Why women leave men they love – What every man needs to know

Marriage - why women leave, cheatAs a marriage counsellor working with men and women in relationship crisis, I help clients navigate numerous marriage counselling issues. While many situations are complex, there’s one profoundly simple truth that men need to know. It’s this – Women leave men they love.

They feel terrible about it. It tears the heart out of them. But they do it. They rally their courage and their resources and they leave. Women leave men with whom they have children, homes and lives. Women leave for many reasons, but there’s one reason in particular that haunts me, one that I want men to understand:

Women leave because their man is not present. He’s working, golfing, gaming, watching TV, fishing… the list is long. These aren’t bad men. They’re good men. They’re good fathers. They support their family. They’re nice, likeable. But they take their wife for granted. They’re not present.

Women in my office tell me “Someone could come and sweep me off my feet, right out from under my husband.” Sometimes the realization scares them. Sometimes they cry.

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. She needs to feel it. She wants to talk to you about what matters to her and to feel you hearing her. Not nodding politely. Not placating. Definitely not playing devil’s advocate.

She wants you to feel her. She doesn’t want absent-minded groping or quick release sex. She wants to feel your passion. Can you feel your passion? Can you show her? Not just your passion for her or for sex; your passion for being alive. Do you have it? It’s the most attractive thing you possess. If you’ve lost it, why? Where did it go? Find out. Find it. If you never discovered it you are living on borrowed time.

If you think you’re present with your wife, try listening to her. Does your mind wander? Notice. When you look at her, how deeply do you see her? Look again, look deeper. Meet her gaze and keep it for longer than usual, longer than comfortable. If she asks what you’re doing, tell her. “I’m looking into you. I want to see you deeply. I’m curious about who you are. After all these years I still want to know who you are every day.” But only say it if you mean it, if you know it’s true.

Touch her with your full attention. Before you lay your hand on her, notice the sensation in your hand. Notice what happens the moment you make contact. What happens in your body? What do you feel? Notice the most subtle sensations and emotions. (This is sometimes called mindfulness.) Tell her about what you’re noticing, moment to moment.

But you’re busy. You don’t have time for this. How about five minutes? Five minutes each day. Will you commit to that? I’m not talking about extravagant dinners or nights out (although those are fine too). I’m talking about five minutes every day to be completely present to the woman you share your life with. To be completely open – hearing and seeing without judgement. Will you do that? I bet once you start, once you get a taste, you won’t want to stop.

<Note – The gender dynamic outlined above is reversible. It can go both ways.>

UPDATE – Read this response > Why men leave women they love (click here)

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256 thoughts on “Why women leave men they love – What every man needs to know

    1. Andrea

      I love this and agree wholeheartedly. I also think that a man can be present physically– not fishing, golfing, gaming, etc and not actually be “present” emotionally.

      Reply
      1. JustAman

        I quote :
        “Can you feel your passion? Can you show her? Not just your passion for her or for sex; your passion for being alive. Do you have it? It’s the most attractive thing you possess.”

        I am sorry but this is in contradiction with the entire rest of the article. Not just my passion for her, my passion for being alive?
        Well that is exactly what “doing what I enjoy” is. Gaming, sports, working with passion and conviction, for some people this is being alive.
        Now I understand every human being needs attention, and that no one, friend or partner, should be taken for granted, but don’t you dare be so patronising as to say “show her you are alive” when what you mean is “give her sincere attention”.

        And I agree that sincere “us time” is necessary, sincere care and attention, but people also need space, people need respect, and people have hobbies and likes/dislikes that have to be respected.

        I find your article truly heartbreaking, sincere, and with passionate beauty in it (the subject of the article I mean).

        But know that passion is selfish. It IS by very definition, a very selfish reason to break your man and family. Because your man also needs you. No matter how much you show it in a woman’s perspective.

        Reply
        1. Sina

          When you have hobbies or likes, don’t distract yourself from your partner. Try enjoying it with her instead of living two separate lives, or just express it and have her there sometimes to support you so that she can feel inclusive to your life hobbies. She should push you and encourage you. For the most part women would only have a problem with your hobbies if your selfish about it. Why be in a relationship when you can’t live together and share differences so that you can appreciate or simply learn more from each other?

          Reply
          1. Tj

            One thing that might help is if the wife tried to show some interest in what her husband enjoys. She might actually grow to like it more then he does.

        2. KPanda

          I think you should look at the quote you placed above once more. The author said “…your passion for being alive….” Not, “show her you are alive” which is what you wrote in your response. The article is talking about passion. Having passion for our lives, our selves, and the people around us. It is a personal task that we all must do each day. It’s not easy. People write books about this all the time. Seminars are held all over the world. Many go to counseling to find this passion. Gaming, sports, and work can be taken from you. What is it that keeps you going in life? What makes you get up each day? Someone could steal your games. You can hurt yourself and not be able to play the sports you love. You can get laid off from you job (and not be able to buy games). Does that mean that you’ll have no passion? These questions also apply to me…all of us. What are we passionate about? When we find out, we will be passionate not only with ourselves, but the people we care about.

          Reply
        3. Sarah

          It is not a contradiction. I understand what the author is saying, because I resonate with it. Having a passion for life is much different to a hobby. My hubby is a keen surfer. He loves it. But if that is his ‘passion for life’, what does he do when he’s not surfing? Read a surfing mag? Or talk about surfing? Or watch it online? That’s not a passion for life – that’s a passion for surfing. A passion for life pulses through your veins 24/7; the air you breathe, sunrise, sunset, the night sky, a full moon, animals, insects, the ocean, trees, helping those in need – wanting to be the best version of yourself, always, everyday. I can see when someone has this fire in them – it’s one of the sexiest thing a person can have (in my eyes).

          We all need our vices and space to do our own thing; but when one has a passion for life, the genuinely important stuff becomes a priority and everything else falls away.

          Reply
          1. Sauce

            Sarah, you put that so beautifully. I agree! I know that feeling and I love it, but I do find it gets crushed so easily in today’s society. I would love to find a man who can also feel that passion for life, and stay strong with me to keep that going in a very superficial world. I don’t care what hobbies he has to relax, they are inconsequential and a shallow thing in my eyes. It’s like when I hear people say that they want a parter to have the same hobbies as them, I cringe. Sure, spend time and effort in getting to know your partners hobbies, but don’t forget that lust for life!

          2. Justin

            You’re so intelligent, your husband is exponentially lucky to have someone with your integrity.

          3. Anthony

            Sarah, you strike me as someone who thinks they have a passion but is just grasping at straws. Look at the things you listed. None of them are actual things you participate with in life. “the air you breathe, the sunrise, the sunset” are you kidding me? Then you trash an ACTUAL thing someone does like surfing and can say its not their passion for life. I mean, wow. Okay sure you keep breathing air and watching sunrises while your husband travels to find the best surf he can find and lives his life to the fullest. Hobbies definitely ARE passions. Work can be a passion. Poker can be a passion. Building can be a passion. Got it? But so can your children. The animals you take care of at your house or at a shelter you volunteer at can be a passion. The time you volunteered at a soup kitchen and it made you feel passionate. Also a passion. The passion you share with your significant other. Got it?

            It is truly disturbing to read an article like this and also the comments to see how close minded some people are. Also how selfish they are too. “Everyone should be like me or they are not living/passionate/loving/enjoying life” Wow. just wow.

          4. Stephanie

            Absolutely, the best comment..Sarah …. I have it, my husband does not, how do I help him find it?

        4. Tabs

          I donno what writer means by ” show her you are alive” , but for me it means show the woman in your life that u r not a robot or person without feeling..react,involve,listen,talk etc that too only if u feel like doing it. Drink a coffee with her not because u should but because and only if u feel like sitting with her… Not just for the sake of doing it. Sorry if i offended u..:)

          Reply
          1. sharon

            why should men have all the fun, women have to get their groove back,women have issues with these men just like a man have issues with women. what’s good for the goose ,is good for the gander as well.sharon

        5. lightingbolt

          I don’t think you fully understand the article. At the begning of the relationship stop and think how anxious you were to see each other. I bet there was no me time that time. So what’s the difference now that you believe you have the other person in your corner.

          Reply
          1. E

            The difference from the beginning of a relationship and one more long term is the loss (build up of tolerance) of chemical releases you get at the beginning which give you the euphoric feeling of ‘love’. It can last up to roughly 2-3 years before the ‘lust drug’ wears off and hopefully a true love has had the time to grow strong enough to keep them together from there.

        6. George A

          Justaman, you missed the message. “Show her you are alive,” is about much more than attentiveness and not at all a contradiction to the rest of this well written article. And it is certainly not patronizing you personally, or men generally. If anything it’s a gift. Sometimes we take things wrong because we don’t understand. And I sense that nothing I could say here would help. Some things have to be realized for one’s self. Or lived through. But I will say this much- my wife of 25 years knows I can’t ever be the person I was when she met me, but the part of me she was attracted to, my energy when I’m around her, my passion to do things with her, my pure focus on her when she is in front of me, these things have a tendency to wane over time. We get busy, we have so many responsibilities. But the truth is that if we can manage to keep giving our wives that part of us which was the original “spark,” if we can, “show them that we are alive,” they will be there with us through anything.

          Reply
        7. Emmery

          Passion is not selfish in and of itself. It is only when a human polarizes it in their actions to an extreme when it can become selfish. By “extreme” I mean to the full exclusion of other necessary ingredients necessary in our socializing and human interactions. Passion requires some constraint and understanding that numerous things are responsible for a full, meaningful relationship to grow and/or survive. I am passionate about playing the piano. If I don’t step back in moments and realize other things need doing and I have a relationship to tend to, I could sit for hours on end doing it. So I dole it out in small parcels when I feel the strong desire to do it. Passion can live alongside of sacrifice…its only at the point of extreme polarizing when it can become selfish and in that case I would stop calling it “passion” and start calling it an obsession.

          Reply
        8. Ani

          you missed it JustAMan.. the point is, when you keep it all for yourself, to be happy and alive apart from her and don’t let her share in some of your passion and joys, you will end up exactly that -apart. Its a selfish place to be. This article was written by someone who has worked with enough failed relationships with decent people, to want to share it with others who want to not end up a statistic. If you come in here just to argue that your selfishness is fine, then you really aren’t interested in what you can do, just keep doing what you want to do. Unless she actually matters to you.

          Reply
          1. Ped

            Just remember though, that this article is not gender specific. The author clearly states that at the bottom of it. My wife has often mention such things as described in the article and I take full responsibility for not fulfilling such simple things required of me. She mentions my lost sense of adventure which she craves and I have had to work hard at bringing back the things that attracted her to me. I failed time and again and she engaged in affairs which broke me and almost broke us altogether. It is important, as I know first hand, to not make your wife feel “invisible” which often happens even if you’re in the same room with her. See her always as the object of your attraction and tell her often what you think of her and be appreciative of her and who she is to you and mostly, show her. That is, if you want to keep her. We’ve been together for 35 years.

        9. Mathew

          Wow your comment actually blew my mind, to think that anyone is so self involved that they would argue this point is astounding. Is your “me time” so fullfilling that you don’t need your wife to feel alive? I like my video games, time with the boys, and a drink now and then, but i appreciate my wife and only feel fully alive when our connection is expressed. The love of a companion, a family, is the most fullfilling feeling in the world. Maybe you feel alive when tending to your hobbies because they fill the hole that your wife should be filling. Maybe you dont love her as much as you trick yourself into thinking you do. Or maybe it’s just me who acknowledges my wife as the cornerstone in my life and knows that being alive means happiness shared with others.

          Reply
        10. Paula

          This piece is beautifully written, the point is not to abandon your passions, but to make each other, one of them. When I feel seen, heard and connected I have no problem with being seperated from my partner as we pursue our individual interests. There lays the irony.

          Reply
        11. Kaide

          And what if your man is never present is that ok? I’m a 36 year old man. My sister was with a man for 7 years, and while yes women and men do need their own hobbies and interests, this guy was plain and simply not there for her. Never present unless hd wanted something from her, never there unless the purpose served him and his needs. Never there when she needed him the most. Allowed other people to come into their home and attack her emotionally and mentally. Now tell me is that ok

          Reply
        12. Tabitha Tombow

          I think that was only one part of it . If you love you life that’s great other men mught not and that can have a domio effect. This was about exploring yiur partner which should in no way hinder you job, friends time alone or respect. Loving life makes for a happier demeanour which women pick up on. 🙂

          Reply
        13. Amanda

          I find your response truly heartbreaking! Telling men to be alive is exactly the advice I would want my husband to hear. Be passionate! In ALL things that you do in LIfE!!! You can have the golfing, gaming, fishing, or whatever likes and hobbies you enjoy doing. If you want a good wife as well, I believe you need to be alive and passionate! Whether it’s arguing out an issue or asking about her day, give it your full attention and the time it’s deserves. I mean think about it….My husband has a game he likes to play on his phone. He enjoys it, let’s phim relax after work and let me tell you!!….He gets SERIOUS when it comes to game time. Serious game happens often in our house with an 8 and 12 year old boys too! I get it!!!! I want my husband and my boys to do things let LOVE to do! I know when my husband is actually battle, it’s a killing game, and when he is just chatting with the guys he plays with it actually using his phone for its other purposes like communicating with folks! All I ask of my husband and boys is for they same attention. A marriage is about 2 people loving each other and growing together, I don’t think that’s possible without passion and a WANT to be….. yes, ALIVE with them! In our case, wanting to to the best we can for our boys and to just be happy with all the good and bad that life throws at us! We want to feel like you are proud of the person you chose to spend this precious life with, not a burden or someone you settled for! I don’t think it’s too much want from your spouse. If you feel like it is, then maybe that’s when you accept that maybe you have grown apart and your wants and needs have changed! But I think a man owes it to either show up and do work for your girl, or pick that sack up and go be a man without her.
          This is just my opinion and I’m sure you can see I am amongst the imperfect with my daily struggles on being a wife and mom, I just got a different message from reading this and hoped to expand someone else thought or opinions.

          Reply
      2. Pat

        What a fabulous article. So many comments take offense and suggest a two way street but it’s so clear this was not meant to be the ONLY summation for anything. It was a very clear flag for men to pay attention to the ONE thing that seems to come up time and time again. Anything can sour for a number of reasons but if there is a number one reason it’s good to say so.

        Of course both sides need to earn each others love and passion every day.

        As for finding passion… do the opposite of what you did to lose it. Likely you both got comfortable. Too comfortable. She is doing her comfort zone thing and you yours and poof.. five years go by and it all feels emptier not fuller. But challenge, adversity, adventure are the things that can pull together even the most bored and restless souls. Get in the car and agree to find a city 600 miles away without a map. Land in a new country with a different language and do it without hotel reservations. Do the ABSURD within your budget and dig out together. We do this at least every two years rather than buying new TVs and toys and dammit.. we have PASSION! We have stories … memories that we constantly work to build together. Yup I do less tinkering than the average girl with my hobbies and he his… way less golf and TV Sports.. but we commit to building instead. It’s what we wanted and to forget that, to revert to “well this is me” is to invite monotony. When we tell our stories to friends we laugh and hold hands .. they envy us for our passion. 11 years and planning the next adventure already 🙂

        Thank you for this article Justice, it is very very good and sparks excellent conversation.

        Reply
      3. missy

        I agree with Andrea. If the emotional bond/passion isn’t there, they aren’t seeking each other out for conversation, getting involved in each other’s interests and even sometimes despising each other’s interests. A couple should have similar interests for the most part and maybe have a few things that they just aren’t into at all. If a couple can’t get any interest in each other’s interests, they’ll eventually lose that emotional bond because they don’t get excited by the same things.

        Reply
        1. AnPassionateEngineer

          Because you never know what pushes the women into that mode. Sometimes women fail to see that when men do certain things for the greater good, its not about “us” anymore. For example I know of a friend who built a safety technology, single handedly, for a high accident rate zone for a particular kind of industry. It became a moral obligation for him to deliver it to as many companies as possible. His gf’s father had died in an industrial accident on the site long time ago. He know she missed her dad and he decided no child should ever undergo the pain of losing its dad to some accident at the factory.
          Obviously, his GF missed the whole point of his maneuver to deliver it to as many factories as possible. She failed to see every good thing the guy did. She failed to see that he wont be getting anymore salary than what his contract said. She pushed him to decisions, and then made him go with them. Asked him to stand with her on those decisions, in the process guy lost all his personal powers and freedom to practice.

          The guy is still alone at the factories and traveling across cities delivering things to those factories. His GF is still kind of under the same mode.

          Reply
      4. mike

        I agree with this article but I think that there is a paradox involved with domestic life. It’s difficult to be this super passionate romantic person when you are domesticated and working all the time. You eat a safe, responsible, adult partner who comes home every night but then at the same time you want Don Juan Demarco to sweep you off your feet. Men believe they show their love through being responsible men that take care of year families. This article is talking about how men behave when they are courting a woman, and that’s not just not realistic to do every day. Don’t get me wrong I think this is something men should aspire too, but don’t leave the poor guy, talk to him. If you let someone else sweep you off your feet, when your in a committed relationship, you are a total jerk face.

        Reply
        1. kitty

          The real point is that this isn’t about following prescribed gender roles in a relationship it’s about showing up and being intimate with the person you spend your life with. If you rely on the provider role to fulfill others you miss a vast richness that opening your soul to another brings, it’s scary, but it’s about truth and authenticity. I am independant and can provide for myself. I appreciate help but I can’t be in a relationship with someone if their mind is always elsewhere I am present so join me or jog on.

          Reply
        2. DJ

          what is a marriage relationship without being present and taking time to enjoy intimacy with the one you come home to everyday?

          Reply
      5. Jer

        Thats actually an interesting article . I fear I may be guilty of this. We are always together, I am a rather sensative man (althoug she would disagree) but I do sometimes take for granted her presence. Honestly, we fight quite often about these “phases” I go through. I truly do love my wife but we have this disconnect when it comes to our emotions entangled on the same level. She gets hurt, which sometimes I can be an ass but also sometimes I have no clue. She is really hurt and we have been rounds and rounds and the hurt is deep sometimes both ways. Am I just totally lost here!!???

        Reply
      6. Geri Doran

        This sounds like good advice, but once you fall out of love with your mate I don’t think you can get it back. I don’t believe it’s possible to ever get it back. Or am I wrong?

        Reply
    2. irvz

      Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Can we also get an article why men leave women they love? I believe this works both ways. =)

      Reply
    3. Hammerman

      most women who leave a loving faithful man end up doing the same thing in another 15 years with another partner. Women who do this are not meant to be married, yet they like the concept of being married to avoid being lonely. Emotionally stunted women have been habituated to Disney like stories and relationships. Men work to provide for the women, but women leave men for not being a provider; they also leave men for working too much too.

      Avoid women who agree with this article.

      Reply
      1. MindzEye

        Boom!! Hammerman you hit the nail right on the head. It’s not just women that do this though. I’ve found those type of people to fall into the narcissistic category. And yes avoid them like the plague they will only damage you.

        Reply
        1. cuzin jules

          So much to comment on….

          I find that narcissistic people.., are genuinely broken-hearted in the extreme. My bride of 29 years was not ‘inside-her-own-bubble’ so much as WAY damaged by a number of things, including very poor parenting (good providers sure, but unavailable when deep need arose), chosen guilt on an abortion, along with potential familial molestation at a very young age, and more I’m sure.

          For my part, and I sense this is true of most men…, when she left me, then I realized that I had not LED in a way that she could get behind. Like it or not, I believe wives DO WANT THEIR husbands to LEAD. Lead with compassion, lead with honor, lead with dignity, lead with respect (quality time), lead with CARE, lead with SAFETY, lead with SECURITY (fidelity and future minded-financial decisions).

          What I discovered…, what most men will NEVER display or deeply convey…, is that men area scared shitless simply because THEY TOO were not particularly parented well. THEY TOO are in need of a modicum of bolstering. NOT THEIR egos. No, bolstering their WORTH by their spouses. Yes…, we men are scared. You women area scary to lead. One day it appears you want one thing, the next day another.

          This is not true of women really…, it is just what men who are scared begin to believe BECAUSE WE AREN’T taught what you are really wanting. I swat myself (figuratively) on the back of the head because I missed it! IF ONLY. IF ONLY I’d have even KNOWN that I WAS scared. IF ONLY, after realizing that I was inadequate to reach the depth of her, I WOULD SIMPLY TELL HER…, “I’m scared because I cannot reach you.”

          She wasn’t narcissistic so much as protective. Protective against a non-abusive husband who PLAIN was too plain. Sure, I had and have, zest for life. (Chiefly serving the poor (physically, mentally, spiritually) in our ‘sphere’ and for a deeper spiritual grasp and walk.) But she could not ‘buy in’ because of her own fears and protective ways.

          It would have been thirty years…, we’ve been separated by tragedy and now her choice for more than 6-years. It’ll end in June. 30 years in July.

          I’d give anything to simply get to deeply convey:
          “I WAS SCARED because I didn’t know how to love you. SO, I ‘did my thing’ hoping one-day you would discover my inadequacy in that department and have compassion towards me.”

          She’s moved on to another man now for more than 2.5-years. One of our sons describes him as a ‘blank’. <<< I'm not surprised. She's closed her bubble even further.
          It is heartbreaking to see because she is such a FINE person inside. Few will ever know her like I do and did…, yet she can't see that for the broken-heartedness. AND IT WAS MAINLY MY 'miss' or 'fault'.

          She could fall in to an ALS wheelchair, be left by 'the blank' because he couldn't handle it…, AND I'D BE BEGGING HER TO REMARRY ME SO I COULD TAKE CARE OF HER LIKE I VOWED AT THE BEGINNING. I love and miss her so….

          BOYS: Don't be afraid to show her your weakness. It is critical.
          LADIES: "Your desire shall be FOR your husband, and he shall have rule (covering, not-so-much 'authority' or 'control') over you."

          THINK of the 'rule',that scared, unprotective, seemingly selfish (hobby-first-types), unsecure-minded MEN have in your life!
          THEN realize it is not a 'flaw' per se! No…, it is the condition of mankind.

          THEN find compassion, verve and the ELAN needed to help HIM OUT of his ignorance. THAT is sexy as hell to a man! A woman who can dig deeper than her fears of safety (protection AND fidelity) and security (financial nesting AND fidelity) and 'hunt' her own man down to HELP HIM be the man she first THOUGHT she was getting when she fell in love.

          He's in there…, and WORTH digging deeper than your own fears.

          MEN: give up your entire LIFE, what you THINK consists of YOUR life, and realize that once you vowed…, it is not just YOUR LIFE anymore. "The TWO shall become ONE FLESH." < < < This phrase was likely spoken at your wedding.

          YOU now have the opportunity to SHOW deep compassion and also 'find' the PEARL-of-GREAT-PRICE, that is ALWAYS deeper within your bride.
          IF you are a man…, you have it deep within you to truly discover…, and UNCOVER the woman that is deep within her. She's there…, and she'll bend heaven-and-hell for you, if you securely bring HER to the fore. You are 'up' for the 'hunt'. It is IN you to do so. Compete with yourself instead of at the golf game!

          Selfishness, in its' many iterations, has no place in a love relationship. Nice try on the 'these-are-my-likes, my-hobbies-and-you-should-respect-them'. That couldn't be more self-focused. We're talking about another HUMAN BEING with the image of very God built into them!

          What I wouldn't give for a RE-DO. (great article! I'm sorry my response was so long….)

          Reply
          1. Sandi

            I don’t need a ‘leader’. I don’t need someone to do my thinking or make my decisions for me. What I need is a partner, someone to walk beside me and treat me as an equal, someone who respects me, not someone who expects me to get behind them. I love the way that you assign nearly all responsibility for your failed marriage to her family/childhood and her personal flaws, while claiming what little blame you are willing to accept to not being a chest beating,me Tarzan, you Jane type enough.There are so many assumptions in your speech, about others that you just assume share your religious beliefs for one, but also a multitude of assumptions about your wife. How could you be married to someone for nearly 30 years and know so little about her? And then you handily duck what little ‘blame’ you were initially willing to shoulder by listing the things you needed from her that you didn’t get, leaving you unable to fill your role as a husband. I don’t think you have any real clue why your wife left, and you never will. I think you spent years ignoring what she was trying to tell you, and if you were truly being honest with yourself, you would admit you know exactly why she left.

          2. Peggy

            I wish every man felt this way – thanks for the hope. So sorry , it saddens me that people give up after 30 years. I still believe true love always come back you, even if I cant see it right now. We are definitely a product of our upbringing, and so many people have so many of their own fears and demons to overcome, most people are too afraid of themselves to go there with another person, but eventually it all comes out

      2. em

        i’m a single woman here and I agree; I see this dynamic in a lot of my friends’ (male and female, but all selfish) relationships. No one is going to be your mommy and devote their whole heart to you again. Learn to be a little independent and manage your own emotional needs before committing to another person, step 1. Step 2: don’t settle into a relationship out of fear (of being alone) or complacency OR if you do, know that’s the deal and sacrifice accordingly. I think THAT’s the real issue behind these disaster marriages; there was NEVER any true shared passion between the two but it is expected. My family is near eastern and we have many arranged marriages within my family, including my happily married parents of over 30 years. Has it been easy for them? No, but b/c they valued family bonds and children as the primary objective of marriage (not saying it has to be, just it was for them), they kept that end goal in mind when my dad was too busy working all the time– you know, the way he provided for our every need. If just being in a family is not enough to keep you happy (and it may not for all, I am an example of this myself), then realize marriage for you is about passion/friendship/whatever and DO NOT SETTLE just to keep up with society or not be lonely. I’m sorry if this seems harsh, but I am sick of people in relationships bitching.

        Reply
      3. Ben

        I agree. The trouble is not sex (gender) but human. We tend to take for granted. All too often, we may live with people we initially loved but after a while we treat them as part of the furniture. The old saying “you never know what you’ve got — until it’s gone” is very true. Another fair comment is that we (again, all humans) are highly prone to believe in the Fairy Tale, whether it is the Ken-and-Barbie fantasy of the young girl or the whatever of the man. Easier said than done, but try to see your partner as he really is, not as you want him to be. Are you hoping to change someone? Ha, ha, ha! Good luck.

        Reply
      4. steve

        NIce , Response Most Woman do not understand a roll of a man or husband in Relationshilp / Family. Its a lot like Welfare progams they want the benefits but think the money resources to pay to have free time don’t have a cost well they do, when they sit on the couch the light bill, the gas bill, the food bill, the cable bill, the birthdays, mothersdays, Christmas, sweetheart day, valentines day, and many other show your appreciation to woman days do have a toll. Very few are born with silver spoon now where they have money given from family to not have to work to jobs just for basics of living. I bet the men who quit there jobs to be with their woman more often have just as many break ups because then the woman says he does nothing even if it is with her all the time. No winning in relationships unless both people know their roles………..

        Reply
      5. jeellyBean

        100% agree. Well said.
        Women who have this underlying issue with themselves will direct it towards their man; So long as the man can ‘medicate’ their emotional state rather then the female doing it within herself through her own hobbies or aspirations for life.
        It’s easier to blame their man then admit there is something wrong with them self. Whether lonley, bored, no hobbies.
        So long as your unhappy your man will be as well.

        Reply
    4. dd

      Ok but why not talk about it open your mouth and say what’s on your heart then some would argue you shouldn’t have to um yes you should

      Reply
    5. roblm

      So many people look to this article to excuse the inexcusable. They lack discipline, morality and common decency. Life is not about having everything all the time and expecting others to do all the work. Working at something for reward further down the line and taking good times with the bad. Todays society does actibely discourages this. Before you cheat show your spouse the respect they deserve by facing them and airing the issues. Cowards.

      Reply
    6. Jonathon Moseley

      I am sorry but I find this article, the attitude it communicates, very wrong and disturbing.

      For either a man or a woman to leave a person they love is a character flaw, a failure, and a mistake.

      Period. No ifs ands or buts.

      Of course, in any relationship, which is a complex interaction of give and take, back and forth, counter-counter-counter-counter reaction to an earlier counter-counter-counter-reaction to an earlier counter-reaction to a reaction to something you did, there will always be “fault” — read “room for improvement” on both sides. Always.

      But there is never an excuse for a woman or a man to leave someone they love, without any danger or threat or harm, just out of feeling wanderlust or grumpy or the glass is half full or the grass might be greener somewhere else. Never.

      That doesn’t mean accept the status quo. Fix the status quo.

      But you cannot fix the status quo by walking away and quitting.

      You write that a woman is not a man’s property. Yeah, so what?

      The attitude of treating people like styrofoam cups — crumple it up and throw it away whenever it suits your convenience — is a deep, deep, deep profound moral cess pool, a severe character flaw.

      A wife may have to confront her husband.

      Oh, couldn’t do that. That might be uncomfortable.

      Walk away? Sure!

      TALK about the problem? No, that might be difficult.

      Ultimately the problem is living in a society that encourages the “DISPOSABLE PEOPLE” worldview…. that people only have value as long as they benefit me.

      A wife may need to hide her husband’s golf clubs and put a note in the golf bag saying they need to talk.

      We live in a sick, sick, sick society in which destroying a relationship is considered noble and heroic but sitting around a coffee table and talking through our problems is considered “too difficult” and too much to expect.

      Reply
    7. Adam

      So let me get this straight: In stead of using the “courage and resources” these women have to communicate to the men they supposedly love–they would rather use their “courage and resources” to leave or cheat at the drop of a hat? What’s the real issue here? How about communication? Passion? No. But communication. Maybe, by definition, this author isn’t a devils advocate, but he certainly is being a mouthpiece for these woman who apparently have “courage”. Does that seem right? So is this author really saying on behalf of women: “Warning men your woman wants to cheat on you, and I’m giving you the godawful excuses they are looking for in order to do so”? Shallow, yes. Legit? No. And what, its men’s fault that their woman won’t “gather up their courage and resources” to communicate because their man is out golfing? A more honest “realization” that these woman, in the authors office, should be coming to is that they don’t know how to communicate and that fact should scare them more than the whole: letting some Joe blow sweep them off their unstable feet thing. I would even go as far as to say that if just one of these woman communicated the truth (at least to their counselor) that they just want to cheat; that would be a more legit “realization”, and a far more better starting point to work with (for counseling sake) than all of the excuse searching.

      Reply
    8. guigulugu

      and what if , let’s say, she’s not present? what if I for example have earned enough but not quite the other way around? ok, “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. She needs to feel it. She wants to talk to you about what matters to her and to feel you hearing her….” ok but let’s not forget it’s 2016 and women are equal if not way over men, when it comes to attention and importance in life….. So why is it STILL us men that have to earn everything from a woman? Haven’t we done enough? I mean both should to the same and earn their way up in each others hearts and so forth. I’m really tired of this one sided “men have to do everything for the women thing” and then we get kicked in the ass at the first smallest mistake or even a wrong word…I’m kinda understanding why most of the men turn gay these days.. there’s almost no hope with the young generations of spoiled , having it all women” so like it or not at least this is my personal view and experience. No one owns no ones soul, but men are owned just like that all the time and no one says a blip about us. so i kinda feel alone as a man, we let women be equal and now they think they can do what they want, our children are in the “childrens home” our parents in a nursing home. The men go fishing alone and get old with their hobby and modern young women go clubbing while the 3 babies from the 3 different daddies are home baby sitted by others. preferably her mom, … i’ve said enough, but nice article yo

      Reply
    9. Nicole

      I love this…. Unfortunately I don’t have this. My husband is angry and critical all the time. I can’t do anything right and he doesn’t have time to communicate with me. I’ve tried only to be let down time and time again. Sometimes I wonder if I even want to save my marriage , being alone sounds more appealing at this point. I can’t walk on eggshells anymore or try to make him understand . I’m only 28 I have my whole life ahead of me and I’m going to be happy with or without him.

      Reply
    10. Tanya

      This just made me sad and heartbroken. My husband will never understand this. 25 years of my sorrow. He’s tried at times but never changes. It’s not part of him but I can’t change either. I need this bit will never have it unless I leave him and I don’t think I can. I wish I didn’t have to but I can’t be like this my entire life. There is going to come a time when my life will be just about me,when the kids are grown I will finally be able to put myself first.

      Reply
      1. Jesus

        Have you actually told your husband that? Exactly and clearly just like the above? Totally direct? Posted him this article and your response? Then gone and slept in the spare room for a few nights to prove the point?

        If no, you are being a Victim.

        If yes, keep doing it repeatedly and remind your husband every time. Tell him very clearly “If you do not help me out, you are going to lose me”. But be reasonable. My guess is you’ll get a big reaction. Be clear and proactive about how both of you can change to make it better. What you want is a great relationship, right? So why does he not want the same thing in the same form of intimacy? It’s so great, right? So why not? He does not want a great happy marriage? Of course he does. But neither of you know how. And it is really is both of you, sorry.

        Do things. Go to marriage guidance counselling, whatever.

        I’m am utterly sick of this BS attitude where women claim “I was trying to tell him for years” when actually it’s been wishy-washy, on and off, mixed messages, still going out being happy at times, sex continues etc. etc. Then she turns out and leaves one day out of the blue “I was trying to tell you for years” – yes, trying badly.

        Men do not do subtle. Or mixed emotions. There’s either a problem that needs sorting out or we’re cool. And if you tell me it’s cool, then I expect you to be sincere. And in control of yourself. I don’t think this is unreasonable or a lot to ask. Otherwise you are being disingenuous about marriage. Why? I don’t think you’re a bad person at all. Maybe there is fear of vulnerability or misunderstanding of expectation, whatever it is.

        It takes two to tango.

        Reply
  1. Pamela

    I love what ur doing and I was a co-facilitor for a Father Invovment program. It was basically couples counselling and I loved the difference it made in the couples by simply teaching them to listen to each other and to just be there for each other. I would love to learn more about couples counseling for I feel there is a great need for it. especially now there is an oil resession going on and many families are going to feel it.

    Reply
  2. Tyler

    “She wants to feel your passion. Can you feel your passion? Can you show her? Not just your passion for her or for sex; your passion for being alive. Do you have it? It’s the most attractive thing you possess. If you’ve lost it, why? Where did it go? Find out. Find it. If you never discovered it you are living on borrowed time.”

    Tell me how because I’ve been looking for my lost passion for life for over 3 years. I love my wife deeply but I can’t find anything that fires me up. The best way I can describe how I feel is stuck, bored, trapped, uninspired… I don’t know why I lost it or where it went.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Meyer

      Check out David Schnarch. He sais this is a normal thing to happen in longterm monogamic relationships and explains how to surpass that stage rather than giving up.

      Reply
    2. George A

      Tyler, your question seems sincere. I suggest you read and contemplate the responses from the women in here, and ignore the bitter or resentful responses from men. I’ve been married 25 years this month, and my wife and I are right here where this article describes. She has been trying to tell me these things for a long time. And she has been very close to leaving me, despite loving me. These things our women want from us are not very difficult, they don’t have a price tag, and have nothing to do with luxury. There is a wonderful book, “The Way of the Superior Man,” by David Deida. It could have had a less pretentious title, but it actually is what it claims to be. It’s advanced work, and will not resonate with a man who has not begun to take a fearless and honest look at his self, and done some personal development work. It describes these concepts in great depth that the author here skims over briefly.

      It seems that all too often as we go along with our life as men; working, sacraficing, being loyal and dedicated, we too often develop the idea, and become strongly attached to it, that these are the things that make us a “good man,” that they define us. They aren’t. In a healthy relationship, these aren’t the things that attracted our women to us in the first place. That’s what this article is about. More over, despite being worthwhile (good provider, good father, loyal, etc), the fact is that these are just the things we are supposed to be doing anyway.

      Reply
      1. Eliza

        Amen & again I say, Amen!! You know what you’re talking about! My husband & I have been married 37 years; we’ve raised four kids; and I’ve nearly walked out more than once for the exact reason described here! I’m no longer my husband’s priority relationship. He cannot spend 5 minutes each day focused on our relationship, but he can spend plenty of time talking to his mother, teaching Sunday School, being a Deacon, being a Union member at work, & playing Solitaire on the computer. And it’s been this way since about year 7 of our marriage. We’ve done more than three years of counseling & are going back again now. But it never truly changes. He never truly changes. If it weren’t for the fact that I honor my marriage vows, before God, I’d have walked 30 years ago. It’s very sad. I’ve tried everything I can think of & if it weren’t for our kids & their expectation we stay together, it would be in my plan to move on.

        Reply
        1. Janet

          I admire your loyalty, but being as unhappy as you are, you’re not being fair to yourself and utimately
          not fair to your husband. If you’ve tried everything and still feel this unhappy, you should move on,
          because then you’ll give yourself the chance to find someone you really enjoy and love, AND…you
          would be giving your husband a chance to do the same. Your life is going by, and it’s sad. I sincerely
          hope that you plan to leave. What good does 2 people that are not really living and are very sad
          do for each of you???? I wish you the best honey.

          Reply
    3. cuzin jules

      you’re scared. Tell her. Tell a counselor/therapist. scared because you can’t find your way. Or perhaps you sense deeply somewhere that you can’t BE whom you are expected (or wanting to be….). GO for it. Dig deeper man…, YOU’RE in there and worth finding. For her part, your sig-other is scared too, cuz she senses your lost ‘verve’ or passion. Acquiesce to the fact of being inadequate to know what is going on…, then DIG DEEPER for the Truth. It is not the same as the fact. TRUTH is deeper.
      You’re in there…., go get help! If you broke your arm.., you’d go to a doctor. If your inside is broke.., go find the DOCTOR.

      Reply
  3. Daniel

    Tyler, it’s not your fault. You are probably doing your very best in a world in which “following your passion” fails to pay the bills.

    I was a dutiful breadwinner in a job that I loathed, and in the end my wife left me because of it. Doing your best to secure her a middle class life is not enough for most women. It may not be enough for your wife; ask her.

    That is a flaw in their wiring, not yours.

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Daniel – You’re on to some good points, but consider that they may be true without anyone’s wiring being “flawed.”
      Tyler – There’s no guaranteed recipe for passion, and I’m not able to coach or counsel people online, but consider that being able to name your experience – stuck, bored, etc – is actually a good sign. There’s awareness there.

      Reply
      1. SW

        Marriage can be the greatest thing in the world, and can be the worst thing in the world. It feels like you can’t live with it and you can’t live without it. I don’t think anyone will ever figure out all the answers for a wonderful marriage. I do know that I have learned that sometimes someone’s actions doesn’t always represent what’s truly in their hearts………..for many various reasons.

        Reply
    2. Dawn

      Maybe a middle class lifestyle is unimportant to her, and you trying your best to secure it is preventing you from doing your best to actually provide what she wants. No flawed wiring, just a disconnect between the two of you. You’re right- you should ask her. Doing what you hate to provide stuff she doesn’t need or want will just kill the both of you.

      Reply
      1. Jeb Connoly

        ya know that is funny, this works both ways. So then it is okay to have preconceived thoughts and convince yourself that you are right all the time, not being able to listen or shut up long enough to understand or listen to your spouse, do as i say not as i do, and the ever popular….elephant like memory. Jus a few things as to why i DID divorce my wife. Made multiple attempts, key word…attempts, to sit down, listen, and solve issue/s at hand. But as usual men are never allowed to ask anything when a spouse is talking, i don’t mean interrupt because that is for the spouse ( female ) to do. Happy? Very much so! Didn’t waste, yeah…waste, time with counseling, if ya can’t chat amongst yourselves, i fail to see how counseling would work. Have read a few in here, stopped at this one. So yeah this is my opinion and i own it, nothing to hide here.

        Reply
        1. Lindsay

          Jeb, I’m sorry that you and your ex-wife had so much trouble, but it does sound like divorce was best for you both. I disagree with your “as usual, men are never allowed…” Broad statements like that simply aren’t true; they are true in your life perhaps, but many of us are in relationships where we communicate well, welcome questions, be patient when listening to answers, even if it is heated. It can be a struggle, but “always” or “never” statements just indicate bitterness (i.e. “All men are assholes” “All women are crazy” — neither are true).

          Whether counseling was something you wanted to try or didn’t want to waste your time, was entirely up to you. Counseling can help though when one or both people don’t know how to communicate without getting defensive or domineering or giving the silent treatment. It sounds like your wife may have been in that category, so a moderator may have been very helpful. But, there is nothing wrong with admitting when it is over. Just something to keep in mind for the future.

          Reply
          1. cuzin jules

            Dan: perhaps you might see OBJECTIVELY that counseling MAY not have been for you. BUT FOR YOUR WIFE to ‘see’ that she: interrupts, doesn’t honor, is fearful, whatever.

            The benefit of counselling is not only for the marriage per se. Some items need to be articulated by a third party! ( immaturity, insecurity, controlling nature…., <<<< These items DO NOT come so well from the person they are being perpetrated on! GET HELP for her to GET HELP!)

            Be wise however.., because there MAY be something residual inside you. There is intrinsic deep need, yes. But there is 'cause and effect' also. Your smug (if it was smug): "I don't need counselling…" would definitely be a 'cause' in a committed relationship.

            That said…, I'm sorry for your lost relationship and hope that you indeed are not a controlling, self-focused man who doesn't need anything so he doesn't 'have-anything-to-hide'. Truth is…, we all have very deep needs for deep connection with the ONE.

    3. Lindsay

      Daniel,
      It’s not a flaw in wiring. It is very hard, and often miserable, to live with someone who HATES their job. You seem to think that women *should* want a middle class lifestyle and nothing else. Personally, I can give myself a middle class lifestyle without my husband. But I still have no interest in living in the suburbs, having a white picket fence, or any of that crap. I’d rather live in a tiny, 400 sq ft house in the mountains, and spend my free time hiking, camping, climbing, etc. But if my husband was fixated on working a dreaded job in order to live the suburban life, we wouldn’t last.

      I’m rather confused why you think a paycheck would be enough to keep someone around. If I need money, I can make it myself — I have a good career and good work ethic. What I want is a partner for all that hiking, snow shoeing, and fun, as well as to weather the ups and downs with.

      Reply
    4. DEK

      Daniel, I totally relate to your experience! I always had a job but it held no passion, it just paid the bills. But women (like men) are attracted to the excitement of passion from a new and unknown source. They compare and unless you have the ability to sustain passion indefinitely, you stand to lose. In my marriage, my wife became distant when she used addictive pain medication. Several months after we split up, she couldn’t remember what caused it. It’s a nice ideal, living your passion, I just missed that training and fill my spare time with things that I enjoy but passion isn’t something I experience much of.

      Reply
    5. George A

      Daniel, the “passion” the author speaks of is not something to follow. Not something outside of ourselves. It is the passion that is within us, that resonates from us. Or, at least at some time is did.

      Reply
  4. Kristi

    I think this is equally true of women and their husbands. Take the time to truly see him, be in the moment with him. I am a workaholic of sorts and am often too busy (paid job, volunteer jobs, education) to be present and in the moment, and choose (and yes it is a choice!) to nod and go thru the motions. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to sit with my amazing, wonderful, husband and be in the moment with him. The other crap can wait 🙂

    Reply
    1. Arend-Johan Praats

      Thanks Kristi,

      I woanted to write it, but it is even more strong when a women writes this ! heartly, and lot of succes and love <3<3<3 😉

      Reply
    2. em

      well, not to mention the women who get so wrapped up in raising the kids that the husband is barely even a family member any more

      Reply
  5. Peter Reznik

    Hi Tyler,
    I think the answer to the problem “I love my wife deeply but I can’t find anything that fires me.”-sentence #2, lies within the sentence #1- ” my lost passion for life for over 3 years”. Do not worry about your passion for your wife, keep loving her, giving to her, and serving her. This is the responsibility you took upon yourself when you married her. Giving is not about you but about her, what she needs and want she wants. Just like if you had a little child, you could be in a bad mood… so what, you still have to feed the child or the child will simply die. In this situation, if you do not nourish the relationship, the relationship may die. Once you fulfill your obligation as a man, you can work on finding your passion for life. It’s a huge journey. Of cause first you have to figure out how you lost it, what the passion that sustained you in the past was based on…. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate your vision on where you are going… but all that self-searching must not interrupt your commitment to be a giver to your woman. Even if it does not feel great to you at the moment…

    Reply
    1. Patricia

      Great words Peter Reznick, I think you hit it on the head. We are so self-absorbed it becomes hard to see other people, particularly those we live with. “Giving is not about you but about her, what she needs and what she wants.” Both sides, male and female, have to do that. Hopefully his wife is not too superficial to know that as well.

      Reply
  6. Adrian Brown

    This is a beautiful and siple article. Presence. Being connected. We are faced with so many distractions from our one ture relationship with our one true love. Life is the distraction, all of it. And life is also the relationship we have with that one true love. The core of that relationship is Purpose and Dynamic. Purpose is not that complex really, it is what we are in the relationship for at one level yes, but it is more about what is the relationship there to create. Dynamic is the how, the elements of action and interaction that executed effectively deliver the purpose.

    Whether, a relationship of marriage, parent, sibling, co worker, with any human being, they exist for a specific purpose and they have a specific dynamic. Yes be present to the other person, this is vital, AND remain present to the purpose.

    By doing both, you will create opportunities for each to contribute to each other, to the relationship, and that alone can empower and build self worth and passion for life

    Reply
  7. BBrown

    Woman are much more about emotions and feelings than anything else. You put it very well…its what I have been trying to explain to my partner. I stop talking and I tell him…your not even listening to me. Your doing me a courteousy. I dont want sex with you…booty calls is what I left for you. Many stressors and barriers come up…but its the consistent communication…touching me…its more than holding hands…its sharing energy. We shared love to make a child…why cant we continue sharing. But women…we lack patience….there is so many times I can tell you before I walk away.

    Reply
    1. dianne

      very well put, consistent communication like you said is a must, touching, holding hands, like you did at the beginning of the relationship. is so necessary, keep it new. if you both work on it you can.

      Reply
  8. J s

    Tyler- when is the last time you felt it reliably/didn’t have to search for it? And the last time you felt an inkling at all? Is there anything in common between those experiences? I’d suggest, perhaps couched in somewhat gentle terms, that you share this restlessness with your wife, while explaining that it’s not a symptom of indifference to her/your relationship & life together, but in fact the opposite- your desire to be fully present & make the most of your partnership- that fuels your searching for a more engaged life. I think she’ll appreciate sharing in your journey, and ypu may even inspire some soul searching of her own. If you really find that you’ve entirely lost interest in things you used to care about/feel down or blah all the time , you may want yo talk to your doctor about whether there is a psychological ( eg depression) or physiological (anemia, sleep disorder etc) explanation or at least contributing factor. If your malaise seems situational rather than an ongoing condition (suitable for medical/ psych intervention ) I’d try reconnecting with lost passions- dusting off your guitar or tool box in the garage you used to fix cars with or trying something totally new, like visiting that place you’ve always dreamed of seeing, or a combination, like a new adventure with old friends or even some sexy role play with the missus… The most important part is that you’ve shown you care about yourself and your wife enough to want to seize the days you have together; you only live once. But also know that life is long so don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t living the dream immediately, moving in the right direction is enough and I think you’ll find that momentum is more powerful than inertia. Good luck, you deserve a full and happy life, go out and make one!

    Reply
  9. j.d.

    I agree to this article, but you can swap ‘women’ and ‘men’ there as well; It’s a two-way street. I suspect (though I am not a councilor in any way) that often the focus on work and other things to the detritement of their marriage is often as much a symptom as it is a cause, and it is not the sole responsibility of one to make the other not leave, it is the responsibility of both.

    Reply
  10. Wanda

    People who leave people because they are providing a living for a family do so out of insecurities and greed. It has nothing to do with love.

    Reply
    1. Diane

      Not so.
      I was in a sixteen year relationship with a man who had ambition, something to prove and provided a middle class life for me and the children. He was never present. Even when finally home, he was at the job in his head. You could rarely converse with him and he was always irritated with us for normal things that disrupted his work. Our lives were quietly shelved when he was home.
      He could never connect with us, and sadly, though I may have lost years waiting for the glimmers when he did, he has missed out on life, and the beauty of connecting with people.
      This has an effect on the wife, longing always, trying to be noticed, losing self esteem and ending up lost herself. I left for self preservation. Depression and anxiety had me nearly crippled when we moved and all I had left was my never present man. I chose poverty and to struggle to live again. I chose my children, my family and real love.
      No one should wait endlessly to live or love.
      I’m struggling, but im present. I’m happier than I have been in years. I wish he could find such a happiness. He’s not a bad man. He’s a lost man.

      Reply
      1. cuzin jules

        Diane: I’m truly sorry for the loss of a ‘good man’. I assume you just could NOT ‘lead’ him to understand you were getting marginalized?? Where does the commitment to him to ‘honor’ him come in to play?? I get it believe me…, 16 years is a long time. I’m simply asking WITHOUT GUILT or SHAME-based questioning about your commitment TO PULL HIM OUT OF HIMSELF??

        Not just raise a flag. Not just ‘tell him’. MEN ARE THICK. Thick-headed. DULL as a whole. I know as I AM ONE and WAS thick-as-hell when it came to deeply realizing that I’d lost the one I loved. Part of it was her ‘baggage’. Part of it was me being scared. There, I said it. MEN are SCARED because we aren’t usually taught to FIGHT DEEPER to find the loving connection EVEN THOUGH WE NEED IT and clearly you woman need it also.

        FORCE THE ONE YOU LOVE to ‘see’. Counselling / therapy is SOMETIMES for THEM and not for you! ( although, I say this with tongue-in-cheek because any good counselor WILL help BOTH to not just ‘cope’…, but to be ALIVE with the verve necessary to pull the loved-one OUT of his or her self-protective, self-focus. Yes…, it is self-focus when a man cannot ‘see’ that his wife is marginalized or ‘in-the-weeds’.

        I do not believe in shame or guilt-based ANYTHING. But I am curious if you feel you fulfilled your vow to ‘honor’ him…, in this arena of PULLING HIM away from HIMSELF! It is good for the ONENESS that each marriage or committed relationship must know that they are now. There is really no individuality in a marriage that is not based on some fear of loss (THEIR personality, THEIR ‘hobbies’ THEIR ‘wants’). ONENESS is powerful and so missing in our culture.

        Reply
  11. usmanshabbir

    Whatever I have just read it. It’s true but I think it totally depends on the situation to situation. I m having a relationship in which I give time to my girl and space to her as well. Because I think to be on someone’s head all the time makes them irritate.

    Reply
  12. kate

    tyler…. You say you’re bored, trapped, stuck, uninspired, list your passion for life… Take your wife and go on an adventure. Not the kind where you just lay around in the sun on the beach. But an actual adventure. Something where you have to always stay busy and always interacting with your wife. Like going to a foreign land… Hiking up mountains, bungee jumping from a bridge, walking through a town even if its just the place where you live, and do activities you haven’t tried before, try foods you’ve never eaten, listen to music you never heard, try out different things from different cultures. It might help get your passion for life back, and doing it with your wife gives you a chance to get to know her again or more about her. Also her about you. Everyone needs to take a break from reality and jump into something crazy and out of the blue. In the world we live in today we are all stuck in one way or another.

    Reply
  13. palika

    Thank you for this beautiful post – no matter how long women try to mentor men in emotional intelligence and healing, men need to hear from men thats its valuable, desirable, and possible. Thankyou. And -Men AND Women in our capitalist life denying culture have lost their passion and aliveness and connectedness, to SElf, to Other and to Wild and Nature. Finding our deepest belonging and passion for life is the quintessential journey to soul that everyone human being is designed to long for, seek, and find. Disconnected from the wild, destroying Nature, our current human culture the world over, does everything to numb us, and keep us in an undeveloped immature adolescence and separate us from what we truly are. If any man or woman wants to discover their innate aliveness and vigorous Yes for a sacred life of deep meaning, gratitude, and offering their unique soul gifts for the Greater Good, go to the Wild and court the Mystery – with guidance by those few who understand the journey of the human psyche we all long to be witnessed, held, supported and mentored in. The wounds of our family of origins, our ancestral and cultural legacies can be integrated Wholed and Healed in partnership with Mystery, The Wild and The Dream of The Earth.

    For healing family wounds work, I love David Richo’s books, James Hollis, James Hillman, Bill Plotkin’s Wild Mind, and Gay and Katy Hendricks Conscious Loving and Living, and Hakomi work.
    For support for the reconnection to Soul and Wild, I love Bill Plotkin’s Soulcraft, Nature and the Human Soul and the Animas Valley Institute, Meredith Little and Steven Foster’s School of Lost Borders and Four Shields, Soulquest Northwest, Marc Bekoff – Rewilding Our Hearts, Joanna Macy’s books and Work That Reconnects, Thomas Berry and Brian Swimmes work The Dream Of The EArth and The Universe Story, the worldwide Permaculture movement, The Deep Nature Connection movement – Jon Young and 8 shields, Wildnerness Awareness School, and the Primitive Skills movement – Buckeye, Rabbitcount, and the worldwide Mindfulness movement, etc., for a start.
    May we all discover our deepest belonging and know who we are.

    Reply
  14. mike

    I am incredulous at this article. Where is the woman’s responsibility in the relationship? Where is the comment about the woman being present for the man? Why is it assumed that the woman is totally present for the man, and the lousy man is so flawed. I thought marriage was a two way street. Maybe the man is “working, golfing, gaming, watching TV, fishing… the list is long,” because the woman is not present for him, and he is just finding other ways to occupy his time. People date and are totally present for each other, and then children come along and they both (usually) become present for the children, and I find that usually it’s the woman who quits being present for the man, and then the man develops other interests because the woman is not available. My point is, our society is constantly bashing men for any problem that occurs. What is left out of this article is the man’s perspective, which totally makes my point……

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Thanks for your comment Mike, and for remaining civil even while discussing a hot topic. I don’t disagree with your main point. Relationships are a two way street. I’ll ask you to consider that this article is a narrow slice. It represents one particular dynamic, one of many patterns that I see in my work. While true in the sense that it reflects a set of observations, this piece is not meant to be complete. In no way have I attempted to sum up marriage and relationships in a 30-second read! Also consider that I wrote this article because I care deeply for men and their (our!) struggles. BTW – I’m working on a follow up that deepens the conversation.

      Reply
      1. Mr Black

        You could have chosen to write “each needs to be present” but instead you chose to write “men need to be present”. That was not an accident. You announced which side you were on and who was to blame. If I was having trouble with my wife and I read this, under no circumstances would I ever contact you, you’ve already laid out your positions and biases. You’re just perpetuating the female grievance industry with pieces like this because you can be damn sure that your follow up piece (if it ever happens) will not find it’s way into womens inboxes. You’ve allowed them to read a nice little slice of biased conclusion, devoid of any mention that they too bear the same responsibilities.

        Reply
    2. corink

      Mike, I’m a woman and your comment said exactly what I thought as I was reading this. I think this is a terrible encouragement for women, and supports the never ending mindset that men just don’t do enough. Look at all of the women who agreed with this article. If your man isn’t present because he’s working 80 hours a week and then he goes golfing or out with his friends, I’m sorry but he’s kind of earned that privilege to enjoy some free time. His free time doesn’t always need to be with his wife. A wife like that sounds very dependent. It’s old school mentality to think that women need to be put on pedastals and have all of their emotions and feelings bowed down to. Meanwhile, the stresses of this 80 hour a week job consume a lot of his thoughts, even when he’s home with his family. I speak this from experience in a marriage where I had a role reversal as the breadwinner. My advice to women is, it’s not all about your delicate feelings and emotional needs. Men need your support too and sometimes that’s allowing them to ‘check out’ mentally for a little bit.

      Reply
      1. moka starlord

        I really love this comment but this article is really good and informal thank you for the posting gave me a lot of insight

        Reply
      2. sal

        completely agree with this comment! No one should be made to feel that they are RESPONSIBLE for someone else’s happiness! I think I might feel like a rabbit in the headlights if any man did all those things with me….. I’d rather have a game of pool and some whisky any day 🙂

        Reply
      3. alovinghusband

        Agreed. I think married couples need to remind themselves of two things.
        First, it is that they are individuals and that they should never let life get in the way of their personal goals. Individuals need to nourish themselves with activities that make them happy. Once we are happy with ourselves it is easier to be happier with others as well.
        Second, it is truth that a relationship also needs to be nourished just the same way as an individuals needs it. Refreshing our relationships requires us to be involved with our partners, to show our appreciation for them, and to share a personal connection with them. My suggestions- Go out on dates, surprise your partner with things they enjoy, show them that you care, allow room for intimacy-emotional and physical.

        I think they author of this article had very good intentions and is truly trying to help. However, as a man I do feel a bit offended/judged and pressured by the writers words. I think more emphasis on both men and women and their need to nourish a relationship to keep it alive, is needed here.
        I am truly glad the article was written as it makes people speak and look into ways to improve their relationships. Thank you. (I look forward to surprising my wife with may be some flowers and some chocolate covered strawberries-because I want to and sometimes actions speak better than words.)
        May you all be blessed.

        Reply
    3. Lorne

      Really???? The last line clearly indicates “the genders are reversible — it works both ways”… You are so busy being defensive you didn’t even finish the read.

      Reply
      1. Ellie

        Of course these guys did not see that line at the end. They just want to blame someone else for their shortcomings. Own them instead of blaming and try to actively read a short passage, without judgement, until the end and see what happens. That could be the first step in taking some time to understand something foreign to you.

        Reply
    4. Gina

      Women – We can get so caught up in caring for the household, children, friends, and extended family needs, that we neglect our husband’s needs. Women are usually more relationship oriented, but if we are also working a full time job…well there are only so many hours in the day. It has to be a conscious effort to connect with our men. Make date night a priority! Get away for the weekend, just the two of you, at least once per year.
      Men – Quit thinking “I am faithful, and provide (work) for the family, what is her problem?” This article is trying to let you know, that’s not enough! And in today’s society, chances are she does that too, plus dinner, dishes, homework with the kids, etc… She’s exhausted. Many men, not all, come home from work and engage in extra curricular activities while the women care for the house and kids. When you live in a household where the man feels his only obligation to his family is to bring home a pay check, there is a problem.

      Reply
  15. scott

    i feel into the working part of the article and never knew the problem i let evolve by working so much,i thought i was being selfless by making more money for my family but i ended upp being selfish by spending all the time i did working because whaat my wife wanted wasnt money or things,it was me.it ultimatly cost me alot.in hindsight i made a huge mistake that ill never forget and it forced the true love of my life to a place to be happier with someone else.

    Reply
  16. Sean

    I done both the good and the bad that is stated in this article. I always tried to look into my wife, to pay attention to her, to care about and be consumed by her dreams. In the end it didn’t matter, all the stresses of working different shifts, enjoying sports, having children, and having a family that was a pain in the ass were too much to overcome. She told she didn’t want to be with me anymore, that she just wasn’t happy and that she didn’t love me anymore. Then I found out that since she wasn’t happy she’d actually gone out and found another man. Now we are in the process of divorcing, and I worry about how this will impact my children? I try to put the pieces back together, to understand what exactly I missed or where I went wrong. In the end I really hope that after almost 20 years together this is something I can learn from and actually be a better person.

    My biggest fear is that I feel lost, I’m now missing purpose in my life. I want to take all of this pain, hurt, loss and try to make something better of my life. Not live for anyone else (except my kids), but live for myself and find personally happiness.

    I will never understand how someone cheats, and then lies repeatedly to cover up the relationship? Do they really think it will be better? That they’ve found something better? It seems like so much to throw away.

    Reply
    1. Bart

      Sean…It seems like you took a page out of my book..add a Brain Injury….(myself)….21 years of marriage…..she tells the kids about morals..she needs to find hers first. The kids decided to live with me

      Reply
    2. empty

      Did you put down your phone/games, turn the TV off, or snuggled up watching something you both enjoy,say no to going out with the guys and make your partner your priority? Did she make you her priority and you never appreciated it? When you were present, were you really present? Did you make sure things that were to be fixed around the house were getting done and you weren’t procrastinating? Did she procrastinate on her duties around the house like groceries, making dinner, getting the kids events/ school stuff organized? All things to think about! I am having the same issues, but I am the woman, no other man though. We’ve never faught about money or anything else besides his crazy family,or his lack of getting stuff done or his ability to be present when he’s in the same room. I’ve also been in mine for 20 years. We also have kids. I want out a lot of the time and have told him so. We seem to have our quarterly chats and he will be better for a couple weeks and then back to same old bs. It’s tiring. He was going to counselling also, it was helping. He needs to go again, but that’s his call, not mine. Life is hard man. Remember there are two people to a relationship, each will have a slightly different story to tell. Our communication as a couple is actually fantastic. Now if he would just listen. 😉 haha have a good one!

      Reply
      1. cuzin jules

        Empty: “We seem to have our quarterly chats and he will be better for a couple weeks and then back to same old bs. It’s tiring. He was going to counselling also, it was helping. He needs to go again, but that’s his call, not mine. Life is hard man.”

        WHY isn’t it YOUR call to honor your man with the deep LOVE necessary to convey that your relationship NEEDS him to get more counselling? I do suggest that you BOTH go as ‘it’ (the current problem) MAY BE YOU!

        I’m not suggesting control or forcing another person to DO COUNSELLING. But isn’t there a loving way for you to REALLY get your point across without an ultimatum (”I’m leaving.”) or punishment (“no sex this month”).

        To ‘love, honor and cherish’…, doesn’t that suggest a deeper meaning than: “ONLY IF HE IS ‘PRESENT’ or ‘WITH IT’ or ‘CATERING to MY NEEDS’???

        How can you HONOR your ‘oneness’…, by being strong in the OBJECTIVITY that HE (WE?) need therapy / counselling? I fail to see the difference between teaching your kids that when their arm is broken…, you GO TO THE DOCTOR!! When a marriage is broken…, GO TO THE COUNSELOR/THERAPIST. and GO UNTIL you find the right one who ‘speaks the truth and both listen and apply’. It’s pragmatic. It’s OBJECTIVE. It’s under the banner of LOVE, HONOR and CHERISH. GET HIM TO GO TO THE DOCTOR WITH YOU!! If he’s an objective, pragmatic thinker…, explain it to him (men are dull sometimes, I am one, I know!) that relationships take MORE work not LESS work as they progress. MORE work sometimes means DOCTORING together.

        Reply
  17. Deb

    I love this article and just shared it! I see others have written this, but I would say that women can benefit from this advice as well. I know that many of my friends and I are caught up in our lives sometimes and everything seems more important than just focusing on our partners. So, while I agree that our men could be more present, I think this is not just a problem with men. AND, I think you can totally be physically present and not emotionally present. Beautiful article.

    Reply
  18. j

    I think the real underlying issue here is peoples failure to appreciate each other. Also failing to recognise when they are appreciated. People put too much emphasis on material things and pursuing dreams. The reality of the the matter is nobody is owed anything. There are people in the world with nothing and starving to death.. but they still muster up the strength to realize all they really have is each other. That is all.

    Reply
  19. Chris

    Interesting article but one thing I wonder is why there is such an emphasis on Men pleasing women in our society? In this article it never mentions the woman doing things to inspire the mans attention nor does it address male desires for attention and connection

    Reply
    1. Jen

      I feel this article was direct at what is important to women as the title points to. Understanding what is important to a man would be another article. Eg men needs to feel appreciated.

      Reply
  20. Ron Sheppard

    5 easy steps guys

    1.Make your partner a priority and not an option.
    2.If you want it to work, you commit to her.
    3.Don’t hide anything.
    4.Love her,show her, and mean it.
    5. If all else fails, go back to # 1

    Reply
    1. cuzin jules

      Hey RON! I generally and totally agree with your 5-steps but I can tell you from a deep experience that practicing number 3 can be VERY detrimental to the spouse who is protective, immature or pained by previous ‘stuff’ to the point where not ‘hiding’ anything…, actually hurts the relationship. I was VERY honest, very early on in our young marriage (in our early 20’s), and the honesty caused her fear to go ACTIVE. She put up a protection bubble for more than 5-years and the damage was DONE.

      My honesty was actually selfish. It was not protective or mature to be aware that perhaps telling my beautiful, young (emphasis) bride that I did NOT commit adultery but an inappropriate CONVERSATION (only conversation, no other touch or anything!) was had in that ‘vein’…,

      …. and she went to Pluto for five years. Withholding intimacy in one’s 20’s is VERY BAD for an immature man (what else is a man in his 20’s <>) and even though I ‘kept-it-together’… the damage was done. We made it to 29 years after two children.., but for the most part…, she never got ‘mature’ out of the pain she inflicted on herself!! WOMEN…., you DO this from time-to-time and damage a loving relationship and good men!

      SO…, hiding is NOT a good idea…, your #3 is correct. BUT sometimes…, what you think is GOOD to ‘open to the light’…, really should be TALKED about with another, trusted counselor or mature person WHO JUST MIGHT COUNSEL YOU TO HOLD ON TO TELLING that ‘fact’.

      YES…, she could have seen my being forthcoming about an inappropriate CONVERSATION with another woman…, as being immature and foolish at worst BUT LOVING and DEEPLY connecting at best. But…, she DID NOT. She was full of her own baggage at that time. ( aloof and disconnected parents, poor college choices, etc.). She was unable to handle what I normally would have ‘hidden’. I was wise enough to know that I must get that ‘into the light’. Just not wise enough to know that it didn’t have to be with the very woman I was trying to protect by being ‘honest’. I should have known, (although what 24 year old knows much of anything!?) NOT to expose my wife to the VERY thing that triggered her deep-seated fear!!

      Yes…, she could and should have taken it at face value as being something that most men, even at 24, would EVER do and therefore was worth validating in her husband.., but she didn’t. It cost us our marriage over time. I felt that she mis-took me for a philanderer (her past creeping in…) because I was NEVER a philanderer. But that didn’t matter. Damage done in an immature relationship. What shame. Could have lasted until one of us died.

      Co-existence, innocuous congeniality and stoicism will wreck any marriage. Too bad I couldn’t see the forest for the trees to HELP and SERVE her out of her self-protection. I did the opposite. In THAT area of our ‘life’…, I waited and did nothing else to cause problems. Which only made me angrier. We should have sought counseling!! I should have ‘led’. I was scared and did not even KNOW I was scared!
      A scared man does stupid, self-protecting things that a woman ‘smells’ as being something ‘not safe’.
      And God knows…, women sure look for and want: safety and security! (fidelity and integrity)

      Reply
  21. sjones

    As I was reading this article I felt like someone finally put into words how I am feeling NOW. What a fantastic article. This is not meant to point the finger at men, its about improving communication. Unfortunately my husband hates to share his feelings, he was like that as a child. This saying comes to mind. “My husband is like and island that I have been circling for years trying to find a place to land”. I try so hard to improve the situation but I am only half of the pie. Greetings from Australia

    Reply
  22. Linus

    Yes, Justice … certainly incomplete. Men also have all of the needs – to be seen, respected, validated, loved and desired – that you have ascribed to women. A quick mention of this fact would have provided some much needed balance to your article while still keeping it short. How old are the couples you’re counselling? The stereotype of the distant, workaholic breadwinner seems a bit dated. I’m 39, and most of my peer group are sensitive, emotionally present men who do not consider any person – certainly not their wife – as property. Being emotionally/physically distant is a pattern that anyone fall into, not a gender specific trait.

    Reply
    1. James McAllister

      I agree this article needs the balance of at least saying “women need to be mindful of their husbands needs in the same regard”

      In it’s present state it’s just another “what has he done for you LATELY? ?”

      The reality is that both partners in any relationship should be actively present and working to fulfill each others needs.

      As far as “sex how you want it” goes, I absolutely agree, again on the caveat that this goes both ways. Don’t expect a man whose sexual desires are intentionally not being fulfilled, to always fulfill yours willingly.

      Reply
  23. Silvia

    Are you talking about me? LOL. I left a wonderful man for those reasons. But I left him with so much love that we’re still very close friends and he’s grown from the experience. True intimacy happens on many levels…most of all spiritual. When there’s that kind of a bond, your love grows stronger, never ages, and never gets tiring or boring. I have that with my friends. Are there any men out there who are willing to be vulnerably intimate? I don’t want to get married again without it. Thank you for writing this. Silvia

    Reply
  24. H Rock

    And why do men leave women they love, Justice? I’m really curious about that? Also, why do men refuse to go to counselling and refuse to change, even if it means losing a woman they say they love?

    Reply
  25. Jess

    This is exactly what I struggle with – my husband and I have been married since 2002, not long by many standards – but long enough to be stuck in a rut that is not going in the right direction. He changed his mind on adopting and that was basically the point I stopped trying to meet him halfway. Since then we’re like room-mates sharing a home rather than a couple. It’s a sad lonely place. I feel if he read this and even tried ONE PART I’d be more likely to stick around. I’ve waited years for a connection since we sort of floundered after the child issue – and just recently said enough, and contacted a lawyer. I’m going to share this and hope he reads it. It might be late but you never know – maybe it’ll reach what the counselor didn’t.

    Reply
    1. Vicki Larson

      OK, let me get this straight; at some point you talked about adopting to add children to the mix. Then he changed his mind. But instead of realizing he is not the right man to adopt with, the adoption went ahead anyway. Now both of you are unhappy, each for different reasons but both basically about the same thing — bringing a child into the marriage. Why is it his fault? Once he changed his mind, the discussion should have been about, well, why are well still together when we clearly want different things? It’s sad when someone changes his/her mind, but that happens. Rather than continue on as a married couple that wants to adopt, it was probably time to realize he was not the partner you thought you had, and move on.

      Reply
  26. Graeme

    I think it’s a challenge to maintain passion when someone is trying to control or change you. It seems in many relationships, one member (often the woman, but not always) enters it with the goal of changing, or ‘improving,’ the other person. They may not fully realize it, but this is the case.

    They want their partner to “be more responsible” (which is a euphemism for spending money/time on the things the other person feels are important) and try to guide them in that direction. If someone is pushed gradually, bit by bit, to the point where they no longer recognize the person they were at the beginning of their relationship in the person they are now, then it’s not surprising that they would lose their passion. How do you look someone in the eye with love and affection when they have worn you down like this, gradually stripping away so much of who you were like a river turning a rough-hewn boulder to a smooth pebble?

    Some people get trapped in relationships and trapped in lives that they never really wanted or expected. They’re forced to work jobs they don’t like to pay for things they don’t need to make other people happy. They do it because they care about their spouse or their children, and because they decide it’s better to sacrifice parts of themselves to have a ‘regular’ domestic life with the people they care about. Then those people leave them because they “don’t look into their eyes” or they don’t feel their “aliveness.” What do you expect?

    Stop, take a look at the person you’re with, a real close look, and then compare them to the person you married. Their ‘passion,’ their habits (good and bad), their job, their hobbies, the place they live, the clothes they wear, their group of friends, the ways they spend their free time; really take the time to analyze who they are now and how they’ve changed, then ask yourself, “how did I influence that change?”

    Did you push them to take that job because it would allow you to be “stable” or to buy a house/clothes/trips/cars/tuition/etc.? Did you stop them from being friends, either overtly or more subtly, with people you didn’t like? Did you mold or change their life priorities? Do you have any idea what those priorities were before you got together? If you can figure that out, being truly honest with yourself, then maybe you can start to see why your partner isn’t the passionate, ‘alive’ person they were before.

    Not all relationships are like this, of course. Despite my words, I am actually in a very good one. We both love and empower each other and I am a better man for having married her. But I’ve seen this story play out time and again among my friends and family.

    Ultimately, my point is that the people reading this article (and the many similar one out there), with its focus on what men aren’t doing in their relationship or on how they’re not living up to the standards every woman ‘deserves,’ should perhaps take a moment to think about their role in creating the problems their relationship faces. Take a moment and think about how your husband/partner might have lived their life differently if you hadn’t pushed them into the ‘passionless,’ ‘lifeless’ person you made them.

    And, if you’re not in that relationship right now, then please take a moment to consider how your efforts to ‘improve’ him now might lead to this very problem in the future.

    Reply
    1. bonbon2

      What you described here is not love… it’s sacrifice in the name of love. I do not believe that women should change men nor the other way around. If anyone is engaged in such a relationship, then maybe that person needs to check again on his/her belief of love. There’s a reason why a person learnt to associate personal sacrifices equaling to love. Maybe that’s why you choose to stay in such a relationship. Same logic applies to the controlling type of person in relationship; what is it that makes a person believe to “correct” his/her partner instead of letting go of this relationship when it’s obviously not working for both sides. It’s not a sacrifice you made to complete this relationship, it’s because something you do for yourself to complete this. If you feel this is going to be a huge sacrifice on your side, learn to set the boundry, you can say no to the other person. Learn to save yourself first and then to protect your relationship. It’s not an selfish act to save yourself.

      The controller in relationship needs to control their own fear and self-doubting, that’s what they need to learn the most.

      Love grows from the soil of self-awareness, self-respect and self-acceptance. One learns how to treat oneself before he/she could understand how to love.

      Reply
  27. Maestrophil

    Good advice on how to help your spouse feel loved. Where is the part where people are supposed to be loyal and honor covenants even when things are difficult? I don’t care how distant a partner is – you cheat, you suck, you are selfish, and it’s your fault. That’s my view.

    Reply
  28. Rivka

    He’s completely right, hes telling my story. I gave my all and more to my husband but he was never ‘there’. When he took me so much for granted that he started to get verbally abusive – and that got worse over the years- then I left. It broke my heart to do it but what would I have been teaching our kids had I stayed? We have 3 young children and a broken home. They spend time in both our homes. Finally he ‘sees’ them at least. I didnt want to be alone, but better alone than completely invisible. I am now happy, but I stayed in that marriage too long … I dont know if I will ever risk another relationship again.
    Excellent article, thank you for telling my story.

    Reply
  29. Ray H

    This works with the coin flipped too. I was, until recently in a relationship that lasted a year.i put in the time, the effort, i spent every day cherishing her and adoring her, making her the Centre of my day. I had a passion for life ….for her. .for a future. And slowly she ignored ME. Slowly the contact list until there were days that she would forget me. I work hard. And when not working i would be there for her. Emotionally and in every way. I had to pull away in the hope that she would get help.i doubt she will. She tags everyone she’loves’as having NPD, me including and yet is suffering from those symptoms herself. I love her still and how she gets help and comes back.

    Reply
  30. Silvia

    Although I had the experience of leaving a man who was so compartmentalized in his work that there was little left for me,, this practice certainly goes both ways. No relationship can flourish when it’s starving for connection.

    Reply
  31. Phil

    Been married for 36 years. Have had our problems like everybody. The secret for us is we go our seperate ways. We do whant we want togather or on our own. You must trust your better half doing what you want togather or on you own is the secret. Trust eachother and enjoy life.

    Reply
  32. A Lonely Wife

    I understand what the message was, but I think a lot of people like to read these things just to have something to argue about. I am a wife and mother and I have been married for 25 years. We used to lay on the floor and watch movies together or sit on the couch together and after we were married it all stopped. Why?? Nothing changed other than the little piece of paper. I told him if we are doing this at 25 and 36 yrs old what are we going to be doing at 50 and 61? Well I’ll tell you nothing different he’s still sitting with his remote and I am sitting and crocheting. Not because I have not tried. I try to get him to sit with me or I’ll crank up the radio and try to get him to dance around the kitchen or living room with me…but nothing happens….So this is why this article hits home with me. I don’t want to go out and spend money just want his attention. a kiss or a hug once in awhile to let me know he notices me still here. I can be sitting 3 foot away from him and he doesn’t hear me talking to him, but I go off to the other end of the house and he hears every word I say if I am talking to someone on the phone…. Oh well I am done… I am no angel but I am there for him.

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      I have been married for 27 years. And my husband treats me the same way, I have tried the same things you tried. I’m tried and burned out with this man, we have not had any sex or contact in 2years. No Intimacy nothing. I have met someone and we had lunch, movie and he makes me laugh. In my heart I want to know why want my husband do fun things with me? I am a great woman and I Deserve better I am planning on leaving my husband in may, not because I met someone, because my husband thinks and treats me like a roommate not a wife of 27 yrears. Looking and Praying for Better

      Reply
  33. SomeGuy

    I’m all for people putting in equal parts into relationships, but lately, it seems like all anyone writes about is how men need to do more for their women, need to be less sexist, need to be more passionate, need to be this or that or do things differently.

    Relationships need “us time”, that’s a given. They need open and fair communication. They do need passion. But how come there aren’t nearly as many articles on how women can do better for their men? Why is the focus placed on what men do wrong, and not simply on what both parties need to be doing for one another and themselves to maintain a great relationship?

    Furthermore, there are women who are terrible to their men who read articles like this and then feel justified in their choices to be super moody and take things out on their men, and make it a big frustrating guessing game for their men to figure out what the best course of action is. These are the women who claim to be feminists and want equal rights, but love garbage books and movies like “50 Shades of Gray”.

    Let’s stop pointing fingers at one gender, race, or other, and just do right by each other. Let’s ask our spouses how we’re doing, what’s going well, what can be improved upon in the relationship instead of relying on silly, one-sided articles to point it out. Let’s at least put out articles that represent more than one fad or one side.

    Reply
  34. Mike

    So what happens to Police, Medics, Firefighters and the Military? Do they not deserve loyal patient wives? Or do they deserve to be alone because they can’t be at home as much as someone else? Is the spouse entitled to stray because they have certain needs that take priority over loyalty?
    Men, don’t ignore your wives when you’re home. Get her flowers once in awhile. Show appreciation when she does something nice for you.
    Wives, don’t leave your man because he splits his attention between you, and the community/country he is serving.

    Reply
  35. Bob

    Instead of raising awareness for the need of men to be ‘present’ in a relationship, it seems more like a personally fueled, one sided article excusing women for pulling the plug when things become difficult. How do you help couples by blaming men for women leaving? Perhaps remind men of what women require, and women of what men require, and how each side can accomplish what is needed.

    I am curious to know how you work with couples when they have issues due to a lopsided camp schedule (e.g. 3-4 weeks away and one week home)? Should the man quit his job, and then they can live in a tent with lots of hugs and Kraft dinner?

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Bob, I work with couples who have issues due to camp schedules much like I work with most other couples. This can include but is not limited to:
      ~ Listening to their story and helping them discover (and possibly adjust) the assumptions and beliefs underneath it
      ~ Helping them recognize the roles they each play in their relationship (and how they might want to change them)
      ~ Providing opportunities for them to explore their values, their resentments, their hopes, hurts, longings and other important aspects of their humanity that often get lost along the way

      Reply
  36. Mel

    This just happened to me.My husband is on facebook from the time we get home til we go to bed every day. On it all weekend too. over the last few months, another guy swept me off my feet.It was so subtle at first and it took me by surprise. I fell madly in love with him. I never cheated on my husband. I did what was best. Unfriend him and stay away from him at work. But my heart is in shreds.I miss this guy so much. How unfair to fall in love with someone you can’t be with. I never fell in love with my husband. We married for more logical reasons. I have cried so many tears over this.I feel like an object. He just wants an outlet for sex. I told him I felt lonely. His “sorry” wasn’t very meaningful. This past monday I told him I was in love with the guy from work but nothing happened and I wouldn’t cheat. Tonight I got home and found him passed out drunk on the bathroom floor. I really thought this other guy loved me and was into me, but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day we are both still married to other people. I hope time heals my broken heart. sad in SW Michigan 🙁

    Reply
  37. Omg

    You were fed too much “princess” toys and now you’re distracted by simple prince charmings that can only hold the charm long enough to get what they want for a whole. Life is work. Marriage isn’t passively waiting for attention from men. Grow up. Get off your ass and get your husbands attention. This articles additide is defeatist and pathetic. It’s what women were 50 years ago. Modern woman is strong and takes control of her situation instead of passively giving up by getting “swept off her feet”. So sad.

    Reply
  38. Pretty Damn good husband

    It’s been 31 years but somehow I don’t remember in my wedding vows that I had to give up my entire identity to be married. The biggest problem with marriage is by the time your kids are grown up you have both lost most of your friends to their own lives and children so neither of you have anyone to do things with. I have spoken with many guys in their 50’s that have zero friends left to do stuff with because of their total commitment to family and job or business.

    Like any article their are valid points but you basically want men to quit being men just like every other article being written today. You can’t have a man that is your rock and want him to wear a dress too!

    Go find some new girlfriends and I will find some guys to play a round of golf with or go fishing and we can tell each other about our day over a nice dinner and bottle of wine. If we have anything left over from our day I will gladly make love to you and make sure you are taken care of first.

    Reply
  39. Bill Ellis

    I just had to comment, I am a man that lost my WIFE, I loved her more than life, I told her everyday, several times, I loved touching her, talking with her, we spent hours on the phone, we had the party home, always hosting a party. She quit talking to me, I would notice her moods ad ask her what was wrong, always nothing, sometimes weeks would go by and no talking, drove me crazy. We are divorced now, she crosses my mind every night in my dreams, I see her face and it wakes me, I find myself reaching for her in bed only to find her empty side of the bed. I miss her terribly. She was so smart and fun to be around, always the spotlight person. I’m sure her side of the story is much different.

    It’s so hard for a man to get a woman to talk, we are supposed to just know and we don’t, most of us are just lost.

    I thought I would be with her for the rest of my life, now I have memories and an empty heart, I will never find another like her because she was the only one for me. No doubt in my mind.

    Bill

    Reply
    1. Zoleka

      Aaaai its amazing how I have been waiting for a man who treats me like the way you treated your wife Bill.All the guys I meet are cold and just dont have time.The recent guy didnt even believe in holding hands or just seating next to me.He called when it suit him and didnt believe in spoiling me for my birthday or special days like mothers day or christmas…..he would chat to his female fiends on his cell phone till he has no battery life left.,,, I still lived him but I left him because ut hurt me emotionally

      Reply
  40. Toby

    As an article written by marriage counsellor, looking to generate more work counselling couples with failing marriages, I would have to say that this article is probably no doubt a success.
    For, just like the military recruiter promising late teenage boys adventure in the military, it is heavy on potential and silent on cost.
    I may have only two degrees and been married only 27 years so perhaps there is more for me to learn, but.
    We live in a safe, peaceful, wealthy society that has been created largely through the sacrifices of tens of millions of men who demonstrate their love and devotion to the women in their lives by making the personal sacrifices derided throughout this article. Do you think men want to commute 20 hours a week? Do you think men want to work swingshifts in physically & mentally demanding jobs? Do you think that men only want to see their children at the end of the day with the first expectation that they assist the tired children with their homework and then ensure bed times are adhered to? Do you think that men want to spend their free time back “at work” entertaining the boss on the golf course? Do you think that men want to come home to a spouse itching for a fight after watching TV soap opera fights and quarreling with the children?
    Might the reason men focus on the TV or fishing be, that they just don’t have the energy or heart left for, yet another fight in the day?
    Articles like this, and many modern women, bemoan how difficult the life of the modern western woman is without taking the most logical route of just leaving this society behind and swapping places with another woman elsewhere in the world. Swap with a woman in Africa fending alone for her family, Swap with a woman in Afghanistan or Northern Pakistan, or Nepal, Trade places with an Amazonian women, get out there and experiance the wonderful life you’ve been deprived by your ‘horrible Western men’. Or… if that is too big a step, swap places with your spouse, work a job you hate that destroys your body so that your spouse can live in the proper neighbourhood for your children, quash contact with your friends and family so your spouses friends and family can retain priority and make sure that your spouse greets you everyday with either a list of problems or a verbal assault.. Then invert his need for physical intimacy with your need for emotional intimacy and require that ONLY he provide you with emotional intimacy.
    The problem is that modern women (and their marriage counsellors) have taken leave of their senses. Instead of thinking & behaving like responsible adults, they think and behave like narcissistic, petulant children, to hell with consequences for their children or society at large.
    We know that women instigate over 80% of divorces and have done so for the past 30+ years. Based on the bulk of popular media as demonstrated through articles like this, it would appear clear that society has not been improving as a result of modern women’s choices.
    Perhaps it’s time to take a look in the mirror and see where the real problem lies.
    For those formenting such discourse for the purpose of financial gain, I say this; I pray you get to spend eternity explaining to all the children harmed by the publication and distribution of this trash how a stable childhood for them was less important than a few pieces of silver temporarily in your wallet.

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Underneath the axe-grinding, accusations and polarizations, I hear the familiar (and legitimate) pain and anger of a man who has made sacrifices. Toby, I shared some simple observations and invited men to try experimenting with the quality of attention they give their spouse. To the tune of five minutes per day. For mutual benefit. The rest is your projection, and I offer it back to you.

      Reply
    2. Kellie

      Men need to stop being intimidated by women that make money and they wouldn’t have to work so hard. I don’t understand the decisions people make. Its never okay to treat your man like an atm and I wouldn’t need to luckily. 🙂

      Reply
  41. anneliese kaptan

    My issues are not really this. We’re fine about our space and intimacy. The being ‘present’ is definitely a psychological and emotional thing than physical. They are more important I think, but what I do wholeheartedly agree on is that people leave each other they really love, which is so tragic. It just goes to show that ‘love’ is not enough. Relationships are so complex and our personalities and needs make it all that much more tougher to handle without guidance and support from loved one’s and good counselling like in this article. Thank you!

    Reply
  42. Jeff

    Interesting. My wife left me and moved to another state. My wife also called to read me this article. I’m left to assume this is the way she feels. As someone who’s wife has left may I offer the following. The principles stated in the article are true. Men, take the time to connect with your wife. Connect on a level that she understands. Women, if you find yourself in this situation, that these word apply to you, take a good long look at yourself. Why is he withdrawing? Why can’t you connect? Why is 5 minutes of “connect time” too much to ask? It’s not, but it works both ways. The irony for me is my wife found this posting on facebook. Every night we’d come home and she could not wait to get on facebook. Hours would go by, no connection, no interaction other than …. ooooo, look at the cute picture of the cat I found on facebook. She would sit on the end of the couch with computer in lap for hours and then ask me where the romance had gone, instructing me to be more romantic. We used to walk every night, hand in hand. I loved it, it was the best part of my day. We had wonderful discussions, made life plans and enjoyed the escape from life’s rat race. Then she just stopped, I’d tell her how much I missed the walks, the connect time but to no avail. I would work my job, take care of the yard, clean the house, cook many of the meals and take care of the animals that she wanted, help her with her aging mother, help with my adult disabled son and my aging mother all the while she went on lunch dates with her girl friends, watched hours and hours of TV and sat on facebook. I was exhausted. I asked for help but very little was forthcoming. The five minutes the author suggests as connect time were spent watching her surf facebook. You get the idea. So ladies, what are you doing to help your man recharge his batteries? It’s hard to connect when you’re exhausted and just trying to survive. Reading about romance online is not being romantic. When your man asks for help do you listen? Or do you get angry and withdraw. Are you doing your part so he can do his? Are you willing to connect on his level or must he connect on yours, or better yet a combination of the two. Relationships are always cause and effect. If you are not getting your connect time ……..why? By the way as the author states, my post is not gender specific, men if your wants in life outweigh your wife’s needs, check yourself before you wreck yourself and your relationship.

    Reply
  43. John

    So, when the husband is very present, sacrifices time & time again, is available nonstop… when he goes to work, punches the clock, comes home, provides for his family… he’s to divide his time, energy, love & attention to 3 people… when is it okay to leave him? When is it okay to “fall out of love” with him? When the fights, arguments, etc. come at no fault of what he’s doing, but rather her unending unhappiness, is it ok for her to take all the plans they had made and throw them all the way? While I agree wholeheartedly the husband should be attending physically & emotionally, the wife should as well. It shouldn’t fall solely on the husband to make plans, make arrangements and the what not. When left to his own devices, and she isn’t encouraging any sort of activity or communication, quite the contrary, distancing herself & not talking, what is he to do?
    I was told I didn’t give her enough attention. Apparently by playing with the kids, going to work, cleaning around the house, etc. was ignoring her. Yet she wanted my attention nonstop, constantly, all the time, every waking moment. That to me is selfish. She would be jealous of me playing with our daughter, as though our little girl was going to steal me from her. I couldn’t show her affection because it was believed that I cared for her more than my wife. Our daughter is currently 2-years-old… I did no wrong, she’s adamant about that. It was her who fell out of love. So to this article, for those it applies to, take it’s word that it is a real threat. But to guys like me that did everything they could, join me out in the cold, because sometimes, everything you’ve got will never be enough.

    Reply
    1. wb

      John,

      I agree more with your comment than I did or even do with this initial article. I find it disgusting to no end that women in this era we live in, are so selfish, so entitle minded, so quick to up and leave at the drop of a hat, with not only any feelings of regret for what she may put her husband through, but also what is absent, is the very little care they have over where that leaves their child.

      Hate me or love me, heres my story, and it parallels perfect with Johns Story, After leaving the military, I had met my now fiancee of 5 years. When I met her, I had no doubt in my mind, the plans for our lives together I had, and the passion I had to pursue them, as a result, our first child was born. Little by little she got really distanced, then the withdraw from sex came, which did huge damage to me personally, as before she loved the act, on top of working my ass off, getting injured while ensuring she could be a stay at home mom in relative comfort, I would come home, and be forced into cleaning a kitchen at 4 am for an hour because the smell was intolerable. You see, the thing about what Im about to say is, women want this picture perfect idea of a family, yet they have no positive example for them to root their ideology in, besides the waste of brain cells that is sitcom shit, and if you ever watched that crap and you were a self respecting man, you would feel as I do, that those ideals have no place in a nuclear family whatsoever, why you may ask???? because those loaded full of shit shows are pre emtive strikes on family values that have proven themselves effective since day one. I sacrificed everything for my family, and for her, and you know what I got in return???? LIES!!!! NOTHING BUT FUCKING LIES!!!!! I ve heard it all, shit I should have never been told, or maybe I should have? I was told I loved my family TOO MUCH??? who the fuck grateful for the man who busts his ass for her says shit like this??? I was told that I dont have me time??? okay maybe that would be nice….but then again, how long will we live close to the poverty line before you quit for someone whos gonna “pay your bills girl?” My point is, they are never happy…..but the one which blew me away, was when she told me she didnt love me anymore…..that infuriated me. I then proceded to ask her if there was someone else, of course the answer was no….I felt at this point that the ball was in my court, and if I ever wanted more respect, I needed to step up, and do all the shit that she, and this proverbial fucked up society expects out of me, and just man up and go harder in my endeavors. However, the self pity and self loathing came to a screeching halt, as I found out that there was someone on the side, someone who clearly didnt give a shit that we are still a family, and someone who for the life of me, I cant stop fantacizing about ripping apart. She has destroyed us, and whatever we once were, if we were ever even anything at all.

      At this point, we remain together, but its a brutal relationship. I feel as though I hold it all together for the sake of my daughter, I have told my woman that I no longer trust her, and she needs to earn my trust by being honest, by being sincere, by maybe defending me from her chicken shit ass family who she allows to berate and insult me to no end, she allows her mother, who has children from different men, two of which dont even know who their real dad is, to insult me, to put down my actions whenever convenient, and to say Im half or less than a man because I dont live up to her idea, sorry but her idea is far from what or who I am, IM BETTER THAN THAT. I have also put my foot down on the level of disrespect that takes place in my home, alot of you women on this thread are going to hate me fast for what I am about to say, but she has pushed me to the point where its just a matter of time before she gets a reality check to her face, and she would be lucky if not blessed to get back up from the hit. I have been clear with her on this, and I told her she would not ever set me up to have my paternal rights taken from me.

      For now, its an uneasy calm in my home, mostly for my daughters sake. My only aim in life, is to finish my IT schooling, so I can make what I need to make to fully support myself and my daughter, and then her ass is out of this picture. She has taken me for a ride I did not sign up for. and its not even me who I am worried about the most, its the ride she will take my daughter on, if I dont intervene or smoke check this selfish bitch in a courthouse and destroy her entire ideology with nothing but facts that no judge could ever deny. My way out, not only ensures a positive and healthy upbringing for my daughter, but would also take her into consideration in ways her mother falls grossly short in. EG: education, being there for her whenever she needs me without risking my career, and being very far from the struggling existence that torments our lives because someone feels like they are entitled to leave whenever the fuck they feel like it and quit their families without any further thought of consequence.

      its my belief that women nowadays need to be more critical of themselves, and take great regard into being accountable for self. many of you women will say Im slighted in my views, or biased, no. What I am is a father who in 33 years has lived in this misandrist shit culture for too long, and who is raising a daughter to be everything YOU ARE NOT. trust me when I say, that when my daughter comes to age, she is going to be a rare catch in contrast to the unaccountable little fucks who will become her peers. She will value herself to such an enormous degree, and will respect herself as well. Just put it this way, you can write all the man hating blogs you want, to get brownie points from a bunch of unaccountable individuals who will only appease you in the short term, but know this…..while you do that…..know that my daughter IS WATCHING ME, and it prides me to say, that regardless of what this selfish broad did to us, I have remained the better man, no matter how dark things get. Keeping a level head and sanity to do right is a fucking near impossible task with the way you want to be manipulative towards maybe the only great man who has ever stepped in your life and gave a shit about you.

      I give my daughter the greatest example of what a man is……and at the end of the day, the misandrist culture is worthless to any degree, so long as I continue to keep my daughter at the forefront of all of my decisions and actions.

      I would apologize for my language at this point, but I dont hear any women apologizing for being instrumental to running their childrens fathers out of their lives based on impulse….for your temporary satisfaction…..WE ALL SUFFER. YOUR CHILDREN INCLUDED. SORRY WE COULDNT BE THE ROCK IN A DRESS BENT OVER FOR YOU, SAD TO SAY, ITS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO COHABIT WITH A HOMOSEXUAL MAN IF THATS THE KIND OF HOME YOU WANT.

      STEP UP MEN…..FUCK ALL THIS DEFEATIST SHIT!

      Reply
      1. Kellie

        wow, sorry you got stuck with someone like that. I like what you said about teaching your daughter to value and respect herself. Any woman with self respect would not behave the way your wife has. Good for you for not letting her make you bitter.

        Reply
  44. Donald

    I would just like to say it is a two way street. Marriage is not 50/50 it has to be 100/100 and also men get very taken for granted too

    Reply
  45. Workingaway

    So what happens to the man that gives his all, works away from home. Hard worker, good father, always supporting and caring for the family? Gives all that he possibly can, should he deserve a patient wife? Or should that wife just reap the resources of his job and passion for life, just to get up and leave him all together.

    Reply
  46. Scott

    I know you said at the bottom of this article in abiquitous text that it’s a two way street but I hear this every day! Men are both supposed to be sensitive and yet be a man, don’t you think that men know all of this already but are told so many things about ‘what she wants’ that they become confused? It’s hard for a man in the modern world! Women are definately the alpha side of the species now and I believe they take advantage of this fact, we as men try our best to keep a woman’s attention, to keep her interested to keep her excited about the relationship but this is tottally a one way street! The man is expected to do all of the running in a relationship to keep it alive and when it falls apart it’s his fault! Because it’s his duty to supply everything inside the relationship! I’m not saying this about all women but unfortunately the vast majority! I’m a 26 year old male with a string of failed relationships both long and short, mainly because I believe in a fair life, this includes holding me up when I fall down not just waiting for me to catch you and watching as I crumble, then complaining that I become distant and don’t pay you the same attention I once did! A clean cut example of what I mean, I can remember the colour of my previous partners eyes just by closing mine, could she remember the colour of mine if I closed mine in front of her? 99% of the time it’s a no, because the expectancy is different! Sorry for the rant but these are my opinions, I apologise if I insult anyone and I also apologise for the terrible grammar throughout, my battery is dying lol

    Reply
    1. Ashley

      Scott, I was not offended in the least, a reoccurring theme I’m reading is, women, vs, men situations? I honestly feel we need to do away with that, it’s not a women man thing, it’s a personal choice, we all have choices we make in our relationships to be present, to not be, to pay attention, not pay attention etc. there are just as many good men as there are women, there are just as many women who don’t pay attention as men, it’s not a gender issue it’s a matter of morals and expectations. The simple truth is we all think and have our own perspectives and ideals, the key is communication and willingness to better understand our spouses, partners and working TOGETHER to reach a resolve. I can no more change the way my husband thinks and processes then he can of me and I accept that open heartedly. Do I wish he could be more present in my ideals of what present encompasses of course, have we talked and argued over it, you betcha. At the end of the day do I know he loves me, YES!! It takes two to correct a marriage that has gone stale, stagnate, or a relationship if both parties involved are willing to fight for what they once had or want.

      Reply
  47. Mandy

    Yes my thoughts too.. women also need to be present and give their men appreciation… but this was written by someone working with breaking down relationships… not just an opinion piece… his observations from real clients.

    Reply
  48. Brian

    As a man, what if he is hearing his wife, but she does not “feel” heard ?? If he has persisted, grown tired, and thinks, “I am better off going fishing, working , sport, etc”, is there no room for responsibility for a woman, to honour a man ?? Even if that man has poured himself into her life, is it all one sided, If a man gives and gives even when they are only met with lies, contempt and disention ?? I wonder about how women have treated men, to bring a man to a state of apathy toward her ?!
    I am asking questions, I know very little, but I know if you cut a man, he bleeds !

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      I know the article raises many questions. Keep in mind that my purpose in sharing it isn’t to provide conclusive answers or to designate blame or even responsibility. The intention was to share a story based on my unique observations, and to offer new possibilities. The reason that three million people have now read the piece and shared it and commented on it is, I believe, largely because they see themselves in it. It is their story. But it isn’t everyone’s story. If it isn’t your story, that’s OK. It doesn’t make it wrong, nor does it make you wrong. It just isn’t your story. There’s no reason for that to be a problem. Brian, Your questions are good and reasonable. The answers that I hear in my office are numerous. I’ll be sharing more stories. Some might be your story.

      Reply
  49. Ashley

    I am having a difficult time understanding the need to get defensive over this article, as I read it I wasn’t just reading it as a wife, or women, but also reading it with purpose for both my husband and myself, applying those thoughts to a mans perspective and how this article applies to both of us. My husband and I have wonderful communication, if I feel less desired or he’s not present I tell him, I tell him I’m feeling vulnerable. He does his best to make himself more present, does it last… No, but it’s the effort he puts in that I take notice of and appreciate. Life is hectic, no spouse is perfect, myself included and we are still learning, we have been together eight years, married for 5. Life is not a fairly tale and let’s face it most women, not all have an idea of what a marriage should be, and how our spouses should be towards us, then really sets in and when it’s not what was expected, we have to learn and grow together. I found extreme comfort in this article, this is the number one issue in our personal relationship,I was even more comforted in knowing that this is a general issue and that we are going through something other couple face. So thank you very much for this article. I enjoyed reading all the thoughts and perspectives of those who took the time to comment!

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      This caught my eye – “…if I feel less desired or he’s not present I tell him, I tell him I’m feeling vulnerable.” I have found that emotional vulnerability is a powerful place to approach a spouse from. Much different than coming from a place of demands, resentment, or even reason. It often takes real courage to be authentically vulnerable.

      Reply
  50. shaun

    Its funny. This piece IS a direct aim at lousy men. Otherwise justice would not keep defending himself but instead give reason or dictation as to why or how women play the part other than the victim. Our society is on a total “man bashing” rage; as this only adds fuel to the fire. I was married and was a devoted husband. I worked 14 hrs a day so she would not have to. I would cook, clean, do the dishes, laundry and any other chores. All she wanted to do was PARTY PARTY PARTY!!!!. Yet, she could not understand when I would explain or ask her for help around the house. Her answer being”I’m not your slave”. The woman had a college degree but refused to work. Her usual day was sitting at home eating snacks watching soap operas to which I would come home and pick up the wrappers she would just throw on the floor. Even in bed I would do my best to fulfill her needs even as she would leave me wanton. But again this is a story about the worthlessness of men by some neutered feminist. The real answer is simple. RESPECT. Mutual respect and adoration for one another. How much self respect will you allow yourself before calling it quits. For me it was coming home and finding her in bed with her old high school flame. But of course there wont be a story or subject about”worthless women” because in todays society that is sexist. The author I believe understands that in todays society women outnumber men 3 to 1. Thats big bucks showing how men are pigs and he’s here just to help. Its all about those benjamins. I find it funny how someone asks a direct question of him but his answer is always generalized as giving a direct answer costs$$$. But I really would love to learn more Justice. When did you say the piece on women was coming out? Ill be sure to read it. Until then husbands love and respect your wives. Wives love ans respect your husbands.

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Shaun, If someone asks a direct question that I have a direct answer to, I provide it. Generally though, relationships are more nuanced than that. I’m actually more in the business of asking good questions than providing answers! Many, many people want easy answers to their relationship challenges. But we have to find our way to those answers through our own experience. My role is guide, ally, companion. As for “lousy men”, I’m not sure I’ve met one.

      Reply
  51. RaisedEyebrow

    Maybe women feel justified leaving in this situation because the man already left. His physical body may be present, but his mental, emotional, and spiritual self is gone. If that is true, why did he feel justified leaving in the first place? The article focuses on how women may be justified in leaving men for another man. Does this mean the man should feel justified for leaving the woman emotionally? The problem with the article is the victim-blaming tone, and its double standard.

    Of course women can leave relationships, just as men can. In this category, women usually have a lot more at stake (committing resources to children), speaking very generally, which gives men a power advantage. Of course it’s in the interest of women to leave a man before they have children if he does not demonstrate his commitment to invest in children after they have them. This is a basic biological dynamic shown anywhere animals reproduce sexually. Females have to be vigilant against deceptive strategies. Also, of course it’s in the interest of women to try to make it work after the children are already in the picture, but in western societies (and their western economies), women have the option of leaving and finding a more suitable partner even after the children are born. Nothing wrong with this either. The article wants to blame the men, but again, they have already left and are merely sticking around physically and economically to fulfill societal obligations, because they didn’t have a deceptive strategy in the first place. They probably have their own perfectly valid reasons for their behavior.

    In short, the dynamic described by the article is a lot more complex, and people should carefully weight their options and pursue paths that best meet their needs, disregarding sunk costs.

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Re “The article focuses on how women may be justified in leaving men for another man.” The article actually focuses on a pattern I observe, while explicitly avoiding justifying (or condemning) it. If a reader wishes to justify or condemn, that is the reader’s prerogative, but it is optional. There’s a tendency to jump to blame, cause, responsibility etc because sitting with uncertainty is uncomfortable. In my eyes, there is no victim and no villain in the story.

      Reply
      1. RaisedEyebrow

        It sounds like you may be getting a bit defensive from all the negative responses, even though there may be far more positive responses. I get that. I don’t want to attack you. The tone of your article absolutely does go very far down the route of justifying women leaving men, and putting the blame on the men. My point was merely that human drives are complex, and if two people have drives that make them bad matches for fulfilling each other’s needs, they’re probably better off splitting up. I don’t know you, but I suspect that as a marriage counselor you may be biased against marriages ending. Feel free to set me straight on that. You’re pointing out the observation that women leave men who are emotionally distant. I’m pointing out that men who are emotionally distant have already left the woman, but are sticking around to partially fulfill societal duties. This situation can play out many ways, but if you want it to end in a saved marriage, you won’t get far without delving more deeply into why the man has already left. Without addressing that part, you are really just writing an article that women will “like” on facebook (we all “like” to confirm our biases), but that does nothing to solve the actual problem. To me, it seems like it just feeds the problem by reinforcing one side at the expense of the other.

        Reply
        1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

          I don’t feel like I have anything to defend in this regard. My intention is to clarify my intent. Re – “The tone of your article absolutely does go very far down the route of justifying women leaving men, and putting the blame on the men.” I suggest that the tone can not be absolute in this case because the tone is subjective. I do believe that it is OK to leave a marriage or relationship. My bias is to serve the client. If a couple are trying to stay together, that’s the bias, and it shapes our work. If one or both are trying to decide whether to stay or go, that’s what we work on. I completely agree with your key points about unsuited couples, societal duties and the deeper issues that drive relationships. This is the nuts and bolts of my work. And you’re right, an article is really no way to properly address the deeper issues driving a relationship. Relationships can’t be accurately and fully expressed or explored in a short read. They’re far too nuanced. An article like this can only get people thinking. As for reinforcing one side at the expense of the other, that clearly does happen, but it is optional, and is not my intention. Thanks for your thoughts!

          Reply
        2. Justice Schanfarber Post author

          Also, if you’d like to write a short piece that explores the background and fleshes out the (possible) personalities in the dynamic that I outlined in the article, I’d love to read it!

          Reply
  52. TestingTheLimits

    Just don’t make this men and women relationship so complex that eventually society gives up the believe in marriage. Just don’t overburden the relationship with expectations. Only what comes naturally, stays. Article further strengthens my belief after 20 years marriage, that I have forgotten to live, to live naturally. I don’t know who am I anymore. I am living just to keep a commitment I made 20 years back to a woman. It may sound depressing, but search your soul before responding.

    Reply
  53. Stuckinarut

    i agree with this article. I am a women in her upper 30’s, with a man that is a wonderful provider, and father. He possesses a lot of great qualities along with some not so great ones. Where I never have to worry about him straying, I do feel as if he only wants me as his ‘sexual release’. He never wants to do anything together as a couple. If I suggest plans with other couples so we can socialize with friends (something that is very important to me because I’m very lonely as a stay at home mom and don’t have any friends left) he NEVER wants to do that…EVER! I have told him time and time again how I feel we never do anything together anymore and we need to go on a date, he suggests the same ol’ go to the movies…ughhhhh seriously?! I’m so SICK of the movies! I tell him that as well, I ask him why can’t we ever do anything different? He says like what? I say ANYTHING! I tell him his choice idc as long as it’s us together without children and not at a movie theater! And low and behold we do nothing..he complains I never want sex, yet I tell him time and time again sex is like a chore to me because it’s all about him getting his rocks off and that’s it! So I have zero interest and it’s pretty obvious when we are having sex. I told him I feel like I’m his last thing to check of his ‘to do’ list to help HIM sleep better. Sex is not fun or interesting anymore, I feel like it’s all about his manly needs, and if I refuse sex oh boy I should be prepared for the insults of how ‘this sucks, I never want sex and it sucks for him..’ “Whatever screw it he’ll just live a miserable life” those are quotes of some of the things he says, and then is so annoying to be around after. I try to tell him that’s there’s so much more to it I can’t just have no communication with him all day, then have him come home, eat, take a shower, hang with the kids for a few (if they’re still awake) then play on his game, then jump into bed and grope and dry hump me like a dog in heat and expect me to be in the mood?! But he doesn’t get it! He will never get it, and THAT scares me because what am I to do? I’ve fantasized about having an affair but could never do that to my family so I just live in misery and Beyoncé bitter and irritated over it so we basically don’t talk to each other because it’s pointless. What would you suggest I do in this situation?

    Reply
  54. Lonely husband

    What do you do if you have gone to great lengths to be present, If you make an exherted effort to go on a date every week, If you give her undevoted quality time, If you attempt to connect with her on a physical, yet not sexual level, if you truly conversate with her and deeply listen to what she has to say, and no matter how hard you try she still doesn’t WANT a physically intimate relationship?

    What if despite all the aforementioned things she tells you that she will never WANT sex. That she’ll only do it out of obligation or duty, but it will never be something she desires.

    What if no matter how many times you tell her that the one thing you want is not for her to have sex with me, but for her to desire me, for her to want me to please her, and to want to be pleased by me, she refuses to understand…

    What do I do in that scenario?

    Reply
  55. Amanda

    I just read the article, and its what I have been trying to tell my husband for a very long time. You leave me alone too much. While your secluded in our bedroom playing video games after working 11 hours and the rest of your family is watching a movie or playing a board game or just spending time together, and your in there. I do everything and I don’t get anything in return. No passion, no romance, no emotions. Then you complain about how the kids don’t listen to you or there is a problem with how I’m raising them. I’m raising them by myself. You might be in the other room but you are not here. I’m being mommy and daddy and husband and wife. I keep making excuses. And on your days off where are you? In the same room playing the same video games, and Im here alone with the kids. You leave me alone too much. Then you get angry when I want to leave. Im a stay at home mom, I do everything laundry,clean, cook. grocery shop, pay all the bills, take the kids every place they need to go, go to all the school functions, give all the baths, and where are you? I wish I could leave.

    Reply
  56. Jack

    My fiancé and I are currently going through this right now with me being the one not present. It’s tough it really is, it’s not that I was doing it intentionally or even really noticed, you get so comfortable and secure you forget to put in the effort and assume everything just happens, while balancing work, hobbies, children, and life things can fall through the cracks. I know I was really wrong in allowing that and it hurts me so much knowing I’ve been hurting the one I love. This article and really this whole endeavor has changed me and enlightened me in the sense of knowing how to maintain a healthy loving relationship. I just hope it’s not too late for her and I, I am willing to put the effort and work in because I love her and want her to have that because she’s deserves it for being so caring and loving to me and our child. But she’s too afraid of getting hurt again and is to the point now where she doesn’t want to talk to me. There’s been so much back and forth that I don’t know if we’re done or still working things out. I just hope it isn’t… 🙁

    Reply
  57. Jack

    Also as I know a lot of people may read into this wrong but do you believe that a partner “not being there” is enough to end a relationship/marriage or just enough to seek counseling?

    Reply
  58. Maria

    I appreciate what you are saying in this piece, and I agree with the fact that a spouse can “check out” of a marriage and alienate their partner, resulting in women and men splitting with a spouse that they are often still in love with. However, often a spouse is subject to abuse by a “present” partner and then this whole philosophy can be tossed out the window. A man (or woman) who is emotionally, mentally or physically abusive may see themselves as being “present”, but in reality, they are more in a position of “control”. This gets tricky with emotional abuse. The abuser is sometimes unaware, or maybe more accurately, unwilling to accept that their actions/words are creating a situation of fear, distrust or is the underlying cause of the deterioration of the relationship. Because they aren’t knocking their spouse around, they don’t see the harm in their words or actions. And because the abused partner doesn’t have obvious bruises that go along with physical abuse to show for the mistreatment, they often second-guess themselves and hesitate in leaving what might seem an otherwise ideal situation where their spouse seems “present”. Thoughts like “he’s a good provider” or “she’s great with the kids” or “he doesn’t go out drinking with his buddies every weekend”, etc. make it difficult for an emotionally and mentally abused spouse to see past the typical reasons for disintegration of a marriage. Being an engaged partner in the relationship is certainly a large part of keeping a marriage healthy, but being the right kind of “present” is crucial to the survival of any good relationship. And that goes for all parties. Marriage is most successful when BOTH partners selflessly work to put their spouse’s happiness before their own.

    Reply
  59. Roy

    Hmm.. this article reeks of feminism and I honestly hate that. Men has his needs too, and to ask everything from a man is I think a very wrong way of asking for recognition. I mean in a healthy relationship we dont need the other person for us have self worth, they are there appreciate and commend us not really complete us.

    Reply
  60. John_Something

    To everyone reading into this article and making statements/asking questions of, “How do I regain my passion”, “I need to put in a lot of work to give my wife the things we need”, “We don’t agree on and can’t move past that”.

    The point is to just give a little attention to your partner and you are one step closer to a better place and becoming more a single unit (again) to be able to become closer to being more flexible on things together, understand each other together, make decisions together, and appreciate each other together. It takes time.

    Reply
  61. Steve

    Marriage is an artificial institution that should be abolished. Our ancestors were promiscuous and raised children communally. We’re still wired that way. All the current institution of marriage does is keep divorce lawyers doing brisk business.

    I’m talking to you. Your marriage is a sham. Yes, yours. You should leave your spouse and be your own person, because that’s what it is to be human. Being shackled to one person forever is not only false, it’s a form of self-inflicted torture. Leave and leave today.

    Reply
  62. Jake

    This happened to my parents 2 years ago. My dad was busy and my mom felt left out. She decided cheating on him was a good idea. After 16 years of marriage and 3 kids she can just give it all up. Some of you people out there thinking this should put in perspective of thier kids. The ones who have to go back and forth to each parents house every weekend because thier mom wasn’t getting the time she deserved. I’m sure people go through times when they feel like they aren’t wanted but it Is not okay to give up like that and do that sorta thing to their family. This article is sad but it’s true.

    Reply
  63. DEBRA

    I READ ALL OF THE ARTICLES AND CAN RELATE WITH ALL OF IT. HAVING BEEN MARRIED TWICE. IT BRINGS BACK SO MUCH PAIN. IN MY RELATIONSHIPS I HAVE ALWAYS FELT ALONE. I AM IN ONE NOW. HE IS A WONDERFUL MAN. GOOD PROVIDER. ETC. THERE IS NO CONVERSATION. NO CONTACT. NO INTIMACY. NOTHING. HE SAYS HE LOVES ME BUT ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. I ADMIT THAT I HAVE STOPPED TRYING. HE IS VERY ACCUSING AND QUICK TO BLAME ME FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH US. THE SEX IN OUR RELATIONSHIP IS NOTHING. I DON’T BOTHER BECAUSE I REMEMBER ONE TIME ASKING HIM TO LET ME SHOW HIM WHAT I NEEDED. HE VERY DEFENSIVELY SAID HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING. SO FROM THAT POINT ON. I NEVER BOTHERED. WE HAVE SEX ABOUT ONCE OR TWICE A YR. YES. I SAID A YR. I LOVE HIM BUT I REALLY DON’T LIKE HIM ANYMORE. HE IS VERY NARCISSIISTIC. NEVER WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING. ALWAYS DISAGREEING ABOUT EVERYTHING. IF I SAY IT’S RAINING. HE WILL ARGUE IT’S SUNNY. DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE. TIRED AND READY TO LEAVE BUT I KNOW HE HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER. IF HE WOULD ONLY LISTEN. HE SITS AND STARES AT THE TV ALL NIGHT LONG. WE NEVER SPEAK.

    Reply
    1. DEBRA

      I ALSO FORGOT TO SAY THAT WHEN I ASK HIM TO TALK TO ME. HIS REPLY IS….I HAVE TALKED ALL DAY AND I DON’T WANT TO COME HOME AND HAVE TO TALK ALL NIGHT. SO WHAT DO I DO? IS IT WORTH SAVING OR DO I GO.

      Reply
    2. Cecily

      @ Debra… I feel your pain. Am still processing the end of a narcissistic relationship from this past year. All your descriptions ring true of what I experienced. Intimacy, which was amazing way back in the beginning, soon fell off to mundane to awful. I had enormous interest in learning and exploring but he did not. Details just weren’t his thing. I quickly discovered that it was all about him – everything was. Sex just became mechanical. He got his satisfaction quickly, perfunctorily, with no foreplay, no eye contact, no words and scarcely a body quiver to let you know he got there. Then, roll over with his back to me at the far side of the bed and call it a night. I felt like a blow-up sex doll. Much as he wanted it, I thank God I never made the move to share a house with him. He was so distant and removed in virtually all circumstances. Couldn’t make and maintain eye contact, couldn’t acknowledge or thank me for anything, could be so moody and give the silent treatment. Had days where he was mean and belittling to me for reasons I have yet to understand. If you want more insight into narcissism, I urge you to have a look at http://esteemology.com. Among other research I did, I found this site very helpful in its description of the condition and relationships connected to it. It also provides a lot of good information for deciding what you need to do to look after YOU and for healing afterward if the relationship ends by your choice or his. I was fortunate (my friends say, strong) to end it before it became a legally committed union. I didn’t really attach the narcissistic label to him during the relationship — just knew for a long time that everything felt “off” and negative and hurtful and, frankly, lonely. My gut was telling me all these things for a long time and I was trying to argue with it. If I have learned anything from these past few years, it is that the gut definitely knows. Listen to it. I wish you well on your journey and hope you find your way back to you. Much as I like the message Justice is putting forward in his article here, I believe, from experience (and research) that there are relationships so broken that the only salvation is to extricate yourself from them.

      Reply
  64. Ashley

    One thing I would like to point out is passion doesn’t mean sex. Alot of the posts are alluding to this and I think the focus shifted somewhat. I guess you can be passionate about sex, but it’s the passion, the love, the I want to be with you that’s missing. My husband told me he likes to go to the pub because it’s like Cheers…he knows everyone there and he has fun. I guess home isn’t fun. He golfs with his friends because it’s more fun. He even left me on our first anniversary with a newborn to go fishing with his friends. He doesn’t fish. That hurt and after 17 years of marriage it hasn’t changed.
    This article could be applied to men or women who have the same emotions and feelings. Bravo.

    Reply
  65. Jason

    What is disappointing about this article is it lacks any balance at all. It subtly perpetuates the image that if a man cheats, it is because he is a no good lowdown man. If a woman cheats, it is because the man didn’t cherish her and took her for granted. I have been taken for granted for 15 years – working full time high stress jobs that brings well over 6 figures. Do most of the housework and anytime the kids are being challenging they are passed to me in an instant. Provided a biweekly housekeeping service. However, if she strays it could be because I take her for granted. I am so sick of man hating.

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  66. Tony

    Nice article. I think this is actually correct. However I feel this is an error made by both sides. This is an area with lots of opinion. But I know one thing for sure… Not being present in a relationship is a mistake made by both genders. So I find as this article spreads you are sending a very misleading message about men and potentially empowering women to think that there’s no possible chance that they are not present in the relationship… And is the fault of men. This article should have been more written as to why people leave the person they love. The question I have is that if you’ve dealt with so many men and women… How can you possibly write an article that targets men like this when we all know that this is a mistake made by both genders? As for the whole idea of cheating… There’s something much, much, much deeper for someone to cheat on someone they love. They need to see experts like you.

    Reply
  67. DAVE

    SECOND MARRIAGE AND SUCCESSFUL ONE AND HAD BEEN PRESENT MORE IN THE FIRST ONE MIGHT HAVE WORKED OUT ALSO. WOULD KILL FOR EITHER WOMAN!!!

    Reply
  68. Chadd

    Its why Im single friend. They want a ton of money but only want you to workmore than 15 hours a week.
    They are just too confusing for me brother

    Reply
  69. Bob

    I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. I did eveything to keep the passion alive with my ex-wife and she STILL left me for her ex-boyfriend who was into drugs, abusing her physically and mentally and she still loved him the entire time we were together. I was the one who was trying to “sweep her off her feet” trying to show her what a good relationship could be and we lasted for only a year. When she finally confessed to me that she still loved him I was infuriated and left. Within a month or so after I left she was already pregnant. So I do apologize but I can’t agree to this logic. Some women out there are idiots.

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  70. James

    Tell me this why would my wife have a one night stand, all though she swears up and down she loves me and is crazy about me, she was out of town on business, she said she had no control over it, she is deeply regretful and ashamed , God what do I do now, just the thought of this breaks me everyday . If she truly loved me where was I in her mind when this happened, does she truly love me, can something like this really just happen on accident ? Its been months since this happened but it still feels to me like it was yesterday. She tries everyday to make me feel better but I just don’t , she lays by me at night but I feel like she is so far away, this has changed everything between us , I love her and always have I’m devastated over this and need help

    Reply
  71. DeBates

    Men have it bad in today’s society. You have to be manly, but sensitive. You have to be the provider and work your ass off, but you have to be present. You have to be the family man, and between the job, meeting the spouses needs, you have little time for any release of your own.

    Articles like this are complete trash and I will tell you why. Compare this to an article about what men need, or why men leave. You will quickly see that we are much simpler machines, with fewer requirements. We meet our obligations, and receive little credit from the women and family that we serve. To the women who find that leaving or cheating is justifiable, because you feel an emotional disconnect I say this, You action is wrong. You are not justified. You have to take responsibility for yourself. You can, and will be replaced.

    Reply
  72. Chahat

    i am a 27 Year old women,
    i married with a very good persone before 4 months, who cares for me but i love someone else since last two year by a destance relationship.
    i still dont get physical with my husband beause i m in a commited and seriuse relationship with my love.
    the person i love also cares me a lot and he is unmarried. I respect his feelings and dont want to hert him.
    if i will involve in phycale relation with my husband then my love will hert very much and me also.
    what should i do. Plz help me

    Reply
  73. Chahat

    now my parents are forcing me to get involve with my husband.
    the person i love is also a very good and loyel to me, he respect my famaly and this is the reason thats why he permitt me to marry with someone else.
    i cant leave my parents too.
    i m confused.

    Reply
  74. Andrew

    The article is fairly sad. An effort by the writer to cuddle all women in a state of neurotic trace, and encourage men to make self-realization (on the part of women) “their” responsibility. A number of women are leading balanced and independent lives, and doing so alone. I’ve often found them worth talking to, just for the sake of discourse alone. But like their “coupled” counterparts, a woman wants to talk about how she “feels” about problems first, rather than the problems themselves. And they will act in ways that will surprise and confound a man to no end.

    Logic would dictate that to provide prosperity for the home, a man works his ass off to do so. When prosperity is realized, her logic is subordinate to her mood swings and the eternally empty question . . . “What does woman want?” And she wanders in search of some outside stimulus . . . when in fact, if she had any philosophical discipline and appreciation for rigorous thinking, she would look internally within herself and examine where sacrifice is really taking place. And what would it take to speak to some of that sacrifice and connect with it, in order that a true partnership have an opportunity to grow?

    Men are constantly alone. Historically speaking, men have always been alone, . . . . leaving the home and the people they love in order to provide. A father’s own children have no real idea what he’s like and what he goes through to provide. Between his work and sleep, they have almost no understanding of who that man is.

    Now . . . flip that, and show a woman a peculiar man . . . a man who has considerable leisure time for her . . . at no cost of providing for her and her home. Show her a man who is brazen with risks, and exhibits no dimensional understanding of all relationships connected to her. If she falls for it . . . it would seem to indicate that her happiness comes from external stimulus, and even external validation. (She feels beautiful because somebody “new” told her she was. Her own husband or partner might saw the same thing, but it doesn’t make her feel alive in the same way, and is therefore “less real” for her).

    Real relationships involve real work. Yes, there are moments of unhappiness and loneliness within relationships themselves. Things are bound to get stale from time to time. Both have to put forth the effort in order to connect and grow.

    But a woman can often mistake the exhaustion borne out of her own boredom, and her own laziness, — (e.g. always needing to be entertained, feeling the desire “to be swept off her feet”), — and assume the root source of her problem is her man.

    Too often, it’s not. The root source of problem is often herself. If she has an empty mind, a hunter’s heart, and an idle repository of character, she never should have gotten into a relationship in the first place . . . . . just keep applying your make-up, and do your shopping. Greet every day as “girl’s night out,” . . . and leave all men the hell alone.

    Reply
  75. Ian

    You know what? I’m going to walk away from this computer and spend some time with my wife, just watching TV and eating chocolate.

    Reply
  76. Maurice

    So the man is required to find his passion is he? Is the relationship not a two way street, should she not explore passion, communicate her feelings or is the easy road to leave, the simple choice to make? Does marriage and their vowels not have any meaning any longer? Is she the weak link within the marriage or is it simply the man who must always be viewed upon as the cause to the problem. Your article is no more than a weak woman’s perspective to a failed relationship.

    Reply
  77. Michelle

    I agree, it’s reversible and it does happen. I was married 16 yrs. Everything was great…till life threw my husband a curve ball. That’s when disengagement started, this was where it all went terribly wrong. We found ourselves doing this to eachother. I seperated us. I made a concerted effort to fix, repair and try. No matter what I did…no change. We could have tried longer. But I chose to leave, and found another. Would love to get into it…
    I agree with this, it happens. Equal blame. Still sucks.

    Reply
  78. Kay

    I feel as if a lot of the bitter comments here are due to the lack of comprehending the meaning of “being present”. Also, the author states in the title “why women leave men” not, why relationships fail, or what needs to be done by both parties.. This is an article written to show men out there what he has witnessed in his professional experience: that women, even when they love their partner will leave if they feel as if he is not present.

    Present, not to mean physically. Present, as in, when my partner comes in the door, he takes 5 minutes after I have listened and talked about his day.. To do the same for me. Not because he is supposed to, but because he has that passion and is genuinely intrigued to know. To invest in being curious about me, as I am him.

    Most of us women and men know ( I hope ) that there are bad women , disrespectful, unappreciative women out there. I believe the women he is referring to are not those women. He is referrering to the ones he speaks with in sessions, that are actively working to make their relationships work. Maybe with their partners, maybe alone.

    From my point of view, and I don’t mean this in a distasteful way, but it seems that most with bitter thoughts here can’t fully comprehend the meaning behind the article without taking offense. Everyone has a story and in no way is this one going to fit the mold for everyone. But that’s the point, right?

    Some men may read this and understand the article, they may grasp what their wife or girlfriend is saying when she says she feels he isn’t there, or isn’t listening. I think for those men, it offers a light and help to understand from a different point of view.

    She may appreciate and respect you to no end, and she may love you and she may be more than thankful for the things you do for her; working, providing, housework etc.. , but for a lot of women, myself included.. We want a deep connection. It doesn’t mean that men need to lose their masculinity or their ability to go chug 12 beers with the guys on Saturday. Do that stuff. Absolutely do it! Just know that we want to dive deeper than that with you. We want to share more than “how was work” with you. We want to be best friends with the ability to tell each other everything from our fears, our goals and our dreams and know that you not only hear us but want to share your thoughts as well.

    For me, if I can’t share those things and dive into who we each really are, I see no reason to share my time with them in a romantic or committed relationship. Life is short, we all deserve to live our fullest lives and at the end of the day, achieving that comes with finding the depth that reaches farther than weekend plans.

    Reply
  79. curious george

    Some woman require more attention than others. Some men are more never minded than others.
    If you’re the type of woman that requires more attention, look for a man that can provide it.

    Reply
  80. Jared Chaney

    Wether your a man or women, you have to be able to give it to receive it. So ask yourself, am I able to give my partner what I want? Also ask yourself the same questions you would to your partner and be honest about it. Sometimes we get so caught up in ourselves that we forget to show appreciation towards our partner. Again is doesn’t matter if your man or woman if a person doesn’t feel appreciated or loved by their partner, their going to be physically or emotionally distant. If you want something or you feel like you need something from your partner, be proactive about it and don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to search different ways of fixing the relationship. And I repeat the most important part, look at yourselves and your actions deeply and honestly before looking at the other’s. If you don’t find anything wrong with yourself, then you are the cause or at least half the problem in your relationship.

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  81. heartbroken and torn

    Is it so wrong that this is exactly how I feel? Reading most of these comments made me tear up. I’m not married but I am in a long term relationship and it’s exactly how I feel. When we first got together we were “alive”. We spent time together, he listened, we had a great passion….now, that’s all changed. I’m afraid to say anything because I don’t want to hurt him but it hurts me so much that we don’t have that connection anymore. We’re together but I know mentally and emotionally we’re not. We hang in the same crowd yet I feel so alone when he’s around. He has more “Life” with his friends than with me it seems.

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  82. em

    the best thing I got from this article and the comments is gratitude i’m single and a cynical POV re: all the “happy couples” surrounding me.

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  83. PR

    Interesting perspective, but this is ridiculous. Leave a person you love because he/she has hobbies? For every moment he/she is out fishing, how much time is the partner wasting away on Facebook, Twitter, and so on? It goes both ways. If you can leave the person you love over something so trivial, then this was not love to begin with. Maybe talk with your partner first before you decide to leave him/her. Further, if two people share the same passions, then this problem can be averted. The scenario outlined in this article sounds like the partners are asymmetric with their goals and aspirations.

    Reply
  84. FayFay

    What he’s talking about are “Quality Time” and “Physical Touch”, two of the 5 general ways of loving someone. (From the book “5 love languages”) Often our partner does not speak the same love language as we do, so even if we feel we’re doing everything right, they can’t see it as love because it’s not in their language. The techniques described are great, but if they are using one of the other three languages, it still won’t be enough.

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  85. Jax

    What a crock of shit! Women don’t leave men because they go golfing or to work. That’s just an excuse for a deeper underlying issue. The women that leave their men using those excuses are just needy…selfishly needed. As for passion to be alive, I agree. Men, and women for that matter, should be alive. Go golfing. Go fishing. Work hard. Play hard. Relax. Laugh. Cry. Do things apart. Do more together. LIVE your life with passion.

    Here’s a question: since when do people let others control their behavior? Eleanor Roosevelt “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Now THAT’S a woman. Now THAT’S my kinda woman.

    Reply
  86. Marlene

    It simply comes down to being friends first and foremost. If both partners are engaged as friends then your as caring and truly interested in them completely for who they are as you are with all your close friends. I think that is what is missing in many relationships and personally why although I loved my husband I left, we weren’t friends. He wasn’t interested in all of me or engaged and I don’t think it means not having outside interests that are yours alone but being there emotionally and truly caring along with listening as you do as a friend.

    Reply
  87. Glenn

    That’s all fine and good. But what if she swears like a Banshee in front of the kids calling you down? Every couple days for 12 years? A little abusive I would say, to say the least. And I never cheat, home every night, play with and grow with the kids, volunteer with them etc. But somehow I’m an ass. Who wants to “connect” with a woman like this? Not bloody likely.

    Reply
  88. Cheryl

    Would love to see you write an article on spouses who are really just best friends with benefits. I believe that every facet of a relationship involves physical, emotional and spiritual connection. When one or more of these are absent in some part of the relationship then the relationship is not as complete or fulfilling as it could be. When this concept is applied to the intimate, physical part of a relationship you end up with “friends with benefits”. It amazes me how it is possible to have such a fulfilling connected relationship in every way except for sex.

    Reply
  89. billy

    I love a woman,who after eleven years left me, and I know I became complacent where our relationship was conserned,but I didn’t see it coming, I still see her because she wants just to be friends,but it kills me every time I see her, when t see her and im walking away,i cry ,but she doesn’t see me cry ,I hide it well,but im dying inside,and when she meets someone new, and I know she will, It will kill me ,and I wont be able to handle it,i cannot bare the thot of her being with someone else,what can I do to eleviate these feelings,i cant imagine I ever will,i feel suicidal at times,even to the extent of looking on the internet on how to kill myself,its all building up inside me,help me……………………

    Reply
    1. Justice Schanfarber Post author

      Billy – If you are feeling suicidal it’s important that you call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. They will direct you to local help.

      I know it can feel like the end of the world when someone we love leaves. I know those feelings of grief, regret and abandonment. This is a hard time to get through. I don’t know where you are located, but communities everywhere have counselling services available to people who need them. 911 – or your local emergency number – is the place to start.

      Reply
    2. John Truth

      1. Stop seeing your ex. Cut all communications.
      2. Realize life happens.
      3. Find someone else. Sometimes you have to move on before your head is ready to.

      Reply
  90. Ana

    It is true that women leave because their man is not present. But the question is WHY (good and loving) man is working, golfing, gaming, watching TV, fishing…? This is the core problem and we should find answer to that.

    Reply
  91. Rocky

    Another way to look at this article. Men emotionally withdraw from women. Why? My relationships have always had the dynamic where the woman needs to vent and dump her often petty grievances about work/friends/life onto me. Continually. What is my emotional outlet? Don’t have one. She’s so busy with her own concerns there is not time for mine – if she even really cares. Everyone is different but this stereotype exists for a reason. Men are always supposed to be supportive and sympathetic – but really – we get tired of listening to the often childish complaints. For a long time men have wandered out to the garage/shop/basement to get away from all this one-sided ranting – in the beginning we listen, we try to help (mistake) – we eventually wear down and withdraw. We want to held too, to be loved, to have support. And yes – when women use men as personal therapists it gets in the way of emotional intimacy. When the woman literally pushes her man away – she feels alone and then leaves him. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps if women took responsibility for their own happiness onto themselves sometimes we wouldn’t have to read articles like this? Balance is required for successful relationships.

    Reply
  92. John Truth

    People these days are very selfish creatures. We all want immediate gratification.

    Women get caught up in fantasy novels, thinking their lives should be more fantasy than reality.

    Men get caught up in pornography, thinking their women should be slaves to the needs of men.

    I have seen this countless times.

    If a woman leaves a man there is no secret formula. It’s simple. She wants something else. It could be anything even what has been stated in this article.

    However I would be willing to bet more women leave men over monitary issues. For some reason everyone seems to feel entitled to being wealthy.

    Kardashians anyone?

    Reply
  93. This sexist post is disgusting.

    What a load of bullshit. I know stories about people getting comfortable in a relationship too early and I can understand why they would break up and go separate ways. This is marriage however, not a relationship. The point of marriage is taking the other person for granted, because good or bad they should stay in the relationship as per their vows, unless a party is violent or abusive. You’re saying women leave because we take them for granted, but my friend that is the point of marriage. You’re telling me you always have to be on guard even after you marry? Then that isnt marriage but a contracted relationship. I believe my friend, you don’t know the first thing about marriage. You people seem to treat marriage as a something you can dissolve whenever it doesn’t fit you, or something reversible but in the eyes of GOD my friend you are terribly wrong. If taking your wife for granted can result in her leaving then what’s the point in marriage my friend? Then men shouldn’t bother getting married at all, because then there is nothing in it for us, right? We cant relax when we have the woman we pledge our lives too because then she’ll leave us for someone else if I take her for granted and when she leaves she takes half of everything I own and has more rights to the kids than us and you talk about fair? Face the truth of the world my friend, people are becoming lusting pigs and cant wait to break free from things like marriage and sleep with other men, that’s the problem. The problem js people are losing their morals and values and then there are people like you coming up and saying bullshit like this basically telling them “Oh its fine to leave your husband because he takes you for granted, its not the first time this kind of thing happens, it’s perfectly normal”

    Reply
  94. Jascha

    This article is dangerously apologist.

    It fundamentally shifts the responsibility of maintaining marriage vows from the person that wants to break the vows to the one who wants to keep them.

    That’s a perversion of the concept of marriage.

    “That’s why guys get married, so they can stop wooing. It’s exhausting to woo, you woo, you woo, and you woo, and then you’ve got to go: Whoa!”

    –Paul Reiser, Mad About You

    Reply
  95. Jascha

    marriage is not a lifetime of courtship.

    It’s a partnership where both people are putting their personal interests as secondary to the interests of the family.

    Any woman who complains about the capacity of some man to sweep her off her feet from right under her husband is a bad wife, because she’s admitting that she’s not invested in the commitment she promised to make.

    Reply
  96. Mohinder

    When you take your girlfriend or wife for granted that means you are about to loose her… That’s something I am getting after reading this article. But not sure if I got right or not?

    Reply
    1. SW

      You are so right. It does mean there is a good chance you could lose her. I’m glad you got that. But I wish I knew why so many men don’t get it. It makes no sense!

      Reply
    2. BGH

      the problem is that no one is supposed to get divorced, its supposed to be an engagement for life, as silly as it might be or not. the problem is often what you pointed out, they take each other for granted, but even them, not much they can’t do about it, because a lot of them married people are religious and fear god and hell more than divorce. Divorce is a valid option when everything has failed, when the romance is gone, and couple stay together only because of comfort and security.

      Reply
  97. Stacy

    This article really resonated with me, i am such a lucky lucky girl to have found a partner in life that does show me every day how much I’m loved and wanted. When my partner touches me i do feel every ounce of love and passion they have for me and for life. I am supported in every single way; emotionally, physically and mentally. My partner is a workaholic and has hobby s outside of our relationship that I’m not interested in but I never doubt my partners love for me because even if its only 5 minutes a day that my partner has free, it’s always devoted to me. I should mention that I’m a lesbian but I think when it comes down to it, this article apply’s to all couples in a real loving relationship.

    Reply
  98. Rashida

    I agree with this article. I love my husband very much. Deep down to my bones. Although I tried every way to get him to see that I needed him, he simply would not engage me. I work hard, raise my sons, stay in amazing shape, look 10 to 15 years younger than I actually am, take care of the home and tried to please him sexually at least 3 times a week. All I wanted was to be connected to him and to feel secure in his love. I have talked, pleaded, threatened and cried. Now I have given up. I simply come to the conclusion that he never truly loved me. How could he if he refuses to connect with me and show me anything beyond the surface. I waited 18 long years and at 39 years of age I decided to start over. My heart is broken after years of neglect, abuse and infidelity. I will not date until my divorce is final and I heal. I hope and pray that God will bless my efforts for doing all this the right way and send me my true love.

    Reply
  99. David

    Not claiming to be the reason or solution for anyone in particular, and I do not know how common this is worldwide, all I can say is that from my personal experience and from people around me, the most common reason for not being able to be fully present when around your partner is this:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201305/7-ways-get-out-guilt-trips

    Neither you nor your partner may not be really aware of it, there it is just a negative feeling about things… if we are talking male/female roles as categorized above (if the other way around then the guilt tripping runs the other way too), “he” feels very guilty when “she” guilt trips him about things, and eventually this will make him less emotionally present in every-day life, because his the focus of his mind is split between “normal life” and on finding ways to cope with these strange feelings of resentment and that his partner is not really content with him. Then she also begins guilt tripping him for not being present, and while he tries his very best to do what she asks, he can only do what she asks “technically” since his feeling of resentment towards her from the guilt trip makes it difficult for him to give her the feeling of presence that she needs, and then the guilt tripping starts all over again… and he tries harder and harder to convince himself that the resentment that he starts to feel does not really exist, because having such a feeling towards the person he loves makes him feel even more of the ever-present guilt, which he cannot handle well anymore, so instead he tries to hide it behind smiles, by staying busy, by staying cool… and if nothing breaks the pattern then eventually she will leave him, because he would feel too guilty (a feeling he now deeply hates) to leave her first.

    Again, not claiming this to be the ultimate explanation, I’m sure there are countless reasons for lack of presence, but if this can help just one person then it was worth the time writing it. 🙂

    Reply
  100. Alessio

    This is a bunch of dribble.

    The “man” is supposed to “entertain” his wife, in so many words, so that she doesn’t leave?

    What a scary and horrible way to live.

    Marriage is a sacred vow, to honor and cherish, for better or for worse, in sockness and in health, umtil death do you part. It is not for the male to entertain the female!

    Imagine that each and every day you have to worry about “being there”, as though you are supposed to understand what that means each and every day.

    Folks, don’t get married if your mate cannot accept you for who you are. If your spouse is expecting “Mr. Romance” each and every day, then you will NEVER be able to live up to her expectations. She WILL cheat because your romance, or attempts at it, will become too boring, too passe over time. To her, something “new” is always better than status quo, and the cheating will be inevitable.

    The institution of marriage has been under attack now for a long, long time. It is not respected, it is not taken seriously, it is seen simply as a short term formalization of a relationship, subject to breakups, because the “woman” MUST be constantly entertained, or else.

    Guys, you cannot live up to the standard this author is proposing that you adhere to. My suggestion to you is to really think hard about who you are going to marry. Use at least a year for an engagement period, and if you detect this “I need to be entertained” attitude from your soon-to-be spouse, then you better get out of town, you better break it off. It ain’t gonna work in the long run.

    Reply
    1. Stevie

      I guarantee if you fret over all the points the author makes, and try too hard to implement them/worry every minute whether your wife is happy with you, you’ll be accused of “smothering” her and she may leave because she needs “space.”

      Reply
  101. Dave

    “Someone could come and sweep me off my feet, right out from under my husband.” I wonder how women would respond if it was “Someone could come and sweep me off my feet, right out from under my wife.” I’m guessing the thought is mid-life crisis, younger woman, etc. I bet that younger woman makes him feel empowered, vital, and important. Not surprisingly, like it or not, this is important for a man.

    But apparently that is bad, and “Someone could come and sweep me off my feet, right out from under my husband.” is acceptable.

    Neither is. Period.

    Relationships are work and require effort by both parties, often with efforts that go unrecognized when they shouldn’t. If you don’t want to do the work, don’t get married in the first place – male or female.

    Believe me, the woman who feels she needs to be “swept off of her feet, right out from under her husband.” is the same woman’s whose husband feels under appreciated working the hours he does to provide for his family in the way society dictates. It’s a bitter, double edged sword where no one is right; no one is the winner, but when one or both parties starts entertaining the idea of a third party escape, it’s time to invest in, not distance from each other.

    Easy? Hell no! But when ever were relationships?

    Reply
  102. Michael

    I’m 21 and I’ve never been married but, reading articles like this and reading the comments just makes me never want to get married at all. I mean what’s the point anymore it seems like to me in a modern day relationship were really just sexual objects for each other cause once the passion dies everyone divorces and leaves each other person for someone else who gives them this so called “passion”. So riddle me this for some of the women I’ve read comments on here about how they don’t need men for this or that. Isn’t a relationship suppose to be something you can rely on each other for things. A marriage is also a cohabitation where they do what they can to help each other. I don’t see it sexist if a man wants to work hard and provide for his family and the wife wants to be a stay at home mother and take care of the children. I feel this whole movement to have interchangeable “gender roles” is a major contributing factor in failed marriages in today’s time. What’s the point in the marriage when you can do it all on your own and don’t need anyone right? I mean I don’t need you and you don’t need me so why even bother getting married or being together. So when I see people post these comments saying things along those lines, I feel as though it’s extremely arrogant and selfish because I believe that’s what a relationship is all about is relying on each other. And how people do this really doesn’t matter, but if you go into a relationship telling yourself you don’t need this person then your always going to treat the relationship and disposable. But what do I know I’m just young and nieve.

    Reply
  103. Sam

    Been together for 6 years, married for 3, wive decided I wasn’t good enough and left. She wanted me to do everything except for giving birth, but we never even got to that part (good thing). I never felt I could rely or trust her to be there when I need her most. She was narcissistic and I was hopeful things would work out for the best. It wasn’t good enough that we were together. She wanted things, she wanted to travel all the time, she wanted me to work and at the same time be able to provide everything else. She said she wouldn’t even mind me being a criminal if that’s what it took to make money. She told me I have to do all those things because she was giving me sex — that made me feel like I married a whore. Before marriage she was dying to get married, she knew pretty much everything upfront, I didn’t keep any secrets. On one hand, she could be the sweetest person but on the flip side she held grudge against people that did her wrong (at least in her mind) and could say very strange things to me. Her sweet side didn’t stand in the way of her demands and desire to be a princess in a fairy tale.

    Through all this, I learned a lot about myself and others. I also know that marriage should be, beyond anything else, a love relationship between two adults, no matter how good or bad things around them are. Both should do whatever they can to help and support one another, not to attempt to extract things and be selfish. Too many people are selfish, materialistic, and egoistic. People marry for wrong reasons. That’s why more than half of marriages in USA fail. I feel like there are less and less emotionally stable and rational people in this world. For the sake of humanity, I hope I’m wrong 🙂

    Reply
  104. Conspiracy Theory

    Herr Schanfarber,

    Ich wirklich Ihre Artikel gefiel!

    I enjoyed your article because it made me think. It was passed to me from your publication in the Huffington Post of 11/9, though I see it originated here. I don’t think you’re being helpful enough to men. It seemed as if you really wrote this piece that is supposed to be for men to women. You did cover your bases (a little late, and where most would never get to it) with this at the end: “The gender dynamic outlined above is reversible. It can go both ways”.

    My take as you can see in a post I wrote, through my own filters; through a glass darkly if you will, is you’re treating your readers with a bit of disdain and condescension. I would think that non-violent communication training and mindfulness might soften one’s views toward others and make one more unassuming. But obviously there are different kinds of mindfulness, and indeed I should be unassuming. Ah, hypocrisy, I am my own worst enemy sometimes.

    At any rate, you can read about my take on passion here: http://liesitoldmyself.com/passion/ but keep in mind my references to your Huff Po piece are in the second half of my post. Also keep in mind, I don’t really write for others, it’s really for my own mindfulness and awareness. It helps me grapple with change.

    I have read part II as well from your blog which states: “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.)”

    Yes indeed, discomfort and uncertainty may be a part of change, but please forgive those who are afraid or in pain, it may be they are unaware. Awareness has pretty much been domesticated out of western civilization. In my reality, which may be separate from other’s reality, you can’t know what someone hasn’t told you. And I think a good deal of the pain and fear we see and experience around us is simply due to unawareness. How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change. And how would the bulb know to change unless it became aware; because it’s cold and dark? Maybe the bulb doesn’t know what cold and dark are. On the other hand, maybe the bulb does know since someone keeps making it cold and dark by flipping the switch. Awareness has to be brought to most people in the western world. They have no idea what it is, their switch needs to be flipped. Also, I’m not so sure there is fear of change; no one is really afraid of the unknown, how can one be afraid of something they don’t know about?

    I do like that you acknowledge both change and resistance to change come with their own discomfort and/or pain. But you have to admit that when one grows and begins to recognize it, the ‘exhilaration’ far outweighs any discomfort. As a matter of fact, I have always thought that the discomfort of stagnation is often what leads to change. We all resist change, but it’s really more inertia and unawareness than fear, pain or discomfort.

    Mindfulness and awareness are very valuable commodities, and very rare in western civilization. But we are learning aren’t we?

    – DB

    Reply
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  106. Terri

    Your article resonates with me. I don’t feel important or valued by my husband. I love and care for him dearly… I *try* to talk about what’s eatin’ at my inside heart and soul… he is unable to respond verbally or emotionally in any way (it seems to me). He is/has detached. I want to understand what he needs from me. His response is typically, “… for you to be happy…”. I am happy in myself. What makes me sad is how I lost “Us.” Maybe there never was an “Us.” The sadness and emptiness I feel is the lack of connection with my man. He doesn’t seem to understand what I am talking about when I say “connection between two people–a connection between us.” I would really like to understand what my man needs from me, but he is unwilling or unable to express it to me. I have heard it said that Men need physical connection to be connected to a woman, whereas Women need emotional connection to be connected to a man.” I can’t seem to connect on the physical level, when my emotional level is depleted, retreated, and broken. I have found that I am simply left to learn to be with and find my happiness and love in my own solitude. I am not willing to leave my good man. But… the isolation is making me so very sad. The emotional isolation has left me utterly isolated to learn to be happy and grateful for all the good I have it and of itself, and appreciate and love my solitude, as that is what I have left to love.

    Reply
    1. SW

      I am so tired of men saying that they show their wives love by working and providing for the family. That is such bull crap. I know lots of single men who work hard everyday. They do it because they have to. Men have to work whether they are married or not. My husband says he does it for me, for us. Well, he was working before he met me. Who was he doing it for, then? It wasn’t for me because he didn’t even know me yet. He has worked his whole life because he had to…….not for me. If we split up, he would continue to work even if he didn’t have me anymore, or another wife. So obviously he’s not doing it for me. He’s doing it because he has to…..with, or without me. A lot of men think they are doing their sole duty as a husband if they have a job. Their main concerns should be to put God first, and their wives second, over everything else in the world. There aren’t many men who do that. Women need to do the same……God first, their husband second. Having the right priorities means EVERYTHING!!!!!!! Unless this starts to happen, there will always be numerous unhappy marriages.

      Reply
  107. J

    It goes both ways. Men will leave for the same reasons, except they will be called cheaters, liars, leaving for a younger woman, etc. When women leave for another man, it’s the husband’s fault, but when a man falls for another woman, he’s a typical jerk.

    I’m being cynical, I know, but my partner has been absent for three years, despite my persistent presence and input, and eventually I stopped caring and began chatting with another woman. As per this article, I blame my wife for not being present, but she doesn’t see it, I am just a jerk in her eyes.

    I wish more writers would stop with the one sided articles and acknowledge that women and men are not really that different .

    Reply
  108. Joe

    I disagree with this and think it is actually the opposite in my case. I am too clingy, have no hobbies, spent all effort and time on wife and her kids who called me dad, and it’s never enough. My realization is that women do not want some clingy guy who does their every whim. they want passion and attraction to a man in their lives. Husbands don’t fit this bill because they require no effort, no mystery, no wonder, no mind. Husbands become like the friend zone over time with wives. Hope you men out there can wake up to this and stop with the self-blaming like this article.

    Reply
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  112. Beth

    This hits home like nothing I have ever read before, it says what I have been trying to help my husband of 33 years understand. We are together all the time and yet I feel so alone I could cry, although I am done crying having done so for long I find no sense of relief of just letting the feelings flow thru tears. When we talk, I try to see things from his point of view, yet when I say I like something , or want to do/try something, I am told the reasons why I can not. And I’m not saying I want to move a mountain, I am saying things like I’d like to maybe paint the kitchen yellow. His remarks are always to negative, always so hurtful in the way he doubts I am capable of doing anything for and by myself. But when he wants to do something it gets done right away, and I am always there to cheer him on, or more than likely right next to him doing what he wants to do. After about 10 years of this I began to doubt my own ability to succeed in anything.
    Then he got sick and was no longer able to work, until then I had been a stay at home wife/mother but I jumped right in and within a month I was employed. I worked for 9 years until I got hurt at work, and in those 9 years I never missed a days work in the first 7 years. I liked working, I liked the feeling of achievement it gave me. I bought him a new car with the money I made from my job, I paid the rent and the bills. When he needed something I bought it for him without hesitation, something he never did for me, I always had to explain why I wanted or needed something and if he felt I really needed it then he would buy it for me. Now that I am also unable to work and we are together all the time I feel more alone having experienced what it was like to be out in the world “moving mountains” so to speak.
    So here we are, 33 years together our kids are grown and gone and I am left with someone who fails to see who I am, that I enjoy planting flowers, that I enjoy reading, that although I love him it hurts me that the only time he pays attention to me is when he wants intimacy and then it is only for him I am left feeling used. I asked him once to “feel” me, not just touch me, feel the way my skin feels under his touch, the hills and valleys of my body, I just wanted to be caressed, what did I get? His comment was what the **** are you talking about I am touching you. He finished his business and went to sleep. I lay there crying, feeling empty and used. After being with someone for so long I know what pleases him sexually and yet I can honestly say I have had 2 orgasms in the last 8 years. So of course that alone leaves me not wanting to be touched, why would I? I feel worse when it’s over.
    So men, read this article, don’t just see the words, but try to understand what it is saying to you, read it while hearing your wifes voice.

    Reply
  113. Kimberley

    You know what brilliant about this article is that it has absolutely reassured me. My partner is a gamer and he games more, the more stressed he is and in all honestly I believe he’s been struggling with depression for years. He loves gaming and he also loves playing football too. People often tell me his behaviour isn’t normal and that I should do something about it. I accept that gaming sometimes for up to 16 hours straight is not normal and indicative of other issues. However in between games he comes kisses me, lies on the bed or does a crazy sexy little dance. Sometimes I want more, he knows I’m there passively waiting, he does acknowledge me and he goes out of his way to create a series of mini moments, that are spontaneous and lovely. I know I’m lucky.

    Reply
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  115. BGH

    well, my theory is men and women should not live in the same house or at the very least have each their room. Why? because distance makes us want to be together and being separated can also stimulate the need for sex. If we are always in each other proximity it can get boring or a sort of routine. Being close emotionally is the key success to any romantic relationships no doubt in my mind about this. So men and women who want to be in a romantic relationship and not just in a relationship, need to understand the difference between caring and affection and being passionately in love.

    Reply
  116. DDS

    What about the other way around? What if the woman can’t share the passion or has trouble sharing emotions, and the man tries to do everything he can to ignite that passion, but to no avail? What if her depression and past abuse interferes with her passion and she won’t let her man in? What if she has such a difficult time with the fact that marriage is supposed to be a partnership? What if the woman is always on her phone checking Facebook, Pinterest or texting? What if the woman falls for a guy she works with that is 10 years younger than her, has two kids from previous marriage and another with a current girlfriend? Why does a woman fall for a guy like that when she has a man at home willing to do everything he can to try and make her and their four kids happy, while also being the main provider (80% of income)?
    How is that the Mans fault? This article is very good but it is so slanted towards the woman that it makes it sound like men are the only ones at fault. Women do much of the same things. You can’t pin the reasons why women leave men they love on the men alone.
    Sometimes it is a mental breakdown by the woman, or a break from reality. Or maybe it is just that the woman can’t stand to be happy and secure with a real man that treats her like a queen. Her past life was filled with drama and that may be all she is comfortable with.

    Reply
  117. Jay

    Women leave because they’re hypergamous, plain and simple. If a man is around too much, she resents him. If he’s around too little, she resents him. Why not own up to the truth that women have no idea what they want, and run men through our legal system like the wash? They don’t do it “for the children” because homes with absent fathers leave the children wrecked.

    Reply
  118. CP

    I happened to love this article. It hit the nail right on the head with me. My husband is a very good provider and father, but when it comes to intimacy or truly soul connecting sexual experience, forget it! It takes too long, he’s too tired, he’d rather be fishing or golfing. In his mind he thinks women or woman’s bodies work like a man’s does. Meen get excited and boom release and most are good to go. Some men forget that women need to feel loved, excepted, adored, appreciated. Not just viewed as someone to cook, clean, work, pick up after them, and listen to them whine about how hard life is. I work just as hard as he does full-time, raise the kids practically by myself, cook, clean ALL DAMN DAY LONG, run errands, manage the checking/savings, take care of aging parents, I also run myself ragged, but still find the time to shower him with affection and give him what he wants. I feel I’m left with the short end of the stick in more ways than one. Resentment, anger, and frustration build up in the marriage then and everyone ends up miserable. His passions are hunting, fishing, golfing, and fine dining. Or sitting at the local bar with his middle aged DIVORCED buddies yapping the poooor wooo as me middle aged married men blues crap. Most women want respect, intimacy, and true affection not just money thrown at them to keep them happy. They want a MAN PRESENT, they want a man that shows true intimacy in and out of the bedroom.

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  119. CP

    Previous comment should have stated “Men” not “meen.” I hit reply before checking. Also, wanted to add it’s one thing if everyone is trying their best or at least trying to learn to better a relationship, but when men or women go to all these things as a form of escape from reality and not dealing with the true issues at home it’s not good for the marriage. It’s one thing to have passions and pursue them as long as issues are being dealt with or each partner is helping each other out, not being selfish.

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  120. Soccer Mama

    I believe that this article is spot on, for either sex. My personal experience, from one failed marriage to a long term commitment is that a lot of men want their wives, partners to treat them like their mothers did. My partner is a good man. He is hardworking, loyal and a great Dad but can be very selfish. He can be very resentful if he feels he is not getting his way. I always hear how hard he works but never get any recognition for what I do. If he does something I ask him to do he needs accolades “look what I have done…”. I am tired of waiting for him to do something without having to nag him. He turns my ideas and thoughts into his own. I make a lot of effort to be a good wife, mother, friend, run my own business, try to make an effort to always look good for him. Even though he always tells me that I am not his mother, he expects me to dote on him like a mother. He thinks he deserves expensive toys because he works hard, even though we have kids tuition to pay for. He is loving and affectionate, on his terms. I don’t think after sixteen years together that he knows me very well. He couldn’t tell you my favourite colour or favourite song. When we talk about our problems he talks over me and tells me what I am thinking. After a while you stop having those talks. He wants to be a kid and have it all his way and have someone there to feed him, clean up after him and spoil him. He thinks buying me something will make everything OK when what I want is for him to turn off the Playstation, hold my hand and go for a walk together. I have asked him not to think he can only show his love by buying something I don’t want or need. Then I am ungrateful. I am lonely in our relationship. I have never strayed, nor would I but we do settle. I thought he would be my soul mate but that is not the case. I love him very much but as we get older I think is it really worth it? I have children and would never ask their Dad to leave but I completely understand why people leave because the other person wasn’t there. He doesn’t see anything wrong. I know he loves me but sometimes it’s just not enough. I think he would only notice I was gone when the food runs out and he has no clean clothes.

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