Neglected by husband
My husband is 62 and I am 50 years old. We have been married 6 years. We have both been married prior to this. He masturbates and likes oral sex but not intercourse. When we were first married we had intercourse once or twice a month as he said he was too tired and uninterested in lovemaking. Now there is no lovemaking and only his masturbating and my doing him orally. He does not do the same for me, he says it is too much bother. He tells me to go and find some other man my age but morally I don't want to.
He says he likes his masturbating better than anything and really only wanted a woman to pay half the bills. He has cheated on me in the past but denies it saying it is all in my head. He is jealous and if I say that I am going for a walk he says be careful that no man tries to pick me up. I have also found out that his first wife divorced him because of his cheating.
He hates Florida but I am tired of moving (5 times in 6 years). Also, I bought a home here. He ran away from our home in Upstate New York to move here then wanted me to move down too. He says that I am a good wife and treat him like gold. If I am such a good wife why does he want me to find someone else?
Do you think that he really loves me or cares about me? Do men really do this - want their wife to find another? Does he really want to leave me but is trying to get me to do it first? I am confused and hurt.
I noticed that the three questions you asked at the end of your letter were all about your husband - whether or not he loves and cares about you, whether his behavior is normal or typical and whether or not he wants to leave. I think it's more important at this point to ask what YOU want in this marriage. It doesn't sound from your letter as if you are satisfied with the way things are going, and I think that your feelings are really what count right now. You don't say if you love this man or not. You also don't say whether it's always been this way between you, or was there a time with him when things were different (and better) than they are now?
It's hard for me to say what's going on for your husband, but it doesn't sound as if your needs are being met in your present relationship. How does it make you feel when your sexual relations with him are designed for his gratification but your sexual desires aren't taken into consideration, or when he tells you that he really just wanted someone to split the bills with? It's not really a question of whether your husband is "right" or "wrong," because there are many variations as to what people want in a marriage, and as long as the arrangement is satisfying to both people, it can work - even if it isn't considered "typical" by other people. But what does matter is that you sound unhappy with the current arrangement. You are confused and hurt, and that's not how it has to be for you.
You don't mention your prior marriage or other relationships, but I wonder whether this is the first time you've had a relationship in which your needs and wishes were shoved aside in order to accommodate the other person's. Often a person learns certain patterns in relationships early on and then finds themselves in relationships that have that pattern over and over again, even if the pattern is not one that makes them happy. I wonder whether or not you've ever had a period of time in which you were alone, without a man in your life. Sometimes people are so scared to be by themselves that they will accept a relationship in which the other person doesn't treat them well rather than risk being on their own.
The positive news is that if you are indeed not satisfied with how things are, then you can learn to change your pattern in relationships. It starts by going to a good therapist or counselor (one with whom you feel comfortable) to understand where you learned the original pattern (often in the family you grew up in). Then you learn how to make changes so that you can start having relationships that are more satisfying to you. Once you are clear on issues such as what you want and how you want to be treated in relationships, then you can start to change how you act towards others. With your husband, this may include sitting down and talking with him and explaining to him what it is that you want in your marriage. You might ask if he would go to couples counseling with you (but I would do this only after you've had enough individual sessions to become clear in your own head about what it is that you want). If he won't go with you and won't make changes to compromise, then you will need to decide if you can live with the current dynamics as they are - and if you want to.
I would encourage you to find a good therapist and being to figure out now what changes you would like to see in your marriage - and possibly in other relationships as well. You certainly deserve to have the relationship you want, one in which you are treated with respect and consideration, and you don't have to go on feeling confused and hurt.
Good luck, Rose.
Susan Maroto, LCSW
This question has been answered by Susan Maroto. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working out of Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She uses an eclectic approach to holistic healing, mind-body relationships, life transitions, depression, and anxiety.For more information visit: http://www.therapywithsusan.com/