Middle age musings: Advice from Dr. Stanwix

Dear Dr. Stanwix,

I have been married for 20 years, happily––so far––at least 15 of those years. However, a dangerous trend is emerging or, should I say, growing in our marriage, my husband’s belly.

Over the last few years, he has just let himself go completely. He doesn’t watch what he eats and doesn’t do any exercise besides walking up the stairs, something he does more laboriously of late. I understand that he has a demanding job, but he never seems to have any energy to devote to anything else. I think that if he were to do more exercise, he would have more energy. However, he is too tired to even listen to me.

I have suggested our taking up some form of exercise together besides lifting pints and going out to dinner, but he just doesn’t seem interested. I still love him dearly, but having more of him to love is becoming a turn-off. It also causes me to look at and admire those of the opposite sex who have managed to keep their weight under control. I am not necessarily interested in having an affair. It’s just that as he grows in size, my passion for him shrinks.

I have made subtle (and not so subtle) comments about his ballooning body. He either ignores them with a laugh or takes offense. Regardless of how I approach this growing problem, every time I try to sit down and talk to him seriously about this he changes the subject.

Is this a natural part of life or should I really be concerned about this weight increase? Life (sexual or otherwise) does not end in your 50s and I want him to understand that.

Should I accept him for how he is or should I give him an ultimatum? I can’t bear this lipoidal limbo any longer.


Blubbering in Buffalo


Dear Blubbering in Buffalo,

A spare tire is one thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with the whole set. We can’t all maintain the physique we had when we were in our 20s, but that doesn’t mean we have license to let ourselves go completely. And, just because we are happily married, doesn’t mean that we should take our significant other for granted.

This is what appears to be happening in your relationship. He doesn’t feel he needs to look his best because he thinks you will be there for him no matter what.

Another angle you may want to try is telling him that you are concerned about his health and your future together in later years. If he doesn’t start taking care of himself now, there will be consequences for both of you later on. Spending one’s retirement caring for one’s significant other because he or she didn’t bother to is just not what you want to do. 

If this doesn’t work and he doesn’t want to engage in healthy activities, then you should find someone else to do them with. If that tennis partner turns out to be a good-looking man in his 40s then that will be just too bad for your husband. I’m not encouraging you to cheat on your husband to get him to change his behavior. However, it’s important for him to realize that you will not be taken for granted. That might be just the fire you need to put under his cellulite-infested behind.

Let me know how things turn out.

Best of luck,

Dr. Michael Stanwix


Dr. Michael Stanwix has an honorary doctorate in marital counseling and is a full time life coach. He can take on anyone’s questions. The question is, can you take what he has for an answer? Dr. Stanwix’ column is provided courtesy of Fiftyisthenewfifty.com, devoted to those who are middle aged and people who accept the fact that they will get there someday.

If you have a question for Dr. Stanwix, feel free to write him at drstanwix@fiftyisthenewfifty.com.