You know that tanty I had about talking to strangers at the Lone Star Steakhouse over the weekend?
Well DD was very amused when, not long after I declared the situation “pus” (he’s also very amused by my Newie vernacular, did you call crappy things “pus” when you were a teenager?) I disappeared into the ladies loo for 20 minutes.
While I was in the cubicle I overheard a woman getting wobbly about her husband of 34 years leaving her two months ago.
And my heart contracted: been there, survived that.
I stepped out of the cubicle to discover a tall, gorgeous brunette, who turned out to be 54 but looked 10 years younger. She was smart, funny and articulate … and confused and heartbroken over why her husband had left.
I couldn’t help myself – I had to give her a hug and a friendly ear.
“Sandy” assured me her husband wasn’t having an affair. She has no idea why he left, he refuses to talk to her about it. She also confessed he’d rarely had sex with her over the past 15 years.
Sandy’s situation is called a “sexless marriage” and according to the Australian Women’s Weekly “the consequences can be catastrophic. Mismatched libidos can drive a wedge between partners, affect moods, undermine trust, raise resentment, cause hurt, destroy emotional intimacy, annihilate self-esteem …”
Experts estimate that 15-20 per cent of couples have sex fewer than 10 times a year, which is how they define a sexless marriage.
AWW adds: “In last year’s groundbreaking study into Australian sexuality, 14.6 per cent of women in heterosexual relationships reported that they hadn’t had sex at all in the preceding four weeks and only 0.7 per cent of them were okay with this. The vast majority (68.3 per cent) said they wanted sex more often than they got it and 84 per cent said their ideal frequency would be two or more times a week, according to The Australian Study of Health and Relationships.
“Therapists say that a man’s sex drive can fluctuate for the same reasons a woman’s can: emotional disconnection, underlying resentment, unresolved relationship problems, stress, depression, sexual tedium, a heavy workload, exhaustion, or a sense that their partner is too critical of them. Tobacco and alcohol can wreak havoc on libidos, as can medication for depression (of particular concern when Australia is the second highest prescriber of anti-depressants among the 34 OECD nations – 8.9 per cent of us are on some form of daily anti-depressant).”
But back to “Sandy” … I related to her story pretty damn hard as we stood together at that bathroom sink, wondering if it was our endless moaning about work that drove our husbands away. We admitted to doing a lot of sobbing in the shower. I assured her that things would get better, the tears would become fewer and farther between. I told her about falling for the first man I met internet dating and how I was still happily with him – at the Lone Star Tavern – 18 months later …
Despite my insistence there was a brave new world waiting for her, she confessed she still loves her husband and desperately wants him back … then proceeded to get very, very drunk at a Badloves gig in Mermaid Waters.
Divorce sucks big time.
I hope “Sandy” finds the strength to move on and enjoy her chapter two. Life’s too short to be hung up on someone who doesn’t want you any more.
Song of the day: The Human League “Don’t you want me?”