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by Donna

The Question

My husband and I are high school sweethearts. We have been married for 35 years. We have always had the ideal marriage. We both were always on the same page, share the same goals, values, interests. We both would compare our marriage to other married couples and say how ours was so much more closer and loving.

He always daily told me how gorgeous I was, and how much he loved me. Even his friends commented about how he loved me and put me first in everything. And I knew it was true. He adored me.

Not in a million years did I see the couple we have become. He seldom comments me on my looks although he does still seem interested in me ( not as much ) and wants to be intimate. But somehow even that feels different tho I can not put my finger on it. He gets angry easily and blames me often for our disagreements. I feel as tho he blames me for our financial situation. I have never taken advantage of our money. We never fought over it until now.

I can tell he needs space from me. He never did before. He is more disconnected from me. Isn't as warm and loving.

He isn't passionate towards me and I can tell he doesn't quite feel the same about me as he used to. He says I don't respect him like I used to. We used to be one and now we are definitely two. It is so scary for me. It came from no where. I thought I knew him inside and out and now he is in some ways a stranger.

We fight different than we used to even. Now we don't make up right away. We stay mad and don't give in to one another.

I have mentioned to him about the possibilities of it being Mid Life and that makes him mad. He says I have read, and heard about it, and its nonsense and it is all in my head. He does tell me he loves me and is still loving sometimes.

Recently we got in a fight and I was fed up. I left and slept in my car for 2 days. He found me and told me we needed to talk and work out our problems. He said we haven't been married for 35 years for nothing and he doesn't want to end our marriage. He told me that both of us weren't trying and we need to try harder.

What should I do? I am lost, lonely, and terrified. My whole life centered around him and our kids. I have never worked outside our home. I am terrified to be in public or in the outside world. I don't feel qualified to get a job outside of changing diapers, and cleaning as that is what I have done my whole life. He says he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. He has NEVER told me he wants to leave. I guess I just feel insecure with the new behaviour.....

One more thing.... Do all men masturbate? I didn't know married men did this. Are you telling me all these years he has been masturbating and I didn't know it? What kind of a partner am I if he has to do that to be satisfied? I haven't been enough?

Noel's response

All marriages change as the people in them go through life's stages. Your husband does sound committed to your marriage, and wants to solve your current struggle. I recommend marriage counselling to help you both talk through the things you need to say, without getting in a fight.

You might also consider some counselling, or even some kind of volunteer activity to help you feel more comfortable out in the world.

Re: masturbation - yes, many married men masturbate for a whole variety of reasons. Sometimes it is when they are away from home, sometimes it is 'easier and quicker' than making love. It does not necessarily mean the wife is not desirable to them, or doesn't satisfy them sexually.

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