MAR­I­TAL IM­PASSE

De­pressed cou­ple ques­tions their re­la­tion­ship

Calgary Sun - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Askamy­[email protected] @ask­ingamy

DEAR AMY: A month ago, my wife of five years told me she was go­ing through a de­pres­sion and was ques­tion­ing our re­la­tion­ship. To be fair, I was as well.

We haven’t made love in six months. I tell her all the time how beau­ti­ful she is. I try to ini­ti­ate sex, and I get noth­ing. She finds ways to make me feel bad when I fall asleep early on the week­end and ac­cuses me of drink­ing too much beer.

I went back to the gym, but that did lit­tle to im­prove our re­la­tion­ship. It only made me feel like a loser.

I of­fered to make changes (which I did), but things were maybe worse than be­fore.

We de­cided that sep­a­ra­tion was best to re­ally fig­ure things out. She again said that we needed to get our spark back. I am hav­ing a hard time, as I miss her and my son.

I see him of­ten, but it’s not the same.

I con­fided in an old fe­male ac­quain­tance, and she and I ended up hav­ing sex.

I’m over­come with guilt as I never so much as flirted when my wife and I were to­gether.

My wife told me that she loves me and is in love with me, but is un­happy with her­self.

If I tell her about my sex­ual en­counter, our re­la­tion­ship will end. I don’t want that. I don’t want the guilt I have.

I want my fam­ily and would give up sex al­to­gether to have her back. I was emo­tion­ally frag­ile and lonely when it hap­pened. It was aw­ful. I’m dy­ing to get ad­vice. I swear I’m not a damn mon­ster I’m just hurt­ing. We are still sep­a­rated and I’m des­per­ate for ad­vice. — GUILTY HUS­BAND

DEAR GUILTY: You and your wife both claim to be de­pressed. You are also dis­so­ci­ated, de­tached (pick your ad­jec­tive) and spin­ning out in your sep­a­rate or­bits.

Your wife does not want to be in­ti­mate with you, and al­though you claim to have made ma­jor ef­forts to please her, it hasn't worked. The root for both of you seems to be in the way you con­nect or com­mu­ni­cate. Mainly, you don't.

You each need coun­selling, and you also need cou­ples coun­selling.

You, for in­stance, don't seem to have been able to han­dle hav­ing an in­ti­mate con­ver­sa­tion with an ac­quain­tance with­out act­ing out sex­u­ally. You should see this some­what dis­as­trous and un­sat­is­fy­ing sex­ual en­counter as a wake-up call to seek out the help of a pro­fes­sional. I agree that you should not tell your wife about this un­til you have a bet­ter han­dle on who you are, what you want and where you fit into your fam­ily sys­tem. A good coun­sel­lor will pro­vide you with tools and coach­ing.

DEAR AMY: I am a grandma with a large and ever-grow­ing fam­ily. I have six chil­dren with spouses, 12 grand­chil­dren with ex­tras and two great­grand­chil­dren.

None of us are poor but num­bers are in­creas­ing, so we all come to Christ­mas to­gether at a home where we can spread out.

Last Christ­mas we de­cided to ex­change gifts of not more than $10, and for each of us to con­trib­ute only one gift.

We stock­piled the gifts and then picked a num­ber for or­der of choice, and then the fun be­gan.

We could choose an­other one’s choice, or keep our own.

This went all the way down to the youngest.

We all still laugh about how much fun it was and they de­cided to do the same thing this year. — GIFT PROB­LEM SOLVED! DEAR PROB­LEM SOLVED!: This seems to be a ver­sion of “Yan­kee Swap,” and I ab­so­lutely love it.

In my fam­ily, dur­ing the bulging years of more kids and spouses, we drew names at the ta­ble af­ter Thanks­giv­ing din­ner (you drew as many names as were in your own im­me­di­ate fam­ily).

Now we ex­change mainly home­made gifts, and do­nate to char­i­ties in one an­other's names.

DEAR AMY: The let­ter from “Up­set Ex,” the woman with a ma­nip­u­la­tive ex-hus­band who kept go­ing af­ter her for money, is some­one who needs en­cour­age­ment to seek ther­apy and sup­port.

Even kind-hearted peo­ple with good bound­aries strug­gle with ma­nip­u­la­tion that in­volves a sui­cide threat. She was mar­ried to this man for a long time.

I think your sug­ges­tion of a so­cial worker for him is great, but she is likely to need help with the emo­tional pain of hav­ing an ex who strug­gles in the way he does.

My heart goes out to her. — DE­BRA DEAR DE­BRA: I agree that she might need pro­fes­sional help, too.

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