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Ill-Equipped (Who Isn't?)

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Ask Jennifer!

Jennifer Lehr answers your questions about sex, love and life every week on The Huffington Post.

Hi Jennifer,

About two years ago I asked my wife if we were still lovers. She said no.

We have two great kids, 9 and 7, and we both want to bring them up together as a family and a team. But I've been living now going on three years without any affection. God, I love the mature female body, but I won't do anything about it because we're still married and I still love her. And I'm too busy with family and work to court women.

So my wife spends her spare time reading romance novels, I fantasize on my own when I have the energy, and I feel like a plant slowly drying up for lack of watering. Just waiting for those first drops of rain.

David

Dear David,

The two of you have obviously grown apart and are both starving for something more. I'm not going to mince words David. Go to couple's therapy as soon as possible. It sounds like you have a marriage and family life worth saving. Couples therapy is hard and no one wants to go. But you must because cheating on your wife, negotiating a divorce and the custody of your children while destroying their sense of security in an already perilous world will be a million times harder.

You see...

The best thing you and your wife can do for your children is have a loving, thriving, interesting, fun, committed kick-ass relationship. You are their most influential teachers. And children are smart as hell. You can't get anything past them. They know you're lonely. They know you're wife is lonely. They know things aren't "right" in the house.

Picture your children in your situation in twenty years. Isn't it sad? You don't want your precious nine-year old to be lonely in her marriage, sticking it out for the wrong reasons, feeling like a dying plant, dying to have an affair. But, if you don't do something about your situation, more than likely your child will suffer your same fate.

Go to google. Type in "couples therapist" and the name of your town. Pick up the phone. Make an appointment. Then tell your wife you'd like to make a time to talk with her. When you two are alone, tell her you love her and your family. Tell her you want to be the best husband and father you can and you think couples therapy is the first step. Invite her to the appointment you've made. If she needs time or doesn't want to go....go anyway. The therapist will help you out.

Not only do you deserve it. Your wife deserves it. Your children deserve it. Go get the education that no university in the world can give you. One where you learn how to communicate with and love your wife. It's going to be awkward and difficult. And totally worth it.

You cannot keep carrying on like everything is okay. And cheating will only make a messy situation messier.

Please let me know how it goes.

Jennifer

About this column:

I called my memoir Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex because that's exactly how I felt -- ill-equipped . . . not only for a life of sex, but for love and a relationship.

In high school I was a late bloomer and then found myself sleeping with the wrong boys for the wrong reasons. Things got worse in college. Tormented by my lack-of-love life, I endlessly wondered if I'd ever find someone who loved me, who I not only loved but loved sleeping with. It's no surprise that my fancy undergrad and graduate education were of no help when it came to these super-important parts of life. Where was the course on attraction, communication, love, commitment, sex, finances in a relationship?

It took hitting rock bottom at age 28, when I was constantly fighting with John -- the man I loved, with whom I was barely screwing -- to create my own ad hoc Relationships 101. I decided to do whatever it took to make our relationship work. My efforts to equip myself, as it were, landed me in therapy, in double sessions of couples therapy for three years, at a Making Marriage Work class, and in the self-help aisle of the bookstore. Almost ten years later, John and I are still together and I'm relieved to report that I feel pretty well equipped. (But now that I'm a new mom, I have a whole other area to feel ill-equipped about!)

So if you too are feeling ill-equipped, please e-mail me your questions at Jennifer@jenniferlehr.com and I'll do my best to be of some help. I look forward to hearing from you.

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