Buy flowers! Buy new drapes!

A touch of consumerism and a lot of realism will make this one work.

By Salon Staff

Published November 29, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Something went terribly wrong between the chapel and the couch.

The writer thought only women were supposed to get fat? Is this supposed to tell me something about her looks? If the writer is a good-looking, energetic,
efficient woman with a great sense of humor, I wonder how her husband had a chance to let himself go the way she suggests he did.

And what sensible woman with a shred of self-respect would let a slob of a man like she describes get near her, let alone stay in her house? What woman would want to live in a bleak house with a bleak man with nothing but a bleak future?

I think this woman needs to look at herself first. If she needs some shaping up, she needs to do it right now. If her couch potato man is not challenged by her changed behavior, her changed looks and by her expressed expectations of the future, he needs to be carted out with couch and all.

Also, it's time to let some light into that bleak existence. We're only here once. When that old saggy couch is out, pull out that lousy carpet, steam off the old wallpaper, tear down those dingy drapes. Change from watching daytime soaps to watching a home decorating show
and create a light and livable home.

-- Judith van Praag

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Ouch! You say in the end, "These
memories begin to fade by the minute." It sounds like your minute was up long ago.

My question: Why all the pent-up frustration now? He did not wake up one morning with his fat ass on the couch watching reruns of Rocky and
Bullwinkle while eating a breakfast burrito, nor was his fraternity-house
humor hatched overnight. And as far as sex goes, it takes two to tango. So
how did we get from point A to point B so quickly?

Marriage, like child rearing, is one of those strange space-and-time
things; you do, literally, wake up one morning and wonder where the years
have gone. You look in the mirror at your own face, wonder where the lines have come from, the drooping jowls, the sagging around the middle. It is twice as hard to figure with somebody you look at day after day after day. One morning, you can look over and truly not recognize the person snoring and drooling next to you. Why?

It might be that we just take too many things for granted. It seems as if marriage is the culmination of a phase of life; the rest is all downhill (literally and figuratively). Sure, we age, we get set in our ways, we
lose perspective. Why? Lack of attention. Marriage, at best, is a shitty
job. At worst, well, it's worse. Little things, daily things, are what a
shared life is about. Otherwise, just get a roommate and run a credit check.

The man you describe did not magically wake up on your couch after a
long night at the frat house. You had a hand in creating him. You
should assess the situation and see what you can salvage. The person you fell in love with might just be somewhere under the couch cushion.

-- J.E. Hickey

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Find a close male friend to spend time with. This will prevent you from
becoming too cynical about the entire male population and act as a wake-up call for your husband, who will invariably become jealous, even of your platonic intimacy with another man.

-- Stephanie in San Francisco

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Buy him flowers! Take him out to dinner! It's not only his job to keep the marriage exciting. Take action!

-- Sara Kingsley from Seattle

Salon Staff

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