Questions this week deal with relationship challenges that many of us deal with in our own lives. Can you be friends with an ex-spouse years after a divorce, and if so, how? Shane asks how to guarantee sexual satisfaction in marriage, and LK asks what it means when a guy you're intimate with doesn't want to be exclusive. Some of the answers may be tough to hear, but sometimes the right thing to do is exactly what you don't want to hear.
Dear Mary Jo,
I've been divorced for a couple of years, but I'd like to be friends with my ex. How can I be friends with my ex?
The best way to build a friendship with your ex after a divorce is to give them time. Don't talk badly about them, and whenever you have an opportunity extend a warm welcome to them. Many times the friendship is destroyed with a divorce, but if you feel as though you parted amicably, a friendship is possible, and if you have children, it's advantageous to be on good terms.
Dear Mary Jo,
My question is how do you make sure over a thirty-year period that you'll always keep the drive and the sexual attraction for your partner?
There are no guarantees, and in fact, I can predict that your "drive" will change in thirty years, but in a good way. As couples are together sexual attraction changes too, and how your partner acts vs. how they look becomes more and more important. Couples who have been married for a long time and keep their intimacy or emotional connection close have the strongest love of all. Their love is so strong that it affects the body on a cellular level helping to keep their immune system strong. Here are some things to help safeguard your attraction.
· Keep your friendship alive. Keep having fun, exercising, playing and going on vacations together as well as dates.
· Take time to talk about your relationship, intimacy and sex. Relationships are alive and that means there are ups and downs. Seek to understand rather than blame your partner, and solve issues by working on them together.
· Even on days you don't want to…be kind to your partner. Compassion goes a long way.
Dear Mary Jo,
I met a guy on Match about five months ago and we've been in an intimate relationship, but he's not willing to be exclusive with me. What do you think about that? Should I break up with him?
He doesn't want to be exclusive because he wants to date around and see if there is something better. Yes, you should break up with him if you want an exclusive relationship with someone. In the future, take your time with sex and build a relationship based on friendship and intimacy first. That way when sex does happen it will be because you both want a relationship more than a hookup. Also, please get an STD checkup because if he is sleeping around and sleeping with you then you are in a very real sense being exposed to everyone he is with. Taking care of your health comes first.