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Looking for some encouragement

I've been posting on here for about a month and half about my marrital issues. The short story is DH brought up to me not long ago (1.5 months) that he's just not feeling the love. We've had 3 marriage counseling sessions so far to try to get back on the right path. First session was together, the next two were individual time with the therapist. So far in our counseling there have been a few themes that we're exploring - unrealistic expectations of love, different stages of love, the need for space, and initiating ways to please your partner (think sweet little favors, not sex), doing things you aren't always in the mood for (like being sweet) b/c it can help the other partner feel loved. I know he loves me, but its the romantic love that isn't very strong right now. He's not cheating and he wants our marriage to work, as do I.

Last night we had a deep conversation after therapy about space. DH brought up that it might be a good idea to almost act like we're dating again. I think his intentions were good, thinking that by having some space we would feel the desire for each other again. But it still hurt me to hear pretty bad. He brought up the idea of possible even sleeping in seperate bedrooms for a little while. Ugh ... that really got me :( I asked if we could hold of on big changes like that until we have our next therapy session together after the holidays.

I don't know ... what does anyone think about all this? I want to give him some space, but the idea of seperate bedrooms seems like it could make things worse. I go through spurts were I'm just not doing so great with these things and last night & today is one of those bad days.

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Re: Looking for some encouragement

  • I think you should wait and see what the therapist says, but i tend to agree with your view that this could make it worse.


  • I think this could be good or bad depending on how you guys plan it.  I think sleeping apart for long periods of time could be bad for your relationship.  However, maybe what you agree to is something like when you were dating (like your H said).  So you plan a date for Thursday night.  Then Wed night you sleep separately.  He takes his date clothes with him to work. You come home, get all dressed up, and then he comes home to pick you up and take you out.  Then you come home and go to bed together (sex or not).  If you tried this a couple of times, it might do as you hope and restore some excitement/romance to things. 

    I don't think it is a good idea for the long term because a good marriage needs to be able to generate that feeling without such external cues, but this could help with where you two are right now.

  • Have you guys done "date nights"?  Instead of such a drastic measure such as separate bedrooms, why not date each other?  You can still do that and sleep in the same bed.  If you haven't, why don't you suggest this to him - sort of as a compromise to his wanting to date you.
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  • I do not see relationships where the partners sleep in separate rooms as being healthy.  I know a few couples who do this and do not at all view them as happily married.  They are committed to each other, but there is a definite distance between them.  In my opinion sharing a bed, and the closeness that brings, is extremely important for a healthy relationship. 

    Also, pleasing your partner is definitely more than just sex, but that is a very important part of a relationship as well.  Be sweet, but be sexy too.

  • I've heard a lot of people say that the movie Fireproof really helped their troubled marriage. It's a REALLY good movie. It doesn't come out on DVD until the end of January, I don't know if it's still playing in theatres, but I would check that out. I know that doesn't really help your situation now, but I think it would be a great start.
  • The good thing is that he is trying. Therapy takes time. I think you should hold off on sleeping in separate bedrooms for now and bring it up duinrg session. Although your therapist will not tell you what to do he or she will help you process your thoughts. Hang in there.
  • I would definitely hold off on anything big like sleeping in separate rooms until your next counseling session. It's a really good sign he wanted the counseling and wants to make your marriage work, so stay tough and be open with him! GL!
  • thanks everyone for reaffirming the bed thing. i just know that it wouldn't bring positive change. i can give him space in other ways. or at least we should start with other smaller ways first before jumping the gun.

    i'm waiting for the therapist to call me back b/c i want to hear her thoughts. i would be really surprised if she thought the separate bed thing would be a good idea. i still don't think i could go along with it. it would make me miserable, and my feelings are important too.

  • Have you guys worked on spending time apart? (Sleeping apart is not what I am suggesting). I am thinking about things like a weekly card game or girls night out. I think those things a part of a healthy marriage.

    In September I told me husband that I wanted to start a new hobby which would mean I would be out 2 weeknights. At first he was a bit hurt that I was willing to spend so much time apart from him. But now (esp since I've been sick and home all the time for the past 2 weeks) he really sees how good this is.

    • It gives him time alone. he generally games, though sometimes he just watches TV with the cats.
    • I do something I am passionate about which improves my mood
    • I meet people and make friends which is really hard to do where we live.
    • We have some to talk about other than work and the cats.
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  • Misslips: I haven't read any of your previous posts but I do wonder how long you two were going out before you got married. Did you cohabit before getting married? How long have you been married?

    I'm glad you recognize that sometimes couples have unrealistic expectations of what being married is like. It's not all fun and laughter, thus the "for better or worse." When he says "just not feeling the love," does he mean he doesn't feel loved or he doesn't feel love for you that used to be there? Sometimes the problems surrounding a couple can leave one weary and make you feel listless. Then you wonder why and might end up thinking it's because you're not happy with the person you're with. Maybe that's the case with him?

    I think the situation is tougher if he just simply falls out of love. I would personally think I'd need to draw the line. You can't make a person love you. Sometimes you have to set them free and let them find their way back to you if it's really meant to be. I'm pretty sure that sounds like a sad love song but I think that's true. "You never know what you've got until it's gone." Some time apart may just be what you both need, or what he needs.  

    Last night, I just finished the book Love the One You're With by Emily Griffith. Randomly picked it up 2 weeks ago but it was a good read. Good story. Smile Hope things get better for you two.

  • update - i heard back from the therapist. she said that this idea of 'going back to dating' and using separate bedrooms was his idea. its not a normal protocall that she gives to couples, but she wants him to do what he needs to do. and then i guess i'm just along for the ride trying not to be completely miserable. i hope he'll give me a chance to give him his space w/o immediately saying that we have to sleep apart. i don't feel good about that decision at all, but she says that i can't force anything. i feel so helpless by all of it, like the ball is totally in his court. i had a good long cry over lunch and it kind of helped clear my head. thanks for letting me vent here!
  • To the poster suggesting Fireproof as a means to fix your marriage....STFU! Seriously.
  • turtle - good questions and thoughts. we did live together before. we shared an apartment for 6 months before he proposed and then lived together before getting married a year after that. we've been married 2 years now.

    When he says "just not feeling the love," does he mean he doesn't feel loved or he doesn't feel love for you that used to be there? He has said that its him having the problem feeling love for me. He's told me that I'm a great spouse/partner/friend/etc and that lately we feel more like friends. He's having trouble feeling the romantic love between us.

    it really is a tough situation. it's not like there was a problem like we were constantly fighting or one person cheated. we never fight. we have a good marriage ... or so i thought. he's feeling different and its all to do with the love and chemistry. i want to give him space. and i can't wait until he wants to come back to initiating things with me and is excited about our marriage again. it's almost like he got bored. life has been a bit drab for me too, but i don't think of it as something that is broken. i always just thought we needed to spice things up, and i don't just mean sex. the thought of him having this space and then realizing that he doesn't the marriage ... that is a reality that i am not ready to face. i'm really struggling with that. it breaks my heart.

  • To the OP: I am so sorry for the situation you are in. I'm glad to know you are seeing a counselor. She's right you can't force something that isn't there. Maybe acting like you were dating wil be great. Maybe you can reconnect in a way that you haven't in so long! I really hope things work out for you. Best wishes.
  • i find it odd that the therapist says just do what he needs! doesnt that seem strange to anyone else?

    and you are right he DOES have all the control, but you Are allowing it.

  • image misslipps:
    update - i heard back from the therapist. she said that this idea of 'going back to dating' and using separate bedrooms was his idea. its not a normal protocall that she gives to couples, but she wants him to do what he needs to do. and then i guess i'm just along for the ride trying not to be completely miserable. i hope he'll give me a chance to give him his space w/o immediately saying that we have to sleep apart. i don't feel good about that decision at all, but she says that i can't force anything. i feel so helpless by all of it, like the ball is totally in his court. i had a good long cry over lunch and it kind of helped clear my head. thanks for letting me vent here!

    I think you need to bring this up to the counsellor verbatim - because it's not reasonable that he just gets his way.  I think he sounds wildly unrealistic about the level of day-to-day romantic showiness in a marriage. 

  • image sugarmag13:

    i find it odd that the therapist says just do what he needs! doesnt that seem strange to anyone else?

    and you are right he DOES have all the control, but you Are allowing it.

    ITA Mags. 

  • image sugarmag13:

    i find it odd that the therapist says just do what he needs! doesnt that seem strange to anyone else?

    and you are right he DOES have all the control, but you Are allowing it.

    yes. this is driving me nuts and its really confusing me. when do i try to show love, when do i back off and give space? very confusing. i 'think' the idea of letting him decide is that we want for him to initiate things on his own and actually 'want' that again ... naturally. it's weird b/c in our very first session she told him that sometimes you just have to do things that you don't always feel like b/c its just the right thing to do. and i asked her "doesn't sleeping in the same bed kind of fall under that?" yeah i think it does. he wants it to work, but he doesn't want it to be faked either.

    you know when you're anxious about things and how it makes you second guess yourself all the time. i wonder if he's thinking about this so much that he's second guessing his feelings alot. i know its been difficult for him too.

  • Ditto the idea of it being all on his terms as odd...what you do has to work for the BOTH of you, since we're talking about a marriage here?! Like someone said earlier, the fact that you are going to counseling is great though. And I definitely think the "date night" thing is a great idea...it might seem strange, but I think you do almost have to do the things you did when your relationship was "brand-new" to find the excitement and spark that made you two fall in the love in the first place.

     I will say some prayers for you, hang in there!

  • did you question the therapist as to WHY she thinks this is an ok idea? besides her lame ass excuse that you need to give him his space!

     

  • image sugarmag13:

    did you question the therapist as to WHY she thinks this is an ok idea? besides her lame ass excuse that you need to give him his space!

     

    when i questioned her on the phone today she said that if i didn't give him what he wanted then he would just do it anyways and could lead to a premature separation. if she would only "i don't think that's a good idea" he would listen to her. i think he really values the therapy. i'm mostly just questioning the bedroom thing, b/c i know i can give him some space in other ways w/o feeling distraught and doomed like the separate bedrooms would make me feel. we've only met with her 3 times. i dont trust her yet. its obviously not what i want to hear. i wish they were both thinking of MY feelings/needs too though. its all about him and what he wants or does not want.

    i think i can convince him that the bedroom thing is not a good idea for right now and then we can talk about it more in our next session. that's 2 weeks away so i just gotta really hang in there and tough it out.

  • I'm coming in a little late. But hope my advice is helpful to you. I think you should start focusing on yourself and what you want. Start doing things for yourself and giving him his so-called space. Not because it is what he wants, but because you should also be taking a step back and questioning everything for yourself. If I were you, I would be asking myself a lot of questions about him. I would wonder if I  could trust him, if I  would want to be with him, if I could do better than this. It is not fair for him to have an unrealistic romantic expectation from your marriage. I'm sure you would want to be wined and dined and romanced all the time too, but that is not realistic. That is not marriage. That is not life. If there hasn't been an affair or fighting or other serious problems, his sudden "I'm not feeling this anymore" attitude is childish, ridiculous and unacceptable. And entirely unfair to you.

    I would maybe start seeing a different counselor. Or maybe even go to counseling just for yourself. Sleeping in separate beds is a big deal. Going back to a dating type relationship is a big deal. Relationships are supposed to build and grow and move forward. Not regress. That doesn't mean people shouldn't keep the romance alive and have date nights, but what he's asking for is not what constitutes a true marriage.

     I would cool it for a while if I were you. Continue with your therapy. Consider seeking a therapist just for yourself. Go out with your friends on weeknights and even weekends. Go to the gym. Join a class. Stay later at work and get ahead in your career. Do things for yourself that you want to do. You start pretending that you're single and dating too. If you want to grab drinks with co-workers after work, then do it. Don't worry about what he's doing or if he'll have dinner or anything like that.

    You just take a step back and observe the situation. I know it's easier said than done. And some people might say it is playing games. But I see it as you taking control for your half of the relationship, for your side. You can't force him to be with you or change his feelings. What you can do is see how you feel about it and see how he reacts to some distance from you. When he sees you having your own life and doing your own thing and genuinely being happy about it, does he feel relieved? Does he miss you? His reaction would speak volumes. And if he does miss you, do you miss him back? Do you feel better spending more time apart? I think you really should focus on how you feel about his sudden change of behavior. And ask yourself this, if things went back to the way they were, how can you make sure that this type of thing wouldn't happen again? Life can get boring sometimes. So can a marriage. You don't just pull the plug. You don't act in a way to make your partner feel unloved and insecure. I think reflecting on what it is you want will empower you and then you won't feel like you are waiting for him to make a decision. You will be part of the process too. And who knows, by the time he makes up his mind, maybe you will have already made up yours.

    Good luck.You should not have to go through this. But now that you are, take the time to make the best decision for you.

    BFP#1 10/17/11, m/c due to SCH 11/21/11 @ 8w4d; BFP#2 2/26/12 - EDD 11/4/12 image BabyFruit Ticker
  • Wow, this sounds like a really rough situation to be in, and I feel for you. ?I think what I would say is along the lines of, "Husband, you know that I'm incredibly committed to our marriage and don't want to do anything to "force" you to act as though you feel something you don't feel right now. However, I feel like that should work both ways- that I also shouldn't be "forced" to go along with an option you want when it would make me miserable. ?If I am, as you say, a great spouse/ partner/ friend, then I feel that my feelings on this issue deserve respect. ?It worries me that we might actually cause more problems if, in the process of getting the romantic feelings back, we lose sight of our partnership or friendship, and I think that having separate bedrooms at this point could do that. ?I'd like to explore some other options of giving you "space" first- like each joining a different activity or meeting once a week for dinner outside the house- just both of us driving straight from work to a?restaurant?in our date clothes and everything. ?What do you think?"

    Edited for your natural tone and style, but that basic idea. ??

  • Glaw, I love the advice you gave her!


     


  • Thanks lilbride. I feel strongly that we women too often consider what he wants and what he is thinking before even asking ourselves that question. I have had that problem in the past. When I focus on myself, I feel better about it and more in control b/c at the end of the day the only person I can control and take care of is myself. I've also been reading "why men love b*tches" and it is a very empowering book. I just hope the OP can see that it is not all about him and what he wants or doesn't want. That she is an active participant in this relationship too.
    BFP#1 10/17/11, m/c due to SCH 11/21/11 @ 8w4d; BFP#2 2/26/12 - EDD 11/4/12 image BabyFruit Ticker
  • Glaw: you have a lot of good points. I was also going to say that "setting him free" time would not be just because it's what he wants but also would be a good opportunity to evaluate what she herself (Misslipps) want. If my DH said he just doesn't feel the love anymore, I would question if I want someone who falls out of love with me. Like I said you cannot force someone to love you.

    I was giving Misslipps' H the benefit of the doubt that he's at least willing to work things out by going to counseling session. It says to me that he's made some commitment to the marriage and want to fix the problem.  Though it seems like the therapist is agreeing to let him do as he pleases. It's almost as if taking sides. I also think they need some time apart. It won't be because he wants to but because it would be beneficial for both parties to study themselves: the H to think about how he feels being apart from the wife and for the wife to think whether it is necessary to go through the emotional turmoil AND also how often in their married life together will he fall in and out of love.

  • Turtle -- I totally agree that counseling is great. And I commend the husband for going to it. Many men won't. And it does show that he has some investment in this relationshiop and desire to work things out. That part is great. My problem is that the OP seems more concerned with how her husband feels and what he wants and what he's going to do than with her own feelings and answers to those questions. I can only go based on what she has posted. I won't pretend to know what their relationship is really like and I'll freely admit that I may be way off. But my advice is just based on what I'm reading and the way that the OP is coming across -- placing too much emphasis on his desires and his feelings. I get why she feels that way, but I believe if she takes a step back and focuses on herself, she'll be a lot better off -- whether he decides he wants to really work things out or not. Just my humble opinion =)
    BFP#1 10/17/11, m/c due to SCH 11/21/11 @ 8w4d; BFP#2 2/26/12 - EDD 11/4/12 image BabyFruit Ticker
  • I think you're right, Glaw.  I think it is all about him, and even the therapist is steering it in that direction (female therapist?  not a coincidence, I don't think), and the resentment over that is coming through in mislipps's responses today.
    image
  • image misslipps:
    image sugarmag13:

    did you question the therapist as to WHY she thinks this is an ok idea? besides her lame ass excuse that you need to give him his space!

     

    when i questioned her on the phone today she said that if i didn't give him what he wanted then he would just do it anyways and could lead to a premature separation. if she would only "i don't think that's a good idea" he would listen to her. i think he really values the therapy. i'm mostly just questioning the bedroom thing, b/c i know i can give him some space in other ways w/o feeling distraught and doomed like the separate bedrooms would make me feel. we've only met with her 3 times. i dont trust her yet. its obviously not what i want to hear. i wish they were both thinking of MY feelings/needs too though. its all about him and what he wants or does not want.

    i think i can convince him that the bedroom thing is not a good idea for right now and then we can talk about it more in our next session. that's 2 weeks away so i just gotta really hang in there and tough it out.

    I think you're getting into a really dangerous position. You're basically now in a situation where you do exactly what he wants, meeting all of his terms, or you risk him leaving. That's not a safe place in which to work out marital issues.

    If he really wants the marriage to work, he needs to be JUST AS FOCUSED on your needs as he is on his own.

    Also, ITA with Grrly: it sounds like your husband has an unrealistic image of married/romantic love.

     

    image Lucy, 12/27/2009
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