Marriage as Armed Truce?
Q: Over the last five years my husband of 30 years has stopped having sex with me and does not want to do anything with me. If I sit near him he moves away or puts a pillow between us. At night he will put a pillow between us in bed or shove me away if I touch him. He has even started going solo to events with a couple we know. He snaps at me constantly for no reason. I am at the point where I avoid speaking to him. I have told him I feel like his roommate instead of his wife. He tells me he still loves me and that he is not being unfaithful. I have spoken to my D.O. and gynecologist, and they have both recommended we seek counseling. Please advise. -- Joy, 55
Dr. Susan: Your husband may say he loves you, but his actions speak a lot louder than his words. Putting a pillow between the two of you if you sit near him? That's extreme, not even something you'd do with a roommate. I wonder how this has gone on for five years before you sought help. What you have is an armed truce, not a marriage. Is he truly faithful? Who knows? His every action speaks of loathing, not affection.
Indeed, you need to see a counselor. Living in such a tense situation can have effects on your mental and physical health. Let your mate know that you need him to come with you to talk to someone, that you can't go on the way you have been, that it's making you sick. If he won't go with you, go yourself, tell your story, and discuss your options.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.