- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband complains about my lack of sexual interest and calls me frigid. Maybe I am; I don’t even know what frigid means. All I know is he wants “it” all of the time, and it’s making me uncomfortable.

My husband doesn’t understand that, for me, I can make love to him once every other month and be satisfied. He would like it three or four times a day, if I would let him. He says it turns him on when I’m ironing his uniform or preparing dinner.

What’s wrong with him? He wants to come home for lunch and have sex. I didn’t even want to move on post because I knew it would allow him to come home more often during his workday.

Now he is threatening to be with someone else. He says the females in his unit all find him attractive and have let him know they are interested in having a good time with him. He doesn’t understand that this is not showing me respect or love when he talks to me in this manner.

I do not talk to my husband about my views about sex because I know he won’t understand. He comes from a perfect family, and they would never understand some of the things I had to go through. I married him because I felt he would respect me for who I am. Instead, he is treating me like I’m a sex object. I’m 28 years old and I deserve better.

- Wife Whose Husband Thinks I’m Frigid

Dear Wife,

I don’t think you are frigid. However, in my professional opinion, I think you may have some sexual-abuse issues that you have yet to deal with. I think it’s time that you do so with the help of a professional clinician who is experienced in these matters. This is important!

I know people move forward when they are ready to do so, and I apologize for being so forthright with my opinion, but I don’t think I’m wrong in this case. Think about it; you are 28 years old and married. However, you only want to make love to your husband every other month? I’m not blaming you, but I will say something is going on in your case.

You said your husband comes from a perfect family and would not understand what you’ve been through. This signals me that something that you’re ashamed of happened in your family or while you were growing up. I think it’s about time you get rid of the shame and the fear so you can begin to have a relationship with your husband that’s full of passion and intimacy.

Right now, I think you should try to increase communication with your husband about your feelings on this issue. I’m not blaming you if your husband cheats - and I hope he doesn’t - but he needs to know that you care about him and that you are not trying to push him into the arms of another woman to have his sexual needs met.

He should also know that his comments toward you are inappropriate and crude. I’m not a sex therapist, but I am a clinician who takes pride in helping couples communicate and solve real issues.

Start resolving some of your issues by contacting social-work services at your local base. They can let you know if individual services are available for you. If not, contact Military OneSource to be connected to a provider in your community. I would definitely recommend individual and marital counseling for you and your husband.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have so much job stress that I fear I am going to be laid off or fired.

I have never been written up or received an adverse appraisal, but my boss is intimidating and constantly puts me down for my job performance. He stops at nothing to remind me that they could hire someone else to take my place, and I’m a low performer.

I really need my job. My husband is deployed and won’t be back until September. We are trying to pay off bills and save money. We thought it would help us financially if I had a job because I could help us reach some of our financial goals.

But, it’s gotten so bad that I don’t want to go to work since I know how upset I am going to be throughout my workday.

With the economy so tight, especially here in the D.C. metro area, I know I won’t be able to find another job. Once I felt lucky to have this job, but now I’m not so sure. I just don’t know how to deal with all of this stress.

- Stressed To The Limit

Dear Stressed,

I know the economy is tight for everyone right now. My husband and I seem to review our budget on a weekly basis, and I know firsthand about financial obligations and trying to make ends meet. I definitely have a full platter, too.

Here’s the deal: I think your boss is a “rear end” who doesn’t deserve to have you as an employee. I also think you should give your resignation immediately because your boss will never change.

Sure, you could file a complaint against him in your human-resources department. However, in my experience, the wheel will grind slowly, and in the meantime, you will be losing your sanity. It’s just not worth your health. I know you need the money, but life is too short.

I have worked for bullies in my life. One was so bad that I left that agency and said I would never work in an environment like that again.

It’s time for you to move forward. Revisit a budget with the help of a financial counselor at your local base. They want to help you succeed financially, and your husband can also be involved across the miles. They also have employment counseling available for you, too, with spousal employment programs.

Please don’t hesitate with this effort. There is a better position for you out there with your name on it. Take care and keep in touch.

• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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