Relationship Advice

Wants A Man She Didn't Marry

unhappy woman

My husband and I have been married three and a half years, together for six. Our marriage is slowly disintegrating. We have a son, 3, who is very smart, and I don't want my child involved. We've had serious talks in the past year and discussed what needs to change for our marriage to work.

My husband is self-absorbed and never does anything romantic. Our intimacy has decreased tremendously in the last 10 months, mostly because of me. I am very negative about him.

I've been working on that. I believe we love each other but do not think we are "in love" anymore. There is no affection. He's never told me he thinks I am pretty or complimented me without being asked. My husband is an unspoken, unemotional man.

I know I accepted him this way before, but now, that's not good enough. I feel drained many days of the week. I am tired of trying to find a way to make this marriage work. It's been a year of trying, and I still feel we are not "forever."

I went to counseling alone once. He wouldn't come. It went in the wrong direction, so I didn't go back. I was unhappy with the therapist. I am tired of the same old talk about what we need to change or do better.

After we talk I feel better, then it comes back to me that we cannot change. Every day that passes feels like one more wasted day in the bag. I want more! I want more of him. I fear the consequences of going through a separation, but it is in my mind almost every day.

I am not depressed, just drained, trying to figure this all out on my own.


Cecily, your timeline suggests you tried to move the relationship forward with a child. To get the things you wanted, marriage, home and a family, you overlooked the most glaringly obvious thing about the man you were with.

While you thought of wedding plans and baby showers, you lied to yourself. It was fun driving the car until you drove it in the ditch. You were in a rush to get where you were going. Now the car is stuck in the mud, and you keep gunning it and gunning it, digging the hole deeper and deeper.

There are patterns to things and costs. In doing what you had to do to get the prize, you lost the race. Acknowledge your mistake. Face the pain of your mistake. You married a man who is not emotionally expressive. You did that. And you may do it again unless you recognize it and admit it.

Hedge fund manager and philanthropist Ray Dalio advises people to love their mistakes. What does that mean? It means mistake-based learning is the most powerful learning there is, if we take advantage of it. Instead of feeling ashamed of our mistakes, we need to reflect on the cause and use our new knowledge to change. Only in this way can our lives continue to improve.

Why has the divorce rate for second marriages traditionally been high? Because most people didn't learn the lesson of the first marriage. They blundered ahead without learning anything.

Apparently the "we" you want to change is him. But your husband is who he is. He has the right to be who he has always been. Face the pain, learn the lesson, and make mistake-based learning a critical part of your new life.

Wayne & Tamara