Question: Dear Luise: I hope my question doesn’t take the prize as the dumbest one you’ve had yet, because the problem is very real to me. My wife and I have a really nice little dog. He’s a Yorkshire terrier. We both love him, but the way my wife makes over him makes me feel bad. While she totally ignores me, she kisses him and talks baby talk to him and generally lets him know on a regular basis that he’s the most wonderful dog in the world, (which he is.) So here I am, married forty-seven years and I’m jealous of the dog! She is never affectionate like that toward me and doesn’t seem interested in any show of affection from me. How do I get over this? Glen
Answer: Dear Glen: First and foremost, I haven’t read any serious questions that I have seen a dumb, dumber or dumbest. You have written about how you feel. That matters.
I am assuming your wife knows how you feel? If not, please cover that base unless you think it would be counter-productive. You may not need the baby talk but a hug now and then would be a pleasant surprise. Ask for equal time in a lighthearted way. Marriages don’t usually stay hot over the decades but they don’t have to die of indifference.
You are probably going to have to decide what you want to do about this. I doubt very much if your wife is going to cease and desist. If you don’t want to leave the room, then you are going to have to hone your ability to tune her out. What do you like about her? Can you focus on those things sometimes?
To better understand this, consider the possibility that it’s your wife’s maternal instincts that no longer have an outlet. She’s talking baby talk because your pup has become her “baby”, to some degree, not a romantic interest. If you had kids together years ago and you weren’t jealous of them, that perspective may help you put up with the cooing and cuddling.
Your love for her and your understanding of her loss and substitution may do a lot to restore harmony. Give it a shot if you can. Blessings, Luise