Q — I’m a male, married to a woman whom I love and adore, and respect more than anything in the world. The thing is that she sees other men for sex and is open about it. She doesn’t have actual sex with me anymore. She says I'm too small down there. But she likes that I’m a great provider.
She expects me to accept this situation and to remain faithful to her, which I am.
Now she wants to have a baby but says it won't be mine and she insists that I accept this too.
She knows how much I love her and that I’ve always accepted how our marriage is. I don’t want to lose her. What should I do?
Just A Provider?
A — I find it hard to believe that you can truly love and respect her once you admit to yourself that this woman has no regard for your feelings or dignity.
She uses you mainly for financial support, and leads a life that will increasingly demean you and eventually exclude you.
Whatever your size “down there” is, it’s possible to be intimate with a willing lover through oral sex, fondling, and other creative means.
But your wife has apparently shown no accommodation to you, other than for your money. And once there’s a child in the picture, plus its biological father, and her various sex partners, your role in her life will be minimized even further … to just handing over the cash to pay for her growing demands.
What should you do? See your doctor about “size” and a sex therapist about learning how to satisfy a lover who’s a real partner.
Then, run. Staying in this marriage is self-imposed entrapment.
Reader’s commentary regarding couples with a significant age difference that attracts attention:
I'm in a same-sex marriage with a man who’s 32 years younger than me. We’re often aware of people looking at us and in one case (the only one in more than 10 years) a person actually made a comment to me, that “you must be very rich.”
We’re sure that people often think that my husband is a kept boy and that the only way I can have a young hot partner is because I pay for it. But we know what the truth is and we tend to ignore the whispered comments and the stares.
There’s nothing wrong with a spring-December relationship, provided that both members of the couple are on an equal footing (and that means age-appropriate).
The gossips will have their day, for all kinds of reasons. Our job in this marriage is to make both members of the couple comfortable in our relationship.
When we go out to a restaurant, for instance, my husband usually pays the bill. And we dress as is appropriate to our own ages.
Ellie — It’s clear that neither of you is unaware of the speculation and gossip, and aren’t very bothered by it.
But to put the chatter in context, the ongoing #MeToo awareness and reaction to sexual abuses/assaults and coercion that occurs to both women and men, heterosexuals and LBGTQ people, has aroused some questions as well as unsubstantiated and unfair gossip too.
In a couple with such a visible age gap, people may (wrongly) assume that there was an initial predatory nature to the union, or that an ongoing power imbalance exists, forcing the younger partner to comply. However, what matters is that both you and your husband are fully equal in the relationship.
Regarding self-absorbed adult children who don’t contact their parents/grandparents: Withdrawing from them is sometimes the only means of preventing consistent hurt, considering that they’re a lost cause.
I have two such children in their 40’s. After years of being patient, kind, understanding, and supportive, I refuse to be exposed to their toxic behaviour any longer.
Parents do not have to be the brunt of such behaviour.
Ellie — How you react to your adult children’s behaviour is your choice.
The letter-writer was in a situation less injurious but still very disappointing. My response was as follows: “Do … comparative lifestyle realities excuse younger adults from any responsibility to maintaining family ties? Of course not.
“Rather, they should help the generations understand that change requires new adaptations and expectations.”
Personally, I feel that giving up on adult children is never a win-win. But if anyone is truly toxic to you, protecting yourself is a necessity.
Ellie’s tip of the day:
Some accommodations in a marriage are too demeaning to accept.
Ellie Tesher is wise, witty and pulls no punches as a syndicated advice columnist. A booty call is just that, not a romance.