“Criticizing your partner is different than offering a critique or voicing a complaint,” writes Lisitsa on Recognizing Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. “The latter two are about specific issues, whereas the former is an ad hominem attack: it is an attack on your husband at the core. In effect, you are dismantling his whole being when you criticize.”
If you think they're at a loss for words, you can always spur the conversation or turn it into some sort of game. The key is interest, not so much the content or the topic. Seriously, it can be something that seems really boring, but as research has pointed out, "couples build intimacy through hundreds of very ordinary, mundane moments in which they attempt to make emotional connections." You've got to build somehow, even if it is just by asking someone's favorite color.

"Sex can be a major source of unhappiness in a marriage. Married folks often make the mistake of having sex only in bed in their bedroom, which turns it into a very routine and monotonous act. They can also often blame each other for being different in bed. But I find that different sexual personalities make the best couples. Instead of getting frustrated, they need to put things in perspective and work together to find a solution that makes them both happy." —Svetlana Kogan, M.D.
Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.
I’ve married to my husband for 1 1/2 years and together for 5. I’m 25 but feel 70. I have 3 young babies with him. He’s not a bad father but not such a good husband. All we do is argue, he mismanages all of our money. Sometimes we barely pay the bills. We started a small business together so we share the money but somehow he spends it all. We can never communicate. We never resolve any of our problems because we just argue until were tired. I’m never in the mood to be intimate but I force myself so I won’t have to hear his mouth. I’ve tried new things with him sexually but every time I try something new the next day it’s some other weird stuff. He wants to do a lot for someone who doesn’t make me feel “special”. He didn’t get me anything for my birthday. We barely go anywhere and when he does do something it just feels like he’s prepping me for sex later instead of doing it because he cares for me. I don’t feel any sparks just stress. I know neither one of us are truly happy. I try to just hold it in and hope things get better but he irritates me so bad with his need to debate all the time. I’ve tried multiple approaches to fix our problems but I only get 2 results, 1.he gets angry and we argue 2. He plays the victim. I don’t know what to do.
"A common cause of unhappiness in a relationship is making assumptions about what one's partner is saying. For instance, one partner may say something as innocuous as 'I'm feeling lazy today.' The other partner will then give a number of suggestions so that she doesn't feel lazy. 'You can go to the gym. Or, you mentioned you wanted to go get some fabric for a new quilt. You could do that.' Meanwhile, the first partner feels misunderstood. The only way to clear up assumptions is to discuss them." —Janet Zinn, licensed social worker and psychotherapist
I forgot to mention that I've tried to not pamper him as much but then he gets mad that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to. And yes I've thought of that. My son starts school this year. I'm gonna try a new career by going to school. Put some interest in that. But until school starts I can't do it because I don't have a sitter. Which is another thing , is it normal for him to not want to keep our child so I can go somewhere? Like for literally less than am hour
Recently my husband and I have brought some issues to light. We have been together 13 years, married 12. We were young and I had a 3 mo old daughter when we met. I fell in love with him because of the way he was with her. Recently, in a very relaxed conversation, he reveiled to me that he “thinks this sounds bad” but he believes he fell in love with me becuase of her. I dont have a problem with that. But now he thinks he loves me very much but isnt in love with me anymore. Personally, I dont know the difference. He says he loves me every night before we go to bed, and every morning before he leaves for work, as well as every time we talk on the phone, before he hangs up. And if I say it to him when around the house, he always says it back. He usually kisses me good night and good bye. So I think there is love there, and after so many years of being together you just fall into a rut. But…….. there are problems and I am not sure, when put all together, if I should be worried. He has always had this thing with joining dating sites online. He says he is just looking and that you have to become a memeber to see them. He says he doesnt get attention very often and it’s nice to see if someone responds. That he never returns their messages and would never act upon it. He has acutally kept this very open with me. From the beginning. I truly do understand where he is coming from. In my line of work, I am with guys all the time. So there is attention. I share all these stories with him so that he doesnt think I am hiding anything. I have never done anything inappropriate with anymore, nor have i wanted to. He is the only guy I have wanted in that way since I have been with him. In his line of work, there is no one else to give him this attention. WE all like to feel that we are still desireable and I know how that feeling lacks after being in the same relationship for years. But lately, I have had an issue with it and when I try to talk to him about it, he tells me (now mind you very calmly and never upset with me about it) that he never ever as any intention of acting upon it, it’s just nice to feel like someone is flirting with you. He is a very good looking guy and gets flirted with when we go out but he doesnt notice it. So I really do understand that need and want. Plus he reminds me that we made an agreement in the beginning that if either one of us felt things were moving towards a path that we were going to be unfaithful, then out of respect, we owed it to the other party to tell them beforehand. (He had been cheated on a few times prior to me and it really hurt him) Then I feel bad for bringing it up. But then he points out the fact that I need to start doing my own thing. We have 3 kids and i do absolutely everything for them. They are each very involved in school activities and friends and I never tell them no. So between running them around and my work I feel unappreciated and taken for granted. He says that if I had a few female friends that I could go out with and get away from the house I would feel better. That my life is not the kids and him, that I need time for myself. That i have become bitter and some people that he introduces me to read in my body language that I dont want to be there and so later on he feels embarassed and he apologizes to them for that impression and tells them that I am really not that way, that I am a very nice person, just hard to get to know. He does have a point. I only define myself as his wife and their mother. I have nothing else. And it is my own fault, I have made it that way. He says he thinks I am miserable and just dont know it. I think he has a point. But then here comes the fact that right now, becuase of everythign else, i am dealing with some real insecurity issues. I dont feel any emotion from him lately. I have tried to initiate being intimate these past few nights, with nothing but cuddling from him. I end up crying myself to sleep. I ask, if he really isnt interested and he says he really is just very tired. He recently got promoted at his job, so he leaves at 4:30 in the morning and gets home anywhere from 7:30-11:00 at night. He is exhausted and I can see it, becuase he sits on the couch within the first 5 mins of being home and falls asleep before the kids get a chance to tell him how their day was. He says that I am making a little thing into a big thing lately because I am being so emotional. Which is not like me. We use to joke that we had a really different kind of relationship. We werent really mushy, we joked in what othes would think would be mean ways. We use to tell people we had a love hate relationship. That we love to hate each other, but then we would laugh and he would kiss me and they knew it just worked for us. He had such a hard up bringing that he doesnt get very emotional, it’s almost like a wall. And i was ok with that until recently. It seems like he hasnt changed the way he treats me, but I see it now as a lack of emotion. That I am making subtle hints that I just need him to come up behind me and hug me, just to show me he’s still there, but he doesnt notice this. I want to talk to him but feel like I am beating a dead horse (for lack of a better term). We’ve never really had communication problems so I dont know why it is so difficult for me to talk to him now. I dont knwo why I feel so insecure now. I think if i just felt like i had some reassurance on his part. And when I brought that up the other night, he said, “I come home to year every night. I love you and the kids. I just want you to stop being so derogatory on the outside. Show what’s on the inside.” He even said that maybe he has started to pull away a bit becuase he sometimes doesnt know what kind of mood I am going to be in. and that does push him away sometimes. He does have a point there. He is the kind of guy that is always perkey, the glass is always half full with him. He says things are uncontrolable and you just have to go with the flow. I tease and call him a con artist sometimes, because he always seems to have everyone eating out of the palm of his hands. And I other the other hand, am the pessimistic one. I always prepare for the worse so that I wont be let down. Always been that way. But now it seems to be causing a drift between us. I feel I really need to change this behavior or I will loose him but on the same token, i dont want to feel like I have to change all of me to make him fall in love with me again. I dont feel I am the only one that has things to work on. And when this was all brought up, there was no yelling and he wasnt mean. I was crying, of course, because I didtn know he felt those things, and all I wanted was a hug but that didnt come. A year or two ago I wouldnt have thought anything of it, that’s just him, always has been. But now i feel like I really need the emotion. But it’s not fair to ask him to change. I need to know what I can do to change this, to make my marriage strong again. To make me believe that he still loves me. I want to feel that he isnt just around becuase of the kids, that he wants to be with me. Does it sound like our marriage is over? Does there look like there is any hope? What can I do to help to change things? How can I talk to him without feeling sick to bring it up? How can I get us back to where we were a few years ago? Is there any hope for us? I love him very much and am becoming sick imagining him leaving me. He hasnt said he is or wants to, but from some comments lately, I think he is just content and I want him to be happy. Does that mean I have to let him go?
i had a love marriage, i went against my parents and my husband went against his parents. it has been 4 years. recently he has just stopped caring about me. he fights, says hurtful things, never ever apologises or tries to make up after we have an argument. it is only me who has to keep my anger aside and approach him, always. when he fights, he just leaves me alone for hours without telling me where is he going or when he will be back. sometimes he becomes so angry that i have to cry in his feet to make him stop. he hits himself when he is angry, and very voilently. it scares me. despite repeated requests and promises, he always starts beating himself if i argue with him. these days he even threatens that he will start beating himself if i dont agree to him. although he has never hit me, or cheated on me, its his lack of care for me and my feelings that just kills me. i had an abortion and he never called me from his office to ask if i was ok. even when i was bleeding with abortion, he never offered me help in household chores. when i confronted him about these issues, he said things like, “no no, i love you and all. i cant divorce u. i’ll die if you leave me. i have no one, my parents left me and if u also leave, i have nothing left.”
and I so badly want my marriage to work, not just for myself and my wife but my kids as well. My wife had a hard childhood. Her dad left when she was 10 and wasn’t involved in a good way until 8 years ago when his dad died and he told her he wanted to “make-up” for all the old wounds. Around the same time my wife went though depression. There were times she couldn’t get off the easy chair in our living room for days. She went to counciling and did the antidepressant thing and her therapist helped her decide she needed to go back to work. She had been a stay at home mom by her own choice for 12 years. She is a well paid professional in the medical field and was able to find a great, high paying job that she really likes right away. Almost as soon as she went back to work, she started spending more and more time there and with her “new friends” she works with. I have tried to be supportive and have left my job early to pick up the kids so she could stay late, go out with her friends, etc. At the same time she stopped having sex with me. We’ve been intimate maybe 5 times in the last 5 years and up until then had what she described as a great sex life. I’ve tried to find out what she wants or needs but she can’t tell me other then “not me”. Last week she told me that she is unhappy and that “part of me wants to stay and work things out, part of me doesn’t”. I asked her to read Mort Fertel’s book and do “Marriage Fittness” with me and she has read the first couple chapters but isn’t really committed. Our house has become quite messy due to her being unwilling to clean or cook dinner and she asked me to help get things more orginized and we have started that. The problem is she hasn’t changed any of her behaviors and comes home and just goes into a shell and finds ways to get me upset. Then she says something like “Well, that attitude just makes me want to read that book and work on things sooo much”! She only talks about her work and her friends from work and when I try to talk about anything else she withdraws and is uninterested. It’s been 8 years of her being withdrawn from me and 5+ without sex or affection. Now that I know she actually is at the point that she wants to end our marriage as much or more then save it, I’m having trouble being patient. She has totally ruled out going to councilling or therapy (it doesn’t work and is a waste of time and money) and while she agreed to “read” Mort’s book she hasn’t agreed to do anything and when I asked her what she thought of the part she has read she said “Well, I guess I can see what he’s talking about…” which isn’t making me think she will do anything but read the book. While for the last 15 + years I was the sole income earner, right now I’m not making any money due to the firm I was with closing after 9 years there. I’m working with a start-up and I hope that I’ll be making just as much or more then I had been and she does and we have savings so money isn’t yet a big problem but she is worried about it and I know she doesn’t like making the money. When I asked her what she needs she has said the biggest thing is she wants to move from our house to a better, bigger one so she probably feels that because I’m not yet making the money I had been that will be delayed but again, (It’s only been about 4 months since I lost my old job) she doesn’t have a reason to doubt I will be back to making good money again soon. I’m starting to feel “Why should I go into debt for 30 years with someone who isn’t going to even try to fix our marriage. There’s more of a chance that all that will happen is I’ll lose everything in a divorce”. I don’t know what to say when I’m told how wonderful I am and how it would be easier if I was an awful husband, father, etc. I feel so damn helpless and I know that sooner rather then later I’m going to hit a point where I can’t take it any more. I really am afraid that the woman who said before we got married “I don’t believe in divorce. When I get married it’s forever and will work to fix any problems to see to it”! is going to leave and destroy my family. I would appriciate any help you can give. Thank you.
Hi and thanks for your site. I love it! I’ve been married going on 3 months but have been with my husband for 2 years prior to marriage. I don’t know where to begin. I feel like I am going crazy and I don’t know what to do. I feel that my husband is a good man but we have a lot of issues to work on. I came from an abusive household but my husband didn’t. we both very bad tempers and there has been a lot of mean words said and physical violence on both of our parts. Whenever we argue my husband always brings up my childhood to deflect what it is that I have a problem with even though I’ve asked him not to do this. For example, he works long hours 6 days a week while I go to school 5 days a week 6 hours a day and do all of the household chores including laundry, cleaning, dishes, grocery shopping , and I always have a hot meal prepared for him when he gets home plus getting up early in the morning to make him breakfast and a lunch for work. He does absolutely nothing but work. On his day off he spend 12-16 hours playing videogames. When I asked him when we would spend time together he told me that he wanted to have fun and was playing the game. I asked if he meant that playing a videogame was more fun than hanging out with me and he said yes. Then he proceeded to put me down for not doing the laundry in a timely manner.
All of these answers apply to both genders, but you are so angry you can’t see past the pronouns in the article. You’ve taken a practical choice, this website is aimed at women, as other websites are aimed at men, and turned into a slight against you. If you do that with a website then it’s a safe bet you do that in your personal relationships as well, this is really going to hurt your chances of being able to successfully communicate what’s hurting you to your partner. When you approach someone in anger it immediately creates defensiveness, an urge to fend off, repulse, and retaliate. Being calm and flexible is not the same thing as being passive, you can disagree and still see smokeless point (regardless of whether or not that point is valid). Approach your feelings, problems, and arguments calm and collected. This means you need to have examined and accepted your own flaws first, and be able to weather the invective that will be thrown at you. You also need to remain on point, which is hard when you feel like a big list of wrongs have been perpetrated. It seems that the big thing for you is that your wife doesn’t respect your time, she might not know she does that ( My family is old world and thinks it’s shameful for a woman to work and that it’s disrespectful for her husband not to provide as much as possible). I try thinking about it first from the defensive perspective of the other person first, “its your fault because”, “I may be bad but your worse”, etc, it’s easy because we all have those thoughts when we feel we are being attacked. My husband used to have temper tantrums at first, then he started really listening and we resolve things. Now, he uses my own approach on me when my hackles are raised!
Again, alone time is key to a healthy relationship. You both should be able to be alone, leave each other alone, and feel comfortable going solo for awhile. That said, it's not normal if your partner needs to be by themselves 24/7. "If you've noticed more individual activities replacing joint ones, that could be a sign of a partner trying to retreat," Rogers says. "They might need time to think or have decided that they need to build up their own identity and independence outside of the relationship."
If you confront her it will only lead to a heated exchange and a forcing of her hand. This route never really goes well. My opinion is to ignore the entire subject and stop trying to find out more. I mean this with all sincerity. I forced the issue and lost twice before. Maybe I am an expert? In any case don’t be rash and make any descions without looking very hard and long down the road of possibilities. Things never turn out well when you force someones hand. Forgive and move on or realize that you will be giving up everything you know as your life today. Proabbly your house if you own it at the very least the place you currently live. You will be starting over nearly from scratch. Don’t even think of harming her in any way as the law will have you as their prime suspect no matter what. Worse case scenario is you think you are smarter than 30,000 people and off your wife. The law catches you and your son has no momma and no poppa. DON’T DO IT. Forgive and forget any of it happened and pray to God for a marrage fix without ceasing. Best advice you can’t buy.
I agree with Brian, too. All my life, I would hear that women want men with a sense of humor. That always puzzled me, as I never found that I cared about that myself. Then, I was reading an article by another male dating advisor, I think linked from this site, and I got it. He was explaining how women are emotional beings, and when they say they want a man with a sense of humor, they’re really looking for an emotional connection. Aha! I could now relate to my own version of that: I always valued being friends with guys, so much so that sometimes when there was a guy I liked, I would envy his female friends more than his girlfriend–if their relationship appeard to me to be superficially based.
Also I have my children and don’t know how to explain to them about our marriage. But I am just not happy. I see other attractive men and am attracted to them. But have not cheated on my husband and I know he will never cheat on me. I just don’t know I also don’t feel amused by him I feel like a women should be proud of her partner and that’s just not my case. I take care of all the bills and problems of the house and feel like I have so much in my plate. We never go any where because there’s just no money ever. No vacation no nothing I think that has also taken a toll on me. I feel like am ready for something different. I cry every time after we have inter course just because I don’t feel anything I pretty much have to fake. And it hurts because this is not a life I want I feel and know that I have so much more ahead of me. But his low self esteem is what holds me back. Because he does love me but the feeling is not mutual.

3. Have body confidence: Expanding on the last point, body confidence is super important to keep the spark alive in any sexual relationship. People change, and so do bodies. If you’ve gained weight since you first met, or you started getting dark chin hairs, or an emergency appendectomy left you with a weird scar, who cares? We guarantee you that decent, worthwhile dudes are not turned off by this. Shutting down your sex life over a few new stretch marks is sure to be a relationship killer. Don’t let time and gravity stop you from doin’ your thang, girl.


Things we have never experienced before tend to frighten us. The truth is, infidelity in a marriage is not something most couples want to experience. With that in mind, you may want to know how to stop your husband from having an affair and save your marriage. This is one subject a lot of people with all the education, exposure, status and money do not know how to deal with.
my husband when he came out of his cave came out like a grizzly bear willing to tear heads off when he was not allowed to have his way over time off , job choice and shift choice by seniority I have seen him break a mans back against a light pole because he was hounding my husband to work a fourth eight hour shift inhis place and let the man take us to a concert, I have seen my husband talking to four men about pulling his bid and when they said he could either go in under his own power and remove his bid or they would carry him in and the result would be the same he would remove his bid, My husbands answer was to grin and tell them to take whoever was whose wife , he could not tell the relationship or the way it worked with gay men and they could get off his porch, off his property and out of his face or he would kill them where they stood, then when the county commissioners son took the bait and the first swing it gave my husband all the rea, My husband paced around for onewson he needed to leave all four in bad condition heading for a trauma care to be placed in a critical care unit.
If you often imagine a happy (happy is the key word here) future without your partner, that's a major sign that things aren't right. This is a part of the emotional detachment process, during which you may try to convince yourself that you don't care anymore so that the eventual separation feels less painful, says relationship therapist Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., author of Kiss Your Fights Goodbye. "Detaching psychologically by fantasizing about having an affair or making plans for the future that don't include your partner can all be signs that you've fallen out of love," says Turndorf. "It's as if the mind has pulled its own plug so our hearts won't suffer as much when the relationship ends." If you notice this mental pattern, take it a step further to see if the fantasy holds weight. Gadoua suggests checking out real apartment listings online, and paying attention to how you feel. "It'll give you another layer of reality, which can then help you know what the right next step is," she says. As you click through, check in with your emotions. If excitement or relief is your prominent emotion (rather than fear or apprehension), it may be a sign to acknowledge that there are serious problems in your marriage. "But before actually taking steps to leave, see if there are things you can — or want — to do to work on the relationship," says Gadoua. That way, if you ultimately decide to leave, "you can do so with some peace of mind," she says. "It's never easy to end a relationship, but having lingering regret that you could have done more can make the decision harder."
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