Q. I have been with “Jason” for eight years, married for four. Between us, we have raised five children.
The problem is that Jason is controlling and verbally abusive. When we met, I was willing to overlook many things because he was so good to my kids. As a single mother, I needed the stability he could provide. But a couple of months ago, I reached my breaking point, and now I want out.
I stay in the home only because I don’t want to leave my stepdaughter. Believe me, Jason is the type of guy who will make sure I have no contact with my stepdaughter simply out of spite. And it would devastate my two sons. They think Jason walks on water.
A separation or divorce will leave my children fatherless, as well, since their biological father has never been in the picture. But I am finding it hard to pretend everything is fine. The kids sense something bad is happening, and they barely eat, sleep, or talk. Leaving seems selfish, but staying would sacrifice my sanity.
A. Have you and Jason attempted counseling? He may not realize how close you are to walking out, and he might be willing to work on your problems in order to save the marriage. And no matter what you decide, please get counseling on your own and consider letting your children see someone, as well. They are suffering, too, and the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. All of you could use some ongoing guidance.
Q. My sex life has always been important to me. My wife and I are in our early 60s. This is my third marriage. For the first three years, the sex was good, but the past two have been a problem.
I tell my wife that I am going upstairs and getting ready for bed, and I mention having sex, and she tells me that she will be up in a few minutes. About four hours later, she comes to bed saying she fell asleep watching TV. After several of these excuses, I asked her to be honest. She insists there is no problem.
When she works, she doesn’t want sex, so this weekend I asked if we could have sex, and she said OK, but again fell asleep in front of the TV. She promised to make it up to me the next night, but it was the same story. This upsets me.
I am thinking of divorce. She told me that she and her last husband were like roommates, and I feel it is happening in our marriage, too. Any suggestions?
A. We will say that your approach is a bit lacking. “I’m going to bed and I’d like sex” is not quite the turn-on you might think. It also is not uncommon for women past menopause to lose desire. Gently suggest to your wife that she talk to her doctor about hormonal help for her libido. Then please work on your romantic technique, and find out what will make her more interested in intimacy.