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My wife and I have been mar­ried for six years and have a young daugh­ter. We have been try­ing to have an­other baby for some time now, but for some rea­son have been un­able to con­ceive. This has put a huge strain on our re­la­tion­ship and our sex life. I re­ally don’t know what to do to make things bet­ter. Please help.

Mil­lie D’Souza, Man­ga­lore

Con­ceiv­ing is a lot harder than it ap­pears. In fact, it can take sev­eral months of in­tense, fo­cused ef­fort in­clud­ing self-ed­u­ca­tion, plan­ning and ma­jor life­style changes. In­abil­ity to con­ceive of­ten brings stress, dis­ap­point­ment, anger, bore­dom and self-doubt. This is the time to sup­port your wife all the way. Ac­cept that you both will ex­pe­ri­ence bouts of frus­tra­tion and im­pa­tience. Be open to learn­ing, in­clud­ing ac­com­pa­ny­ing her to the doc­tor’s ap­point­ments, and pre­par­ing ques­tions of your own. Part­ner her in her quest to lose weight, ex­er­cise more or change her diet.

Do what it takes to pre­pare your­self to be a fa­ther again, whether it is quit­ting smok­ing to im­prove your fer­til­ity or get­ting a se­men anal­y­sis done. Re­mind your wife that you love her un­con­di­tion­ally, whether she is able to con­ceive or not. Re­mem­ber­ing why you fell for each other in the first place would make the rough patches eas­ier. Make the fer­tile win­dow (the days lead­ing up to ovu­la­tion) a time of ro­mance and car­ing. Most im­por­tantly, don’t forget the things you loved to do as a cou­ple be­fore try­ing to con­ceive. Whether it was weekly movie dates or ex­per­i­ment­ing in bed, do keep do­ing it. In fact, you could even con­sider try­ing a new ac­tiv­ity to­gether.

Re­mind your wife that you love her un­con­di­tion­ally, whether she is able to con­ceive or not.

Thanks to Face­book, my hus­band con­tin­ues to re­main close to an ex­girl­friend. He is al­ways quick to like and com­ment on her posts. He even What­sApps her oc­ca­sion­ally. It ir­ri­tates me no end, even though I know he is not hav­ing an af­fair. Some­how, I still feel this is cheating…

Rithika Pandey, Mum­bai

Rithika, what you have de­scribed is a com­mon oc­cur­rence; in fact, it even has its own def­i­ni­tion these days - Mi­cro-cheating! Dat­ing ex­pert Me­lanie Schilling de­scribes it as a se­ries of seem­ingly small ac­tions that in­di­cate a per­son is emo­tion­ally or phys­i­cally fo­cused on some­one out­side the re­la­tion­ship. Mi­cro-cheating cov­ers sev­eral ac­tions such as hav­ing pri­vate jokes with an­other per­son, keep­ing their name un­der code in your phone, lik­ing an In­sta­gram post, think­ing about an­other per­son, check­ing an ex’s so­cial me­dia posts. And while it can get rather both­er­some for the other part­ner, it still does not amount to cheating!

In fact, it’s im­por­tant for cou­ples to have in­ter­ac­tions out­side of their re­la­tion­ship. It is not healthy to fo­cus our en­tire life on our part­ner - and ex­pect the same in re­turn. When you term your hus­band’s be­hav­iour as cheating, you are putting pres­sure on him to be­have in a cer­tain way, which can lead to emo­tional abuse. Re­la­tion­ship con­trol is not a great qual­ity for a re­la­tion­ship. If you are se­ri­ously wor­ried about your hus­band’s be­hav­iour, sit down and have an hon­est, non-ag­gres­sive con­ver­sa­tion about it. Also pon­der why his lik­ing his ex’s posts should bother you so much. Work on your self-es­teem. Build on trust and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in your mar­riage, in­stead.

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