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Couple can nonetheless be intimate with out intercourse

By Amy Dickinson
| Tribune Content Agency

Dear Amy,

My husband and I have been married for 37 years. During our marriage, our sex life was good (but rare).

Our children have grown up and moved out. My husband has heart problems and takes a lot of medication.

These drugs make it impossible to have sex and he cannot take ED drugs like Viagra because of his heart problems.

These issues made my husband very upset and he stopped wanting sex. I have told him many times that I understand everything and he is no less of a man in my eyes.

But now there is nothing – no sex, no kissing. Nothing. He hardly pays any attention to me anymore. He escapes to the TV room when he’s home.

I feel very lonely and alone. I need advice on how to talk to him about this.

– Lost and alone

Sexual dysfunction and loss of libido are common in men who have had heart surgery or treatment for heart disease. (Your husband should see his doctor!)

My theory is that he proactively avoids loving physical contact because he associates that type of contact with sex. Because of his libido, impotence and other medical problems, he avoids romantic contact because he is not exposed to the physical risk – and the fear and awkward conversations that compel him to face this extremely painful problem.

Over time, withdrawal from physical contact to avoid sex has resulted in him withdrawing in other ways.

You want to hug, hold hands and kiss your man. The way back would be to make eye contact, tell him that you love him and that you would like to hold hands with him and move on through life together. Will he hold hands to you for five minutes? Set a timer.

Practice touching and demonstrating physical warmth and measuring its comfort.

Once he’s confident that physical affection doesn’t lead to sex, pressure on sex, and all the discomfort that comes with it, he should be more comfortable being physically around you. Physical closeness, warmth, and comfort are good for your relationship – and your health too.

‘Empowered’ friend cannot stop preaching

Dear Amy,

Over the past few years my friend has become increasingly immersed in self-help through books, blogs, and podcasts.

It started after a breakup about five years ago and she found strength, security, and solidarity in the gospel of self-affirmation and authentic living.

Now every conversation is dominated by her eradicating “toxicity” in everyone else’s relationships, and she constantly leaves room for us to “live our truths” as she sees them.

She’s stopped dating and has said that every man she meets has a narcissistic personality disorder (a disorder that she retroactively applied to the ex), so she discourages everyone in the group from dating .

Pandemic isolation has only hastened the problem, and we can’t talk about it at all without her talking at length about what everyone else needs to do to achieve the balance she is feeling.

Our group of friends is generally very pro-therapeutic, but this friend says that she always advises the therapist more when she has tried therapy than the other way around. Now it affects her professional life when a colleague told her boss that she was patronizing and listening poorly.

I miss my friend. How do you help someone who believes they have helped themselves?

– Selfless

If your self-actualized and evangelizing friend has such a strong belief that everyone around her is “telling their truth,” then that dictum applies to you too.

I’m not saying this is an easy conversation, but it does require friends to tell each other the truth. This is both the burden and the joy of friendship.

Start your conversation by saying, “Can I give you feedback?”

Wait for your answer.

Use “I statements”: “I feel like you’ve stopped listening to me because you are so focused on giving guidance. Right now I need a friend, not a life coach.”

Who can wear school t-shirts?

Dear Amy,

“A fan, not an alum in Chicago” wondered if he should wear t-shirts from colleges they hadn’t attended.

The late great comedian Mitch Hedberg told a joke about college shows and buying a t-shirt from the college bookstore: “One day while I was walking down the street someone called me, ‘Hey, Wash U, are you there gone? ‘I called back’ Yes, it was a Wednesday! ‘ “

– Comedy fan

Another Hedberg gag: “I’m against picket lines, but I don’t know how to show it.”

Write to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068, or send an email to askamy@amydickinson.com.

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