No Surprises Left
I've been married 10 years, have two wonderful children, a
beautiful home and on all fronts a seemingly desirable life. My husband
and I believe we were meant to be together. We've always had a strong
bond and are very much alike in our goals. But things have changed
between us. I know my husband wants to be with me for the rest of his
life but he no longer treats me as if he enjoys my company. Not so much
in a negative way but just an ambivalent way. Sadly, I think he sees me
more like a long-term roommate than an object of his desires. We've
been doing this so long now there aren't many surprises left. He knows
how I react to things, he knows when I'm sad, happy, needy, lonely,
etc. I fear that he knows me so well that I've become boring to him and
so he just no longer has the interest in responding to my needs. What
makes a man loose interest in his wife? What makes a man stop being
attracted her? I've tried to stay active outside my home (volunteer at
church, spend time with my girlfriends, nurture my creative outlets) to
keep things interesting. I've tried to reach him every way I know
how-humor, anger, persuasion, sexy little outfits. I've even lost
weight to pique that old desire we had when we first met. I fear that
the spark is not just out but no longer exists. As a result, I feel
vulnerable. I love my husband but if another man found me interesting
and attractive it would be very difficult to walk away, and yet, I know
I am very fortunate to have what I do have. How can I make myself
attractive and interesting to my husband so I can satisfy my need to be
desired and enjoyed?
Don't ask me. Ask your husband. Ask him what it would take to
rekindle his interest in you. And-this is important-be sure to tell him
first that you miss the closeness you used to have.
Yes, it's important to be interesting, but it is also essential to
maintain an emotional connection with your partner. You didn't specify
what "changed," whether or not it was sudden or related to some specific
event, but somewhere along the way the emotional bond was severed. You
need to re-establish it.
In the course of pursuing careers, raising children, creating
beautiful homes, couples today often lose touch with each other. It is
essential to set aside private time just for the two of you, apart from
the kids, apart from friends and family. Establish one afternoon or
evening a week to go out, even if it's just for a long walk together or a
cup of coffee at a local diner. Don't go shopping or to the movies;
choose something that allows you both to talk, listen and touch. Talking
about the kids is off-limits; you can do that on family time. You need to
turn the cell phones off and to talk about yourselves, your frustrations,
your wishes, and what is going on in your lives.
What makes a partner lose interest? Lots of things. Outside
pressures, such as work. Depression. Disappointment, anger or resentment
that has gone unvoiced for any reason-these are big killers of interest
and desire today. So is feeling unappreciated. Or a belief that closeness
is supposed to change after marriage. Do you know what your husband's
beliefs are about closeness inside marriage? What was his parents'
marriage like? After all, that was his first teacher.
Of course, an affair is always a possibility. This is why it's
worth putting lots of effort into maintaining the emotional bond from the
get-go; affairs happen when one spouse grows closer to someone outside
the relationship than to the partner inside it.
Your husband knows you well? Most spouses would consider that a
plus, not a minus. The question is, what does he do when he knows you're
sad or needy; does he draw closer or change his actions in any way? Or is
that a signal for him to pull away?
It doesn't sound like there's a lot of fun in your experience
together. Start by getting more fun in you life by planning dates with
him. Surprise him; don't wait for surprises to happen.
I just read with much interest the article, "Why Does my
Ex-Boyfriend Keep Coming Back?" I am going through a similar
experience, having just broken off a 6 year relationship with an
emotionally abusive man. I too feel scared; all of my family has died
recently (except for two brothers, who never contact me) and I felt
like this man was my family and now he is gone again. I am scared of
being by myself and being alone/lonely for the rest of my life. I also
took some of your advice from the second article about the woman whose
husband was ignoring her and putting their son in harm's way. Your
questions about the abuse and neglect in her relationships fits me to a
tee and I am worried that I have just settled so I don't have to be
alone. All of my relationships have resulted in abusive ones. I was
raised in a very abusive environment and have managed to just keep
pedaling fast and keep myself going, but am wondering if I can continue
on by myself.
The question you raise, "Do you think it's by chance that you
have hooked up with such a string of losers?" really hits home. My
second husband and I were together for 13 years. The first years our
relationship were wonderful. Then he started abusing me
mentally/verbally and I broke that off. Also, the questions, "Do you
feel you have no real worth unless there is a guy in your life?" and
"Do you know how to 'read' people's emotions?" And "Do you know what
qualities make a person good mate material?" I don't really know the
answers to these questions. I am usually a good judge of people,
however, not where men are concerned. Can you offer some suggestions
Of course you can continue on by yourself. You're already doing it!
You just need to do more of it and allow yourself to feel comfortable
In fact, it's your dependence on others that sets you up for
abusive situations. It creates a power imbalance in the relationship,
placing too much responsibility for your well-being onto a partner.
Generally speaking partners grow resentful of having so much
responsibility, and resentment is a bad drug for a mate who knows no
positive way to control negative emotions.
You need to beef up your own sense of self and gain some
self-respect before getting into another relationship. Surely you have
accomplishments to be proud of. And you need to develop your own
interests to pursue. Reach into yourself to discover what you truly enjoy
doing. These will make you interesting to others. The irony is, in the
course of building your sense of self you will also be making yourself
attractive to others.