First and foremost, we must realize that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own happiness and simultaneously that everyone exerts a powerful influence on the happiness of those around them. A study by a former colleague, Nicholas Christakis, suggests that we influence the happiness of people close to us physically as well as the happiness of people close to us personally up to three degrees of separation (meaning not just the friends of our friends but their friends as well). How might this influence come about? Not by the advice we give or the action we take to try to make others happier but simply by being happy ourselves. Emotions, it turns out, are as contagious as infectious diseases (possibly as a result of the mirror neuron system). Some of us seem to be more contagious than others and some of us especially susceptible to being "infected" by others, but most of us have had firsthand experience in bringing others up or down with our moods and in being brought up or down by the moods of others.
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.
"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.
We married 18 years ago (coming up shortly), were both each others first partners. Just simply fell in love and married. Marriage worked quite well, we never had any of those “standard” problems: we were both frugal with money, modest, faithful to each other, were not too much into this “great sex” thing that you can read in magazines or on the internet. We had a lot to talk about, joking all the time and had two children. She is a great mother and role model. Basically, everything I would want in a wife. However, a nagging issue that was not addressed from the outset was our relationships with each other’s families. The funny things about this is that we are immigrants and our families do not even live in the same country. She never hid it that she hates my family even though she never spoke to many of them nor they ever visited us. She even went that far to teach kids how their cousins are bad kids even though she never met them! (BTW, they are valedictorians in their schools, but that is not the point). This issue surfaced when her mother visited here, which turned out to be a weird experience for me. They were literally fighting about everything and her mother went home crying. She vowed never to talk to her and her father again, which she did. This was quite a surprise to me given that when we dated, it looked like a very healthy family to me. Both her parents adored me, so to this day, I am not sure what happened between them. This was 11 years go, fast forward three years ago, we had not had sex for 11 months. She chose to sleep with kids who she adores. I did not press the issue, which is the first problem in our marriage. We just do not communicate well. When I occasionally mentioned this, she would cite work, being tired, kids love it etc etc. When I offered household help, I could never get it right; there is always too much water on the counter, a spot on the dishes etc… To this day, I do not know what triggered this, but this turned out to be beginning of all the current troubles. Things turned to worse when her father died. I tried to help with grieving and offered to talk how to help financially with the funeral and all (which she did not attend, btw) etc. She just clammed up, did not want to talk to me at all. At that time, I was simply fed up and primed myself to the biggest mistake of my life. I basically opened myself to respond to whatever romantic oppportunity came along. Not seeking, just responding. Unfortunately, it did. An aggressive woman approached me at a meeting and we started chatting over the email. I kept my composure not to do anything physical, zero (not a touch). Nevertheless this would basically amount to cheating. This went on for about three weeks. As life would have it, she found the emails and one text message and was devastated. I stopped immediately, but we never talked about it more. So, in the books, this went as my being a cheater. Nothing about lack of sex for the past whole year or any other reason why I was shut out (this is not an excise for what I did). She did offer to go to counseling back then, but I refused, because I knew that what I did was a mistake and I stopped and promised never to do anything stupid like that. No need for someone else to tell me that. Now, the part that scares me the most. In the meantime, it looked to me she forgave me, but only on the surface. We would have sex, but out of nowhere she started using lubricants. We would never kiss, or any other foreplay. She simply refused me to satisfy her in any way. So, it felt like I was raping somebody,which I mentioned to her several times. Response was always be happy that you get something, many men do not even have that. After sex I would have this guilty sinking feeling I am hurting her and I just could not take it any more. I can’t physically hurt the person I love! I started being frustrated and wanted to talk about what is going on. She refused most of the time then on occasions would mention my “affair”. Then, since the end of last year she again began refusing sex. We are back to being close to breaking our “record”. She does not even want me in bed, trying to stay as far away as possible. Any attempt on any kind of touch (even holding hands) is met with a violent negative response. She began to be frustrated with taking care of children, constantly mentioning how she does everything and not being appreciated, how she wishes to go on vacation somehwere by herself, just to be alone etc etc. I began breaking down and started saying that I will leave her if she does not at least want to talk to me. All to no avail. I guess, this is another mistake; don’t say it if you don’t mean it! But, again, when things build up inside, some sort of outlet must be found. Now, to top it all off, I found out that she posted her profile on a dating site and to my direct question whether she is dating anyone responds “if I did I would be much happier”. She also started posting provocative pictures of herself on Facebook. Of course, she blocked me from viewing her profile, but I have friends who showed me those pictures. All in all, our life now consists of her sitting behind computer, closing windows as soon as I am around, locking it when leaving for a while, while I desperately try to establish any kind of communication and live in frustration. Our family life has basically disappeared. No more family outings (we take children out separately), no family vacations, no friends over. She has established a new circle that consists mostly of divorced women who claim to have great sex life and are showing off their much younger lovers with great bodies. All of a sudden, I need muscles, great six packs etc. Divorce has become a viable option for her, which is a complete turnaround from when we met, when she was always apprehensive of anyone who divorced and I had to give up a male friend who divorced.
Examples of this behavior are “when everything seems like it's going great and then they all of sudden don't return any of your texts, or wait five-plus hours before texting you back when you usually text constantly, or you don't set the next date plan for a week, or not at all even, and your typical relationship modus operandi is to always have the next date planned at the end of the previous one.”
Premarital Cycling. Dating, then breaking up, then getting back together before marriage predicts lower marital quality and stability. This is common in relationships, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. This kind of instability early on sets a precedent for how open partners can be with each other. i.e. “If I talk about this with him/her, he/she will get overwhelmed because last time I brought something like this up, he/she needed a break from me. I’ll just keep it to myself.” This is a dangerous pattern to fall into. It’s important to feel safe and secure in a marriage for it to stay healthy and have longevity.
If you feel your man might be growing unhappy in your relationship, I suggest you sit down and talk to him. Lay it out on the table and tell him, to be honest about how he really feels. At the end of the day, you could be worried about nothing. However, a sudden change in behavior is rarely ever a good sign in a relationship. So you have every right in the world to wonder what’s really going on.
For the next 6 years or so after that, I believe we are doing great. I do notice that he is grumpy and has low energy, etc. So I recommend he get his testosterone checked and get evaluated for clinical depression. He goes for hormones, but no antidepressants. It helps for a while, but 2012 is just a bad year for him it seems. He's getting drunk and staying out more, sometimes not coming home. Getting botox for forehead wrinkles. Worried about thinning hair. I beg him to please seek out further help to no avail.
6. Trust him: We know rom-coms taught you that men are incompetent horndogs who turn into drooling cavemen around even mildly attractive women, but please remember to respect your partner’s intelligence by not falling for this shit. Do not hound him about his cute co-worker, neighbor, or friend. Insecurity is a major boner-shrinker, and unwarranted lecturing, snooping, and accusing are sure to get you nowhere. If you have any legitimate concerns about cheating, a respectful and honest conversation is usually the best place to start.
Let him know you're thinking about him. Not every day, but maybe once a week or so send him a cute text letting him know what you want to do with him when he gets home. Get flirty and cute with him, just like it was when the two of you first started dating. He will enjoy the gesture, particularly if it is during the middle of the workday when he is feeling down and bored. Adding that kind of excitement and spontaneity back into your lives is a great way to keep things interesting.
"A big source of unhappiness in a marriage is when one or both partners let themselves go. This can be physically — gaining weight, quitting exercise, developing unhealthy habits. Or it can be developmentally, where they stop trying to improve. For example, many people lose their fun-loving, adventurous nature as they continue in a marriage. Or, where they once had zest for life and passion for their partner, now they're always tired and only focused on work." —Bennett
My guess is that you feel betrayed by your husband because he may not have supported you in your complaints about how you were treated by his family. What is curious is that is your only complaint so far as I can see. In fact, I am only guessing at why you feel betrayed. Did he have an affair? has he been abusive? The reasons why you seem to fallen out of love with him are vague at best.
"People do not experience love in the same way, and if you're not speaking your partner's 'love language', that can result in great unhappiness. Dr. Gary Chapman detailed the five different love languages to help couples learn and speak the language of their spouse — those languages are quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and gift giving. Learning to speak a partners' love language has saved many marriages." —Kim Olver, relationship coach and author of Secrets of Happy Couples
Whether you suspect and feel, or your husband told you directly that he’s not that happy with your marriage, that kind of knowledge certainly makes you an unhappy wife. Instead of falling in the infinite circle of mutual accusations, it would be much more constructive to play maturely, take responsibility and see what is that you could do about it.
We can't all have flat stomachs and perfectly applied makeup at all times. But, you can do simple things for him (and yourself) to show him your beauty. Sometimes marriages can put us in a rut, and we no longer think it's necessary to look nice for our spouse. Brush your teeth, take a shower, and leave the ratty sweatpants in the drawer. Do yoga when you can, wear your favorite little sundress, and flaunt what you have! Your husband will likely return the favor and make himself look amazing!
Our instincts can often tell us first when a relationship just isn't working — but we don't always trust that voice, says couples therapist Susan Pease Gadoua, co-author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels. "We often ignore our gut instincts because that voice is very quiet and calm, unlike the internal voice in our heads that thrives on high drama." We're trained to trust logic in many areas of life, so when a niggling feeling ("Am I really still in love with this person?") presents itself, it's hard to pay attention to it because there aren't any hard facts or rational reasoning. Drill down on that initial instinct and ask yourself more specific questions. If you find your responses are things like, "I don't feel safe to express myself, I don't feel respected and haven't felt happy in a long time," that's a sign that things have gone awry — and you shouldn't ignore it. "The truth doesn't go away simply because we don't want it to be there; that voice stays in the background and weighs on you," says Gadoua. "Getting quiet within is key to being able to hear instincts. And like a muscle, the more you trust your gut, the easier it becomes to decipher that voice — which comes from your heart — from the voice in your head."