If you’re married to a good man and you’re unhappy – or bored, unfulfilled, grumpy – the problem isn’t your husband. You already know that he’s not the reason you’re unhappy. You know your marriage is fine, if not the most exciting relationship on earth. You know there’s something more to life, but you can’t put your finger on it. So, you look to the most important person in your life for answers: your husband.
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 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.
It takes patience to develop a strong relationship, and if you pressure your boyfriend to move in together or get engaged, chances are he will feel like you’re forcing him. It’s best to let things happen naturally and realize that if you get along, that’s all that matters and if you don’t get along, moving in together isn’t going to solve that problem.
Start by evaluating why you are unhappy. Then consider when your partner/boyfriend might be receptive to hearing you. Do not wait until an argument, or until the next trigger for your unhappiness. Try and think of realistic, positive outcomes and how to achieve them. Maybe after a fun activity, or during a private moment, try asking them what they think about the problem. Start small. And be open minded! Sometimes the problem looks different once you lay it out on the table. Remember, this is a relationship -- you have to be able to give AND take!
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."