I have no idea where to begin or how to fix my marriage. I’ve been married 20 years to man who I feel as though he only loves me when I’m loving him the way he wants me to love him. I feel as though he only gives me attention when he has a buzz on. He drinks everyday and when the buzz sets in it’s “Hi hon how are you?” Otherwise he’s sullen and sits in front of the TV. I didn’t even get a card for our 20th anniversary. Whenever we go anywhere or do anything he ends getting drunk and lecturing me and chasting me and telling me I’ve failed him as his wife and mother of his children. I know that I’ve been emotionally abused by him and over the years I became so sad and depressed and just recently I made plans to end my life but b/c Ilove my children too much I couldn’t go through with it. I told my husband how I went to the cemetery to buy a plot for me and he never even put his arms around me. I’ve spend many nights and days crying, depressed, I’ve been to therapy, bought self help books, tried medication and then I found exercise and emotionally I’m feeling better. He would complain that I wouldn’t get up on the weeknds and go for a walk with him but now that I’m walking I asked him to come with me, he doesn’t go with me. Now I’ve turned into the abuser, I don’t talk to him I just go about my day as though it’s only me and my kids. I have more fun with my kids than I do with him. There’s no passion when it comes to sex. I never hear anything good about myself only the things that I don’t do for him and how I make him miserable and don’t support him. I’m afraid if I leave I’ll be even more depressed but if I stay all I’m doing is adding to my misery. I have more sad memories of our time together than I do of good ones. I think I can hold my head up high and walk away with dignity but at the same time I have empathy for him (which he doesn’t me for) yet I’m confused, hurt, angry and don’t know what to do. How do I fix this?
This is the oldest trick in the book. Why do we start a relationship hoping a man is going to change? It’s important to accept your boyfriend for who he is, in the flesh. If you fell in love with your idea of him, and not the real him, that’s not his fault. If you are pushing him to do things he doesn’t want to do, it’s not going to make him happy.

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Perel felt that it was unrealistic and unfair to try to have one person (your spouse) fulfill all those needs, so it’s okay to have polyamorous lifestyle. Polyamory is where a couple decides to have intimate relationships with other people with the knowledge of everyone involved. The idea behind this is that everyone’s needs get met in an open, honest way, and everyone ends up happy.
For some reason your roommate—er, life partner—has been following you around all night, when all you want is to finish up the evening's menial tasks so that you can commune with your true passion (i.e., DVR'd episodes of Game of Thrones), tapping you on the shoulder and asking you inane questions about electric toothbrushes and dry cleaning and RSVPs. Is he trying to be irritating? I'm guessing that no, he is not trying. (It comes naturally! Hey-oh!) Chances are he's hungry for a little attention, and is therefore resorting to the grown-up's version of sleeve-tugging. Give it to him—not only will you be nurturing your relationship, but you'll increase your chances of getting a foot rub while you catch up with the Lannisters.

Sure, it would be nice every once in a while, but realize that men are wired differently than us. What we are thinking in our head that he should do is almost always not what he is going to do. Realize that all those romantic movies are most likely written by women. Don't let your expectations exceed your reality because you've been watching too many romantic comedies and reading too many books.

I read your article, I understand that no one can tell me when I’ve had enough. But Iam 38 , with 5 kids. I have a 20 year old son who is expecting his 1st, with his gf, I have 13 year old triplet daughters, and a 12 year old son. My husband and I have been married 16 years, he has also been “married ” to the military for 17 years. We are an active duty family. Yes I say we, I’ve watched him pack up for 6 different deployments, some almost broke his soul. Anyway… the loves not there. I reach out to touch him, and he dosent return the favor, we used to snuggle in bed, when one person would move or shift, the other followed, now I usually sleep with a body pillow so I can have comfort. I need help or get sick, I have to do it alone, it was one thing when he couldn’t be here, but now he chooses not to be. He says basically that everything that happens, is my fault. I look at this man, and it’s not just the children I gave him, or saving his life a few times, but everything he took, stole, robbed and broke me of. I try to hold on, part of me dosent want to be in that 78% marriage fail rate, or the fact if we fail, did I f*$k up? But Iam tired. Lonely. Dissapointed. Lost. Hurt and angry. Where did I get so weak. How can I hold on for just a few more years till our kids are out of the house. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

It’s not always a denial issue.  Many people who struggle with depression – and I are one – think “this too shall pass” and that they will somehow snap out of it.  So before you call anyone an “idiot”, walk a mile in his/her shoes.  You don’t want to sacrifice your life for them, so be it.  Don’t.  But don’t try to paint it as a character issue.  Because so many people view as such, those who struggle with depression often feel ashamed or embarrassed that they need help and can’t just snap out of it.


Great article Steve, one of the best I have read so far on GMP. It applies to more than just marriages, it includes all depending on others for happiness. One of the consequences that can flow from going the change route to be responsible for your own happiness is that it can mean the end of your relationship which may have been a reality regardless. To minimise the risk of this you need to consider how you will effectively communicate your change needs with your partner and be prepared for negotiation around a win win solution. This also might require… Read more »
Unless your husband has given your real reason to not trust him, always give him the benefit of the doubt. Most likely you have been cheated on or hurt in a past relationship, but don't let that baggage follow you into your marriage. Don't snoop in his phone, check his email, or spy on him when he's out with his friends. Let him know that you trust him and he will do all that he can to ensure he does not break your trust.
I have been married to my wife for 22 years this year. She and I have had a very up and down life together. she told me when we got married she wanted to stay home and raise children. I agreed. Now we have a 17 year old and a 9 year old. She has never had to work, and my job has been high stress and full of disappointments as I have strived to make enough for us to have the lifestyle we both say we want. I have been wrongfully terminated three times (proven in court). I have really struggled to rebuild my career but being in a public position has been very strenuous. As a longtime CEO and now private consultant in the public sector for the past 6 years my economic stress has been huge. I gained a 100 pounds over the years. So in 1999, my wife had an affair with a man, while I was working on the road to make enough money to take care of my family and find a way for us to relocate together. I was devastated. We did go to marriage counseling and our marriage survived this very hurtful situation. I found out she blamed me for the affair, saying our life had taken a toll on our emotionally and she thought she needed to jump ship to find economic security. I relocated us and then again to another state. So we reconnected and had our next little one. Now we have a second home in a well known lake community about 2 hours from our home. She over the past three to four years has taken to going there on her own because she is on a local talk show and says doing that gives her purpose and makes her happy. I usually have to stay behind and work and take care of the kids when she goes there. She gets no pay for the show, it is quite popular and she goes out usually when she is there with her local girlfriends some married, some divorced and some just barfly’s in their late 40’s looking to hook up and be told their sexy. She has gotten into several situations where either a friend has texted me seeing her out with the girls and other men and been suspicious and so on. I have told her repeatedly if you put yourself in these situations sooner or later something bad will happen that will affect us negatively. She thinks I don’t trust her and she loves to dance and have fun. She thinks I am being overly paranoid. She also says she has not been attracted to me because of my weight and that is what has been keeping us apart and less than intimate. She says she loves sex and she is always used to being the center of attention, she is still in great shape and gorgeous even at 49. She gets hit on all the time by men and she seems to enjoy the third party attention and affirmation of her sex appeal still. So then 6 months ago I find out she has been having another cyber affair over facebook and she hooked up with this guy in our lake town to have dinner and chat… she says nothing happened. He is the brother of one of her closets friends who comes over every week to have dinner with us as she just got divorced herself. Our two sons are friends and play baseball together. So I confronted her about all this and she just said, It was stupid I don’t want out of our marriage and she says she ended it. I even found a card he sent her where he said, he felt their meeting had brought them to a new level in their relationship. So I went on a diet and have lost about 50 pounds thus far. Things seemed better, then she went over to the lake house this past weekend with a married girlfriend that was visiting from out of town, who has been her friend since childhood. They went to the bar with the girls, my wife got so drunk she couldn’t drive and was talking to some 20 something man for a longtime and being very confrontational. She drinks at least a couple glasses of wine per day she says it keeps her sane in my high stress and uncertain world of finances. I got behind on our taxes after 2008 and dug a big hole and have been negotiating with the IRS to find a way to settle them. Being self-employed is hard to keep them current and pay for everything. Everytime I confront her about how her going out makes me feel really insecure she just says I am holding onto the past and that I think she is a whore and/or slut, and she has done nothing wrong. I wish I could believe her, but I just can’t get 100% comfortable with this lifestyle or trusting her again. She has broken my heart now two times. Somehow I still love her. I love our family and I don’t want to break it up. But this is killing me and she always places the blame on me for all circumstances and then says this is what gets her stressed out. I am just lost. I don’t know what I should do, or how I can get our relationship back on track or whether she really wants to do so. Everytime we fight she says after our son graduates we are over. That just makes my heart sink… then later she will come back and say, I was just mad, I didn’t mean it. I don’t want our marriage to end. But it happens again always and it did last night as well. This time I just said, “You created this situation, I am not willing to accept the blame for it, and I can see our attorney next week and end this if that is what you want?” Then she says I threatened to divorce her and it is my fault again. I can’t get her words out of my mind I am fat, she is not attracted to her and when we are intimate she has to hold her breath or she says I nearly crush her until she can’t breath. Now I am a big guy. 6’3″ and 280 pounds still and most women find me attractive. Even her girlfriends say they would kill to have her life. Many of them have told me that they think she is crazy to not be truly happy she has a kind, loving and caring man in her life that treats her like a queen and never berates her, or abuses her mentally or physically. I try to make everything our family needs come true… I work really hard, but I also attract a great deal of public detractors due to my public life by way of bloggers and web postings. I am a public speaker, author and public sector consultant engaged in negotiating deals between local governments and businesses that want to expand or relocate to a new area and create jobs. I have been doing this for 22 years since we first married. I don’t have any other knowledge of how to make enough to pay our bills. I feel trapped, confused and don’t know if my marriage is salvageable and/or whether I should keep trying. I have suggested that we go to a counselor again, but she says no, that is not what she needs. So, long story but I am totally at a loss for what direction I should choose.

Hi i dont really know what to say but im in a problem where i have being married for the past 5 years and got 2 baby boys . My hubby at first was happy and things and all of a sudden things changed and from the begining of 2018 my hubby started taking drugs i mean have drugs coz each time he gets paid he resorts to drugs and when i confront him he doesnt give me answers but instead he blames me for everything , tells me that i got someone else etc. And this really hurts me alot because i love my hubby only and no one else ill do anything for my hubby but by the way my hubby talks to me , it really really hurts me . Can anyone i mean anyone help me ? Coz i dont want to lose my hubby his the father of my kids n we love him alot
If you're hoping to build something long-term, it's important that you plan a little bit together or be willing to cooperate and remain flexible. If your partner discusses their own future and doesn't imagine you as part of it then they're probably not planning on building a future with you. This could mean marriage, kids, or even just your bucket list.
Take care of your children and then bring your husband in with you. Start showing him more attention; give him those surprise hugs, kisses, and gentle touches you used to do. Set up a babysitter after the kids are in bed and go out together. Give your husband that wife he used to have before she became a mom. You don’t have to stop being a mom – just turn and be your husband’s wife too.
I have been married for almost 30 years. 11 years ago, my husband cheated on me. While we have tried to put things back together, I feel it has been a one way street. I know that since that he has not physically cheated, however I have found out that he has lied to me once again. He works very hard, and our lives right now are very stressful. I found out that he has been talking to a young woman for the last 3 months. She is an escort for a call girl service. He said that he knew talking to her was wrong, and has since stopped. He said it was a friend of one of his workers and she called on his cell because the worker’s cell was shut off. My husband swears to me that he wants to put all of this behind us and start all over. He says he feels differently now and wants to build a better future for us. He says that he promises to be the husband he should be. He went out of town on a business trip right after all of this happened. Yes, I know it is for work, because he stayed with a business partner and his wife who happen to be a friend. My husband is coming home tonight and I really am not sure if I should give him another chance. I have nowhere to go and no money to survive by myself. Any ideas?
I see also that you have only been married for 5 years! A lot of the posts on this thread are from marriages over 15 years (mine included) – I hate to burst your bubble @happy in marriage, but I was also happily married just 5 years in. Lets hope you can hold onto your perfect life over the next decade as well. but honestly, before you come parading your smugness, on a thread that is full of real people’s pain – just stop to think for a moment. NONE of theses marriages started off wrong, they were all just as perfect as yours in the begining.
My husband also told me that he wasn’t happy in our marriage.  Unfortunately, I took no action and didn’t take this all that seriously.  As a result, we separated and almost divorced.  I wish I had handled it differently because I had a lot of catching up to do.  Luckily, I finally stumbled upon some strategies that worked.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog http://isavedmymarriage.com

Which brings me to this final bit of hopeful advice. Just because you notice these signs, does not mean your relationship is doomed. "It just means that there is something going on that is either a) not tied to the relationship, but the stress is spilling over into it or b) something is wrong within the relationship that needs addressing in order to be fixed," Rogers says. If you two can have that heart-to-heart, it is possible to reignite that happiness, and stay together.
"I think it's very important for people to recognize that there are very few things that cannot be worked on in a relationship, and even repaired and resolved," Walfish says. (Think about how many couples can even work past cheating). But if a partner isn’t willing to work on improving your relationship, that’s a clear sign of trouble. After all, she says, "working on a relationship requires two willing participants. That means both partners have to be open to looking at their own stuff."
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