#16 Husband won't get vasectomy / Upset with husband's plans for widowhood


Dear Ann Landers: My husband and I have been married for 17 years and have two children, ages 16 and 13. We have agreed to not have any more children. I would like to enjoy a healthy sex life without the hassle of birth control and recently discussed methods of sterilization with my gynecologist. He explained that a vasectomy is far simpler than a tubal ligation and has fewer risks.

My husband adamantly refused to consider undergoing any kind of sterilization. The problem is not the surgery, he said, but if I should die, or our marriage should fail, he might want to seek out a younger woman and she might want children. This has led me to believe that he is waiting for me to reach the age of menopause before dumping me for someone who is younger. After that revelation, I can't even imagine having sex with this man. I'd like to know what you think about this, Ann C. IN K.C.

Dear Ann C. in K.C.: I think you've gone off the deep end with your assumptions. Please seek the intervention of a counselor, physician or good friend who will set you straight. Your punitive action is not warranted and could lead to real trouble. ANN

Gabby's Response:

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Gabby’s Response:

Hi Ann: You didn't say whether you asked him if he was actually planning your worst case scenario, however, I think you wouldn't believe him if he said he wasn't, so one component of the issue is about trust.

I suspect it's you who's had thoughts and fear about him divorcing you and this incident is the only way you know how to share those thoughts with him. At first glance it appears you are setting it up for him to leave you, for "reasons," and then you'll blame him for leaving you, "Best years of my life.", "Look what you did to me." victim kinds of stuff.

You are to be acknowledged for having created the space for him to be honest; you are fortunate to have someone willing to tell you the truth. My experience tells me that all intelligent people in magnificent relationships have these kinds of thoughts and conversations. Couples with good communications share the undesirable thoughts immediately so that they don't gather mass and get acted upon.

I sense there are other things underneath this that aren't being discussed that has caused this breakdown in communication. Him saving energy (resources) for another race doesn't sound like someone committed to winning this one.  Given that the thought came out of your mind you'd do well to see what you have been doing that might drive him out of your life; perhaps you have thoughts that you deserve to be dumped. Not that you deserve to be dumped but that you have had thoughts, fears, and considerations about the future that you have not shared verbally with him.  He's probably very aware of your paranoia and therefore his thoughts are normal and practical. Therapy/coaching is in order for the both of you.

If I were him I'd have to be willing to see that how I have been communicating is driving my wife bonkers; this behavior is not a gift of love.  His logic is questionable; it's equally likely that his possible future partner (due to her age) would not be driven to have children.

There's lots of unhealthy control going on here. Thank you, Gabby

Note: If I were in communication with your doctor I'd advise him to get clear as to his intentions; he unconsciously used his leadership-communication skills to cause this friction between you and your husband. It's an excellent example of what it means to be practicing healing. A conscious responsible doctor would have intuitively sensed your considerations, and the possible consequences of such a suggestion, and requested that you bring in your husband to talk with you both at the same time. Again, just because one doesn't know how/why they produced a result doesn't mean that they didn't intend it.

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Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 11/28/12)


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