- Love Club
May 4, 1997 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
Dear Dr. Love,
MY WIFE AN I HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 15 YEARS. WE HAVE TWO CHILDREN AGES 12 AND 8. I SPEND A GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND EFFORT TO MAKE SURE THAT SHE KNOWS HOW MUCH I LOVE HER, AND CARE ABOUT HER. I GET THE KIDS UP IN THE MORNING, FIX THEIR BREAKFAST, AND TAKE THEM TO SCHOOL. I DO MORE THAN HALF OF THE LAUNDRY, ALL OF THE DISHWASHING, I COOK, I SPEND SATURDAY MORNINGS CLEANING HOUSE, (SHE WORKS ON SAT), DO THE YARD WORK, CLEAN THE BATHROOMS, WASH SHEETS, DUST, MOP VACUUM - THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.
FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, WE HAVE AVERAGED HAVING SEX ONLY 6. 5 TIMES PER YEAR. THIS YEAR, IT'S WORSE. 1 TIME, AND IT IS NOW THE 5TH MONTH OF THE YEAR. I'M READY TO BLOW MY BRAINS! WHAT DOES A WOMAN WANT? WE ARE BOTH IN OUR MID-THIRTIES. I HAD A'VAS' LAST SUMMER, SO FEAR OF PREGNANCY IS NOT THE ANSWER. CAN YOU HELP ME UNDERSTAND A WOMAN'S THINKING?
SIGNED, NEEDING SOME ___!!
You sound like a maid in your own house, and, I think that in addition to "some" sex, you need "some" time off.
I have the impression that you think, "If I am really 'good' and helpful that I will be rewarded with sex." As you have noticed, instead of being rewarded, you are just being walked on. You can continue your pattern of unconditional giving. But keep in mind, if it hasn't worked so far, it never will.
I'm afraid you have fallen into what I call the "Martyr Syndrome." Martyrs think that if they do more and more, they will finally be loved, but instead, they become doormats, lose others' respect and get walked on. I suspect that you saw one of your parents give all with the hope of being rewarded one day. And, I'm sure, that your parent(s) never received the rewards that they wanted, any more than you do. You need to realize that your helpful behavior will never earn your wife's respect, nor will it earn you sex.
True martyrs and saints don't expect rewards in this life, they expect rewards in the after life. So, you have some serious thinking to do. If you want your rewards (including sex) in this world, you have to stop acting like a martyr, and start acting like an entitled citizen.
If you decide that you want more for yourself, then, it's time to tell your wife that you are not happy with the way things are going. Then you could ask her, "What's in it for me to continue breaking my back, when my sexual needs are never met?"
This question may sound selfish to you, and you're darn right it is. You need to be selfish. You are entitled to be selfish. You are not supposed to live your live as a slave, hoping for sexual crumbs. And, by continuing to give to your wife, when she never meets your needs, you are actually rewarding her neglectful behavior. In fact, by continuing to do for her, when you get nothing, you are saying to her, "That's all right, dump on me...and I'll keep rewarding you all the same."
I'm not telling you that you have to change, or stop doing the housework. All I'm saying is that if you want more sex, you have to look at how your martyr style sets you up to be deprived of what you want.
If you stop rewarding her depriving behavior, by doing more and more, I think you find a more sexually willing wife.
Let me know how this works out for you.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book provides a down-to-earth, easy to apply, proven method for creating relationship harmony. This book should be mandatory reading for every couple that wants to head-off or resolve the inevitable relationship conflicts and build lasting love. Buy this book and put it to use!”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show