Today’s question stemmed from a previous post. Please read to get caught up.
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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.
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.
ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks!