Dear Annie: Is my marriage normal?

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been together six years this December, married four. We grew closer when I had a miscarriage after only a few months of dating. He stood by my side and asked my dad for my hand. He knew then he wanted to stand with me and by me.

A year into our marriage, I discovered he was cheating on me with one of his exes. He claims it was only emotional and never physical. I chose to believe him and forgive. This took a long while.

After our second child, I went through treatment for postpartum depression. I realized six months in that it was not helping. In fact, it was making my mental state worse. So I went off the meds. I’ve been off of them for about four months now.

Lately, though, I’m finding myself not wanting to be physical with my husband. I do find him attractive, and I love him. He’s my best friend and rock, but when it comes to his touch, it’s unwelcome and very uncomfortable. I feel it’s not fair to him to not have a partner he deserves. I do my wifely duties, but I don’t enjoy sex anymore. I used to enjoy sex, almost to an unhealthy level. Is this normal in a marriage? Is it normal to not have anything your husband does physically, do anything for you?

-- Lost Wife

Dear Lost Wife: It sounds like you are not done healing yet -- and that is OK. Healing takes time, often a far longer time than we want it to. You went through multiple traumatic experiences with your husband, and it has only been 10 months since your diagnosis of postpartum depression.

Your first course of treatment was clearly not the right path for you, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave your depression untreated. Consult your doctor on all of your other options. You should also attend couples counseling with your husband to make sure you are continuing on in a safe, trusting, communicative marriage.

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Dear Annie: In response to “Not a Family Holiday,” the reader who was stressed about the prospect of dividing her time among family members during the holidays, I solved this problem for myself years ago. When I married, my husband had two small children from his first marriage. Sharing holidays was a requirement of the custody agreement. This always meant that we missed the holidays with the children every other year.

So, we created alternative holidays. We simply choose a different day to celebrate. As my husband and I added two more children to our family and they all added spouses and grandchildren, this model continues to work, allowing us to celebrate together without negotiating with in-laws.

-- Always Happy on Alternative Holidays

Dear Always Happy: What a great suggestion. This arrangement allows you, and your whole family, to enjoy the holidays with very little stress. The real purpose of the holidays is simply to spend time together. The date on the calendar is just that -- a date on the calendar.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: