Advice: Making It Work

Relationships need regular care and feeding, by both partners in the venture.

By Hara Estroff Marano, published on July 1, 2003 - last reviewed on May 24, 2007

One-Sided Deal

I'm in a one-sided marriage. My husband wants to spend his
free time with his friends. The problem is, I only want him and he
wants everything else. Do I just try to enjoy the next couple of years
and hope he will change or do I start making plans to leave?

Neither. Divorce won't automatically bring you happiness; it will
just make your life harder. Instead, start developing some of your own
interests. Most important, that will bring you both pleasure and friends,
and you'll have a much better time in life. Your son will have a resident
father. And it may just turn your husband's head around to wonder what
you are up to and why you don't need him so constantly. That's the time
to negotiate for some shared time.

Hot and Cold

My husband is constantly putting me down. One minute he acts
like he loves me to death, the next minute he acts like he hates
me.

The course of true love never runs smooth, but it sounds like your
husband is troubled by something internal to him. Often because they are
less emotionally attuned than women—I know that's a sweeping
generalization, but it's one that is borne out by a great deal of
research—guys often wind up taking their internal conflicts out on those
around them. Don't react to the content of his criticism. Find a quiet
time to tell him that you know him to be a loving person, that you've
been listening to all this talk and you wonder what's really on his mind.
He may be looking for just this opportunity to unburden himself.