Course Of Treatment

By: Wayne and Tamara

Direct Answers - Column for the week of August 23, 2004

My husband is 45. We are getting ready to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. He now tells me he has fun when he is out of town in a group of people drinking, talking, and laughing. He says we don't have a "spark" anymore. But our sex life is good.

He swears he hasn't met anyone or been unfaithful. He says he can't have fun with me. He feels we are "just coasting" and is not sure where to go from here. Any advice?

Grace

Grace, whatever your husband says, it looks to us like the old story of the iceberg. Ten percent is visible, and 90 percent is not. You know the 10 percent.

What has he been thinking about, planning, or flirting with for the last one, two, or three years? He may be on the progression which goes like this: I have fun drinking and laughing with others--we've grown apart--I love you but I'm not in love with you--I need more space--I'm out the door.

You need to keep talking about this issue with your husband. If he believes your marriage is in a rut, it is a "we" who are in a rut, not a "you." You don't let the surgeon say, "We found a lump," and walk away from you.

You have to buttonhole him and find out what the next step is.

As you discuss your husband's feelings and the future of your marriage, you must, as distasteful as it seems, keep one thought in the back of your mind. What is in my best interest?

You are approaching your 25th anniversary, and it would be wonderful to celebrate the length of your union. That may be where you would like things to go, but it may not be where things are headed.

Wayne & Tamara


Stand-In

My husband and I moved very fast in getting married. On my end, I was lost and lonely after my former fiancé was killed in an accident. I wanted to be close to someone again. I dated my husband 12 months after my fiancé's death, and six months later we were married. That was 10 months ago.

I was never a "must be in a relationship" type of woman. But I was very sad after losing my fiancé and having to let go of the dreams I had for our life together. I believe this is why I jumped so quickly.

I do love my husband, I want him to be safe and happy, but I can't be married to him. He's not a bad person--he doesn't cheat or drink or smoke. It's nothing like that. We simply do not connect intellectually or have any common interests. Some days I think to myself, how can I deal with this incompatibility day in and day out for the rest of my life?

I cannot continue in this marriage. I've already come to that conclusion. The painful part is leaving. I am dreading that. Five months after we married, I decided to move out and put down a deposit on an apartment. He was sad and crying, so I stayed. But I feel if I stay with someone I have so little in common with, I am cheating myself from what marriage can be.

Brooke

Brooke, you have explained so clearly what happened. It is picture perfect clear to us. You had all these plans in your head, another man came along, and you applied these plans to him.

You have to sit down with your husband and explain to him what you explained to us. Admit your mistake, then act. Delay, vacillation, and letting him argue will only prolong the pain. His refusal to accept what you say won't change the facts. Coddling another often only makes things worse, even though the original mistake was our own.

Wayne & Tamara

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