Relationship Advice

Aging Gracefully

older woman

My husband is no longer interested in sex. I'm not sure if it's sex or me. It's probably a bit of both, but I believe it started with me gaining weight.

We got together when he was 50 and I was 40. The first 15 years we had a great sex life. With menopause and the stress of my aging/dying parents, I gained about 25 lbs. I was not previously overweight but have always been athletic, muscular and strong.

My husband said he hoped I wouldn't gain more weight, but slowly I gained another 25 lbs. I used to be able to lose any excess gain rapidly. But in the last 10 years I have had one physical set back after another (hip replacement, torn Achilles, rotator cuff surgery).

Now at 65, I find it so difficult to lose even a couple of pounds. Little by little, my husband began to lose interest, and we haven't had sex now for about three years. He is 75, athletic and in good shape.

At first, I thought perhaps there was someone else and/or it was my weight gain. I can't get him to talk about it. He just laughs nervously and says, "Yes, we should be trying to have sex more often." But then he never tries. He's kind and loving but not physically affectionate at all, so contrary to the earlier years.

Five months ago, I got him to take a testosterone test. He was below the normal range. The urologist put him on hormone replacement. Three months later, he was down even further. After two months of a new treatment, there's still no difference.

We live in Europe. He is European and finds it hard to talk about feelings. I am totally frustrated, sad, hurt, angry (with myself over the weight) and getting all screwed up over this.

In this country, they give a "psychologist" title to someone with a five-year college degree. My experience with American therapists is iffy. Good ones are rare, and one can spend a lot of money and still not find answers.

I don't know if I want to hear why he doesn't want sex with me anymore. If it's because of weight, or I'm older and less attractive, I can't do anything about that.

If it's him with low testosterone and no solution, how does one live the rest of their life without sex or affection?

Callie


Callie, words mean stuff. You say your husband is loving, and you say without sex you aren't getting affection. But you said he is loving. Do you mean he is nice? Do you mean other people think he is a great guy? What exactly do you mean?

He looks sheepish and says, we should try more often. That does not express blame. It's as if he is saying, "You know, I'm 75, and things don't work like they used to."

It appears he has not alluded to this as your problem. What a gentleman. If he were less of a gentleman, he would put this all on you. "The problem is your weight. Stop thinking you are still smokin' hot."

Then he could launch you on a quest to look like you are 40 again. Boy, if that wouldn't be an outlet for your energies, spending years hounding medical people to lose 50 lbs.

We are not machines. Why don't the people we love get to age? The way he is at 75 is exactly what people should expect he would be, unless they've read tabloid articles about men in their 70s making love like bunnies.

He seems to be fine with your relationship. Perhaps he never mistook physical intimacy for love. Perhaps he hasn't mistaken how he feels about you with the act of sex. Have you?

You sort of blame yourself—I am overweight—but you also say, if he won't have sex with me, how will I go on? That's like saying, if he can't have sex, I don't know if I love him. You're not reveling in the health he does have. Is there nothing else he does for you?

He's never been affectionate in the way you want. He's aged, but he hasn't changed. No counselor will be able to give you what was never there in the first place. You married a man who is not emotionally demonstrative. That is not his problem 25 years later. That is your problem 25 years ago.

You have given yourself age concessions (I'm older and I can't lose weight now). Where are the concessions you make for him?

When seeking a relationship, the right thing to do is to find someone about whom we can say, I love everything he does, not I love everything he does for me.

Wayne & Tamara