THIS has been a rollercoaster year for many couples. Health fears, working from home, schooling the kids and being cooped up indoors have led to a spike in break-ups.
Citizens Advice has reported a surge in online searches about splitting up, and law firm Stewarts saw a 122 per cent increase in divorce enquiries compared to 2019.
Do you have a problem for Chloe? Send them to her here
And, as always, Christmas has heaped the pressure on.
But this year, with many families unable to see each other and households having to make some very tough decisions, couples are under even more strain.
Next week, the first working Monday after Christmas, is dubbed “Divorce Day”. It is when approaches to lawyers soar as those who have held it together over the festive period call it a day.
Hopefully that will NOT be you. Fab Daily’s agony aunt Chloe Madeley answers some common relationship questions and comes up with resolutions that will see you through January and far beyond.
Q. I’VE been in a long-term relationship with my man for ten years. I love him and can’t imagine not being with him. We’ve built a lovely home together, have two kids and he’s my world.
But we’re not having enough sex – and when we do, he doesn’t satisfy me.
Either he’s tired, I’m tired or we’ve been with the kids all day and just aren’t in the mood.
Sometimes we give it a go but it feels like we’re both just going through the motions rather than getting passionate.
How can we have better sex, and more of it?
A. This is pretty normal for a long-term relationship. The key here is to stoke the dying fire. You need to talk to your partner and tell him what you want without being accusatory.
Instead of saying, “You’re not . . . ” say: “I’d like it if . . . ”
Tell him what you want and ask what he wants. Give it a few weeks of trying out both of your fantasies and I reckon you will get over this dry spell.
Truth be told, it happens in every relationship at some point or another. The happiest, strongest couples are those who communicate and work to change the state of play.
My husband James (Haskell) and I constantly tell each other what we like, in passing and in more intimate settings.
I don’t see how a couple can go the distance without doing so. Take control of the situation.
Q. WE HAVE been married for seven years and I am worried the seven-year itch is a real thing.
My husband is really boring in bed. We have sex a couple of times a week, so quantity isn’t the issue.
But it’s always exactly the same. He doesn’t vary the position and doesn’t like it if I try anything new. He has exactly the same foreplay moves every time.
I am so bored with it, I’d rather go to sleep.
I’m desperate to spice things up with some kinky fantasies but I’m too embarrassed to broach it.
A. This is your husband we’re talking about, not your 16-year-old Friday-night cinema date.
Tell the man what you want. I guarantee that if you are bored, he’s bored too. He is also probably embarrassed to raise it.
Open a bottle of wine, tell him your deepest fantasies and implore him to do the same with his.
This has success written all over it, so long as you broach the topic. The first time James and I did this, our whole relationship changed for the better.
You will gain trust, intimacy, sex and romance all at once.
Q. I NEVER thought I’d be the sort of person to cheat. When I met my man, he was everything I wanted.
He was sexy, funny and had a great job. We had so much fun together.
That hasn’t stopped — but there isn’t so much spontaneity now. And I can’t stop thinking about my sexy co-worker. I’m considering having an affair to break the routine.
A. Instead of having an affair you will probably come to regret, why don’t you try to spice up that “routine”? Start role-playing with your partner, inside the bedroom and beyond. Have you seen the film Four Christmases?
The opening scene shows Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn role-playing (very believably) a first date in a bar. It is a lesson we can all learn: That every relationship routine can be smashed to pieces and the clean-up can be incredibly sexy.
Start an office role-play with your partner and get the fantasy without the fallout.
Q. I LOVE my wife and my mum, but they hate each other. They never really got on but recently things have nosedived.
It’s now so bad they won’t even be in the same room together or talk on the phone. How do I choose between them?
A. You don’t need to choose between them. You need to tell them to grow up and behave themselves.
There are plenty of girlfriends, boyfriends, extended family members and random newbies in my social and family circles who I don’t like.
But would I ever dream of saying anything or making a scene? No. Why? Because it’s immature, unnecessary and selfish.
Tell them all to behave and get on with it. After such a horrible year, we need to band together and support each other.
Q. MY husband is a slob and leaves everything to me. He won’t cook or clean and spends hardly any time with the kids.
I feel more like the hired help – who of course doesn’t actually get paid – than his wife.
He is taking me for granted and it’s putting me off him.
A. My husband never does the weekly food shop, never cooks unless it’s on a barbecue and is always leaving piles of junk everywhere.
Do I like it? No. Is it sexy? No. Does it make me have to hold my tongue daily? Yes. But when I do reach the end of my tether and say something, do you know what happens?
I get a temporary window of domestic effort. OK, it lasts for just a few days before becoming a distant memory. But it buys me a few days during which I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
That’s all you need, a few days. Speak up about it and enjoy the temporary effort!
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