When you feel like you are not listened to by your partner, mainly because I am constantly repeating myself, what is the best approach rather than getting angry?
What are you talking about that he’s not listening to? Are you giving him a list of jobs to do or talking about something important which is on your mind? If he’s anything like my husband, he’s probably on his phone anyway and unless you say something like “Do you want fried chicken?” or “I heard these shares are a good buy”, he’s not even listening.
If you’re talking about something important, ensure he’s distraction free and able to focus on what you’re saying. Tell him what you need him to do beforehand, like “Babe, I want to talk about something that happened at work today and I need you to listen and give me some sympathy and preferably, a foot rub.” Then he won’t be confused. If you’re giving him jobs to do, forget about it. He’ll be deaf for eternity. Let the bin overflow and get filled with maggots and he’ll work it out himself.
If all else fails, try interpretive dance. He won’t understand what you’re on about, but he might get a laugh out of it, particularly if you do it naked.
I have a newly widowed friend. How do I gain her confidence to get her back in the game?
How recently is she widowed and is she actually ready to be back in the game? If she says she’s not ready, then she’s not… take the focus off romance and go and have some good old fashioned girls’ days out. Play barefoot bowls, go to the art gallery, have a cooking party where you are each responsible for a course, go to a wine tasting course, or try something active such as trapeze or rock climbing.
If she is ready to get out there but just lacks the confidence, work from the outside in. Go with her to get a new outfit (which she never wore with her husband) and splurge on a good hair cut and colour. Get her involved in a belly dancing class or similar which will lift her spirits and allow her to connect with women who are confident at all ages, shapes and sizes. Encourage her to get a coach who can work with her to set new visions for her life and set goals to move towards them. Widows can find it difficult to feel whole without their man at home, so just ease her into it by surrounding her with people in situations which make her rediscover her own fabulous, independent self again. The romance will come.
My kids are about to all move out, how do I ensure my marriage is strong enough to handle the new face of my relationship with my husband?
Spend time focusing on loving your husband and rediscovering the love which kept you together all these years. Find five minutes each day to do something small for him – bake his favourite biscuits, give him a foot massage, send him a love note in the post, and tell him how much he still means to you. It’s easy to take each other for granted over time, and although you probably already feel like you do more than enough, women are just generally better at communication and relationships – so if you lift your game and put in the effort, he will eventually follow. Relationship dynamics are amazing like that.
At the same time, remind him of the youthful fun you used to have before you were tied down with nappies, after-school play dates and teenage trouble years. Go out and discover all the great activities Brisbane has to offer these days. Abseiling, trampolining, art walks and laneway culture.
And at the end of the day, it could be time to crack out the kinky stuff.