"I Forgot What It's Like to Want Sex"

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His Turn

"I've Practically Given Up"

"When Cassie pushes me away, I feel so hurt and frustrated, I've practically given up," said Jim, 43, who, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, still looks like the college basketball player he once was. "She's been uninterested in sex for at least three years, which is a real change from the sexually alive woman I fell in love with. She's always telling me she doesn't feel sexy because she's gained weight. Well, who hasn't? I still think she's beautiful! But trying to convince her of that is like talking to a brick wall. When we do have sex, she's so obviously not into it that I can't help thinking that weight isn't her issue, it's me. I feel like she's not sexually attracted to me anymore. 

"Cassie's aloof in other parts of our life, too. She'll storm in the door, announce that she has a million messages to return and needs to be alone. Instead of laughing easily as she used to, she's prickly and snappish. She treats me like a fool who can't do anything right. If I fail to pay a bill on time, I'm irresponsible. If I want her to join me and my kids for a movie, I'm not respectful of her privacy. I love that my boys are comfortable coming and going between our house and their mother's. I know Cassie sees it as intrusive, but I'm grateful for any time they want to spend with their old man! I wish I had a nickel for every time Cassie begged off, saying she wasn't feeling well, when we were due at my parents' house for dinner. It means a lot to my parents for us to spend time with them.

"It's Disheartening"

"I grew up not far from here. Dad worked for the electric company, Mother was a bookkeeper. As kids, we always came first. I'm thankful that we still live close enough to visit regularly. My folks often worked two jobs so they'd have enough money to put me and my two brothers through college. I've never seen my father happier than the day I received my PhD.

"In the beginning I loved teaching, but the politics of academia wore me down. I needed to jump off the treadmill for a while, to finish a book I've been planning for twenty years. I thought I'd make a lot of progress, but Cassie's right: I've lost my zest for it -- and everything else, it seems. I waste a lot of time staring at a blank computer screen. You'd think now that I'm home so much, Cassie and I'd spend more time together. But it's just the opposite. 

"The way we've grown apart is so disheartening because we used to be so good together. When Cassie and I met, we clicked right away. We'd both been divorced, both had kids, so we understood and respected each other's issues. I don't know what happened. Our arguments are interminable. I know I have a bad temper, but many times, I try to table things until we both cool down, and she won't let me. I'll even walk out of the room, but she always has to have the last word, and she draws me right back in. 

"Right now I know I need to make a lot of changes in my life. I miss the interaction with students and colleagues, and I need to find the confidence to finish my book. But most of all, I want to reconnect with my wife, which is why I suggested we see a counselor in the first place. I'm not sure how much longer I can go on like this. It's more than not making love. Yes, I miss the sex, but I also miss the intimacy and the passion we used to have for each other. Where did it all go? Is it lost forever?"

Continued on page 4:  The Counselor's Turn


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