to find those old songs that you use to dance to, rent a scooter and take her for a ride, go to a movie and share a popcorn while trying to steal a kiss on the cheek. Think of those old times, and as long as your health can withstand the task, go for it! It's so easy to use age as an excuse as to why there is a lack of motivation to have romance in the later years of life, but age is just that, an excuse.

You are wise to want to reach for one of the most important tools of a successful happy marriage, friendship. Remember what first attracted you to one another and try your best to forget about the children and the grandchildren for a while. Focus on you being you and her being her, and approach your marriage today with the same enthusiasm that you had back then.

In life everything comes full circle and relationships are no different. You have both successfully created a family by getting married, raising children, and having grandchildren so now it is time to get back to one another as you live out your years together. Sex at this point may not be a main focus for either of you, but if the body is able and the spark is relit, you can still look forward to enjoying a rewarding sex life with your wife again. It all starts with genuine friendship and romance, so you are already looking in the right direction.

Dear Dr. Nekia,

My question is not so much a relationship question even though it surrounds a failed relationship. Me and my son's mom have broken up and both of us are dating again but our son is having a hard time accepting us being apart. He is six and gets really possessive over either one of us if he sees another man or woman even talk to mommy or daddy. We've tried to talk to him about this and don't know what else to do. One woman that I was seeing that I really liked stopped talking to me because she felt I did not handle my son correctly and allowed him to be rude to her. Yeah, my son said things like, “leave my daddy alone” and asked her what she wanted and tried to push her out the front door once, but what am I to do? We keep telling our son that he needs to get use to the fact that we are not getting back together even though mommy and daddy both love him very much, but he is not hearing it.


Dating Father

Dear Dating Father,

I would first ask how long has it been since the two of you have split. It sounds as though it has been a while since you both are comfortable with dating and are sure that you will not be reconciling, but I do not want to jump to any conclusions. Whether due to innocence or natural instincts, children almost always take longer to adjust to a break up than do parents; and while some adjust easier than others, many later on in life admit to never having given up hope that their parents would one day get back together again. While I am not a child psychologist, and can only limit my advice to my professional reach, the thing that I think is important for parents to remember is that the child is not the abnormal one here.

Resilience or the ability to recover from trauma and disappointment is a measure of sound psychological development, however it is quite natural for a child to want his or her parents to be together. Parents need to understand that in societies where children are seen as belonging exclusively to the parents, co-parenting is only recently an accepted form of upbringing for children.

We tend to think it somewhat normal for parents to dissolve their romantic ties and move on, and sadly we unfairly expect for children to be ok, adjust, and accept this decision as well. There is a certain injustice that the normalcy of being a couple, having children, and then splitting up brings; and although the couple feels some discomfort and heartache, the child is always the one who seems to suffer the most. You will both have to find a balance between being respectful of your child's feelings and timeline and not allowing him to control the situation entirely. This may require a bit of trial and error but you won't want to force him into situations where he feels uncomfortable or forced because it sounds as though he has a very expressive personality.

If he continues to have trouble with adjusting, seek help from a child psychologist who can teach you how to better communicate with your son. Often times children simply speak a different language than adults, and the more information you have as parents the better. For now you will definitely want to listen to your son and respect his boundaries. Respect and validation goes a long way, and makes for a more pleasant experience of all involved.

As for how your son is treating potential dates and partners of you and his mom's choosing, this is a big no no. I would suggest not allowing your son to have contact with any other male or female romantic interest until you are pretty sure that it is something serious. Then ease him into the idea and take your time introducing new people to him. Children of this age still rely heavily on natural instinct so you will want to approach this situation just as you would approach an aggressive or territorial animal in their habitat. Avoid sudden movements or decisions that may make your son nervous and cause him to act out, and make sure that he is always in a comfortable environment where maybe not so much focus is placed on either of you being a couple with someone else. However, in the event that you are simply casually talking to someone of the opposite sex, or he acts out towards a love interest,you must show authority in the situation. Do not allow him to disrespect any adult, and physical negative contact in the form of pushing, shoving, hitting, biting etc is definitely to be addressed. If you shy away from correcting the child right then and there in the presence of the adult whom his aggression and displeasure is directed towards, you risk sending the signal that he is in control of such encounters and does not need to respect anyone whom he chooses not to. There are many ways to correct children at a time of wrong doing, and choice of correction largely depends on each individual child so as his parents I will leave this up to you. Nevertheless, a bit of care, understanding, lots of patience, and learning how to pick up on the verbal and non-verbal cues that your son is sending you goes a very long way to overcoming this problem.

Dear Dr. Nekia,

I suspect that my man is cheating and I was wondering if it is true that when a man cheats you can tell by the way he tastes or smells. Is this true because lately he does smell a bit differently but it just seems so far fetched to think that this could mean he is cheating. I have my suspicion for other reasons, but not sure if a change in taste or smell can confirm if my suspicions are true.


A Cheater's Smell

Dear A Cheater's Smell,

It is true that when you and a man are in a committed sexual relationship, if he or you begin to have sex with someone else, changes in sensory input can occur. I know that as humans we tend to ignore our most basic animalistic existence and that modern western medical science ignores anything that has not been proven through stringent mathematical tests; but the truth is that we have not and can not quantify nor find a means to measure everything in existence,and we are not beings living along side nature, but rather are beings who are a part of nature. Once we separate ourselves from our superiority complexes and visualize ourselves in a more natural light, we can begin to understand how sensitivity to sexual olfactory and oral sensations make sense. Animals taste and smell genitals all the time to help them choose a suitable partner. They rely upon receptors in their saliva and nostrils to pick up on cues that determine the health and desirability of potential pack members and mates. And if we pay attention we too can pick up on our own scent, that of our partners, as well as the unique scent that we create together during sex. Mind you this takes some practice as commercial soaps, lotions, body oils, perfumes, powders, and even condoms do a good job at masking the natural scents that each of us give off. But you can still train your nose and yes your taste buds to instinctually pick up on the raw scent and taste that lays beneath all of these things. Once you have done this, you will be sensitive to picking up the smell and taste of another person as well. This scent or taste can not be washed away so easily, and often lingers for quite some time after sexual encounters have occured. However, before you go accusing your man of cheating, realize that the genitals are sensitive to many changes that happen within the body as well. This means that things like diet, disease, and stress can also cause a sudden change in the smell and taste of your lover. This is especially true for women. So take a look at the big picture here before jumping to conclusions. Often times these very same internal changes cause outward behavioural changes as well, so what may look like cheating, may actually be something entirely different.

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Published August 22, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 21, 2016 at 11:44 pm)

Nothing wrong with relighting the romance

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