"He's So Needy, It's Making Me Crazy"
Her Turn"I Want to Push Him Away"
"I feel as if I'm the male in this relationship and my husband is the female because I need my space and he needs a lot of attention and affection," says Marlene, 44, the mother of three sons from a previous marriage, only one of whom is still at home. "I'm a litigation attorney, so my days are pressure packed and followed by a long commute from Boston back to our small town. Roy is an art teacher at our local high school, so typically he gets home by 3 p.m. and spends the rest of the afternoon working on one of his paintings. To be fair, he usually makes dinner, but he leaves the kitchen in such a mess it drives me crazy. But what he really doesn't get is that I need to decompress when I get home. He starts babbling before I even get inside the door. And he follows me from room to room.
"Weekends are worse. He wants to do everything with me -- from grocery shopping to errands to my early-morning run. If I tell him I want to do these things alone, he looks hurt. The more he smothers me, the more I want to push him away.
"I feel as though I have another child. He's a very talented, creative guy, but I have to remind him of appointments. He never finishes projects, like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters, and he's hopeless as a handyman. Anything that needs fixing, I fix. I pay the bills and drive us everywhere because he gets nervous behind the wheel.
"Then, if this weren't bad enough, he's having trouble performing sexually -- something that was not a problem when we were dating. I thought spicing things up might help, so I bought a video to give us ideas. That made him more nervous. He got a prescription for Viagra, but apparently it doesn't help if the man is not in the mood."