Beyond Her Grasp
Direct Answers – Column for the week of November 22, 2004
I am a woman, 42, who three years ago married a wonderful man who will be 48 on his next birthday. I love him very, very much. The only problem is our sex life is horrible. Pretty much nonexistent. I can safely say we have had sex maybe 20 times in our six year relationship.
When I’ve tried numerous times to talk to him, he gets defensive and says, “There’s nothing wrong with me.” He also says, if I want to have sex, I should just say so. But when I make advances, he pushes me away thinking I am playing with him. Then he leaves the room. Of course I get frustrated, out of the mood, and give up.
I love my husband so much I don’t make a big deal of it, although I know this is not normal or healthy. I can’t get him to go to counseling or discuss this. I am at my sexual peak, and I am tired of dreaming of sex with other men. I want our relationship to work, but I just don’t know how much longer I can go on like this.
Claire, you can work on planting a garden, you can work on your weight loss, you can work on your reading speed. But you cannot work on someone else’s problem, unless they are willing, and failure is guaranteed when they tell you they do not have a problem.
Thoreau said, “It takes two to speak the truth–one to speak and another to hear.” Your husband will not hear or discuss reality, the reality of the situation as you see it. You married him knowing he had this problem. Marriage does not cure a problem, it makes you a party to it for awhile.
Is this the hard lesson you had to learn? That you cannot marry a man with a serious problem and expect to fix it.
Wayne & Tamara
Calling Her Bluff
I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years, and he is going through the longest divorce known to man. His soon-to-be ex knows of me and told him she is insanely jealous. She makes my life complete hell by e-mailing him sexual innuendoes, asking him for expensive gifts, and calling him an average of 12 times a day.
I told him to cut the cord. If he wants to be with me, he has to protect me, be true to me, and make me feel secure in this relationship. We even tried counseling a few years back, and then he cheated on me with her. Many times I told him to get on with this divorce or I would be gone, but it doesn’t seem to scare him anymore.
How do I get my point across to this man, and do I have any grounds to tell this woman to leave him alone and just tend to her children?
Paige, the one thing which may set you free is to look on this situation from a different point of view. He didn’t cheat on you with her. She’s his wife. He’s cheating on her with you. You describe her as his soon-to-be ex, but “soon-to-be ex” is a term more likely to describe your future, not hers.
You threaten and threaten to leave, and you never do. Bluffing in poker may be good strategy, but bluffing in life is weak. Once your bluff is called, you’ve lost all power and all credibility. And counseling? Think about how funny that is. You went for relationship counseling with a man in a marriage to another woman.
Why do you keep plodding forward? Because you want to be married. There is nothing wrong with that. But you cannot marry someone who is already married. There is a simple solution. Don’t give up wanting to be married, just give up married men.
Wayne & Tamara