When someone's no longer taking their relationship seriously, they're more likely to drop all the responsibility that comes with it. So no, you're not crazy for worrying about your partner's sudden lack of accountability. "If your partner starts breaking promises or does not keep their word and does not seem to offer you more than a simple, 'I’m sorry,' this is a sign that they may not be happy in your relationship because they stop caring about how you feel," Rappoport says.

I am having a propbem and just need someone to talk to. My husband and I habe been married for 13 months, were engaged for almost two years, and had been best friends for five. About six months ago, we left city life and moved to the coast where his family resides. I have no family and no friends here, so that in itself has been difficult for me. We have been having a reoccuring problem that has a uniform cause, which is alchohol. We go out on a date night every Thursday, play pool and sing at the local bar, and drink. A couple of months ago, August, if I remember correctly, we went through three weeks when every time we would go out it started great, but ended with my husband telling me how awful I am and throwing me out of the house. The next day he wouldn’t remember any of it. We discovered that the issue was if he mixed beer and liquor, he became an angry drunk, and I was his target. The solution seemed simple enough, stop mixing the two. It worked well enough for us and the drunken arguments stopped.

On the issue of why did it took so long.  One possibility could be that he has a one dimensional sense of humor.  I have a friend that I thought was hilarious when I first met him.  But over time I noticed it was the same jokes over and over again.  It started to become predictable and not so funny.  I guess it would kind of be like dating a guy that never graduated potty jokes.  Might be funny at first but starts getting old after a while.
Sliding Into Marriage. Couples often have low levels of commitment and end up sliding into marriage instead of making a very conscious and clear decision to be committed to their future spouse. This frequently happens when couples live together, but aren’t officially married yet. The issue is that when this “sliding” occurs, there is less initial commitment and willingness to stick it out when things get tough, which is essential to any marriage. In other words, if you slide into your marriage you may be more likely to slide right on out. A low commitment level is a warning sign your marriage is over (or that it never really began).
I know exactly what this woman is talking about.  I’m dating a man where I feel like I’m losing my skill at bantering, and frankly, I find his ‘humor’ often to be not very complimentary.  I want someone who ‘gets’ me and vice versa.  Otherwise, it’s an awfully long time to live day in and day out with someone and/or needing to get this ‘need’ met from outside the marriage (and I don’t mean CHEATING).

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I welcome your thoughts on these signs your marriage is over. I can’t offer relationship advice or counseling, but you may find it helpful to share what you’re going through. Writing is one of the best ways to gain clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings and sort through your thoughts. And, your experience will show other women they’re not alone.
Thank you for sharing this. Right now, my soon to be ex husband of 12 years, is with his girlfriend and my children (as well as her children). I keep beating myself up and wondering why he is happier with her than he was with me. But in the end, I know I loved him well and couldn’t have done anything differently. I am not solely responsible for his happiness. Now he’s going out into the world to find it. But the world will come up empty in the end. Only God can fill the void he’s looking to fill. Please pray for me.

My boyfriend of almost 4 years just broke up with me again, he says he doesn’t want to be with me anymore and it hurts so bad. I keep begging him cause I think it will help cause he does this alot it’s been a few month since the last time though that why I keep trying to hard to help us cause we also have a 2 years old boy and I’m now 35 weeks pregnant with our baby girl. It hurts so much and I really have no body to talk to besides family which is nice cause there always there for me but when he finally decides he wants me which usually takes about a week or so for him to eventually say to come back home. It’s so hard for me cause I’m only 18 and I have been with him since 15. It’s so hard because I feel like I have nothing besides our kids which he’s been saying he’s going to take them from me too. I have no money or a job I just feel like I have nothing, and I’ll have e to move back to my grandmother’s house which isn’t so fit for our kids to live but I will do what I have to do, it’s so hard too cause I also have his family saying that I should stay and not run away and I want too but how can I stay when he don’t want me anymore I keep trying but there’s no point when he tells me to leave him alone and he’s already adding other females and I don’t know if he’s talking to them everyone tells me to leave him alone but it’s probably been about 3 hours since I’ve tried to take to him about us. I love him and it’s so hard but I’m gonna try to take this advice which I usually what I do when he does break up with me but this time I don’t want to stop trying because I’m so close to giving birth and I just don’t want to give up so easily anymore
I have a husband who has been hard to please. We have been married for 20+ years. Everything I do has an "ulterior" motive in his mind. I don't think I can even get into the whole of this to give anyone a good perspective of what I am dealing with. He was married to a woman for maybe 2-3 months. I'm not sure why he married her as she cheated on him before they were married and he still married her - then shortly after they got married she cheated again and he kicked her out. After they were split for like 2 years we started dating and got married. He has really old-fashioned thinking which at times is nice and at times it is very stressful. Anyway - if I even talk to another man he gets a little ridiculous. Recently we had a friend who lost a spouse and our children were really good friends. They (the children) have been over a lot since that happened and my husband has blown that whole thing into he is interested in me. To the point of starting arguments about it in the middle of the night. when I am sound asleep - he will wake me up - what's wrong - I know there is something wrong. I can't even talk to him anymore - even social media posts he twists into a new dimension of meaning something entirely different. I am probably going to block him from my social media posts to put a stop to that. I walk on eggshells. He gets my phone and reads my text messages and has found nothing - but still swears there is something there. The way he thinks is the only right way and if you try to show him something different it can often make him angry. I feel like a caged bird and I feel like he is smothering me and the whole situation is making me very unhappy. I try to be happy even when things are going wrong - I deal with it and move on. He complains and puts everyone around him down and blames them even if they had nothing to do with it. He can control himself around his own family and around people he thinks a lot of. He will brag us up to those people, but if my Mom is around or if someone he has decided he doesn't care for is around he is downright hurtful and rude. What is odd - is it's ok if he does it - but if you would turn around and do the same - he would be telling you about it. He has good qualities - he is a hard worker and a good provider. And what I have just explained is just a mild overview, nowhere near a thorough explanation. My main question is how do you give yourself space from a person like this when you are married with children still at home living in the same home? I am self-employed but I don't feel I can support myself without getting a job which would probably mean I would need to quit my business as I would not be readily available for appointments. I love your advice - and I think it would work great for a more removed relative or friend - but how do you make it work for someone you live with who seems at times irrational.

"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.


Well I'm in a similar situation... I've been with my boyfriend since late 2009 (we recently celebrated our three year) but for the past couple of weeks we've been argueing like crazy. I do admit I am the type that can come off as needy or smothering, and I am trying my best to work on that issue as I know that it pushes him away over time. Recently it's become so bad that he's tried to end things with me on a couple of occasions because he is not happy with me. However we are now at a point where he thinks its best if we "take things slow" by maybe giving each other more space for a couple of weeks. He says he still wants to work things out between us. I don't know what to make of it. I'm not sure if he's being genuine about wanting things to work, or if he's just doing this so that he doesn't hurt my feelings. Any insight would be appreciated!

It hurts. Infidelity hurts, betrayal hurts, and broken relationships hurt. But what really hurts is when as a woman you allow these situations to affect how you view yourself. When you allow an indiscretion to change the way you see yourself, and this view is in opposition to how God sees you then you are wrong. When you allow these hurts to change you, and you carry them like extra luggage then you are acting in error. You are acting like 90% of the female population, but you are still wrong. 
I think the “sense of humor” argument is actually different from other traits.  The reason is finding someone with the same sense of humor is like finding someone that’s on our “wavelength.”  People can have radically differing opinions on politics, religion, philosophy, etc.  and can at least agree to simply not talk about those things.  This can work, but our sense of humor is such a core personality trait.  It’s really a big part of who we are.  Now does your partner have to actually be funny?  No.  They do have to have the same sense of humor, though.  I don’t think they need to make you laugh but they have to be able to laugh at the same things you do.  Now back to types of humor.  I agree with what Evan said that Kelly seems to be looking for a personality type that might not be positive i.e. a narcissist.  A good sense of humor should always involve at least a degree of self deprecation. 
You don’t necessarily need to leave him…maybe you just need a trial separation. Maybe you both need some time and space to figure out what you want your marriage to be like, and to decide if you can build a happy marriage together. Maybe the prospect of divorce is what your husband needs, to snap him out of his slump! And if he does have Asperger’s, maybe the thought of losing you will encourage him to get help.

I spoke with 10 relationship experts about how exactly to tell whether your partner is not so into your partnership — what are the hints? How can you know? What are the definitive signs? Though they all had different takes on the situation, they all had a lot of things to say about it, confirming our worst fears: It is totally possible to be in a loving relationship, and all seems well, but under the surface — well, you saw Jaws. Sounds like many relationships can seem perfectly fine, or at least OK, but there are some subtle exhibitions of discord or at least unrest that are worth keeping an eye out for in your partnership. Here are 10 whispers of strife in a relationship.
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Some couples consider the "D" word -- Divorce -- off limits. If you and your husband have never thrown the "D" word around in an argument, but your husband starts to use it more frequently now, this is symptomatic that he is unhappy in the marriage. The fact that he uses the "D" word could indicate that he has given the possibility of divorce some thought, so it is best to confront him on what he is thinking.
@HappyInMarriage I, too am young in my marriage (3 yrs) and have lots of “broken families” in my family tree. But unlike you and many other people who think marriage should always be “saved”, I think the most important thing is the QUALITY of the relationship. My parents have a better quality relationship when they are apart, and I was relieved when they divorced. Not only that, I have many extra siblings from new marriages they formed who mean the world to me and have a much larger family because of all the “broken” marriages. People change, make mistakes, etc and who are you or anyone else to tell people that you know what is best for them and their family? Sometimes staying together is not the best option for the health of the relationship. Sometimes a “broken” marriage can lead to greater joy in the family and new relationships and a bigger family.
Reading this reminded me that ultimately, he is responsible for his own happiness, and I am responsible for mine. Maybe he will meet that person who inspires him to get the help that he needs, and who won’t be dragged down by his illness. And I am now free to look after myself. Given our love for each other, we both see this as the best way this could have worked out.
“When we communicate in this state, we are truly mean,” writes Ellie Lisitsa in The Four Horsemen: Contempt on The Gottman Institute’s blog about strengthening relationships. “Treating others with disrespect and mocking them with sarcasm are forms of contempt. So are hostile humor, name-calling, mimicking, and/or body language such as eye-rolling and sneering. In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message that you’re disgusted with him or her.”

Flirting is very good for relationships. This is a great tool to revive feelings and overcome routine when you have been together for a long time. Text messages, intriguing hints, playful photos — all this helps rekindle mutual interest, as in the first days of the relationship. Of course, it is very important that both partners actively respond to each other’s advances.
What is most concerning about your situation is that you report, and even seem to be, feeling depressed. Depression robs people of their energy and hopes, kills their sex lives, and makes them feel hopeless. My suggestion to you is that you seek the help of a psychotherapist so that you can feel better before you make any life altering decisions. I say this because your reaction to your husband may have more to do with depression than anything else. The best way to determine what is bothering you is to seek help. Perhaps you and the therapist can direct you towards anti depressant medication. In any case, you need to feel better and think more clealy before deciding on separation and divorce. You could even talk to your medical doctor, tell him what you are experiencing and he may either put you on anti depressant medications or refer you for psychotherapy.
I gave up my whole life -left my job, family and friends to move to another country to be with my husband. So while in his country I was using his laptop and found a few women’s pictures that were very provocative. I managed to get into his email and found many messages he had been commnicating with women before I came. I confronted him and it was the same answer. I, however, forgave him.
Hi i have been married now for 10 years I was married at 19 My husband and I have 2 great children but that seems like the only thing we have in common anymore. It seems like all we do is fight. I know I love him but not sure if it is a love of a spouse or more like a love of a brother. He works supports me and the girls he doesn’t cheat but has the most awful attitude anymore I don’t know if I want to leave or try and work it out sometimes I feel like i wish he would not come home for work Please help I am so confused

Me and my boyfriend have been going out for 4years and he says im contolling and he is unhappy now and he doesnt want to fix anything he just wants to end it. I love him alot but he isnt even trying to work it out or giving me a chance. He says he has waited for me to change and he sees that im the same person and he is done waiting. We use to talk about getting married and now he tells me he doesnt see us getting married. I dont want to loose him and i want to fight for him and he sees he doesnt want me to fight for him because its to late for that.
Try your hardest to focus only on the negative parts of the marriage.  I am sure there were red flags from Day 1.  Of course, there was also the time he drove an hour to meet you for a half hour, or sent you that funny email, or when he first told you he loved you.  But those things pale in comparison to all the crappy stunts he’s pulled, so do your best to erase the positive incidents from your memory entirely.  What good could it do to lead with the positives anyway?  You’re trying to get through to him here, and the best way is to emphasize what a complete mistake this marriage was in the first place.  Wait till you see how hard he tries to fix things once you’ve told him they are entirely unsalvageable!
Me an my husband have been married for two years now, we have a wonderful, healthy one year old together. My problem is, he’s quite a mommy’s or should I say grandmas boy. Before we got married he lived with his grandparents where his grandma did everything for him. She cooked, cleaned, did his laundry, made his bed, an waited on him hand an foot. Now that we are together I don’t mind cleaning, cooking, or any other house chores, but he expects me to do them without any help. I don’t get off work till 8pm an he cooks dinner alot I will admit that. He acts like I never do anything, he tells me if I only worked as hard as he has to. Mind you I’m a caregiver taking care of two different clients, an he is a cable guy. He tells me all the time I don’t care about the things he does for me, but I feel the same way. I’m to my breaking point I can’t take his put downs an him saying my job means nothing. I don’t want to leave him, but something has to change.
I kept telling him that I Knew something, if not an affair, was up. He finally admitted that there was something wrong and he didnt understand it. He explained that he loved me, he still believed we were soulmates but for some reason he wasn’t content. He insisted it was not my fault and there was no other woman. He felt he needed some time to discover himself as he’d never lived alone. Having lived with him since the age of 16 I thought maybe space was what we both needed and I agreed for him to go travelling. He had always been drawn to a particular country and its culture so I suggested he to go there. He was hoping I’d suggest that, I think he even leaned the conversation that way … just as I suspected from the moment he left, there was another woman waiting out there for him – he moved straight in with her and pretended he was staying with a male business client he had befriended. I eventually got the truth from him and he explained that he’d met her a few months before moving to that country. She was the reason for the passwords, etc. He said he couldn’t keep away from her – it was like some unexplained spiritual thing. They weren’t matched, he didn’t much like her as a person, and (I know this sounds pompous but) she is less attractive than me and not at all his type. He said that she had told him that she felt the same unexplained attraction to him. He said that when he moved in with her he knew what a mistake he’d made but (same old story) she had psychological issues (I’ve read her blog and can confirm this as she talks about her mental problems on there) and he felt an obligation to do things properly.
My husband has been struggling for a while now. Probably a couple of years that I know of. I told him that if he needed to take some time away from his regular life to try and figure things out for himself, I would support him in that. Well....he thanked me and found a place to stay next month. Alone. He will still go to work, but be away from all other aspects of his routine home life.

i am in the exact same thing that you are ... i love him so much and i cant let him go ! i want to fight for us and stay together ! i have fought for so long and whats the point of giving up now ? we have been together for one year and five months i cant imagine losing him forever .. he means so much to me i dont know what to do ? any tips ?..... :''(


it's always good to be honest w someone about your feelings. just sit down & talk to your boyfriend. tell him how you're feelings & what he's doing to make you feel unhappy. if he doesn't change after you've talked to him, then it's time to move on bc you deserve to be happy. there's no point in having a relationship w someone if you aren't even happy.
It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to disentangle our mood from a loved one's mood without swinging too far in the other direction, becoming disinterested and emotionally cut off as a means of self-preservation. Living with an unhappy person is, in many ways, like living with someone who's ill: the illness is theirs, but the experience belongs to the caregiver as well. Thinking of a loved one's unhappiness as an illness brings to mind some points I made in an earlier post, The Caregiver's Manifesto, that, in modified form, may apply:
Now listen carefully! Take 2 minutes to read the next page and you'll discover a stunning trick which will make your spouse love you for the rest of their lives even if they are this close to walking out the door. There is a set of easy to follow psychological tricks which will save your marriage and get you back to that place you once were - in love, committed and excited about the future - within a few days guaranteed. I strongly urge you to read everything on the next page before it's too late and time runs out- Click Here
Offer your support and listen if he wants to talk. Provide your boyfriend with an outlet for his moodiness, such as a night with the guys or a day that he can spend doing something he enjoys without interruption. Suggest that you participate in a recreational activity together several times a week, as this can ease your boyfriend’s stress and anxiety.
Long before my husband left me, I saw the signs my marriage was over. I couldn’t accept it, though. It was overwhelming and depressing even though I know deep in my heart that I’m better off without him. Now that our divorce is final and I am officially single I need to find ways to be happy. How do you be happy after a divorce, when you’re single and you’d rather be married?
In our 13 years of marriage, my husband has had 6 jobs - I think he is always searching for something and simply not finding it. We've also literally travelled the world. (Which was his goal.) Recently, in the last few months, he lamented that we traveled as much as we did because we don't have anything to show for it, and here we are still renting and not owning a house. He is frustrated we spent the money on the travels, rather than buying a house.
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.
I fell in love with a boy in another religion when i was 18 years old.now iam 25.we both are of same age.im his third girlfriend.he promised me that he wil love until his last breath.but our relationship has a lot of problems.i cannot think of another man in his place.i love him so much that i cant live without him.i have told him many times that how much he mean to me as a boyfriend, but he stopped talking to me now..i cant think of even a second without him.he too said that he loves me so much.but things are getting different.we both are at different states.we see twice in a year since this relation started.now he is pursuing mba.he joined his new college last year.there he got lot of friends.
It sounds like your sadness and depression is related to the woman next door — and you need to listen to your heart and gut, and move away. Maybe your husband will go with you and you can rebuild your relationship, or maybe not…but you may be much happier if you’re not living next door to the woman your husband had a physical or emotional affair with.
Bring those things back or better yet, revamp them! If you liked doing something like having picnics, set aside a weekend for yourselves where you could go camping or rent out a little cabin. It can be just the two of you, in nature, and you can have fun rediscovering each other. You could also just set aside one evening every week as Date Night and do your best to think of something fun and a little different for each time!

One option is to give yourself what your husband can’t give you. For instance, he is not there for you when you’re sick or stressed out. It’s all about him, because he’s selfish. So you need to accept that he can’t give you what you need, and you have to find ways to give yourself the love, compassion, and kindness that you need. Maybe that means making friends who will nurture you, or listening to music that makes you feel better, or writing your feelings down.


I guess the question here is as the topic suggests: “Is my marriage over?” Are these all signs that she is heading for the exits and as soon as good opportunity comes along she will leave me? Is she just going through midlife crisis? Till some of these questions are resolved, I am destined to a life without any kind of love, communication, being called scary monster etc, let alone any sex. A corollary question is ” Should I be heading for the exits? I do love her (she would chuckle on this one) and just cannot imagine my life after divorce. Also, the idea that my girls will have another “father” simply devastates me. On the other hand, I am 46, not exactly the time to go out and build again something useful and stable. To say that I am depressed is understatement. Many times I contemplated suicide, even thought of how to write the final letter
I am one of those people to whom lack of a sense of humor is an absolute deal-breaker. But it doesn’t have to be my exact kind of humor, or my family’s kind of humor. What I won’t compromise on, though, is the man’s ability to laugh at himself and at whatever life throws at us. Without this ability, he’ll fall apart on me at the first sign of difficulties. I dated one unfunny guy, shortly after my divorce. He was opinionated and had anger issues. I guess when you cannot laugh at things, you have to compensate for it in other ways, i.e. by yelling at them. To paint you a picture, once we were out at a restaurant, and he got quite agitated because, wait for this, Billy Joel had married Christie Brinkley for her looks, then dumped her for a younger woman when she got old. He was angry! He was shouting. People stared. We didn’t last very long. He wanted to be exclusive, but I just couldn’t do it. He was okay in other regards, decent looks, similar tastes in art, same politics and religion, good education, good income, responsible father, you name it. But because he found absolutely nothing in life funny, it was impossible for me to date that guy. Life can get pretty damn horrible at times, and, if you cannot laugh at it, you’ll make things even more horrible both for yourself and for those around you. This is where I draw the line, humor-wise. He doesn’t have to be a top-rated comedian, though. We can go see a top-rated comedian together if we want to.
Iam also in the same boat , my husband told me few days before that he loves me but not in love with me . It's killing me from inside , he never made me realised that he is not happy with me , I always believed he loves me so much , I was completely satisfied with my marriage .iam very broken now , don't know what will happen in future , I asked him if he has some affair , but he is not telling me anything . I love him so much , it's shocking to hear all this from him .
i am also very confused about how to tell my husband the marriage is over. he was laid off two years ago, and soon after his depression got worse. now he doesn’t seem to care about life anymore, he is always outside in the garage doing who knows what. i stay in the house and keep very little contact with him. i gave up for some time now trying to help him with his depression which has turned into severe depression. it has been over 17 years since we kissed as a couple. sex is completely gone. i feel i am dying from the inside out. i used to try to find places or doctors where he could go to get help for his depression but he never went. he is going now and has been going to see a phsyquiatrist and counselor, however, i just don’t see him as i did before. he has changed so much, i lost all respect for him. we almost lost our home because he couldn’t go look for a job because of his depression. i want to stay out as much as i can after work just so i don’t have to come home. our kids are older and on their own. please what should i do. i can’t leave him with no income. the guilt is so great, i feel i should stay and take care of him because of his depression, but at the same time i cry because i want to have a life of my own. i would like to find a man who would love me and make me feel special. I am so tired of having to take care of someone who doesn’t even notice me. I am starting to resent him, we don’t sleep together anymore. we don’t do anything together anymore. we have been married for 22 years.
At last (six months after my son and I moved here) he’s left her but we are far from a happy family. He expects things to click back into place. He wants us to watch porn and have the crazy fun all night sex we used to … that seems to be all he wants! He refuses to throw away possesions he’s gathered since living with her (mainly clothes which are totally out of character to who he used to be). I tell him they upset me and he shouts me down, getting really angry, and tells me that she wasnt even with him when he bought them. He is being really insensitive towards my feelings. I have had to be the one to lean, compromise and sacrifice through our whole relationship and he cant even sacrifice some possessions. I know, from reading her blogs and things that he admitted, that he used to bend over backwards for her. I ask him to do a few favours and he says I’m demanding and gets angry. He constantly tells me he loves me and that we’re soulmates and he tries to be affectionate with me (though I’m becoming less and less responsive to this). But his actions tell a different story. I’m off sex with him – I still do it but nowhere near the standards we are used to, at times I feel sick. I dont love him anymore but when he says he loves me I say it back because when I’ve tried to end it with him or discuss our problems I get just anger or empty promises and my mind cant cope with that again. Through all this torment I have been in states of nervous hysteria. I have harmed myself and wished myself dead (although I didn’t contemplate suicide because of my son and a belief that I am worth a shot at life). So after this very, very long story I’ll get to the point. I realise that I have to leave him. Like I said, I’ve tried to several times over the last six months. But he begs me. He tells me that all we’ve been though cant be in vain … at last we can be happy. He tells me he will be dead inside without me. He threatened to close our business (he wont sell it even though it’s worth while finacially – he’d be ‘in no fit state to deal with it’). He said he’d move back to the UK and that I wont be able to stay here because I wont get any benefits and wont be get any financial support from the government and I wont get a job because of the language barrier – he knows how much I like it in this new country, and how good it is for our son who is really settling in well here – he is using this as leverage. I am in unfamiliar territory and, although I have made good friends here, I feel very alone. My family are a short plane journey away but I’ve never caught a plane alone – I am Not At All independant, as I’ve always depended on him and allowed him to make the decisions (mainly because he would shout me down if I tried to do otherwise). I am also feeling so much guilt about what I am taking away from my son – I always wanted him to have a normal happy family. And I feel guilty that I’m taking my husband’s son out of his life – I will always give him as much access as he wants (and he knows that) but I know that not saying good night to him eveynight will cut him up. So much guilt, so much self doubt … and I feel so so tired and weak. I dont have it in me to confront him again but I cant stay.
A patient of mine has a mentally ill brother who's depressed and anxious, as well as manipulative and stubborn. He often refuses to take medication that's helped him in the past and as a result often ends up lying at home in his bed, unwashed and unkempt, for days at a time. When my friend discovers him in this state, she tries various things: taking him to the ER (which she's learned leads nowhere), contacting his therapist (which sometimes helps, sometimes not), and even walking away, both figuratively and literally. She struggles with how much she may be enabling his behavior and with how unhappy his unhappiness is making her. She vents to me on occasion, and I try to walk a fine line between encouraging her not to give up on him and supporting her decision to protect herself emotionally. Recently, he had a particularly bad episode and it got me wondering: how can we best manage the unhappiness of people we love?
According to Cole, there are four behaviors that are super-destructive to relationships. If one or more is present in your relationship, you could be on the fast track to loveless-ness (if you're not there already). Every time you criticize your partner — by attacking, blaming, and putting the fault on them by flinging negative statements like "You're always running late," or "You never do anything right" — you corrode your connection. By being defensive and refusing to accept responsibility, or attacking in response to feedback from your partner, you chip away at the trust and goodwill in your marriage. If you have an attitude of contempt, and call your partner names or make stinging, sarcastic remarks, you imply that you're superior and your partner is defective. And every time you stonewall one another, or emotionally shut down instead of openly addressing the issues, you create more distance and dishonesty, rather than openness, communication, and love. If any (or all) of these sounds familiar, schedule couples' therapy to discuss why you do these things — and how you can fix them.
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