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I’m saddened by the state of my marriage
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I’m saddened by the state of my marriage

Background:

I’m 32 and my wife is 31. We met at college and have been together for twelve years, married for five of those years. We have a fantastic two year-old son. She’s a white collar professional earning good money, while I am running my own start-up (a security company, mostly working in Afghanistan) and not bringing much in at the moment.

Back in college we were at it like rabbits, she looked great, the whole world lay ahead of us, etc.

I am 5’5″, 165lb, a decent looking bloke in good physical shape (albeit not as youthful as when we first got together). Because my work can often be done from home, I’m around the house a lot more than she is (she commutes) and I therefore do a lot of the housework and childcare; not more than my fair share, but certainly not less than.

She is 5’7″, 180lb, a good looking lady but has a fair bit of extra weight particularly around the middle (plus the usual effects of ageing, as per me). She works four days a week and has a long commute, and she is certainly an equal partner in housework and childcare.

So what the hell is the problem?

Well, it’s hard to summarise. I guess the key things I feel are:

(1) She very rarely – e.g. not even monthly – shows any interest in sex, or any other sexual activity. When we do it’s great, but it’s always me initiating it and most of the time I just get knocked back… to the point that I have basically given up trying except for the night before I deploy back to Afghan each time (just in case it’s the last one…!). Even that is far from guaranteed. That pre-dates the baby, and to be honest has probably been going on for at least six or seven years, though I’ve never really counted.

(2) Her weight, and her attitude to it, bugs me. I am less toned than I was aged eighteen, but still have a good physique and carry very little fat. I don’t pay for a gym or anything, I just watch what I eat and do basic home workouts. She has always been clear that she appreciates that, and wouldn’t like it if I chubbed up. She isn’t huge by any means, but bigger than she would like to be (and bigger than I would ideally like). But unless I basically say she’s perfect and I’d love her at any size, she tells me I’m being a horrible person. It’s not just the double standard that upsets me, it’s also the lack of self respect to recognise her hypocrisy and try to hold herself to the same standards she expects me to hold myself to. It particularly kills me that, having put on 30lb or so from when we first started dating, she got her weight way down for our wedding (and looked fantastic) “because you can’t look fat in all the pictures”, then immediately put it back on after we were hitched.

(3) Every single argument we ever have either ends with me admitting fault and apologising, or it doesn’t end. OK that’s an exaggeration, but it’s how it feels – certainly if it’s not absolutely bang to rights then I feel like the only way to get back to civilised life is to roll over and play dead. This is a relatively new thing, maybe the last three or four years. And it is seriously toxic! Sometimes I will literally cave on everything just to end the fight, but as soon as I’m on my own it all comes back up and I have a rant at the empty air, saying a bunch of hurtful things I didn’t say to her in person (though she probably said the equivalent to me).

Basically I am just quite sad at the turn our relationship has taken, and don’t know how to improve things. I have tried talking about these headline issues, and the smaller ones around them, but it immediately turns into a fight if I do, and the only way to end it is to concede that I’m “wrong”…

I love her, care for her, am faithful to her, and do my best to be a fully engaged and supportive partner in a marriage of two equals.

I just wish she could hear what I’m saying without flipping out, and that my wife could regain some of the characteristics she has gradually lost over the time we’ve been together. Of course we’ve both changed over that time, but where she’s pointed out changes in me I’ve tried to fix them; I don’t feel like she has tried to fix changes in herself, or even that she’s prepared to admit they have taken place at all.

Over to you, internet – cheer me up, please…!

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0 3 118 12 April, 2017 Wife Bashing April 12, 2017

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3 comments

  1. Travis Allen

    You say that your wife earns more that you do which, is never a good position and it may explain why she is not attracted to you. Women want alphas not betas and you are not in a powerful role like this. Can you live as a family on just your salary? And if you can then you should suggest to her she quits her job so she has more time to look after you and your son, and you are in the natural role as provider for your family.

    Reply
  2. Brenda

    First, to the person who replied….what century are you stuck in? I earn way more than my husband, as do friends and sister and not only is our spouses ok with it, we are OK with it.
    Now to the OP, I’m sorry for the troubles you and your wife are going through. I understand you’ve tried talking to her but your post was so very well written, you sound like such a great guy/ husband; I wish I had your wifes email address, I would send your post to her. Might I suggest you print it out and put it somewhere where she would find it outside the home and read it. Marriage (relationships in general) can be trying at times, I know. Sex becomes less important with our day to day life and stresses. Have you considered some sourt of counseling for yourself or the two of you together? What about a “date” night? Wine, dine, and romance her. When’s the last time that happened? We all get busy and forget those tiny, but very meaningful things we use to do for each other. Surprise her with a card and a single rose? Maybe she too misses that “spark” you too once had but doesn’t know how to voice it so she ends up using misdirected angry. Good luck to both of you, truly.

    Reply
    1. Gabriel Carter

      @ Brenda:

      OP here, have been away for a while so not had a chance to check the board until just now.

      Firstly, I agree with you: neither my wife nor I have any problem with her earning more than me, although of course I’d like to contribute more to the family’s finances if I possibly could. I don’t see that as the issue.

      Secondly, we have done some of that. Not counselling, but certainly date nights and random ‘romantic’ things.

      Date nights just seem to end up with the suggestion that we watch a box set or movie on the couch. And even then she usually checks her Instagram it FB instead of actually watching, before saying she’s tired and needs to go to bed. Random romantic things basically don’t lead anywhere: I get a “thank you” and a kiss, probably, but then it’s just back to routine. I regularly give her a back massage when we’re in bed together, and usually get pretty turned on by this, but she just says “oh my God, what’s this?!” but shows no desire or interest to do anything more with “this”…

      Regarding the counselling – this is me being old fashioned and possibly dumb, but… it would feel like an admission of failure on my (or both of our) part, that we couldn’t communicate and resolve things without a third party to mediate?? It would certainly be extremely hard to suggest it to my wife without provoking a major row.

      I think the sex thing is what is chiefly bugging me. I just went back through the calendar, and the last time we got hot and heavy was early January…! And even that didn’t really feel like it should. We’d decided to try for another kid, so did the deed daily for a week (no bullseye); but since then she’s shown no interest at all in actually ‘doing it’, even though she regularly talks about wanting another baby. Prior to January the last time we actually had sex just for the fun of it was November.

      I don’t think of myself as a massive horn-dog, but I do feel starved of affection and physical intimacy more generally.

      Without wanting to seem ungrateful for your suggestion – I think leaving my original post lying around would not go down well…! I suspect she would feel I was being passive-aggressive, and to be honest I wouldn’t feel great about it either, since I would prefer to have an open conversation – just without getting shot down in the first few sentences.

      In any case, thank you for reading and for your well-wishes.

      Reply

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