DEAR AMY: I fell madly in love with a wonderful, kind man. He told me that he had been with 30-plus women in his 55-plus years, primarily for sex. When he told me he really loved me and had never truly felt this way before about any other woman, it won me over, and now we are married. I am seven years younger than he is and had been divorced for about 15 years. My issue is that now my husband is not interested in having sex with me at all. He states that he has already had that and now he just wants love. I have cried, talked and asked for counseling, to no avail. I am ready to walk away. I feel ugly and undesirable. He has promised to make changes, but in 10 months nothing has changed. I love him deeply, but my heart is telling me that this is now becoming toxic. I don’t understand how he can have sex with so many women he didn’t love, but not with the woman he loves. Do you have any guidance?
DEAR ABANDONED: The possibilities here are:
Your husband was lying to you about his previous sexual experiences.
He contracted an STD that he does not want to disclose or transmit to you.
He has a psychological “Madonna/Whore” thing going on, where he does not associate sex with wholesome and lasting love.
He has health problems affecting his libido.
He is still having sex with other people on the down-low
You don’t supply details about whether your husband was ever in a long-term relationship, or whether you and he have sexually consummated your marriage.
Because he won’t level with you about what is going on with him, he — and you — are assuming responsibility for this as individuals, rather than tackling this challenge as a couple.
Your efforts should start in the office of a counselor who could help you to explore possible solutions. If he refuses counseling, you should go alone.
He should also receive a thorough medical checkup. He needs to be transparent with you about the process and results.
DEAR AMY: My brother and I have always had a strained relationship. A few years ago, he moved his wife and four kids out of state. In the years since, my wife and I have sent birthday cards to his children, as well as other nieces and nephews. Our number of nieces and nephews has grown to 13, so this year, we decided that unless there was a family party (where we would bring a gift), we would forego sending cards. My brother is the only one who has taken issue with this. On a visit, his wife asked me about it in front of other family members and her children (awkward), and I shared our decision, thinking that would be the end of it. But a few weeks later, my brother mailed me a box of cards and stamps, insisting that I send them. When I told him he was being ridiculous, he called me a deadbeat, compared me to Satan, offered to pay me to send cards, and eventually threatened violence. This feels like the end of what little relationship we had, and I told him so. I offered to talk about this in person, but I’ve heard nothing back. This has now sparked some controversy within the family, with some saying we are harming my brother’s children. What do you think?
DEAR UNCLE: My first reaction is that getting 13 cards in the mail over the course of a year doesn’t seem like such a heavy lift, but wait — when your brother embarrassed, manipulated, punished and finally compared you to Satan over this, I hopped over to your side.
He seems to have gone round the bend. Don’t chase him, but do understand that he is reacting out of his own extreme vulnerability.
Regardless of whatever brotherly schism you two might experience, you and your wife should genuinely try to keep up with and in touch with his children. If your brother is so reactive and volatile, you can imagine what their childhoods might be like.
DEAR AMY: “Reviewed” complained about being “blindsided by a horrible review” at work. I could have written that letter. HR, unfortunately, may not help. Sometimes HR is simply a tool of the management, and part of the problem. I think “Reviewed” should look for another job.
DEAR REVIEWED: Many readers pointed this out. Thank you.