“Ted used to dote on me,” said Judy. “We had a great sex life. But now, after many years of marriage, we never make love anymore or do the fun stuff we used to enjoy together, like being a ‘book club of two’ or going to movies. All we do is fight about how he flirts with young women every chance he gets, even right in front of me.
“The flirting makes me furious, but I can’t say I blame him. Whenever I look in the mirror, I think to myself, Who is that woman? I feel as young as ever, but I have so many wrinkles! Then there’s my body. In high school I had a sexy figure and was the homecoming queen. But I never lost the weight I’d put on after my two sons were born — and they’re grown-ups now. I’ve gained even more weight lately. And I don’t want to tell you what gravity has done to my D-cup breasts.
“I told Ted that I want to get a facelift and other cosmetic surgery, but he thinks it’s an unnecessary expense. He says he doesn’t care that I don’t look the same as I did when we met. He also thinks I’m blowing his interest in other women way out of proportion — that it’s all in my head. Come on! You should have seen him holding court with the young women at a pool party recently. I won’t say he actually starts anything, but he definitely doesn’t discourage what goes on. And, by the way, he’s still very attractive, with a full head of hair, six-pack abs, and great skin.
“Not only has Ted kept his looks, but he’s a successful businessman, which is a guaranteed turn-on for women. He owns a chain of auto-body shops and women customers fawn all over him. He eats it up. I’d love to turn the tables to show him how it feels, but I’m just a part-time dental hygienist, which is not exactly glamorous. Young guys are more inclined to offer to help me cross the street than to flirt with me. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but not much.
“Whenever I challenge Ted about his flirting, he says he would never break up the family. To me, that says he’s only sticking with me out of obligation. The other night we had a horrible fight. We were yelling at each other, and I was sobbing hysterically. Ted was so mad that he stormed out of the house. I don’t know where he went or when he came back. I guess he slept on the couch.
“The only reason Ted agreed to see a counselor is that he hates how jealous I’ve become. I’ll give him that one. I don’t like who I am now any more than he does. In my opinion, plastic surgery would fix the situation. But he says I’m just being shallow, that I need to accept the way I’m aging and stop accusing him of straying when it’s all just innocent. He also says our lack of a love life is normal at this point. Maybe so, but I miss the way we used to cuddle in bed. Now I just stay over on my side so he won’t have to touch me. We can’t go on like this. Maybe we’d both be better off if we just called it quits.”