Advice Column

Maggie Bain is a Relationship and Intimacy Specialist with Family Medicine Center on Blake Road. She is also the only certified Sex Therapist in The Bahamas.

Q: “I have had an issue with my husband spending a lot of his time (our evening time) at the gym. We had discussions about this previously and it calmed down. But it is now increasing again and I don’t have the energy to fight for him to stay home anymore. He is doing more house work and more to help. But I feel lonely from time to time. Do you have any advice?”

Thank you for sharing your difficult dilemma. I know there are many women who can relate to your situation as they negotiate their way through relationship challenges.

From an outsiders view point, this may seem like an easy problem to solve, or perhaps even insignificant, however judgements do little to diminish how you feel. Noone walks in your shoes other than yourself, therefore your relationship is unique.

Throughout my years, of helping couples with their relationship problems, I have been encouraged to see the positive outcomes when both persons are willing to work with each other. Alternatively, I have been dismayed by the stubbornness of the ones who dig in their heals and who are unwilling to compromise. Without a doubt cooperation is the key to unlocking a more peaceful homelife.

Therefore, I applaud you both for navigating your way through your issues by talking to each other, and agreeing to follow through with changes to improve your life together. These are not easy conversations and I completely understand negotiations can be mentally exhausting, but ultimately satisfying when it results in a win-win for both of you.

So I am not at all surprised that you sound almost defeated and feel unwilling to return to this same issue once again. However, in my experience I have found if there are recurring problems or ones that resurface after a period of calm, then there is often an underlying issue, which has not been addressed. It is because of this that I would encourage you to broach this subject again with your husband.

This conversation is essential, particularly as you are experiencing feelings of loneliness. These feelings of loss or lack are completely subjective and may indicate a mismatch in the quality and/or quantity of your interaction with each other. However, this may not be how he sees things as one person’s perception of togetherness may be quite different to another. Perhaps he does not feel the need to be together 24/7, and so this opens to the discussion of ‘me time’ or ‘alone time’.

I bring this up because I have observed how some people underestimate the importance of companionship, in their relationship. For many, it is the very reason why they entered ‘coupledom’ in the first place and their natural expectation is to have a constant companion.

Alternatively, some have not learned or witnessed growing up how couples interact with each other, or perhaps it is quite simply their careers limit their free time.

However, maybe it all comes down to..

Do we create our own happiness? What do you think? Is it possible to live in our own little happiness? Or does living with someone mean we are heavily influenced by their happiness? What’s your opinion or belief on this? Or is it just a choice?

Either way, here are a few tips to get you started…

1) Define Happiness for YOU. What would you like to think, feel, and experience? I’m imagining that you’re wanting experiences that make you feel needed, wanted, and loved. So, think long and hard about where you have been in the past (time, place, person) when you’ve felt that needed, wanted, and loved. That’s what you recognise/ acknowledge as happiness. It may be a moment in time or longer. It’s yours, not mine nor anyone else’s – how your mind, body and soul felt, in that moment. That’s Your Happiness.

2) Decide: To React or Not To React? Listening to free-flying insults, designed to produce a knee-jerk response from either of you, is not acceptable, nor a solution. Emotion meeting Emotion escalates and, more often than not, implodes! Practice a healthier response for fifteen minutes every day.

  1. a)  Sitting together with no distractions (phones off, no internet, no tv, no children close by).
  2. b)  Face-to-face, take turns listening, fully engaged. Don’t interrupt. Don’t problem-solve. Don’t criticize. Don’t put them down..
  3. c)  Ask them to do the same for you. By becoming a Great Listener, you gain the right to then ask for the same in return.

3) Try to talk with honesty and openness about sensitive issues involving Trust and Respect. Now you very well may not get anywhere with this. These are the painful and delicate areas. Go gently. But try. By gaining balance in your life, you can then concentrate on filling your life with happiness.

Remember if you can not do this alone, then you know where to find me!

Relationship and intimacy specialist Maggie Bain– also known as the Bare Naked Coach– has returned to the Bahamas to help local couples repair their relationships. She will be answering questions which she has received for Tribune Woman in the hopes of helping individuals with similar romantic problems. The column comes out the 2nd & last Tuesday of each month.

Maggie Bain is a relationship and intimacy specialist with Family Medicine Center on Blake Road. Book a consultation at 702-9310 ext. 130 or click here to book an appointment.

Publish Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2023, The Tribune