LIFE

My Husband Has Been Avoiding Sex With Me For The Past 11 Months

becca Rebecca Endicott

Ever come up against a problem that you just can’t find a solution for?

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Send LittleThings writer Becca Endicott all of your questions and concerns about health, life, love, or anything in between — everything is fair game and this is a judgment-free zone!

Every week, we’ll tackle a selection of pressing questions from our audience and share our answers with the LittleThings community.

Readers can feel free to add their own insights in the comments section, or write in with their own queries!

This week, we’re tackling: negotiating the holiday season with a meddling mother-in-law, what to do when your intimate life takes a nose-dive, and how to handle the Christmas season if you’re feeling like a bit of a Scrooge.

Scroll through below to check out this week’s questions and answers, and let us know what you think in the comments section!

Meddling Mother-In-Law

<u>Meddling Mother-In-Law</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Dear Becca,

For the past 30-plus years, my mother-in-law has hosted our family’s Christmas gathering — but this year, since she’s getting older and has expressed how stressful it can be, I offered to host it at our house instead.

At first, she seemed to love the idea and said how excited she was to just “kick back and relax for once” — but as Christmas draws nearer, she doesn’t really seem willing to let go of the reins… She keeps “suggesting” where to seat everyone, what food I should serve and when, and even how to distribute and open presents…

I know she means well, but it’s really stressing me out, and I don’t know how to assert myself without rocking the boat or hurting her feelings. I want to be a good hostess and put my own flair on things, but I don’t want her thinking I’m pushing her out. Help!

Signed,

- Distressed Daughter-In-Law

Dear Distressed,

Mother-in-law relationships are never easy, and they can get particularly delicate around the holiday season.

Rest assured that you’ve done the right thing by assuming the burden; your MIL might be clinging to her old routines, but it sounds like it’s time for her to pass the baton.

Since she expressed gratitude when you first made the offer, it’s likely that she truly is grateful that you stepped up to the plate — prepping for a big holiday hosting job loses its shine after 30 years.

Still, it’s hard to let go, and she might have some separation anxiety about relinquishing her duties. She may even feel a little bit guilty about letting you shoulder the responsibility.

So, if she’s nosing around your place settings and offering unsolicited advice, this might be a moment for compromise — at least until she’s confident that her Christmas tradition is safe in your capable hands.

I would advise trying to get as much of your preparation out of the way as possible without her looking over your shoulder. Just do it your way, to your taste, to the extent that you can.

Then, when she arrives on Christmas with a boatload of “helpful” suggestions, you can happily accept one or two — “Yes, Barbara, you’re absolutely right, I should carve the ham in the kitchen instead of at the table” — and she’ll feel like she’s still the sage guiding light at the head of the family.

Best,

Becca

Lackluster Love Life

<u>Lackluster Love Life</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Hi Becca,

I really hope you can help me… My husband and I haven’t been “intimate” in 11 months now, and I’m going a little crazy. We’ve been married for 16 years, and we’ve always had a very healthy love life. Before this dry spell started, we had sex at least once a week. Now… nothing.

The closest we’ve come to intimacy was about six weeks ago when he kissed me after a nice dinner out. I thought it might lead to something when we got home — but he just got into his PJs and went to sleep. I went to bed totally frustrated and sad, and he just snored the night away.

I’m so scared he’s lost physical interest in me. I don’t think he’s having an affair, and outside of the bedroom he’s been acting perfectly normal, so I just can’t figure it out.

And it’s not just the relationship stuff that’s stressing me. I have “needs” too, and 11 months is a super long time…

I’ve tried to talk to him about it, but he’s not much of a talker. How can I get him to open up without pushing him away? Or should I just accept that we’re two old farts who don’t have sex anymore?

Please help,

- Sad And Randy

Dear S & R,

I’m with you: 11 months is a super-long time, and it’s always lousy to feel that your desire for intimacy isn’t being met.

My first impression is that there’s probably a reason your husband hasn’t been “in the mood” lately, and he’s just not talking about it.

Has he been sick? Is he especially stressed out at work? Even relatively minor hiccups can sometimes have a profound effect on the libido.

Of course, it would be easy to figure out what’s on his mind if he were willing to address the problem with you; it sounds like the deeper issue here is communication.

You’ve probably tried asking him point-blank why he hasn’t been interested in lovemaking and been met with a defensive wall.

It might be time for a gentler approach that allows him to let his guard down. Instead of focusing on the end-game of sex, maybe just try engaging him in a little amorous snuggling and kissing, and see whether he eventually takes the next step to kick things up a notch.

Even if he doesn’t, you can say something along the lines of, “That was nice, I miss kissing you like that,” and offer lots of positive affirmation that you’re still interested in him.

That said, the burden doesn’t rest solely on your shoulders.

If you’ve been hinting and inviting time and again, and he’s just not willing to change his patterns, it might be time to have a blunt conversation and float the idea of couples’ therapy to improve the way the two of you communicate your needs.

Best of luck!

Becca

Stuck Feeling Like A Scrooge

<u>Stuck Feeling Like A Scrooge</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Becca,

The holidays make me really sad. I know it’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but for me, it sucks. Everyone around me is decking the halls and jingling bells, but I just want to crawl under the covers and hide until January.

I had a rough childhood, and in my home, Christmas was never a happy time. I want to change that, but I don’t know how. I’ve put up lights and decorations, made sugar cookies, sung carols — but nothing works.

How can I experience the magic everyone around me seems to? Will this ever get better?

Thanks,

- Bah Humbug

Dear Humbug,

You know, the real magic of Christmas isn’t in the lights and sugar cookies, it’s in the people around you.

The “fake it ’til you make it” approach works in lots of situations, but maybe this year, take a break from all of the traditional trappings of Christmas.

Instead, try this:

Host the people you love for a Christmas dinner. If those people are family, great. If not? Well, you probably know by now that your “real” family isn’t necessarily related to you by blood.

Cook whatever tastes good — no Christmas ham or eggnog required. Heck, order a pizza if that’s what makes you happy!

Exchange gifts, but aim for homemade and thoughtful presents instead of ones that are expensive and perfectly wrapped. Listen to music if you want, play board games, or simply nap off your delicious meal in good company.

The spirit of Christmas is in surrounding yourself with wonderful people who make you happy.

Happiest wishes for the holidays,

Becca

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

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