Q: I’ve loved my fiancee deeply for her intelligence and beautiful personality since the day we met five years ago. However, I don’t think I was ever really attracted to her. In fact, lately, I’m increasingly repulsed by her. I hate her slouchy, tomboyish walk, and I’m turned off by her unfeminine manners. She constantly has pimples; her breath smells; and her lips are always dry and chapped. I go through the motions with her in bed, but it’s become very unsatisfying. In all fairness, she has a great body, beautiful eyes, and a beautiful smile, and I really do love her and feel absolutely horrendous for sounding so superficial. I could never actually cheat on her, but I’ve been having thoughts of it, and that alone makes me feel terrible.
A: In any relationship, there’s an inevitable erosion in hot and steamy, but you’re with the wrong woman if your sex face could easily be mistaken for your standing-over-a-septic-leak face.
Okay, so your fiancee could win inner beauty contests, but beauty on the inside just isn’t enough unless you’ve been reincarnated as an endoscopy camera and sent on safari down her digestive tract. Then it wouldn’t matter that your favorite thing to do in bed is roll over and realize she’s away on business or that your sexual fantasies involve picturing her fully clothed, scribbling out a purchase order for a warehouse of zit cream
Looks are especially important when getting into a long-term relationship (especially the “till death do us part” kind), because if you’re careful crossing the street, you’ll be spending a really long time looking at the person. The ultimate in well-intentioned cruelty is marrying somebody you aren’t attracted to and will come to despise as you find her increasingly physically repellant. You should instead figure out what your “type” is and only get together with someone who fits solidly into it. We all have a type — looks, smell, and behavior we’re drawn to. For some people, it spans a broader spectrum of humanity (and in some cases, farm animals). For others, the range is smaller, which is fine, as long as they accept that they’re narrowing their options — and don’t narrow them so far that the only woman they could ever go out with is Jessica Biel.
The least hurtful thing you could do now would be to hop a bus back in time and sleep in on the morning you met your girlfriend. Barring an ability to bend the laws of physics, you should break up with her immediately. (Tell her the relationship just isn’t working for you anymore, not the whole ugly truth.) When you love a woman you aren’t also in lust with, you should resolve to love her only as a friend — same as you would some loyal hairy guy you know who’s also “beautiful on the inside.” Nothing comes between the two of you, either — save for the feeling that a roll in the hay with him would pale in eroticism to a roll in a river of cat vomit.
Q: At a Christmas party, a drunk man made a lewd comment to my wife. When she told me about it afterward, I got angry and told her I wanted to approach him and tell him not to disrespect her. She said that only crazy people do that and that she was sorry she’d even mentioned it. Isn’t demanding that he apologize to her the right thing to do? What man just lets this go?
— The Husband
A: Historically, men fought duels to defend a woman’s honor when her virginity was called into question. Just wondering: Is there any real worry that people at the Christmas party now suspect your wife has had sex after marriage? Sometimes you make a situation worse by taking action. This would be one of those times. The guy was drunk (which means you may have to remind him of what he said before demanding he apologize for saying it). He’s creeped on your wife only once; he hasn’t started following her around the supermarket, muttering that he’d like to jingle her bell. By chewing him out for what seems to have been a passing drunken incident, you would probably turn it into a lasting incident, creating lasting social discomfort for your wife. And as endearing as it is that you’re raring to go all Sir Lancelot on the guy, by showing your wife you can’t hold back, you’d likely cause her to hold back news of anything more emotionally charged than a spilled drink. Save your energy for offenses with a continuing negative effect, like the neighbors who leave their blindingly bright Christmas display up until Easter, making every moment you spend in your living room feel like a year being interrogated by the East German Secret Police.— here — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code)