Dear Tell All: My husband and I met at a local gym and bonded over running, skating and skiing. We both competed in races in Madison and throughout the state. He was an amazing athlete, usually finishing at or near the front of the pack. I found his prowess sexy, and he felt the same way about me. Our love life was incredibly hot.
Three years ago, my husband injured his knee in a race. He began suffering other sports-related problems, including heel spurs and back pain. He finally decided to give up on competing, which was tragic for someone that athletically gifted. He was so depressed about it that he more or less gave up on working out, too.
His attitude has gotten so bad that it’s affecting our relationship. He’s out of shape and looks terrible, and no amount of nagging will drive him back to the gym. Worse, he’s constantly complaining about his aches and pains. The self-pity is hard to take.
Saddest of all, sex has become a trial. It’s hard for me to get turned on when — right before getting into bed — he begins whining about his damn knee, or his damn feet, or some other injury. I express my annoyance, and physical intimacy becomes impossible.
Can this marriage be saved?
Dear Nike: Your marriage can be saved, but only if you want to save it. You make it sound like your attraction to your husband was solely physical, based on sports and sex. You don’t mention any of his other good qualities. Intelligence? A sense of humor? A big heart? If athletic prowess was all he had, then your relationship may be doomed by his injuries.
It’s not a good sign that you have no patience for his current state. You describe his bad attitude and your own annoyance. You don’t sound like someone who wants to grow old with this guy.
If I’m wrong, then you need to change your attitude. He’s the one who’s hurting, so why don’t you step into the role of sympathetic spouse? Rather than “nagging,” how about helping him come to terms with his new life? That doesn’t mean you have put up with a lifetime of self-pity, but do your best to soothe him for as long as you can stand it.
“For better or worse,” remember? Unfortunately, you’ve hit the “worse” part, and that will be a test for both you and your husband. If you fail, then you can move on knowing that at least you gave it your best shot.
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