Dear Annie: I am a 57-year-old woman, and my husband is 61. We met online and spent weekends together for seven months before getting married. I was deeply in love with him for the first six months.
Lately, my attitude and feelings have changed dramatically. This man drives me crazy and grosses me out. He is constantly clearing his throat and blowing his nose. He is flatulent and burps long and loud all day and night. He’s clumsy, and his memory is going downhill fast. He becomes very defensive when I try to talk to him about any of this. I still love him, but not romantically.
I have to force myself to kiss him, let alone sleep with him, and due to his denial, I have lost a lot of respect for him. This was not the man I dated. He retired six months ago and now sits around all day getting stoned. He doesn’t make friends, and he needs open heart surgery and a knee replacement and will require a caregiver very soon. As a nurse, I now see this marriage as a live-in job.
I feel totally trapped. I bought the house we are living in and brought more money into the marriage. However, because I am entitled to his retirement benefit when he dies, he considers our financial contributions to be equal.
Please don’t suggest counseling. It won’t change his personality or improve his health and honesty. – Regrets in Paradise
Dear Regrets: The counseling isn’t for him. It’s for you. You feel trapped with a man you no longer wish to be intimate with, and the future you see is that of patient and nurse. There’s no point in beating yourself up over what you didn’t notice when you were dating. That happens to everyone.
The question is what you are going to do about it now. And that’s where the counseling can help. You need to sort out how you feel, whether you are willing to stick it out and the emotional cost to you.