Dear Amy: I am 34 with a 14-year-old son. Three years ago, I married Stan, and it has been rough sailing. I have been asking him since our first year to attend counseling with me.

We are hardly ever intimate, and when we are, it is very quick and not at all satisfying. There is no tenderness; the last time (a few months ago), he was petting the cat the whole time.

We are having financial troubles, too. He is grumpy most of the time; my son and I call him "Snuffagrumplegus." He is harder on my son than I would like. He doesn't do things around the house, even when I ask.

We tried to have a baby and I took fertility treatments, but with the lack of intimacy I didn't get pregnant. I feel resentful because he would not fulfill his part of the deal. I have always wanted more children.

If I leave, I will have to declare bankruptcy, as my husband has driven us into debt. Should I stay with him?

- Snuffagrumplegus' wife

 

Dear Wife: You seem to think it is your husband's duty to provide you with a pregnancy - but his reluctance to have children and the pressure and control you've exerted might affect his desire to be intimate. Either that or he genuinely prefers the cat.

You should see that your relationship is too unstable to sustain any additions to it.

Your focus should be on your adolescent son and what would be best for him. Living with a stepfather who is too hard on him and evidently also not a good partner to you isn't good for your son.

You've been pressuring your husband to see a counselor, but you should see one on your own; expressing your hopes, fears, and disappointment to someone else will help you to clarify what you need to do. Be open to learning about how you may have contributed to your problems.

 
 

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