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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 12/21/07

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Dear Rachel,

I want to know if you can help me with something that is very painful to me. I am married for 15 years and have a wonderful family, but as the years go by I’ve noticed something my husband does that really bothers me.

Baruch Hashem he is very good to us generally. But whenever I am with him, his eyes tend to look elsewhere – as at another woman passing by. It really stings. Does he think I do not notice? Don’t think I do not take care of myself. I wear a size 8 and always look put together. I always wear a wig in the house and wear make-up when he comes home at night.

I am always there for him intimately and sometimes I feel like he uses me like an old shoe. When I once or twice commented or even made a light joke about it, he went on the defense really fast.

It doesn’t help matters any when he is forever telling me to lose weight. (I was a size 2 when I married him.)

It is really hurtful when every time I am with him, he is busy trying to satisfy his eyes. There will always be someone skinnier and prettier, whoever you are.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can better cope with this issue? Communicating with him is really not an option. I guess all this time I just dealt with it, but sometimes anger or a twinge of jealousy arises in me.

I feel I need coping skills here more than anything else, because I don’t feel the situation can really change.

I hope you can help me.

Feeling just a bit unloved!

Dear Unloved,

There are doubtless many details we are not privy to, that may answer questions that come to mind.

At what point in your marital relationship, for instance, did your husband first begin his “roving eye” act? Knowing full well that you are right there observing him, can he be deliberately annoying you? Or, maybe he just happens to be the outgoing and friendly type, given to a flirtatious personality. Some otherwise loving and supportive husbands are natural born flirts, yet remain loyal and devoted spouses.

This is not said to condone your husband’s conduct in any way, which by all accounts is inexcusable, crude, cruel and totally unacceptable. In fact, the next time you are with him and catch him in his wandering-eye routine, walk away from him. Instead of allowing pain to overwhelm you, keep your chin up and do your own wandering. Check out some nearby window display or call a friend on your cell. Chances are he’ll get a reality check and come looking for you. If he questions your move, inform him nonchalantly that you did not wish to disturb him in his preoccupation.

You say you are “always there” for your husband and keep yourself shipshape. Do you fall all over yourself trying to please him, to satisfy his every need so that he will want for nothing – in your fear that he will turn to another?

My dear, it is clear that you are a dedicated wife, but you must learn to respect yourself more and to believe in yourself. Try immersing yourself in worthwhile causes that can offer you fulfillment and will leave you with a sense of self-satisfaction.

While it is most commendable to make your spouse the focal point of your existence, it is important that each of you allow the other some space, some breathing room. You seem to be available for him at all times. It is no wonder that you feel like an old shoe.

There is no aura of mystery in your marriage. How is your husband supposed to “notice” you and desire you if you’re always “there” before he has a chance to feast his eyes on you, to let desire wash over him?

Be there, of course, but be subtle. Let him eye you as you tend to other things around your home. In your eagerness to please him, do you pounce on him the moment he walks through the door?

Again, you are to be lauded for trying to look your best, but most men prefer their women to be real, not mannequin-like. Unless you use makeup to camouflage a less than perfect complexion, try a more natural look when you’re lounging indoors. Many men like the made-up look on models or in photos, but not to nuzzle next to in privacy.

So my advice would be for you to practice being less tense around your husband, to be more natural, and to busy yourself with a rewarding and satisfying pastime. This will also allow you to contribute your share of interesting things to discuss at the end of the day. And try to remember that the more secure you are with yourself, the less likely you are to get hurt – by anyone.

As for the insensitive clods who call themselves husbands yet enjoy playing Romeo to anything that wears a skirt, whether the wife is in plain view or not – know that while behaving in a boorish manner that causes your wife discomfort and pain may seem like a joke to you, it is a serious infraction and frowned upon by your Creator Who exhorts man to honor his wife more than he honors himself.

And since blessings descend upon your home on account of your wife, it is most advisable that you turn over a new leaf and start showing her the honor and respect that is her right and your obligation.

I wish you both much hatzlachah in ironing out the kinks in your relationship and living happily ever after.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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