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From a Guy’s Perspective: Is my marriage over?

Dear Readers,

Today’s question stemmed from a previous post. Please read to get caught up.

Is my marriage over? 

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THE GUYS

 

Dear Guys,

Reading this in January 2012. I’m a man and not sure if my relationship is over. I’m looking for clues that it may be, because I simply don’t feel the same anymore, after 4 years.

There is no one else. I think some of the above comments are stereotypical. (Previous post) The Guys gave good insight into Sue’s husband’s behavior. But this is not always the case.

Something has to be wrong in a relationship for the husband to look outside. The nature of an outside relationship is somewhat moot; it’s the fact that someone is not looking, or talking inside the relationship that is relevant.

I cannot explain my feelings. I feel low, bored, nagged at constantly. Yet I believe I am the same person I always was. It makes me want to look outside – so how do you explain this?

It’s not even that another woman is more beautiful, as my wife is so pretty it’s difficult to understand why she got together with plain old me in the first place. (No it’s not a self esteem thing).

I want to stop feeling like the relationship is slipping away, because it’s not what I want. But how do I control it? Enjoying time together just doesn’t seem possible these days, and I don’t even enjoy her cuddles in bed at night .

Someone explain to me what is going on before I hurt this lady who doesn’t deserve it, and who is the mother of my young daughter.

Paul

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your heartfelt and honest note/question. You raise some important points which we’d like to share our thoughts on.

We agree with your statement that people often look outside a marriage because something is broken inside. And even though some women think men are these beings who are constantly on the hunt—only waiting for the right opportunity to cheat—we tend to think that both men AND women need a strong connection, both physical and emotional, within a marriage to keep them happy and focused.

So what’s changed for you Paul? Can you think of the last time you were happy? Were you ever happy within your relationship?

These are questions important to ask yourself. Because if you are able to remember a time when you were happy you should explore what about that time made you fulfilled and content. Finding the moment things changed, might help you recreate the time when you were happy. And yes, often change happens slowly, making it difficult to assess the exact moment when your feelings shifted, but it’s still a good exercise to try.

Let’s explore some possibilities. And maybe some of these apply to you and some don’t. We’re just throwing ideas out there.

Your daughter. Many men feel isolated after they have kids. All of a sudden they’ve been displaced by this other being. Sure they love their son or daughter, but a part of them wants things to go back to the way they were—at least with their wife. Now, spontaneity is gone. Everything has to be planned. And everything revolves around the kid. And then, in those few moments after their child’s needs are taken care of, neither they nor their wives have much left to give. In a word, it can be drudgery. And frankly being on call 24/7 for the needs of someone else gets old. And yes, boring.

Unless. Unless, you get involved. Seriously involved. Share all the daycare and domestic duties with your wife. And if she has claimed them to be hers, reclaim half of them for yourself. Not only will this make you more connected to your child, it will help you bond with your wife, which in turn will energize her, and possibly even revitalize the relationship.

Of course it’s not that simple. But we think you could use a shift in focus as you sort through all of your feelings. Being involved with your child, and thus more involved with your family, might help your perspective shift, and make you see how much you’ll miss if you do decide you must go. (Which by the way, we hope you’ll explore every possibility before you take that route.)

Once you decide to have a child Paul, there is nothing you can do as a man that’s more important than being a good father. Your child now comes first. But the tricky part is not letting the relationship with your wife slip away. However, if you’re both on the same page as parents, it will be easier to be on the same page with your relationship.

Your needs. So which of your needs are not getting met? Intellectual. Emotional. Sexual. Or all of the above?

Some of this is your responsibility. If you’re not getting some of your needs met at home, then you need to seek them elsewhere. (Except the sexual ones of course, or ones involving another woman.)

So many guys look for their wives to provide them with everything. In essence we want some combination of Playboy Centerfold, Rhodes Scholar, Rachel Ray, and Danica Patrick. A mix of beauty, intelligence, domesticity, and a hint of naughty. But we all know this is not possible. One person can’t give us everything. That’s why we need friends, work, hobbies, passions, and other pursuits to make our lives full and interesting.

Couples need to be united, but they also need to be independent. They need to have their own interests, their own friends, and be out in the world cultivating themselves. Why? Because not only does this make them feel more whole, but in turn they can now bring this newfound energy, creativity, and knowledge back to the relationship. Because relationships need to be fed too. And without outside stimulation, the same old stuff—conversations, patterns, duties—gets recycled over and over. Once again, this can get boring pretty quickly.

The key Paul is balance. For you it will be different than for us. You’ll know what’s right based on how it feels. This will require many adjustments and tweaks along the way. The search for balance is always just that: a search. It’s in constant flux, always changing.

Finally, Your Wife. Has she changed? And if she has, is she unaware of that change? Because if she thinks things are going great, then a chasm is growing between you. Talk to her. No, she doesn’t need to know the gravity of how disconnected you feel, but she does need to know you don’t feel as close to her as you did. But start the conversation by being positive. Reassure her how much you love her, and want to reconnect with her.

You seem like an intelligent and self-reflective guy Paul. We are confident you will figure this out. We’re certainly pulling for you.

Please leave us a comment and or question. Let’s keep the dialogue going. (Here in the comments section.) And keep in touch. We’d like to know how things are going for you and your family.

Take care,

THE GUYS

ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

11 Comments on From a Guy’s Perspective: Is my marriage over?

  1. Guys

    Thank you for your response. I believe that somewhere in there is a clue to the issue facing my marriage.

    I have been heavily involved in with my baby girl since birth as we almost lost her mother at childbirth, and the first 6 or 7 hours were spent cradled in my arms. We have a bond unlike I’ve seen between any other father and his daughter. Sometimes it can be quite prohibitive. I work from home much of the time, and with my daughter knowing which room Daddy is in, can make working extremely difficult. That said, I take a lot f time out during the day to be with her. And bedtime routine. The actual act of putting her to sleep at night . . . . Well that is all me. My daughter won’t have it any other way.

    I feel sometimes that my wife doesn’t understand the impact being awake during the night to deal with my daughter has n me. Fatigue, frustration and quite seriously resentment about why am I doing the night stuff. In my heart, I know that even if my wife did get up to deal with our daughter, the baby’s crying would intensify until I present myself.

    Inevitably, this has an impact on my work, and consequently I get behind. It’s not good for someone who owns a business to have his staff waiting n him to catch up. I should be ahead of the curve.

    I think also that my wife is from a different generation. There ae 14 years between us, nd we’re also from different countries. My aspirations in life have matured, whilst she still seems dissatisfied much of the time. Because we have moved between countries, (USA, UK, Spain) she yearns for a ‘home’. Sure we have ouses, . . . It she is already worrying at schools and education for the little one. She is 19 on this old now, and we don’t need to be thinking just yet.

    I worry about the future from all my girls; wife, youngest daughter, and six year old from 1st marriage (whom I see every week, as many times as possible). My wife worries about the big house now. I believe in banking funds for the future and being satisfied with what we have.

    Imagine, no mortgages, no car payments, don’t need to watch the grocery bill when out shopping, or how much fuel we need to put into the car.

    These are just some of the differences between us.

    Here’s an example. A few years ago, I bought my first Ferrari. It wasn’t brand new, but it was perfect. I have some friends. They also liked it. Imagine their surprise when I told them, if they ever wanted to borrow it, just ask. And indeed I handed the keys over on several occasions. To me, it’s just a car. I like nice things, but I’m not materialistic.

    I bought my wife the car of her dreams. She got upset when I suggested that I might use it from time to time . . . . And I’m married to her.

    A.lthough she doesn’t say anything these days, I feel her disapproval often. I simply cannot reconcile material possessiveness when we have more than we could ever need. Not that we are super rich . . . . But we do have enough.

    I think that maybe this is part of the issue. A times we are so fundamentally different, I simply do not understand her. And I’m quite certain she doesn’t always get me.

    In all of this, there is something I cannot quite put my finger on. Something left unsaid both by you guys and I. A critical ingredient that is the cause of this discontent. Logic tells me it’s there. Can it be a combination of the things you suggest, and I should accept that our situation is the result of these things, or should I be looking for something more precise.

    It’s a question of trying to work through all the pieces. I’ve always been a black and white type of person. The conceptual can be hard to grasp, especially when trying to apply it to ones own life.

    I continue to search, and hope that the issue will present itself more clearly.

    Thanks for your responses,. . . And keep up the work. Many people simply don’t have anyone to talk to about such things . . .

  2. I should really have checked the spelling first, seem the autocorrect input some stuff for me 🙁

  3. @Paul…..wow! You really are an introspective guy. We appreciate you offering a broader glimpse into your situation. It’s always challenging to give our perspective when we know we don’t really understand the entire situation.(Typically information is left out, probably because life is more complicated than what can be explained in a few paragraphs.) That’s why we offer suggestions, or try to frame the picture of their relationships from our perspective, rather than tell them what to do.
    From what you describe we can see the generation gap coming into play. We all remember what we were like at 19. We consult with a few GUYS here that age, and they provide us an entirely different perspective. Keep talking with your wife. Keep the communication open. This seems like it’s going to require an ongoing conversation, possibly over the course of years. Don’t give up on it.
    You seem like a great father. But maybe your home office is blurring the lines too much? Fathers who care as much as you and want to spend time with their kids, and feel guilty if they don’t, often have even more trouble with having a home office. Could you move your office to a different place? An actual office maybe? It seems like you have the means. Just a thought.
    Thanks for contributing an additional voice here on our site.

  4. preggomama // March 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm //

    we’re not technically married but entered into a relationship that’s just as such… and entered in way too quickly. He was not over his past relationship when we started a long distance relationshp, we got pregnant w/in 2 months and i moved to him. 2 weeks later he said he wasn’t in love and was unhappy, he said we didn’t get time to get to know each other and there was so much pressure now. I’ve stayed up here through my entire pregnancy with him hoping he would try and work on things. he said he has been trying but i don’t feel like it has been 100% as he has left an open line of communication with his ex and he hasn’t sought and counseling until just this past week. he tells me he still has feelings for his ex (but isn’t in love with her) and he has no feelings for me romantically but he cares about me a lot… he said before the same about his ex and that they could never be together. i’m 9 months now and things have seemingly hit the fan worse than ever. i keep pushing the issue b/c it’s tearing me up . he keeps getting angry and telling me it’s never going to work out now. i don’t understand why he wouldn’t wait to make such decisions. i have to move home if he can’t be there for me and the baby together. he knows that. please help. :/

  5. @Preggomama……We’re sorry, this is a tough situation. You’re right, this moved way too quickly, but what’s done is done. And remember you’re going to be a mother, which is very exciting and wonderful by itself. (Yes, we realize it would be much more wonderful if your guy was committed, etc.) We’re hoping he’s going to get his act together and step up to the plate and be an involved father. But right now he’s totally freaking out. He doesn’t know what’s up or down and you pushing the issue—even though we TOTALLY understand why you are—isn’t helping him. What we think you need to do is focus on having your baby. That’s your number one priority right now. If you have to move back home then that’s what you have to do, but having a stress free delivery is what you need to focus on. The rest will have to work itself out AFTER you have your baby. He’s either going to get his act together or not, but there’s nothing you’re going to be able to say right now to help him. It’s up to him. He has to do some soul searching. Take care of yourself. And best of luck. And congratulations!

  6. preggomama // March 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm //

    yeah, i keep looking at myself outside my body when i keep bringing everything up and i’m yelling at myself to stop it… textbook hormonal i guess? just frustrated that he’s not giving me 100% and even entertaining the idea of working something out with someone he said he couldn’t work with. BUT i believe that you’re right and i should just let all that go b/c i can’t say or do anything to change what he’s doing or what he will do. i’m going to try to be happy these next 4 weeks and trust that what is supposed to happen… will. thanks for your input. i appreciate you reading my really long email too… (sorry bout that, there’s a lot to the story). thank you for your advice.

  7. @Preggomam……….You’re very welcome. We completely understand why you’re feeling the way you do, so don’t beat yourself up. Take care of yourself and keep us posted.

  8. Hi Guys,

    Billy & I met many moons ago in high school at sixteen. There was an instant connection, although we never even kissed. We wrote letters. He was deep even then. We stayed in contact after.. I visited him in college. That being a hard time for him. He got mixed up with drugs, flunked out and put himself into rehab. His last email told me about the rehab and then.. life just took us where it did. we lost touch.

    9 years after that email I was thinking a lot about him. What happened to him? When I couldn’t find any way to contact him online, I did all I could do. I mailed a letter to his parents home. I wrote it in that he may be married, kids…. and I didn’t want to interfere. Only see if he was alive and say hello. A few months later, my doorbell rang.

    We didn’t speak for minutes. We stared. Every feeling we could ever remember was right there, a decade later. So, I was crushed when I saw the ring. But I hid my upset. We caught up. When he asked to see me again I wanted it. Wrong or not. It was platonic. He visited a couple of times a month. A lot of staring.. kisses on the forehead leaving. One night, it became a real kiss. His kids were practically babies. Where was he going? I asked him not to return. It wasn’t right. He held my face and said “I don’t want to keep saying goodbye”. I didn’t either, but what was to come. He obeyed. Until a year later. Up until this point, we had only been emotionally intimate. Now we were physically. Once. Again I sent him away. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

    When my dad died in 2010, I text Billy. I was at my father’s place. Right away, he asked if I wanted him to come there. He said he would be on his way. He text and called everyday. He emailed even though he’s not an emailer. But I was a mess. Lost my dad right after a breakup and lost a lot of weight. My mind was mush. I told him not to come. He later told me he drove around my dad’s neighborhood looking for me. For years, he text every birthday. every Christmas. New years.

    This past summer, I thought of him. He was the love of my life. Even if he wasn’t mine. I knew it. I text him hello. That led into meeting in a public place. We caught up again. Three more years had passed afterall. When I mentioned the month my dad had passed, he mentioned the date. I was in awe. “How do you remember the date my dad died?” He said “It was a bad day for me too. You were hurting. I wish I could have been there for you.” At that moment, if I had any doubt (which I didnt) it all left.

    When my train pulled in, I was leaving. He said he wasn’t going home. What? What did he mean? He just said he couldn’t. Now here we were, 20 years from first meeting & the feelings weren’t diluted. He didn’t want to go home. I got on the train and called him. He didn’t go home that night.

    After, we began an affair. This time around he said he knew what he needed to do. He didn’t “want” to divorce because of the kids. He didn’t want to leave them in ANY capacity. But, he said he was in love with me. He spoke of us spending the rest of our lives together. He spoke of reversing his vasectomy and us making a baby together. He implied he wanted his pastor friend to marry us one day. We both agreed to get to this, there would be hell. I was the cynic, asking him “how are you going to….” or “how are we going to…. ” And he would look at me with all sincerity and say “We’ll figure it out.”

    He slept in his car one night for three hours waiting for me to get home, to wish me a happy birthday.

    His marriage wasn’t exactly bad from what I gathered. I know he loves her. She is a good mother. They married young. But, when I asked if his marriage was “good”, he shrugged his shoulders and said “good enough I guess”. Perhaps that is just the pat answer amoung men when years of mundane sets in. I assume.

    So, he was doing this for me. But, I didn’t want in only for me. I stressed it had to be for him. Because it was what he wanted. I could see the stress in his face. He said leaving her wasn’t so much the issue as leaving the kids. Although I knew after a decade of marriage it must be hard to leave her too. I asked “Do you want to work on your marriage?” I asked a few times. “No” was his answer. Ok. I tried covering all bases. Going over scenarios with him. In the beginning I was the one who talked about retreating from the affair. To do things the right way. But he had just begun therapy for some other issues and felt that would be abandoning him. Later, he said he should have let me go & done what he needed to do. He wrote that I deserved him freely and fully. To be mine and me, his. But just as this conversation was taking place.. the bottom was about to fall out.

    She found his phone. He thought he lost it, but she had it. She text me once. Only once. I was speechless. Of course I felt bad the entire time. I knew what I was doing was wrong. But, I just struggled denying how I felt any longer. I was selfish. This was what I dreamed about. I wanted us. When he came back to see me, I thought he knew she had the phone. He didn’t. He thought he lost it. I was the one who told him she had it. He had been working around the clock after the hurricane and had hardly been home. She played it cool.. and held the phone.

    He did come see me a few times after he knew she knew. He wrote to me :

    “I hope you know in your heart that we won’t always have to say goodbye & wait.”

    At that point, I did know. I didn’t just hear him say “I love you”, I felt it. This was going to happen.

    One morning he headed to work. I walked him to the car. We both said “I love you” He looked at me and said “I don’t want to leave”. I didn’t want him to either. I couldn’t bear not seeing him for another few days. He said that he knew they would have it out about the phone, because work had slowed and he would “have the time now to argue”. He left for work.

    That was the last I saw or heard from him. That was 2 months ago.

    I didn’t panic for weeks. In fact, I was sure he was coming back. No doubt. I only figured they were going through the hard part and also Christmas was coming. So, I went on with things. But into week three, I was worried. Then on New Years, I looked at her facebook. (he doesn’t have) Because I had nothing else to go on. There were new pics of them. (public pics, as she and I don’t know each other)…

    … they were smiling. He was smiling. He looked happy. It killed me. I was broke.

    From then on, I did something I shouldn’t, I know. I did call the phone a few times. I text it. But, I wasn’t even asking for him to return to me, although I wanted that. I was asking him to please NOT do it this way. Please say goodbye. Please give me closure & peace. Then at least I could take that and go on with it.

    The phone is still on. The number has not been changed. My number, has not been blocked. But still…. I am ignored by him.

    I understand that with no contact, he couldn’t use the phone, email. But this man has not found a way to have even tell me his choice. Nothing. He just vanished.

    I’m sure the biggest part is out of loyalty to her now… not to betray her again. But, is it also because he doesn’t know how to tell me that all he promised me is not to be?

    I can’t imagine that even in his guilt and seeing how he hurt her, that he just woke up one day and said “yeah, ya know what.. I really don’t love Libby.”

    I realize that being with me, had him removed from reality. And that when reality presented itself to him with his family… he did what he could to keep that intact. I don’t begrudge him that. But I do because he left me here without so much as a “sorry, goodbye”.

    I’m in agony. Two months of agony now.

    I know he betrayed his wife. I should not make excuses for it. It was wrong. “We” were wrong. But, I was in this too. Enough to at least say goodbye to, no? He used to tell me that even though we weren’t together yet, that I was absolutely part of his life & he needed me fully in it. He promised me with the utmost sincerity that we would have that.

    Am I going to hear from him again? Do you think they are in good reconcilition? He must have denied me to her, right? When she asked “Are you in love with her?” He must have said no? What person afterall wants to be with someone who is in love with another?

    Mostly, if he truly loves me… will he stay away for good?

    Thank you for reading the novel. Thank you for the insight into my broken heart.

    Libby

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  9. @Libby……….He’s made a difficult choice, but a clear one. Probably what happened is that she found out and forbade him to contact you in any way. And in order to save his marriage and his life he agreed. You’re right when you say that he chose reality over your relationships. We don’t doubt you have a strong connection and that he cares about you a lot, but at this point he’s made a choice to be with his wife and kids and keep his family in tact. It’s a tough position for you because you’re left out in the cold, but there’s nothing much you can do about it. Our suggestion: Move on and start trying to build a life without this guy. He’s not planning on leaving his wife anytime soon, if at all. We’re sorry. Hang in there and take care.

  10. Samantha // May 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm //

    @Libby… if you were upset to see his wedding ring, rather than being happy for him then you do not love him the way you say you do. That should have been the moment that you realized that you are not in his best interest and stopped trying to break up a marriage. Yes!…if you were upset that he had a ring on, then from that point on you were not being his friend you were just another marriage wrecker. Get your own life and quit trying to take another women’s life. It’s not yours to take

  11. Yes I think so. once a person cheats I will do it over and over and over. I have been divorced for 7 years did two women both are cheaters from online services. not a big fan of online services or computers! I use more for bad than good from cheating adults. guess I’ve had two bad experiences’ because they were such good liars. being married for 15 years I guess I got into trusting my partner the way it should be. I guess karma is good for everybody that’s the way I look at it. I believe there are good people out there that actually have morals pride a good heart and soul. they’re just harder to find. but no way well I left those too bad experiences make me give up on finding someone thanks like I do. I believe good is stronger than bad. so instead of looking I will just wait patiently till that dream comes true. I’m sorry for your problem definitely try and work it out first does marriage shouldn’t be quit on easily. but by no means be a full and stay with him if that’s what he really wants. are many good men and women out there just waiting to find someone like themselves. I wish you all the best of luck and love that you can solve this problem. all the happiness you deserve.

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