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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1705
Experience:  PHD LPC
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Good morning A quick background. I met my future wife when

Resolved Question:

Good morning:
A quick background. I met my future wife when I was 17. We dated through college. After 22 years of marriage, we're still going strong. She's my best friend, a wonderful wife and mother. I am fortunate that she is a knock-out along with being beautiful on the inside as well. We are both athletes and have worked very hard into our mid-40s to stay fit. At age 40, she was in the best shape of her life. A different story at 45. She has gained some weight and can't seem to get rid of it. She hides when taking a bath and won't let me look at her. Her libido is down drastically. She has a very negative perception of her body. And, obviously, it has adversely affected our love life. I am purposefully and consistently showing my continued affection for her, telling her how beautiful she is, hugging and touching her, reminding her of my attraction to her. But it's hard. Could she benefit from consuming less high-caloric wine in the evenings, or using a trainer or a program? Sure. But I would never, ever go there for fear of causing permanent damage. This is more about her self-image than my needs. Thoughts?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Walt-mod replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.
Hi, I am sorry no one was available before now to answer your question. You sound like a very smart husband to recognize that this is about self image. However, at her age there are other factors that may be involved besides drinking calories at night. She is probably beginning menopause, right now in a period that is called peri-menopause. Along with it comes weight gain, loss of libido and can cause depression. The best thing you can do is be there, be supportive but not overdo the compliments. Try to find ways to be active with her, suggest you go for a walk, plan a hike or bike activity. It would probably be a good idea for her to see her doctor and make sure she is physically healthy. It could be something totally unrelated (like an under active thyroid) which can be treated. That is where I suggest you start. You can mention it to her, find some information on thyroid issues and show her, that may get her to the doctor. If she gets a clean bill of health, the doctor may suggest she see a therapist to help her through this time.
She may feel that she is going to lose you as she goes through this time. You can reassure her and voice your own concerns about your aging body too. It can be a very difficult period of time for a woman and harder for one who has always been able to be in great shape. She can get there again so make sure she knows this by having her see her doctor. Please click accept and leave feedback.

Edited by Dr. Keane on 12/6/2010 at 5:40 PM EST
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Keane:

Thank you for your consult. If you don't mind: one more round of follow-up. I originally forgot to mention that her current anxiety/frustration is because she is no longer getting results from her current diet/workout regime. It is obvious that all of this needs to change (a la the definition of insanity is expecting different results from doing the same thing.) The information on peri-menopause is very helpful and not top-of-mind for me, as our birthdays mentally stopped at 39 1/2. Here's the last part of my question which wasn't really addressed (my fault for not setting it up): although she has been relatively open with her aforementioned "issues," it has been made apparent to me that I need to listen and be supportive versus actively offering advice or suggestions. Otherwise, she will get hyper focused on the fact that I am "noticing" and/or thinking that I have an adverse physical perception of her. Thus, I am relatively clueless how to guide her without hurting her feelings and creating a larger and longer-term problem than already exists: especially because I still lover her dealy and my physical attraction waning is zero. Thanks in advance, and this will be my last submission. You have been very helpful!

Sincerely,

Brad

Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.

Hi, As we age and our metabolism slows (which it does unfortunately) we won't get the same results from our workout's or dietary habits. If you both mentally stop at 39 1/2 she may feel she is aging and you're not (not rational but valid) and therefore you may not desire her anymore. You are right, she doesn't want you to solve her problems or make suggestions, she wants you to just listen . How do you guide her without causing her more angst? First suggest that it may be something a physician should explore (thyroid) and then hopefully she will start looking for some help. If you both were able to give up the idea that your bodies will always be 39 ish and accept the entire process in a positive way you may see her feel better about herself. Let her know that you are experiencing this with her, then let it go. Humor is a wonderful remedy and if you can both see the humor in the process it wold be easier. Tell her you are willing to go to marriage counseling if she is open to it, when she is open to it.because you love each other and have a great marriage. Tough time for women in general but really tough if you are not willing to accept that we age and our focus should be to live in the present, be happy we opens our eyes everyday and is able to be an active participant in life, no matter what.

Please click accept and leave feedback. Thanks.



Edited by Dr. Keane on 12/6/2010 at 8:58 PM EST
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1705
Experience: PHD LPC
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