She Craves Touch
Q: I have been married for 11 1/2 years. My husband is older than me by 14 years. We use to have good fun, touchy love, etc. We have 3 school-aged children. The problem is that my husband never seems to have sexual interest in me any more. He always has an excuse as to why not to have sex. I try everything to get a response from him but he pulls away from me, even though he says he doesn't. He is a local truck driver and has crazy hours but even when he is rested, he still has no interest. I am so lonely and want to be touched. I find myself thinking of cheating even though I would never. But I often wonder if maybe he is cheating on me when he leaves early for work and shaves and puts on cologne just to drive a truck. He never does that for me at home; in fact, he stinks. What should I do or think? --Gret, 35
Dr. Susan: Over time, even the most touchy-feely marriage can lose a little of its oomph. Couples newly in love hang all over each other, ignoring the rest of the world, not wanting to be out of touching distance of one another. Eventually, that level of intensity normalizes downward a bit, or, without extra effort and commitment, a lot. Judging from your husband's age, I think it's possible he's going through one of those famous mid-life crises, where he feels it's his last chance to get out there and have fun. You need to confront him and let him know that you miss his affection very much and you want an honest response from him as to what's really going on. Can you say those things without anger? If he is having an affair, he'll probably deny it, as most people do at first. Ask him, then, whether he sees things changing for the better, or would he like you to move on and find the missing touch and affection elsewhere, as he apparently seems not to need it as you do. The idea is to get him to talk about his feelings, which he may not be used to doing. The fact that he puts on cologne to drive a truck doesn't necessarily mean anything. It's like dressing to go to work and then relaxing and letting it all hang out at home. Unless the cologne is a new habit. Then I'd be very suspicious. One other possibility: If he's worried about his potency, he may avoid intimacy except under ultra exciting circumstances. There are ways around that, beginning with a medical check-up, and if he loves you, the two of you can work this out.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.