I’M 69 years old and my husband is very cautious, so we were isolating before the official start of the present lock-down. I’m stuck at home now, and I know that’s the same as everyone else.
It seems to be going on forever and I hate not seeing our sons – that’s the worst thing about all this. As they both live in house-shares with several others, I think it will be a long time before we can get together again with them, too.
We’re both incredibly fit and healthy, despite being in the older age group – in fact, having lost a lot of weight, I’m probably fitter now than I’ve been for years. I want it to be over and I desperately want to go back to doing what I was doing before.
The thing is, though, that when I think about it, I actually get quite nervous about doing so. What’s wrong with me?
FIONA SAYS: I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with you – I’m quite sure many people feel exactly the same way. We’re faced with an enemy that no one really understands – a disease that strikes indiscriminately and for which there is currently no cure. We were told that it affects older people worse than younger ones, and yet we see younger people struck down too.
We are also faced with a never-ending stream of information and news – most of which is horrific – and even when there are announcement saying things are better, they’re still not good. We want to get together with friends and especially family but we’re naturally worried about infecting them, as well as them infecting us. There is no clear end in sight, so how can any of us feel any certainty about what to do for the best?
While it’s vital to stay informed, there’s sometimes also a lot of misinformation and so many sensationalised stories out there, that it’s easy to get down and depressed. And while it’s great to stay in contact with friends through online groups, be cautious about what they tell you too. Being swamped with news will only make your anxiety worse. You say you want to get back to normal, but what was normal before may not be normal for a long time to come. I’m quite sure there will still be restrictions in place, and we’ll all have to adjust to these, so all those things you are looking forward to that you did before, you may not be doing in the same way for a good while yet.
You are worrying, now, about how things will be in the future – but no-one knows, so step back from this. There is no point in being nervous about getting back to normal until we know what we can and cannot do. As and when rules are relaxed, we can make our own judgments about how we live our lives. We don’t have to get together with crowds of people if we don’t want to – we can restrict our circle to those we know and trust. We don’t have to spend time in crowded shops – we can shop online, or consume less.
So, rather than worrying about being nervous about what could happen in the future, think of ways in which you can, perhaps, enjoy this time now. You and your husband could come through this closer than ever, especially if you take the time to care about each other. You could enjoy the peace from the lessened transport, the opportunity to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. Don’t expect too much of yourself though – just take the time to breathe deeply and, as far as you can, relax. We will get through this – and out the other side.
I’VE REALISED MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE LITTLE IN COMMON
MY husband and I have been married for 20 years and frankly, he’s just so boring. We’ve always had different hobbies and ideas about things, but we muddled along, not really seeing that much of each other, to be honest.
I had my dance classes, my bingo, my theatre group and my reading group and wasn’t home in the evenings that much, as well as working full time. He runs his own plumbing business and works all hours and his hobby is fishing.
Being stuck indoors with him like this makes me realise that we’ve got nothing in common. I’m still fond of him but our love life is non-existent and I’m really wondering why we’re still together.
FIONA SAYS: You’re fond of one another and you clearly don’t dislike each other, but now is not the time for life-changing decisions. It could, though, be a time to re-discover what attracted you to one another in the first place.
Could you try to really start talking to one another again?
Could you try and find something to do together – both joining in with a dance video or even just sharing the housework? Could you, perhaps, even try and reignite your love-life? Perhaps the passion isn’t what it used to be, but it could still be there, smouldering away. Give one another a chance and you might both be surprised.
I’M 80 AND STILL WANT SEX
I AM 80 years old and married my second wife 15 years ago. For the past five years she has refused to have sex. I am very frustrated as I have a very strong sex drive, which frequently leaves me in some pain. I love and respect my wife, but she says she has absolutely no interest in any form of sex.
Could you offer any advice on how I can deal with this problem, as I fear it may have an adverse effect on our marriage? Your advice would be much appreciated as I am embarrassed to approach my doctor for help.
FIONA SAYS: You say you fear this could have an adverse effect on your marriage, so I am puzzled as to why you have waited five years before trying to tackle this problem. You don’t say how old your wife is, but for many women, sex can become quite uncomfortable as they get older. If she is on any medication then this may be a contributing factor, as there are a great many that can lower the sex-drive.
It would seem lack of physical intimacy is not a problem for your wife – but it is for you, so rather than ignore it, see if there isn’t some compromise to be reached. Talking – and listening – to each other openly and patiently is key here.
As for the pain you are experiencing – that is probably something you do need to consult your doctor about, unless it is something that can be resolved with self-gratification. There really is no need to be embarrassed – doctors deal with these things on a regular basis.
SHOULD I QUIT UNI BECAUSE I DON’T FIT IN?
I STARTED a post-graduate course at university last September, but even though I have spent the past three years at university, I just don’t seem to fit in. I have no friends – and I suppose it’s because I am overweight and don’t join in with sports and stuff, but I wish people could see past that.
It also doesn’t help that everyone else on my course seems to have done interesting things before university, whereas I’ve never been anywhere or had any sort of job.
I still live at home with my parents and I am sure this makes people thing I am strange or something.
I’m seriously thinking of not bothering to go back once this lockdown ends, as I feel as though my life is going nowhere.
FIONA SAYS: I’m afraid that if you don’t like yourself, other people will tend to pick up on the negative feelings you are creating and shy away from you. It’s nothing to do with being overweight, it’s the weight of negativity.
You need you start seeing yourself for what you really are – someone smart enough to succeed at university who has the potential to do whatever she chooses. Lots of people struggle with confidence, even if it looks like they have it all together on the outside. You definitely won’t be the only student feeling this way – but it certainly can get better.
If you’re unhappy with your size, perhaps talk to your doctor about a referral to a nutritionist. Also, you don’t have to look ‘sporty’ or be a certain weight to enjoy sports and exercise. There’s so much out there to try – why not do it for the fun and health and confidence-boost?
If you feel awkward staying at home, now you’re doing a post-graduate course, investigate the possibility of moving out or sharing a flat with some other students. And why not start some new hobbies or activities? Be patient and give yourself a chance – confidence does grow with time. Once you realise you can do these things, your confidence will grow and then, I’m sure things will improve for you.
If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
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