I had a great marriage to my best friend, but four years ago he had a heart attack, which has changed his personality.
He now gripes and blames me for anything that goes wrong in his day. He name-calls and criticizes constantly.
Initially, I made excuses for his attitude as just ill health, but eventually I couldn't anymore. My feelings stay hurt.
(I’ve always been an introvert and a bit of a loner).
Now when he wants to be intimate, I can't let it go. I've tried talking to him about it, but he just gets defensive. The criticizing never stops.
He’s still a great husband in other ways, but I don't feel the same about him. What can I do?
There are roadblocks to your relationship with each of you barring the other from getting closer.
His heart attack likely left him with fears for his future health and diminished confidence. He’s unfairly lashing out at you in frustration.
You’ve been naturally hurt by this, and your “loner” tendency makes you withdraw.
It’s no surprise that sex can’t bridge the barrier.
But neither of you should give up. Not when you can say he’s “still a great husband” and not when he’s still seeking intimacy.
Your husband should ask his doctor about common emotions following survival after a heart attack – notably depression – so you both understand what’s contributing to his negative behaviour.
Then you both can tell a much-needed marriage counselor about this, plus your own “introvert” tendency to retreat from people.
With new self-awareness and a desire to return to a “great relationship,” therapy is bound to help.
My fiancé of two years and I have a beautiful five-month-old son.
My fiancé is the nicest guy, speaks respectfully to me, and provides a nice life for us.
However, his video games and extra-curricular activities take up way too much time.
We spend so many nights entertaining guests or spending time with our families that we forget about us.
He NEVER helps me with house chores and our sex life is non-existent since our son was born.
Nights when we could spend quality time are spent in front of the TV, not connecting.
He says he loves me but does nothing to show it or make me feel special.
I'm getting bored of our relationship and it’s bringing out the worst in me. Anytime I bring issues up to him, he turns it into a joke.
I love my family and I want to make this work, but how will we last?
No Joke Anymore
You won’t last, not unless you both look closer at the reality and the risk.
Reality check: Sex is often sidelined in the early months of sleep deprivation and lifestyle changes with a new baby.
Risk: You’re both neglecting to find solutions. With more chores to do, he either helps out personally, or, if affordable, your budget now includes paying for helpers.
Otherwise, he’s avoiding the new responsibilities of being a partner along with being a parent.
If you’re having guests, he must be part of the cleanup. If family’s visiting, they too can help out by bringing food.
Allowing yourself to be at your worst is no answer. Neither is calling your relationship “boring” rather than working together to spark it.
Bringing fitness into your lives – walking the baby, and giving each other babysitting time for a gym workout - can renew your energy, and re-boot your sex life, too.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who doesn’t give gifts or show appreciation on his wife’s birthdays, their anniversaries, etc. (March 4 and Feb.7):
Reader – “I believe that he does not love her and he does not appreciate her. I've learned over the years that men do things if they want to, and don't do things if they don't want to.
“You can't get blood out of a stone. The way I see it, this lady has two choices: She can either accept the fact that her husband doesn't love her and treat herself, or get a divorce. Then she can love herself and take social actions where she can find a kind and loving man who will appreciate her!”
Ellie – Perhaps your stark analysis that he does not love her, and she can find someone who will, can move her to be more insistent that, if he does feel love, she needs him to show it.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let fear and frustration create barriers to your relationship.