by: Wayne and Tamara
Direct Answers - Column for the week of February 16, 2004
I have been married for a little over seven years, with one 2-year-old son and another on the way. Over time, I believe my wife and I have grown apart. Sexually, we never connected.
Prior to our marriage I thought we had a good connection, but three days after the wedding, she told me being married did not obligate her to sleep with me. I suppose this is true, but I found it heartbreaking. I asked what changed. She said she didn't actually enjoy sex.
I feel she misled me until after the wedding, when she felt secure enough to tell me her true feelings. Over time, despite begging and pleading, listening and soothing, we haven't gotten anywhere. At our last attempt at couples counseling, I explained in manners both gentle and blunt she needs to accept these things.
The more I bring it up, the more my wife is prone to tantrums and throwing things. Over the years this has led to depression, which I handle with medication and regular therapy. I find myself in Catch-22. I can only work on myself in therapy, not on her or our marriage. Yet the marriage is the source of my depression.
Clearly we have occasional sex, since we have a child. But it's infrequent, lacks feeling, and is more akin to making a baby than making love. I love my son and love being a father. My heart desperately wants a connection with a woman. I've gotten myself into a bind, and I don't like my options. Is there a middle road?
Richard, whatever else marriage is, it is also a contract. Every legal system allows you to terminate a contract when fraud and deceit are involved. What the answer was seven years ago is still the answer. Three days after the wedding, you should have sought an annulment or divorce.
Everything that's happened since is a complication of not doing what needed to be done then. Your wife was so sure you would not leave she could arrogantly admit her deception after the wedding. Why should she change now? What's in it for her?
Your life is like the scene in "Catch-22" where Yossarian bandages the leg wound of his young tail-gunner Snowden, without realizing Snowden is dying from a much more serious wound. Medicating you without any possible chance of a solution isn't the answer. In your case the only avenue may be to remove yourself from the situation.
Find a different counselor, one who can help you work toward a solution. Just because you didn't deal with the problem before doesn't mean you can't deal with it now. It only means the price of the solution will be higher.
Wayne & Tamara
A close female friend at work found a new job. I'm currently deciding what to buy to reflect my friendship toward her, and to say I'll be there for her in the future. I know she likes diamonds and blue topaz, her birth stone, but I don't feel comfortable buying jewelry.
I don't want to buy her a card and leave it at that because we've been through a lot together, and I feel I would be letting her down. The problem is she has a boyfriend, and I do not want to act like I'm trying to make a move on her. How do I show my appreciation and say I'll be there for her if things don't go the way she planned?
Trent, she's chosen her leading man, but you'd like to understudy the role. That's pretty much it, isn't it? If the current production gets bad reviews, you might get the part after all. You want a gift that says I'm not meddling in your relationship, but I'd like to. Though our suggestion is not to meddle, a restaurant gift card makes a nice present, and who knows who she'll invite.