Ask Amy: Wife starts each day feeling rejected

May 24, 2012

DEAR AMY: I’ve been married for almost 40 years. During that time, my husband and I have had a mutually supportive relationship in which we have relied on, listened to and basically agreed with each other.

For almost the entirety of our marriage, my husband has not been interested in having a sexual relationship with me. He has had various excuses at various times.

We, he and I, have seen therapists throughout the length of our marriage. I have fooled myself that “some day” things would change.

Now he says I should accept him for who he is — someone not interested in sex — and we have agreed that there is no future for a sexual relationship between us. He doesn’t see that he has rejected me.

This closing of the door — nothing has changed physically — has me very upset. I don’t want to go on with life as usual. Nor do I want to end the marriage. I go to sleep every night and wake up every morning thinking, “Another day of rejection.” I don’t know what to do. -- Distraught Wife

DEAR DISTRAUGHT: I can understand the grief you feel, but you must also realize that this is not a personal rejection of you. Your husband is not rejecting you sexually in favor of someone or something else.

Unless your husband is homosexual, he is asexual (at least, that’s how I read your letter). It is sex — not you — he is rejecting. From what you report, it sounds as if he has tried to change and you have hoped for change but it hasn’t happened.

As you go through the process of grieving this loss, you should also honestly and openly explore the possibilities for your own sexual life moving forward, given the boundaries of your own ethics and your marital connection with your husband.

He has been honest with you about his sexual needs, and you should be honest with him. Once again, a counselor could help you have this conversation.

DEAR AMY: My neighbor asked my husband if I would give his daughter “Tiffany” a ride to school. Both he and his wife work. We have a daughter who goes to the same school as Tiffany. For the past five months, I have given Tiffany a ride to school every day.

Her parents haven’t even bothered to thank me. I don’t mind driving but would like some help with gas money. My husband doesn’t think that asking for money is appropriate. He says that I’m driving our daughter anyway, and to give this child a lift is not really out of my way.

I don’t mind helping them out once in a while, but if I have to do that every day, they should give me gas money. What do you think? -- Daily Driver

DEAR DRIVER: By driving this neighbor child to school each day, you are taking on the responsibility for getting her there safely and on time. You are saving these parents both money and effort.

When parents carpool, generally they share the driving, the responsibility and the expense. In your case there is no sharing.

What concerns me more than this, however, is why your husband is committing you to something without asking you first. This should be up to you — and negotiating a fair exchange should also be up to you.

The school year is almost over. But if this comes up again, you should suggest a fair and reasonable compensation for this service. Calculating the actual expense in terms of your gas consumption and then asking them to share it is reasonable.

DEAR AMY: I could really identify with the letter from “Angry,” the teen girl who reported being bullied by a teacher.

When I was in high school, one of our teachers was really out of control. All of the kids knew it, many of the parents knew it and presumably the school administrators knew it too. I just wish someone had done something about it. -- Also Angry

DEAR ANGRY: I thought this particular teen was very brave in choosing to confront and report this bullying. I’ve heard from many readers who remembered teacher-bullies from their own school days.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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