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Husband insists on life on his terms.

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This is my second marriage and I want it to be successful. My first was for 23 years and ended due to my husband abusing alcohol and infidelity. I waited 5 years after my divorce to be independent and heal. I dated my current husband for 5 years and we went to counseling beforehand to work on communicating and work out negotiating. We did not have intercourse due to my Christian and moral beliefs.

My husband as a boyfriend did show sexual interest, and was very affectionate and patient. Since marriage he pulls away when I make advances and never seems aroused anymore. He used to remark or grab me when I dressed nice, but not even naked moves him. He never asks or makes advances for sex. He will not discuss it and seems to have a problem with being intimate not only in communicating, but in not sharing the same bathroom or being seen undressed.

I have written him loving gentle letters asking for a way to work on this and letting him know that it is making me sad. I just recently retired to help take care of my grandchild two days a week which we agreed upon. Prior he has always been helpful in cleaning the house, shopping, laundry, and he continues happily to do these things. Since the beginning he has always felt that I do not do the cleaning as well as him and follows me around looking to see if I dropped a crumb on the counter or floor. He does this even when I am preparing food and asks that I cut things up before and after they are cooked in the sink.

I mention this because he seems to be obsessive about everything being just so and I cannot even move a picture on a table. He yells at me and it esculates to hours of ranting of how I have failed to do something, or act a certain way. He is trying to limit if I invite people over to the point of never wanting dinner guests of friends, neighbors, or family. He says it makes too much mess and rather pay to take them out. He is very generous to my family, but want me to advise them about what he thinks. He wants to know everything someone says to me in a phone conversation and listens in. Then he wants to analyze it and debate it.

I find he has attached himself to our dog as if it is a child. He takes her everywhere and that included our honeymoon. His excuse is he hires a nanny to care for her. He gives more attention to the dog than our new grand baby, and it has to sleep in our bed although he agreed for it not to. I am frustrated because we cannot talk. I feel depressed and am starting to feel resentful and frigid. Please advise…It is sucking my energy, joy, hopes and dreams

Husband insists on life on his terms.

Answered by on -


It’s time to go back to that therapist. However generous he can be, your husband seems to have significant problems once inside a marriage and sharing a household. Everything has to be on his terms, from how you clean, to whether the dog shares your bed, to how intimate you are allowed to be. Is there room in this marriage for you at all?

You stayed far too long in your first marriage. From what you’ve written, it seems you may be in danger of doing the same with this one. You may be a grandma but you are still young. (Don’t you know that 50 is the new 30?) Unless your husband is willing to get into serious counseling and make major changes, my vote would be to cut your losses while you have any self-esteem left. But only you can decide what is best for you: staying in the marriage but losing yourself or being divorced a second time and taking the chance you’ll find someone who can respect and love you fully.

Iwish you well.
Dr. Marie

Husband insists on life on his terms.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Husband insists on life on his terms.. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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