Help for the Unhappily Married Man
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help for the Unhappily Married Man

I am an unhappily married man. I've been married for the past 16 years with 2 children ages 11 and 13.

The marital issues revolve around the following:

1. Lost interest in my wife.
2. Parenting of our youngest child (age 11 - boy).
3. Lost sexual interest.

We lead a very busy life - I travel for work between 60-80% of the time and our children are very busy with school and extracurricular activities. All of this leaves very little time for ourselves (individually and as a married couple). The time that we do spend together is typically tension filled with arguments revolving around the point #2 above.

Our relationship has deteriorated to the point that I often contemplate leaving the marriage whenever issues/arguments arise. In reflecting upon these feelings, I believe they indicate a deep, sincere unhappiness with the marriage. I believe that my wife is also very unhappy and maybe contemplating divorce/separation - although we have not spoken of this topic. However, we both come from families where divorce/separation are strongly admonished and the children's well being is most important.

I really need someone to talk to - someone who can help me to think clearly and factually. I don't know if the above issues are the root cause of my unhappiness. Please help!

DM
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help for the Unhappily Married Man

Well, what has happened to you two, has happened to many couples.

Life gets busy, we go about our daily tasks, kids take a lot of our time, as they should, but nevertheless, it's a busy life.

And before you know it, you've neglected your marriage. Both of you, I'm not pointing fingers. You forget to nurture, and water that garden, your marriage, and it slowly and surely dies.

That analogy is so true, if you neglect a garden, it dies, and the same is true of a marriage. Your relationship , and spending alone time with your spouse, is just as important as a career, kids, and anything else, but it's the one thing, that almost all people, occasionally forget to focus on. We get comfy, and forget that we have to keep it alive, and fun, and exciting. Essentially, life gets in the way, and for some reason, marriage ends up on the back burner. Marriage is like any other venture, it takes a lot of work, dedication, and time.

I think you and your wife need to really sit and talk, both get your feelings out, honestly. Discuss what it is you both want to happen. Let her know what your concerns are, and tell her you honestly want to know hers.

I do think there's potential, and there's always some hope. So, if you truly want it to work, I believe you can reconnect on a husband/wife level...

Do you think that if you two could work together, you could get that back?
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help for the Unhappily Married Man

Marina

Thank you for your kind reply.

Everything you say is very true. I've been to a counselor to help me with my "competitive frustrations" and how they impact our family. I am contemplating re-engaging in that therapy on an individual basis.

To answer your question, "Do I think we could get our marriage back?" Honestly, I'm not sure. I feel very disconnected from her lately. Not sure if it's because of my heavy travel schedule the first 9 weeks of this year or a combination of of the travel schedule and furious family pace over the past 3 years. Sports is a real issue for me and our family. I am ultra competitive and really push our children to succeed in all they do - academics, community service, and sports. I recognize this is not healthy nor conducive to a good family life.

My ultimate goal is to be a "good father" as I did not have that type of support from my father. So as you can see, I have quite a few issues on my own and I'm not sure that I can solve them. I am 45 years old and have tried to change on a number of occassions but tend to fall back into old habits over time. It's definitely disappointing but I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that my capacity to truly change is significantly limited and only works for short periods of time in the best of times.

Lots of baggage. Huh?
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Old 03-12-2009, 08:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Dear Unhappy,

You have to WANT to change and WANT to make things work PLUS your wife needs to want these things too.

I feel that if one does not really want to fix things, they will not change things or themselves to fix it.

I am in love with a married man who told me he has been very unhappy for 8 years now. I did not plan it or ever expect to allow myself to fall for him, but there was no fighting it. But here it is 2 years since we met. He is STILL very unhappy and still married. He is afraid to make the changes he needs to make to be happy, so he lives in his own unhappiness.

Seems this is very common. I cannot understand it as much as I try. To let one year go past, then another and another... unhappy?!?!? WHY. If you have tried to fix it, several attempts and it just isn't happening, I say "why beat a dead horse?"

Children are resilient and should never be used as a reason to stay in an an unhappy marriage. I have proof and I am proof of this. You will ALWYAS be a dad, just make sure you are always an amazing dad.

Take care.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Dear Unhappy, I agree with Marina, your marriage is like a garden it can be lush, beautiful, fragrant, and so rewarding, but it takes a lot of work. It sounds like your garden just needs some weeding, pruning, and lots of attention. Please don’t give up hope, I have counseled many men over the years and know a number of men that have come back from the type of despair you feel. My wife and I have come back from separation and almost divorce (we had lawyers and everything) and that is almost 16 years ago. I mean no offence to dear “Time”, but you can put everything she shared in the proverbial waist basket, she is a broken soul who obviously has experienced much hurt and pain in her life and does not know she is even being used by the man she is currently in a relationship with. Dear Time, please get a handle on reality, you are satisfying only a small part of your boyfriends needs, that is why he is still in the relationship with his wife no matter how much you want to believe what your saying, the reality is your just being used. You deserve much more than this. Get out of this relationship, discover who you are and start a fresh with someone who is not married. If you are to ever know real happiness you will need to work on you for a long time and know healing before you ever have a successful relationship. To be having an affair with a married man should send you a strong message about your own character and self worth. Dear Unhappy you are going to get a lot of this type of advise, as the old proverb rings true, “misery loves company”. I have a very similar background as you and have raised 2 children who were highly involved in sports, in retrospect their activities seemed important at the time, but they were not as important as being part of a loving home that is whole. Sadly just the opposite of much of what “Time” communicated is true broken homes create broken kids that become broken adults. By Time’s own admission she comes from a broken home and it is obvious that her actions are those of a broken person, her behavior stems out of brokenness not wholeness. If I may give you some advice, first you need to take responsibility for your actions. You own them, not your wife. The happiest people I know are responsible people and don’t play the blame game or give over to self-pity. Although it easy to do both and the Lord knows I have experienced both myself in the past and learned that the only path to wholeness, happiness, and fulfillment is the path of responsibility. You need to also know you are not a failure, yes you have made mistakes but you are not a failure! You can overcome these problems and usher in a new era in your family. If you like to read I highly recommend “Raising a Modern Day Night” by Robert Lewis I have read this book a couple of times and have given out several copies to men I know and have counseled. It brought some healing and direction to my life and I know it will do the same for you. In Lewis’s book in addition to many topics he covers he defines what it is to be a man to his own sons, and the first thing on the list is “A man accepts responsibility!” To answer your question to Marina, you do have lots of baggage, but keep in mind most people do. I also want to address your comment that you have only known short-term success in your personal journey to change; at 45 you have obviously enjoyed some professional success, your personal life is not that different from your professional life. For you to have become successful in your career you needed to invest a great deal of your time and effort in your given area of work, I am sure you have also benefited from some type of education and the leadership and counsel of those in authority over you. Your personal development needs the same chance, you need a mentor in your life that is older and has a successful marriage, you must be careful who to select, I do not recommend re-married men as they all have a slanted view of things. You need a man in his 50’s who has been married at least 25 plus years who knows that there are no perfect marriages and that marriages need work. You need to also surround yourself with other men that want to see you and your marriage succeed, not men who will baby you and give you advise that comes out of their own brokenness. Just like the professional sports team that spends a great deal of time searching out the best coach for their team to assure success, you need the same for your personal life. Seek out solid people (successful in life skills) that are willing to spend time with you and invest in you and your family. Thousands of men meet every week across the country to discuss their marriages, families and personal struggles. They meet in coffee shops, living rooms and churches, I am confident there is probably 25-50 groups that meet within driving distance of your home every week. I wouldn’t be surprised if you know some men that either know of or partake in one of these groups. Your marriage and your children deserve and need your best effort. Also don’t worry about your wife changing, she will change and things will change in your relationship with her as you change and take responsibility for your actions. If you have specific questions don’t hesitate to send me a private message or ask it here on this forum either will work. I don’t know you but I know many men like you that have seen their marriages restored. They did it and so can you! Wishing you blessings and much success along your journey.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help for the Unhappily Married Man

Time and LoveTakesWork -

Thank you both for your guidance. Two questions:

1. How do you know if you are committing self-pity?
2. How do you know if your heart is not in the marriage anymore?

Any and all guidance is greatly appreciated and welcomed.

Best Regards,
DM
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help for the Unhappily Married Man

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnhappilyMarriedMan View Post
I am an unhappily married man. I've been married for the past 16 years with 2 children ages 11 and 13.

The marital issues revolve around the following:

1. Lost interest in my wife.
2. Parenting of our youngest child (age 11 - boy).
3. Lost sexual interest.
Can you break down points 1 and 3, and detail how it used to be and how it is now. Also frequency of sex, then and now.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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MarkTwain

In regards to point #1, we share the duties of managing a house and family. Not much more. There are things we used to do together - share dinner out/movies alone/taken vacation alone - but that has all gone away and I don' think I miss those times with her. It's not as though I crave those times with her again.

In regards to point #3, very infrequently (semi-annually).

Thanks!
DM
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnhappilyMarriedMan View Post
In regards to point #3, very infrequently (semi-annually).
Who is the one that would like it more often? We need the emotions behind the facts, not just the facts. the sex thing is obviously a major part of your marriage problems - it's also my favourite topic
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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She would like it more often although I think that her interest has waned as well.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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UnhappilyMarriedMan-

You see, you probably feel like your marriage has huge insurmountable problems, but actually, it all comes down to what you want. The fact that you are posting here, is a good sign. If you make your marriage into a project that you want to love and restore with a passion - like you just discovered you had a "Leonardo Davinci" in the basment, you can do it. Look at my article on romance. It might be a start.

A lot of people tell me they want to give up smoking. Yet they always make sure they don't run out of cigarettes. The biggest move you can ever make is to decide what you actually want. That takes no effort at all, and after that the rest is easy!

The effort comes in when we say we want one thing, but all the time we are working towards another. What actually happens is that you end up fighting against yourself. That's what takes the energy. You just need to become clear, and get 100% behind one direction.
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Last edited by MarkTwain; 03-27-2009 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:11 AM   #12 (permalink)
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many good points from all posters.

well, to answer your question, about knowing if your heart is in the marriage..

Well, look at it this way, it's always been in it, and it's always been out of it. At any moment, there's always the possibility, that we either conciously, or subconsiously, decide not to put any effort into something that is important to us. Whether it be a marriage, work, a project, a painting.

I'll give you an example, abeit a weird one.

I enjoy crafts, I love to paint, do pastels, pencil sketches, anything really. But in the last few years I"ve really gotten into making really elaborate wreaths. So, I'll go to the craft store, usually Michaels, and get all kinds of stuff to decorate them with. I then set up everything I'll need, and lay out the trinkets on the wreath, where I want them. Then I attach them, and secure everything, and there you have it! One or two times, I've gotten all kinds of stuff for a wreath, I get all excited about it, my Heart is in it, I want to make it, and then.... I neglect it, keeping all my materials in the bags from the store. And a year or two will go by, and it's still sitting there, waiting to be put together! hehehe..

Where am I going with this? Well, you see my heart was in it, and I wanted it , but it takes work to acheive it. And even after I let all the stuff for the wreaths sit, and neglected doing it, that didn't change the fact that I still wanted it completed and put together, but I simply wasn't willing to put any work into it at that time. So my heart was in it, and wanted it, but my heart also wasn't in it, and was too busy to work on it, and didn't want to do the work, to achieve the final result.

I think if your heart wasn't in your marriage, you wouldn't be posting here in the first place, you'd have just left her, and that'd be it. At the same time, your "heart" isn't in it in this moment. And likely her isn't either. You do care for her, clearly, and you likely still love her. You have a family, and a life with her. A lot to give up, without a serious fight. She needs to do some work too, both of you do.

You travel a lot, and that can be an issue, but, even that won't ruin your marriage if you don't let it. You have to really dig in your heels, and just decide that you're going to do this, if you truly want to save your marriage.

My advice, even if you don't miss those times with her, although how would you know, if you haven't had that for years? Even if you dont' think you miss it, go an do something with her anyway.

Take a trip, just the two of you, even if it's only the weekend. No sex pressures, unless you both want it. Just court her again. Take your family and go for a hike, wherever you live, find neat things to do around there, and do them.

You say you're overly competitive, and that you push your kids hard. That can be a good thing, but not if you over do it. So just resolve to lighten up a bit. Life truly is not about winning at something, it's just about being happy, and savoring every moment we have. Every day you're here, that your kids are here, that your wife is here, is a precious gift. Don't let things that ultimately won't matter one bit once you're gone, influence how you live your life.

Do I mean don't be competitive, no , it's okay, as long as it's not interfering with your ability to parent, and be loving to your family. Do I mean don't work hard, no, hard work is one of the things that makes us stronger, and responsible. Just don't let it over take your entire being.

Your marriage is the number one thing in your life, aside from your kids. If your heart was not in this, you'd have been gone a long time ago.
even when things seem hopeless, they aren't. Anything is possible.

So, do you want it?
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you Marina

All good guidance. Right now I feel very tired and uninspired with regards to putting in the effort for my marriage and the family.

I am way too competitive and have let it injure my relationship with my son and wife. I try not to let it interfere with being a good parent but am not very successful.

I feel lost and overwhelmed - and am probably depressed. Self-pity? I hope not.

DM
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, what is self pity anyway? If you're going to wallow in misery, and not accept responsibility for your life, then I guess it's self pity, but you seem to at least get that part of your unhappiness rests on your own shoulders. And in the end, we choose our own happiness, no one, and nothing can "make" us happy. It's a choice.

What do you mean by competitive? What exactly are you referring to? And how does it ruin your relationship with your son and wife?
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I push too hard...verbally and publically chastise my son - not for performance, but for technique and mental approach - either way, it's not good and abusive. I realize that. I often think that they would be better off without me in the house and at the games/practices.
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