Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Figure out what's really good, or really wrong, about the marriage
Speaking of resentment: My wife is a great mom, good wife, but she has the sexuality of a stick in the mud. I've made it very clear how I feel about the fact that she treats sex as a chore less desirable than laundry, but it hasn't gotten better. And she won't go to a therapist.
We have two young kids so I won't divorce her, but I have told her point-blank that it may come to the point that I find another sexual partner. I can't go the rest of my life with bad sex.
Any suggestions (besides divorcing her when the kids are in college)?
And yes, I do more than my share of taking care of the family, house and other chores.
Carolyn: What did she say to your point-blank statement?
And, on a completely different tack, what would she say to . . . I dunno, dance lessons? I'm under no illusions they would transform her into a wildcat; however, a good mom and wife with two young kids is a creature who quite commonly finds herself disconnected from her libido.
Anything you can do to help her use her body for pleasure again, specifically nonsexual pleasure, would have to help even a little bit on the sexual end. I don't like to generalize on the sexes, but I think it might be tough for men to relate to women who forget or even fail to recognize their physical selves.
Speaking of resentment: She said: "Fine, go ahead." This is usually at the end of another heated discussion.
I hear what you're saying about the young kids thing, but she was like this before the kids. In fact, she used to say sex would be better after we were married, then after we had kids (many miscarriages — so that was a difficult time). It isn't. And I feel like I've been sold a bill of goods.
We also have a nanny, and I'm the one who takes the kids to the doctor, lessons, playdates, etc. And then makes up the work hours at night. Did I mention I also cook dinner because she gets home late?
We actually did take dance lessons before we got married, but now she would ask how much it cost and when would we have time.
Carolyn: Ah. Okay. So how is she a good wife?
By the way, maybe you were sold a bill of goods, but that means you bought a bill of goods.
Not to point fingers — truly. It's just that blaming all this on her isn't really fair to either of you. "The sex will get better after we're married" is something someone believes when s/he wants to believe it. Owning that will help you understand, I suspect, why you wanted this marriage badly enough to suspend your disbelief on an issue of such obvious importance to you — and that might help you understand the good things you're getting out of the marriage.
Or, conversely, it'll help you understand the bigger picture of your marital problems, which are in no way just about sex. Think holistically about this, please, including the division of labor, the mix of temperaments and the messages you're sending your kids.
Tuesday: His "good wife" definition.