Why can’t my wife remember what I like in bed?
I love and respect her very much. When we met twelve years ago, she’d just finished a sexless relationship and told me all the things she’d love to do - e.g., positions, buying a yoga couch, wearing nice underwear and high heels!
I thought I’d hit the jackpot, having been in a similar marriage myself, 10 years previous. But when still in the honeymoon period, she said she didn't think she could keep up with our having sex most nights, both initiating it.
We were in our mid-to-late 40s, I thought it was okay to slow down to once or twice a week. I’m not over-sexed, just learning how to please her. But even I wasn’t going to be able to do this every night.
I then asked if she’d sometimes wear stockings and high heels in bed for me, as she’d once mentioned.
She agreed at first. But then she’d forget! I’d remind her every four or five months, to take that initiative.
I still find my wife attractive and very sexy; I treat her like a lady. I dress up to take her out, keep myself clean.
She works hard, as do I. I have two jobs but I’m NOT expecting her to be ever grateful and fulfill my every need.
I’d just like her to remember that I have feelings, desires, and some things that I like even though we’re now 11 years older!
We currently have sex once a week, sometimes only once a month, mostly in the missionary position. I always try to give her pleasure first.
Over a year ago, she gave me several pairs of stockings for Christmas but it wasn’t until my birthday two months later when she wore them for me! And not for 10 months since.
I’ve suggested we try therapy to talk about anything and everything. We’ve brought books to read together but didn’t. I’ve concluded that my wish is never again going to happen.
I’m writing to just understand her. And why she doesn't remember what I like. I love and care for her very much.
First, I’m preparing myself for the one-sided attack from men who’ll say, no matter what I write, “You always side with the woman!”
They’re wrong, I don’t. I’ll try to understand what’s going on for both your sakes.
Unusually, you each had previously accepted long near-sexless relationships. Little wonder you mutually expressed a strong desire for an active, varied sex life and soon found weekly sex agreeable.
Then you requested a specific fantasy - one she’d mentioned herself but has frequently forgotten/ignored over 11 years.
Why? You seem to have no clue, so I’ll raise some thoughts as guesses: 1) Neither of you have considered that she’s actually having memory issues early, in her 50s; (2) She stopped finding the sheer stocking/heels image arousing or fun, and or hates ruining new stockings each time (I’m not kidding).
You’ve raised therapy and researching together to find answers, but though you express love (does she?) there’s no real or honest communication about this, only your single-minded wish that takes the matter no further.
So, YES to therapy for both of you or whomever will go. Yes, to making love whenever it works for you two.
There’s no blame in this story, but unfortunately there’s a barrier between you that makes the stocking fantasy more significant than it need be between a loving couple.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the devastated widow (January19):
“I, too, felt numb, overwhelmed, scared, and wasn't even sure who I was anymore after losing the love of my life/best friend who knew me better than anyone else after 35 years of marriage.
“Suddenly I was facing a very different future alone. It was gut-wrenching.
“The first year is hard. My family and friends got me through it, as hers will too. I started a journal, did yoga, listened to music we’d shared. The grief comes in waves when you least expect it.
“But time is both healer and teacher. Slowly you move toward gratitude for the good things in your life.
“Eventually you realize that life goes on with or without you and you will prevail, although differently than before, and with a lot more emotional baggage. That scar on your soul never heals completely.
“He loved you and would want you to be happy.”
Tip of the day:
When a single issue affects a loving relationship, discuss it together or seek couple therapy.