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Most of the letters on this forum are from women, which is to be expected. I regularly read these interesting accounts because they are informative, honest, help me to support my wife and consider views from a different perspective.
I am a married man in my early fifties and my wife is of a similar age. We both are healthy as we exercise 6 days per week and try to eat well. My wife has been going through the surgical menopause for the last six years. She is now finally taking the correct HRT and she is doing well. I have always considered myself an easy going person and not averse to doing any role in the house. In fact, I am better at cooking and housework than D.I.Y (I know my limits). My wife and I have been married for 10 years, we do not have any children due to medical issues. Until recently I considered my wife to be my best friend. I am not naïve to believe that she tells me everything but if I was going to share my deepest darkest secret then she would be the only one I would tell.
In the last six years, I feel as though I have lost my BFF, lover and my rock. I am heartbroken and as I type this I have a mixture of emotions ranging from despair, mourning, betrayal (for writing this letter), frustration, anger, sorrow and love. I accept we all change over time for various reasons but what I had hoped wouldn’t change would be the love, intimacy and consideration for the other’s feelings.
Currently, my wife and I are very distant both emotionally and physically. Over the years I have supported my wife through the menopause. I have accompanied her to the majority of the medical appointments, I have read (and continue to read) menopausal literature, I have attended menopausal seminars, I have championed and raised menopausal adjustments in the workplace, I try to be understanding and tolerant about the symptoms and effects of the menopause (I’ve learnt to be quiet to avoid arguments and accept unusual and irrational behaviour) and I try not to take things to heart (but sometimes that is too difficult).
I love my wife and marrying her was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I am still in love with my wife and I really fancy her. I give her genuine compliments and I have learnt to be tactful about her insecurities and encourage her to see herself as I and many other people do. I am not perfect and I can be stubborn, miserable and on a few occasions childish often retreating to my “man cave”. But even when I’m annoyed with my wife, one of her smiles can sometimes cause me to melt.
I honestly believe that my wife loves me but we are more like friends who happen to live in the same house. My wife’s reduced libido has seriously affected our intimacy and I am regularly rejected even when I just want a cuddle and I make it clear that I won’t try to have sex. This has seriously affected my confidence in all aspects of my life, and I am now at a point where I won’t instigate contact through fear of rejection. The spark in our marriage has gone. I have tried to create excitement by arranging date nights, being sympathetic to her needs, arranging weekend breaks, taking as much stress off her as possible and just listening. However, this does not seem to work. I feel like my wife is very negative about life in general. Very rarely do I hear her say anything positive about her work, colleagues or other aspects of her life. She seems to be very pessimistic about everything and I am the complete opposite. I always look for positives, I don’t take myself seriously and I love laughing and making my wife laugh. We don’t seem to laugh a lot anymore well at least not in each other’s company.
I have spoken to my wife about the way I feel and the way we have become. My wife states that she feels distant as well and is not the same person since the hysterectomy. She no longer feels like a real woman. Following these honest and candid conversations, our relationship improves but after a short while it quickly reverts back to how it was. I now fill my spare time with hobbies and I no longer try as much as I used to make our relationship work. A part of me believes this is what my wife really wants despite telling me she is so in love with me and could not see her life without me. She seems oblivious or unconcerned that our marriage is suffering and that I am in a lot of pain.
So my question to the ladies and men on this forum is, do you recognise the above scenario and what are your words of advice? Please be candid, over the last six years I have built up a very thick skin. So if I need to “man up” then please say. I recognise my happiness is my responsibility and not dependant on anyone else. I don’t expect my marriage to be one continuous honeymoon. I just want to feel wanted, desired, respected and loved. I don’t need to be put first on every occasion but I want to be considered. I don’t want to be the centre of anyone’s universe but I think our marriage should be most of the time. I don’t want massive acts of affection, a small gesture or look will suffice.
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