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We're both unhappy and we fight. He doesn't want to divorce, so what do we do?

Tagged as: Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (31 October 2005) 2 Answers - (Newest, 1 November 2005)
A female , anonymous writes:

2 months ago my husband moved out saying he felt trapped and isolated. Since then I have been giving him space, and he has now moved back into the spare room but he says he doesn't love me like he should. He doesn't know why this is. Over the past year we have had a lot of fights, some of them abusive (me to him) but no hitting. He feels he has let me down. He doesn't want to get divorced, both sets of parents are together, but he can't see a way forward. We are taking things slowly and trying to give each other space. When he has had a few drinks he gets very affectionate, holding my hand and hugging me, but normally there is no contact. I am prepared to change as I am maknig both of us unhappy, but how can I ensure the best chance of him loving me again? This is breaking my heart.

View related questions: divorce, moved out, trapped

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 November 2005):

You cannot make him love you, dear. He has to get there on his own. But you can make positive changes to help him along the way. It is possible to rebuild but it will take time, effort and darn hard work. One thing that will need to occur, is both of you have to really 'want' this. This can't be a one-man show, hun. So a change of attitude about marriage needs to be learned. A good marriage counsellor could help get you both on track but I have some tips I have learned along the way. To begin with, married couples never take anything for granted. We don’t permit ourselves to be a liability but strive to be an asset to the marriage. We seek to be part of the each other's life. One’s interest should become the other’s interest. Look for ways to help the other in every endeavor. When talking to each other, always limit conversation to the happy and positive. One does not fill his/her mind with pornography or romance novels. Excitement and passion is reserved each other. Always set a joyful mood in the home. Using laughter, music, and happy times, you can stir your partner's and the familie's lives to joy. Know that lightheartedness and grace reduce stress within the relationship. Do not lie, but be gracious and honest. Never ever, abuse each other, physically, emotionally, or sexually. A couple needs to learn to be honor and respect each other. Both people are not whiny, complaining, pitiful, or feel entitled. Instead, seek to be confident, capable, graceful, and thankful. Be always eager to learn, stay open to change, and be ready to listen. Use your time wisely for your partner and the family. And if you have children, the best thing you can do is the best gift you could give to the children is to love your partner, wholeheartedly.

Being honest with him is a very important relationship skill. It fosters trust, loyalty and respect-the very important things that form the very foundation on which to build a successful relationship. I wish you both the best of luck...take care and I truely hope you find each other again.

Good Luck

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A reader, schlottjl United States +, writes (1 November 2005):

schlottjl agony aunt

Therapy. You go even if he doesn't want to. Then you change what ever it takes so that you don't damage things further.

If you get angry, fake it and act like a loving wife. Don't suppress the anger, look into ways of letting it out respectfully. If in time he begins to relax, he will possibly remember what it was about you that he loved in the first place.

I hesitate to say this because you can only change you, but what does love feel like or what should it feel like in a long term marriage? Never the same thing twice I think and definitely not predictable. So this is the for worse times. Ask that he be patient and tell him your plan to win him back.

Finally, look into the idea that there are stages in marriages and that the one your in now could be the end of disillusionment. We all have a fantasy of what marriage will be and when after awhile it is the opposite feelings, we tend to blame the other person for our mourning the illusion. When we learn that we were setting up an impossible expectation, then we can take some of the blame for the break down that takes us from the "la-la- land" of illusion, to the reality of disillusion. This is a painful process, if you have been stuck in survival mode, you might not have felt it yet as strong as your husband. IT IS NOT A GOOD FEELING. It feels hopeless and lonely and like the opposite of love. Keep that in mind as you deal with him and when things get better, and you are there, he will understand better what you will go through.

The good news is that the reason people marry in the first place is the security and love you find in the next stage of acceptance. Find the information on this and be there as your husband grieves the loss of his illusion. IT will ease his transition. Real commitment is knowing that the other will not give up even when it is tough. You will make it and you will find real love is on the other side of this experience. Take comfort in the fact your husband is back in the house and tell him that you are sorry for making the process difficult for him. Then just let him be to figure it all out.

Good luck, this is where you earn your marriage wings and this will enable you to mentor other young couples when they most certainly hit this sad stage. But it is necessary to hit this stage if you plan on having forever. How you deal with it, sets up your intimacy in the future.

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