QUESTION: My husband and I are in our mid-60s, have been married 40 years and have three grown-up children, but my spouse has become impossible to live with. He’s grumpy, unsympathetic and, most distressing of all, we have no sex life at all and he refuses point blank to see a counsellor. I’m terrified of being alone, but my marriage is making me miserable. Should I leave?
ANSWER: We’re still rather too inclined as a society to suggest sex can be gracefully relinquished as you mature, in favour of jigsaws and gardening.
But your letter is testament to the fact that physical reassurance is a key element of any good marriage, no matter the age of the couple.
A spouse can cope with all manner of grouchiness if there’s a warm core of affection to fall back on.
Your husband’s reluctance to talk about your problems is maddening, but not unusual for his generation.
Perhaps there’s a problem he can’t bear to admit to. Have you considered he might be suffering from erectile dysfunction? Depression might also be a factor and can play havoc with the libido. Harder to face is the possibility that your graceless husband no longer finds you attractive.
Sometimes this is the painful truth that no one dares articulate. Either way, you must let him know how unhappy you feel. Tell him you will - albeit reluctantly - start divorce proceedings if he doesn’t start behaving with honesty and decency. Tell him you can accept anything except his disdain.
Nobody should jettison 40 years of wedlock before every inch of leverage has been applied but you’ve more than done your bit. No one should have to sacrifice any chance of a happy old age to a selfish, uncaring spouse.
And don’t be frightened of going solo; a miserable marriage is far lonelier than the jolly life of a gregarious singleton. - Daily Mail