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home : columns : dear harriette November 29, 2020

10/7/2020 8:16:00 AM
Gym member sees room for improvement

DEAR HARRIETTE: Gyms have just reopened, and I have returned to my regular schedule of working out every morning and late evening. I am typically the first one in and the last one out most days. Often when I am there, I notice an older gentleman at the gym who uses the machines and never cleans them. Even before COVID, gym etiquette said you clean a machine before and after each use. I've told management about this individual not cleaning the machines, but I'm not sure they have really done anything about it. They don't even instruct staff to clean the machines, either.

I am ready to switch gyms after learning that they aren't taking care of cleanliness. This is an important time to follow protocols. If this gym isn't going to hold its staff and members accountable, how can they safely remain open? Is there some bigger action I can take to get them to take this seriously? -- Active Member

DEAR ACTIVE MEMBER: Before leaving the gym, be more assertive with your complaints. Write a formal letter to management about cleanliness. Point out the violator again, as well as the fact that the staff is not actively cleaning machines regularly. Demand that they speak to this man and generally to the membership about vigilance in cleanliness. Put them on notice that you will report them to authorities if they don't tighten up their act.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband is no longer attracted to me. We are not intimate anymore. I've tried so many different things to get my husband to notice me. I have changed up my hair and wardrobe. I have even started taking gym classes to slim down. He never compliments me or any of my new changes. When he comes home from work, he turns down intimacy because he is tired. I even tried surprising him with a vacation to get him away from work so we can focus on each other and reconnect. He made me cancel the trip, making excuses about not being able to leave work now and not wanting to leave our kids and dog with our parents. I am at the end of the road here and don't know how to get my husband to love me again. I feel so lonely. -- Single Wife

DEAR SINGLE WIFE: When is the last time your husband had a physical? It may be that he is suffering silently with some kind of health concern. Many men experience erectile dysfunction as they age. Could he be grappling with that and embarrassed to let you know? Or perhaps he has some other health condition that has diminished his libido. Have you ruled out the possibility that he has another lover? Finally, some people do lose their libidos over time.

Start with a doctor's visit -- if you can get him to go -- to do a thorough health check. Then, if you can convince him, visit a therapist together to talk about your marriage and your ideas about intimacy. If he won't see a therapist, try having a direct conversation with him about it. Tell him you miss being with him and want to find your way back to intimacy.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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