I was cleaning my boyfriend’s cupboard and found a stack of porn he keeps. When I confronted him he said it was something he had for a long time. Why does he still have it if he has me in his life? Isn’t this just a dirty habit? (By : Miss Prude)

Dear Miss Prude,
Oh! Which one did he have? Ask him if he’s seen the Naughty Miss America series… They’re really good! Ok, on another note, I suggest you get over this horrified feeling. He’s not cheating on you. He’s just enjoying himself. It’s not an evil. And yes even if he has you, he will still need the porn. Like you will still need to go to the parlour even if you’re in a relationship. Or the fact that you might still ogle at Hrithik Roshan every once in a while. Both of you are individuals who will do things for yourself. That doesn’t take away from the love you have for each other. Or the passion he might feel for you. Porn is huge business worldwide and has its own Cannes Film Festival! You can also try and watch the porn with him or even separately. You might get some ideas! So get over it and get on with it. Good luck!

I fell in love with a man and we had some amazing dates. Then he got a job abroad and left. Right now, we have a long distance relationship and it’s becoming a strain. Both of us are middle class people who can’t afford to travel up and down often. What should I do? (By : Lost @ Sea)

Dear Lost at Sea,
Long distance relationships are extremely tough. You need to have so much more love, patience and trust than you do with a relationship where you meet often. So start by giving that instead of demanding it. Use technology to the best of your advantage. Skype often to see what both of you are doing. Text message each other whenever you think of him. Make your conversation more about the other person, your common interests, something new you learned that day and how you’re both feeling. Keep the conversations light and fresh. Don’t get boring. If it starts dragging, take a break of a few days and then come back and talk to him. Never blame the other person for not being there for you. Keep “distance” as a state of mind. Think he lives at the other side of town and he cannot be with you right now. Also, remember to keep it naughty and interesting. Let your imagination run wild. Work hard and earn enough to take a vacation once a year to see each other. After all, love is worth the effort. Have a goal. Work towards it. All the best!

My man is quite a lady’s man. The problem is he is very good looking and I am quite plain. He flirts with every woman in the party whenever we go out. I have told him to stop but he says it’s harmless. Is it really? (By : Mrs. Jane)

Dear Plain Jane,
There is no one in the world who has a right to make you feel small. It doesn’t matter if he is Brad Pitt, he is not allowed to do something that you have requested him not to do. Are you afraid that if you give him an ultimatum, he will leave you? What if he says he’ll stop but continues behind your back, would you prefer an “ignorance is bliss” scenario? Is being with a man who makes you suspicious better than being alone (for some time)? Are you more conscious of your looks than his being popular? You need to consider these questions. You need to know you’re goddamn gorgeous and he should think so too. However, if you still feel you need to get more clarity, try flirting with men at parties that you both go to. After a few shindigs if he’s not jealous and doesn’t care if you’re dancing closely with another man, you definitely need to dump him! Because you need a man who will not only dance closely, but want to only dance with you.

I have been married for 8 years and my husband has never bought me any jewelry. At the time of wedding, I got one small ring from his side and a thin gold necklace. Now that he is earning, shouldn’t he get me something? (By : Kaaya)

Dear Kaaya,
What? You didn’t get any sets from your husband? No polki, diamonds, kundan or emeralds? This is just shocking! I’m kidding of course! An austere wedding is a beautiful and rare one. But now, that your husband is earning well and you’ve dedicated 8 years of your life being a devoted wife, you deserve some pretty pieces! Please go ahead and ask politely, remind him of your love and use any ploy you can to get what you want. You can also save some money and buy something nice for yourself. The pleasure you will get in buying your own jewelry matches nothing that a man can give you. It offers you a sense of liberation and independence. Also remember that if your husband is the only earning member of your house, maybe most of the income is going in household expenditure, children’s schooling and maybe even vacations with probably just a little kept for life savings. If there is sufficient after all expenses, use your prudence to ask at a convenient time when he is most happy and calm. At the end of the day, you have a man who loves you. That in itself is worth tons of gold!

I’ve been married for 12 years and feel that I’ve lost all sexual urges. I just don’t want it anymore. I’m 33. Am I becoming a nun? (By : Maria)

Dear Maria,
No you’re not becoming a nun! You’ve probably had sex with just one man your whole life and are bored. This doesn’t mean you go out and find another man! It only means you need to try out new things. Apart from saying the regular things of buying sexy lingerie, lighting your bedroom with candles and using satin sheets, putting on soft music and feeling sexy yourself, I would advise to experiment a little more. Do read a bit of erotica, watch a few sensuous films, and get some toys to play around with. Ever tried it with wax, whipped cream, or champagne? Ever given a strip tease with Pussycat Dolls’ Buttons song in the background? Have you ever blindfolded him and done naughty things for arousal? Ever cooked with just an apron on and surprised him, or worn a sexy sari with a tube blouse and asked him to take you out for an impromptu dinner, or tied him to the bed with his office tie and kissed him passionately? You need to take the initiative to do fun things. Stop feeling shy! Tell him what you want and how he can help. Make sure you have sex at least three times a week! Do get back to vanilla sex after experimenting occasionally to have a normal married life. Now go rock his world!

I earn more money in my marriage than my husband and it is causing problems. What do I do? (By : Pankhuri)

Dear Pankhuri,
Ooff. Men and their egos! You have a right to whatever you earn because you’ve worked hard to get it and enjoy it. But some men feel slighted that they can’t provide for their family. As traditional roles, they’ve always wanted to be the provider and wanted the woman to be the nurturer. However, since the roles have reversed, they just don’t know how to nurture or provide and feel useless. You need to make him feel as if he’s the provider. Let him continue putting money for the household needs. Ask him to help you with work stuff sometimes. Request him to manage certain bills. Once you have delegated what he can spend, and what you can put in as well, each of you should save at least 20% of what you earn. You might feel flushed with money right now and want to flaunt it by buying pretty things for yourself but this will not only aggravate the situation, it will leave you a pauper later. Also, try and be a little discreet about your bonuses, etc if you know he won’t like it. Instead, you can sponsor certain things that you both want to do together. Like an exotic vacation where you bond or redo the house and his space. Money is great to have but Love gives you strength to get it. Don’t lose one over another.

I invited a few friends over and I had this instant connect with a man who I ended up spending the entire evening with. He gets me better than my husband does and I’m insanely attracted to him. Is this my true love? (By : Tahira)

Dear Tahira,
I’m not denying the fact that True Love can happen outside a marriage. But this man “gets” you just because you want him to and because your husband hasn’t been spending enough time with you. Women love being “understood,” appreciated and celebrated. When you got married, your husband was doing that. Now he’s trying to do more for you than just sit and talk to you for hours. He’s saving for a future, for the dreams you told him you wanted to have with him. Honestly! A part of you may want to take up the “challenge” of getting the other man to fall in love with you. Somewhere you might think he makes you feel desirable. This is all dangerous territory my friend. Close your eyes and picture yourself with each of the men separately, in a house, being a wife, a mother of their kids, and living a life, having a career and travelling with them. If those are your final goals, then make the correct choice with the correct man. Give that man a chance. Be true whether it’s your husband or not… True Love should happen within your marriage.

Whenever there’s a dispute between my mother in law and me, my husband always takes his mother’s side. I’m newly married and feel very alone. Help. (By : Shruti)

Dear Shruti,
Married life is about making compromises. You need to choose if you want to win a battle and be right or let some things go and have peace. No husband takes his wife’s side in the beginning. Even he is a newlywed husband! He’s loved his mother all his life. It’s difficult to go against her. That doesn’t mean he loves you any less. He wishes both of you would sort it out as adults. He married you for your intelligence and he wants you to use it! Firstly, you need to talk to your mother in law about what she expects from you and tell her what you can and cannot do from the list. Assure her that you love her and want to comply with the rules of the house but you need your identity as well. Secondly, speak to your husband honestly about what’s troubling you and how he can help. Is it a job? A child? Financial security? Boredom? If the honeymoon phase is over, you need to start doing more with your time. If you’re working and are supposed to do all the housework, get a maid that you pay for. Chip in for things around the house. And don’t always wait for your husband to sort out your life. Have a life apart from your husband! Remember that you are loved in your new home!

My husband buys me very expensive clothes that I don’t like! He hates my choice and insists I wear what he gets me. It’s stressing me out. (By : Suman)

Dear Suman,
Are the expensive clothes that bad? Many women would be happy if their husbands shopped for them. It shows he cares. Having said that, if you really don’t like the clothes, you can exchange them for what you do like. If you can’t do that, make an excuse for not wearing them all the time. Maybe fibbing about not getting the blouse made for the sari he bought, or that your office doesn’t like such colours, or even that you’ve lost weight and need to get it altered could discontinue his insistence and maintain peace in the house. You might need to give in to his choice occasionally. For a family function where all his relatives would be, you should ask him what you can wear and he will feel he’s participating in your dressing. Maybe at the function you can confide in your husband’s relative saying you feel awkward in the clothes he has bought and maybe an outside perspective would discourage him from buying you more stuff that is expensive. They can then talk to him about it. You can also go shopping with your husband where both of you can come to a common decision about clothes. Have a nice lavish lunch afterwards to make up for the arguments you may have. And if you still don’t like your clothes, you can always donate them to charity!

My husband gives me money for the house but he never tells me how much he’s earning. Don’t I have a right to know? It’s leading to many fights.(By : Tina)

Dear Tina,
They say you should never ask a man his salary and a woman her age. But in a marriage it’s essential. In an ideal world, you should send him a mail telling him that sharing your financial assets is a part of marriage. Ask him why he doesn’t trust you, try and build that conviction so that one day he can open up to you. Give him time and don’t nag him about it. Or you could just be devious. Have a lovely dinner party calling his colleagues and their wives. Snoop around by asking the wives what a man in your husband’s position is making. Also, ask your husband’s Chartered Accountant and banker for statements. You can also see it online if you know his password. His password will probably be something he was passionate about in college! Moreover, if it’s still bothering you, be the devil and go to his mother! Ask her how to solve this problem as you feel there’s not enough faith in your marriage. See if she has any information. If nothing helps, let it be. Seriously, ask for a little more money to run the house and keep a few thousand away for you. It can be emergency money for the house when you need it. And you can keep that your little secret!

I’m getting married next month and am quite anxious about the wedding night. I’m a virgin. Are there any tips for not goofing up? (By : Priyanka)

Dear Priyanka,
Congratulations on remaining a virgin until you get married. Wonderful achievement. Don’t worry about the wedding night too much. The more you worry, the more you will be tense. You need to enjoy yourself. Connect with your husband. If it’s in a hotel, keep the room temperature to a comfortable degree for both of you, instead of feeling too cold. Also, make sure that you put the do not disturb sign outside your door and on your phone so you have enough privacy. Start with foreplay. Kissing, cuddling, necking, touching gently, slowly removing each other’s clothes, softly running your fingers down each other’s back and gently to other areas. Don’t be intimated. This is your spouse. Ask each other what you want and do those things like kissing more behind the neck or lying down and him kissing you all over your back. Wear some satin/sexy lingerie and a light perfume. Don’t rush into the act. It may hurt a bit if you’re tense but tell him to go slowly and gradually. Close your eyes and let your body relax as if it’s floating on water. Let the tingling sensation take over. Use a lubricant if you need to. Also, figure out if you need to use a condom or take an emergency contraceptive the next day in case you don’t want to get pregnant. Have fun!

I live with my in laws and they always want me to dress in salwar kameezes. I’m a modern woman. I want to dress in western clothes but they just don’t like it. What do I do? (By : Trisha)

Dear Trisha,
Clothes do not make a person. A good nature does. If your in laws love you and support you in everything you do, wouldn’t it just be easier to keep the peace in the family by wearing what they want you to? Alternatively, when you go out with your husband, you can wear what you like. If it’s for family functions go shopping with your mother in law and come to a common conclusion on the outfits you need to wear. If none of this works, wear the salwar kameez when you leave the house but change for those few hours when you’re out with friends. Just remember, if you are caught you’ll have a lot of answering to do. Also, communicate with your husband on what you want to wear and why they are not letting you do so. Is it because they do not want people talking ill about your reputation and character? Or they are scared that you might attract unwanted attention? Let them know that you are strong and independent and can handle yourself in such situations. Moreover, if you live in a very conservative family, I’d just like to say you knew what you were getting into. Why not try to adapt to their wishes sometimes. After all, marriage is about compromise.

My husband has put on so much weight that I am not attracted to him anymore. He doesn’t care about his body and our sex life has deteriorated. What should I do?(By : Amrita)

Dear Amrita,
You need to get to the root of why he has let himself go. Is he looking after the kids while managing a career? Is he over worked at office? Is he depressed about something? One evening take some time out and cook his favourite meal or take him out and ask him how you can help him get back into shape. Ask him if he wants to join a gym that you can sponsor for three months. Alternatively, you can take over his time at home with kids while he goes to play a sport. If you nudge him to look after his body, he will make an effort. Do not stock junk food at home. Try to cook healthy meals and packs lunches for him to take. Be sure to let him eat some special treats occasionally. Maybe you can go for a walk together instead of him doing it alone. It’s important to just keep the chemistry on in the bedroom instead of focusing on the negative. If you grumble and complain about his weight while he’s trying to make love, his mood will be off. Men have fragile egos. A healthy family is a happy family. Don’t give up. There’s a fine line between nagging and encouraging. Remember you loved him for more than his body. Be supportive now.

My husband travels frequently and it’s difficult for me to find a job wherever we go. I don’t know if I should stay in one place with a job or move with him. Pl advise. (By : Kiara)

Dear Kiara,
It’s difficult to find a balance between a career and a marriage for every woman but it’s far more difficult if you’re constantly on the move. If it’s the early stages of your marriage and you’ve taken a sabbatical from your job, then do travel with your husband to set a good foundation with him. If you’re in a fabulous job with a great support system at a particular place, stay in your job and figure out how to manage visits frequently. Ask for more flexi timings to work from your husband’s place as well. If you do decide to stay with your husband and give up your job, find an alternate career that doesn’t require regular office hours – writing, painting, cooking, interior design, teaching, architecture, law, etc that you can easily find people willing to pay for your services anywhere in the world. Also the internet has opened up many job opportunities for people anywhere in the world. You can be paid to blog, write reviews about books/ movies or be a personal shopper. Joining classes, getting a degree or forming clubs also helps expand your horizon. A career is not just about bonuses and paychecks. It’s also about expanding your horizons and growing as an individual. If you have the love and support of your husband, the sky is the limit!

I’ve been married for 15 years since I was 21. I want to do something different for a change and my husband just doesn’t seem to understand that I need a life apart from him and our kids. The constant strife is breaking our marriage. Help.(By : Smita)

Dear Smita,
Very often in the search for ourselves, we forget the people who were a part of who we are until now. Looking for new things to do should not mean you dissociate from the things that kept you happy for the last 15 years. Your husband and your children were also a part of your growth. And they will continue to remain so if you give them a chance. You must do new things. It’s wonderful to have a different circle of friends and interests from your spouse. It helps you diversify yourself. But always remember never to leave your partner out of it. Even if he doesn’t understand the new you, the different hobbies or your additional friends, you must make every attempt to bond with him and let him know how you appreciate his support. When miscommunication occurs, address it immediately instead of pulling away. Sometimes the space becomes so much that there is a vast distance between a married couple in the same house. He’s worried you will find someone else to love, or not be the same person he fell in love with. Let him know how you’re evolving and what you need from him. Contribute to the marriage and the house in a new way. Let him grow with you.

I am in love with my boss. He is not married. He flirts with me as well. What should I do? (By : Shikha)

Dear Shikha,
Since we work 10 to 12 hours in a work environment, proximity to someone always stimulates deep emotions. It feels fresh, new, and adventurous. However, a romantic involvement with a superior is always messy. It will affect your reputation in the end. Either stop the flirtation or if you think his feelings are reciprocated speak to him directly, ask him to speak to the HR and take your relationship forward. There could be rules against it. You will gain neither personally or professionally if he is toying with you. If he is not in the same department, and he is not your boss, be careful with work relationships. If they break off, you will still see the person every day and it could get depressing. If feelings are mutual and genuine, consider transferring within the company or finding another job. Also, know that no amount of flirting can help you if you’re not good at your job. Merit always pays. In the work area, there are always fine lines between being friendly and being a friend. You can be pleasant and aloof but still succeed. To distract yourself, make a list of your goals and keep a picture of your idol at your desk to see every day. Flirting, gossiping, partying are not going to get you to the top of the professional ladder. To find a man, join a dating site!

I married my childhood sweetheart and had a child early. Post that I stopped working. Even though I’ve done an MBA and was working in a bank, I haven’t had a job in years. I feel I’ve lost my identity and my family takes me for granted. Please help.(By : Kavita)

Dear Kavita,
As mothers, we are accustomed to giving constantly. We’re cooking, cleaning, managing a house and dealing with the help on a daily basis. All this requires patience and understanding. Hence, we must start giving ourselves credit for being great homemakers. Not everyone is capable of being so. We must also realize that sometimes we need to stop giving even if we still can. By saying “no” occasionally, you will become a better giver and people will take you less for granted. We submerge our identities in our families wanting them to approve and appreciate us. But by doing do so, we lose ourselves till we’re frustrated and resent them. It’s not their fault that they’re taking you for granted. You allowed it to be so. Either you give with all your heart, or you refuse and let them deal with the issue at that time. You don’t always have to make the child’s favourite food because they demand it. Let her eat what’s there. You don’t need to give all your time to the family just because you have it. Make room for yourself. Start a hobby. Do something constructive and creative that allows you freedom and happiness. You’ll find yourself in no time!

My boyfriend of three years has suddenly broken it off saying his mother cannot accept another caste girl as a daughter in law. I really want him back. Please help.(By : Sarita)

Dear Sarita,
It’s a shame that the man didn’t appreciate your worth. It’s a greater shame that you still don’t see it. You must be feeling terrible that you invested three years of your life. However, if you had married him and his mother had hated you, then you would have suffered your entire life. Take the memories and lessons from this relationship and keep them in your heart. Think of it as a wonderful growth experience. Sometimes people come into our lives so that we can teach them how to be better people. Maybe that’s what your purpose was with him. There also comes a point in our lives when we need to revaluate our goals and whom we want to be with. Maybe this is a sign that you’ve been spending too much time on giving to someone else and too little on focusing on yourself. Some people come into your life as catalysts of what you need to do. They are not meant to stay. They’re meant to push you into doing something more with your life. Maybe he gave you an idea that you should explore or more confidence that you didn’t have. Go do something with your life. Leaving an old flame behind could be the worst feeling in the world right now but it leaves a window for someone better to come along!

My husband is very stingy. He refuses to take me to dinners or buy me anything. He gives money to run the house but refuses to splurge on anything else. How do I make him a little generous? (By : Pallavi)

Dear Pallavi,
Money matters are always sensitive in any relationship. Approach this carefully. Ask him about the EMIs he has or investments he has made for the future. Maybe a large chunk of his money goes into savings. Figure out if there is a way you can cut down on the household expenditure in any way. If you save from your end a little bit, you will have enough to splurge on yourself or the family later. Have a frank discussion with him about what his dreams are and what are the short-term goals you both have. If he wants to save for the next twenty years, let him know the things you need on a regular basis to last the twenty years with him. Don’t be too demanding. If you need a vacation, make it a small, budget friendly one. If you want to buy clothes, make sure they’re not designer. If you want to eat out, you can still have romantic dinner with your husband and friends at reasonable places. Also don’t let your peer group pressurize you to live large. Start working and contributing as well. Even if you get a small income, you can spend it on the things you desire instead of continuously asking him. Remember, materialistic things fade with time. A strong relationship remains forever!

I’m 35 years old. I’ve been in a relationship for the last 3 years with a very sweet man who loves me dearly. The problem is that I am a traditional Indian woman. I want to get married, have children, and look after a house. The man wants me to have a career, be economically independent and doesn’t want to be the sole provider for the relationship. What do I do? (By : Radha)

Dear Radha,
A large percentage of men in India still desire a traditional role for a woman. Unfortunately you went and fell in love with the opposite percentage. The man has a point. Women today do need to work and feel self satisfied with their lives otherwise they will depend only on the man or their children for their economic well being and emotional stability. You may not want a career, but you need to have a hobby that keeps you preoccupied enough to be somewhat independent. Alternatively, you need to make him understand that opposites can make it work! If he doesn’t get it, take a one month break from each other where you promise to be celibate and faithful to decide whether you truly need each other. This entails as little communication. Write down what you feel with and without each other. Taking the entire month off is very necessary since a few days won’t give you an entire perspective. It will be hard but it will give clarity! In the end, it is ok to be alone than be in a marriage where you had history, but have no future.

I’m getting married next week and I’m having the wedding jitters. I’m still a virgin and don’t know how to approach my husband. What if he laughs at me? Pl help.(By : Bindiya)

Dear Bindiya
It is normal to be nervous and anxious about your wedding night. But you should stop being afraid of the act. First, tell your husband that you’re a virgin and to be gentle. Second, get into the mood of the act. Buy some lubricants for yourself. Light some candles around the room. Wear a soft, satin negligee. If you can think that you’re going to have fun, you probably will. Third, don’t do any stunts that you may have seen in movies, videos or read about. Let him take the lead for now. Be comfortable with your husband. Start with lots of foreplay – kissing, cuddling, touching, necking, stroking. Don’t be afraid to explore his body and let him explore yours. Ease into the act. Don’t tense up. Preferably, don’t have people swarming around your bedroom door! Let them all go away before you begin. Remember the first time will be a little difficult and there may be some discomfort. Try again till you get into a rhythm and let your body go with the flow. Sex is a great way to connect with your husband and you’ll soon love it! P.S – Even if he does laugh, laugh with him. It’s supposed to be fun and the first time is awkward for everyone!

My husband travels a lot for work and we stay alone. Everyone is now pressurizing me to have children. I have just turned 30. I feel I will probably be raising this kid on my own if I decide to have it. On the other hand, I might be too old once things settle down. What should I do?(By : Saira)

Dear Saira,
30 is young! Please stop letting people get to you! Motherhood is a wonderful experience but balancing work and motherhood can be tough if you have to do it alone. Once you get pregnant, you’ll need to hire a full time nanny who can look after the baby even if your husband stops traveling. Ask your mom/mother in law if they can help once you deliver. Figure out your finances for medical expenses & your work situation. Do a medical check up to see if you and your partner are healthy. Then take the time to think if you really want it or you’re doing it to make someone happy. Ideally 30 or before is great to have children since your body recovers faster and you have enough energy to run after the kids. But there’s nothing that says you can’t have your kid at 35 or even 40 if your body allows it. It just gets a little tougher. Your husband might always travel and not “settle” down. Be prepared to be the main caregiver for the baby for the rest of your life. Then enjoy trying to make a baby!

My husband cheated on me and now that it’s over with the other woman, he wants to come back to me. Should I take him back? (By : Anita)

Dear Anita,
Forgiveness is the most divine virtue. But I can understand you’re outraged and upset. I would recommend you don’t go with your heart on this problem. Use your head instead. Is he a good husband? Does he provide for you? Is he a good father? Are you both loving and caring towards each other? If you feel this indiscretion was just a one-night affair, let him back into your home with a condition that you both will go seek a marriage counselor to make it work. If it was an emotional affair that lasted many months/years, let him see a therapist and then both of you see a counselor together. He has to respect you not to do it again. Communicate to each other and don’t keep bringing the topic up if you see he’s trying to make a difference. Start from scratch and woo each other again. Value each other! If nothing works, separate and find a new life rid of guilt and unhappiness. If both of you have tried everything to save the marriage and you’re still unhappy, it’s better to find peace separately than waste a life. Each of you deserves to be loved wholeheartedly and maybe some distance will put perspective not to take each other for granted again.

I’m involved with a man who is over possessive and extremely jealous. When I’m at home talking to him, he seems to be pleasant and loving. But if I’m out with friends he seems irritable and is constantly messaging me to get back. Even when I go to work, he wants to know why I can’t sit at home and do something. I’ve cut myself from all my friends because it angers him. I don’t want to hurt him but I want my life back. Help. (By : Gauri)

Dear Gauri,
You need to ask yourself what you want from life. Hypothetically, here could be your answers: A) A great job that pays me well and establishes me somewhere. B) A great family that supports me through all my tough times. C) Great friends who I can depend on and have fun with. D) A great man who loves me unconditionally and we grow together since we have the same values. If these are your conditions, look at where the man fits in. He has removed a,b and c for you while not even being d. I know it’s difficult to be single in this world. However, it’s far better to be single and employed than in a relationship and broke. Your friends and family love you for who you are. Be proud of that and lean on them if you need to. Every relationship is supposed to give you love, space and respect. And if this one isn’t, be strong enough to make that decision to let go. I promise you better things are in store.

I am in love with a man but he says he can’t be in love with me just yet. He has been in a bad relationship and needs time to get over it. I wonder how much time? Should I wait for him and help him through this difficult period of his? (By : Dolores)

Dear Dolores,
It seems as if this man is playing teen patti with his cards very close to his heart. He doesn’t want to do a “show” and have you walk away just yet. He might actually have been in a bad relationship and he is guessing that he might have a bad one with you as well. But you know what, that’s his baggage. You need to tell him that you will give him two weeks of alone time to figure out his old relationship and then come to you. After two weeks are over, you will stop waiting for him. That’s enough time for him to get over his past and learn from his mistakes. It puts you in the driver’s seat since he knows you are serious about taking this relationship forward. Moreover, that you won’t be taken for granted but still have a soft spot for him. Remind him you’re not asking for a marriage. You just want a strong, stable man who can commit to being there for now. Later as things progress, you can move to another step. Speak to him face to face about this. Remember you don’t want a shadow of another person in the relationship. Play your cards too.

I’ve been married for five years and after our child was born, our sex life has gone down the drain. Our child sleeps between us at night and I am exhausted looking after him during the day. My husband grumbles that he is forced into celibacy. How can I change this? (By : Samira)

Dear Samira,
Indian families suffer from “the child in bed” syndrome for many years. When you can finally kick the first child out to his own room, another child occupies his space in the bed. There are two ways to rectify this. First, make time for your husband. Leave your child in the good care of a grandparent, maid, neighbour (who you can give presents to later), crèche, etc and have a lovely dinner date with your husband. Do not bring up any topic about your child. It kills the mood. Post this, try and find time for intimacy at home, a hotel, or a friend’s place that is empty. Yes, sex is important in a marriage. Don’t think it’s just great communication. You must not feel guilty that you have left your child for so long. He will live without you for a few hours! Make this a regular feature until you train your child to sleep in his own bed/room. Second, ask your husband to help with the child so that you’re not so exhausted. Lastly, after you put your child to sleep, find other spaces in the room to cuddle and connect with your spouse, even if you don’t have sex. Go from celibacy to celebrating love!

I've broken off the affair I was having with a married man. But I can’t get him out of my mind. He calls me a few times to ask if we can continue our clandestine bit on the side. I am so tempted to give in and be happy. I can’t concentrate on work. Help! (By : Priya)

Dear Priya,
Temporary happiness can never lead to a permanent solution. You know you did the right thing by breaking it off. If he loves you, he will tell his wife and take proper steps to be with you. But right now he’s only thinking about his future. Think about YOUR future. One day you might want to get married and have kids. Do you want to be in the middle of a long battle over his attention, money, and property while defending your reputation? The sad fact is that this society does not look favourably upon the “other woman.” There are a few things you can do. First, take a week off from work and go with a friend or by yourself on your dream vacation. Travelling single opens new doors. Second, take up a new hobby. Gym, painting, designing, pottery etc. Think out of your comfort zone. Third, you can try to socialize a bit more. Go out and meet all your friends who you’ve only been facebook chatting with! It might lead to a new connection. There are so many interesting fish in the sea. Don’t go back to the one that’s already been caught. It raises quite a stink!

I’m attracted to my best friend’s boyfriend. And I think he’s attracted to me. Whenever we all go out, he gives me these slide glances and flirts with me. He’s tried to talk to me on the phone a few times but I’ve pretended to be busy. I’ve never felt like this for anyone. What should I do? (By : Meghna)

Dear Meghna,
The forbidden fruit always seems to be the most tempting and is proven to be the most bitter. Don’t go down a road where you will hurt your friend and make you feel lousy. It seems that he’s still trying to explore his options while being with your friend. He might do the same when he’s with you! If he breaks his relationship with your friend because his feelings aren’t strong enough for her and then asks you out, you can think about going out with him. But this can only be done after you’ve checked with your friend if it’s ok and she won’t be hurt by it. It’s a long winding road but it’s one that will keep everyone happy. Until they break up and she’s healed, I suggest you avoid him and this group partying. A friendship is built over many years of compromise, camaraderie, caring and bonding. To give that up for a whimsical love affair would make you feel very guilty later. And if he truly loves you he will wait till you’re ready to be with him. If he doesn’t you can try to find a man outside the best friend pool.

I’m in love with two men! I have a boyfriend who went away for 6 months to study abroad and has now come back. In the meantime, a new person at work started taking interest in me and I became very attracted to him. I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years and I don’t want to let him go. But I’ve fallen in love with my colleague as well. What should I do? (By : Confused Clara)

Dear Clara,
You can’t stay with someone because you’ve had history with them. You stay with someone because you feel there is no one else you want to be with. There are two choices for you. Either you tell your colleague that you are in a relationship and need time to figure it out before you can be with him, or you tell your boyfriend that you have found someone new and let him take the decision whether he chooses to be with you or not. Either ways you need to be honest to the men and yourself. Exploring new territory while deceiving your boyfriend will make you feel guilty and you will come out looking shallow. It’s alright to fall in love with new people. We are constantly changing as human beings and our needs are expanding and diminishing. However, our ethical values must remain intact. Maybe you should give one last attempt in salvaging a three-year relationship before plunging into the world of dating once again. Communicate what you want. A good man will attempt to make it work. And good men are hard to find!

I'm in love with a man 10 years younger to me. All my friends mock me and say it won’t last. But I feel so happy with him. Should I give him up to save face with family and friends?(By : Shibani/ Mrs Robinson!)

Dear Shibani,
Even though women are independent and self sufficient, we are all looking for a person who can understand us and share a part of our lives. When a person comes along and he “gets” us, we hardly care if he is younger, older, thinner, poorer, and famous or not. We bask in the glory of Love. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what people say as long as you are happy. Those people may have done what they think is right for society and may even be extremely miserable in their lives. Who’s to say a younger man can’t give you intellectual stimulation, spiritual growth or be plain fantastic in bed and make you terribly ecstatic? You don’t need to justify it but if you want, you can say, “I get 100% satisfaction in my relationship. How much do you get?” Be aware though that maybe there will come a time when he wants a family and you might not. Currently he is nurturing your soul and you don’t need anything else. When both of you start wanting more, age will play a role. Communicate your wants, desires, fears and grow with each other constantly. Nothing should stop both of you from being together forever. Don’t listen to people. Listen to your heart.

I’ve been married for a few years and have one child. My husband wants to get intimate with me but I’m just not in the mood anymore. What do I do? (By : Vandana)

Dear Vandana,
Intimacy is one of the most important things in a happy marriage. But if you don’t connect mentally, you can’t connect physically. Try a few things. First, bring the romance back into your relationship. Spend a few evenings going out for a romantic dinner where both of you talk about yourselves. Leave the child at home with a responsible adult. You need to start connecting with your husband again. Talk about yourself, your dreams, his plans and the special memories when you liked being intimate. It might stir a few feelings. Begin slowly. Touch each other’s hands and enjoy cuddling. Gradually increase the contact. Make sure you tell your husband that you are trying and need time. Don’t give up if he is impatient. Second, you should try to indulge yourself. Go shopping for some racy lingerie, a new dress, and get a relaxing massage. Do things that will make you feel sexy again. If you were adventurous before you had your child, do something that made you feel “alive” before pregnancy. Invest in yourself. You deserve some pampering. Lastly, don’t be afraid. Conquer the mental fear. Get lubricants and take it slowly. Your husband loves you and wants to bond only with you. Tell him how to help you. You’ll do great!

My best friend and I both like the same man. How do we resolve this? (By : Cleo)

Dear Cleo,
Have you asked the man whom he likes? Suppose he picks your friend over you, will you be okay with meeting them as a couple? Who is more important to you? If you think that your heart is correct and you love the man, you must tell him. Do not wait for him to decide. Be honest with your best friend about how you feel about him. If she still doesn’t want to back down and has the same level of feelings, you have to decide whether your friendship is more important or the feelings in your heart. Also, be patient with yourself. Be friends with the man for a while. Get to know him a little. More often than not, you find that feelings of infatuation fade away. Give your friend leeway to meet him as a friend and get to know him too. If after a month or two, you both decide you still like him and he can’t make up his mind, sit down and talk about the future. You might enjoy the dating part but if it leads to something more serious, then you should be on the same page about what your goals and needs are. Don’t make it abstract. Be certain. Then make up your mind. If nothing goes in your favour, please know that there are many more men for you and patience pays.

My husband wants to go out and party on New Year’s while I want to stay at home. This is the case on most days. He’s a party animal and I’m a homely person. How do we resolve the conflict? (By : Swati)

Dear Swati,
Each individual is having a different mood this New Year’s Eve. Some want to celebrate life and enjoy the year that has been tough for them while others want to be quiet and reflect. Do what your heart wants. Let him go out, meet his friends, and have a good time. Don’t deny him that. But tell him that for tonight, you need to reflect on something larger. The mood of the nation is somber. And you sympathize with a larger issue at stake. While you understand that he can’t reflect with you or be in the same space as you, it’s okay for both of you to do different things occasionally. In the coming year, attend parties that you both decide on beforehand that are important to you. If you don’t want to go for all, tell him you’d rather spend time with him than in a big group. Also remember that we’ve been given this life for three things: to work hard, to love deeply and to stand up for someone else, a larger cause that can change humanity. Find the balance to do all and you’ll be successful. Find the strength to accept your husband for wanting different things. And make the marriage work!

My parents are really getting on my nerves. They have been telling me to get married for the longest time and I have run out of excuses to give them. Even after supplying them with a subscription for Cosmo magazine, they refuse to understand that a woman in her 30s can be happy and independent. Please tell me what to do. (By : Sexy Single)

Dear Sexy Single,
Stop kidding yourself. Your parents will always want you married. So before you spend another decade of thinking of excuses and avoiding family functions, you need to put a stop to it. Have a pretend wedding. Find a man whose arm you can twist into doing this. He may be a colleague, a junior, or your best friend from next door. Land up at your parents place wearing a designer outfit, sindoor in your head and a big ugly mala around your neck. Have the boy do the same. Get a fake certificate made. Declare that you have got married. If they act surprised tell them you needed to rush into it as you are expecting but did not want the entire family to know. Act married for a few weeks and then take it from there. If you actually like the person, you can continue with this pretense and have another wedding. If you do not like him, tell your parents you’re getting the marriage annulled as he only married you for your child and since that’s not happening anymore, he’s left. They might be heartbroken, but they’ll not pressurize you for a while seeing how `devastated’ you must feel. Mission Accomplished. Also, those Cosmos are now in your brother’s room!

I’m a working woman and quite ambitious. But my boss is a leach. He keeps hitting on me. I can’t quit and find another job since I’ve spent so much time here building my reputation and putting in so much work. Should I just give in to him? What do I do?(By : Career Climber)

Dear Career Climber,
You should be proud of all you’ve achieved and aim to go higher. But you must never mix business with pleasure. Looking up to your boss in more ways than one is just not done! Keep a distance. Always call him “Sir” even if he insists you call him by his name. Have a colleague or two interrupt meetings when you’re alone with him. If things get worse, start having a backup plan. Tape all his conversations on your mobile slyly. Save all mails and sms, you send to him and vice versa. Your answers must be to the point and business like. Do tell him that you’re in the company to do your work and you respect him as a mentor and guide. If he still acts funny, you can present all this evidence to him and tell him clearly that you will not take this harassment any more. Also be nice, courteous and work diligently with everyone. If you slack off, he’ll have reason to fire you. If all else fails, declare you’re “gay” and never show your private life to office people. Sad things we must do in this day and age but cest la vie!

My husband refuses to pay attention to me. During the week, he's busy with work and on weekends, he either plays golf or sits and watches TV. Please tell me how to break out of this rut.(By : Deeply Disappointed)

Dear Disappointed,
It seems your husband has not transitioned from bachelor life to married life. He still feels it’s his life and you need to adjust to it. What you can do is start getting involved with his life. Take the initiative to go out for dinners and movies. Pencil in sex every now and then. There are two types of men in the world, the silent ones who like doing things, and the talkative ones whom you can sort issues out with. If your man is more the silent type talking to him about your feelings is only going to piss him off. Plan vacations when you know its holiday time for you, drag him for the movie that you want to see, treat him to a nice hearty dinner without asking him to eat healthy. However, let him be some weekends to sit on his couch and watch TV or play golf while you do your own thing. Individually you need to grow as human beings as much as you need to as a couple. He might never take the initiative. It does not mean you need to give up on it. Think of yourself as the man in the relationship. Then what would you do? Now go ahead and do it!

I have been married for four years and now find myself attracted to another man. My husband has become extremely boring and continues to ignore me. I know I don’t want to get a divorce but is it ok if I have a slight fling? (By : Dangerously Lusty)

Dear Lusty,
Morality lies in the eyes of the betrayed. If you have a fling and are careful, you can easily get away with it. However if he gets to know, the emotional scar that you could leave on him might make you feel wretched your entire life. Tread cautiously. Having said that let me remind you that while you might think this new man is exciting, adventurous, and attractive, eventually he will turn out to be ordinary, boring, and ugly. All men are the same. They have three emotions hungry, horny, and sleepy. The rest is padded with work, politics, and sports. Instead of running away with new men when the four-year itch comes around, dig deeper into why you fell in love with your husband in the first place. Most relationships need to come with a refresh button. Make a list of the things you need from your husband telling specifically what he can do to revive the relationship at least once a week. Example dinner, movie, going for a drive, etc. Take a step back away from this man you’re attracted to for at least three months. If things don’t work out with your husband then revisit your lusty side. Stay true to both of you!

I was with a man for two years and then he cheated on me. He said it was a one night stand and he was terribly sorry. But I broke up with him. Now all I can do is think about him. Should I take him back or not? (By : Double Crossed)

Dear Double Crossed,
I’ve always wondered where do all the memories go when the relationships die? Sometimes I feel they fester in the aura around us until we move on to something else. There are two ways of looking at this: 1) Forgive him. Then go to a counselor and try to make it work. See the problems both of you had. Do not play the blame game if you truly love each other and want to get back to a caring and respectful space. This will take tremendous effort but if you feel he’s been good to you in all other spheres then you should try and give it one more chance. 2) If you feel you deserve better it is time for you to move on. You need to do things that will keep your mind busy, your body tired, and your heart occupied. Plunge yourself in your job. Take up new assignments. Join a zumba class where you will dance until you are exhausted. Flirt with as many men as you come across, meet your girlfriends and socialize with family members. Enhance your life for the better with or without him! Forget the mistakes but don’t forget the lessons you learned from it.

My boyfriend still hangs out with his ex. I am very jealous and don't know what to do. I don’t want to lose him. Please help! (By : Annoyed Anita)

Dear Annoyed Anita,
If only all of us become sound understanding, the world will be a much better place! As I see it, you can do two things. One you can rave, rant, and tell him he can never see her again. This might result in him going behind your back and seeing her or anyone else. Alternatively, you can let him know that you know about it and leave it at that. Then you can go into a plan B where you rope him back to you. Start behaving less like a wife and more like a sex goddess. Go out partying with your best friends. Make calls in front of him to your male friends. Wear your best clothes and some amazing perfume. Let him walk in on you watching porn but walk away before doing anything. Show him new lingerie you plan to wear but don’t wear it for him. Make plans and cancel dates. After a few days, you can show him the wild yet loving side to you. Then you ask him how his ex is doing in a very caustic manner. If he still insists on seeing her, I suggest you take a deep breath and pack your bags. He is the loser and you shall emerge stronger and better. The world is full of eligible sensible young men.

I've reached a place in my life where all the men I know are taken. I’m single and very lonely. Where do I find companionship? (By : Sulky Single)

Dear Sulky Single,
Have you heard the phrase diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Honestly, love only complicates life. What you should do is meet a few of your disgruntled friends who are married. Listen to their complaints about their boring, tired, uncommunicative husbands and you’ll get a better perspective to love and that eventual state of being -marriage. But I know my advice will fall on deaf ears. So here you go-If you still feel you need companionship, there are online dating sites, old aunts who have a list of “eligible” men they pull out from their kitty and single friends who you should insist on fixing you up. If you are really adventurous, go by yourself otherwise try the tested double date routine with close friends. After you are though with a few dates you may realize that a glass of wine and a good book on a Saturday night might be far more interesting than spending hours with a man who doesn’t see your worth anyway. Men and relationships will happen soon enough. There is no point stressing yourself out about it. If you put yourself out there, the Universe will listen to you and give you the person of your dreams. And if all else fails get a cat. They’re independent, great to talk to and low maintenance.

I’m a little on the plump side and my husband keeps telling me to lose weight. I have been trying but it’s getting harder with him insisting every day. What should I do? (By : Miss Piggy)

Dear Miss Piggy,
Oho! Is your husband George Clooney? If he isn’t then he has no right to tell you how to look. Tell him to get to the People’s magazine of Sexiest Men and then you’ll really be on that diet. Men really need a long, hard look at themselves. WE give them too much importance and put them on a pedestal in every sphere of our lives. If we stop asking for opinions and ignoring their advice, they might treat us better. Tell him a few of his flaws. Actually, tell him ALL his flaws. Then tell him you’re with him despite all of them. If he still insists, tell him you won’t have sex until you finally get a word of praise in for how you look and who you are. Be confident. Men flock to women who are self-assured and have self-respect, with all their flaws. Oprah used to weigh 250 pounds and she was the most powerful women having topped the Forbes list many times! Never let your self-esteem suffer for the sake of a man. In the meantime, go for a walk every day for half an hour. It will clear your head and do wonders for your body too!

I've recently got married and my mother in law is a big pain. I don't know what to do with her. And my husband tells me to sort it out and runs to office as an excuse. Please help!(By : Pareshan Bahu)

Dear Bahu
Have you heard Aishwarya Rai say anything against Jaya? Have you heard Kate Middleton say anything against the Queen? Have you ever heard even Jackie Kennedy complaining about her mother in law? Because they know the secret: You can’t pick a fight! You’re not in some Hindi soap opera where you can walk out and feel liberated. You have to win the mother in law over. Don’t be subservient, but never do anything that will displease her. Take her for movies. Agree with her. Have dinner with her. Once she is eating out of your hands you can plant what you want to do in her head and make it seem as if it was all her idea. Then it’ll seem you’re going ahead with it with her blessings. Even if she says have a kid you must say you are desperately trying but ask if she thinks it’s right to pressurize her son so much after he comes back home from work and wants to spend time with his parents instead? If all else fails, get your own apartment with your hubby and send food or flowers occasionally if you decide not to visit regularly!

I've been married for some time now but my problem is not new. My mother in law insists that I cook for the family. On top of managing a job, a child, a husband, and a house she wants me to cook! Pl tell me how I can kill her and make it look like an accident!(By : Full Time Stress)

Dear Miss Stressy,
I completely relate to your problem. My mil also wanted me to make hot, hot rotis for her son whenever he came back from work saying a cook can never do things with love as a wife can. But the husband hardly cared as long as he got food to eat. It was only the mil who bothered. I could never master the art of rotis but one thing I learnt was making breakfast. A few diff types of eggs, two or three chutney and cheese sandwiches, potato rolls, poha and upma. I topped it with lassi, cold coffee or a hot cup of tea and it was a new breakfast everyday or at least on the weekend when I was free and felt like making it! You could try that as well. That way you can tell your mil that you make the most important meal of the day for your family and your husband will vouch for the fact that you know how to cook! No bloodshed needed!