My husband of 12 years is negative more often than not. It’s a family trait. When we first met, he complained about his father always seeing only what could go wrong, whether regarding a job opportunity my husband sought or the car he’d saved for and was about to buy.
We laughed about it then. I was like a cheerleader for his spirits and we were in love, which I told him was the “Great Positive” in our life.
Now, with Covid still affecting our lives, my husband’s negativity is affecting everything from daily conversation to our sex life.
He says he’s tired, isn’t in the mood, has no enthusiasm for sex. “It won’t change anything,” he says.
He hates working from home, misses the office and his closer colleagues, worries constantly about the children getting sick (they’re ages ten and eight). Nothing relieves his gloomy moods.
What’s a wife to do? I’m a born optimist whose parents made the most of every possibility and encouraged my belief in my ability to succeed at whatever I gave a very good try.
Now, I’m unsure whether my relationship with my husband can succeed. What do you suggest?
Upbeat Wife Losing Hope
Hang in, and try to see the divide between you and your husband as significant, but not toxic.
He’s experiencing negative moods at a time when many people naturally feel pandemic weariness and even despair. It’s even less surprising given his family background.
The driving question for you to consider is whether it’s possible to repair and improve your relationship.
According to psychotherapist and relationships expert Noel McDermott, who has 25 years’ experience in his field, “It’s vital in any intimate relationship to know what your bottom lines are which would then trigger you into moving on.”
McDermott notes “the difference between a bad relationship, one that doesn’t meet your needs and often your partner’s needs too (compared to a toxic one) is that a bad relationship will make you unhappy and unfulfilled. But it won’t leave you with potentially permanent psychological scarring.”
The psychotherapist notes that a bad relationship can be repaired depending on a number of factors.
I believe that the love that existed between you two falls into the category of reparable.
It’s the pandemic that’s triggered all the negative influences on your husband’s upbringing to re-surface at this time of natural anxieties. As McDermott asserts, “stressors from outside that cause issues don’t necessarily mean the relationship is bad.”
Absorbing this fact can help you regain a healthy, loving connection. Focus on what you still can share... the children you both love, ways to keep them healthy, time together outdoors, socializing in safe ways.
And re-introduce the comfort you can give each other through hugs, walking together while and talking privately, etc.
Return to intimacy gradually through touch, a relaxing massage, happy memories, shared laughter, and gentle lovemaking as a start.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the husband who’s the constant caregiver for his wife (Sept. 2):
Reader – “This gentleman can receive much-needed aid to care for his wife, if they reside in Ontario.
“OHIP provides a wonderful service through Local Health Initiative Network (LHIN). They send Personal Support Workers as often as his wife would need them. There’s no charge for this service.
“If he consults with his doctor, help would be on its way quickly.
“Hopefully, the letter-writer can receive some help. A similar system probably exists in our other Provinces.”
Reader #2 – “For the mid-50s man who’s the sole caregiver for his wife, depending on his locale, there may be short-term respite beds available to take her.
“These beds provide a much-needed though short break for a caregiver, and a place for people needing intensive care to stay, sometimes giving the whole family a break.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife’s complaint about her elderly porn-watching husband (August 31):
Reader – “An 88-year-old guy is NOT DEAD. Plus, he’s been doing this all his life (“Before computers, he watched porn movies on late-night TV”). The time has long passed for the wife to be overly concerned. They’re still together.
“There are far worse things he could be looking at than “bikini-clad girls.”
“I suggest the wife buy a Play Girl magazine to “accidently” leave open in a visible place, to the centerfold. It may also work for her, too.”
Ellie - You’re missing her basic feeling of hurt and isolation.
Tip of the day:
When there’s still a commitment to the marriage despite difficult times, repair and recovery are possible.