Cave Man

31 Aug

Letterbalm Man CaveDear LetterBalm: My husband has his man cave, and it’s consuming our marriage. We’ve been together for almost 20 years. No children by mutual choice. We’ve always respected each other’s private time – we have a big house, and I have my study, he has his – but we’ve always shared many interests and spent a lot of time together. Two years ago, he added a huge flatscreen TV, a refrigerator and indoor grill. Now, he cooks for his friends and spends all his time in his man cave. We rarely do anything together anymore, and he barely speaks to me. I see him only when I cook dinner, then he returns to his lair. He goes to bed later than I do because I have to get up early for work, so we don’t even cuddle or have sex. My husband says everything is O.K. and refuses to discuss it.

–Marital Roommate

After two years of this, you have to wonder if your husband is bored with you. It’s apparent that you and he enjoyed a vibrant life together – it’s clear both of you are high achievers who enjoyed each other’s company. So, it’s up to you to find out what’s happened to change this. You’re no fool. You know his change of behavior can be for any one of several reasons, none of them pleasant: He’s fallen out of love with you, he has another passion (human or otherwise), he wants out of the marriage or he’s in mid-life crisis mode. You owe it to yourself to get some straight answers, mindful that you may have to go it alone in therapy and face some painful truths. On an evening when he hasn’t invited his pals, sit with him at dinner and say something like this:  

Herman, I have to speak plainly. For two years you’ve locked yourself away in your man cave and turned your back on our marriage. We don’t do the things we used to enjoy, we don’t have sex, we don’t even talk anymore. I can only think that you’ve decided our marriage is over and you’ve found someone  or something else. At the very least, you’re in some sort of midlife crisis. This is the worst pain I’ve ever had, and you won’t even talk about it. I don’t know what you feel, but I still love you. Will you talk to me, at least? We’ve been together too long not to be honest with each other.

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