When people have exciting news to share or even just need someone to talk to, they typically speed dial the person closest to them. If that used to be your spouse but is now someone else — whether that's a girlfriend or another man — it's a clear sign you're not in the happy marriage you used to be. "Research shows that in healthy marriages, couples celebrate each other's successes. If you're turning to [someone else] first in good times and bad, then you're replacing your husband emotionally and avoiding addressing what isn't working with him," says Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, director of My Dating and Relationship School and author of Dating from the Inside Out. Try putting your husband into your #1 spot again. If you're not getting the support you need — or you don't even want it in the first place — it might be time to sit down and have a serious discussion about your relationship.
Wow, a lot going on here. My sense is that your husband may be depressed (or at least dysthymic) and that a lot of his negative thinking flows from that. Or, if not depressed, significantly unhappy, as he says himself. There may be one thing, or just a few things, that have landed him there that he either hasn't acknowledged to you, or hasn't even acknowledged to himself. Resetting expectations is a powerful technique to enhance resilience and reduce suffering (I discuss it at length in my book, The Undefeated Mind), and can be done without it meaning that "the world has won." That he's had 6 jobs in the last 13 years and that you sense he's always been "searching for something and simply not finding it" suggests he may be trapped in what Buddhism calls the world of Hunger. At the heart of this state of life lies a belief that if only we could fulfill our desires (whatever they happen to be) we will find long-lasting happiness. But of course, no desire provides that, so such people find themselves trapped feeling continual dissatisfaction with life in general. If he hasn't tried therapy, I'd strongly suggest it. He may have reconciled himself to life of minimal enjoyment, but you clearly haven't. If he won't do it for himself, perhaps he will for you and your daughter. Good luck.
In the meantime, we're just going to have to trust our guts, and do some communication-related adulting to make sure everyone is happy and satisfied in the relationship. However, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of clues to help you on your way. After all, the more skilled you are at picking up your partners cues, the better you will be at maintaining the health and well-being of your relationship. So, if you want to get ahead of the game, here are six things to watch out for, according to the experts.
I encourage you to keep writing about your thoughts and feelings. I think you’ll find that you know more about your marriage and your husband then you think you know… And the best way to figure complicated questions out is to write about them. Writing helps you sort through your thoughts and emotions, and discover the truth that maybe hidden deep within you. I encourage you to write in your private journal, or here if you’d like. I’m happy to be a sounding board, but I don’t give marriage advice and I can’t offer counseling.
Visitation without me around scares me, especially if he goes down the angry road again, or simply the unhappiness road. The other day, he told me he failed at his workout goal. I said, well, at least you tried! He said he got close to his goal, but failed - he was 6 seconds off of the goal - we had a discussion about failure/trying your best is success...I worry for my daughter that this will be his perspective - He quoted Yoda - there is no try, do or do not...He told me we have different point of views and he didn't want to get into an argument about it. The only reason I held my ground and talked with him about it at all is b/c I worry that my daughter will be seen as a failure at some point. He tried and succeeded in keeping it a pleasant discussion. But the perspective scares me, especially if I am not there to remind my daughter that (if something similar happens to her) she is a success - just for trying her best!
The second step to finding happiness when you’re married to a good guy is to be clear on what makes you happy. A great husband isn’t enough. A solid marriage isn’t enough. A good job, obedient kids, and financial stability isn’t enough to make you happy! This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. On the contrary, it means you’re normal. God created you to connect with Him, to glorify and have a relationship with Jesus. You’re not happy because you’re not doing what you were created to do.
Hi, Laurie. My name is Matt and I am looking for support and guidance. I recently confessed to my wife that I had been cheating for nearly a year. This affair took place while I was away from home on business. The affair was not just physically, we became emotionally involved. I am not attempting to justify my actions. They are beyond justification. However, when I left we had been at the apex of nearly three years of very hard times when she had stopped responding to me. Now, we are both seeking help. We are working very hard to get back to one another and in some ways our relationship is at its most healthy. I am, however, struggling. There are days where I miss the other woman and I have repeatedly cut contact with her only to get in touch with her again. My decision about how to conduct myself in this situation has been made but my resolve is not where it needs to be. Is there any insight you would be willing to give that would help me get to a place where I no longer feel the desire or temptation to speak to this woman?
“Not every woman will go after a man who “goes to the mountain like a lion” to paraphrase DJ (from another discussion). ” ____________ More importantly, I’m famous! Kidding, and always enjoy reading you, Kal, but I can’t take credit for that. Steve actually coined the mountain lion term. I just took it to extreme. I spent a marriage like yours. It sucked. Steve asked what price we’d pay? I paid a big one, walked away, lost a business, home, everything…but I’m happy now, and what got me through that was the fact that I was confident in myself, that… Read more »
Think about ending things with your boyfriend. How do you feel? If you feel sad and heartbroken, okay. But if you immediately feel a sense of panic like, "But what would I do? Who would I hang out with? Then I'd be the only friend without a boyfriend. Who would buy me a Christmas gift? When would I meet someone new?" that's not okay. That means you're with this person because you don't want to be alone.
You're in a tough spot. The thing about enabling behavior is that superficially it makes things easier, so people who enable remain attached to doing it. If you decide you shouldn't enable your mom's behavior (and I'm in no position to judge one way or another) it seems to me the key would be becoming confident enough in that decision (out of a genuine and well-considered belief that enabling her behavior isn't in her or your best interests) that you simply—without ever needing to discuss it—stop enabling her behavior. Such a change would of course be met with resistance that you'd need to be prepared for, which is why you must first be absolutely convinced your decision is the right one and then calmly stick to your guns (keeping your own emotions at bay would be key). Good luck.
I have been with my husband for 5 years now and just a couple months ago I found out he cheated on me with his coworker. When I confronted him about his infidelity he stated it was my fault for going through his phone and discovering that he has been cheating. Since then he distances himself from me and refuses to cut contact with her. When I ask him why won’t he stop talking to her he tells me he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. I go out of my way to make things right again and he clearly doesn’t not even try but he says he still loves me and wants to be with me.
Sometimes, people have to sacrifice some of their dreams to settle down and be a responsible spouse or parent. It is natural to do some wishful thinking about things you could have done in your life. However, if you find that your husband talks about his dreams of living somewhere else, making different choices or having a completely different lifestyle, you might interpret this as a sign that he is unhappy in the marriage and longing for a change.
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1. You want a partner who gets the joke. This is a non-negotiable. If you think you’re funny, you’d better be with someone who actually agrees with you. My former writing partner had a girlfriend who thought he was cute and smart, but didn’t find him funny at all. This drove him crazy, since he thought being funny was one of his most valued traits.
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Hi Henry, thanks for your thoughts. You asked: ” Where is the part about “happy husband” in this saying?” First, “happy wife, happy life” is an invention created to confuse you. It’s not true and it’s a unhealthy perspective for both parties. Therefore, there is no “happy husband” equivalent except for “Happy man, happy husband.” Relationships tends to self-destruct when one or the other partner puts the responsibility for their happiness on the other. It’s an impossible task, but we try anyway. “If you REALLY loved me you would find a way to make me happy”. Happiness is not given… Read more »
If you've given up fighting, but feel further away than ever, it's a sign that you've reached a crossroads. "If there's a fight and the couple doesn't talk about what happened, or becomes gridlocked in their position and refuses to listen to their partner's perspective, that's not good," says Cole. However, you might still be able to turn it around. "Unresolved conflict can fool us into thinking that our love is lost, when it's actually only buried beneath the ashes of smoldering resentment and anger," says Turndorf. In other words, the love could still be there, but you just can't access it. To get back in touch with those feelings, turn toward your partner emotionally —which creates closeness and connection—rather than ignoring them or responding negatively, which creates distance and disengagement. "Fights can lead to greater intimacy if the couple processes the fight and repairs the relationship," says Cole. It's up to you to decide whether you've got it in you to turn toward your husband and give it one last go, or whether you've maxed out your ability to keep fighting for your relationship.