Dear Ask Micah,
We want to get a dog. My wife says that it has to be crated all day while we are at work, but I say that if properly trained it doesn’t have to be. We decided to let you handle this one.
I know that loads of people out there crate their dogs every day, and I understand why, often because training a dog is time-consuming and often not reliable. You will inevitably come home to a chewed-up chair leg and a pee stain on the rug. However, I just don’t like the idea of crates. Expecting an animal as naturally rambunctious as a dog to remain in a cage for an 8-hour work day is a lot to ask. I’m not saying that you have to give the dog free reign of your house, but at least it should have one room where it can stretch his or her legs and at least pace around a bit. Maybe block off the kitchen so that if there is an accident, you can clean it up. Or better yet, a garage. The best bet would be a room with access to a doggy door and a fenced yard so they could come and go as needed, but that isn’t always doable. The crate just doesn’t appeal to me, especially when you consider some dogs that are crated all day end up also crated at night for bedtime. That could be a total of about 15 hours in a cage! In my opinion, if I am going to have a dog, then I am also agreeing to take on the mess, the stress, and the chewed-up coffee table leg. It’s part of the territory. So if you guys left it to me to decide, I say no crate.
All the Frustration and None of the Sex
To Ask Micah,
I’m going to jump right in it. My husband and I haven’t had sex in over a year. He says he doesn’t have any interest. I don’t think its got anything to do with another woman. I truly think he doesn’t have any interest. I’ve been okay with that as long as he would still treat me like a man should. Be thoughtful and romantic. Act like I am his partner in life. Lately though, it isn’t the case. He doesn’t talk to me anymore about important things. It’s like we don’t share confidences like husbands and wives do. But the worst thing that is causing me to write is that his fuse has gotten so short lately. He yells at me or our kids at least once a day. He acts like he doesn’t like us half the time, and the other half he’s just our roommate. I have talked to him till I’m blue in the face about being a better father and spending time with our kids in a meaningful way. It doesn’t do any good. He just gets mad and ends the conversation. I’ve told him that I expect him to treat me like a wife should be treated with respect and some tenderness. We just get in a fight over that, too. I’ve told him I don’t care about the sex part if he’ll just give me the other. He gets mad and ends the conversation. I am at a loss to fix my family.
I am going to jump right in, too. First you need to stop telling him that you don’t care anything about the sex part because that isn’t true. Plus, it is pretty much the one thing that will save your marriage. I’m no marriage counselor or sex therapist. I’m just a guy with an opinion, but the way I see it, it is the lack of sex that has done all of the damage to your relationship. Women can connect to people in emotional ways without having sex with them. For a man he connects emotionally through the act of having sex or through the desire to have sex. A woman can have romantic feelings for a man because she feels a connection to him and likes the ways about him—what he thinks and feels. But typically if a man has any deep connections to any woman who isn’t his mother, sister, or daughter, it is because he has had sex with her or has the desire to. Most men do not connect on a deep level unless they are in some way “a part” of that other person. They can connect to Mom because they are a part of Mom. They can connect to their daughter because their daughter is a part of them. A sister shares the same common blood connection. But with an unrelated woman, a man must become part of her to feel a connection, and sex is the way to become a part of her.
If you and your husband are not having any sex, then he has lost his connection to you. Sex is the way he tunes back into you emotionally and the way he allows you to tune into him. Through the act of sex, a man is being all of the things a man needs to be all at once. He is dominant, he is submissive, he is being tender, he is aggressive, he is vulnerable, and he is showing trust and love. Sex is where all this starts for a man. Men feel closer to their partners and act more romantic and thoughtful in the day or two or three after some sexual connection. His anger and his lack of interest in you and your children stem from the frustration that he has lost his connection to you emotionally. Whether he realizes it or not, his inability to muster any sexual desire is fueling his misery and hostility, and possibly depression, which is draining all of his sexual desire.
The key to breaking the circle is to discover what the root sexual cause is. In my experience there are only three possibilities. The first is that he just doesn’t find you sexually attractive. I really don’t think this is the case because that would mean that he does feel sexual desire, just not with you. That would likely lead to him cheating, masturbating, or doing something that alleviates the sexual need, but you say he feels no sexual need. So unless he’s a very skilled liar with enough unaccounted for time to be able to carry on an affair, I doubt this is the issue in your case. The second possibility is that he is gay and finally coming to terms with it. But I think you’d have had some inkling over the years if this were the case, and that wouldn’t or shouldn’t have hindered his connection to his kids.
The third and most likely possibility is a combo of depression and low testosterone. I think his lack of desire comes from low testosterone which is the prime gasoline of sex drive for a man, so he needs to go to a urologist and have his testosterone tested. A lack of proper levels of the hormone can lead to depression and cause a man to have a lack of energy and interest in participating in anything or interacting with people. He feels weaker, less manly, and just doesn’t care about much.
If his testosterone is low, they can start giving him regular injections each week, and within six weeks, you will see his demeanor perk up, his confidence will come back, and his sexual desire will probably return. A lot of men in that their 40s have to start taking hormone replacement just like women do after menopause. I think in six weeks you’ll both be rocking a headboard like a teen with out-of-town parents!
In this situation what would you do? Our family is having a big Labor Day get-together when family is driving up from out of town. Is it inappropriate to ask my brother’s ex-wife to come with their kids if my brother’s current wife is going to be there with their kids? We are very close to the ex-wife, I should say.
If you are close to the ex-wife, then do something with her privately on another day as friends, but she doesn’t belong at the family gathering with her ex-husband and his new wife. When a marriage ends, so does the open access to the extended family. The ex-wife does not belong there even if you all like her. It is your brother’s family, not hers, and by extension it is his new wife’s family until such a time, if any, that their marriage ends. The new wife is entitled to be among her in-laws and feel a part of them and like she has a place there. She should not be subjected to having her husband’s ex-wife tossed in her face and made to feel that the ex is the preferred one. If you want your brother’s children by the first wife to attend, simply ask her if they can and go pick them up. Or better yet, have their father get them and bring them with his other children, their siblings. It’s the new wife’s family now, and she deserves her chance to try and make it her own without shadows of the past being invited to eat barbecue.
If you have a question you would like to Ask Micah, email him at MicahCargo@hotmail.com. Your questions may be used for a future article in print or online.