Dear Aunty Pam: This is a very hard letter for me to write.
For my entire 35-year marriage, I have always taken care of myself — kept my figure, had my hair and nails done, always put on a face before going out. I’ve also worked hard for several years, along with my husband, to put away enough money so that our house was paid off quickly, our kids were educated and we could look forward to a debt-free retirement.
The problem is my husband has made no effort to look after himself. Because of the weight he put on (approximately 75 pounds) he has myriad chronic health issues. All he wants to do is park on the couch and watch football and eat the worst things possible. If I try to get him to eat a balanced diet, he bites my head off.
I can’t tell you how depressed this has made me. He says he’s still the man I married and I should still love him no matter what and be grateful I have a husband because a few of my friends are widows. All the things I thought we’d be doing we’re not, and I can’t bear sitting around the house all day. I’ve always been active, always craved trying new things and going new places. Now I feel like I’m just disintegrating.
Dear DW: Oh, Law, Aunty Pam wants to give you a bear hug and a trough of prosecco. This is indeed a dilemma and your heartache just saturates the page.
My dear, if we were in Paris, France, I would tell you to take a lover. As in, yesterday. You’re youthful, vivacious and no doubt quite attractive. As it is, we’re closer, geographically, to Paris, Kentucky, and doing such a thing will have the ladies auxiliary as well as your family, treating you like the Whore of Babylon.
So what to do? First of all, I’d gently approach the hubs and suggest a check-up with his doctor because if, for example, he has diabetes, well, that can make one very depressed indeed. Ditto if he’s in chronic pain. Secondly, it would be hugely beneficial to suggest couples’ counseling. Having said that he bites your head off if you push a salad in his direction, you’ll have to approach him very carefully about this — sort like prodding a snake with a stick to see if it moves — careful, careful.
If he resolutely refuses both accounts, welp, you’re not joined at the hip, are you? There is no reason on this earth you should have to sit around the house and wither away because he can’t, or won’t, make an effort. Ring up your girlfriends — do all the activities with them that you had hoped to do with your husband. See that Van Gogh exhibition, it’s brilliant! Take a weekend trip to the Outer Banks. Why not? Take up tennis, golf, cycling … dear heart, we only live once. And right now you’re not living. Get out there and take a big ass bite out of life!