My wife had a child out of wedlock. I fell in love with her and took her in. Two years later, we married. I have two children from her, and we now have two teenaged grandkids.
My wife didn’t finish high school and lacks sex education. In her early life, she worked briefly as a nurse. I’ve had a long career as a scientist. She didn’t work after marrying me. Financially, I’m at above the “well-to-do” level.
We didn’t have a decent sex life through all these years. She’s basically not interested in it. We’ve been sleeping in separate rooms.
Even when we were young, I had sex only once in a couple of months.
Now, I’m a healthy 86, she’s 84. When I come to her bed, she doesn’t let me touch her.
She dreamed up false stories that I had many affairs with women (I didn’t) and cannot forgive me, as her reason for refusing me.
I feel so frustrated and miserable that I don’t speak to her for days after her rejection. This unhealthy marriage is distasteful if not meaningless.
Should I (may as well) put up with this situation for another, hopefully, five or more years or end this predicament by dissolving the marriage?
Frustrated at 86
How do you foresee this working for you?
That is the question to ask yourself, since even with a healthy future of some more than five years, there are no guarantees that you’ll find a willing, amiable, trustworthy companion for sex very soon.
For a future sex-mate to be “trustworthy,” is a key requirement, since it’s not unlikely that a man of your age who’s “well-off” will attract some users and scammers.
Meanwhile, “dissolving” a marriage takes some time and has added consequences - e.g. the financial issues of dividing joint assets such as the matrimonial home, car, cottage, the reaction of your adult children and grandchildren, etc. etc.
It’s not an impossible task, but the emotional reaction from your wife and family (and maybe within yourself) is often harder to handle than imagined.
Then there’s the business of avoiding health risks. You’d need to meet women who want to have sex with you, who can guarantee that they’ve been tested and don’t have any sexually-transmitted infections (STI’s) which could complicate your hopes for regular, care-free sex and more healthy years.
Whether you stay with your current wife or divorce her, is your decision to make… but it needs more thought than the minimal history of your marriage that you present.
During years of limited sex, did you, an educated man, try to help your wife whom you loved learn about intimacy and the benefits it can bring to a relationship?
Did she instead feel inadequate, which may’ve led to her trust issues and wrong accusations of you having affairs?
Was counselling sought by either of you?
Some readers may think it’s just too late to bother getting a divorce, but I say it’s not too late to tell your wife that you’d like a better future for both of you.
That can mean you telling her that you miss the feelings that once existed between you, and that you’d like these late years to revive some warmth and affection to benefit you both.
It may take some convincing but can lead to closer chats, holding hands when walking/sitting together, maybe some aspect of intimacy. Or maybe not.
You decide what you want to try.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding “unfavoured children” (September 30):
“My mother always favoured my younger sister. This wasn’t just my impression growing up, but also my aunt’s, and my mother’s as well, “confiding” in me (mistaking me for her BFF), that she’d always had something special for my sister.
“My sister did not grow up happier. She was needy, always demanding others to treat her the way she’d been treated at home, unrealistic in her expectations, unable to build relationships in her own family due to her narcissism.
“When the time came to look after our mother, it was me who did it. She didn’t attend her funeral, and refused to hear anything about her.
“I grew up insecure. If you feel rejected by your own parents, it’s hard to understand your worth. I ended up marrying because I thought I had to, with no place to go when things went bad, and not enough self-confidence to walk away.”
Tip of the day:
Late-life divorce isn’t a decision or change that’s easy, nor does it guarantee the benefits you’re seeking.