My wife and I have been married almost 40 years. Early on, we adopted a sweet puppy. Two years later, we had our daughter. I thought my wife gave more affection to our dog than our daughter, but did nothing about that. Then my wife brought in another dog. And another. And cats. And birds. Along the way, we had a son. We have never taken a vacation in our married life. My wife’s reasoning was, “Who would take care of the pets?” Our children have children of their own now, but we can’t visit as a couple because, “Who would take care of the pets?”
I’ve always felt well down on the list for my wife’s affections. So have our children. It takes her four hours in the morning just to address feeding and grooming. I feel like I’m coming to an end in our relationship, and when I try to address this, she accuses me of being selfish and dismissing the animals’ needs. I love my wife and don’t really want to divorce, but how do I cope with being odd man out in my marriage even though I have rationalized that nearly the entire span?