There’s been no romance, affection or sex for 30 years
I feel deceived, defeated and angry at times, with little prospect of enjoying the rest of my life and my retirement. I am a fit 64-year-old man who has a good job and am well respected by my colleagues. However, my marriage has left me unfulfilled. We have been married for 35 years, but for the past 30 there has been no sex, affection or romance. I even arranged a wonderful holiday to Italy a couple of years ago but all I got was complaints. My wife did not want to start a family and now I feel huge sadness when I see children playing football or riding their bikes. I do some mentoring at a local school with colleagues and, while this is rewarding, it makes me even more aware of my loss. We’ve had several attempts at couples counselling to try to address this. My wife has never worked since we got married, which I also feel increasingly resentful about. Recently she has been pushing me on my retirement plans and I just exploded with all the rage that I have been suppressing for so long. Sadly, I think that you need to think about leaving your marriage. You have tried so hard for so long, but staying is making you desperately unhappy. I’m afraid your wife sounds selfish – to not want children and to choose not to work as well sounds as though she has perhaps been using you. You still have time to meet someone with whom you could have a loving, affectionate, emotional and physical relationship. Try not to hold on to the resentment, though. This tends to only make people depressed. I am sorry that you have not had children. However, many childless people picture family life like it is in the adverts: yes, it can be wonderful; but it can also be painful. We never know what is round the corner or how life might have worked out if we had made different choices. We have to draw a line under what has gone before and try to move forward. It is wonderful that you are mentoring young people, so please try to throw yourself into this and also into finding someone who will appreciate you and all you have to offer.