Why women leave men they love PART 2 – Deepening the conversation

Marriage - why women leave, cheat 2On Friday I wrote a short piece called Why women leave men they love – What every man needs to know. Three days later 500,000 people had read it. Something struck a chord. People are reading the article and seeing themselves. Many, many women have shared their relief at knowing they are not alone in their desire for deeper connection.

Men are responding too. “Presence is so damned hot!” says one. Another laments “If only I’d read this two years ago.” A few have pointed out that the roles are reversible, that men want the same things and suffer in similar ways. I agree. Which begs the question – Why are women so much more likely to show up in my office BEFORE they drop the hammer, while men tend to wait until AFTER the hammer is dropped?

We’re ALL subject to social patterns and structures, and gender figures heavily. Assigning blame is a dead-end that always gets us less of what we truly want. Trying to understand what drives our behaviour – collectively, individually and in marriages is potentially enlightening. And so I take the approach of inquiry.

Let’s start with Why are women staying in marriages for years when their husband is emotionally absent? I’ve had numerous women confide that their relationship strategy is basically this: Somehow hold out until the kids are grown, then bye-bye. Which leads us to… Men – how did you not see this coming? Why did you do nothing? (Again, you can flip the gender assignments to suit you.)

Frustrating as the questions are, honest answers exist. I hear them all the time, but never through smiling lips.

I didn’t know any other way.
I hoped it would get better.
I was busy with work.
That’s just the way it is.
I didn’t want to screw up the kids.

These sorts of answers can make us want to confront our partner with “ARGHHH… but, but, but… you, you, you…”
But it’s confronting ourselves that will reap benefits:

I wanted to avoid conflict so I abdicated my responsibility to myself.
I always got away with it, so I kept doing it.
I feel lost and disconnected from my own life.
I didn’t know I even deserved attention.

Forgive me if I make self-awareness sound easy. The insights above can be extremely hard-won. Of course it takes time, and tears, to get to this place of acknowledging our own part in a painful relationship. We avoid it because it offends our ego. But truth wants to find you.

Therapist David Schnarch says something like “Only marriage can prepare you for marriage.” What he means is that the problems we encounter in relationship are the right ones, at the right time. They reflect our current level of maturity or development. No one expects someone in eighth grade to ace grade twelve exams. But that doesn’t mean exam time isn’t stressful for everyone.

Once we begin coming to terms with the reality of a relationship in crisis, we may turn our attention to how we respond in the face of change. Change happens. It’s not negotiable. Yesterday’s experiences changed us, and we are different today. Our choice lies in how we align ourselves with the change process.

Whether or not a couple chooses to stay together when they hit their crisis point, some kind of change will be required. Often one partner makes a decision that changes everything. That’s reality. Avoiding reality has big costs. As Byron Katie observes “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.” So do we actively participate in the reality of change, accepting the discomfort and uncertainty along with the exhilaration of growth?  Or do we resist because change is scary and painful? (Hint – the first one gives us more and better options.)

Also read –
The surprising role of conflict in relationships – How the arguments that tear us apart also hold us together
Marriage counselling made it worse – A tale of caution and hope
When the love of your life leaves – 5 steps to ease suffering and help you heal

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235 thoughts on “Why women leave men they love PART 2 – Deepening the conversation

  1. Richard

    Your article hits the nail on the head. Unfortunately I did not come to this understanding until my first marriage of 10 years failed and my second marriage of 20 years almost ended. This very concept you write of is what saved our marriage. I found the responses to the article, both male and female interesting. Overwhelmingly women agreed with it. The few who disagreed were situations of role reversal or as in at least one case, a justification of her husband’s actions. She posted that if a man’s absent because he works 80 hours and worries about work even when he’s come, he deserves to be absent. Unfortunately I’ve been that man. My wife and my kids didn’t want money or a lifestyle, they wanted me, they wanted my time and attention, they wanted me to be present. Not the fancy vacation time, but real time, one on one. Some of the posts from men asked “what about the man’s point of view” or stated another way, “what about me”? They appear to perceive it as some kind of attack. It’s this self-centered approach that leads down the wrong path. It’s not an article representing both sides of the issue it’s an article about your observation of why women leave. Any amount research on the subject will show you’re accurate. I know because I spent the last year learning and piecing my marriage back together. I sent your article to both my boys age 28 and 26. If my father had done the same maybe things would have been different.

    Reply
    1. Kimberley

      I read your article and felt my heart sink. Not because I disagreed, rather I agree 100%. My ex and I simply couldn’t see eye to eye on the communication front. He left originally, then we tried it again a few years later, unfortunately in vain. We have children. We admittedly openly and continue in moments of weakness to admit that we love each other. Unfortunately, the second time around, I left. Not because I didn’t love him. Quite the opposite. But, I didn’t feel loved back! He exhibited all of the behaviours you listed in your first article. Wouldn’t look me in the eye, would nod at me as I spoke, but clearly be absent from the discussion and not listening, tune me out when I spoke of subjects that were stressful to him and during those times, simply stare at his phone and wait for me to stop talking. We didn’t fight, there was nothing to fight about. How can you fight with someone who is simply nodding until you stop talking?! Eventually I came to the realization that my sons deserved better from us! They deserved to learn first hand what it means to love a woman, and more importantly, how to love a woman! I left not because I didn’t love him, I didn’t feel loved back! It was the most agonizing decision I’ve made in life, but it was the right choice. I often cry myself to sleep, trying desperately to figure out how to love someone else. That’s where I’m at now. Hoping somehow to find a way to stop loving the man I left!

      Reply
      1. Daniel

        Great article love it! I was ln love with the girl of my dreams but I didn’t feel the love in return. I felt selfishness on her part and it drove me away after a few months, but I stayed thinking it would change but unfortunately it didn’t.

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      2. dealing

        When I read your comment, I thought to myself, I could have wrote it. Loving him was never the problem…building a life together that I was proud of was. How can you building something when only one person is trying. It is frustrating. And the closer I got to the leaving, the more obvious the frustration became. I wonder all the time how I will move on. How will I be able to share a loving experience with someone else. This is not the life I imagined, so I work everyday to live in the present because that is all I can really count on.

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        1. Saddened

          Dealing, as you thought to yourself, I could have wrote it, as I read yours, I thought the same about 5 years ago. Of all the posts, I relate to yours most. I was previously married for 8 years, and like you, loving him was easy, it was working on the problem areas alone that slowly but surely destroyed my marriage. No marriage can survive with only one trying, and as I found it difficult to admit then yet so easy to say now…. if only one is trying, only one cares. I found a quote not long ago that said: “If the feelings are mutual, the efforts will be equal.” These my friend, words to live by. I don’t know how long it’s been since you became single but I can assure you that you can move on, if you don’t it’s because you are not allowing yourself to. I hope that makes sense, but I understand what you’re saying when you say this, I HAVE BEEN THERE! You will be able to share a loving experience with another. I didn’t think I would ever meet anyone who would recognize, much less acknowledge and respect MY value, but 3 years ago, right when I stopped thinking I’d never meet anyone, I stopped worrying about being alone for the rest of my life, when I had actually come to terms with it would be just me and my daughter for the duration of life, I met the man of my dreams! Of course I didn’t know this at first but it wasn’t long into our friendship that I started to notice the mutual morals and same beliefs, religious and others, that I found myself feeling an attraction towards this man. Little did I know he too had been previously married which was also one sided on his part. It was mindboggling, the similarities we shared. Anyway, he ask me to marry him Christmas 2013 and we married July 12, 2014 and still I’ve never been happier. Yes we have the normal and maybe some abnormal situations arise, but we communicate, trust, and compromise our way right through them. You just have to remember the things you know and refuse to live without when a potential relationship approaches, and never let go of that. Best of Luck to you!! Life is to short to be unhappy!

          Reply
          1. Hopefully

            Hi Saddened, thank you for the lovely and encouraging reply. I was in a relationship with someone where we were to soon get engaged. We only broke up a few days back and I had a lot of questions in my mind. Was it worth another try? Should I take the initiative as always to sort a petty fight? Should I let go of myself self respect and accept him despite him calling it off without even trying to sort it out or communicate. Im still confused and not sure if I will be able to love anyone else the same way but your reply shared some hope; that someday I may find someone who will love me the same way or even more than I can. Thank you

          2. Dave

            The man you married was the man of your dreams also, unfortunatley women tend not to sit the man down and MAKE them understand, they just drop hints and act differently until they pop. One sided attempt to save marriage? I bet he didn’t know what hit him!

        2. unsure

          We’ve only just begun our marriage and I feel the way you do. I’m tired and hurt that it’s mostly agreeing from him when I’m asking for an opinion. I just can’t find a way to leave

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          1. Wising Up

            Have you tried sitting with him and telling him how you feel? I hope you can work it out. Good luck.

      3. Mallory

        That is a beautiful response, thank you for that.. You do deserve to be loved like you love someone and you will find it!! Best of luck in your journey

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      4. Mallory

        I’ve definitely been in a relationship like this before. That is a beautiful response, thank you for that.. You do deserve to be loved like you love someone and you will find it!! Best of luck in your journey

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      5. Helen

        I really related to Kimberley’s comments. The first article just felt like me and makes me sad when I think about what I had and hoped to have as I get older. I too left as I didnt feel the love back. After a couple of months I realised I didn’t have the love in me anymore to keep trying and that I’d given up long before I left. It makes me very sad as I tried to get that being present time but it was always ignored or short lasting. I know I’m a good person and so is he, but our children deserve parents who are present and happy. That’s where I’m at now. Its OK if things dont always last forever.

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        1. Jana

          I myself have not physically left my marriage. However, I do not feel the love in return. My husband is the absent one. Up until this year, well for the last 9 years, have stayed at home with the kids while he worked. I never complained much. I didn’t shop for anything that wasn’t needed. I even spent many nights going without dinner so he and the children could eat because we were that broke. Many, many times have felt like a single parent. Now, I am gone a lot too because of my job. We have finally hit rock bottom in our marriage. I have never gotten along with his family because they have always told me I’m not good enough, and not once has he stood up for me and said anything. The man has told me one time in 10 years that I’m beautiful and that is because I pointed that fact out. I spend my days feeling selfish because I feel like I deserve more from him. He is a good man, he is a good father, and a very hard worker. I just don’t know if I have anything left to give him. I want more and I feel like I’ve been missing out all these years. It saddens me to see all these broken marriages? Do happily ever afters exist anymore or did they ever?

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          1. babe

            Been with my husband for around 15 yrs and married to him 9 of those. My kids are grown and off on there own so its just me and him. Days go by we do not speak to each other, all he ever does is complain about money, so over it, not sure if i love him or if i can try to feel the way it used to be. Just recently my stepbro and i have been communicating more , we also had a little flirty thing in the late 70’s. We want to be together, i am terrified of losing my kids and more importantly grandkids who i adore. Other fam members will be shocked of course but we can not bother worrying about them. We know that we want to really be together, we love each other. Sorry if this is off subject but feels good to write it. The thing i guess i am saying is are my daughters gonna disown me and my sweet grandchildren be banned from me, that is what would kill me. Thanks for reading.

          2. Saddened

            Jana, it saddens me to an extent I’ve never experienced before when I read your comment. I don’t want to come off the wrong way but I’m limited as how to say it…. but a husband should pay his wife a compliment more than once in 10 years!! My husband tells me everyday AT LEAST once, that I’m beautiful. It sounds to me as though if he never stood up for you to his family that he agrees with them and if that’s the case, you need to realize that you can be miserable all by yourself. And selfish, no sweetie, wanting your husband to acknowledge you as his wife is not selfish, it’s a requirement. Jana, your husband may be a good man, may be a good father, and may be a very hard worker, but guess what? He is an extremely bed husband. Yes you deserve more and there is more out there. Everyone deserves to be happy and life is too short to be unhappy! I wish you all the happiness in the world, and then some.

          3. May

            I am in d same boat,husband is a good provider,but he makes sure that he’s recognized for it,it’s always his money,i buy this,i buy that mentality.im currently stay at home mom,not by choice coz we just moved to his place and there’s no jobs available.He always belittle me,Why i dont have a job or what have i done with my life.I only raised our 2 beautiful children on my own he does’nt ever help out coz its kinda established that he works fulltime that he’s tired all d time.When my youngest started school fulltime,i started working just part time coz I’m d one who picks up d kids from school,i have to work around d kids schedule,coz my husband works out of town.He doesnt ever tell me im beautiful,or im doing a good job taking care of d kids.never!He once told me I’m useless coz im not contributing financially.What about taking care of our kids,our home,him?he doesnt wver recognize what i do matters too.

        2. Patrice Stanton

          I think women and men define & therefore express “love” in very different ways. We are doomed to forever feeling shortchanged in the “Love Department” if/when our definition (remember the classic “Five Love Languages?”) is in one “language” and our spouse/”significant-other’s” is in a TOTALLY FOREIGN one.

          I may feel I’m the most “loving” woman on the planet, I mean, I’m always doing-this and saying-that, but if these are demonstrations of affection that mean very little to my “beloved” then they are literally lost on him. Communicate=ask & listen then reverse. [p.s. who cares if he can’t stare-you-in-the-eyes; in the wider world this is typically considered an aggressive gesture.]

          Reply
          1. Ellen

            The love languages has been a huge issue. To my husband simply saying “I love you” is great, he’s happy and thinks all is well. So he tells me”You know I love you, right?” I tell him yes because I do know but I sure don’t feel it. Words are not my love language. I need acts of service, so he hires someone to help me.

          2. tkp

            Ellen, I’m in a similar situation. I’m told frequently that I’m beautiful and that he loves me. But my love language is acts of service and he constantly fails in this area, which makes me feel invisible and taken for granted. We rarely make love because from the beginning of our marriage it has been because he ‘needs’ it…we,’ve been married 16 yrs and I’m still waiting for him to ‘get it. We went to counseling and he didn’t feel the need to do the reading assigned. He knows it all already, I guess.
            I have no desire to leave this man, but each valley of frustration I encounter only feels deeper than the last. And I’m talked out.

      6. Cassy

        Dear Kimberley,

        Your story resonates so much with my situation at the moment. I even gave my partner part 1 of this article and the next day the slate was wiped clean like it always is. PLEASE stop looking for answers because it’s taken me two kids and five years to realise that you will never find it because all the questions are not yours to answer, they’re his.

        I always ask friends in problems who is the most important person in your life and nine times out of ten they say kids or their partner but its you. If your child is ill you’re there to make it better but if you’re ill your child can’t look after you the way you need to be, so you need to love yourself first in order for someone else to love you the way you want to be loved, and makes finding that person a little easier as you know what you’re looking for

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      7. Amy

        I commend you for being able to walk away and realize you deserve better for you and your boys. I feel as though I’m becoming to be in the same situation. And it hurts. Every day. All day.

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      8. Lisa

        This is so difficult to read. 16 years with my husband. I tried everything, even TELLING him we were in crisis as a couple. That we NEEDED to get back to BEING a *couple, NOT just 2 people who live together..He agreed, promised me this weekend for us THAT weekend for us and always had a reason to back out. Usually because of work OR HIS BUDDIES…..I don’t know how many nights I lay beside him silently crying and wishing for the man I married. I would get sooo angry just because he was **oblivious in his sleep. No matter what I told myself , I had to just face the truth that he just-didn’t-care. You’re right, I waited for the kids to grow up BUT I also hoped we would find each other again once the kids were grown. All I found out was that my husband, had left me and the children,longggg before our actual divorce. I had no choice BUT to leave. it’s hard to fight for a relationship when only one person is willing to fight for it. I had to get out while I was still younge enough and not to jaded to give my heart to someone else..I almost waited too long. I still loved him. but I could only save one of us….

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      9. Anonymous

        While I’d never been married, it goes for wooing and courtship too. My ex (whom recently I split up with) was much like this. And Kimberly, you’re right. It is agonizing. I let him leave me, though. I could never bring myself to do it. Instead, I’d lie in bed and cry often before falling asleep. I still love him, and would probably move mountains for him. But I was second best in all his books. His video games, friends, work, and alcohol took prescedence. And don’t get me wrong, it’s healthy to have friends and a job, but when you leave your partner feeling absolutely neglected and like more of a financial safety net…there’s something terribly wrong. He wouldn’t even be physically intimate. Claimed that intimacy (sexually speaking) was a let down when he’d lost his virginity, and has been ever since. My heart still aches for him.

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      10. Jamie Nicley

        I’m responding to your comment because several years ago I went through a very similar situation, and I want you to know that you made the right decision, and that I believe that you can love someone else, but it will take some time. I met my ex when I was a teenager. From the day that we met I believed that he was the man for me. We spent several years as just friends and both had other relationships, but we always came back together. He was sent to Iraq at the beginning of the war in 2003. It was a very stressful time for him, and we spoke as often as we could while he was gone. It was one of the hardest years of my life. During that time we decided that we wouldn’t wait any longer. We both felt that we were meant to be together and when he came home we moved in together and got engaged shortly after that. We spent many years living together, and I loved him so much. I knew that he loved me too, but I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t feel anything. He had no passion for life, no passion for me, no passion for anything. I tried to talk to him about it, and I tried to spark his passion in different ways. He was a great artist and also good at doing tattoos, so I bought him a professional tattoo gun and tons of art supplies thinking that would help him let out some of his feelings through art. In the end, nothing worked and I left him. I loved him so much and it was one of the hardest things that I ever did, but I felt I had to do it. For years after that I questioned my decision. I continued to talk to him regularly, and at one point I even moved back on with him and wanted to give the relationship a try. Nothing worked because the passion I needed from him just wasn’t there. I ended up joining the Air Force, and part of the reason I did that was that I needed to get away and start my life over. I had a wonderful experience in the military, but I still loved him and thought of him often. And then one day I met someone new, and from that moment my life was forever changed. I didn’t think that would ever happen to me. I thought I would never get over this man that I had devoted so many years to, but these days I don’t feel any love for him anymore. Of course I hope that he is happy and that he is doing well, but I don’t think about him or miss him the way that I did for all those years. My new husband is the most wonderful man I have ever known. I love him in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. He is VERY present in our life too. We have great communication and I know how much he loves me, not just from his words but from his actions. We have a son together, and I am glad that we will be able to show him what true love is and what a good marriage looks like.
        So I’m telling you this because I want you to have hope. You can love again, and I believe you will when the time is right. It might take quite a while, and that’s okay. Use that time to learn about yourself and you’ll be a better person for your next relationship.

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      11. Carmen

        I was married to my husband for 41 years. I never felt loved by him. He is and was a hard working man, good father and provider but he didn’t know how to demonstrate love. I gave him everything I had in me to give and then some. He never told me he loved me, wasn’t very demonstrative, never told me I was beautiful. It got to the point where I began to resent him and would intentionally pick fights with him to get his attention. After all those years of trying to keep our marriage together he decided to tell me he didn’t love me and wanted a divorce. I was heartbroken. However, it was the best thing that happened to me. I am currently in a relationship with another man who tells me he loves often, who tells me I’m beautiful and makes me feel loved and beautiful. He loves to touch me and doesn’t complain about anything. I still love my ex and the new man knows this. I love this man with the love of a mature woman not the dewy eyed love that I felt for my ex. It’s a wonderful feeling to be in this current relationship. Sex with my ex was great but sex with my new love is fantastic because I can feel the love and passion this new man has for me.

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      12. Sadie

        My heart goes out to you! I almost did the same thing, but mine came around. Shockingly after 8 years. I’m here to talk to, and see some healing energy your way Kimberly. Xo

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      13. Jennifer Weeks

        Kimberly, I read what you wrote, and my heart goes out to you. For whatever this is worth, I care that you are hurting, and I wish I could give you a hug. Hang in there, have faith about the future, and know that everything changes. Good times change, bad times change. Gather your close friends around so that you are not lonely, and so that your children will see how we can all support each other during difficult times. Focus on your children, raise them well. The time will go by so quickly and you can’t get it back.

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    2. rf

      Richard this warms my heart. I left my partner because all I wanted was his time while he was busily working late and a spending weekends renovating the house. He couldn’t understand my pleas until I was gone. Then it sank in. I am so grateful that you have written this honest post which clearly shows your change of perspective. I’m proud of you, and a glad for thr truth of your message. Good on you and thank you!

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    3. Dwight

      yes,for the most part i agree. Just dont always blame men, thats wrong. My marriage ended for more reasons than you suggest, my ex became totally fixed on our children. I even overheard her say ,the only reason i got married was to have kids. Our workds became seperated, hers fixated on the kids, mine on making money for family. Our intimate times was solely based around the children and was no longer about finding time for us. which inadvertently caused issues niether of us were willing to change for each other, I became like extra in a movie, only needed when it was necessary. So it was a problem for both of us. Even to this day I love her to death and unsure if i can ever find anyone like her again, no i havent told her. I was so hurt by what i had overheard and it was so obvious and i just never opened my eyes to see it. I can only suggest to everyone, husbands and wives, before you throw away your marriage get “couples” counseling. See your world though each others eyes and above all be honest about what you see, and tell your counselor everything from past to present. You may be surprised at what you learrn.

      Reply
      1. Susan

        I can see my relationship in your story. I realize that I focused on my children because my husband was distant and unapproachable. Women want to be needed. If he doesn’t need your help, your advice, your opinion then you focus your attention on something else; your kids, your church, your job. I went other places to feel appreciated because I didn’t feel appreciated at home. I was respected for being me, but not at home. I love my husband, but can’t live with him.

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      2. Sally

        My life is in shambles and I don’t know where to turn. Been married over half my life and we have a lot of kids. We all suffer from great dysfunction, more so than most. I am no longer in love with my spouse after 29 years married. I have been told over and over that my feelings don’t count for much. I don’t feel heard, understood, or that my life matters for much. I am told that my spouse loves me more than life itself, but its in words, not actions. My spouse has been over the top angry for most of those years. There is a tremendous amount of anger in our home, lots of yelling, name calling, but thankfully nothing physical. We just began couple counseling two weeks ago. Does anyone think this could actually be saved?

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        1. Maraea

          I am assuming that when you state you are told your feelings don’t count for much my assumption is your husband is saying this to you. Yes Sally I do believe your marriage can be saved as long as your husband is willing to change; change the way he speaks to you, changed the way his facials, body language, in fact lots of changes need to take place on his part. When the changes take place you will fall “in love” with him again. You will have to do your part when he fires up verbally do not react (and that’s hard to do easy to say). Tips on not reacting (1) Pause (2) Think about what you are going to say even if he is going hundi (rapid firing) in your face, if he continues to keep mouthing off (3) Quietly say I need to leave the room to think before I reply, if I think I need to reply I’ll come back and we will talk if not I won’t be saying anything. When you leave the room think (1) Is it worth responding to (2) If there needs to be a response then this will be the crucial part (a) How will you say i.e facials and body language need to be kept in check (b) what am I going to say that will help the situation not make it worse (c) What I say will there be a discussion that is going to be fruitful to the matter at hard and is it going to support our relationship if not then some grounds rules need to be put into place. Why I say your “In Love” can return is because when we have been wounded the in love experience you had when you first met has been covered over with hurt, pain, heartache, loneliness etc, etc. What has to happen now is each layer needs to be stripped back each hurt, each painful experience etc, etc, has to be stripped back. The hard work is having to strip those layers as well as working towards a congruent, cohesive and collaborative approach when your husband fires up. Good Luck.

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        2. Been there

          Yes. I do think it can be saved. IF he is willing to accept how much damage he does to you and the children through his anger. IF he understands that saying I love you means nothing if you don’t FEEL loved. My husband was so physically and verbally abusive I left. We were separated for almost a year while getting counseling. We got back together.

          To be fair, these articles break my heart because we are there right now. But all relationship require work. And if both people are open and up for change, it can make a world of difference. Good luck in your counseling.

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        3. Kistaraq

          No, I don’t think it can be saved. You’ve been together for 29 years! I don’t think he can change. The only way your marriage can go on is if you accept him as he is and the way you are living. We should never marry in hoping the other part change his/her behavior.

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        4. Hanna

          Any relationship can be saved when both people are ready and willing to do the work that’s it’s going to take to save the relationship. Learn to love yourself first and then choose to see the good in the other person everyday. Good for you for getting help. I wish you the best and hope you both choose to make it work.

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        5. Alessio

          If there is actual abuse you have grounds for a divorce, physical OR mental abuse.

          If you are just “no longer in love”, then you have to decide whether breaking up the family is worth all of the anguish that it will cause your family.

          I again go back to my previous point..marriage is a life committment. We all know that barring abuse that we are making a life long committment for better or for worse. Without this committment, almost every marriage will fall apart because one of the spouses will find something more exciting, it’s inevitable.

          I’m glad you are going to a marriage counselor. It could work out for you if you are showing a willingness to continue on.

          Reply
    4. Dalia

      Richard, I am in the middle of divorcing my husband of 20 years (together for 23). I have loved him all those years and still do. I believe he still loves me as well. I tried for years to tell him that our 2 boys and I didn’t want stuff, we wanted him. I left my country, my family, my dreams and the only life I knew to be with him only for him to be absent from our lives while he supported us beyond our needs. No matter how often I told him I didn’t want this life, that I moved to his country to be with him, not for a lifestyle, it never sunk in. He showered us with gifts and the gifts were nice. I can’t say I didn’t like them. I appreciated his hard work and what he had to do to get us the stuff, but I would have preferred more time with him. His stress at work and in supporting our lifestyle led to drinking and cancer, but he still won’t give up the lifestyle that lead to these things. No matter how often I pleaded that he find something else to do that he really enjoyed and that we could support and raise the family together, nothing changed. Maybe my approach was all wrong. Maybe I didn’t appreciate his hard work enough. I am haunted by thoughts of what I could have done differently and It breaks my heart that we couldn’t make it work. I dreamed of the day that he would finally retire and we would enjoy a life together. Now I am moving on without him and finding my own happiness. Most days are good. Some days are really bad. I am so pleased and happy for you that you have been able to make the changes to save your marriage. I made a lot of positive changes for us, but I don’t think my husband wanted to change. Or that changes weren’t worth it to him and I have had to accept that. I am a firm believer in fait and things happening for a reason. I know a happier life is out there for me and I wish him the same. Bravo to you and your wife for working so hard to fix things! Change isn’t easy, but the results are so rewarding.

      Reply
      1. Alessio

        This is a real shame. Your husband did his job and then some, but that wasn’t good enough for you. He worked his brains out, only to get thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. Presumably you knew what he was like when you married him, yet now you are using that as an excuse to dump him, after all he did for you and your family. To me that is inexcuseable.

        I think this author is providing an excuse for women to get out of the noredom of marriage, which eventually settles in with ALL marriages. You need to make a committment to work thru the issues, barring violence of course.

        Reply
    5. Kristin LeMaster

      I read your article and I can relate. My husband and I are going on 5 years together. We have been married for 2. I do not work outside of the home. I do plenty inside and take care of out of the home errands and such. My husband works outside the home. Issue being when he comes home he does not look happy. I have asked in the past – What’s wrong? He will just snap at me. He has asked me NOT to talk to him until he has had time to “decompress” from his day. Fine – I give him this. (most days.) He comes home gets a glass of tea, sits in “his” chair and watches TV until bedtime. His bedtime is at least 3 to 4 hours after I go to bed. He will even eat dinner in the chair. Over the years, to me, it is not worth an argument over – please talk to me and pay attention to me. I feel like a child asking for attention from a parent. It is so tiring! As a woman I want to be needed and wanted. I have a high sex drive for 45 years old. I could have sex every other day and be very HAPPY with that. My husband on the other hand, he could have sex once a month (he is 48 years old) and be very HAPPY. When I have tried to get him to show affection he has shot me down. I have been shot down so many times that I do not try anymore. I feel my husband is NOT present in our relationship. He was present at the beginning. The longer we are together the worse it gets. He goes and does whatever he wants while I stay at home with children. I feel he takes advantage me. I feel he does not appreciate me. I love him. He is a good man. However, I don’t know how long I want to stay with him. I have thought about leaving. Trust me when I say ” I have tried to talk with him about this.” A few months ago I got my feelings hurt. He went to the Lake House to spend 5 days with some of our friends from out of state. Since, it was all adults and no children, me and the children were not welcomed there. I could not find a sitter, even though I had more than a few weeks to find one. I talked to him about it. I explained that he should have made a day where me and the children were welcome even if it was for 5 or 6 hours. So we felt like we were a part of seeing everyone. I was very hurt. He said ” I thought about it but I didn’t act on it.” I was angry. He knew it. He “changed” for about 2 weeks and then it went right back to the way it was. I feel if my husband could read this he may begin to think differently in the way he treats me. I may not be here much longer. It will be hurt both of us to be separated. I know deep down he loves and care for me. I can’t for the life of me understand why he is being so stubborn in the attention, love, and emotionally department? We don’t have trust issues. I guess he assumes I will always ………just take it!

      Reply
      1. Lynn

        I have an opinion on this, if I may make bold: I think you have more than one issue at play here; not the least of which is “place in life”. You state that you’ve been together a total of 5 years, you are 45 and he is 48, and you have children young enough to require a babysitter. Most couples, at your age, have grown children and are on the back end of child-rearing days, and are more free for such activities as lake house weeks/weekends with the grownups. In short, it seems that YOU have kids and he’s the grownup here. I think he sees your role as mother, pretty much entirely, and his role as “the man of the house”. YOU have the responsibility, while he has a different set of priorities. I think it’s probably common for folks in your situation. You two are parallel lines now: going in the same direction, with one ultimate goal, but will never meet unless some thought processes change. If these are step-children, then your problem was fully formed before you married, I fear; you are a means to an end. My problem was the opposite: I was TOO YOUNG with children, and while all our peers were still dating, going out, having fun, I was home with babies. In the end, I wound up a single mom, still out of step with my peers, and lots of older men looking for a young “step-Mama” with a job. I stayed single for 20 years, to avoid making a terrible mistake. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but it’s how I dealt with that. Now, whatever issues arise in my marriage (18yrs and no fairy tale) they are our issues to resolve, from the same place in life and no kids in the house to suffer.
        As for sex? Well, you are at what it typically a sexual prime for women, and he is far, far beyond his. And that’s just one aspect of that issue. I hope you two can work things out.

        Reply
      2. TM

        May I recommend two excellent reads, first one ‘Love and Respect’ by Dr. Eggriches (some people find it hard to read a book where God is mentioned, just think of it as your ‘higher being’ from this book, I learned it’s not always what you say but sometimes ‘how’ you say it (tone, rolling eyes, body language) men need respect first, love second women need love first but also respect. NEVER speak ill of your man (nor should he of you) I also believe in the Law of attraction/the Secret.
        Second one ‘Five love languages’ your situation sounds similar to mine, together 21 years, married 18 years ago.
        I was working when we met & through the first half of our marriage, then he recommended I stay at home, (financially we didn’t need me to) & watch the kids & we also had animals. In hindsight I wish I never did, I lost my independence. He is an alcoholic and is very resentful to the fact I do not work, he left me four months ago. I am still grieving, & trying to find work after not working for seven years is a hard task, but I am still also optimistic/hopeful for him to acknowledge his drinking problem and us to reunite.

        Reply
    6. Marie

      A good chunk of the problem comes from gender stereotypes in our culture. Now less than before, but it’s still not uncommon that a wife stays home with the kids and a husband works to provide for the family. We know by this day and age that there’s no reason only one side of the relationship should work themselves to death (more commonly the man), but it’s still fixed on the back of everyone’s minds, it’s a cultural pressure for men to work, to work hard, to earn a lot of money. It goes all the way to the weird looks the cashier gives a guy whose wife pays for the merchandise. I have met several men, who feel uncomfortable letting a woman, friend or girlfriend, pay for anything when they’re together. A guy I was dating once left me because I happened to make more money than him and it made him feel immasculated. To support the image our society demands men to have, he would have had to work overtime, initiating the vicious circle of having to choose between being absent and feeling like “true man”. This is also why more men suffer from depression and are more likely to commit suicide – “a real man” is excpected to handle his own problems, whereas it is considered acceptable for women to ask for professional psychological help. I think it’s common sense that both partners in a relationship work, earn money and contribute. That way, one won’t have to work as much and there’s more time left to give to each other. It’s just so incredibly sad that we’ve come so far, but yet are still stuck in a very caveman-like mindset of real-men-don’t-cry (when actually, I’m sure any sane person would agree that it’s a perfectly natural thing to do sometimes), real-men-don’t-need-help (or manuals or to ask for directions, even though logic dictates that stuff would get done much faster this way), real-men-provides-a-good-life (even though the lady in question might be a bohemian and really not care, the society still cares). And this needs to stop. Men need to take care of themselves too, ask for help when they need it and not work themselves to death over some perceived notion of manliness.

      Reply
    7. Falicia

      I am engaged to a wonderful loving man!
      One problem… Sometimes the affection and appreciation gets tossed to the wayside. I don’t know if it’s because he’s comfortable enough to where he feels it’s a given and doesn’t need to continue, or TRUELY can’t?
      I am an extremely affectionate person. So much to the point, he sometimes says I’m smothering him and he can’t breathe.
      This hurts when he says this.
      We have 4 children between the two of us. All boys. I put my heart and soul into EVERYTHING I do. Everyone else’s wants and needs are first priority. I work, I cook, I clean, I make sure everyone has what the need.
      I don’t demand ANYTHING from this man. I don’t “nag” like most women. He said his ex wife did it all the time. I have no reason to. He helps with the cleaning, but if it’s not done every day or when he thinks it should be… I get it thrown in my face. If he doesn’t do them, I don’t even notice.
      My theory is, life is short. Sometimes life gets in the way of things that “should” get done. But if one can’t achieve these things… That’s ok. The house won’t burn down and life will go on.
      I have to constantly remind him of this.
      I love him. He is the third, and hopefully last of my serious relationships I’ve ever had. I’ve been engaged, but never married to any of them. I’m hoping the third one is a charm!
      I don’t see my life getting any better than it is now. I’m finally happy in this stable relationship. But here’s the catch…
      Like I said, I give my all to him. I’m thoughtful, supportive, devoted, attracted, loving, attentive, and super affection to this man. But unfortunately… He lacks in this.
      It’s almost like its a deficiency! I have broke down and cried several times telling him I would like him to be more supportive, loving, effectionate. He barely touches me unless it’s during sex, which I usually initiate. I am self continuos due to my body being ruined by two kids so I am cautious about how much or often I get naked. Sometimes he reacts to it and sometimes it feels like I’m not even there. I just want to be noticed. Appreciated. Feel like I exist and alive again like he made me feel when we first met. Unfortunately after all the attempts, the “trying” only lasts a couple of days. He usually gets mad at me and tells me I need to find someone else that will give me what I need. I don’t want anyone else! I love him! For everything he is! But I feel like I give and give and give, put everyone else first, and I get the leftovers. My feelings and wants and needs are an afterthought. I don’t know what or how else I can explain or put into words on how I feel and would like some reciprocation on this. Your short stories I did read and are very informative and helpful. I just wish HE could see what he’s missing!
      Thank you for taking the time to read. My only hope is you can take a couple more minutes to help me and my personal efforts to win the love I so deserve.
      Sincerely, falicia

      Reply
      1. Vicki Larson

        You’re engaged to a “wonderful, loving man”? No, not really because you then go on to list all that’s wrong with him including the fact that he “barely touches me unless it’s during sex, which I usually initiate.” Do you really want to spend the rest of your life that way? What is “wonderful” or “loving” about someone who does not want to touch you?
        Just a thought …

        Reply
      2. Wanda

        Falicia,

        That level of complete abandonment of your own needs is like you are making a martyr of yourself – sacrificing your own wants and needs on the altar of your relationship in an effort to make him happy. It is very difficult for a man to admire and respect a woman who cares so little for herself in this way. He may truly be void of compassion or the ability to love, or maybe he simply is disgusted by how little love and respect you show for YOURSELF. Ultimately we are incredibly selfish, we women, when we give away so much of ourselves at such a great cost in an effort to win love. We sacrifice our very essence, the self-respect and dignity that is the allure and mystery of a strong, feminine, independent woman. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who respects herself so much she will not tolerate anyone treating her with disrespect nor will she accept anything less than the love she deserves. This means she loves herself. We cannot expect someone to love and respect us if we cannot respect and love ourselves. I encourage you; learn to love yourself first. Give attention to your needs, then as you would for anyone else you love, you will treat yourself with honor and respect and not accept neglect or disrespectful treatment from others. Remember, the love you seek from another must really come from within you – for yourself – first.

        Reply
      3. Jules

        Falicia, this man is sending you so many signals why aren’t you listening, you have no problem listing all of the things that he does or doesn’t do, get out of this relationship now before it gets to a point where you cannot get out. Run, run fast! You mentioned not being married to the three relationships you have been in, is there a reason that you never married or was it just a choice you made. Having 4 young boys in the house watching their dad and soon to be step dad treat their mother this way is just setting these boys up to follow in their fathers footsteps. Break the cylce now before these young men start to treat you the way that this “wonderful loving man” does. Life is too short, don’t sell yourself short just to be in a relationship, think of those young men who need a real roll model of what a man is really suppose to be like.

        Reply
    8. Wanda

      In response to the main article:
      I lived this. 23 years married, and unhappy from the first day. However, due to my strict religious upbringing and youthful hope, I stayed unhappily married until the kids were grown and I could finally give no more. A Christian radio show host once described the failure of many marriages as being not “one big hole that causes the dam to burst” (such as an affair), but, “a million tiny cracks that over time are created until one day, the whole dam bursts.” That may not be verbatim, but it was spot on in describing how I felt. There were some larger hurts, to be sure, but I left because I was emotionally bankrupt and could no longer try and make a loving marriage (which is what I needed desperately) out of one filled with neglect, broken promises, and an ongoing refusal on his part to face the truth of my unhappiness. He chose to ignore, deflect, avoid the subject any time I brought it up. And I tried to talk to him. I did not harangue, nag, or bitch. I spoke. Sometimes I cried, sometimes there was some anger, but mostly I just tried to get him to see and understand that I was being emotionally starved.
      There are 3 types of abuse described when talking about abused children: Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, and the abuse of Neglect. I don’t think I have ever heard or read of neglect being specifically named an abuse when describing abuse in adult committed relationships, but, as with children, neglect does great damage to the heart and soul of a marriage. I tend to describe things in pictures, and I saw my passionate, loving heart slowly withering into a husk, a dry empty shell that, while I kept squeezing out my love to try and give, there was nothing being poured back to me to nourish my heart. I had to leave or emotionally die. So, I left, and I have not looked back or regretted that decision for one moment in spite of the reactions and judgment of family and some friends. I simply could not continue to cause myself harm by staying – so I stopped trying to save the marriage and saved myself instead, going against all I had been taught, and in the face of severe criticism of my actions. I had to save me.

      Happily I report that my second marriage has been a joy. It is what I always imagined marriage should be and no, that does not mean zero conflict, rather, a deep, mutual love and an openness and honesty that allows you to talk through the disagreements having an underlying foundation of real love and respect for one another. Honesty and communication are absolutely vital to any relationship, along with an internal strength and self-respect that expects the same of others. That is what I am so blessed and thankful to have now.
      Wanda

      Reply
      1. Robin

        Wanda this is so good. And it also describes my journey perfectly. Just reading your version has done wonders for my soul. I, too, am now a whole person and am thankful for the courage given me at the time to survive an emotional and spiritual pit. Thank you sister!

        Reply
    9. tina prior

      What about men who have midlife crisis, my husband of 26 years decided to trade me in for a 20 Japanese girl, yes she is 2 years older then our son. Thee heartache it caused our children, 2 who wont talk to him. I think you should do a article on midlife crisis in men because yes it does really exists.
      Iam waiting for karma for all the heartache he cause my family.

      Reply
  2. Tara

    I am extremely happy this thread is still open to comments. After I read the entire piece ( Part 1 & Part 2), I was like …”FINALLY” I am NOT alone!! My guy keeps saying if u love me how can u leave me?…….As many times as I explain to him, the power lies in his hands, he doesn’t get it. We have been together since I was 12…23 years. He’s been in and out of trouble (Jail in the early stages & recently arrested due to old habits resurfacing), he has worked extremely hard to join me in building a family and a home and we only disagreed once a year..(No lies..we were in sync…totally ground crumbling intimacy even with 3 little ones…Once #4 came along 6 years ago, something changed…there was a disconnect..I tried to ignore it for a looong time..I’ve been blamed by him & his family for “allowing” this to happen….He became addicted to pain meds and about 3.5 years ago, it became a bold elephant in our home..money was disappearing, bills were bouncing, he became comfortable lying to my face..we began arguing because of course I was NOT going to let him go without a fight!!! through the (years now of) lies and manipulation, I have stayed… not till the kids are old enough or out of fear, but out of dedication to him…not him as a warm body but to him. We are not married legally but i committed to GOD at 13 that he would be my partner good & bad for life! I keep my word. Him as the sober person is worth my dying breath to save….Don’t get me wrong, I know I can’t save him only he can do that….BUT, I can fight for him when he is unwilling or unable to fight for himself because he is worth it. He is great at” EXPERIENCING LIFE”…I totally disagree with a post from part 1 that stated “passion is selfish”….That person has no clue of true passion..passion is being so in love with someone or something, it consumes you ..it in no way means show her undivided attention!…he also stated, “Passion for being alive is the exact same thing as loving his hobbies…..I completely see the intentional meaning…..Passion for being alive= an air about you, an aura ( no im not a color seeing specialist or whatever) an appreciation for all you are blessed with in the moment, for the day, the air you breath gives you joy, the beauty you take in, gives you joy etc….Im not trying to bash just correct some possibly misguided perception of your column……its possible his perception is maybe what has or will cause him some hurt in the future….he displays much love of himself ANd what he deserves in life……yes Im a female but believe me when I say, i believe any good man deserves to be catered to & emotionally coddled…they deserve it if they are respectful caring men. I wish my fiance understood….his addiction to pain meds has destroyed me, ripped my heart out & shredded every last shred of it and yet I still am taking care of the kids & the home and I continue to tell him I’m here waiting when he’s done fighting his battle but I can no longer live with his battle ( the one he’s not fighting and lying to my face about) but he doesn’t get it..”how can I love him but ask him to leave?” It’s because I love him that I must ask him to go….I can not watch him selfishly destroy his body , take an amazing father away from our kids & tear me to shreds like a bad roller coaster until his body just gives out…I believe its called tough love! as for the rest of your post, I agree with the disconnect causing so much damage that if you’re unwilling to look much deeper to find the things that used to be there “ALIVE”, you’re wasting your time….I really appreciate this topic!!!

    Reply
    1. Chris P

      Tara,
      My hat is off to you! Make sure to take care of your children’s MOTHER too ! One suggestion – advice on the web is plentiful on how to overcome pain med addiction. But if nothing worked, try setting a deadline in a year and thinking out of the box. Sometimes when loved ones leave us (due to death or other reasons) it is time to grieve, move on and find love some place else.
      God bless!

      Reply
    2. Katie

      Tara, taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do. I have been through a similar experience and I am finally finding myself again after putting so much time and energy into those that I loved and cared about. I was given a book called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie and it has changed my life. Codependence has often been looked upon with a negative light, but the more studies being done they are finding out that these issues are in response to emotional trauma similar to PTSD. I recommend giving it a look. Good luck to you

      Reply
    3. Alessio

      If you truly loved this person and you were MARTIED you would help him until your dying breath. Unless he is physically or mentally abusing you, marriage is a life commitment. If you are nt married then you have no morale or legal bligation.

      You see, life hapoens. What that means is, people get sick, they develop weaknesses, they become addicts, they become victims of maladies. What kind of world s it if we all run away when these maladies hit home, hit the ones we know? Ut’s not a good world at all, it means we all dred getting sick because we are worried that our partners will leave us.

      If you keave this person, the next person you are with will, over time, develop imperfecions, that is, you will start to see those imperfections because as with everyone, the newness will wear off. You will be in an endless cycle of loving, then leaving.

      Men, do you see how you are being trashed herein for being human, for being yourself? No man in this universe can meet these standards.

      Reply
  3. Carsten

    this article is very one sided. I agree that absence possibly creates infidelity. Not always but sometimes. In the end a relationship is between 2 people and everyone is unique. As long as you fulfill your partners major needs (not talking about toothpaste, or toilet seats lol) then things should be fine. If cheating occurs under these circumstances and you have communicated your expectations with your significant other then it’s not your fault. But it can be either a woman or a man who commits the transgression.

    Reply
    1. Nikki

      I completely agree. I am a female and agree. This is one-sided. There are women that do the same. My husband works to provide for us, but I love the small moments together. I love when we sneak away from the kids and have dinner. We have time for us and have conversation. Women should speak up and stop being afraid to be alone. I think sometimes that is the biggest problem. They jump into these relationships looking for something. Our happiness is our own and we can’t be happy in relationship until we are happy with ourselves. That’s my two cents.

      Reply
      1. Kimberley

        Nikki, your response is exactly in line with what this article is saying. Your husband and you are navigating through work demands while remaining present in the relationship. That is why you are proving his point. Whether it is the man or the woman, the reality is, both people need to feel the other is paying attention. You are assuming in your response that these women aren’t speaking up. The reality of the situation and what the article is getting at is that they likely are, they are simply not being heard.

        As a side note, simply because an article points out a gender trend, doesn’t mean there aren’t outliers where the gender roles are reversed. Rather than focusing on the gender cited, focus on the point of the article. You will see that your relationship as you’ve described it is following in line with what the author is advocating. So on that front, congratulations!

        Reply
  4. Jon

    I read your article. I’ve recognized the fact of all that you have said – I’ve seen all what I’ve needed to do even prior to this article. But if she doesn’t give me a chance to, how can I? All that I need is another chance…. We are talking now, she regards me as a friend. But I’d like to bring it back to the levels we were before. With this happening, I realized that I really do love her! Please advice.

    Reply
    1. k

      When a woman has been hurt deeply, she doesn’t trust you enough to give you another chance. Do you really blame her? What you do is start small but start showing her that you love her and want to rebuild her trust. Call her just to see how she’s doing or see if she needs anything. Some of those things you know you’ve neglected, start doing them. She may even ask you to stop so find another way to show her you are responsible. Small things first and then if she starts being receptive start doing bigger things. Pay her light bill. Order her dinner at home one night. No strings attached is the key. You don’t do these things for you in any way. You do them 100% for her. Remember what drew her to you in the first place. Do those things. But expect rejection. Just persevere through it. Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
    2. Laura

      Jon, as a woman I can only give you an advice: if you want to find her back, show her that you have understood, rather than saying it. Treat her nicely, show her that your priorities have changed and that SHE is your priority. What does she like to do, what are her interests? Try to share them with her. Try to understand who she really is, without being overwhelming. If she likes art, invite her to an exhibition and show true interest. If she likes nature, invite her for a walk in forest and take time to hug a tree together. Take your time, and be present when you are with her. When you look at her, SEE her, and not only what you expect from her. I hope my advice will help. In any case, if you really understod where you were wrong, and show her, and if she still doesn’t want to be with you anymore, I am sure that some day, you will meet someone else with whom you can really share a beautiful relationship.

      Reply
      1. Chris P

        Jon,
        If you do make an effort and the two of you do get back together, keep in mind that will represent a renegotiated contract of your relationship. And if you are the only one who makes the effort and you do not request an equally important for you concession on her side it will a bad precedent – at any time in the future when she decides that some aspect of your relationship is dissatisfying to her, she will be able to leave or use the threat to leave to force you to make more concessions. If that doesn’t work out there are many relationship coaches on youtube and also religion will help. You CAN be happy AND successful – just follow your heart.
        Cheers!

        Reply
        1. dlindy

          If paying attention to your partner with focus and passion is a concession, I’m not sure you have a real partner or got married with the same goals in mind. This exercise is, I think, designed for those who have let busyness and career take over the place of love and caring, have given the place of joy and sharing in their marriage over to social and work demands. You have to carve out time, even a little, when your partner is of utmost importance, over kids, job, friends, family. Not taking time away from those things/people, but making sure the most important person in your life gets enough time to feel you like them and want to be around them. And saying “but I’m killing myself to give you material possessions” will make someone who truly loves you think you regard them as greedy. You have to talk to each other, before and during to make sure you are staying on the same page. I was thrilled when my partner retired, even though it meant fewer trips, less shopping, because they were home, not tired and crabby, and could give me their time and their attention.

          Reply
    3. Laura

      Jon, as a woman I can only give you one advice: if you want to find her back, show her that you have understood, rather than saying it. Treat her nicely, show her that your priorities have changed and that SHE is your priority. What does she like to do, what are her interests? Try to share them with her. Try to understand who she really is, without being overwhelming. If she likes art, invite her to an exhibition and show true interest. If she likes nature, invite her for a walk in forest and take time to hug a tree together. Take your time, and be present when you are with her. When you look at her, SEE her, and not only what you expect from her. I hope my advice will help. In any case, if you really understood where you were wrong, and show her, and if she still doesn’t want to be with you anymore, I am sure that someday, you will meet someone else with whom you can really share a beautiful relationship.

      Reply
  5. Tila

    Went through loneliness past 2 years with abusive marriage life. I left hill after two years but I still in love with him till now. He still throw tantrums and blaming me. Instead of me. Life must go on. He will understand inner day. Thank you for this wonderful article. I am not alone.

    Reply
  6. Chris

    As I read both parts to your blog entries I’ve come to notice some issues with the whole “men getting in touch with our feminine side”. I’d like to switch that up and say that men no longer know how to “get in touch and maintain their masculine side”. Men in our society have no real idea what it is to be a man, to be masculine, to be the protector because lets face it, most vestiges of masculinity are gone and when they pop up, are quickly destroyed as being patriarchal or mysoginist.

    Men love idealistically while women love opportunistically. Women control access, men control commitment.

    A man can not negotiate desire. I’ve done everything described in these articles and in the end, could not find a way to connect to my SO. Three rounds of counseling have born out that no matter what, men are always at fault, women are never held accountable and always the victim, that’s why its easy to talk about women leaving the men they love. A true provider will kill himself in whatever job it is to provide for his family. That’s love to a man because he’s slaying the mastadon to feed his family and provide for the cave. By the time a man gets to enjoy his other “passions” its usually too late.

    For the first 15 years of my marriage I did whatever I could to establish this emotional connection described here to no avail. She didn’t seem to care because she used the marriage vows and other social conventions against me as a manner of control all the while professing unconditional love. The crazy part, three counselors (in three different states!) all agreed that I had to accept her the way she was and carry her emotional baggage as well as mine. A man can do that for a period of time but after a while it wears him down emotionally, mentally, and ultimately physically.

    It’s time we men start getting back to the basics of being men. It doesn’t mean we hate women nor means that women’s place is in the kitchen, that ship has sailed but what it does mean is that we need to embrace the true differences between male/female and use that as a foundation of building strong relationships.

    Reply
    1. Vess

      “A true provider will kill himself in whatever job it is to provide for his family. That’s love to a man because he’s slaying the mastadon to feed his family and provide for the cave. By the time a man gets to enjoy his other “passions” its usually too late.

      If women could appreciate that….

      Reply
      1. Justme

        Except that women often play this role now too. Yet they still leave room and time for intimate love. Not just love in the providing sense.

        Reply
        1. Tony

          Maybe they will. Or maybe they’ll just have an affair, try to take his kids, no matter how many times he’s go to her saying, “we need time that is just us, no kids, no chores, just you and me to connect.”

          You’ll sit next to her on the couch, only to have her get up and go to another room.

          The problem with articles like this is they leave out the notion of character. Or they don’t understand love. If you love someone, you don’t leave them. You don’t abandon them. If you love someone, you engage with them.

          I think part of the problem is too many people, both men and women, have a faulty definition of love. My ex-wife told me, during her affair, after me asking for the thousandth time what the ideal marriage would look like, “If you loved me, you would know what to do.”

          Uhh, no, I ask you because YOU are the expert on what you want. I’m going to the expert, you. If you cannot or will not tell me, then please don’t be disappointed that I guessed poorly. After all, it was ok that I was an engineer, not a therapist when we married. Why are you changing the rules now?

          True love doesn’t leave their spouse. I simply don’t buy the line that these women love the husbands they are leaving and/or betraying.

          Frankly, if that is their idea of love, their abandoned and/or betrayed husbands are likely better off without them.

          Reply
      1. Tony

        I would buy that with respect to the state of the marriage. However, it’s never the fault of the betrayed or abandoned spouse when the other leaves or has an affair with another simply because they are unhappy.

        Character matters. Let’s not forget that.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          It does take two.

          Not for the physical act of the affair itself but the conditions prior to it that led to it.

          That takes two.

          Reply
      2. WENDY

        Instead of “fault”, what about framing it as who has the power to make a change? If you’re making a mistake, you are in the best position to fix it!
        I’m looking forward to “why women leave Part 3: Protocols for connection”. How do you make connection happen?
        1) Learn from dogs. When your partner comes home, drop what you’re doing and run to the door like it’s the best thing that ever happened to you. Greet them enthusiastically. (Or respond to being greeted.) Then allow at least a 15 minute buffer for transition before you bring up anything challenging.
        2) When you gaze into each others eyes (like you used to on dates), your brain produces oxytocin. So go out to eat, or have dinner across from each other at the table, or get a game or list of relationship questions – anything that gets you to sit across from each other and look into each others eyes. I recommend five minutes every day, but try filling in the blank in, “I haven’t looked into my partner’s eyes in _______ (hours? days? weeks?)” and see what length of time you feel ok with.
        3) Develop a bed time routine that starts with making dinner. Everything from that point on should be dedicated to creating some calm free time in the evening. (Try FlyLady.net for details. It’s free.) Go to bed at the same time, even if one of you gets up later and “finishes” his or her day. A little peaceful skin-on-skin time, with or without sex, goes a long way to reminding you why being married is better than being alone.
        4) If you’re going through the right motions and you can’t feel it, get help. Even if you’re a man. Depression, or dirty filters from past experiences, can mean your partner is showering you with love and you’re not able to absorb it. If you believe you can’t be loved, you’ll ignore or even punish loving overtures, no matter how much you crave them. Don’t punish your partner for being unable to make a blind man see. Own it, and get help.

        Reply
    2. Cap

      I used to believe what you describe about men losing touch with their masculinity, but now I think it’s just a bunch of horse dung.. Take a look around at what interests guys, what is popular is society, and how dudes act. Maybe it’s different in the metro-sexual world, but what I see generally see is a lot of testosterone, and the way guys treat their wives leaving a lot to be desired.. and in this world, those are the good ones! Take a gander around the world at how men from other cultures treat their wives, and it’s generally terrible.

      Men, become better husbands and fathers.. thay may require turning the game off, or skipping the two-week hunting trip now and again. Find ways to connect with your wife. It will pay off for everyone.

      Reply
    3. Kristen

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for sharing your comment – I think you’ve touched on something quite important that often gets left out of the discussion. As a fairly feminine woman, I look for a man who complements my femininity with his masculinity, which means that often I show affection through nurturing and he shows affection through providing and protecting. That’s not to say that we can’t switch from time to time, but I think we need to realise that just because we love through nurturing doesn’t mean that our partners are only able to love us back through nurturing. To me, if a man is providing for me and protecting me, and is proud to be with me, that’s a sign that he’s investing his energy and love, big time! It’s lovely when we get tender moments together, and I get to see his gentle loving/nurturing side from time to time, but I don’t expect that from him all the time because I know that’s not his primary way of showing love. I think we all need to be in touch with our own energy and understand that our partner may show love in ways that are different to us. When we respect our differences and use them to complement each other rather than against each other, I think relationships are naturally more balanced and fulfilling for both people – I think this is easier said than done but I think it’s one of the most important balances to manage.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        Kristen,

        I agree with what you said, and I believe you are on track. In our society, true masculinity is mocked and in most cases either defined in the feminine sense or demeaned as being “patriarchal”. Men cease to be attractive to women when they become to beta or continually “nurturing” in a feminine way. If your husband is being nurturing from a true masculine way, you win. In other words, he’s the castle that protects you, the rock you can lean on, and in doing so is “nurturing”. When a man becomes soft and seen as weak, he’s no longer attractive to women and therefore unreliable.

        Unfortunately, our society doesn’t see masculinity in a positive light and must destroy vestiges of it. How many men’s clubs do you know of anymore? Where men can go and learn how to be better men? I don’t subscribe to the whole “men getting in touch with their feminine side”. This has led to the whole metrosexual/hipster/boys living in Mom’s basement playing video games. How many of these “men” would you count on when the chips are down?

        There’s nothing wrong with testosterone, it’s what makes men different from women, we simply have more even on our worst day. Men should get back to being men and that means going on those hunting/fishing trips with just men. It means going out with the guys every once in a while. In this they become better fathers/men because in doing so, they also know that they must connect to the woman he loves. He comes back from these trips invigorated, recharged and mostly smiling. What women doesn’t want that? It’s because our society has changed the way men should look at these “manly” events.

        As for the the affair, there’s a reason why the person chooses to have one. Does it make the act right? No, and in no way do I condone it but it behooves one to look at the reasons WHY it happened. In my first marriage, my wife had an affair and the first thing I asked was what did I do that allowed the conditions to be set so that she’d do that? What I found was that my whole frame was wrong. I put her on a pedestal and had wife goggles. I did everything to fix me but in the end it made me more weak as a man doing all the things that Cosmo, etc say I should do to affair-proof my marriage. I realized all the crap had the opposite effect, it pushed her even further away. So I changed my frame and did the opposite. I stopped putting women on pedestals and started being a man. In other words, I’m living my life my way, and she’s cordially invited but she doesn’t have to come along. My second wife played a great game but in the end just ran out of steam. She can’t play it anymore and I realized what she was up to. I tried as a man to fix it but you can’t fix broke. She hasn’t been honest with herself or three counselors. Not much I can do to help there so I stopped wasting my precious energy. Time to move on.

        Reply
    4. Jim

      Nice follow-up Chris. All I can add is my own experience(s) regarding “masculinity”. Several years ago, my “trade” disappeared – building construction, development. I went from making a very good income to nothing…almost overnight (2008/09). At the same time, my wife, which had always worked, but always made slightly less than me, got involved with the foreclosure market/real estate. Her income doubled each year for 2-3 years. By default (and mutual discussions/agreement), I became the stay at home dad. She began to control ALL of the financial decisions and even put her earnings in a separate account – now regarded as “her money”. I didn’t even so much as have a debit card to that account. I still worked, intermittently, doing small-scale remodels and short-term contract work out of town/out of state and my earnings were always handed over to her towards the bills. This was the new normal. It lasted until our youngest was in his Sr. year of high school and then…deleted cell messages, deleted text messages, changed passwords on the home PC, long conversations in her car while parked in the garage. I had lost her. But not before surrendering my manhood…even without a fight. Emasculated, by tacit consent. Yes, we discussed my going back to school and finding other potential career choices, but that never materialized because I was literally building our home (was about 80% complete when we moved in) the last two years of our marriage and my cheap labor (and 30 years experience) was worth far more to us (really, just her – as she refinanced and put the home solely in her name) than the 15-20k I could make flipping burgers or pimping slurpees. And those nights sitting at the dinner table with her on her cell phone? I would have never dreamed of being so arrogant, so rude – in the presence of one that prepared it and placed it before me with love. I expressed as much – not well received. This is the new reality – lost gender roles…lost values…lost culture. I’ve never loved another soul so deeply. So glad she ended it…selfishly, but the peace I have away from that – the humiliation, degradation – it is a better place to call life. Change is the only constant – embrace it and don’t take it personally (as failure) when love is not enough.

      Reply
      1. Sam

        @Chris
        My husband and I often discuss this – we have been employed in a similar role when we met and swapped back and forth who was earning more for a few years there until we now find ourselves in a situation where I am employed and he is not. I have been super aware of not becoming the ‘man’ that housewives complain of – I make an effort to notice and compliment on things he has done during the day and tell him how much I appreciate it regularly but being in this breadwinner role for the first time has really been an insight. I sometimes do not feel like singing his praises for washing the sheets, I can tend to switch off when he’s talking about his video games…I have to be vigilant, it’s not natural. It’s funny that he is very much often heard complaining about the males of today (particularly the ‘hipster’ dudes *do you want a lid? that’ll be $6* guy with an ear plug) and lamenting how we have lost any idea of masculinity yet he has never had a problem with cooking, cleaning etc. He won’t ask me for money – that’s probably the line – he has sold his beloved motorcycle to have cash in his pocket rather than ask me to support him. I guess what I find interesting is that he is doing a traditional female role in a very masculine way and I am doing a traditional male role in a feminine way…..but both or our lives are better with a stay at home body even though money is tight.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          Sam,

          So long as both of you are cognizant of it, keep working at it and you two will be ok.

          Don’t let it fall to contempt because should you do so, it’s over.

          In the end it’s not about who makes more money but rather the frame in which you both view each other.

          Money is just resources for the team to take care of the cave. It’s it’s used as a measure of determining the value of an individual, the fight is lost.

          Reply
          1. Crystal

            I’ve been through the same stuff!! Me and my husband been together for 6 yrs been married for 1 1/2 yrs and I left twice with our 2 children! Just because I was the only one working raising our kids and when I cams home from work he would stay for an hr tops then leave to a friends house to hang out and wouldn’t come back til late at night or sometimes didn’t come home til after I had to be at work!!! So I left and went to my moms place for awhile we would talk and I would let him see the kids etc.. And we both agreed to give it another try. Same thing happened again so I moved out again with the kids got my own place and about 2 months later gave it another try so far its going good although when I try to tell him what’s upsetting me he would shrug it off or he would say I’m complaining so I’m going to try and communicate with him better and see where it goes from there!! I love him dearly and want to be together not only because I truly love him but also for our children 🙂

      2. Chris

        Jim,

        Totally understand where you’re coming from. In my relationship she took control because that’s what she does. Part of it was due to my profession (military and constant deployments). She never relinquished control when I tried taking some back when I returned.

        You didn’t fail Jim, what happened is a natural thing. In our society, unfortunately, men are useful as long as they provide, when they stop, they are made to be weak, emasculated, and eventually it becomes unattractive. It’s not that you aren’t unreliable, you certainly are, you have skills but in her vision, you were no longer providing on her terms. Remember what I said above, women love opportunistically? You were a casualty of it. This is not to be mean towards women, it’s just the way it is.

        Women will support a man for a short time but she won’t let it become permanent because as you’ve experienced, it ceases to be attractive to her because you are no longer a man in her eyes. Case in point, I recently retired from the military after 20 years and have struggled to find a new job. My wife said she refused to live on half salary (my military pension) and expects me to find a job that replaces my lost salary in order to keep her in her comfort zone. She refuses to find a job to help. She started showing her true colors. My wife goggles came off. I thought she was kidding until I overheard her talking to one of her friends one day and both of them were in total criticism mode about it. Last week I was offered a job that makes more than what I did at retirement and you should have seen her light up like a Christmas tree. Uh huh… Well, I’m doing the calculations for alimony and child support because it’s a small price to pay for my peace of mind and getting to live my life my way. In other words, I’m finding a higher purpose that transcends any relationship.

        Now that I filed for divorce and living in my own place, she’s pouring it on thick via her actions, inviting me to go to dinner, spending time with me, trying to do things as a family, and using social media to make us look like the perfect family. Sorry, I’m moving on from that level of control, besides the kids hear her mocking me at every turn in their house. They don’t want to live with her either because they don’t trust her.

        She did you a huge favor by ending it. Feelings hurt but now you see her in her true colors. Could you imagine being locked to that until your dying day? Now you have a chance and it’s all on you, what are you going to do with it?

        Reply
  7. Fabien

    You mention self-awareness almost incidentally. You acknowledge that you may have made it sound easy. It’s the symptoms you write about that are the incidentals. In fact, only self-awareness can broker change. I would take it one step further – self acceptance, forgiveness of self and self-love enable self-awareness. Sincere intimate connection with another person isn’t possible unless and until that connection happens with self.

    Acknowledging my part in any relationship, painful or other, requires realistic adoption of my part in life, first. My capacity to love another can never exceed my capacity to love myself. Until I can learn to accept my own humanity, I can’t accept another’s. Until I can acknowledge, accept and forgive my own weaknesses, I can’t see how acceptance and forgiveness of others can even be understood.

    Replace the “HER” pronoun with “YOURSELF” in the first article to address more than just the symptoms. It’s not to say that awareness of self would not arise from elevating awareness of another – only to say that one is a prerequisite of the other, without which insincerity would prevail.

    Reply
  8. Emily

    Thank you. Your words have made a difference for many, many people, I am sure.

    Thank you especially for pointing out that the gender assignments which might initially seem rigid at first reading, are not so. Acknowledging that these issues are present in all sorts of relationships creates space for those of us not in heteronormative or gender-conforming relationships feel more able to learn from what you share. Although I am in a relationship with another woman, the concepts you have shined a light on are still applicable, and we both deserve the liberation of seeing that.

    Both my partner and I look forward to your future posts.

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      This article was very interesting to me. My fiancee recently broke up with me (we were cross country long distance for 10 months then I moved to her and we lived together for 7 months). It was very difficult for me as I had to move all the way back across the country without her and her two kids who I loved like my own. We had two very different personalities (her being a major type A and me being the laid back and more passive type). She knew I was that way but over a short time she tired of the way which we interacted and the manner which I did things. I think we had trouble communicating sometimes as she had a very direct and sharp way of bringing things up which tended to hurt my feelings which caused me to have difficulty in stating my opinions. I was gone for 12 hours a day working and driving to support our family and always treated everyone with love and respect. I learned a lot through the experience and I’ll be better for it. I wish that I would have tried to lead a bit more and not be so agreeable, it was hard for me to lead such a strong personality. We also had totally different 5 love language needs (she was all about acts of service and my primary need is affection). I know now that I am not the same when someone doesn’t give me affection in a relationship (little stuff like a kiss goodbye or sitting close at night). I’m not one of those macho types, I’m a nice guy who is more the sensitive type who genuinely wants to make my partner happy. I think that I need someone who has a temperament more similar to mine who let’s the little stuff roll off of their back.

      Reply
      1. Ryan

        This article was very interesting to me. My fiancee recently broke up with me (we were cross country long distance for 10 months then I moved to her and we lived together for 7 months). It was very difficult for me as I had to move all the way back across the country without her and her two kids who I loved like my own. We had two very different personalities (her being a major type A and me being the laid back and more passive type). She knew I was that way but over a short time she tired of the way which we interacted and the manner which I did things. I think we had trouble communicating sometimes as she had a very direct and sharp way of bringing things up which tended to hurt my feelings which caused me to have difficulty in stating my opinions. I was gone for 12 hours a day working and driving to support our family and always treated everyone with love and respect. I learned a lot through the experience and I’ll be better for it. I wish that I would have tried to lead a bit more and not be so agreeable, it was hard for me to lead such a strong personality. We also had totally different 5 love language needs (she was all about acts of service and my primary need is affection). I know now that I am not the same when someone doesn’t give me affection in a relationship (little stuff like a kiss goodbye or sitting close at night). I’m not one of those macho types, I’m a nice guy who is more the sensitive type who genuinely wants to make my partner happy. I think that I need someone who has a temperament more similar to mine who let’s the little stuff roll off of their back. And maybe someone who is younger rather than older (it feels natural for me to lead those who are younger). I’m 30, my ex fiancée is 33. But above all I know I need to not lose my voice and be more proactive next time around. I wish she’d have given me more than 7 months to adjust to moving 3200 miles away from all I knew, being a parent for the first time, a new job, and developing into someone who was a fixture in the household. But we differed on time, she thought I had plenty and I felt that we hadn’t even learned each other yet.

        Reply
  9. maria

    How does a husband get it? He loves me, but he only knows how to connect physically & sometimes that just means he’s physically present, physically putting his money in the bank, physically in the house with us, physically attending family activities, but rarely ever involved & never initiating mental, emotional, or spiritual contact with either me or the children. He’s a simple man & it’s one of his qualities, but I’m drowning in emptiness. Is there counselling that can help this type of relationship?

    Reply
  10. Ash

    It’s certainly true that problems with presence aren’t a male-only phenomenon. I might reframe this by discussing it in terms of intimacy, the willingness and ability to be emotionally available to your partner. Certainly men tend to be more emotionally taciturn than women in our culture, but I suspect that women are just as likely to be wary of genuine intimacy. I assume that there are some gender differences for such wariness, but I admit this is speculation.

    Either way, I think it is complicated by the multiple domains within every marriage: financial, sexual, social, domestic, parental, etc. It’s possible to be intimate/present in some of these domains and not others…and if there is not enough of a match between partners, then there will be instability and unhappiness. I think that this is where confusion and fighting can set in…two partners might see themselves as adequately intimate/present, but not understand that each needs it in specific areas that are lacking. So, if a husband has become sexually distant (assuming non-cheating reasons), he might not grasp why his wife isn’t satisfied despite the other domains in which he is wonderfully intimate/present.

    Solutions require commitment from both partners. One needs to be able to speak up about where their needs are being unmet and the other must work on strengthening the ability to engage in those areas. And more often than not, it’s ultimately about overcoming anxiety related to the vulnerability of intimacy. And that is hard but very worthy work.

    Reply
  11. Steve Horsmon

    Hi Justice,

    Excellent articles and I love your inviting style of writing and crystal clear points.

    I can say I’ve seen exactly the same dynamic you describe in my work. The “Walk Away Wife” Syndrome is how I’ve written about it.

    Why don’t women speak up earlier to their husbands and in more understandable, clear terms? (see article below for an example)
    Why do men wait until she’s emotionally dead before choosing to look into his own choices?

    These are tough questions and require a person to make the choice to look deep inside themselves and make changes no matter what happens to their relationship. Waiting for someone else to change will always stifle our personal growth and ability to give love.

    I love this woman’s viewpoint on how she plans to change herself.

    http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/610/I-Wasn-t-Treating-My-Husband-Fairly-And-It-Wasn-t-Fair#BaerrjvMBviqz4fb.01

    After a man reads this, his challenge is to write HIS version of the exact same letter to his wife.

    Thanks for your stuff!

    Reply
  12. Riana

    I’m in a relationship coming to 5 years now. Never once he proposed to me. Silly? I don’t know. He had a bad marriage which lasted for 7 years. When I met him he was on the last phase of divorce. Waiting for formal documentations. So there I was being his confidant when he cried and sobbed about his 2 sons and his cheating wife. So my relationship and him were occasionally going into a few arguments I thought it was reasonably normal. Arguments are inevitable. There are many times he attempted to beat me up or rode away on his bike leaving me hanging at different locations. How can a person you love so much ill treats you, I thought. I persevere and not let this setbacks fail this relationship. I caught him cheating on me 3 times. All are failed attempts. The girls either turned him down or it didn’t happen. I don’t know if God was saving me or taunting me. However when I address this issue to him he said I was very wrong to look into his phone. In the end the argument escalated and all the blame was on me. The reason was: I wasn’t giving him enough trust but not the fact that he tried to cheat behind my back. He is somewhat cold and lacks of affection, whenever I cried he never wiped my tears. I have toughen up over the years and consoled myself to tears and sleep every time the night ends in an argument. Like the author said, I made every effort to get off days on Sundays as he only have off days on Sundays. Instead of spending it with me, he goes fishing with his friends. That too till the late night. At times he will go for a fishing trip and leave about 4-5 days. Again when I address this to him, all he ever says ” I don’t cheat on you , I don’t go pubs and bars hooking up girls, I just went fishing why are you so selfish?” I was stumped. I had no idea spending time is selfishness. If he is around me he is always glued on his phone , occupied with messaging his friends. Whenever I try to tell him that, it becomes my fault. That he is already there and what more do I want? Just yesterday he wanted to storm off and leave me behind after an argument, knowing that I grabbed his keys and said, “Go if you want, but not in this manner” ……. we wrestled and he landed a tight slap on my face. I sat there feeling numb. He left. He then texted me ‘Look for someone better”. I can’t believe after all the things I have been through which not even his wife went through for him he treated me like thrash. He always relate me to his ex wife. I developed a deep hatred for his wife and kids because the I have to live under their shadows. Every mistake is mine and never once he apologised for being wrong. I definitely am on the verge of leaving the man I so very love. The only thing that is holding me right now is, I am 28 and spent 5 years with him. To be honest I have turned down many good men to be with him. Even rich ones. Now when all the men have begun to move on, he wants me to leave. I feel despicable and unworthy. I have thoughts of becoming a nun. I have no might left to go through this emotional ordeal. I really have no one to turn to.

    Reply
    1. Angela

      Leave him, leave him now Riana. I met my husband when I was 30, am 50 now with 4 children and a husband who loves me. Do not think you are too old at 28! You need to learn to love yourself, then when you do, you will find a partner who will love you too. All the best for a happy life 🙂

      Reply
    2. pat

      i think that at your age of 28 years you have lots of time to be happier than what you are. Move on learn the lessons of love and find someone who will treat you with love and dignity. If the treatment is the way it is now it will only get worse.

      Reply
    3. Tammy

      Riana,
      Its never easy to say enough is enough when dealing with someone we truly love, but respect yourself enough to let go. Unfortunately it will take time, but in time you will see you are worth so much more. Be comfortable with being alone for a while before you start another relationship. Define what you want and never chase anyone. Good luck!!

      Reply
    4. Lisa

      Riana: You are still young… you have so much more life to live! Don’t let 5 years become 10 or 15 in this abusive relationship. You will be in constant heartache. Don’t be addicted to the drama. This man may be in pain and may not like the way he treats you, but he does not know how to change – at least not now. He has given you the green light to leave. DO SO. Do not continue to pour out love to someone who does not respect you, and treats you abusively. You are NOT alone. Many people experience this. You need to rise up and love yourself enough to say NO. Move out. You will be fine. Truly. And life will have much more happiness to offer, if you let go of the one who is causing you so much pain. He does not deserve your goodness treating you the way he does.

      Reply
  13. Chris P

    I recently watched a TED talk which said that our brains often come up with plausible reasoning to manifest hidden underlying causes (that’s why an expensive bottle of wine tastes better even if it is filled from the same barrel). I couldn’t agree more. Both women and men leave if they believe they can get a better ‘deal’ when they do. That’s why less attractive (physically, financially etc.) individuals leave less and vice versa. But while the opportunity of choice is better for the individual it is worse for society. Same as vaccines, less the side effects. That’s why all religions discourage divorce thus fostering social stability. There are many ancient civilizations that went extinct (mayan, sumer etc) and besides famine, war or other adversities their social norms governing family lives have been an important contributor. That’s why I am firm believer in the diversity of inter-societal diversity and stark opponent of cultural globalisation. So I’ll leave you with that – don’t make fun of Amish people – if a day comes when all technology crumbles they’ll be the ones to teach us how to get back on our feet.

    Reply
  14. pat

    I read part one and cried through the article. Hits everything on the button. I’ve been in a marriage for 20 years, left for 2 years total, but continued to work at our relationship. Came back to the homestead, and now feel things slipping back to the problematic ways once again. I don’t understand why nor want to except it…and now am in a position of unpredictability. You think that life would be wonderful now, reunited…that lessons learned…… Woman want to be loved and validated, and heard. Yes the man as well, but our needs are obviously very different. I’m 20 years into a marriage, and still am stuggling to keep things together….It doesn’t make sense that life should be so challenging….all the time. I’m looking for answers to help, do i see him doing the same….I think not. He just wants to blame me and not be accountable for anything…and thats where the problem originates i think.

    Reply
  15. "wifey"

    I sat beside my “partner” reading this…actually, still sitting right beside him, hip to hip. I told him he should read it. We’ve been running the same rift for 5 years. He’s watching basketball…

    Reply
    1. krazy

      You made me laugh… Lmao. How true is that… All I can say.. Is you are not alone!!! MOst men seem to be detached.. Idiots!!!

      Krazy in Canada

      Reply
  16. Mariella

    To those asking: why didn’t the woman speak up?

    Recently two of my friends were duped by the same guy. Turns out that he was married and also somewhat sexually abusive, and there were clear telltale signs that something was off about him. I asked why they never confronted him about some of his disturbing and manipulative behavior. Both said that they didn’t want to be “that” girl.

    I knew exactly what they meant. When he came onto me last year, I was really creeped out, but didn’t know what to do because all my friends liked him and thought that he was great. He would text me at 2am and asked if I was busy or if I wanted to hang out with him alone even though I didn’t know him very well. I felt very uncomfortable around him because of the questions that he asked, but I didn’t say anything. I told another one of my friends about this, and she said, yeah I knew a guy like that too, and guess what, he raped me. I should have listened to my instincts and you should too. Stop trying to be nice, he may be dangerous. You have to be safe and don’t worry about hurting his feelings because he obviously doesn’t care about yours. You’re not going to be “that girl”.

    No woman wants to be “that girl”: the one who complains all the time, who is never happy, because she thinks she deserves more than everyone else, or because she’s full of herself.

    to many of us women, part of being a woman is “sucking it up” to the extent of being a victim. Too many of us would rather be victims or unhappy than be the one who didn’t know her place. I am so thankful to my friend who empowered (and continues to) empower me to trust myself, and to value myself and not be afraid to be assertive. I think my confidence scared off the guy because he knew that I had no desire to be dependent. Yet my desire to not be “that girl” kept me from mentioning something to my other friends that he made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be seen as judgmental and weak, or full of myself because I thought he was coming onto me. What if he was just being nice, then I would definitely be “that girl”.

    So why do women keep quiet? It’s fear of being “that girl”. What are the socio-political sexist and gendered factors at play? I have no idea. All I know is that it’s bs and we all (men and women) need to empower women to speak up and be honest en if it means hurting someone.

    Reply
    1. Sandra

      Totally agree, as I JUST had this conversation this very morning with a man I’ve been dating three years. I do not want to be in a committmentless relationship, and have clearly communicated this – but now I’m ‘that girl’.

      I’m also ‘that girl’ when I communicate what I want. ‘That girl’ when I talk about my feeling/thoughts. ‘That girl’ when I request deeper/more intimate conversations…I’m okay with being ‘that girl’ because I know that there is a ‘that guy’ out there who wants the same and will be overjoyed to have a ‘that girl’.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Sandra

      Reply
  17. colleen clark

    These are wonderful articles and this is my reply, probably more a cry for help than anything as i have tried everything and nothing has worked in all this time. i am 44 years married, and have been 44 years unhappy with my relationship…i believed that when i married that it was for life, ups or downs… i have 5 children and 9 grandchildren and am still waiting for my husband to be present in our relationship, now i have closed my heart down and all i want to do is leave him and feel a fear that i will not be able to support myself financially, so am still here, resenting every minute i have to be with him. This is definitely not healthy for either of us. Why did i stay for all this time? i know if i give my husband this article to read , he will reply: i will read it when i have time and it will never happen or he may give it a glance and make the statement that it has no relation to him or our relationship…end of story and with no discussion.

    Reply
    1. lee taylor

      Colleen,

      I want to share a book that I’ve come across. It’s called Marriage Makeover and it is written to women who want to change their marriages – but whose husbands don’t see, care or want to work at it. My wife read it and put it to work. I have no idea how, but it changed my outlook and our marriage. It’s called “Marriage Make-Over A Woman’s Guide to Improving Your Marriage”. I just asked her and she said that she found it on a website called smashwords.com. I hope you find what you are looking for.

      Reply
    2. christine

      Hi Colleen – What a brave thing you write here! I’m so glad to hear that you are noticing you want change and just want you to know you have time. You have time to learn more about what you are feeliing, what is happening, observe your and his patterns. Nothing has to be decided.
      WHat has not been said yet in these comments, is that one person changing, does affect the other person! They may suddenly feel free or happy or gifted by your refusal to stay a victim and find your own compassion. Warning, though, there will be times when people around you will fight you to keep the status quo, no matter how bad it is – they might take some time or never understand ( like your children)
      It is never too late to make your life better – and you could just start introducing some new habit or event. DOn’t confuse actions or care for attention, its close – but attention is just that, someone looking at you and being with you, even if they cannot understand or know what to do.
      I love that you admit to being morose – I got to that place also in my marriage, it feels so crummy. I had to find times and places where I could remember what it feels like to be happy – thats your job, and your husband is secondary to this process. I still again and again have to unravel what keeps ME from being happy, without using him as an excuse ( although living without attention is horrible and hard if not impossible to attain – and why should you?)

      Reply
    3. krazy

      Colleen, how so very sad, to have stayed with a man that behaves and treats you like you don’t matter and don’t exsists. I too feel your pain. I hope everyday when we go out for dinner or sit and watch a show that he doesn’t pay more attention to his phone than me….but Facebook.. Texting.. Talking.. Is always happening To everyone but me! It tears my heart out… I’m just never enough for him… Makes me sad. I treat him like a king. I work full time, do all the laundry housework cooking and tending to our dogs… And still I get nothing really in return. I’m sure he feels cuz he takes me for dinner or says it’s ok I can up a pair of boots that it makes him a good husband… But like this article… His presence isn’t there. Where did I go wrong? His spoiled daughter gets more attention than I ever dream of getting. I’m trying and working hard on this…but I do feel he needs to get with the game. If I complain or try and discuss an issue… I normally get eye rolling and a whatever reply… How can u deal with that???

      Krazy in Canada

      Reply
  18. Jan Schneider

    Hi, i´ll try to comment in English.

    We are all free to speak out what we want. Even in a Partnership.
    But we can´t free ourselves to use that freedom. Especially in a Partnership.
    We can´t expect from our Partners, they should know what we want.
    We need to talk about.

    But this is a thing for both sides.

    Reply
  19. Clark

    four major relationships, each ill-advised to some degree in hindsight, each ended badly. The most frustrating aspect? The lessons learned did not apply to the next woman, at all. The second one loved to argue; I didn’t. Yelling at me at the top of her lungs in the street, and I’m telling her, just calm down, it isn’t that big of a deal, should just talk it through calmly. Then I’m told I am a child of an alcoholic and I’m conflict-averse, and incapable of standing up for myself. And I start to think, maybe she had a point. And in the future I’m more assertive about my desires and expectations — to the point where it backfires when dealing with a significant other who was assaulted by a previous BF. It just seems like chaos most of the time, as if anything can happen and I’ll never be prepared for it.

    Reply
  20. M.female

    Sorry for my English….I´m German. Read all of this and found a lot of what was said helpful. The interesting part for me was to read about women trying their best and then decided to leave. Well, I tried my best and was left anyway. Used to be a strong, attractive and successful woman and fell in love with somebody who is great in terms of entertainment , passion, problemsolving…..We decided to join our lives and to have a child. We stayed together for about 15 years and then got married in 2008. Up to now : My job is a mess, I suffer from being left alone in times that I would have needed help. He just swapped to another one, who doesn´t need anything.
    How can I go on ?

    Reply
  21. Amy

    I am truly mind blown. This spoke to my core. I see in words my exact situation. Thank you for truly seeing!

    Sincerely,
    Amy

    Reply
  22. Susan

    Damn, this article is spot on. My first marriage was over before it began, but I held in there for ten very long years too long. But, I had two fabulous children from it. I always wondered why, EXACTLY I left the marriage. I always thought it was because I changed and grew away from him which is partially true along with the fact that he was still drinking and smoking pot – unavailable. BUT, the biggest reason was hands down, Not present.

    Reply
  23. Kelly

    I couldn’t agree with you more on what you’ve written here. I love my husband more than life, he’s an amazing man, but his addiction to facebook, texting and his telephone is unbearable at times. I never ever feel as though I am enough for him. We can’t even take a vacation (3-4 days) without his phone, so he can be texting, and facebooking, not to mention his grown children texting us constantly, and him feeling the need to reply with every text. Instead of explaining to them, we are gone away for a few days, and we will talk when we return. His status on facebook is constantly being updated, he will literally sit for hours and hours every evening just reading his facebook, commenting on other people’s pages and pictures, and texting his grown children. Like I said above, he’s a great guy and an amazing person, but I’m obviously not enough to satisfy him in the way that he’s looking for communicating with others on a constant basis. I have tried to talk to him about his “phone” issues, but it just bubbles into a fight, so I ignore it, best I can. Any suggestions? I sound like a whiner, but I have no idea how to handle this anymore, besides being sad and upset (to myself) constantly… Thanks for any help.. 🙂

    Reply
  24. Denise

    I had an emotional affair with someone else (pretty much in front of my partner) to feel some form deeper connection. I was with my partner for 8 years…but I think he got to the stage where, he thought” sweet… that’s how deep it goes, I can relax now”….Which you can do, I loved nothing more than coming home and having comfortable silences and not having to meet expectations etc….but we stopped growing together. Everything just stopped altogether. We did all the normal things couples do but a lot of the time when I tried to connect, it was met with….we connect all the time, we live together, this means connecting. But I’m not like that, I like to feel connection, love, understanding, growth. Everything just felt monotonous.
    I never lied about my feelings, I never hid what I was looking for. But nothing changed. I stopped my emotional affair to try again. But within a couple of months I went back into my old habit of looking elsewhere. I did this for too long in my opinion…two years….and towards the end I couldn’t stand myself. I told myself I was a horrible person and he deserved better than me. Because, realistically, he hadn’t done anything wrong. Always there, very supportive, easy to be around, no drama.
    I couldn’t physically connect anymore, because I was thinking of other people. I think this hit him the hardest, because after 6 months of non-physical connection, we were both miserable. We both wanted to move forward but didn’t know how, so we separated. It broke my heart. It wasn’t because I didn’t love him. I still do very much so. But we couldn’t seem to grow together passed this…to be as you mention above “enlightened”…so I’m now searching for my own enlightenment, within myself. I feel that if I can love myself more, become grounded, then I won’t get as distracted and look elsewhere. I’ll look within and that will be enough.

    Reply
  25. Trisha

    30.01.2015
    A friend advised me to read your understanding of why a women leaves her husband. She expressed to me that for once someone has it right, that I was very sceptical about. After reading both pieces 1 & 2 I can now see what I am going through is not just me.
    I love my husband of 34years but realise I am no longer In Love with him. I am not sure when that actually changed. We have four wonderful children and 10 beautiful grandchildren and for that I am truely grateful. Since the children have now all moved on into their own lives, I am left with someone that I do not really know. I try everything to please him, I buy and do things that I think he would like, but then get anxious of telling him because if I had thought about it, I should have known what reaction I would get. When he talks to others about me I can hear that he is proud of me, but never shows me that when we are alone. Yes he does most of the housework and for that I am grateful, but hate it when he tells me I am lazy and would not do anything if he did not get onto me about it. That is just simply not true, I will do things when I am ready and just because he is a clean freek (sorry that is the only word I can think of) and wants things done in his time, I enjoy a clean and tidy home myself but sometimes other things come first. When we have little arguments it is always put back on me that I am the one in the wrong, that really makes one feel that they are not worthy of anything or anyone.

    I have started to take a stand and to allow myself to be worthy of anything and everyone, I have started to turn my life around and learning who I am and what I want for the rest of my life. I have booked myself an overseas trip (on my own he did not want to go) and really looking forward to being a healthier and more outgoing person. But I do wish he would show his love and express his feelings to me as without them it does not seem worth it. I have expressed to him what I need but I am sure he does not hear me. Asked him to go to counciling but he says, you’ve already been, I responded with Yes I have but this is for us. but still no committment from him. Where do I go from here??

    Reply
  26. A man

    “Men – I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m telling you what I see. You can get as angry or hurt or indignant as you want. Your wife is not your property. She does not owe you her soul. You earn it. Day by day, moment to moment. You earn her first and foremost with your presence, your aliveness.”

    Here’s my problem, you talk about how a man is supposed to earn his woman’s soul, but you don’t say anything about how the woman is supposed to earn her man’s soul. Or maybe equality isn’t supposed to exist in a relationship.

    I admit that I have been at fault at times in my marriage, but my wife is far from blameless. We both have things we need to work on. You’ve stated what, as a man, I need to work on, but what are the rings that a woman needs to work on to keep her man from leaving the woman he loves?

    Reply
    1. Marcus

      I noticed this as well. The second part of the article is a lot more balanced than the first; Part I lays all of the responsibility for any problems in the relationship at the man’s feet, and one throwaway line about “reversing the genders” tacked on at the end doesn’t do anything to balance that.

      I don’t disagree with the main points that the author is making, but his tone leaves a lot to be desired. These things are definitely not “simple.” Relationships are anything but.

      Reply
  27. Peter Williams

    You are all wrong……women leave because it is their genetic imperative. Women are serially monogamous. Average 7 years.
    All children by the one partner is not a good survival strategy. (eggs in the one basket) (pun intended)
    There is no handbook spelling this out, it is simply in the genes, and hence hormones.
    The church inspired ’till death do us part’ is bulldust.
    Men are not monogamous by nature but most will stay to see their children grow up.
    Survival strategies of the genome are not set in stone and there is a bell curve of variation in behaviour but by and large our behaviours have been the same for many millions of years. Viva the ‘ Selfish Gene ‘. It is not the people you have to understand but the genome.

    Reply
  28. Jan Schneider

    Well maybe a lot of Women leave Partnership, because what they expect hits not the reality. They are frustrated when they try to change their men an it will not work. I don’t know why, but most of women try to change their men. Make them more comfortable, making more housework, and so on.
    After this, they wonder where the men is, they fall in love with. They want to be the most important thing in our live. Mostly, when children are born, you can ask who is the most important person in your life? -My Son / my daughter. And who should me the most important person in life of your man? That should be me!

    Maybe it is a thing of genes, maybe it is a thing of “feeling a Princess on a white Horse”, whatever, maybe we have to accept that

    To accept that People change, life change and circumstances change, requires to take change as a chance to grow. You are right, Problems in Partnership show what we have to learn for ourselves. I think, when we leave a Partnership, we has forgotten this truth or our Partner won´t accept and work on it.

    Reply
  29. Lacey

    I have to say that I’ve read part 1&2 and both are spot on. I’ve been trying to communicate this to my husband and I too have almost left my marriage over these very things, but it is the love that I have for him and our family that has kept me here and fighting for happiness to be found again. I’m hoping that I can get my husband to read these articles and finally see what I’m talking about. Thank you very much for writing these.

    Reply
  30. J.

    You have spoken a lot of truth here and I have experienced this in my own marriage of 35 years. My husband checked out and I desperately tried to get his attention, he couldn’t see where I was coming from. As I began searching the internet looking for answers, unfortunately, I found something else. Attention. The attention which I was so desperately craving. For years I used that attention to continue staying married. A couple of years ago, my husband decided he was no longer happy with our marriage the way it was, because now I had checked out. It didn’t matter if he was around or not, I had found a way to get my needs met and he didn’t like being ignored. After a couple years of this, he finally took a stab in the dark and checked my texting records. What he found there, blew his world apart. Thankfully, he was willing to give me a second chance and we have been in Christian counseling for about 5 months now, working hard to put our marriage back together. We can both see now the mistakes we’ve made. Mistakes that started right after getting married. This is a much needed message. We should be hearing this from the pulpit as well!!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  31. Ste Whittaker

    I’m glad that your bringing the issue to such a wide audiences attention.

    As a man who’s recently realised that I was doing all the things described in part one, I think If I would of read something like this years ago it would of speeded up my path and challenged my unconsciousness sooner.

    What happened to the disclaimer that this situation does happen in reverse to men as well as women?

    I’m sure I read one, did you delete it?

    With that disclaimer at the end I felt like it would be more balanced, less sexist, article and reach more mens hearts rather than polarising their thought processes.

    Regards

    Stephen

    Reply
  32. Shay

    I noticed my husband and I had just stopped being together. We went places we talked about superficial stuff. But when we got home he went to his chair, I went to my corner of the house. From that point on anything said to him he was defensive or aloof. He never heard me. I had been living in a apt in a different town 22 miles south of our home ..granted he worked 3rd shift… but he called me 3 months later and said “some of your things are missing did you move out?” Really?? I left almost everything I had behind. All I could think was I can BE alone if I am always going to feel alone. He admitted it had been this way. I went home and 2 weeks later it was the same thing. MY HEART WAS CRUSHED my 9 year marriage and 15 year friendship was trashed, and I had no clue how to bring him around so my marriage fizzled. We stayed friends for a long time and then one day he hated me for leaving him, and then he was remarried. To this day I often miss him and us. Seems like every relationship since ends for the same reason. So I guess maybe I am boring.

    Reply
  33. ConfusedDude

    Justice, I read both posts.
    What if this is exactly my experience – but it is my wife who is detached?? What then?
    Most of what my wife and I read in the midst of our struggles – we conclude that typically what applies to the man…in our situation applies to her.
    Direction? Feedback? Books? Case studies?

    Reply
  34. Julie

    Thank you for this article and I want to say YES, this goes both ways. I too wish it had been written years ago, but I am confident knowing “I wasn’t alone” wouldn’t have undone the numbness I had been feeling for years. I was married to a wonderful man, had (and still have) two amazing children. I wanted so badly to be the priority in my his life – I would have settled for the kids being a priority. My husband was always consumed with pleasing his friends, his mom, his coworkers and looking out for himself to be sure he got a break from work with fishing and surfing. His friends always made comments like, ‘how did he get such a long hall pass’? I felt I was being a rock star/supportive wife all those years, but now realize I enabled that behavior. I didn’t do our relationship any favors by not sharing with him how abandoned and unappreciated I felt. I had the kids and they became the focus of my life for 7 years. In 2009 I started thinking about the day my young kids would leave home for college and a life of their own. I began to feel so depressed thinking of being alone with my husband and stuck living the life ‘he’ wanted or being alone while he fished. In my numbness I began to day dream of a life without him – this was where I felt happy. The short road to divorce was so sad, mostly because my husband didn’t want to try. He felt the end of our relationship was my doing. He didn’t want to live in any ‘grey’ area while we tried to talk through things. He felt I would “snap out of it” and change my mind. This black or white mentality didn’t leave any room for us to come out of the fog we were in. He got the attorney and our divorce was finalized within 4 months. Did I divorce a man I loved? The answer is yes. Do I have regrets about this decision? That answer is also yes. But it takes two people wanting to change and work on the marriage above all else. Fast forward to 2015 – we are both recently remarried. My new husband went through a similar situation and felt his ex-wife had been absent in their relationship for years. I have peace knowing my new husband and I have experienced the absent spouse. He and I have learned a lot from our failed marriages and know the road ahead is one that requires work, being present and continually trying to find ways to stay connected in this fast paced world.

    Reply
    1. Laura

      Congrats! Knowing all to well about the things you have said I found peace and hope from your post.
      I pray you and your husband have a long happy, communicative, loving, open, present marriage!

      Reply
  35. Amelia

    It is true that it’s nit always the mans fault. I am 25 years old i was with someone and got pregnant.(i was 17) when we first started dating everything was great he was nice he acted like he cared and was always there. Once i got pregnant he started pressuring me into marrying him, eventually i gave in and that’s when everything changed for the worse. He started getting abusive both physically and mentally and any other way you can think of. I stayed with him for the sake of our son since i knew how it was to grow up without a father. After a year my husbands father got sick and we moved 800 miles away from anyone i knew to a place where he grew up. He then started cheating on me while i was at work. He refused to ever get a job and would never do anything around the house. After a while i lost my passion for everything even life itself. The only thing that kept me going was my son. Finally i told him that i was moving back home and that he could come with me it but and that it was his choice but i was leaving and i was taking my son with me. I hoped that with the chance if losing me things would change and they did for a few months and than he went back to the way he was and i finally filled for divorce after 3 years of marriage. And i knew it could also be because of how young we were. About a year after that i started seeing this guy that i had know for 8 years and that had looked allot. I never let it get to serious because i was scared and wanted to see if my son would like him as well (thankfully he did) we were together for a year before we got married and in that year everything was great. But after we got married i started to worry that things were going to be the same way as my first marriage. And this made me change, not because of him but because of my own fears and insecurities. We have been married for 3 years and now have 3 children. But sometimes i feel like i am losing him. When i talk to him about it he says i worry to much that he loves me unconditionally and that there is nothing in this world that would make him want to leave me. When we first got together he said the only thing that would ever make him leave me was if i were to ever cheat on him, but now he says that that wouldn’t make him leave. I guess my real question is how do you get the passion back when it stands from your own fears and insecurities when your partner is doing everything they need to do.

    Reply
  36. SND

    Have read this thread from start to finish twice after my wife pointed me in its direction. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and has hit many nerves. All in all it has left me feeling very confused, desperate and not sure what to do…. and I have to say leaves me with little hope for my marriage.

    Reply
    1. Laura

      If your wife pointed you to this article there is hope for your marriage but you have to both want it. It has to be priority and fought for. It is when the wife (or husband) stops asking and fighting that it is probably over. Good luck to you both!

      Reply
    2. Worried

      I feel exactly the same after reading this article, I just finished reading i and i am having hot flush after hot flush. Now all i am thinking about is what can i do. I have tried the Couples Counselling thing and to me it just felt like a beat up on me. Anyone with some helpful advise?

      Reply
  37. Denni

    Recently, my marriage of 26 years ended with a whisper. The last ten or so years of it were horribly painful…no fighting or harsh words, really…just my (ex) husband turning his attention and focus elsewhere. Our children back then were 8 and 11. He had serial girlfriends, none of which I knew about. I was such a low priority in his life! I dove myself into building my career, and he dove himself into releasing himself from me emotionally, physically, and every other “-ally”…
    We talked often about what was happening to us…and were at an impasse. I said I needed him to be present, loving, attentive…he said he wanted me to clean the house better. I said I needed passion and foreplay, he said he needed me to notice when he was spiraling in depression, and stop it from happening.
    I know the things he wanted were irrational…I encouraged him to stay in counseling and prayed that he would see that they were. He was desperately wanting me to make him happy, when he was so miserable with himself. I wanted him to be self sufficient and independent, when he was selfish and extremely reliant on me.

    In the end, I held out for ten more years. We slept in separate bedrooms, took separate vacations, raised our kids to be loving and wholesome, independent and responsible. I told him I thought it was time…we could reasonably divorce now…and he wholeheartedly agreed. I filed the paperwork in Jan of 14, and we were officially divorced on April 30 of the same year. No gnashing of teeth, no arguments, and no drama. When the official word came that it was over, we went out to dinner, shared a bottle of wine, and acknowledged that we loved each other, and had strong hopes for each others’ happiness.

    We toasted our past, and recognized our efforts. We still love and respect each other, and still talk occasionally….

    Your article is spot on. Thanks for that.

    Denni

    Reply
    1. Laura

      This is my story too…. I am currently in the divorce process, however, things have turned ugly. I hope and pray that in the end we can accomplish what you have.

      Reply
  38. zeeshan haider

    what people dont realise is, that men work on average between 50 to 80 hours a week. that is almost 10 hrs every working day! they have to face the pressure of paying the bills every month on time, the mortgage, childrens fees etc… then comes the weekend. they have only one or two days to recoup their energies, and repeat the whole process the next week and the week after that for the rest of their lives! women just dont understand this! they think men are machines who after coming back from offices, and on weekends should only live to please their wives.

    Reply
    1. amelia

      it’s not just men that work so hard. There are women out there who play the mans role in a relationship because the one they are with wont, and than the man gets bad because she isn’t playing the women’s role. Everything is double sided its just a matter of perspective.

      Reply
    2. Too Late.

      Wow! Wow! What about the wives who work all day, come home to care for the children and husbands needs until it’s time to crawl into bed and wear the sexy goddess costume for men who think it’s only their job to bring home the bacon? Until society changes, and places just as much emphasis on soulful meaningful relationships, it will continue to be he against she. All of us! ALL OF US are participants in our relationships. It is very sad that some do not understand that. It is just as much my responsibility to be mindful as it is his. This is no longer the 1950’s where women need men for the security. Women are more than able to fend for themselves, soooooo unless both partners wake the hell up and understand that sometimes it’s better to be alone, than murder our souls being with a partner who is an anti-participant we will all continue to be left.

      Reply
    3. Laura

      Not to argue but in this time women work just as hard as men. It isn’t about doing things physically or being on the go or catering to each other. It’s mostly about that emotional intimacy that seems to be unavailable. I have had this discussion countless times with my husband, it doesn’t take a lot of energy to hold hands or snuggle up and hold each other while relaxing and to have a deep conversation. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to be truthful and open with feelings and to listen and actually hear what each other is saying. It isn’t selfish to express to your partner needs or feelings you may have. It is a necessary to have a deep relationship.

      Reply
  39. SaskRose

    I lived through a marriage for 44 years that was disconnected. He really was a good person in his own way: he was conscientious, did all the repairs and things around the house and yard when needed, kept the vehicles in good running order all the time, an extremely hard worker, not lazy or procrastinating, very smart; but he did not know how to connect on a mental or emotional level with me. His likes and wants took precedence over me and our family.
    I left three times and each time he cried and told me how much he loved me and that things would change. I came back; but the last time I decided that if I didn’t have enough guts or strength to resist his pleas and reassurances, then I was going to have to learn coping mechanisms within myself to accept his assertiveness, his machoism, and his mental disconnect to me as a smart, worthwhile person of his equal.
    I read an article that influenced my last years with him. I taught myself to say “it doesn’t matter”. At first, it was hard but with repeated use, I began to find that some things really did not matter. It was the expectation of something being a certain way, when reality was the opposite of the expectations, that made up the majority of my unhappiness. Once I got past the hurtle of “expecting” a certain result and accepting the real/actual result, I was able to gradually resume life in a passably happy manner.
    Sometimes the expectations that I had repressed would bubble to the surface, when he would pick at me until I broke; but for the most part I was able to refrain from descending to his level of disdain, by clamping my mind down and repeating to myself: “it doesn’t matter”.
    Not that I am saying this is right or wrong, or even that it is right for everyone; but for me, it enabled me to live my daily life in a relatively happy manner. I will say that I was never sure who the real “me” was, because I repressed that person; but the me that was present was not as unhappy as the me that had been.
    Now my husband has passed and over the last year or so, I have been gradually finding my old self who loves to laugh and do silly things; but age has hampered many of the things I thought I was and am now unable to be and in some ways, it just doesn’t matter anymore.
    I think, in life and in relationships, maybe we expect more than our partners can give. Not everyone is able to connect with others mentally and emotionally and the ability to recognize that becomes an important aspect in a relationship. What you do, and how you deal with that knowledge, is probably the key to your (un)happiness.

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  40. Janine

    My husband and I have been married for almost 46 years. Our son came to tell us this morning that he and his wife of almost 25 years are divorcing. After he left our home, I turned on my computer and this article was the first thing I read. What timing! Our hearts are breaking. We will support our son no matter what, and we realize both he and our daughter-in-law are to blame, but it is hard for us to watch this happening to them. Praying for a miracle!

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  41. Keith

    this is a crock of shit!
    Yeah I’m divorced, and yeah it sucked, but what sucks worse is the justification of it. Women leave because they are not getting what they need at home. At least that’s the excuse and they get away with it and if men do it we’re dogs! Fuck you and fuck this! It’s boredom and a weak mind to other men’s advances and listening to their miserable single friends that don’t have kids or tramps that have already been divorced that want company! Birds of a feather. Love and marriage is a 2 way street and men need women in ways that women can’t understand just like women need men, but no one talks about it! When you have a problem in your relationship talk to your partner not you “friend”! Friends aren’t in your relationship friends aren’t going to go to a counselor neither you. Try harder to understand your man and his needs,! Most of you women who believe this pile of crap above are self centered selfish and weak minded! If you wanted to make your marriage work you would! Truth is you took the easy route. So stop making excuses to justify what you did and to make it easier on your conscience!! Yeah I’m posse yeah I’m bitter, but I have also moved on!!! And crap like this shit above is what poisons women’s minds to thinking their relationship should be a Nicholas Sparks fucking movie! Go to the movies tonight whore because in the morning you’ll wake up and realize the mistake you made and wish you had tried harder to save your marriage! Good luck explaining to your kids why you left their daddy!

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  42. Image the duchess

    You know what. I have been going through something similar as per your first article on why women leave men they love. Only my partner and I have only been in a “New” relationship for a month and a bit now. He works stressful hours and I see him when I see him. He is a body guard to a very important member of parliament and I respect that. In fact that is how I got to know him.

    As the honeymoon phase of our relationship passed I became lonely and I told him. I didn’t hide any of what I was and am going through. I always make time to talk. message or call. However he just stopped and I became angry, but I still told him. Days passed and I lashed out.

    I made it clear that I was unhappy. I said: when you wanted me you made all the effort called, messaged and showed up unannounced now I have to remind you of the chase.

    Out of respect I also added that when you leave the door open it will allow other “uninvited” guests the opportunity to enter. I also want to show and tell him that this is exactly why he is divorced from his marriage and that he ( or this ) was the cause.

    I have grown to be patient but I dont know for how long?

    I have had the urge to say it’s over but I love this man. I also realized that the words “women can either make or break a man” hence I have made the commitment from my side to be honest, patient but most importantly not wait until it is too late to say that I need to say, him to make time for his family which include his children from his previous marriage and then myself and when the time is right my son.

    However I don’t even know whether I will see him today but, I will have to wait and see. It is not the easiest of relationships but I am trying to make it work. The days are long and the fact that I dont know when I will see him drives me insane. But makes me excited as to when I will see him and then make the most of it. Talk about things, the distance, time spent with or without me, his children and catching up on all the things and time we have missed out on.

    I love this man and I want to make it work, so I hold on but I also make my concerns and worries known so that he isn’t left in the dark if it just so happens that we hit rock bottom or end up wanting to split, which I pray to God won’t happen.

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  43. MeaganHHoule

    Interestingly enough, the majority of commitment-phobic, emotionally absent people I’ve observed over the years have been women. I have watched their men strive to please them while they bury their heads in their phones and let life pass by. The issues of presence and intimacy are ones we all have to be aware of, particularly given the polarizing effects of social media, television etc. We’ve become so easy to distract. The idea of an iron-clad marriage vow no longer applies, if indeed it ever has. If you want to stay with someone longterm, you have to choose them over and over, every day. It’s a choice–one that must be renewed continuously throughout the relationship. Be comfortable, by all means. But never forget that your partner, male or female, owes you nothing if you aren’t present in the relationship. They can walk out as quickly as they walked in, and you’ll be left wondering what’s just hit you. We need to look up now and then and realize that, while we stare at our screens, life continues without us.

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  44. Lee

    Not being present…..I am a woman and have been guilty of this in my marriage. This made my husband act the same way, and led to him having an affair. Women can also be disconnected.

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  45. Nick

    I absolutely hated reading this. But then again the truth hurts and cuts the deepest. I have been guilty of neglecting my wife and driven my marriage to the brink of separation numerous times. Often nights in my household would end with me on the couch and my wife screaming for my attention or affection. But she knows her role in our lives, and she knows I am married to the Army first and her second. The needs of the Army come first in our family and we have gone from agreement to disagreement, acceptance and disdain of that fact many times. But this sacrifice is one we both chose to make (me when i joined, and her when she married me). Not to say i have not made any effort in our relationship but it seems every time we get to a place where our marriage seems it can stand for ever the army gets in the way. And the stresses of my profession and family life require outlets of some sort, so there i go again spending what little time i do have with my family in a bar or at a shinn digg. Im afraid to face my family without letting some of it out at least because i cannot bring it home with me. I guess that is what is hardest for my wife to understand. In the few years we have been together over half i have been gone, And she never fails to remind me this deployment will be the last. Something needs to change or i will loose her forever and not just for 9 months. I think that what i have just read might just be enough to get us back on track and hopefully down a path to success, THANKS FOR THE INSIGHT!

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  46. Dave

    Validation. I heard this word from my wife many times over the course of our 29 year marriage. Reading your posts hit me squarely between the eyes in the most emotional level. I am that guy, husband, father. I did not validate my wife’s being. Beloved by those I work with and professional accolades abound for me. Absent in conversation, feelings, emotions, and most importantly the connection with my wife. I’m not sure how this happened but am sure that somehow my psyche got absorbed in everything except what brought joy and happiness to my wife. I can recite the usual things: being a good “provider”–income, home, financial stability. If I only reach my next goal, etc. I will be a better husband, spouse. Multiple times during our marriage she would initiate conversations to address my aloofness and I would “listen”, promising to do better only to fall off the better wagon” at some point in the future without continued meaningful changes. I would resort to my chair and “unwind” from the stressful day while she would retire to the bedroom — “out of site, out of mind”. Our children could see the separation and loneliness; though being children they could not fully understand. I have no doubt she loves/loved me, but the emptiness and isolation became too much for her to handle. We have separated for two plus years; yet “engage” during the holidays and our children’s major events. The addiction and later death of our oldest son became too much too bear, though neither of us blame his situation with the etiology of our spousal non-communication. I sit here alone and yearning to have that relationship. The emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual connection. I seem to not have a clue about how to go forward. Counselling was a little too late and I became focused on how much it seemed to focus on my “faults”, yet I have been successful…except in the things that matter most–a bond with the woman I married 29 years ago. I will continue to improve my state of being, though I wonder what and how I could ever convince her that I can change; but that is also a two way street. She too, is a successful person in all of her endeavors; but the void I gave her during our time under the same roof seems to have distanced her from ever contemplating any “re-union”; I know that she feels that a union must exist to have a re-union, I hope that your posts will be seen by other men like me, only sooner that I have validated my spouse’s actions. Thanks for posting.

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  47. Andrea

    I really like these two articles Justice. I especially liked your point: “We’re ALL subject to social patterns and structures, and gender figures heavily. ” It is pointless to look at these personal matters as if they were isolated from larger social patterns and structures. Our society avoids looking at the larger picture – as if doing so were taboo. I want to know: why do so many men insist on women compromising their sense of selfhood in order to find them acceptable? In order to find women attractive and long term relationship material? Why do they insist that women give up their last names in marriage? Why do men insist that God is masculine and not feminine? Why do so many men get addicted to porn — addicted to visually accessing the sexuality of women they don’t know and aren’t relating to? It is the non mutuality of pornography – the inability for the woman to say no – to perceive for herself – to give gradually based on her own desire after she receives (as an empowered self) – that so many men find appealing in porn. The energetic absence of men in relationships is just one more example of a male dominated society’s systematic negation of women and widespread dysfunction. I don’t believe it will be solved until this deeper issue is addressed. And addressing it means women have to stop going along with it – don’t change your name when you get married. Stop worshiping an only-male god. Stop giving a pass to sexist language – no “man” does not mean “humankind” anymore than”woman” does. No the b word is not okay. Don’t tolerate porn if your instincts tell you it is wrong. Don’t fake orgasms. In fact try going without make up. Don’t waste your .80 to the dollar on concealer and fake eyelashes. Protect your beautiful pubic hairs. Don’t mutilate your body. Say yes to you and make your man earn your presence and your pleasure. If you compromise the full power of your authentic selfhood to get in a relationship with a man don’t be surprised when the man you get in a relationship with treats you as if your selfhood isn’t important or desirable. And yes having this standard means you might have to go without. Or that you might leave after years of trying to get him to see you.

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  48. Laura

    This article is extemely eye opening and I hope someone reads it in time. Unfortunately that someone wasn’t me or my husband.

    Years of this exact type relationship, 3 counselors, numerous discussions, fights, examples, etc lead to the total dismiss of our marriage when he walked into our last session on Dec. 1 and announced he was leaving the marriage for a lady he works with and is 20 years younger.

    I wasn’t devastated, I was relieved! I was tired of the lying, excuses, and loneliness. His unfaithfulness in the end told me all I needed to know to let go and move on.

    At this time he acts as if he is mad at me!
    I don’t understand that part of it but I’m not dwelling on it. I know my next relationship will be different and better because of the lessons I’ve learned within this on and even tho it didn’t work out and it is ending badly I am grateful for those lessons and know I’ll be a better person because of them.

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  49. Joe

    Flashback eleven years, I was there, he wasn’t. We spent a whole weekend not talking; the only conversation was at dinner. He was totally devastated when I told him I was leaving after twenty five years of marriage. I wanted to leave years before but had sworn to uphold my vows. Approaching fifty, I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I saw him last week at his relative’s funeral, he hugged and kissed me on the cheek, but we have had no other contact. We have no children.

    I am currently seeing someone who gets this concept, I see it in him, and I read it in his posts to me from afar. I agree both genders can fall into this and I am committed to not let it happen to us. To all those reading this, there is always hope ; never give up on finding love. We’re 60 and 61.

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  50. Rachel

    These two articles are true to my experience. Throughout my 18 years marriage, I had asked my husband, “When is it my turn?” First he was busy working a job, then it was graduate school, then it was a search for a job that was going to give him more time than his first job, but then it was getting tenure, it was work on the house, it was . . . I finally realized that it was never going to be my turn. As I sat on the steps listening to him tell his father (or a friend) news about work and friends and all sorts of things that he did not tell me, I realized that he had left me a long time ago. So finally I moved out in order to take care of myself–because I didn’t want to live in a big empty house in which I was invisible.

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  51. Krystal

    As the distant one in the relationship, thank you for publishing these articles. Thank you for putting things into perspective. I am stubborn and hard headed and run away from things that hurt me emotionally and you have well and truly struck a chord my husband has trying to play for years. Thank you for the solid advice, not only letting my husband know he is not alone but giving clear guidelines on how to fix it. For those in my shoes, who have been or are the selfish ones, it’s not worth it and you can make a change. It really is as easy as being mindful and making small but significant changes. I am lucky enough to have someone so tolerant that though I know he wants to has stayed with someone who he does not feel he gets any love or support off. For those in my partners situation, know that it’s usually not you, it’s as the article describes, a loss of passion and forgetting how blessed we are and how good we have it. Just not taking things for granted. I have committed to make a marked effort for my husband and make the change our relationship so badly desires. Thank you for the help in this.

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  52. KathyB

    Thank you for the articles! So right on and it is a 2 sided path with both parties. I’ve been married 2 times. 1st time 7 1/2 years: he was an alcoholic and did not go to AA until after the divorce. We are still friends now. The 2nd time, 25yrs; we have been separated 2 1/2 years.
    I have read most of the replies; Dave’s (2/1/2015) really touched close. Work and children came first for him. Had to be the children’s friend. He slept in the living room to keep check on the comings and goings of the boys. I worked full time too besides all the house and yard work. It took years for me to realize when I needed something done, that odds were I would have to do it. It went from work, to tv basketball season, tv racing season, tv baseball season, hunting season ,tv football season and pool. Vacations? ONLY WHEN I PUSHED IT, so I went alone. He would like to get back together. I have said no, that something inside of me broke 3 1/2 years ago. I can not get it back. I find it easier to live by myself. I do not know if I believe in LOVE any more. I did not mention, we went to counseling. He only went for me, not to try and find a solution for both of us. Thank you for letting me know this is more common for men and women then it should be.

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  53. jessica

    Wow. I’ve read both articles and all the comments and I love all the diversity and seeing all the different points of view and the different emotional levels people are at.

    All I could do was nod in agreement with these articles; not because I’m currently in that sort of relationship but because I have come from many of them. At 26 I know it is important to feel validated and “seen” in a relationship. I was so angry when I ended my first long term relationship that I hated the man I was with. Thankfully a friend pointed out to me that you shouldn’t hate your spouse…….something I probably should have picked up on 😛 but when you feel that lonely and depressed it’s difficult to notice the obvious. I can acknowledge now that it wasn’t purely his “fault”. I was very much caught up in not being “that girl” at the time. But that simply served to make the relationship one sided. I became unhappy because I thought I should get all my happiness from my partner and not focus on my own path. Co-dependance anyone…..? We broke up, and after years of ditching man after man because I was afraid they wouldn’t be able to handle me (I’m a creative person and we aren’t exactly super cruisey people…we love emotion and expressing them lol which basically automatically makes me “that girl”) it took a near death experience for me to finally click with, and start practising self-awareness. Which I thought I knew how to do before but man oh man was I wrong. It’s one thing to practise self-love, but another thing entirely to practise self-ACCEPTANCE. FULL self-acceptance. Once I did that everything fell into place; including finding someone with whom I click. To get back on topic; I’m now with someone who encourages me to speak up when I feel there is disconnection, and also recognises when it’s there himself. I understand this will probably happen a lot in our relationship as he’s a high functioning aspergic. However; the most important thing for me is that he recognises, accepts and apologises when this happens, and I see him TRYING to make sure it happens less frequently. But I know life happens and he’s human and sometimes people need reminding. We’ve had a very rough start, but we’re both committed to being present and compassionate with each other and so far this has brought us closer during events that very easily break couples. If both parties can acknowledge when they’re being absent and take steps to fix it then it gives hope for the future. Being able to share emotions/feelings and discuss the relationship is key; if you don’t feel comfortable/safe doing so there’s a message in that…
    Make sure you love yourself as well as your partner. Being present to both your needs and your partners will help keep balance.

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  54. wife and mom

    I loved both articles. I also agree it’s not just the man who is totally or always at fault. Women are no saints. It takes two to make or destroy a relationship.

    You cannot change a person when you get into a relationship. They have to change because “they” want to, it’s “their” idea to change, and because “they know” it’s in their own best interest to do so. Most often you know what the person is like before you get too involved, so don’t go thinking you can do miracles and change them to be what you want them to be.

    I think it takes equal parts of commitment, communication and compromise to hold any relationship together. Communication being most important, because without that, you have nothing to build on. Communication must be done in a calm yet non accusing manner, in order for both parties to be heard, the mind to stay open and receptive, and able to think outside the box if necessary to solve issues. If one or both people get upset, the mind closes, ears no longer listen, anger takes over, and logical reasoning goes out the window. Marriage or relationships takes work. Every day you need to work on it, otherwise we tend to very quickly become complacent, get in a rut, take things for granted, and that’s when things start to go crazy. If you work on it a little every day it becomes habit and it really isn’t work any more.

    Commitment means putting your spouse first over everything else. Including your kids, family, friends, your job and all those other things that are so important to keeping everything running smoothly, and you sane. Yes, all those other things are very important and yes they are vital, but your partner is what you are doing all this for. If you aren’t 100% committed to your partner in your relationship, then maybe you shouldn’t be in one at this time.

    Compromise is one of the easiest things you can do. Occasionally it’s a little tougher to find that compromise so both parties get at least part of what they need to be happy. There is always time later on for more negotiations to be done. One cannot be selfish when it comes to compromising. You have to give a little to get a little in return. It doesn’t mean you have to give up what is important to you, things you love, or the demands of your job etc. It means you find ways to make it work. I wouldn’t want to totally give up something I really LOVE that makes me happy, like my job, so I would never ask that of my partner. If something was a potential deal breaker in the beginning, it’s always going to be a deal breaker, and it was never really up for negotiation to begin with. So don’t even put yourself into a relationship like that, where you force someone to choose. You will lose.

    Personally I don’t find men that hard to understand. I’m a woman and I find women way harder to understand. Women more often than not, not only confuse me, they freakin scare me. Not all mind you, but certainly some do.

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  55. Michelle Sears

    I have to say that I’ve definitely felt this way in my marriage too but that was before I came to know the Lord. Now here me out. We all have needs and some are deep needs that only the Lord can meet. Each one of us have a God-shaped whole that only He can fill. I was really considering leaving my husband because I felt like these two articles describe. So I thought the only way around it was to leave my husband. But the truth is no one can fulfill your deep unmet needs. No one. And as long as you keep looking for that husband or wife that can, you’ll always be searching. Our Creator created us to have this deep yearning inside that only He can fill. It was on purpose because He wants a deep and intimate relationship with each one of us. I truly believe that if we let God do what only He can do, our marriages would be what He designed them to be. A marriage is about an earthly relationship with Christ at the center guiding and directing our lives together for the greater good of all. Our lives are a gift and we need to get back to the real reason why we’re here in the first place and that’s to live a life that is about more then what our eyes can see.

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  56. KatJ

    This BEAUTIFULLY articulated what I have been TRYING to tell my husband. Although he does provide me with many of the things listed in your article…it wasn’t until recently that this change took place. The reason? I couldn’t find the RIGHT WORDS to make him truly understand my needs! That’s it. Just a loss for words…a break in communication. For EIGHT years we just didn’t understand one another…but also don’t give up easily (esp on each other)! I wish I had found this article way back then so that we wouldn’t have had to wade through the shark infested waters all by ourselves…without a lifeboat!!

    So, THANK YOU for writing so eloquently what has been STUCK in my mouth…the words failing to come out, or coming out in the WRONG way! I have never wanted to make my husband feel BAD…after all, he is an AMAZING father and spouse. I just wasn’t getting what I needed and didn’t even know MYSELF exactly what that WAS! Yes, we would talk. I would TRY and tell him what I needed…but much of the time the words I chose were simply wrong. They pointed fingers, they made it seem like I was UNHAPPY (which is not true), they came out all jumbled and never even made sense to ME, let alone him. I couldn’t explain HOW he could touch me where I didn’t feel like I was being “groped.” He didn’t understand, although he was listening to me, that I didn’t FEEL heard b/c he was always preoccupied with something else…..playing on his computer, watching TV, messing with his phone….or simply starting straight ahead and not LOOKING at me while I poured my heart out. I NEEDED that eye connection. I needed that HEART connection.

    Thankfully we figured our way out of worrisome waters before I read this article….but it was HARD! We just weren’t seeing eye to eye and were both getting defensive….mostly b/c we weren’t adequately articulating our NEEDS. They came out more like demands or bitching. THANK YOU for writing these articles! They will help me better communicate my needs in the future. After 14 years of marriage and 4 children I am NOT giving up on him without one HELL of a fight!! This gives me a way to tell him my needs BEFORE a fight ensues! Thank you Thank you THANK YOU!!

    Now….where is an article about why MEN leave the women that THEY love?? I would be VERY interested in hearing the opposing side of this!! I can show THIS article to my husband so that he better understands MY needs……but where is the article to help ME understand more fully what HE needs!?! That is what I am looking for!! I want to fulfill HIS needs just as fully as he now fulfills mine!! He is my better half, my soul mate and the ONLY man I have (and will ever) love this deeply! I want to know ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I can do to make HIM as happy as he makes me!!! ~:)

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  57. Lyn

    Your comment
    “Why are women so much more likely to show up in my office BEFORE they drop the hammer, while men tend to wait until AFTER the hammer is dropped?”

    One reason i believe is that women tend to pander to a mans needs in all the mundane ways as well as sexual, so the man is in his comfort zone. If he is noticing any dissatisfaction the distractions of his daily routine, hobbies and interests keep him in his comfort zone. For the woman it is glaringly obvious that something is missing – she is not getting love, approval, appreciation etc; she can feel like she is only the housekeeper and sexual object – there is a huge hole in her life. You can only live with that for so long. You have to believe in yourself enough to believe there is a better life for you. Because she loves him councelling offers a way to try and fix it first. But sometimes it takes such an earthshattering change for her to make that change that she just has to get up and go.

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  58. Michelle

    I Agree with this article 100%. Being present in all moments, be it in marriage, with family members with your children, is to me the most important thing. If the people around you are not able to receive your present energy, you may need to distance yourself from those people. You can love them forever and ever but the fact of the matter is, those who do not return energy are therefore draining it. It is unfortunate when two people are drawn together and in the beginning your so excited to be together and it hinges on the newness of it all. Those same feelings and excitements can be had everyday, love doesn’t get old or stale like bread, it should grow stronger and deeper and those moments have a greater impact over time.

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  59. Bruce

    We look for in our partner, what we didn’t get from our parents… then we’re disappointed, once again, when we don’t receive it.

    It makes me sad to read through most of these comments and see so much blame.

    But a thought provoking article. Thank you

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  60. Donna Shuman

    I read both parts and saw my marriage, We have little to no communication, (less than 20 words per day) and those are mainly regarding our son, finances or house hold duties or my health issues, sometimes his work. He has been on third shift work for over 10 years, at one time I worked 2 jobs, plus 90% of the household duties, and taking care of the family; which at the time had 3 kids at home. I tried with texting him or calling him while we were both on the road to and from work just to reach out and talk to him connect in some way. I would even leave him notes at home,. I would always be thinking of him while food shopping and get him special things I knew he enjoyed though I didn’t care for them. I was going to the gym 4 days a week to keep myself in shape for him, even suggested we could do that together but he hated it and didn’t do it again.Things I have a passion for and enjoy so much he’ll do just because I like it but it’s like being with a child you had to drag along to your great aunt’s house. Then there was the time he had a brief affair with a woman at his job. Even brought her to our home. The way both our son and I found out in the middle of the night was from the woman’s ex-boyfriend and when my husband denied it I just did some detective work to prove this other man wrong so he would leave us alone only to find out it was all true. With every piece of evidence my husband lied, had a lame excuse or story until when I received some pretty undeniable proof and he finally confessed the whole thing, but that it was over and meant nothing but for the sex and bla, bla, bla.
    That was over 3 years ago and still are no where near communicating any better. Everything turns into a confrontation and he begins to yell and becomes very harsh and I shut up and shut down to avoid any further escalating. We still have not been intimate, I don’t trust him,and we feel more like room mates than husband & wife or lovers.
    I love my husband but I fear it is out of habit, obligation. We have been married 20+ years and he has been there for me through all my health issues over the past 2 years. But is he here because of that and because of our son. I know he wants sex…all the time. He can’t give me a simple hug , peck on the cheek or brush up behind be with out it resulting in arousal and trying to push for more. I can’t. I keep seeing the image of him with that other woman and it drives me crazy. She wrote letters about how great it was and her boyfriend sent them to me. I burned them, but once you have read something you can’t unsee it.
    All he does is work & sleep. I become a horrible nag and start a fight or huge argument when I ask for him to do more. With my new physical limitations you’d think most of this stuff would be common sense but it’s not and I sound like an army drill Sargent when I get around to the 4th or 5th time of saying this needs done.
    I am just at my witts end and feel like it is a choice of being miserable for the rest of my life or leaving.

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  61. Barry & Jennifer Pendergast

    Greetings from Calgary, Canada. We have been married 55 years and have survived many challenges but also had many moments of great joy. We have spent the last 15 years trying to ‘Pay It Forward’ by working with couples in all type of relationships trying effect change and bring about some level of relational joy for all . Your article is a valuable resource for us to share in the future work we do. Many thanks

    Reply
  62. kayakn D

    Thank you so much for these 2 articles and all the great replies. Lots to absorb, learn and apply here. Not being present (due to working) was much of the reason for the demise of my last relationship and not being present in my free time (mostly due to the call of the river) is currently a problem. Hearing the words, “Love is not enough!” from your leaving spouse is devastating because you think you are doing things right! I learned the hard way that more was needed and am only realizing NOW (some 6yrs later!) that that “more” is my time. My current girlfriend is amazing and has been patient enough to help me understand this over the past 3yrs. I will admit that it is a huge challenge to find the balance of spending time with the WHO and the WHAT I love. Compromise can be difficult at times but when you step back and consider the greater picture – a happy, fulfilled life together with someone you love – there really isn’t much to think about.

    Again, thank you for sharing these powerful observations. The fact that these are not opinions or textbook studies but simple in-your-face facts speaks volumes that one can take (to work on your relationship) or leave (your relationship). I also love how these articles are gender-interchangeable. Man or woman you must be present.

    Reply
  63. Becky r.

    I am so glad I saw this article. I felt like a lone ranger. I to have made the decision to leave my marriage. Not because I dont love him, because he will not communicate and I feel taken for granted. He says I am being obstinant and not wanting to work at it. I have tried for over 5 years to keep it together. Making the sacrifices and changes to keep our marriage going. After an arguement it felt like I was bring cut to the bone. I felt horrible. I felt like I should leave the world because I could not provide enough of what he wanted. I am devastated. I had enough and called a stop to it. He is not happy and says I will not try so I am having to take the heavy. Not easy but will I will get jealthier daily. Thank for the article. One alot of people need to read.

    Reply
  64. Lyndy Summerhaze

    This is a brilliant article. It clearly lays out the most affective way to approach these ubiquitous relationship issues : taking the approach of inquiry (all important); the willingness to understand what drives our behaviour and what lies underneath it; and looking to oneself to see what is actually there, what one is feeling, rather than pointing the finger at someone else (which is very easy to do but leads nowhere except into a cul de sac of sticky emotions).
    Yes, honesty is the significant ingredient – and also ‘presence’ which one man was quoted as saying. Everyone wants true connection and love more than anything in the world, and this article has pointed to the key steps to retrace our path and come back to the innate love that we are, before we overlaid it with misinterpreted versions of love (needs, emotions etc) and pulled ourselves into a life that was a mere shadow of what we are potentially capable of.

    Reply
  65. Philip McConkey

    From 40 years of working with couples here in N.Z. I would generally concur with what these articles are saying. But I would also suggest that a large part of the reason for men’s lack of awareness and incapacity to be present with their partners is their lack of preparedness for intimate relationships, compared with women. By and large in our Western cultures women are being socialised into intimacy from an early age. Engagement with others, especially other females, is modelled and encouraged by other females. In this training they learn to be intimate, which includes being vulnerable and needy. Of course I am generalising and many women do not have good models or experience. But male socialisation strongly discourages experiences and expressions of weakness and need and failure. For men these experiences lead directly to the greatest threat of all – shame. Shame essentially renders a man feeling “I am a failure as a man, worthless and of no account”. Because this threat is ever-present (although rarely recognised), especially in intimate relationships, men will avoid it by becoming absorbed in their work (even if they hate it, they still have some control) or in some other activity like sport where again there is a sense of knowing what the rules of engagement are and there’s less chance of failure. I’ve had countless women say to him “Tell me what you’re thinking or feeling!” That’s what another woman would do. She doesn’t know that she might as well be talking Russian. But she’s also asking him to do something which carries enormous threat. So counselling involves much gentle training, including reducing the threat so that he can express his confusion and fear and longing, and also hear hers. She has to learn not to expect him to be like another woman, and instead of demanding a response(which makes him more defensive and inadequate), to express her longing and desire for him. In my experience men and women need to learn about the threat of shame and how to deal with it. Because I believe that it is what lies behind much domestic violence and male suicide.

    Reply
    1. Tony

      Or he will tell her what he’s feeling and she’ll shoot it down.

      — You shouldn’t feel that way.
      — You are such a man, you wouldn’t understand.
      — You are such a man, of course you think/feel that way.
      — You should love me for my __________, and not put so much focus on the sexual part of our marriage.

      I could probably go on and on.

      If you want him to be intimate, you have to let him be intimate. You can’t judge him to be inferior or base when he does share. If you do, you are only training him that you really have no interest in who he is. You only have the desire to make him your live Ken doll. You want to put the words and feelings into his heart, mind and mouth. You really don’t want to hear what he’s thinking or feeling.

      Reply
  66. Toni

    thanks for these articles. Unfortunately my 22 year marriage has now been over for 23 years. I have no regrets as my children grew up in a happy and healthy environment because of my decision. Every relationship teaches you something about yourself if you pay attention. Your articles are a great help for my further growth. Thank you.

    Reply
  67. Texas Lady Juanita

    My husband and I have the marriage family and friends wish they had. We are yoked equally spiritually, faithfully, intelligence, values, principles, humor . . . and more. We knew each other in a work atmosphere before we were an item. On our first date we professed our love for each other. My husband did something that may be the secret to a perfect marriage. He asked me to please understand that he did not have a crystal ball, or psychic abilities – if I wanted him to know something – I needed to just tell him. He said he would gladly give me the moon if I would just tell him I wanted it or anything, and if it was in his power to give me my request, he would happily do it. We are basically the same people we were when we married – and that is fabulous. We have dealt with so much in twenty years – changing careers, selling our home to pay medical bills, raising teenagers together, stage 4 cancer (Him), 4 degenerative diseases (Me) . . . and yet we laugh everyday at ourselves, at situations, at others. We have never lost any of our friendship, passion and love, only realized that tended every day it grows and grows and grows until at times the thought of it takes my breath away.

    Reply
  68. Bea

    Oh I was in tears as I read both your articles YES I can relate to an absent husband. I have email him a copy of both articles and hope he will read it fully think about where our marriage is going. Why do I stay I live in hope that our marriage will improve that he will be present he will truly listen.. Why do I stay ??? I have no where else to go I am too old to be able to start over again. Am I happy ???? Definately not!!!. I live with hope this article will help Thank you

    Reply
  69. Sarah

    I could very much relate to both articles. I would be very interested in reading your take on married to and/or divorced from a narcissist. Recently, my 15 year marriage ended. After some therapy and research I saw that my entire marriage followed a seemingly clear pattern of being married to a narcissist. I have become aware of terms used to describe the mental abuse I endured through out the marriage. I am left feeling shocked, sad and angey. I thought I was too smart to have something like this happen to me. I think back over the 15 years and wonder if the person I thought I married ever really existed. I am taking steps and going to therapy to: #1. Wrap my head around the what/when and how I could fall into a relationship like this because I honestly feel quite stupid and confused. #2. Make sure I am in a healthy place to be able to enter into a healthy relationship. I am thankful to be free. The relationship was following a fairly predictable course and considering how fast the progression was moving, I feel lucky to have gotten out when I did. I do have fears of retaliation which I have already experienced a good bit even before the marriage ended but I know there is more to come. I wish more women and men were aware of being in this type of relationship. I tried for years to save the marriage. I am very curious as to what your thoughts are on these types of relationships.

    Reply
  70. E37

    Hi,

    Great article. My wife may be just doing that, “leaving the man she loves”. Funny how many times she has approuched me, trying to get me to be present, but I never realized what she was trying to do. I thought she was just being over sensitive. After reading this articale all the comments, I realize how much damage I have done. How can I blame her for wanting to leave?

    Another day, another lesson learned!!

    Reply
  71. Antoinette

    I met a man that I fell in love with about a year ago. We talked in some detail about our failed marriages. In his case his wife cheated many times through out their marriage. Until now, he still doesn’t see his part in how he may have pushed her in that direction and I’m not excusing what she did, but I can see that he still blames her and he has come to the conclusion that all women are corruptable and can never be satisfied with one man. He feesl that most men are just innocent, hard working, good guys trying to do right by their families and woman are just bored and dissatisfied with what men are trying to do, that one man is incapable of satisfying them. He has since his breakup with his ex is incapable of committing to me or any woman. Yet, he goes from woman to woman gathering them up as he goes. He bates woman and then he sabotages the relationship and says see none of you are patient or satisfied. He seems to me to be very passive aggressive, narcissistic and misogynistic in his thinking and his views about women. I’m not sure if anyone can ever change his views it makes me sad what’s worse is I still love him. Oh well.

    Reply
    1. Kim

      3 weeks ago i packed my kids up and moved back in with my mom. I have told my husband for months to show up and work on our life goals. And he hasnt takken me seriouslly. All i asked was for him to Read a short book on parenting to help us with our young sons behavior issues, make an appt for us to sit with a financial adviser, and start therapy with me. He agreed to therapy but i had to make the appt. He refuses to do therapy alone. He has done nothing else to meet my requests. He has avoided it, busying himself with others problems, work, family etc. At first, the kids and i would see him on the weekends. But yesterday i realized the truth is that he isnt working on anything i need from him. . its been 3 weeks and the only thing going in the right direction is what I have had to do, (make the therapy appt) . . I hope that man wakes up soon. I hope our therapist can help. If not, i am calling you for therapy! I cant believe he will let it all slip away because denial is easier. Sure He has taken the kids to do valenitines pics for me, baked me a cookie, expressed how deeply he wants to change and loves me and DOES NOT WANT DIVORCE, but he has done nothing to confront his problems. I will walk away from the man i love because his actions are poison to me and my kids right now. He isnt contributing to a better life…he is just stagnate and treading water. Im reading Raising Cain right now and its really helping me understand not only my son and how to raise him with more awareness, but its explaining my husband verbatem. the man was deprived emotional literacy and has no idea how to process life. wish my family luck we need it

      Reply
  72. Lucinda

    Both your articles just spoke to me. Im not in a marriage, however been with my partner for 7yrs. I recently moved out because i didn’t feel like he was completely present in the relationship communication wise. I felt like i put so much more love and attention in the relationship than he did that I lost myself. I think its because if i didn’t, and it was left to him, he would forget to do that. I mentioned this to him over the years, but nothing changed and I felt like moving out was the only way to get him to understand just how much it affects me. Ive been so conflicted in my mind about whether this is the right thing to do or not. Whether this is a legit reason to leave a relationship. He’s a gentleman, looks after me and not abusive,so why did i leave him?, and why do I feel like this is a big deal to me?
    Ive had people say relationships aren’t perfect and every relationships have their ups and downs and not to expect a too much, but to me I this is a big deal and it shouldn’t be ignored or belittled. Read those articles made me feel at ease that what Im doing is good for me.

    Reply
  73. Sara

    My question is what can I do about this always happening in my relationships? I’m always treated like I owe them my whole everything- and I do it- but why is that the expectation in the first place? Why do they treat me like such a burden and like I mean nothing, and then want to work it out after they have already quite clearly torn me to pieces? Why do they wait until there is no way of fixing anything anymore before they seem at all willing to try to fix it? Why do they want to fix it if I’m not worth anything anyway? How am I suddenly worth something now that the relationship is over and destroyed? Why don’t they see how darkly laughable the whole thing is when they want to sort it out after it is over? How can they even fathom that I would ever be able to trust them again when they have seemingly done everything in their power to destroy me? What do I do that makes them treat me this way? What do I do that means that I’m never allowed to be sad or angry? What is it about me that sets up that expectation that I don’t deserve any expectations of my own?

    Reply
  74. Lydia

    Wow you really hit the nail on the head! As i read all the comments Some of them really hit me hard.when i first meant my husband was in 04′ he made me feel important, he would do EVERYTHING for me. I worked he worked it was perfect then we finally got married in 2012, after 3 months i found out i was pregnant after having my first daughter 3 an a half months i found out i was pregnant again.
    I always dreamed about this perfect life i would have, a big house kids a husband. Well i have kids an a husband, but he works alot an ik he does it for us but i feel like he’s never around.

    Reply
  75. Heather

    I think it is important that we also pay attention to our emotions. For instance, if something makes us angry at another, what is it really that we are angry with in ourself? I have found that in arguments, what I project or yell out is really me yelling at myself for the behavior. Our ego will definitely stand its ground and make you think otherwise but when you accept what I just said you will grow to be a more mindful, compassionate, and loving being. I personally am trying to be more unconditionally loving and nonjudgemental. This is hard in a society that demands control and judgement in action; what I do is better than what you do so you should do things my way, this right and that is wrong, etc. I have personally strived to find out what went wrong in my relationships, what I did and then worked to make myself a better person and I accepted that it all happened for reason, and the reason being that I needed to learn something about myself. This does not mean that it will save every relationship because it won’t. It always takes two; however, if you start with yourself you can always build. I definitely think that we have to find ourself, love ourself, and be happy with ourself along with what we choose to do with our life and this will make a world of difference in our relationships, not with just our partner but with all our friends and family.

    Reply
  76. Jeanette

    It makes me happy to read this; that someone knows. In the same time it’s very sad because I’m sure that I will never meet a man that has this insight.

    Reply
    1. Steve Barrett

      I have all this insight but feel I’m with a woman who doesn’t appreciate or care about the efforts. She looks at it as being controlling and needy.. I’m very discouraged. I love her, but, it takes two

      Reply
  77. Doris

    I used to think there were two people in my marriage, my husband and me, but not so sure now.
    I share my home with numerous women and teenagers every day, parading around, half dressed, crawling all over other men, showing off their intimate body parts, teasing and taunting all the time. Who are these women? The ones who for some reason have no self respect, but instead parade all over every ad, tv series, movie or programme on any media form you care to name.
    I didn’t get married to be a in a visual harem! How do I know if my husband wants sex with me because he loves me, or because of the never ending parade of other females through my home! Yes I’ve looked after myself and been proactive with him, but as I get a bit older, I am beginning to be cynical about why he comes near me. He often has little emotional flings with younger women and I’m tired of it after 30 years of marriage, much of which has been good, but, Oh My God, can’t I be the woman of my own home even when the idiot box is on? I won’t leave, but I am making friends with other people more than ever, and valuing their feed back more than his glib talk.
    I am lonely, but hopefully showing my sons how to relate In a faithful way to their partners. I don’t let them know my feelings or fight, but this is the first time I have put it into words….feels good. Lowest of the low, women who betray their own kind.

    Reply
  78. Steve Barrett

    “Emotionally absent” I know all too well. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I am no saint and have done wrong (Not cheating, tho) and I’ve bent over backwards to right my wrongs.. I’m very mindful and attentive in ways.. I’m starved to feel loved and wanted.. I’ve been accused of being needy and it wears my girlfriend out… She is very emotionally absent and the more she is the more I long for her love, attention, and affection… I have been jealous before and capable of being jealous at times I admit but don’t think to an unhealthy level.. I’ve also been accused of being controlling when all I want is to do more things together as a couple, go places, spend time and take time for ourselves . also been called controllingbecause I feel the rrelationshipshould come first, to be taken seriously. I am very much emotionally involved with her but feel she’s emotionally absent … It’s one of the worst feelings in the world loving someone and not feeling it in return.. I also realize people show love differently and think just because someone doesn’t show live like I do doesn’t mean they don’t love. . I’m starved for attention, affection, and love and believe these articles apply to both men and women… I also wonder if I think more like a woman because I am the way I am or feel the way I feel… I love this woman more than I’ve ever over another. I don’t want to give up on her but seriously wondering if I’m wasting my time? I think communication iis key to any relationship and I’vetalked till II’m blue in the face.. It’s mainly one way communication tho.

    Reply
    1. Sam Paris

      Bro, face the fact that you are a loser. What you wanted in a woman isn’t a woman in her might, glory and female majesty — things that makes a man capable of defeating an army because of her. What you look for in a woman is a nurturing mother you probably didn’t have. Or if you did have, you someone felt your mother was emotionally or physically disconnected from you. So you grew up looking for emotional compensation from women. In doing so, you totally neglected to raise yourself as a man. Rather, you turned yourself as an androgyny with a mobile, partially useful, dildo. Thus you lack what a woman really wants in a man…and what a woman wants in a man is VALUE and a powerful sense of self-direction. You see, no matter how “modern” and independent today’s women are; they just what they are….women. All the feminist bulshit going around is just that: BULSHIT! Think about it! All of the freedom, progress and advanced women make in this world must be backed and enforced by men. Period! Without men being willing to stand up to fight and even die for women’s right…that progress will be dead in the water. And why is it so? Because by NATURE, women are driven by their PRIMAL needs. She needs affection, loving, caring, protecting. But she also needs the challenge of attracting a strong, self-sufficient, reliable and extremely confident male. (And by the way; these are qualities she’ll hate you for, if you later, in the relationship insist on displaying them outside the house. For these qualities could attract competitors.) WHY? Because most ‘normal and natural’ women, are still looking for the type of male who cause her to breed a strong, health and ultra-lively offspring. And a male that will be there and capable of defending her when the shit hits the fan. Thus, you aren’t really a husband or a BOY-friend. Rather, you a male-girlfriend who provides the service of a human dildo. But the minute you stop being a needy sissy, and focus on rebuilding yourself and a MAN and raise your self VALUE, your woman will not only see other men as mere lost and ambulating dogs, but she will also be ready to die for you. Why? because she knows she has a man like no other….and she also knows that this is exactly the kind of men other women are looking for. And while you are at it, instead of being controlling, concentrate you giving her a mind-blowing orgasm at the 10 times a week….if she needs more, give her more. So….be a man!

      Reply
      1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

        Sam,
        I usually delete rude messages from people without basic manners, but I’m responding to yours because there’s a learning opportunity. Beneath the vitriol and posturing there are some useful, though partial truths in your comment.

        It’s true that when men work on their own integrity and sense of purpose they will also change their relationship to women. It’s also true that many men (and women) look to their spouse/partner to fulfill parental roles. This tends to begin unconsciously. As the people in this type of relationship mature, they may see what they are doing. They then have a new choice. Their projections are no longer unconscious. They can work on dropping these projections, or they can “role-play” them more consciously in the relationship (ie – Imago and related therapies). Your point about people being driven by primal forces also contains insight. We like to believe that we are rational beings acting on a solid foundation of intellectual reason, but often we are driven by invisible forces, be they bio-chemical, psycho-emotional, ideological or even karmic.

        The model of male/female relationships that you reveal in your comment acknowledges certain polarities that can be consciously worked with in relationship (ie – tantric or taoist practices). But the characters you describe are stuck in pure survival mode (possibly even a historically fictitious survival mode – see the book Sex at Dawn for more on this). It’s certainly possible to take a current belief system – in your case survival of the fittest, competitive advantage etc – and extrapolate backwards through time to gather evidence for your case. But that doesn’t make your vision of human nature true. So while you touch on a few good points, your own clouded prejudice makes them so partial as to be misleading. And your hostile attitude will never win you support except from people exactly like you. And what fun is that?

        If you’d like to stretch your vision without completely abandoning your worldview, you might check out the work of David Deida, especially The Way of the Superior Man.

        Reply
  79. Sam Paris

    Ok I am going to be blunt!
    The type of women you described aren’t worth keeping anyway. Not if the man is dedicated to his family, committed to his marriage, and that he, on a daily basis goes out there to tear his life to pieces to make sure that his family has all they need to survive, thrive and prosper. Thus, the woman described in the article is no more that a burdensome, parasitical partner who can be described as a Emotional Vampire — always in search of blood. She’ll suck that metaphoric emotional blood out of her husband, boyfriend, her man or whatever, down to the last drop and then blame him for not having enough (emotional) blood to feed her. Such woman isn’t worthy of a REAL MAN. Honestly, I don’t really see the reason why a man should tear his life to shreds to please such a bitch. Especially considering that the world is littered with babes: by a factor of 10 – 1. But in this rampant age of female instant self-gratification, no one should be surprise that in the last decade or so, when it comes to women, they’re some pretty worthless products out there. Therefore, I advise men that, when it comes to women, do as I do…always keep your options open, because you NEVER know when you are going to get screwed. Seriously think of it. Why in the world would you abandon and forsake the things you love most in life for the sake of 1 woman? Surely that’s a noble and is the RIGHT thing to do. But for you to do that, she must weight many times her weight in gold. More often than not, though, the opposite is true. Because, except to churn and burn, most likely, the women most men find out there aren’t really worth the effort. And with the countless number of babes out there looking for a real man to give them some real good, massive banging, WHY should a man DENY himself such pleasures for the sake of a bloodsucking, cantankerous, belligerent and parasitical wife? NO WAY! You see. We live in this world of female double standard, where EVERY woman’s problem within the relationship must be blamed on the man. That everything she does wrong is the man’s fault — that it is because what “he does or doesn’t do.” C’mon! Gag me with a freaking spoon! A woman that’s going to leave you, her own children, her home and her man, will do so, regardless of how much attention you devote to her. It has NOTHING to do with the man. It’s about who she is. Don’t get me wrong! There are women out there that are worthy of a man laying down his life for. But they have become as rare as finding water in the middle of the Sahara Desert. So my advice to all men is this: To know if a woman is worthy of YOUR time, your life, your attention, your sacrifice, of you becoming her constant therapist…and worse still….of you forsaken all the pretty young babes out there just for her; try this: Lose all your possessions, your job, your cash, and go bang another woman out there. If she stay with you through it all and says she’s in it because she loves you… Get ready to DIE for her…because you’ve found a woman you probably don’t deserve to have,,,and this woman is a jewel and is worth keeping….and worth protecting with your own life. Because, and be sure you get this: if she really loves you, she WILL forgive you. And if she does; do make sure you put ALL your effort into building her a Castle. You’ve found a QUEEN and you didn’t know it! If not, you’ve done yourself…and her a BIG FAVOR. So from now on, stay committed, but be on alert and keep your options open. Trust but verify…you’ll keep your house and most of your hard earned fortune when the storm hits.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Hi Sam.
      I am one of the “Queens” you speak of. I agree with you in several ways. The majority of women are exactly as you describe. I will not deny that. The saddest thing is, if men like you who run across women like me would instantly be aware that they no longer needed to keep their options open, we would not find them on your devices and would both be in love and in an amazing relationship for the rest of our lives. Because women like me are doing the same thing men like you are doing. We’re putting our toes in to see if you’re that one in a million that’s actually worth going all in for. It’s crazy. I recently had to “be that bitch” after many years of sweet, loving one sided conversations asking him to please just talk to me about something. Anything. How did you get that mud on your shoes, did you enjoy your drive home, or what did you eat for lunch today…SOMETHING. Or, please just listen to me for more than 30 seconds without displaying the body language of someone who had been forced to listen to the worst story in the universe for days on end against his ever loving will. All he needed from me was physical, and he was happy. His eyes would glaze over while he backed out of the room if I spoke more than 2 sentences. AND I’M NOT A CHATTY WOMAN. When I speak, I’m saying something of value. I guess what I’m saying here is, we (men or women) don’t know who we are dating until we are shown. And when we are shown a man/woman who has his/her options open AFTER making some sort of commitment, we only see that person who isn’t worth dying for, going all in for. I believe that if we keep our hearts open, and keep our brains intact as much as possible, we will find someone who “gets it” when it comes to people like us. The only thing we have to make sure of, is that we listen to our gut when it tells us something is not right. Leave quickly, and move on.
      I enjoyed your posts. I think you’ve had it up to your ears like I have with all the fake, users. Wishing you love and all the happiness your heart deserves my friend.
      D. in OKC

      Reply
  80. Alexandra

    I have very much enjoyed these articles. I think you can flip the gender assignments to suit your own situation and, yes, both partners need to be 100% present to produce a successful marriage. I left my first marriage because it was emotionally and psychologically abusive, resulting in an actual physical assault (stabbing) when I finally did leave. We did go to counselling prior to the relationship breakdown. The best the counselor at the time could say was, “if a woman doesn’t want to stay, its very difficult to make her stay”, which was less than helpful, I must say, and left me feeling helpless and hopeless. I left my second marriage because the relationship completely stagnated and my ex husband was unwilling to discuss, compromise, or grow in our relationship and actually sabotaged it at every turn. Again, counselling was most unhelpful, giving us very little tools to deal with the relationship problems. Noticing a pattern? I am aware now that my lack of boundaries , willingness to subjugate my own life into someone else’s without regard for my own needs, and feeling emotionally impotent leads me into these disharmonious relationships. In my first marriage, I thought he would love me more if we were married, be less abusive, etc. I was 21yo. In my second marriage, he asked me, and I wanted to make him happy, not realizing he had an attention span of about 30sec. I was 26yo. I am now in my third marriage, which I entered in to with eyes wide open and with serious, extensive discussion before hand, since I obviously did not want to repeat the past. I am 30yo. My husband and I try very hard every day to be present and engage each other; we are on the same page in our hopes and dreams; and can openly discuss issues and plans. We apologize when we are wrong and love each other through it all. It still frequently amazes me how open, honest, and loving our relationship is. We have a young son and I can see how it is easy to fall into being present for baby only, becoming resentful of the other partner, etc. You definitely have work at your relationship every day, regardless of gender. It takes two people giving 100% each to make any relationship successful. I never wanted to be the person who had been married more than once, but I am grateful for the lessons and relationship skills they provided; I just wish they could have been learned a little easier! Thank you to Justice for these articles – I could have used them in my 20s! Sending you all love and light.

    Reply
  81. peter holliday

    I am also intersted in the lack of accountability that sometimes gets missed here, when people suffer(man or woman) in silence and don’t bring the tension to the surface in their relationship. They essentially let their partners get away with it, for fear of what, making things uncomfortable. As opposed to the uncomfortably that comes from estrangement, disconnection, or cheating.

    You can choose to passively sit in silence wishing for someone to sweep you off your feet all you like, but if you don’t surface your tension, or worse yet cheat or bail when you yourself fail to give the other unknowing individual anything to work with. This is as much your failing as much as theirs. You need to hold your own feet to the fire as much as your partners, and be bold in coming forth with what exactly is not good enough as opposed to expecting other to intuitively know. You need to be able to be open and bold and at risk, that is intimacy, anything less is just pure escapism.

    Reply
  82. Tiffany

    Wow! These are great articles….I have been struggling with this sadly to say before I got married and now I have been married to him for almost 3 years….thinking things would get better….I have a daughter that I brought into this marriage and she has also been unhappy beside of the absent mess from him as well….she already had father issues and then this to add on it….I have talked and talked with him about it and what we need from him and he listens gets mad sometimes and then things get better for a while and then goes right back to the way it was….its a cycle with him…..at this point I feel my daughter needs the better attention from him then I do!! She is the one that has her whole life ahead of her and I don’t want to be part of the reason she has lots of troubles because I kept her in this marriage with me :(…..I love him but the reason I would leave to is because of absents…..its a real struggle and I am also sad to see it goes on so much but comforting at the same time that I am not alone…..the question is should I leave when is the right time will things get better if I keep talking and working with him? I told him o feel I give my all my 100% and he agrees with that sometimes I think what have I done????? Right now we have been in the good phase for a little over a week so it’s the waiting game again….and watching and turkey it’s sucks…to feel like your waiting and watching to see which way is this gonna go….Iv split furniture in my mind many times! Worse feeling…one sad momma here….and I think to myself we are suppose to be happy….and what kills me is I worry ok if I do this my gosh it is going to crush him! And then I worry about how he will feel if and when it comes to that decision…great article though I needed this read this morning!!:)

    Reply
  83. John

    so…my wife of 2 1/2 years (my 2nd marriage, her first) are at a crossorads. I have been acccused of being “emotionally absent” for quite a while and for not being the man she married. She actually sent me this article and I have read it and read the follow-up as well. There are good points to the article, and I will admit that at times I am not very talkative and not emotionally attached to the extent my wife is. But before I go further, I feel as though I need to provide some background for proper context.

    Six months into our marriage I was part of a work force reduction from a company where I had worked my whole 18 year career. It was a surprise, and the first time in my life I had never left a job by my on choice. I was devastated, not only from having lost my job, but for having lost my ability to provide for my wife, and my daughter from a previous marriage. My current wife doesn’t work full time, and at the time, didn’t work at all. I was the sole breadwinner of the family and my wife has expensive tastes is many things – jewelry, vacations, dining out, etc. I bought a house for the two of us when we got married,, bought a very large diamond, and spent a large amount to renovate our bathroom. I had a nice nest egg when I lost my job, but I consider myself young with another 15-20 working years in me, and when I lost my position, she wanted to go to Hawaii with a settlement she had earned from a legitimate fall case. I couldn’t fathom a vacation with no job prospects on the horizon and considered that a wreckless use of money we may eventually need…so I said no. Birthdays and holidays came and went, and I purchased some jewelry for her since that’s what she loves, it wasn’t the greatest quality but given no job, I thought it was a kind and thoughtful gesture….apparently not, as when we got into an argument about me being emotionally absent, she brough up how cheap t was of me to buy that lower quality jewelry. The arguements happened every couple of weeks. Now keep in mind, I brought her her favorite flowers every friday, we still went out to dinner once a week or so. She slept in most days until 10, and then during the day, she would sit in the sun for hours on end and was constantly on her facebook app on her phone. i would admittedlly sit in my home office, trying to find a job or doing the same thing on facebook…I was depressed about work prospects and knew that the possibility of finding a similar position with a similar salary in the same area, much less the same state was not very likley. I also didn’t want to have to leave my freshman daughter to live somewhere else, but I knew that was likely. I aksed her to go to counsleing and she refused sayaing we should be able to talk things out ourselves. But we couldn’t, the arguments were shouting matches and the things that were said to me are things I would never say to anyone…so mean and hurtful that you can never take back. But that’s her style…she’s a yeller. There is no discussion because she constantly interrupts and it’s all one sided. I was always the one to apologize whether I felt I was wrong or not, or we wouldn;t talk for days. eventually after a big fight she agreed to go to counseling…I had already been going by myself. we went, and even the therapist would ask her to let me finsih what I was saying so I could be heard….I eventually got a job in KS that would require us to move from FL…she was not happy about it and kept saying, “I’ll try anythign for a year.” Well, when I accept a job, It’s not for a year… So we moved to KS, and after 4 months, she has spent more time in FL than she has in KS… She refused to sell the house in FL, and I have bent over backwards to rent a way over budget home and buy furntiture we don’t need because we have it in FL…I have forgone $30K in relocation benefits because we didnt sell the house in FL, and I’m not making the same money I used to, but a good stretch, We are losing a considerable amount of $$ each month because my expenses doubled and my salaray didnt. And she is not working. She stays at home or goes shopping and comlains that she knows no one here. Meanwhile, I am working my butt off to try and make a good impression at the new job. I have already taken her to San francisico to see her nephew, I’ve bought her concert tickets to shows she wants to see (I’m going with her), I still get her flowers when she is here, and we go out to eat at least once or twice a week. ANd yet she now wants a dog (we have two cats in FL that she hasn’t brought out here) and she’s constantly talking about taking vacations. Meanwhile, I’d like to see my daughter in FL. She is very beautiful and sexy and likes the intamacy of frequent sex, but I am exhausted. I hold doors open for her, i open the car door, I take time to heat the car up for her so she never has a cold car to get into…I thank her for cooking my meals, and every day I send her a voice message saying how much I love her and that I hope she has a great day…and we text back and forth during the day….but I’m still considered emotioanlly distant….we spend time together watching TV, which is something I think we both enjoy, we run errands togteher and I tell her, I just like spending time togtehr, even if its just sitting in the same room. She doesn’t work, but he has no problem spending the money….she doesn’t do anythingn all day but chat with her friends online…so I am the center of her universe for her happiness. And then we get into an argument becasuse she doesn’t feel like I love her, or that I desire her…and she call me emotionally absent…I’m the one who rolls over in bed before going to sleep and gives her a kiss and says I love you and sweet dreams…she doesnt do that. Look I will admit, there are times when we talk about things and my responses are not in depth or great discussion, but I’m that way with everyone…and btw, I NEVER go out with the guys, I don’t drink…I come home to my wife. We’ve done the 5 langauages of love and she rates highly in several of them…so I try to speak her languages, but I fail miserably becasuse it never seems to be enough. And then when I get lambasted, I lose interest in trying when my efforts go unacknowledged….I try to communicate…I’ll ask her what she’d like to do and she she answers with “Well, what do “YOU” want to do.” and we get in an argument about just answering the question. She feels that if I don’t suggest something then I don’t want to do it and she doesnt want to have to tell me. I feel like I can’t win, and she’s ready to leave….and I’m about ready to let her…because I dont ever see it changing. How do I change this dynamic? (Please excuse the typos and grammar errors as I’m writing this from a phone)

    Reply
    1. Nara

      Dude, did you even read these articles? You’re buying her all of these things so that you don’t actually have to connect with her emotionally. Don’t you get that? She’s telling you what she wants; she wants you emotionally. She wants you to pay attention to her. Instead, you buy her stuff. You keep two houses. You bean count. You whip out your credit card and put it down for a bunch of stuff that you can’t afford, and you wonder why she’s not happy.

      Maybe you should go to her, sit down, and tell her that you can’t actually afford all of stuff you’ve been buying for her, and then actually have a real conversation about what you both should do. She might actually surprise you with the information that she loves you, not your money. She will probably tell you that she doesn’t care as much about “things” as she does about YOU and YOU being present. Give her the space to surprise you. And if she doesn’t? Then decide. But until you give her a chance, and give you a chance, you will never ever know.

      Reply
  84. Jeff H

    I think your article hits the nail directly on the head. Its true that this situation can swing both ways. I’ve been married for 26 years and feel that I’ve been a husband that shares all the responsibilities of the household. Never resenting it or complaining for most of those years. However, in the recent years, I’ve come to resent it very much because its come to be expected that I would clean the house, do the laundry, and cook dinner; or at least, its felt that way.
    I’ve tried discussing this with my wife and she says that she would try harder to do her part (50/50), like we agreed in the beginning. Yet, it always seems to go only for a couple of days and then back to the normal thing. I’ve tried on numerous occasions to tell her what I need out of our relationship and yet no effort is made.
    For 3/4 of our marriage, I always tried to make her feel like she was the most important person in my life and at the time, I was happy being second. I would surprise her with flowers out of the blue, planned romantic trips, surprise her with expensive gifts, etc. All trying to make her feel loved and needed. Finally I quit those things because it wasnt recipricated in any form.
    Now, I’m the one that needs some REAL attention and its not happening. Facebook, Pinterest, and her cellphone are more important
    than a real conversation about life and the days events.
    Whats really bad about this situation is that I’ve told her that things need to change and that I’m bored out of my mind and yet no action is taken; nothing. Same thing as has been…
    If she only knew what I was really considering for MY future life. So YES, this can swing the other way too!

    Reply
  85. jessica

    Hello.
    I am grateful to read that I am not alone, though I feel the pain of all of you who are struggling. I am not married yet but I am engaged. I have a baby daughter with my fiance. He is never present with me anymore. In fact, I can’t even tell you when he was last. It’s always work, his blood family, his career. He loves our baby but he has to be forced to spend time with her. Before we had our daughter, things were rocky to say the least. Things were briefly euphoric during pregnancy, and now that the baby is here things are unbearable. I am always last on his list. His work comes first, his mother second, his siblings third, the baby fourth, and me last. I see him for about an hour in the evening if I’m lucky and even then he’s not present. He’s either watching TV or on the phone with his family, on the computer, or eating. I work 35 hours a week from home, I cook, I clean, I do everything for the baby day and night without a break. There is no affection, no appreciation, no kissing, no intimacy, no concern, no “are you okay”, no “can I do something for you” from him whatsoever. I am so lonely all day and all night and ive just given up on trying to initiate anything since I’m rejected 99% of the time. Ive tried everything to be kinder, sweeter, more understanding, less demanding, trying not to push him away. He says he can’t be affectionate with me because he doesn’t trust me since I divulged some serious problems I had with his family to a friend of mine. But he won’t talk to me about his family problems which are directly affecting my life and my child financially. He won’t talk to me about anything really, so I talk to others. I’m not perfect but I work hard and I take good care of our apartment and child. There’s so much more to all of this but who wants to read any more of my sob story. Anyway, I’m breaking down and can’t bear being as unloved and neglected as I am forever. What can I do? I don’t want to leave him. I just want to feel loved and appreciated.

    Reply
  86. river

    Count me as ones that think this is too one sided. My stay at home wife has weekly lady nights, twice yearly lady weekends, does her own vacations and spends money on things as she deems fit, without regard for a budget, or life goals. These things have nothing to do with me she says, that she is just an independent woman and likes to spend time with her friends. Chores are a drag so of course I am expected to help with those 50:50, even though I work all day while she stays around the house. She doesn’t work and has no plans for getting a job or career. When I suggest jobs that she could do, she just has reasons for why she wouldn’t want to do those types of jobs (she graduated with honors from college). She constantly barks commands at the kids right when I start conversing with her, ignoring what I say. Friday night And she is volunteering for the PTA, while I have to work all weekend … Not because I want to work but I have to work . .. In the last 14 years of marriage I would say that I have only worked 40 hours per week 90 to 95 percent of the time.
    Of course, I am sure all of this is my fault somehow. She must have withdrawn from me because I did something that caused her to lose her fire for life.
    I found your whole article nothing more than the worse kind of cliche.

    Reply
  87. xy

    Hi, not new to this phenomenon,
    but a lot of women , dont really care about marriage after a while, once it hits hard, some stay others move on,thats the basic truth. there are those who take it for granted that marriage , works this way. some are lucky or for some it just looks greener on the other side, but we dont know the reality in every relationship.cos the one’s who experience the granted have already gone through a lot that they have moulded themselves to fight it out or survive irrespective of what others think cos they consider themselves as beings who have every right to participate in all kinds of activities that bring them peace, enjoyment be it some service they do , or some job they like or gardening, fill that void space which used to once effect them.most marriages fail cos two people dont have any goals set from the very beginning, the participation in home making process is not a mutual satisfying one, more so there is a lot of interference from outsiders including family members, as well , which they realise they shouldnt have entertained in the first place.

    Reply
  88. Janeanne

    I’ve been married for 27 years. I have children that are still in school. My marriage has always been hard. Moodiness and the lack of presence from my husband was ALWAYS an issue, starting on my honeymoon. It contributed to a very unfulfilling sexual relationship that I always felt guilty about…that it was my fault, because of my lack of desire. His lack of presence turned into anger and rage for about 5 years. I walked on eggshells. I’m not proud of what I’m about to say. It haunts me daily, but I have become involved in another relationship. Would I be gone if it wasn’t for my kids? Yes. Do I feel horrible? Yes, every day of my life. To make matters worse, my husband had an epiphany about 2 years ago and is trying to change, and now I have no desire to work on this marriage. My heart is elsewhere, my love is reciprocated to a degree that I can’t even believe, and I just want this over, but I’m waiting until my children are old enough. Please contain your judgment. I know full well what I have done, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t ask forgiveness, but I was dead…completely dead. I thought I was unworthy of love. This relationship is what got me through. When you’re being treated very badly, it’s easier to rationalize why you do things. Now, with my husband’s newfound effort, I feel it is my obligation to meet him halfway, but I KNOW it’s useless, so I don’t. So more guilt. Is there a point when it is ok to say that It’s too late?

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  89. TK

    Ok I have read almost all of these. Alot of them have the same theme.I have been on my own since I was 13 and I myself have raised 4 kids ALONE, up till 3 years ago and they are not his so I do not expect anything from him parent wise. If he does it is on him and between my kids and him. Do not ever ever ever ever depend on someone else, your mom, dad siblings friends or spouse to make you happy, loved, desired, important or relevant. In any relationship,it is up to you to take care of you and your feelings. It is not anyone else’s responsibility or duty to make any one of you happy. Money comes and goes, houses, cars, jobs, careers and yes people. You win some you lose some. You still have to get up every single day and look yourself in the mirror. You and only you can make yourself happy. Period. Relationships are meant to bring out the best and worst in each other. It is each persons choice weather or not they stay.

    Reply
  90. colin

    My partner left m almost to the day one year ago.I was devastated,hurt, angry and lost. However,I did see it coming but it seemed there was nothing I could do about it. I felt her indifference, her lack of love for me,her cruelty,I felt her distancing herself from me . She knew what she was doing. She knew I loved her with all my heart.However, I knew she would be talking to and friends and family about me in a bad light to justify and gain support for when she eventually left me. I had mourned the death of our relationship a year before she left. I didn’t want to leave her, I wanted HER to make the decision to leave me because I suppose didn’t want her telling the kids that daddy had abandoned them all. She didn’t love me I didn’t feel it and I didn’t see it. She’d go to counselling and pour her heart out about me never being there, but I was never there WORKING to ease the pain of knowing the woman I had Ioved was only there because she had nowhere else to go. I worked very hard for my family, I admit I was hardly ever there but I loved them all and cared for them. In the end it was not enough she left within a month of telling me she never really loved me to go to another county with my kids and hasn’t spoken to me in over a year. Could I have tried harder to save what I had? The answer is NO her love was never there. Only the convenience of producing kids then abandoning the father whilst taking his assets and money along the way. Her plan was always to leave and that is what she did. Sometimes women have a selfish agenda and are not as misunderstood and down trodden as made out sometimes. Why women sometimes leave men? To get their hands on money.

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  91. Karen

    I thank you for writing this article. I felt I was the only one to feel this way. I was married for twenty two years and finally decided I had to end it. I begged him for several years to communicate with me, touch me, love me… I eventually got angry and decided I would not beg him another day. He moved out and I had no regrets. It took him one year to ask to talk about us getting back together. I wanted to laugh honestly. A year- if meant that much why did it take a year? I told him when he moved out I closed that door and moved on to heal. Being alone now is totally different than feeling alone in marriage.

    Reply
  92. Vic

    If a man’s marriage depends on him “being there” even though he’s already there so he can read her mind so she doesn’t divorce him, take his house and his money while kidnapping his kids, may I suggest another option so men can avoid the capricious hell of state enforced slavery.mgtow

    Men, don’t get married. As a married guy who talks to a LOT of other married guys I can tell you, the only way to win is not to play. mgtow

    Have some respect for your God given liberty and avoid marriage because it no longer exists. You’ve been warned. mgtow

    You’re welcome.

    Reply
  93. Karen J.

    Both parts of this article hit home and are alternately painful to process and also comforting, in that it describes so much of what I am experiencing. I have been married 23 years. My husband is a good man and a good provider. However, he has always been emotionally and physically distant. He is inflexible at times and is difficult to communicate with because he always believes he is right. My parents were great role models for marriage and also told me that although they were compatible and loved each other, marriage was also a lot of work and compromise. So I went into my marriage believing that affection, passion, and more shared interests would develop and lead to greater intimacy with work from both parties. But it hasn’t. As I tried to move closer he has kept me at arms length. Because we waited to have sex until after marriage, I was dissappointed to find that we are not sexually compatible. I took much of his deflection personally as rejection. I dove into raising my kids and was happy doing so, but in the back of my mind I told myself everything was going to be okay even tho it wasn’t . . . that I had no reason to be unhappy because he wasn’t a “bad guy,”he loves me”, he is a good father, etc. tho often times unreasonable and demanding. I compromised on many of my own needs and desires to keep peace for my children’s sake and continued to always, always, always hope and pray that something would change. When my first child left for college in 2012, it hit home that my nest would be empty in another five years (now two years away). We have done a great job of raising kids together but we have not modeled what a good marriage is to them. We have different interests and activities both inside and outside our home and I began to see a very lonely picture for my future — without affection, passion and companionship. Outside of our kids, we have nothing in common. I know God wants more for my marriage. When I told my husband I wanted to go to counseling, he refused stating that he was happy with the way things were, completely ignoring the fact that I WASN’T. I asked him to go to counseling four more times but ended up going alone. He tells me I am wasting my time and money because counselors are quacks and we can figure things out on our own. He has attempted to show more affection and “passion” but it was so foreign and uncomfortable for him that he even called showing me affection “a chore.’ I am so discouraged and hurt by this that I have now distanced myself from showing affection to him and developed new friendships and been involved more actively in my church. But even all of that does not fill the emptiness that I feel in my marriage. (Sadly, I thought that pushing thru and attending counseling without him would scare him enough to join me, but am resigned that he never will.). Ironically, my counselor just talked to me yesterday about the reality of change that is mentioned in the article. I have been scared to discuss separation because I do not know what is on the other side of that and he is still convinced that nothing is really wrong . .. . I feel much like Karen in the previous comment that I would rather be alone with me then spend one more day alone in my marriage. Thank you so much to everybody for your honesty in sharing your stories. While it is nice to know that I am not alone, you inspire and encourage me to continue to make changes for myself even if my husband is not part of the process.

    Reply
  94. AloneInLove

    As I read this entire article (both) I cried. I cried because my heart broke more. You see just Christmas eve of 2014 the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with and I completely went different ways; not because I didn’t and don’t love him because thats far from the truth. Honestly I’ve never loved anyone more in my life. See we couldn’t communicate; we never talked and when I tried it was as if I wasn’t even speaking to him. The yelling to get our point across to one another was not only bad for us but also for the 3 beautiful and amazing children in our home. When we found one another and fell in love it was a fairy tale love. Perfect and amazing in every way. He had a beautiful 4 year old daughter and I had a handsome 4 year old son both from our last relationship. We created a handsome little boy together. I stayed home and took care of the 3 children full time and when the older 2 started school I started working at their school and helping the school in anyway possible just to get me out of the house. He was busy golfing after work and on weekends. When our son was born things seemed to get better for a while and then it went back to the same old routine when our baby had to have surgery and I was sleeping with him at night during recovery. It seemed as if we completely fell apart and the only time we spent together was with our children. We were never alone together. Never. It wasn’t healthy and it hurts most because I feel if we had the communication we needed we could have corrected the issues long before we completely fell apart. After reading these articles I think it’s helped me understand better and I feel like it will help me move forward a little easier so I want to say thank you.

    Reply
  95. Nancy McDermott

    In 1993 I married the man I thought was my soul mate. Twenty three years later I see I ignored all the negative signals and focussed only on the positive. He is a loving father, but only in times of struggle. He sets high targets for his children and can’t mask his disappointment to find they are average. Six years ago we discussed me getting work outside of the home. Well, when I say we discussed, I mean I asked. He said that I could. A week later I secured an interview with a solitictors about 50 minutes away from where we live and had sorted out childcare to enable me to work full time. He wished me luck with the interview. I secured the job. I phoned him jubilantly. He told me “we’d talk about it when I got home”. At which point he told me “It’s the job or the marriage. You choose.” I had to phone and cancel my acceptance. To begin with I lied about why. But I phoned the solicitor three days later and confessed and apologised for lying. I hate lying.

    I was devastated. I became profoundly depressed and contemplated suicide. But I sought counselling and asked him to go to. He declined. We eventually got counselling after one of our children became a self harmer. But after a few weeks he found excuses not to go. Cancelled appointments. And the service finally told me it was useless to schedule appointments unless he was serious.

    I did ask him to a neutral place to discuss our marriage. We haven’t had sexual relations in 11 years. After eliminating health concerns I had to face the fact that he didn’t want to be intimate with me. So I asked him to leave our bedroom and move to the spare room. He only managed one night before telling me the reason he needed to move back in is “because I can’t sleep anywhere except my own bed and I’ll probably crash the car on the way to work if I don’t get a decent night’s sleep.” So I moved out. And I haven’t moved back. I know that if I go to a solicitor we can move past the separation phase and straight to divorce. But I haven’t worked in nearly 20 years and am struggling to find a job despite completing back to work courses and keeping up with technology.

    So. Six years later I still wash, cook, clean, iron, shop, drop the kids to and from school. One child has poor mental health. The next child suffers from misophonia. My third child has Tourette’s syndrome. All of these I think can be attributed to my deep unhappiness in my marriage.

    But I am terrified to walk away.

    Three days ago I was released from hospital after suffering paralysis. I feared a stroke and a multitude of other health problems. After a serious amount of testing and four days of rest I was diagnosed with a migraine and told to “reduce my stress levels”.

    My GP has advised going for mediation before we tackle solicitors.

    My eldest is completing her first year in university and has attempted to take her life twice in the past six months, has been arrested and has a terrible relationship with alcohol despite not seeing that in our home.

    My middle child is about to take her final examinations before, hopefully, entry to university.

    My youngest child is suffering from anxiety prior to starting secondary school.

    I feel that if I could just make it to October, they will be settled, and I can embark on a separation. But to be honest. I’m just delaying. Again. I don’t know what the solution is. But I do know that he’s sick of coming home and finding me disinterested in the house. I ask him how his work has gone. And we mostly work together on our children. But he never has been involved in their schooling. And I feel he’s facilitating the eldest in her downward spiral because he drops her to her friends on days out and agrees to shift the collection deadline later and later by which point she’s drunk, abusive and physically violent.

    Here’s the reality. I dread my children saying “I hate you for leaving him and breaking up the family and all my problems are down to you”. And I also dread “I hate you for staying with him and destroying our family and all my problems are down to you.”

    Reply
  96. Don D

    Hopefully this article will give “some” women peace of mind that they are not alone in the sea of lost souls. The article was posted on my Facebook by a woman I used to date and we are still friends and she is one of those that wears her heart on her sleeve. When she snags a guy, her Social Media outlet is all about her relationship, from receiving roses to traveling together. After a few months she starts posting about how hurt and upset she is that her new love has decided to break it off. I have watched this cycle with many women over the past 10 years. I am an avid reader and decided to read this article and the responses. I personally love life and have no regrets as to how I lived it. So thought I would respond by giving a my point of view about the article and some of the responses. I am sure I do not represent every mans point of view and unlike women that like the group mentality to share the pain they feel about their love life, men just do not really share that aspect of their life with other men. I find that being educated is a good start and foundation in a marriage. I was married for 25 years to a woman with a High School education while I had a Masters Degree. Her desire when we married was to have a family, live in a nice neighborhood, and have a great marriage. My desire was to have a family, provide a nice life for my family, and have a great marriage. Marriage is like riding in a two horse carriage where you take one rein and hand the other to your partner. To guide the horses you must keep the reins loose and the horses with move forward. Want to turn, both of you have to pull the reins to the left or right. If one partner starts pulling the rein to the right while the other pulls to the left, the horses become confused and the chaos begins. This is just one of 1000’s of articles women and men can choose to read. Advice on what “you” should or should not do is abundant. Some people make a nice living telling others what to do. I will make nothing for my advice, lol. I was dating a girl and we went to a nice restaurant for lunch one day and I observed tables with multiple women having lunch while involved in conversation. I noted the men were sitting at tables for two and maybe three and they were just eating. I had been there so many times in my life having lunch with one colleague or friend. I asked my girlfriend what in the world are those women talking about and her response was an honest, “they are talking about men”. She went on to say that is what women do, talk about their husband, boyfriend, or ex. I can tell you that is not what men do, “ever”. It took 25 years to get to divorce, but by the time it came, I was so ready to get out I wanted to give her a star for being strong enough to pull the trigger. This article would have been only one of hundreds she read about “what a marriage should be”. I would say we were truly engaged into our marriage for the first 15 years. By that time we had achieved having the children, owning a fabulous home, and in my opinion a good marriage. What really changed was the amount of time she had on her hands with all of the children being in school. To say (as this article suggest) that I was the blame for her boredom is ridiculous. When women are single they run in groups, married women will have a few friends and maybe go to lunch or some neighborhood event. I still loved my wife, but the change was to be found in her, not me. I did the same things I did from the start of the marriage. She got on the heavy side, had no hobbies, and her self esteem seemed to be declining. Sexually, she went from dressing nice and wearing make-up to jeans, natural face, and the worst was those granny panties. This is a personal fact. I am retired now and date mostly women 10 years younger than me, but every single one of them wears a thong or semi-thong panties. These are women 52-60 so think about it. Men get up every day and shave, shower, and dress because that is the start of the day and the requirement for being employed. If the wife works, which mine did not, they have to do the same. But a word to the wise, at the end of the day, putting on old clothes that make you look less desirable is a no no in my book. You can certainly change into something more comfortable, but old tee shirts and holy jeans will not do much for your evening. I am more knowledgeable about stay at home wives than the working variety, but the idea of touch and giving your wife 5 minutes of your day sounds foolish to me. In my world, I always shared events of the day and shared hugs and kisses, even if she looked like a rag doll. Men should of course participate in developing a good marriage, so communication is the key to everything. Taking time out to go to a nice dinner and little alone trips is all part of the marriage thing. What a man can not do is make a woman happy. She has to figure out how to be happy all by herself and the same for men. Here is where I probably lose most of you, lol, but if a woman wants to have a strong marriage, she has to work at it like it is her job. Dig out of that poor me rut and and make some changes. From the moment a man turns 18 until they nail his coffin shut, women have the power to develop her man into the man that she loves and the one that does not leave. Another secret is to be creative on your own and not do something because you read about it. You will be more empowered and feel a greater reward if you take an idea and develop it on your own. Over the years I have dated a lot of divorced women and had a lot of Valentine Events. While married there was this old collar men had to wear that was all about doing something for their wife and I was certainly one of them. I had to do the planning and be the lead dog, which is fine, but in return I may or may not have had any attention beyond a card or a little regular everyday run of the mill sex for my effort. Now for being single it is totally different. My current girlfriend arranged a hotel room and when I entered into the room I was blown away. On the bed was the shape of a heart made out of rose pedals (fake but effective) candles (bulb type) everywhere and a bottle of Champagne with two glasses, and a wrapped gift. I took her to a nice dinner, a valentine event, and gave her a diamond necklace. This is what memories are made of and should never stop being at the core of a marriage. I did the same thing for my wife when I was married, but she never went to the trouble to do anything for me. I need to go now, but I leave you with this thought. Marriage is a two way street and this is 2015, not 1985. If you are having marital problems and truly want to save your marriage, you must make changes in yourself and become creative and focus on keeping the man you love. Do not tell him what you need, show him and you do the touching first, then encourage him to join you on a new journey. If he does not respond in kind then you need a strong conversation, not a therapist. Money better spent would be to join a gym and look the best you possibly can because if it does not work out (your marriage) you will join a sea of women already looking the best they can. The older you get the tougher the competition for even a simple date.

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  97. Rose

    I always knew that communication is the key to a relationship. But in reality, there’s more to it than just talking. Honesty is one of it, when in a situation where you are about to pour out your thoughts we tend to choke up because we think it might hurt the other person more if we say it to their face, so we keep silent or divert things. Confrontations are difficult especially to men because they are not wired to be vocal emotionally. Some if not most, it’s only when it truly hits them that they would react. As a wife, for so many years into my relationship with my husband, whenever we get into a fight I always taunt him to verbalize how he sees and feels about the problem because he always tends to walk out and avoid it totally. Then as time passes, only I did realize how hard it is for him to actually say it because he’s too affraid to be honest. Also another factor and not to be undermined is the maturity of a person on dealing with marriage and the perks of it. As we know it, men are slow to mature than women. They don’t want to be the bigger person when dealing with problems and confrontations and verbal attacks scares them so they clam up.
    For years I have contemplated separation, but everytime the fear of what it entails and how to deal with it scares me and most for my children. But what’s always holding me back is the thought of not doing the best I can to save it, and ends up the regretful one. It takes two to tango as they say but as always, someone should lead and be more aggressive. In my situation perhaps, it’s me. But it gets very frustrating and self loathing to think that he as the husband should be the one who pilots things for the family and I will be the first officer. Somehow, at a certain point, I came to terms of the role playing in our relationship, but still, I have wished and still am hoping for him to be more sensitive and connected towards me. I believe I deserve that, I believe that’s the only thing that’s been missing. Thank you for sharing this article, it has enlightened and empowered my beliefs about how things should be in a relationship. Because no one losses focus on things that are interesting until it is not anymore…

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  98. Emme

    I just wanted to commend the author of both articles. I’m currently seeing someone, but unfortunately, I do not feel the emotional connection from him and I feel like it is time to leave him. There is no passion or selflessness on his part and I’m tired of being the only invested party. Thank you for helping me in making up my mind.

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  99. ally

    Grateful I found this. I have felt very selfish and isolated for wanting to leave my marriage. I am alone with the kids, he works, I work and his free time is spent as he wants it. Rarely with his family. I have told him a few times I am unhappy; I have shut down and now he realizes I am done. He is now rallying and I’m not sure it’s enough. It feels fake. I have been around the real him long enough to know he is selfish and power hungry. He can be that, but not with me as his wife. I need love and attention.

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  100. Ap

    I think love and attention is what everyone wants. We expect that when we get married, we will always get that.. We don’t. And that’s life. Does that mean we are not loved??? We stay, maybe longer than we should .
    Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.
    It shouldn’t be this tough to have both happiness and contentment.

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  101. TJ

    I liked the first article but thought the second not so good. I am disgusted to read of women who walk out on marriage without justification. In some cases it is expected. I suffered for years before finally getting divorced myself. After 12 years, my wife wrecked our marriage & generally made my life a complete misery. I arranged for counselling but she quit after her first visit. She didn’t like what she heard there. Despite her lies, deception, an affair & dreadful behaviour, the uk legal system rewarded her with 85% of everything. I was left homeless & broke. She moved into a nice new house paid for by myself with her boyfriend & my son. I just worked 4 years abroad trying to rebuild my life. These days I follow MGTOW principles. What a surprise. Now nearly 60, I still own almost nothing, am currently unemployed & have a completely uncertain future. I’m left wishing I had never married. I face working forever till I drop dead in the street. My ex ruined my life & there seems little I can do to recover financially. I wish life was different but it’s not. I would advise all men never to get married. It’s financial suicide.

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  102. Mike

    If these circumstances are so prevalent (and they are), it begs the questions: What are we doing wrong with our relationships as a culture? Is it unrealistic expectations about monogamy? Is it simply that media/advertising have created an unrealistic picture of what relationships should be? Is it because children are supposed to be raised by a community or extended family rather than cloistered away in a suburban box? Is it because most of us haven’t a clue about where we are going or why we are here? Or perhaps we are too distracted by the endless offer of passive entertainment to bother entertaining ourselves. For sure a higher level of consciousness can provide illumination on our hopes and dreams, insecurities and neuroses, but even gurus and ostensibly empowered people get divorced. In fact some of the strongest marriages I have seen are shown by relatively uneducated or uninformed people. So what gives?

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  103. ITen

    I am a woman married for a few years now, and i have to admit women can be just as guilty. I am a bit absent minded and restless in general. My husband is the most thoughtful person as can be.. he is always tuned in and listening to me. He remembers the smallest of things I say, but more often than not, I am the one who loses him. I am always busy with work and thinking of a million things and nodding my head to what he says without actually listening to him. And even though I am conscious about it, I am unable to change this habit. Of course, ours is a loving and caring relationship so its not an issue so far, but I can feel that he does not like it… every time he realizes I was mentally absent!

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  104. Helen

    Great 2 articles – exactly my life, my thoughts and wishes… I´m also going through the divorce after 12 yrs marriage. The only difference is, I didn´t leave him, he did. I probably just showed him too much of my feelings, expressed my wishes, tried to discuss what´s important and that I need some attention/passion too to go on and to fight for our life together. Don´t think I was too agressive with my feelings, I knew he´s not into those conversations, so I was quite delicate. I guess, I just suffocated him.. a typical extravert vs introvert situation. Sadly he found someone who he thinks might be maybe more..demanding on emotional level – I don´t know. But the feeling of being taken self-explanatory just has been haunting me since our son was born 6 yrs ago – and that´s just killes a woman who needs feelings. Otherwise he was a great husband: working hard, building the house for our family, but emotionally never there for me. I know men expressing feelings is not something natural but you can´t run a relationship without any emotional feedback to your other side.
    I loved the phrase of David Schnarch: “Only marriage can prepare you for marriage”. My definition to it would be today that.. after going through your first divorce you´ll analayse everything what´s important, what you didn´t get out of the relationship and what you need to succeed in the next relationship. So the first marriage, the mistakes made could be a great lesson to find the partner of your dreams for the rest of your life. At least – that´s something I comfort myself to go through the hard period at the moment.. 🙁

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  105. thegirlwhowalkedaway

    The cause of all my heart ache!
    Because from this and all my frustration our relationship started to get violent during fights, I would get frustrated after trying, talking, just trying to get the communication working so we can fix it together, and he just didn’t care, which hurt me more than the shots, the repeated telling me how crazy i am because i look and act so frustrated. I gave up on loving him, so I could love myself again.

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  106. bryant

    I just read both articles and can’t help but wonder how much of this may be rooted in unrealistic expectations. Are we supposed to be involved (participate) in every aspect of our spouse’s life? If so, how? I work from home as a technical writer for an internet company and i write short stories and play music in my free time. My wife off 19 years (23 together) is a nurse; she doesnt love words or music in the same way i do, by her own admission, so how can i include her in those activities? She’s a visual artist and is very creative when it comes to textures, colors, and fabrics, which completely goes over my head.

    I thought the best relationship was one in which both parties were able to express themselves and have interests apart from each other. I find the expectation to do everythkng together a bit claustrophobic, quite honestly. I tell my wife that I’m not the only one who can water her; she can hang out with friends apart from me, friends who will spark parts of her that i am unable to, and that i actually benefit from that, because when she comes home, she’s alive in a way that she typically isnt. I dont feel like i can spark everypart of her; its impossible.

    Where does the expectation that our partner should be our everything come from?

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    1. No name

      I don’t see an expectation in these articles that our partners should be our everything. What I see in these articles and these comments is that too often our partners are nothing, or we are nothing to them.

      It’s healthy and good that you and your wife get nourishment from others … and then return to each other refreshed and alive. If you returned to each other and the aliveness drained out of you as soon as you walked in the door, then you’d be in the situation these comments and articles are talking about.

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  107. KC

    Great articles…I really appreciated all the comments also. I recently (about 7 months) ago left a relationship (live in with child) after decline of communication and emotional connection/presentness. We have a 5 year old child together, so yes, it was a very heart wrenching situation and one that took every ounce of courage and mindfulness on my part to leave. However, I could not and would not abdicate self-responsibility for my life and stay for the sake of convenience, finances, or our daughter. It just seemed like death to me to stay ; to look at the next 20-40 years and see no aliveness , nor connection, nor true intimacy. And I truly believe that sets a terrible example and model for my daughter.
    My ex partner and I have worked thru some difficult stages, and we seem to be in a good place in this moment. Things are friendly and civil. He seems to get his “disconnection” and his ‘denial’ , and he is , in fact, working on those things in counseling.
    Now I find myself in the spot some others mentioned above – I’m very happy it being just my daughter and myself. I feel tremendous relief that I can one again be myself. I am not looking nor do I want another relationship at this point. I do find that society looks down on me a little for that choice though….

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  108. Elizabeth

    Right on the money. I’m leaving November 1, 2017. I’ve been counting down to this day for 12 years. We wanted him. We got TV, sometimes stuff, sometimes money. I’ve told him that we wanted him. We wanted HIM. I’m done and he can be by himself, because it appears that’s what he’s wanted all along. Even his kids have said that they won’t need to see him once they’re grown and gone, because he didn’t see them while they were here. Buh bye. We got married 30 years ago.

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  109. Sooooo lonely!

    My friend sent me the link to this article after I finally told her how I had been feeling for the past 4 years. I read it & had to stop often because tears just filled my eyes. Like most people, I felt as though I wrote part 1 of the article. The only difference is that we are hardly having sex. I’ve struggled for so long to come to terms with my feelings without feeling guilty because he is a great man, very patient & kind but completely absent!!! We both work full time and sometimes I will work 60 + hours a week. I will come home completely exhausted & still cook dinner for my husband & prepare his lunches for the next day & then clean after. I’ve always gone above & beyond for him & I’m not complaining about that, I do those things because that is me, I feel that is what a wife should do for her husband regardless. He has never had to lift a finger around the house & I do a lot of the “manly” tasks also because it’s easier then asking (even though it’s clear that I should have to ask) my only real problem is that it has all become expected of me, I don’t get a thank you or any acknowledgement that i work myself to death at work only to come home & do the exact same thing all while he is on this cell phone, lap top or watching movies in his beloved “man cave” when I attempt to have a conversation with him I’m lucky to get a grunt out of him let alone a conversation. Im also very affectionate with & try to have romance but he doesn’t seem to want any part of it. I’ve never hid my feelings from him, I’ve always wanted to him be aware of how I was feeling so that together we could work on it, I’ve suggested counseling but always get told we do not need it & he is happy! I can honestly say that I think my husband loves me BUT not how a husband should love his wife. There is nothing there when he looks at me, the last time he told me I was beautiful was on our wedding day. I don’t seek attention from other men, I want it from my husband but sadly I never receive it. You start losing yourself little by little. Although my husbands physical presence is here I’ve never felt so alone & I can honestly say it’s the worst feeling ever! It truly does crush your heart 🙁 after reading this article I sat on it for a few days, I wanted to see how he was (after again recently telling him how we need to work on our marriage) there was no change, not even sightly. So I decided to send him the link to the article, he asks why I’m texting him & i asked him to please read it, his reply was that “it’s too long, I just got home & want to relax” my husband is very educated, highly intelligent & LOVES to read yet this very short article was “too long” that right there gave me so many answers. I’m sure after a minute he read it, a few days had passed & still no change. Sadly I have given up, I’m at the point where if I do not see a consistent effort I will separate from him. I do deserve to be happy every single day & even if I find that happiness alone that is ok, I’ve come to the realization that I can not put someone else’s needs & happiness above my own anymore. I wish everyone out there luck, I have found comfort reading a lot of comments & knowing that I’m not alone xxx

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  110. No name

    My husband is a good man. He cooks dinner for me, pays the bills, hugs me frequently, even kisses me sometimes. With closed lips. Like I’m his sister. We haven’t had sex the entire time we’ve been married.

    We’re roommates, not spouses.

    It’s really lonely thinking that I have to choose between him and feeling like myself. When we said “I do,” a door slammed shut on a very important part of me. If I had known it would, I wouldn’t have married him.

    I’m not talking about “I want sex.” I want sexuality. It’s possible to be incredibly sexually fulfilled without sex; if he were in a wheelchair but sexual, I wouldn’t feel so lonely and incomplete. He’s walking around fully functional. He just doesn’t want me, and if I go get sex outside the relationship, he’ll divorce me. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, considering what we’ve got right now.

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  111. Face Man

    My wife (whom I’ve been with for 11 years) left me 4 weeks ago claiming she hasn’t loved me for 18 months!!! I was totally devastated!!! My mind was all over the place for a couple of weeks, I could see almost immediately what went wrong and set about frantically trying to fix things. The strange thing was, that when I realised that this was real and it was over, her feelings for me were dead, something odd happened. I snapped out of the depression that I had created for myself (you can get stuck in a rut) and have not been this active since I was a teenager!

    I knew we were arguing and that things were not brilliant for quite a while, but we ‘MEN’ think that this is a glitch that will sort itself out. I had no clear warning …… just the bomb.

    I have lost the love of my life through a period of inactivity/depression and lack of real understanding. I didn’t listen, we DO think everything is ‘OK’ and when you (women) drop hints or start acting peculiar or in off ways, we simply think ‘she’s on one again’ and get defensive and then so do you! And that’s when it kicks off… it’s not our fault, it’s how WE are programmed.

    Very few women here seem to be ‘actively’ sitting their men down and talking about their problems and explaining that whatever is going on is eventually going to be a deal breaker, that way I’m sure most would sit up, listen and act, instead of just thinking you’re nagging. You see, we are quite simple creatures who only want to protect, love, feed and occasionally treat our wife’s, once that is sorted we think ‘job done’. Most of us haven’t been to the school of how complicated women’s feelings are and what they need, we think in our minds that we are providing what you need but in reality you crave a deeper connection and understanding.

    It would seem that I realised this too late….

    To think that she hadn’t loved me for so long really hurt and makes me think as to how she could know this and not tell me, and also that basically everything and every experience for the last year and a half was based on a lie and totally unfair.

    Some women rant on about equality and I have no problem with equal rights, what I do have a problem with is women who ‘choose’ to live by a distorted view of equality who then demand preferential treatment whilst withholding the things that a man needs. You see men need sex to connect, withholding just creates a stalemate where the woman will in no way receive what she needs emotionally. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it.

    There is a new breed of women coming up, they are the ones that think marriage or men are disposable, they read all these magazines that have distorted feminist views. We men don’t, we watch Dave and ultimately turn to internet porn, not because we are perverts or that the models are better looking, it’s because it’s AVAILABLE!!!

    We do all deserve to be happy, it is ourselves that choose not to be, through lack of communication. The thing is, the happiness has always been there, we just sometimes forget where we put it.

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  112. Carebear

    I agree with you, Face Man, but just how honest should I be? I’ve been married for 25 years to a wonderful man. He’s a good person, a good provider, a great father. He’s also struggled with alcohol abuse for our entired married lives. He’s been through treatment; I’ve been to Alanon. We’ve had the same arguments countless times. Over the past year, I have changed. I am more confident, and assertive, and finally see my own value. (Lots of therapy, can you tell?) Anyway, we had the same old tired argument about his drinking that we’ve always had, except this time I told him very plainly that this could be the end of our marriage. He asked me to let him earn my trust back, and made the same promises I’ve heard before. I agreed to work on things again and gave him yet another chance. So now i’m in the “waiting for the sky to fall” mode. This is a familiar territory for me, except things are different for the first time ever. I have been talking to an old boyfriend. We have not been physical with each other at all; but the temptation is so great. We still care about each other, and after all these years it feels kind of nice to be getting that attention from another man. So…what do I do? I promised that I would give him time to try to win my trust back. I don’t want to cheat because I can’t imagine how devistating that would be. So do I tell my husband about my feelings for this other man? Do I tell him that I’m actually contemplating ending our marriage? (Not because of the other man, but because of the damage our marriage has suffered that I’m not sure can be repaired.) I want to be (and always have been) very honest with my husband. But is this something I should just keep to myself?

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    1. Alessio

      This is typical and really THE PRIMARY REASON marriages fall apart. Its not the issues, the drinking, the personal problems, the disgusting habits, the uglies. No, we all have those, and the women are just as culpable. No, its the temptation that comes from others, the lovers in our lives. The bad behaviors are just excuses, justifications to go have, or continue, the fling.

      You see, there is no perfect marriage. There is a reason mankind and society created the wedding vows, which include “for better or worse, for richer for poorer, till death to us part”, and that’s because the “ugly” is always there, no matter who you are. Your lover has the uglies as well, you just don’t see them yet. But give it time and they will surface. Then what will you do, find another lover?

      Unfortunately, our society has become consumed with “pleasure”, and the absence of pleasure is now justification for ruining a lifetime together. There is no physical or mental abuse, just the “uglies” of the other person. Now the uglies give us an excuse to flee.

      We truly are selfish beings. Think about how shallow life is if all of us think this way, if we flee when when a new admirer comes along. We put ourselves into and endless cycle of pleasure and ugliness because even our new lovers will show us eventually the ugly sides of their lives, and we have yet again another excuse to find yet another lover.

      Life is hard, marriage is hard. There is a reason for the 1 year engagement period, there is a reason for pre-Cana, there is a reason why our pastors, rabbis, and counselors advise us to “think hard” about what we are about to engage in. There is no such thing as a perfect life, and no such thing ss a perfect marriage. We need to make a committment upfront that we will be there for our spouses “for better or worse” til “death do us part”, barring physical and/or mental abuse. Otherwise we are just animals, responding to our lusts and nothing more.

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  113. Face Man

    Carebear, the biggest eye opener I have had in my life was when she left. The mixture of emotions and sense of loss are incredible, life changing even. After freaking out for a bit, I stopped drinking, started working out and even stopped smoking, my world changed. The motivation came from re-hashing every conversation and argument and disapproval over the period she claimed she wasn’t happy.

    I know why I wasn’t happy and why I went into my pod, I called it ‘refusal to soldier’. I am British, I would never consider therapy because I know my own mind and do understand what has happened with my relationship. I wasn’t getting what I wanted so there was no way she was getting what she wanted, simple as that really. I love her so much but stubborn people dig in, only through lack of communication, I didn’t see her slipping away.

    People go on about damage to marriages, I don’t see it as damage, I see it as a prolonged periods of buried feelings a bit of depression and failure to communicate properly. The love is there, it always has been, it just needs to re-surface which will only happen through actual realisation. Sounds like he needs a jolt, the only time I had reflected on how I’d been was when she announced that it was over and she didn’t love me anymore followed by being extremely cold and distant.

    Whatever you do, If you still love him, DO NOT tell him about this other man, that kind of thing I could never forgive and all trust goes out of the window. If you are desperate to do something and save your marriage before it’s too late, tell him you don’t love him and leave him for a while and watch what happens!
    If he loves you, he will change, as soon as he realises what he is losing the light switch you have been looking for, he will find.

    Drop the bomb, it’s the only thing that worked for me, I am in a totally different place from where I was even 5 weeks ago, albeit too late for me…

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  114. Carebear

    Thanks Face Man, I appreciate your honesty and perspective. The last time I walked out was only for a weekend, and I think he knew I was coming home. (that was 2 weeks ago) But you’re right – he needs a jolt of some kind. His best friend told me that leaving might be the reality check that he needs. Thanks for the advice. I hope everything works out for you too.

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  115. Natasha

    These posts really hit home with me. This is my second marriage. First marriage ended due to alcohol abuse on my spouse’s part which led to emotional distance. At the beginning of my relationship with my second husband, I thought that we would always have each other because we were such great friends. His first marriage was crappy because his wife really liked the idea of marriage, but really was an emotionally cold person. He always said she was not affectionate and did not want to do anything with him or go out etc. Now he has become her. He is never affectionate, I always initiate affection with limited results. Sex has become very much a weekend chore. He only works part-time (while I work full-time) and golfs or watches sports every spare moment. He does not want to go dancing anymore (he said his wife never wanted to and he loved dancing) and when we go on vacation, he wants to go to bed really early. I know everyone says have you told him. I have and he says if you don’t love me the way I am, get rid of me. I got a huge eye opening recently when I met a much, much younger man at a family party who danced the night away with me, was very complimentary of me and made me feel like the physically fit, active and dynamic person I am. (Frankly, my husband has let himself go.) The young man is too young unfortunately to be an option and I rarely meet men who interest me. So, I have to decide to be stuck with the rest of my life with very nice, very inattentive and unsatisfying husband or take the chance and ask him to leave and be alone for the rest of my life. I look good for my age (young guy thought I was 30), but I am not young and its hard to find a mate as you get older particularly if you live in a rural region. Thanks for listening, it felt good to vent.

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  116. Mama in

    in three days we will recognize 38 years of marriage! I really can’t say celebrate because honestly I am trying to hold it together! The disconnection I have felt through the years has driven a wedge between us. I honestly feel I am here solely for his sexual pleasures! He is not totally to blame! I allowed the depression of losing our daughter and our relationship strain to drive me to addiction which has only forced us further apart. Over the years I have tried to tell him I need more time with him and more real acknowledgement and it gets better for awhile then it’s back to the same old way! I refuse to ask anymore! It is so hard because he is a good provider for our nine living children and a good Christian man but like his own father he does not show true emotion, thank you for your article

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  117. Jeremy

    Yea, I got a lot to say as does everyone else, judging from the lengthy and numerous posts,but it’s not going to change anything if I do, nor is it going to change anything for anyone else. So I guess I won’t say anything at all to the tragedy of love lost or love never had a chance or too late for love or all the many versions of heartbreak that are out there. Who wants to listen to one more story, maybe only the person telling the story hoping someone might hear them and therefore see them and somehow possibly validate their existence and maybe their pain and suffering or maybe anger and resentment. The real tragedy is not that love went south or she left or he left or whatever version it is – the the real tragedy is not what happened or who was to blame but that love will never be again or you don’t get another chance for love … That you will never have the chance to love again…love followed by pain rolled by love again is not so bad but love followed by followed by nothing feels like you are a ghost wandering among the loving longing for a glance of love and the sweet embrace of another but alas that is not possible for a ghost is it…

    Reply
  118. Pamela

    One of the comments here said that women don’t sit the man down to make them understand… I disagree. They just don’t listen or take it seriously until it’s too late. I can only speak for myself and other couples that I know. In my case, I was married to my high school sweatheart for 20 years. We have 3 children together. Earlier in our marriage, we were young and he hung out with his friends every chance he got, drank a lot. As we got older, we got together with friends quite often and although in a more “mature” setting, he was still the life the of party, drank a lot, the guys love him and that’s all great but driving a drunk guy home after every social gathering, with the kids in the car, sucks. “Is daddy drunk again?” Grrrrrr! During the work-week, he was not emotionally present…. watching tv, on the computer… not “with me”. I’d often cry to him, beg him to stop drinking so much socially, beg for his love and attention until I was finally DONE (the first time). I tried to divorce in 2008 but my family fell apart, including my husband so I stayed. We went to counseling, he stopped drinking and he TRIED for the first time ever. We were so happy….. for about 2 years and little by little it went back to normal.

    The lonliest feeling in the world is to live/sleep with somoone next to you and feel completely alone. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy… funny, great dad, good provider, handsome, cooked, cleaned, over-all good guy that “said” he loved me like no other, yet he treated me like a stranger. I’d walk through the door and he wouldn’t even look up from his computer. I’d be telling him about something and notice that he wasn’t listening so I’d stop talking – and he wouldn’t even notice that I stopped in mid-sentence. I’d ask him to please make eye contact with me when we were talking and when I said it, he’d do it a little but then go back to whatever he was doing. I’d tell him that I feel like he treats me like a sister and he’d laugh or say I was gross, but when you treat somone like a roommate/sister for so long, the love changes…. I started loving him less like a lover or life-partner…. the love was more like a brother w/ resentment. Then when he’d come kiss me or grope me, I’d push him away because I was so resentful so he felt rejected. It was a vicious cycle of the marriage moving into being over. The final 6-months I stopped trying. Stopped caring. He didn’t seem to care either. He was completely indifferent, sleeping on the couch at least twice a week. I’d park my car down the street before coming home and cry. Or lock myself in the bathroom and cry. Or go to sleep crying which he would not even notice.

    The hardest thing I have ever done is to make the decision to leave – to break up my family and leave the man that I’ve loved for 29 years – because I knew, it would never change. When I asked for a divorce in May 2014 he didn’t know what hit him. He was devasted and cried… his heart was broken. My guilt was enormous and I did everything to make it easier for him – financially and emotionally. The divorce was final in November and here we are a year and 3 months after the separation and I now have clarity. Instead of taking on all the guilt and saying to myself and others “I love him like a brother”, I am now able to see it for what it is: I was neglected and felt unloved for years. I’m angry at him for “loving me so much” yet not showing it. I’m angry at him for not seeing it or caring regardless of all the years of my “complaining”. I’m angry that my family is broken. It hurts even to type all this out.

    Guys, don’t be idiots. If you love the woman you’re with then love her how SHE needs to be loved. Make sure she feels like she’s the most important person in your life – that you cherish her and that you never want to be without her. Like the writer said, even if it’s 5 minutes a day. That can save your relationship.

    Reply
    1. Alessio

      Wow!

      It is the “MAN” who must change WHO HE IS to pamper the woman so that the relationship can be saved.

      That clears it up, doesn’t it. In other words, the MAN must strive to serve the SELFISH needs of the woman, who wants to feel LOVED at least 5 mins per day.

      Be honest, are you really saying that 5mins per day of “being there” was going to save your marriage? REALLY, so all we men have to do is put in 5mins per day of “being there”, whatever the HEC that meand, and all will be well?

      One thing you did not mention was this: were you having an affair when you started to feel your marriage was on the rocks?

      Did you know who your husband was when you married him? Was he “there” at the beginning, but then suddenly 20 years later he wasn’t?

      If women are setting the impossible standards that you are, then all marriages are doomed to extinction. We men cannot possibly satisfy this “being there” requirement, since we don’t know what it is and we think that “we are there”. You said it yourself, your husband was a good man, a good father, a good cook, a good provider, everything we men think we are supposed to be, but you and this author are saying, well, that’s not enough. How rediculous.

      Women like you, and the world is full of them today, believe that somehow men must be super beings. Like the author says, we MUST go way beyond just being good fathers, good husbands, good providers. We have to meet this impossible standard of being great lovers, great romantics, great psychologists, great friends, or we will not meet the requirements that women want.

      For women to expect the superman husband is to expect a fantasy, and that’s never possible over the long term. Martiages may start out with both of you being great lovers, always spending time together, each super mindful of each other most of the time. But that’s not the reality over the lifetime of a marriage. A marriage settles down into routine. Both of you have to work at your relationship every day. It’s not just YOU who has needs, but your husband has needs, which are different, and may go unsatisfied. In a marriage, the sex is not the same after 20 years as it was when you were first married, tne romance is not the sane, tne “being there” is not the same, but you both adapt, change, accommodate as circumstances change. That’s life, that’s marriage, that’s the way it is.

      When a lover comes along, that ads the spice you want, the excitement you crave, the wild sex you crave. It fills the holes in your life because you were not able to adapt to marriage, to life with a life partner. Its not that husbands are bad men, they are not, but that’s part of the problem, isn’t it. We are too nice, too accomodating, too good at being a father abd husband that we cannot be that “bad boy” liver that you crave, that person you had at the beginning of your marriage. You set an impossible standard that no man can meet.

      And guess what, after several months or years with your new lover, the new liver will become the old lover, the boring man who may be a good person but who is “not there”.

      God help us men so that we BEVER run into women like you, who will think the world of us when we are new and exciting, but who will drop us like yesterday’s garbage when you get to see our real lives, our day-to-day selves, our good natured being.

      Reply
  119. Alessio

    Another example of how this “author” is setting unreasonable standards for men.

    Think about it guys, what this person is saying is that you MUST be Mr Romance 24×7. If that’s NOT what he means, then how frequently must you be? You notice he doesn’t define that. Is it one per day, twice, three times? PALEEZ…!

    Could it be that you married THE WRONG PERSON? Yes, THAT is more likely.

    It all gets down to whether your spouse can accept you for who you are. If she really, truely loved you, then it would be IMPOSSIBLE for her to be with anybody else. But if she is selfish, if all she cares about are HER NEEDS, then you are DOOMED from the start.

    Please guys, you need to be WHO YOU ARE and God willing you will find someone who accepts you for that, and only that, and she will NEVER leave you. The mistake happens upfront, when you chhose the WRONG PERSON.

    Wake up fellas.

    Reply
  120. J

    I call BS…

    Often times it is the wife who isn’t present. She’s on the phone, out with her girls, working when he’s home. What the guy realizes is that she doesn’t want him, she wants a maid to do more work. It doesn’t matter if the husband works 40 hours, commutes, and comes home and does dishes, laundry or cooks. It’s never enough…

    Meanwhile, she’s unhappy because he’s listened to her express emotions regarding work, life, etc, three days in a row. And when he’s had a bad day, and just wants one night of support in several weeks. He’s horrible.

    The real reason the wives leave? Because they can leave, collect thousands a month in child support, put the kids in daycare and receive even more support, and be as selfish as they want. The entire divorce system is in their favor. It doesn’t matter if mothers a using drugs, choking children, they get it all by default.

    “Someone could come and sweep me off my feet, right out from under my husband.”

    Gee….and we can’t get you off your phone. We plan date nights, and you don’t even interact. We ask you to dress up a little. Put on a dress, something other than a sweatshirt and old jeans. Nope. Too much…but you’ll do it when the cute guy is at an after work party.

    “You can get as angry, hurt or indignant as you want. Your wife is not your property. She does not owe you her soul. You earn it.”

    Okay, enough of this….many women there is no way to “earn it”, they’re so selfish that no matter how much effort a guy puts in, it’s never enough.

    “She needs to feel it.” SO DO WE!!!!

    When we’re working 40, commuting too, taking care of the kids, spending our weekends in the kitchen cooking meals for the next week, coming home and doing dishes at 11pm, when you tell us you want us home early. But you don’t want to spend any time with us, you just don’t want to put the kids to bed. You want us to do it. Then on our weekend, you want stay shut up in your room on your phone all day.

    Come one, wives need to put out, and I don’t mean sex. I mean wives need to realize this is a hard world. Show your husband some appreciation. Stop belittling husbands for every single thing.

    “She doesn’t want absent-minded groping or quick sex. She wants to feel your passion.” Ya, you think we don’t want that too?

    “your passion for being alive. Do you have it?”

    How can we? We work all day, we’re berated by our bosses, who are never satisfied with the time we put in. We come home, and were berated at home. We come home and there is no dinner, often times not even leftovers. Our wives come home from their part time job. And if there is no dinner, we’re denigrated. Doesn’t matter that on our day off, we juggled several children, fixed broken fixtures in the house, fixed the mower that broke for the umpteenth time.

    “If you’ve lost it, what’s the reason?”

    BECAUSE WIVES TODAY CAN’T GIVE THEIR HUSBANDS A COMPLIMENT IF THEIR MARRIAGE DEPENDED ON IT.

    “If you think you’re present with your wife, try listening to her. Does your mind wander? ”
    Really, I think wives need to take a serious and honest look in the mirror.

    These days, men aren’t the Leave it to Beaver Dads of the 50’s. We have all the same demands, work 40, commute, mow the yard, fix the house, fix the car, but we now participate…we cook, clean, wash dishes, wash laundry, change diapers, are active in our children’s lives. And we are treated with disdain. Maybe women need to shape up and quit being so selfish.

    Heck, we bring you flowers to work, and you don’t even thank us. Finally a few days later we ask if you liked them, and we’re berated for expectations.

    “But you’re busy. You don’t have time for all this. How about five minutes? Five minutes a day.”

    If you feel your husband isn’t around emotionally, maybe you need to check yourself. He’s probably been banging on your door. He’s probably tried a thousand times to tell you that he needs you to set the phone down and listen to him for a moment. Half the time we have to beg you just for a kiss or a hug good-bye/good-night.

    “Note: The gender dynamic outlined above is reversible. It can go both ways.”

    Then write about it, because frankly, I know a lot more women who are guilty of this. And a lot more men desperately craving emotional interaction from their spouses.

    Reply

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