My wife doesn’t pay much attention to what’s going on with me at all. She’s a great mother, but that is part of the problem. It doesn’t seem like she has much interest in me, if any. In fact, we haven’t been alone over a couple of times in 20 years. I’ve told her many times I need more attention and, at least some sense of companionship. She doesn’t express affection toward me, much less kiss. It seems like she’d do anything for the kids, but not for me. Generally, we get along okay and I have been faithful to her but I have to admit considering other sources for companionship. I just have this deep sense of loneliness. I want it to get better. I just get frustrated because I try to talk, but it just ends up with a fight. Help.
Before you run off and do something stupid like propositioning the drive-through girl at Dunkin’ Donuts, let’s think this through. You can control one thing in this situation: what you do. You can’t control what your wife does, how she feels, or how she reacts to anything you say or do. But you can have some say in the reaction you might get. So, instead of going to her all fired up and resentful and saying, “You never pay attention to me! You make me feel bad! You’re mean and I hate you!,” which will get bad reactions across the board, you could approach things differently. Maybe ask her out on a date. It doesn’t have to be Per Se and a diamond bracelet and an impromptu private jet to St. Barts. (Although that would be a totally awesome date.) Take her to McDonald’s on the handlebars of your bicycle if you have to; just do something romantic and sweet that focuses on the two of you as a couple. Ask her for time. “I’ve really been wanting to try that new Mexican place. If I get a babysitter for Saturday night, are you up for a couple margaritas?” Then get her drunk and try to make out. Kidding. I’m kidding!
Let’s say you try to woo your wife, and you try to connect with her without recrimination or blame, and that you’re just trying to get a chunk of her time. And she still ignores you, or blows you off, or doesn’t seem to care enough to reciprocate your efforts. In that case, I would sit her down in a nice quiet moment, and tell her the truth. Tell her what you told me…that you’re sad and lonely and realllllly would love to get a smooch from her now and again. (Also, if you’ve been alone twice in the last twenty years and she won’t even give you a peck on the cheek, holy shit, no WONDER you’re frustrated.) Tell her that you’re frustrated and worried and that you desperately want to make things better. DO NOT tell her the part about “considering other sources” because not only is that skeevy and horrible, it would just piss her off. Then tell her you want to get counseling, or go to a marriage workshop, or give her a book that you’ve bought about improving your relationship. Tell her you’re at the end of your rope. Which you are.
Normally, I’m the last gal on earth to recommend divorce, but seriously, if none of these things get her attention, it might just be time to move on. You seem nice, and like you care. There are plenty of nice people out there for you to be with; just do yourself and your wife and your kids and your dignity a favor and keep it in your pants until you figure all this out.