Dear Dr Victoria, I am a 50 year old married man with 4 teenage children.
My wife and I have been together for 30 years and in all this time I have never been unfaithful, although in truth I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion.
I’ve always looked after my appearance and fit the gym in before work about 3 times a week as well as walking the dogs in the evening. Just recently I’ve noticed how old and frumpy my wife has become. She’s just not interested in her appearance and can hardly be bothered making any effort when we go out. Her clothes look like they have come out of a charity shop. In fact, I’m sure she would rather stay home cleaning than come out with me. I arranged a health spa/beauty weekend for her birthday and she chose not to go and gave it to one of our daughters instead.
I’ve built my business up from nothing working all hours and finally it’s paying off and we are all enjoying a better quality of life. We recently bought a tumble down farm house in France which we are renovating and so my wife spends a lot of time over there project managing. With her gone most of the time, there’s no point rushing home after work these days and I find myself more and more going off to the pub with the young lads who work for me.
A few months ago, we had a group of executives come to meet up with us to talk about a big contract and after wining and dining them, we all ended up at an upmarket pole dancing venue – a first for me. However, I’ve since been back about 5 times and enjoy being in the girl’s company. I love my wife but I cannot stop fantasising about the girls and feel it’s only a matter of time before I take it to the next level. If only my wife would make more of an effort with her appearance for me, I might not be so intent in looking elsewhere. What do you think I could say to her to bring some excitement back into our relationship after all these years?
Dr Victoria replies:
It’s time for you to get real. Women who work in lap-dancing clubs aren’t there because they’re looking for a relationship with you. This isn’t the real world - they’re acting a part and being paid for it. As for you believing it’s only a matter of time before you “take it to the next level” – please excuse my disbelief. You say it’s a relatively up-market venue, so I doubt the security at this establishment would take very kindly to your tawdry advances on their girls. Save yourself a lot of bother and don’t even try to go down that route.
As for getting your marriage back on track, stop laying all the blame on your wife and start accepting some responsibility yourself. Perhaps after 30 years of marriage and raising four children, her self-confidence has taken a knock. She’s probably well used to putting other people before herself – mainly you and the children. Meanwhile, you’ve put all your energy into the business, so maybe she’s felt neglected. It’s going to take rather a lot more than a trip to a spa for her to get her confidence back. As for going out to dinner – maybe her confidence is so low that she wouldn’t know what to wear or even where to start shopping for suitable clothes. Your wife’s outward appearance is probably a reflection of how she’s feeling on the inside.
See things for a different point of view for a change. It’s not just about you and what you think your wife should do for you. It’s about someone else’s thoughts and feelings. Could you even conceive of taking a leaf out of your wife’s book and putting others before yourself for a change? After all, this is the woman who has spent the last 30 years looking after her husband and children and running a home. Surely she has an opinion. And surely she deserves to be treated with respect and consideration.
If you want your fun-loving and confident wife back, not to mention keeping your family together, start lavishing her with praise, affection and attention. Money won’t solve this problem. You need to spend time together and talk. Listen to her and show an interest. The fantasy of an affair with a younger, more glamorous woman might seem fun and exciting now but the reality of breaking up your family and the devastation left behind would be no joke. Concentrate on your wife’s strengths rather than what she could do better and stop being selfish or you’ll never win her round.