I just keep thinking that this struggle must be a part of some evolutionary process as human beings. I don’t think we are necessarily meant to stay in a monagamous relationship for a lifetime, but our societies and values are still structured as if that is the ideal and the economic and emotional fall-out is HUGE when those relationships come apart.
Hi FK, It’s one thing to get married with the expectation that our partner cares about us and our happiness and totally another thing to get married because we DEPEND on them for our feelings of worthiness and happiness. In the first case we are in control of our expectations and boundaries and in the second, we are trying to be in control of our partner. Self reliance requires us to accept responsibility for our own happiness and not hold others accountable for it through abdication. Of course, the concept of “self reliance” and its importance can be up for… Read more »
I am sorry that is happening to you. As I read your story, I was compelled to tell you that you need to get out of that relationship. YOU deserve so much better and need to be treated with respect. Walk away. The first step is hard. You need to do this for you or you will be miserable… Trust me. Good luck in your decision but you do deserve a lot better.
In defense of Steve, I would say practical advice depends very much on personal circumstances. I identify totally with the sentiments of the article but I’m in no way like “Kevin”. I know my default happiness is internal, but my ways of reconnecting to it will be different to Kevin. The men’s work you do depends on who you are and how far you are from where you want to be.
I heard from a wife who said: “the other day, my husband said that he needed to be honest with me about something very important. I thought he was going to tell me that he lost his job or that we were struggling financially.  But I was completely wrong.  And I was completely blindsided when he said that although he still loves me, he is not happy being married to me.  I was in so much shock, I couldn’t even get out a decent response.  He said he felt that I deserved to know the truth about this.  He never said what he intends to do about it.  So I’m still not sure why he would even tell me this unless he’s trying to warn me that he is getting ready to file for a divorce.  I know that I need to ask him to clarify all of this, but the idea of him further telling me why and how he’s not happy is almost more than I can bear.  What do men really mean when they say that they love you but aren’t happily married to you?”
Despite this we resolved to try to remain together for the sake of our children. At least that is what I read into the situation. In reality it was another avoidance tactic on both our parts. Avoiding the very obvious point that the marriage had been dead for years. We were no longer friends let alone lovers. Despite the agreement to try, and for her and I not to stray, the infidelities continued on her side. Random men picking her up in some cases, others found for her by her friends.
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.
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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