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I Don't Think My Wife is Pretty Anymore 

Dear Athena,

I have been married for more than 20 years, and I'm not attracted to my wife anymore. Quite frankly, I don't think she is pretty. She has been an amazing wife and mother to our children — going above and beyond, as I traveled a lot in my job and she took care of our home and kids. Everything was always nice, and now we have these amazing kids and it's really all because of her. But I just don't think she's pretty at all anymore. What do I do? How do I approach this with her?

From,

Not Attracted to My Wife Anymore

Dear Not Attracted,

Whoa. Quite frankly, I'm appalled by your statement that your wife is just not "pretty" anymore. Sounds like it's time for a reality check.

Being with someone for decades is bound to test compatibility and attraction. When you first met, everything was so new — and that was part of the allure. As time passes and people age, bodies change. But the love you cultivated should be able to stand the test of time. Let's look at what's likely happening and what you can do about it.

Our culture is saturated with unrealistic images and ideas of bodies and beauty, particularly for women. It's hard not to be influenced by media that objectify women, but it's important that you don't hold your wife to this impossible standard. For starters, it seems like you need to adjust your expectations — and your attitude.

All aspects of who we are evolve and change over time — not just our looks. And attraction is about more than appearances; it's about intellectual and emotional connection, too. You say you traveled a lot. How much time have you spent getting to know your wife lately? When did you last discuss each other's interests, passions and dreams? If you've lost touch, it's time to rediscover each other.

Listen, she may have stretch marks or laugh lines, but those are signs of life well lived. She has those stretch marks because she birthed your kids! Those lines are from all the happy and stressful and exciting moments in her life. These should be celebrated, not judged. Besides, when was the last time you looked in the mirror? You think you look like you did 20 years ago? Sorry, but you don't. And maybe she's noticed, too.

Do not tell your wife you don't think she's pretty. Unless you want to push her away completely or sleep on the couch for the rest of your life, you can't possibly get away with a statement like that. I'm even having trouble dealing with it. You say she took such good care of your home and family. You attribute the amazing qualities of your kids to her. Isn't that beautiful?

She deserves some spoiling and romancing after all she has done. If you give her some positive attention, it will help her feel good about herself — and feeling good contributes to looking good. And guess what? It will help her to feel good about you.

Yours,

Athena

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