Unloved Wife

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Dear Hoopers,
I’ve been married 10 years and have two kids ages 7 and 9. My husband is a great dad but he’s lacking as a husband and I’m wondering if he even loves me anymore. While in the beginning he just seemed like a typical guy who was slow to warm up, overtime I have come to feel quite frustrated with him. He’s passionate about watching football and hunting and loves spending time with the kids but I seem to be his last priority.  We used to do date nights but haven’t had one in over a year. He’s still interested in sex but has a habit of going to the living room to watch TV after. I’m so frustrated I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if this is just a slump typical in many marriages or if there are more serious concerns here. I want a husband not a roommate.
-Unloved Wife

Dear Unloved Wife,
Your husband needs a reality check. Often love is described as a feeling, but it’s really an action. Love is deciding to act kindly towards a person and prioritize their well being. You haven’t been receiving acts of love from your husband, so it’s perfectly normal for you to be feeling this way.

First things first, sit your hubby down and have a talk. If you are feeling alone and miserable and your husband doesn’t have a clue, how is he supposed to make the situation better? I learned early on in my relationship with Ryan that he is not a mind reader. After many failed attempts of wanting him to have some kind of mental telepathy of my emotions, I realized I just needed to communicate outright. Thankfully he’s a pro at listening. In turn, our marriage functions much better when we tell each other how we feel rather than play a mind guessing game.


I wouldn’t worry that he’s fallen out of love, rather that the love has changed and needs a reboot.

-Kate

I would advise taking the guess work out for your husband by providing a manageable list of marriage improvements that he can begin working on. This may include, date night bi-weekly, cuddle time after sex (farewell tv time), or maybe a walk around the neighborhood together after dinner.

You’re both in this together, so I would also identify ways you can contribute to strengthening your marriage. Whatever you need to help bring back that spark. I wouldn’t worry that he’s fallen out of love, rather that the love has changed and needs a reboot.

-Kate

Dear Unloved Wife,

It sounds like you recognize that part of your husband’s hesitancy and disconnection was there at the beginning. You thought that it would roll away with time and it did in some ways. However, you’re at a point where his disconnection and disinterest just isn’t working for you anymore. You’re at a point where you’re even considering walking away.

Since part of this style has been with your husband as long as you’ve known him, it’s likely that this represents part of who he is. This may represent part of his personality or may be the way that he relates within a romantic relationship. Personality can be influenced by many things including genetics and his history of interpersonal relationships, but is generally considered to be somewhat stable and inflexible. This certainly doesn’t mean that you husband can’t change or improve within the context of your marriage, but does mean that he likely won’t change drastically. It will be important that you accept him for who he is while also encouraging him to do more to pursue you and maintain your relationship.


It will be important that you accept him for who he is while also encouraging him to do more to pursue you and maintain your relationship.

-Dr. Ryan

I would strongly suggest that you two consider couples therapy. While some small improvements can occur if you begin assertively communicating your needs to your husband, he may have a difficult time seeing the big picture concerns you have. A 3rd person who is disconnected from the past relationship history can often have a more objective picture of the dynamics in your relationship and can help you two to improve them with time.
-Dr. Ryan

 

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