Wednesday, November 30, 2011





The heat doesn't always cool down with time. Here's how to keep things sizzling!

Courtesy of’s Happen Magazine

Carlo was an attractive man who had been married for 20 years. His kids were out of the house, so he could no longer use them as an excuse for remaining in his unhappy marriage. He forever complained that his wife was a hopeless bore, but he stayed — and had affairs. I asked him, "If you're so miserable, why don't you get divorced and marry the mistress you've had for the last eight years?" His response was not surprising: "Dr. Gilda, I know that if I married my mistress, she'd turn into another dull wife; our sneaking around keeps our passion going." I agreed that many people have illicit affairs and they remain married. Despite the obvious reasons for keeping a marriage intact, I wondered why people really continue to stay.

Helen Fisher's groundbreaking book, Anatomy of Love, was published in 1992. It taught us that romantic love can only last from 18 months to three years, at best. From the time her book came out, I've quoted these findings in my writing, my speeches, and my media appearances. But recently, I interviewed the author for another article I was doing. In our discussion, I recounted the 18-month to three-year limit she placed on romantic love. What a shock to hear her excitedly describe her latest findings that refute her former research!

The link between love and addiction
Fisher's team from the Department of Anthropology at the Rutgers Center for Human Evolutionary Studies scanned images of the brains of young couples who were madly in love and had been together for six months. Since more than 100,000 chemical brain reactions fire up each second, the group sought to determine how lovers' brains reacted to seeing a photo of their beloved compared to one of a stranger. In fact, the lovers' brains showed activity in the same region as the brains of people who were using addictive drugs, so the team likened romantic love to an addiction. Moreover, this addictive brain activity matched that of someone who had been dumped. So this would explain a rejected party going haywire in attempts to regain a lost love.

How long-term relationships affect brain chemistry
OK, so these were findings for the young lovers studied. Next, the researchers examined the brain activity for couples aged 40 to 65 who had been married for at least 20 years and were still wild about each other. After viewing their spouse's photo, each older person's brain showed vibrancy in the same region as the younger subjects had in the previous study. In addition, there were increased levels of the chemicals serotonin and vasopressin present. (Serotonin maintains happiness and serenity, and vasopressin affects monogamy.) So the major difference between the young lovers and the older ones was that the regions of the older subjects' brains associated with love anxiety were no longer active! The passion was still there, but accompanying that now was a sense of calm. The researchers concluded that when the obsessive suspense of new infatuation is removed, couples can continue to enjoy passion, alongside the vital ingredient of trust. Fisher's findings suggest that true, dependable love can last forever — but she warns that people must first select the right partner.

Preserving "positive illusions" about your partner
So is the habitual cheater, Carlo, correct in predicting a future of boredom with a new, different wife? Fisher cites research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology conducted by psychologist Marcel Zentner at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who found that there is only one personality trait that will lead to a couple being able to enjoy the kind of sustained romance that Fisher's team observed: the ability to enjoy "positive illusions" about each other. Certainly, we've all heard long-married people characterize each other in such glowing terms that we wonder whom they're describing; this is the "love blindness" Zentner mentions in his study. Fisher deems this condition to be a gift from nature that enables partners to ride the waves of relationship crises together. Clearly Carlo lacks that "love blindness" in his own marriage, since he perceives his wife to be unappealing, boring and dull. On the other hand, my friend Bobbi describes her husband of 14 years this way: "Everything about him as a man excites me." To outside observers, Bobbi's husband drips food from his mouth when he eats, is 40 pounds overweight and he's often been let go from jobs because of his temper… but none of these traits faze Bobbi. After several years together, the couple's shelf life remains solid.

How to choose the right partner for you...


DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship expert, and product spokesperson.  She is’s “ASK DR. GILDA” advice columnist. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.”  She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing.  DR. GILDA is the Love Doc advisor for the off-Broadway show, “Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage!”  She is currently developing her own TV show.  Visit and get her Instant Advice!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Jennifer cozies up to new love Casper in Hawaii, but is she moving too fast?

Her marriage to Marc Anthony only ended in July, and she's already flaunting her new relationship with a much younger man.
After weeks of whispers that she was dating dancer Casper Smart,
Jennifer Lopez's public display of affection this past weekend in
Hawaii confirmed that, indeed, they were a couple. But at 42, we had to wonder if Jennifer is rushing into romance with the 24-year-old.

Here, Dr. Gilda Carle, The World's Most Famous Relationship Expert, gives her verdict.  She writes.....




As Neil Sedaka sang, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Isn’t it ever!!
But finding a quick replacement for a lost love is never the way to
go. J-Lo went from a substantial marriage and family with Marc
Anthony to a new boy-toy--in less than a nanosecond!

So what can this couple imagine their future will be? It matters less that she’s 42 and her “man-child” is 24. It matters less that she’s the predominant wage earner and he must take orders from her. Sure, these could become deterrents if the two of them were trying to walk into a real future. But for now, JLo’s need is apparently for a sexy place-holder and loneliness buffer. Unfortunately, founded on such neediness, these traits dull after a while.

What most concerns me is that JLo did not take the needed time to
examine what went wrong in her marriage, and what changes she must make to be a better partner in the future. Jumping from one
relationship to another is not a healthy relationship tactic. She
needs to give herself time—and that means being alone.

Some people fear being alone, so they end up playing a game of musical beds, always unhappy, and always looking for MORE. MORE is never OUT THERE; MORE comes from within ourselves. But we must remain quiet after a breakup to figure out how to find it. There’s no getting around us all having to do this work. If JLo wants to provide a positive role model for her kids, and develop into better partnership material for the next time around, this is the only way. Otherwise, she will continue to seek one replacement after another, until the options begin to dry up.

To read more of Dr. Gilda's thoughts, click


After infidelity: 

How to move forward when a partner cheats

By Jessica Padykula

Not a week goes by without a celebrity cheating scandal being splashed across tabloid magazines at our local grocery stores. They’re gripping to read about, but what happens when it’s your relationship that’s embroiled in an affair?

On top of the utter devastation infidelity causes, there are feelings of hurt, confusion and betrayal to contend with. On top of that, there are also many heart-wrenching decisions to make about the future of your relationship -- from ending things to seeking counselling to taking a time out.

We asked Dr. Gilda Carle, relationship expert and author of Don’t Bet on the Prince: How to Have the Man You Want by Betting on Yourself (, about the course of action you should take when your partner strays. She maintains that cheating may actually have a silver lining: “Cheating can sometimes be the best thing to happen to a shaky relationship because it means that a couple will finally be forced to decide either to mend their love -- or end their love.” Carle offers some more insight into how to handle a cheating partner and how to move forward in a way that works for you.

1. Why do people cheat?

People cheat for a variety of reasons -- it simply depends on the person and the couple. Some of the most common reasons a person becomes unfaithful are:

• They feel disconnected from their partner on an emotional and physical level.
• There’s little to no physical or emotional intimacy.
• They are angry with their spouse and don’t know how else to deal with it.
• Their sex life has become non-existent.
• They are bored.
• They are looking for positive attention that they don’t feel they’re getting from their spouse.

Regardless of the reason behind the infidelity, one thing is certain: Cheating means your relationship is in need of serious repair. No matter why someone strays, cheating has a big impact on a relationship. “Infidelity affects a relationship because the person you’re supposed to be giving your attention to is missing out on that intimacy,” Carle explains. “No relationship can survive without intimacy.”

2. What action should you take if your partner cheats? 
You may be tempted to lash out in a rage upon discovering infidelity -- which is understandable -- but there is a better way to handle things, says Carle. “If you discover your partner has cheated, neither hold in your emotions nor create drama,” says Carle.

After you make the discovery, you need some time to process the information, so confide in a trusted friend or family member. She suggests finding a quiet, neutral spot outside of your home and talking about what is really happening in the relationship. Beyond that, you might want to seek professional advice before you engage in a conversation with your spouse.

Sometimes, infidelity can cause a couple to examine the flaws that already existed in the relationship prior to the infidelity. Doing so can spur a couple to be proactive when it comes to their relationship, says Carle. “At that point they can decide whether to end the marriage or mend it,” she says. “My best tip for how to deal with infidelity is to recognize whether your relationship should be salvaged.”

To make the decision less stressful, write down on a piece of paper what you truly have going for each other. If the list is short, that will suggest you have little in common anymore. But if it’s long, you may decide to repair your problems.

3. How do you repair the relationship and move forward?

If you decide that you want to forgive your partner and stay together, both parties have to equally want to make some changes for the sake of their union, says Carle. If it boils down to just pointing fingers rather than taking responsibility, a couple will not survive.

“It is wrong to solely blame and accuse your spouse of wrongdoing. Instead, understand that you are part of the equation," she says. Owning up to your share of the burden takes courage and guts, but it can go a long way in rebuilding your relationship.

Getting back on solid ground after someone cheats requires hard work and the rebuilding of trust, Carle explains. “Being open and honest is the only thing that can bring back trust,” she says. “Trust takes a long time to build, and when it’s broken, only honesty and openness will get it back.”

Even then, repairing your relationship will take time and it is a good idea to work with a counsellor for guidance. The counsellor will steer you away from the secrecy that has derailed the relationship and toward more open communication.

Infidelity will always wreak havoc on a relationship. But by being honest with yourself and with your partner you may be able to find a solution that works -- whether it’s moving on or moving forward together.

Friday, November 25, 2011





Courtesy of’s Happen Magazine 

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am a single mom in her 50s with a teenage son spending half the time with me, mostly summers and holidays. Reading men’s profiles, it seems I have more than one challenge to overcome; that is, my age, my status as a single mom, and the fact that I’m looking for someone to share my life with that’d be okay with the fact that I can’t have more children. I have tried several dating services and met a few men, but there was no chemistry. I am attractive and look much younger than my age, I’m educated, professional, and independent with varied interests. I want someone who is like-minded and wants to settle down (and I say that in my profile — is that a turn-off?). Also, I have posted pictures of myself with my son at events — do you think these men are threatened by the idea of having to help parent a teenage boy? I’d rather use my profile to talk about myself and not my part-time custody arrangement in detail, but he is in my life and I’d rather that not be a surprise, either, since I’m looking to marry again. Any advice you can give me is much appreciated.
Remarriage-Ready Rita

Dear Remarriage-Ready Rita,
If you believe that raising a teenage son part of the time is a “challenge,” that’s exactly the vibe you will transmit to your dates. No man with all of his faculties wants a woman with burdens attached. Adjust your negative mindset and project the picture of a life that you are managing and enjoying to potential suitors. Since you can’t fake the feeling of being in control, get the help of a therapist to plot your path to positivity.

The next “challenge” you believe you’re up against is your age. According to you, people 50 and older are all dried up, unappealing and unmatchable. So why don’t we just annihilate that sector of the population? And while we’re at it, we could also throw in extra points for knocking off single moms in that age category. Finally, the fact that you can’t have children any longer should put your entire existence out to pasture! Do you hear how foolish this all sounds? You say, “I am attractive and look much younger than my age, am educated, professional, and independent with varied interests.” Oh, really? Unfortunately, the one trait overshadowing all the others is your awful lack of dating self-worth. If you don’t feel worthy of a guy’s effort, no guy will make the effort. Girl, get ahold of your shattered self-esteem at once!

You say you want to settle down and wonder if broadcasting that is a turn-off. Darling, you can’t think about permanence when your self-image is so shaky. As my Gilda-Gram says, “Healthy love first requires sturdy self-esteem.” So you have homework to do now before considering building a future with any man later.

 This is what I believe would benefit you:

•.               Avoid posting photos of you and your son on dating sites. Such images CAN be a cold shower to a prospective partner. A guy is not looking to date your son; he’s interested in dating YOU! Post only pictures of yourself. If a man wants to get to know you further, your son will eventually come with the territory — later, after you and your date have established a meaningful connection on your own. Otherwise, it’s not fair to either your child or your date to force them into a trio when a romantic duo is what you desire.

•.               Your thoughts jump directly to the idea of marriage without considering the intermediary steps required to get there. What’s the rush? S-l-o-w down! You have to get to know someone first, build a solid union, introduce your son into the mix, and then test how everyone gets along.

•.               There is nothing wrong in telling a man you’d like to eventually marry again — but don’t share these intentions during your first communications with someone! Note the difference between “Hi, my name is Remarriage-Ready Rita” and “Hi, my name is Rita, and I’d like to learn what you’re about and discover what we have in common.” Which of these two statements do you think would be more successful when introducing yourself to potential dates? Exactly.

Dating is a waterfall of droplets that seeks its rhythm and pace without intrusion. If you let go, perhaps your 51st birthday present will arrive in the form of a partner worth keeping.
Dr. Gilda

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks for Giving Me So Much!

Dear Friends & Fans,
Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so grateful for so much--for the light I live in, for the friendships and love I continue to receive, and for all of you who think highly enough of me to ingest my words and send me your appreciation.  May God Bless You even more than you've ever dreamed.  

My angels and I return your love. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



Have you ever fallen in love with someone's "potential," hoping to help this person? It sounds noble, but here's why fixing attempts might do more harm than good.



Courtesy of’s Happen Magazine 

When they met, Kara and Charlie were both unhappily married to other people. Charlie was the lightning bolt that sent Kara to divorce court, expecting her lover would follow. But now, seven years later, Charlie is wracked with guilt — and he's still waffling about leaving home, while Kara is merely his shoulder to cry on. Why hasn't he moved to permanently cement their bond?

At a conference, Kara heard me say: "Don't try to fix someone without that person's consent." Deciding to examine her romance, Kara admitted that she had been trying to "fix" Charlie. Now she wondered whether that's what she had done with all the men she'd ever known, and whether that was the reason for every breakup. She begged me for clarity.

My research finds that our genders vehemently disagree on whom needs fixing and when. These are the 6 mate-fixing trends I uncovered:

1. At the beginning of a new relationship, a woman thinks that she should redesign her man.

Ted was out of the military for 10 years, but he continued to wear his hair cropped short. Every woman he knew asked him to grow out his locks, but he stood his army ground… until he met her. Ted fell so deeply in love that he agreed to do what no other female could get him to do about his hairstyle. Happily consenting to the makeover, he grew his hair out and was elated when his coworkers complimented his handsome new look. However, Ted's intimacy issues sent him fleeing from this love of his life. In an act of defiance against all women he thought might try to control him, he quickly cut his hair back into military mode. Moral: The only male you should consider changing is the one you're diapering.

2. The redesign work a woman attempts may be interior or exterior in nature.

Kara placed demands on Charlie to stop smoking, dress better, eat healthier, and stop calling his mother so often. His wife at home accepted him for who he was, with all his flaws, and without pressuring him. No wonder Charlie chose to stay married!

3. When a man finds a new love, he wants that woman to remain as she was when they met each other.

Men often tell me the woman they married has let her appearance go. Fred said that his wife had gained so much weight and had become so sloppy that he didn't want to have sex with her anymore. But since he still loved her, Fred enrolled her in a fat farm. Rather than thanking him, however, she blew her stack for what she considered to be a demeaning act on Fred's part.

4. A man may deliberately seek a woman he can fix, such as a damsel in financial distress or a lady who's been emotionally hurt.

Enjoying the role of provider and protector, John immediately elevated himself to the position of savior when he helped Melissa get out of bankruptcy. Melissa, in turn, showed John her love — until she got back on her feet. Then, she began to perceive all the niceties she'd once appreciated as "controlling behavior" instead. John was in shock when she suddenly exited their relationship. As my Gilda-Gram says: "Hear when the music changes, and adapt your dance steps." No relationship remains the same forever.

5. After a couple has been together for a while, when a woman relays an issue she's having to her man, he transforms into Mr. Fix-It and tells his lady what to do.

Marge was furious whenever her husband Mel tried to tell her how to solve each office problem she shared with him. Most women just want their partner to lend an ear to listen to their troubles; they don’t want a controlling hand!

6. If a long-term relationship hits a speed bump, the woman believes it's her job to fix the problem herself or to enroll the pair in counseling.

Jane felt disrespected that her boyfriend Jim would not pick up his dirty clothes when lounging at home. She tried to reason with him, but he was adamant that in his domain, he had the right to enjoy his mess. Exasperated, Jane sought me out to intervene. When I asked Jim what the problem was, he said there wasn't one. I told this couple that we could not resolve an issue unless they both agreed in the first place that they had one. I counseled Jane to stop nagging, accept John as he was, or leave. This couple is still together, continuing their drama — which I won't even try to fix!

Since Kara was at the end of her rope, I assigned her the task of going on an unusual shopping expedition. Her task was to buy a garment that was hanging on a clearance rack marked "as-is." The garment might have some holes, pulls, or stains, but she would really have to like it — and purchase it despite its imperfections.

Kara landed a designer knit sweater with a few pulls on the bottom that she admitted didn't matter to her. She said that she really loved the sweater. Now I asked her to follow the same reasoning about Charlie: What did she love about him, as is? She listed six wonderful traits. Then I asked her to list his flaws, and what she was trying to fix. Her list of Charlie's flaws surprised her. She wrote: 1) I want him to finally leave his wife; 2) I want to make him more assertive with his boss; 3) I want to get him to become a better lover; 4) I want to make him into a more generous man; 5) I want to get him to participate in some of my hobbies; 6) I want to convince him to start a family with me.

Until she saw this list, Kara did not know she was unhappy with more than just Charlie's unwillingness to leave his marital home. For 6 years, she had hidden the man Charlie really was under her personal "Fix-Him" agenda. Now that the real Charlie was in full view, she wondered, "If he actually did leave his wife, would I want him?" Kara realized that instead of trying to fix her lover, it was time for her to fix herself.

Overall, most people don't want to be fixed by you because it suggests that you find them to be inadequate. Further, who wants to be smothered by a partner's pompous and presumptuous directives? Yet, if you're burning to offer your honey some helpful direction, be sure to also convey the things about him or her that you love. It's also important to let your partner know that if no changes were made, it would be OK with you. In love, your job is to preserve your sweetheart's sense of self, not crush it.

Fixers like Kara are so intent on getting their way that they often miss vital issues about the relationship. People like Ted who are at first willing to be fixed can only be pushed so far. Can you be happy with your honey as is? If you think you want to do some pruning, before you insult your partner, first ask yourself: "What about me needs the real fix?"

DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship expert, and product spokesperson.  She is’s “ASK DR. GILDA” advice columnist. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.”  She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing.  DR. GILDA is the Love Doc advisor for the off-Broadway show, “Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage!”  She is currently developing her own TV show.  Visit and get her Instant Advice!


If Demi Moore Really Had Threesomes, They Destroyed Her Marriage, Experts Say

Even though Demi Moore allegedly agreed to letting other women in the bedroom with her and Ashton, experts told exclusively that threesomes are NOT a good idea!  Do you agree?

Whether or not Demi Moore, 49, actually insisted on including other women in her and Ashton Kutcher‘s sex life remains unclear, but one thing is for sure: threesomes can be destructive to a marriage or relationship. spoke exclusively to top relationship experts who unanimously advised us to stay away from threesomes if you want your marriage or relationship to last.

“In my experience I have never seen a situation where it has helped a marriage and to make matters more horrible, I have experienced couples who have been terribly hurt by it [threesomes] and have broken up it because of it,” says psychotherapist Dr. Gilda Carle of, and author of Don’t Bet on the Prince!

Chelsea Handler recently reiterated rumors that Demi was in fact into threesomes with her 33-year-old ex-hubby on the the Nov. 17 episode of Piers Morgan Tonight, saying, “I think they had a lot of good times with some other women. Clearly they probably had a lot of threesomes that led to twosomes without Demi, and that leads to divorce.”

And even IF Demi was down with threesomes, it’s very likely her jealousy became a problem in the twisted trios.

“When there is a possibility of jealousy cropping up, what can occur after the fact is difficult to handle for most people,” Dr. Gilda says.

So why would Demi — a beautiful, successful and worldly woman — agree to sharing her man?

“If it is true that Demi and Ashton participated in threesomes, it is only because this was Demi’s desperate attempt to hold onto him,” says Dr. Carole Lieberman,  psychiatrist and author of  Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. “When there is a large age gap, Cougars like Demi, live in fear of losing their man to a younger woman. So they make concessions, such as having threesomes, and pretend that they are okay with it because they believe losing the man is worse.”
But this — not surprisingly — makes matters worse. And her compromises to fill her insecurities of their age gap could have been the demise of their marriage.

But whatever her reasoning may be, bringing someone else into the bedroom is a risk to the relationship — and probably not a good idea.

“Threesomes are destructive to most relationships, because they loosen the bonds of commitment and trust and build resentment and fear,” Dr. Lieberman explains“Threesomes would have made it easier for Ashton to step over the line and go from having a threesome to having sex with another woman without Demi there.”

Monday, November 21, 2011


Demi & Ashton's BIG mistake

If reports are true, that Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher had an open relationship, then their marriage never really stood a chance.
Here World Famous Relationship Expert, Dr Gilda Carle explains why a marriage based on these foundations is destined to fail.
In the wake of their split, all sorts of allegations have come to
light about the workings of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher's marriage--the most shocking being, that they had an open relationship.
We consulted Dr Gilda Carle as to why women should always avoid falling into this trap, so take note, won't work out well. Here's her piece:




Now we hear that Demi and Ashton had an open marriage that allowed for each others’ dalliances. It is rumored that Demi is bisexual and her needs could not be met by Ashton. So they made a pact to privately and discretely pursue their lustful fantasies. What they hadn’t figured on was that their privacy would become very public.

Over the years, during my counseling, whenever I hear about a fantasy to have an open marriage, I share what I know. Simply, I have never seen open marriage work. Why? Because we are human beings with feelings. And in addition to love, those feelings also involve possessiveness and jealousy. When one partner becomes overly attached to a lust object, or the lust object spills the beans, rules never laid down before suddenly must be addressed. What happens when the cat is out of the bag? In the case of Demi and Ashton, perhaps they believed that in their very public life, they could still keep some secrets. True to life, secrets are never secret for long, especially in our world of social media. The public humiliation Demi felt was understandable, especially amid the smoke and mirrors on which Hollywood is based. No matter what their sexual appetite, this couple must now independently come clean about who they really are. No relationship can sustain itself when it is built on camouflage!
To read more about Dr Gilda's thoughts, click here:

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Love dilemmas: I’m not attracted to my fat husband’s panel of experts answers readers’ relationship questions

Love dilemmas abound, and here, in our second installment of a weekly advice column, a panel answers questions from a reader dealing with a weighty relationship issue. Have your own question? Submit it here.

First, let’s introduce our panelists:

The wise grandma: Kitty Schindler
At age 87, retired nurse Kitty Schindler is’s oldest regular contributor. One of 10 children raised by a Pennsylvania coal miner during the Depression, she offers advice from the perspective of a successful long-term relationship — a 61-year marriage.

The relationship expert: Dr. Gilda Carle 

Dr. Gilda Carle is an internationally known psychotherapist and relationship expert. She is’s “Ask Dr. Gilda” advice columnist. She is also author of 15 books, including "Don't Bet on the Prince!"

The sex therapist: Ian Kerner 

Ian Kerner, Ph.D, is a reknown sex therapist and author of "She Comes First" and "Love in the Time of Colic." Ian's journey to counseling grew out of his own personal battle with sexual dysfunction and his desire to help others.

Q: When I first met my husband we were both fit and active. Since then marriage and kids have taken a toll on both of our bodies. I have maintained a slightly overweight body weight for over five years now (since the birth of our daughter), but my husband has been steadily gaining weight for the last five years as well. He is now well over 300 pounds on a 6-foot frame. Aside from the health problems, it has also taken a huge toll on our sex life. I find that I am just not attracted to his current body type. Even though I am slightly overweight, is it fair for me to hold his weight against our sex life? He says that he loves me the way that I am, and wished I did the same for him. I am also concerned about the example we are setting for our daughter. We both have a desire to lose weight and get healthier, but have no idea where to begin. — Rachelle

Kitty says: Good health is necessary for good sex and obesity can be a real turn-off. Face the fact that inactivity and dangerous weight gain (especially your husband's) are your main problem. On TV, in magazines and online, we're bombarded with good information about how to get and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Pay attention and decide which kind of program is for you. Once you make the decision to do something, I'm betting your husband will be inspired too. The bottom line is that losing weight and getting more active require determination and will power. It helps if you have a partner on that journey, so why not enlist your husband?

Put your health (and your husband's) first: That's setting a great example for your children. And when you and your husband share this challenge — and its rewards — that will lead to greater intimacy between you. And to great sex!

Dr. Gilda says: As is the case of many long marrieds, the two of you have gotten into some sloppy physical habits. When you were singles seeking a mate, you knew you needed to maintain your appeal. But after marriage, your “I do” was followed by “I don’t”, as in “I don’t have to care for my looks anymore because I already snatched my catch.” Girlfriend, this is skewed thinking. Caring about yourself has to be a selfish act. Yes, it’s selfish because it necessitates self-love. Unfortunately, when you look at your 300-pounder, you’re turned off not so much because you’re not attracted to his “current body type,” but because his current body type reflects your own out-of-condition sex appeal. And this reminder is painful.

But there’s good news! As my Gilda-Gram says, “If you had the heat once, you can always get it back.” Since you say the two of you were “fit and active” when you met, let’s return you to that point in time. Join a gym together, become each other’s supportive coaches, and make your workouts part of new and exciting marital goals.

Ian says: First of all, it’s really normal for married couples to gain weight together. This phenomenon is known as “synchronous eating” and in a recent study of 2,000 people aged between 16 and 55, a direct correlation was found between marriage and weight gain, whereas single people were likely to be slimmer. In terms of your sex life, I would encourage you to still make an effort to be intimate. In my experience, sex ruts can quickly undermine a marriage. Of course, you still need to feel a level of attraction, but sexual desire is about more than just the physical connection – it’s about an emotional connection, and having the sort of overall relationship that makes you want to have sex. Don’t let the emotional connection fall to the wayside. Know that the brain is the biggest sex organ and there are all sorts of ways to stimulate desire: you can share fantasies with each other, enjoy erotic materials together, even look through old photos that remind you of your former attraction. Also, it’s okay to turn off the lights and have sex in the dark. Once you get your fingers walking, your hands groping and your lips touching, I’ll wager that desire, gratification and a loving connection will soon follow.

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