Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for over 30 years. In many ways, we are very compatible and have shared interests in music, books and movies. However, we no longer have a sex life or any form of intimacy. It has been almost 10 years since he expressed an interest in being with me. He also refuses to discuss the issue.
In the past few years, whenever I try to talk about my unhappiness, he maintains that I am narcissistic and asks me not to nag him about it. I know he has performance problems, and it doesn’t help that he drinks every night. He has also told me that although he loves me, he is not in love with me and considers us companions.
I have gone for counseling, but I feel as if I say the same things over and over with no resolution. I think my husband hopes I’ll forget about sex and learn to be content with the situation. Because I am near retirement age and used to living with a family, the idea of living alone scares me, but I can’t continue living in limbo.
– Sad and Fed Up
Dear Sad: Your concerns don’t make you a narcissist; they make you normal. Ten years is not part of the normal intimacy ebb-and-flow all couples experience. A fulfilling sex life is part of any healthy marriage -- and so is communication. Your husband is shutting you down on both fronts. Rather than talk about the problem, he blames you for even caring. He’s using the tired old defense mechanism called deflection. Don’t fall for it.
It sounds as if your husband is suffering from depression. Tell him that whether he wants to recognize that there is a problem or not, his refusal to get help is hurting you. Implore him to seek counseling.
It also may be that he is an alcoholic. At the very least, his drinking bothers you. That’s reason enough for you to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting (by yourself), where you will find a roomful of people who can relate to what you’re going through. I wish you all the best.
Dear Annie: I just read the letter from “Hopeless,” whose son turned against her and sided with his grandparents (who
were abusive to his mom when she was growing up).
I had a similar situation. My daughter’s father and stepmother tried (and succeeded for several years) to cause separation between my daughter and me. I fought it. I tried to stick up for myself. I tried to explain things to her. (I left out the parts about her father’s abusing me.) Nothing mattered. I was just the awful person who left the marriage and broke up the family.
Eventually, I had to just let go and let God take control. Once they no longer had to fight with me to keep convincing her of how awful I was, their true colors showed. My daughter and I have a relationship, and she sees her father and his wife for who they are. Please let Hopeless know to keep her head up and just be patient. My thoughts and prayers are with her.
– Vindicated in Indiana
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