This is the first in a new series, Ask The MiddleAged AnswerWoman.
All questions/stories are real with minor details changed in order to maintain privacy and anonymity. All answers are delivered in the format of Plan C Strategies, intelligent emotional survival tools for life in the 21st century.
Dear Middle Aged Answerwoman,
My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years. We met our first day in college and began dating exclusively. We got married two years after we graduated from college because he wanted to save money by living with his parents. During those years, I lived with a room mate in The City in an apartment. After a while, I wanted to have sex and he wouldn’t have sex with me without being married. Finally, he was ready to get married and we moved into my dream home in suburbia where we could raise our family and get old together.
We have two children who are brilliant students and frankly, perfect in every way. My son is a dream boat. Handsome, vying to be top of his class, a brilliant scientific mind and loves to stay home and work on his computer. My daughter is top of her class, she is in three orchestras and plays three stringed instruments in each (violin, cello and viola), speaks five languages (Mandarin, French, Spanish, German and Arabic), volunteers with homeless children and mothers, babysits every weekend night and cooks dinner five nights a week because I work two full time jobs. I am a therapist in private practice working with married, mothers who work outside the home; children who want to be super successful in school and any adults that want to figure out “their real life passion”. I also work at a dental office as the office manager so that we have health insurance and other benefits. I get asked all the time how I can be so busy, but I love it! Busy hands are happy hands, they say.
My husband is a deeply religious man. He spends his time studying and education himself about electrical engineering and religion. He has not had a paying job in a few years because he can’t find a job that is up to his level of experience and, more importantly, his intelligence. I try not to bother him, but sometimes I do find myself worrying what might happen if he never gets a job. But I am committed to him and our marriage. My mother told me that marriage is hard and that you have to do whatever it takes to make it work.
I know my life sounds perfect, but believe me when I tell you that it’s not.
I have “friends”, but I don’t really talk to anyone about the stress I am under because I know no one else I know has problems like I do. Actually, it’s only one problem. And it’s not my problem — it’s my husband’s problem: he does not like the vagina!
I want to have sex with him (angry as I am at him). The truth is that he does not know about, want to know about or have anything to do with sex. I thought for a long time that it was MY vagina he didn’t like, but now I understand that it is any vagina. He says he’s “just not into it”. He won’t even say the word “vagina”! He calls it “it”!
I think about this all the time, especially in the middle of the night which I hate. I wonder, worry and stress out: Is there something wrong with him physically? Is it a mental health issue? Is he gay?
I could tell you stories galore, but I’m tired. Know, MiddleAged AnswerWoman, that I’ve tried EVERYTHING (be really, really creative and if you can think of it, I tried it) and I am at the end of my rope. Can you help me? Can you tell me what could is wrong with him? What can I do to fix him?
Please, Middle Aged Answer Woman, I’ll do anything! Help me, please!!! What should I do so my husband and I have great sex like other married couples?
Sexless in Suburbia
Dear S in S,
Thank you for writing such a detailed description of your life. Let’s begin by reframing your story and your problem.
You are in a long term marriage with two growing kids. You are the sole earner in your family. You have a very clear vision of who each of your kids are, as well as your husband and you are absolutely sure that your perspective is correct. You are a person for whom intelligence is extremely important, as is commitment. You sound like you have known what you have wanted from life for a long time and have gone about creating it. Yet, there are parts of your reality that do not match up with your long-held beliefs about what your life was supposed to be like. You believe that everyone else sees you as successful and this keeps you at a distance from other’s in terms of any real intimacy.