Dear Annie: I am married to a man four years my junior who seems locked into the idea that I am cheating on him. I am not, although I’d have good reason: He is hardly ever around and pays little attention to me.
We have two children, and I gained a lot of weight during the pregnancies. Recently, I began exercising and watching my diet to improve my health and have almost returned to my pre-wedding weight. I feel better about myself, as I had become depressed.
Now when I dress up, he assumes it’s not for him but to get the attention of other men. When we were dating, he kept pressuring me to lose weight, even though I was slim. He had little sexual interest in me once I became pregnant, but now he can’t get enough. He claims it’s unrelated to my weight loss. He says he “just figured out” that our love was meant to be. This isn’t our only problem. He also belittles my intelligence. When I make statements, he often challenges me or tells me I must not have understood what I heard.
I’m miserable, but everyone tells me I have to stay for the kids and try to make it work. I don’t even know where to start in order to be happy again. I am 35 with two small children and feel stuck. Who would want me? – Trapped
Dear Trapped: We know we sound like a broken record, but please get counseling. He has worn you down and made you feel unattractive and worthless. You have two young children, and for their sakes, you should make every effort to see whether the relationship can be saved before giving up. It would be best if your husband goes with you, but if not, go without him. The right counselor will help you understand your situation and find ways to deal with it.