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Man with Disgusting Habit Sickens Partner

Updated on August 14, 2015

Ask it

Mr. StreetShepherd,

My husband Marty likes shellfish, and that is the most selfish thing that I can say about him. I am allergic to shellfish my whole life, and cannot stand to be around the things. But Marty eats shellfish like it is going out of style. You would think that he would be considerate of my allergies but, no way.

We have been married for 54 years, and I am still subjected to weekly grocery trips and going to restaurants that cater to menus featuring, you guessed it – shellfish. I am so angry at Marty, I could just spit. Marty is the most insensitive man I have ever met, and I love him, but I do not like him very much. I have had some recent medical problems, and it is not easy for me to get around as I have just had my hip replaced. Do you think Marty would be spending extra time to pamper me? Oh no, not that Marty. When I ask him why he will not go out of his way to pamper me now, he says, “We had a few laughs in our time, didn’t we?”

Marty has never been one for romanticism, but I wish he would show me more consideration. Why do men not give of themselves to their wives the way the wives deserve to be treated? Why did I give over 50 years of my life to a man who does not cherish me the way I need to be loved? Of course, I am too old to do anything about this situation, so thank you for listening.

Elaine D.

Dear Elaine,

What a great question, and I thank you for that Elaine. Treating others with indifference is most common in relationships which begin to wane. If it's marriage, partnership, or other after the excitement wears off. Immediately we begin to isolate ourselves and just get in where we fit in. But, after so many years this just becomes routine. However, I do not believe it’s too late for anyone to change.

Symptoms can vary

First, I want to say that Marty is not the problem, you are. Here’s why. The word “I” was mentioned a total of 14 times. The word “we” was mentioned in relation to time married, and (he mentioned) had laughs in the past. And assume with the issue of shellfish, probably not having them now.

"When our circumstances change, we often fail to shift our perspective and instead continue to try to see the world as we feel it should be.

Issue, is exactly what the two of you are communicating nowadays. In word, action, and deed for who knows how long, unfortunately. In fact, issue has been the focus of the communication for this particular relationship in more subjects than Shellfish I’m sure. When 2 individuals decide they want to share their lives together, the thought of expectation never seems to come to mind until it’s too late, and issue then shows up at the back door. (Back door is where uninvited guests arrive)

Acting fast is important

The way to return is to first observe. What I mean is to take into account how all this first unfolded. Not a blame game, because it takes two to marry and ownership is being honorary to that covenant you once agreed to uphold.

It’ll next help to re-orient yourself from your partner’s side (viewpoint) and consider their past experiences, cultural traditions, and how they analyze things. This is known as determination. Because how we see things determines who and how we see others.

Getting feedback from your partner’s perspective will help change your own and help you then, decide how you want to change. Not change your partner, but how to change you. See, Marty didn’t write in and tell us about his shellfish fetish, and that you are irritated. No, YOU wrote in to tell us how irritated YOU are. Therefore, you must change, in order to change him. Kind of a reverse psychology thing.

Think, decide, then act

When you decide what you want, and are willing to act on what you want by observing his role from his perspective. Then you can ask his feedback to re-orient you to change your perspective of him. In any relationship, you must always give more than you take. So when discussing expectations, they are designed with the partner in mind. not the user. This is exactly why, everyone will take more than they give.

Selfishness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s taught. From a very early age, we learn to not get along well with others, because we feel the need to protect ourselves. Protection comes from lack of awareness, or the response awareness requires.

Avoid known risks, and be prepared

You should fully measure, or at least be aware of the temperature or condition of a room before you enter, and make preparations accordingly. If you knew a room was to be warm, or cold surely you would adjust your clothing to remain comfortable so you could focus. So why do we enter relationships, or partnerships uncomfortably or unprepared?

Hoping that the relationship will get better, never happens. Taking action to solve the issue does. So remember to Observe, Orient, Decide, and then Act. That should keep you going until I get an invitation to your 60th anniversary. Thanks for writing in.

Yours truly,



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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      Voted up and interesting!

      I agree with your statement:

      "I want to say that Marty is not the problem, you are."

      Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

      Elaine mentions a couple of key things in her letter.

      "Marty likes shellfish, and that is the most selfish thing that I can say about him. (I am allergic to shellfish my whole life), and cannot stand to be around the things." If this had been a true "deal breaker" she would have chosen to marry someone who detests shellfish.

      "We have been married for 54 years." Most folks would call that a success!

      She goes onto say: "Marty is the most insensitive man I have ever met." and "Marty has never been one for romanticism... Why do men not give of themselves to their wives the way the wives deserve to be treated? Why did I give over 50 years of my life to a man who does not cherish me the way I need to be loved? Of course, (I am too old) to do anything about this situation..."

      The only thing worse about being married to someone you don't like for 54 years is being married to them for 55 years or more!

      Anyone who is unhappy in a relationship and (chooses) to stay is (choosing) to be unhappy. No one is "stuck" with anyone!

      Elaine admits she (chose) to marry a guy who was not romantic, not giving, and does not cherish her.

      There are two basic reasons why a mate will not give what is asked.

      1. They don't have it to give. (In other words it's not who they are.)

      2. You are not "the one". (They don't believe you are worth the effort.)

      It's unrealistic to expect someone to change especially after 54 years.

      Staying in an unhappy marriage is self imposed prison sentence. Thankfully there are over 7 Billion people on this planet! Odds are in everyone's favor that there are more than a few people who would adore us and vice versa.

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde

      There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them as (is) or move on. The choice is up to us!

      One man's opinion!