Cathi and Dan offer advice to a wife whose husband is losing hair.
Want advice on sex, love, dating and relationships? Ask an expert with personal experience, or in this case, two experts. Cathi Hanauer is the author, most recently, of Sweet Ruin, a novel about love, marriage, and adultery. Daniel Jones is the editor of both the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times, and Modern Love, an anthology derived from the column. They have been married for 15 years. Together they provide a his and hers take on your questions. This round: dealing with baldness and the aging process.
Question: My husband and I have been happily married for nine years, and I'm still very much in love with him. But lately, he's started to lose his hair and to my dismay—I've become less attracted to him. How can I change how I feel? And should I talk to him about it?
Her Take: Definitely not. It's one thing to tell your husband about something unappealing he can change ("Rat tails are sort of over, hon"), but the bald thing is for good. Plus, reverse the situation. How would you feel if he confessed it's a problem for him that your laugh lines are spreading, or that your breasts aren't as perky as they used to be? One of the most challenging things about marriage is the need to stay hot for the same person, exclusively, for many decades. (Of course, it's also what gives marriage its trademark security; therein lies the paradox.) As you age, you may both have to be more generous and creative to keep the attraction going. Every week or year won't be the same; married sex lives wax and wane. But if you love each other and he's worth it—and it sounds like he is— you'll figure out what works and do it.
His Take: I hate to break it to you, but the aging process isn't always hot. All you can reasonably expect is that your husband does the best he can with what he's got, by staying in prime physical shape and otherwise trying to look good. Then you need to deal with your diminishing attraction by whatever means necessary—couples therapy, weekends away, porn? As far as talking about it, my question is: to what end? So that he'll agree to get a hair weave? Or is this just a case of using honesty to make him feel terrible about something he can't control? Here’s an idea: go ahead and tell him his baldness is turning you off. Then say, "Now you tell me what turns you off about my aging body." If you think such a conversation will lead to marital and sexual bliss, then by all means, have it.