FEEDBACK Regarding “Underlying issues behind wife’s lack of libido” (May 27):
Reader – “Maybe my story can help explain a wife’s disinterest in sex.
“I’ve been married for 17 years. Our sex life in the first year was wonderful. My husband loved and cared for me.
“The next year, our first daughter was born; 14 months later, our second daughter.
“We didn’t have time for ourselves. And sometimes slept apart. One baby’s cry wakened the other.
“We were living with his very demanding and controlling elderly parents.
“My mother-in-law would listen through an extension phone to my conversations with my relatives.
“I felt terror at being watched/monitored.
“When I brought my second daughter home, she cried all night. I attended to her alone; my husband was with our other crying child.
“By 7 am, I dozed off and awoke at 11 am. My mother-in–law scolded me as a “lazy pig, sleeping until noon.”
“I later bore a son.
“My husband knew how his parents treated me. He took care of them until he married me at 42. He knows I’m not happy living with them.
“I married at 24; I’m now 41.
“My father-in-law’s disabled and his doctor recommended a long-term care home.
“The family refused. But his daughter visits her parents only occasionally. All other siblings live close by. Only two of them talk to us.
“None have experienced what we have - 24/7 of emptying urinals, providing meals, etc. - with both of us working full-time and raising three children.
“My in-laws have bad-mouthed us. The parents pay us $400-to-$500 monthly from their old-age pension.
“The rest of their money they gave to their other children when they bought houses. When my mother-in-law died, she left us money that mostly covered her funeral costs.
“We still care for my father-in-law at home.
“My husband’s a very hard-working family man, a good son and father. He does grocery shopping, cooks, takes the kids to school, and fixes things in the house.
“But I increasingly feel like a co-tenant sharing tasks.
“He never comments on how I look, or how I feel, or asks what I want/need.
“He works the evening shift, and I work days. Some days we connect only by phone on his dinner break. Even when together, our conversations are only about the kids, the parents, or what to cook.
“He only shows interest in me in bed, in the dark. I may respond and we have sex.
“But since my late 30s, I couldn’t do it any more as a “routine” that targets only sex and not the relationship I want. I now prefer that he leave me alone to sleep.
“Now, we have sex maybe four or five times a month, and good quality sex once to twice. I wish he’d treat me as a lover, not a worker.
“Sometimes I cry myself to sleep. I wish that I still had a chance to have a caring, loving relationship.
“I never think of betraying him. I try to reclaim my self-esteem. I try to live for myself.”
Ellie – I published this reader’s deeply personal story because it reflects many I’ve received for the column regarding the slow undermining of a once-loving union, when everything else became a priority. To readers - consider it a cautionary tale,
To the writer - there’s still some hope for re-connecting with your husband for a better future together. Talk to a couples’ counsellor, if he’s willing. Or, get therapy yourself.
When you go out of your way to do something helpful because it’s your nature and makes you feel good, how do you handle someone showing no appreciation?
A child visitor had a major stomach accident in my house and I not only helped and soothed her, I washed her and her clothing. But when her mother came to get her, she brushed it off.
Look to yourself, and not to the person who’s unappreciative, or embarrassed, or has poor manners.
You’re seeking kudos, but the efforts you made were your choice and your reward.
Helping a child become comfortable and clean was worth your own self-respect and satisfaction.
Realize that this mother, who clearly doesn’t know you well, may’ve felt awkward, or that she and her child were judged in some way.
Continue to be your good-hearted self.
That’s more than enough fulfillment, even if one person doesn’t thank you.
Tip of the day:
When a spouse is taken for granted, sex feels like a “routine” instead of a loving bond.