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Marriage/growing apart


QUESTION: Hi Nessie, this is Allie. I'm 30, and I've been married for 5 years.

Things were pretty good for awhile, but I think we're growing apart and our marriage is failing. I was 25 when I got married, Jeremy was 27. When I first met him, he was motivated about his career, driven to succeed, and highly focused on making a better life for us.

I knew Jeremy was heavy into partying in college. He and his frat buddies were always drinking, partying, hanging out at the beach, stuff like that. But I thought that life was behind him when we met. And for awhile, it was.

Jeremy is a marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company here in LA. He started as a marketing assistant, moved up to junior marketer, and last spring he got promoted to senior marketer. We moved into a nicer house, we became more comfortable, and everything seemed great. I thought we were set for life.

But lately, like in the past year, he's been hanging around with his old buddies again. They have their own careers and they're doing well, which means there's more money than ever before. But now I hardly ever see Jeremy because he's constantly off with his friends. He's gotten back into surfing (ugh), so on many weekend days he's out of the house at 5:30 am and doesn't get back until 6 pm. I don't think he's drinking and driving, but they're definitely getting blasted at least some of the time, because sometimes I find the back of his pickup truck full of empty beer cans.

I absolutely hate the beach and the outdoors. I'm white as milk, I hate bugs, hate the sun, hate sweating, hate going in the ocean, I pretty much dislike anything outdoors besides bike riding when the weather is cool enough (hardly ever here in LA). When I met Jeremy, I thought he was done with this "surfer boy" crap, and I wouldn't have to deal with it. But now that he's making almost 100k a year and has three weeks of vacation (plus regular holidays, and company holidays like the owner's birthday, and a few Jewish holidays because the owner is Jewish), it's like he's reverting back to childhood. He hasn't cut his hair in months, and it's all scraggly and long. He dresses like he's going to a beach volleyball game, baggy shorts and t-shirts and sandals. When I first met him, he was always neat and well dressed and had short clean haircuts. It's like he's a totally different person now, and I don't like it.

I don't like my husband looking and acting like a beach bum. It's disrespectful to me and my family, and what are people going to think of us? Our neighbors are going to think my husband is a beach bum, or a drug dealer, or something. I've always taken lots of pride in my appearance: I cut my hair regularly at a nice salon, I make sure my nails are done to perfection, I shower twice a day, I dress well, I get my suits tailored, I take extremely good care of my skin (note: no sun or nasty sunburn), and everything like that. But Jeremy? He looks like he lives under a bridge smoking crack somewhere. He was never like this when we first met, or I wouldn't have looked at him twice!

The worst part is, even though he works at this Fortune 500 company, it's like nobody cares that he takes days off whenever the hell he feels like it!! In the month of May, he took off one day each week, and one of those weeks he called in Thursday AND Friday and spent the whole day at the beach AND slept overnight on the beach--WITH HIS MANAGER WHO ALSO CALLED IN THOSE DAYS!! In April, he took a week off and went surfing in Costa Rica, and I only spoke to him TWICE the whole week! Plus he's planning on taking another trip to Panama in August--without me. Why is he doing things that he knows I'll hate? He knows I dislike the outdoors, and I don't want to go anyplace where it's hot, humid, buggy, and dangerous. He took a trip to Brazil in 2012, and he came down with dengue fever--it almost KILLED HIM!! And you know what he said? "It's all part of the adventure, babe!" This CAN'T be normal behavior for someone his age, especially a professional!

The thing is, he used to try including me. He even bought me a surfboard and a wetsuit and offered to pay for surfing school, and he used to ask me to come along on these trips. But like I said, I dislike the outdoors, I hate the sun, and I hate going in the ocean. If I knew he was going to act like this, I wouldn't have married the guy! I thought he was past all this crap and left his youth behind him. If he knew I hated the beach and the outdoors, why on earth did he want to get married?!

Can you tell me why guys just can't grow up and act their their age? I work at Bank of America in Fraud Prevention, and I always conduct myself as a grownup professional. By now, I thought we'd be a respectable adult couple doing grownup things, like visiting the wine country, and taking trips to Paris, and seeing the museums in Vienna, and things like that. How long is Jeremy going to carry on this frat boy lifestyle? Because I'm not really attracted to him anymore. To be honest, I think he's looking and behaving like an immature idiot. This is NOT what I wanted for myself in life. Our sex life is pretty much dead too--it's once, maybe twice, in a good month. Yet he doesn't seem to care!! Whenever I see him, he's always laughing. Hahaha, it's always a big joke with him, everything's a big joke, life is a joke, calling in sick to go surfing is a joke, everything is hilarious. But I'm not laughing. I'm not laughing at ALL.

Should I get divorced? I've tried talking to him, but it's always the same thing: that big dumb grin and him telling me to "not worry about it, because everything is cool". To be fair, I don't think he's cheating on me. I've never found any evidence or had reason to suspect that--even his friends and family have told me Jeremy hates liars, and he's never been a liar or a cheater. So what am I supposed to do? Sit around by myself while he's out running around at the beach, carrying out some childhood dream of surfing every stupid beach in the world and getting loaded on cheap beer? How is that enough for anyone? How can I convince him to go back to the "good Jeremy", the guy I fell in love with?

Anyway sorry this is long, but I've asked my friends and my mom, and they don't have any answers. All they can say is "guys are just like that". Meanwhile, I've spent another Sunday afternoon alone because the surf is up and the cooler is full of beer, while they're at home with their husbands who actually DO care what they want out of life. I'm feeling very sad, confused, and angry. I hope you can help me out.

Thank you,
"Surf Widow"

ANSWER: You Can Sometimes Make Your Husband Love You Again By Changing The Way That He Feels About Himself: I know that that phrase may sound a bit strange but please hear me out. Yes, when you are your husband met there was chemistry. Your personalities blended and there were things about you that he adored and vice verse. These things likely did not go away.

And consider this. When you first met and were “falling in love,” part of the reason that this happened was because you made each other feel special, loved, unique, and understood. In short, he made you feel as though you were a better person. He saw something special in you. The same is true for him. You made him feel desirable, heard, blessed, and adored. This can make you feel as though you on top of the world, which is why “falling in love” is absolute bliss.

That’s not to say that you don’t or didn’t have special qualities that matched up perfectly with his. You did. But a big part of what came out of this was the fact that the feelings between you made each person feel that much better about themselves. As a result, every one was on their best behavior because no one wanted to put a dent in what was happening. So, the good behavior, enhanced self esteem, and feeling special were all things that fed on themselves to continue the cycle.

But, after you have been married for a while, sometimes some part of life gets in the way of this cycle. And, as a result, the way that your husband feels about himself, his life, and the world around him might also change. As a result of all these things, he might perceive that his feelings about you have changed as well. But, what he hasn’t yet realized is that a huge part of this is that his feelings about himself have very drastically changed (which is often a big part of the problem.) He likely no longer feels as though he is on top of the world. He may no longer feel adored or special.

Many husbands tell me that they now feel like “providers” rather than “lovers.” They will often tell me things like: “I used to make my wife laugh like no one else. She used to listen to me for hours. Today, our conversations are about our house, our kids, and our jobs. Many of these things are related to chores and obligations, which doesn’t invoke nearly as much laughter. I miss it, but I’m afraid it’s gone for good.”I believe that the real key in making him love you again is making your actions and your behaviors once again influence how he feels about himself. In this way, his feelings then transfer back to how he feels about you. So how do you do this? You change your focus and your priorities until you see some meaningful improvements. You return to that light hearted, flirty, funny, happy go lucky girl who always had time to listen to him, laugh with him, and to show him how much he meant to you. Wives often tell me that this is going to feel awkward and they think that it might be too late for this. But at least commit to giving this a try. What is the worst thing that can happen? What husband is not going to enjoy more attention and efforts?

With these things said though, you want to be able to act in a genuine way. Insincerity is insulting and will usually fall flat. If you get to a a point where you fear that you’re coming off as fake, back up just a little bit. This needs to be a gradual process anyway because you want for it to contribute to real and meaningful changes.

If You Don’t Love Yourself (And Conduct Yourself With Confidence And Respect,) Getting Your Husband To Love You Again May Be More Difficult: You know the old saying “you can’t give away what you don’t have?” Well, that saying is very relevant when you are trying to restore your husband’s love. The perceptions that you’re giving off right now are so important. If you even allude to the fact that you don’t think you’re lovable or good enough for him, then he is most certainly going to pick up on this.
You must portray quiet confidence that you are the right woman for him and that he will eventually come to know this, even if that means taking a break or backing off for a while. I know that it can be so tempting to repeatedly ask for reassurance or to ask what you might need to do get him to love you again, but all of these things can diminish your worth in his eyes and might only make the problem worse. Right now, you really need to take care of yourself and set it up so that you can in good faith put a smile on your face. If you have to fake this at first (until you gain more confidence) then consider doing so.

You need to portray the best, most confident and alluring version of yourself while you are focusing on the other part of the plan. Yes, I know that your circumstances have changed and that you don’t have the kind of free time that you used to have. But, I am fairly certain that your basic human needs have not changed. Always remember that husbands and wives really do want the same things. Everyone wants to feel loved. Everyone wants to feel heard and appreciated. And every one wants to feel special. If you can incorporate these basic needs into your actions, I strongly suspect you will see some drastic improvements.

The woman that he fell in love with hasn’t gone anywhere. She was probably staring back at you in the mirror this morning. She may be discouraged. She may be tired. She may be hurting. But, she’s still there. It’s just time to dust her off, pick her up, and reintroduce her to your husband.Thus, one way to improve your marriage is to modify your attitudes and your actions.7 It is a process of turning your attention inward to see what you can do—not what your spouse should do!
The goal is to become a more loving person. The most cherished definition of love (at least in the Western world) is recorded by the Apostle Paul in the 13th chapter of Corinthians in the New Testament. “It is a Christian definition; but it is so universal that its almost exact equivalent is used by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews.”8

Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil…beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. also go here;Bless u,pray and peace be unto and upon u always

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: First of all, thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

But....maybe I read this wrong. Are you actually telling me that I'M doing something wrong here, and that I'M the one who needs to change? I do what I'M supposed to do--I go to work and take care of my business. I'm not the one disappearing all weekend with my little beach buddies, leaving my wife at home and being totally oblivious and ignorant.

What about HIM? He's the one growing shaggy long hair and dressing like a teenager. He's the one taking days off work. He's the one who doesn't care at all what I think and feel because he's too busy out having fun! Yet you're saying that I did something wrong here?

I AM alluring and attractive. I take good care of myself. I put in all the effort in this relationship, while he behaves more like my child than like my spouse. So how does it happen that I'm the one who needs to try harder and do better?

I'm still confused. So what do you think about this plan?

- I give Jeremy an ultimatum.
- I give him exactly one month to get himself back on track.
- If he doesn't, I throw his ass out and find someone who doesn't treat life like a big joke.
- I carry on with my life, taking care of responsibilities while he screws around with his idiot friends at the beach.

So how does that sound to you, Nessie?

When Is It Over?

How do you know when you've finally reached the point of no return, when putting your relationship together again is simply too much of a stretch? In the end, of course, the answer is personal. But if your answers to the following questions are irrefutably “yes,” it might be time to let go:

   Does every situation, no matter how seemingly trivial, evolve into a fight?
   Do you or your spouse continually refer to hurtful events in the past?
   Is all the respect gone from your relationship? Do you feel it is impossible to bring that respect back?
   Have your goals and directions changed whereas your partner's have stayed the same? (Or vice versa.)
   Is your partner no longer fostering your individual growth?
   Have you and your partner both changed so much that you no longer share moral, ethical, or lifestyle values?
   Have you and your spouse lost the art of compromise? When you disagree, are you unable to forge a path together that is acceptable to both?
   Do you and your spouse have a basic sexual incompatibility? Do you feel completely unattracted to each other? Despite help from professional therapists, have you stopped making love?
why stay in situation you is unhappy,life is short... What if the other person doesn't see a problem and doesn't want to change, you suppose to just deal with that and stay miserable? h--- no,move on///only u  know how much u can take ...Why Do People Stay In Unhappy Relationships? If You're So Unhappy, Why Stay?What people say they want is often incongruent with their behavior. A person says he wants a loving partnership, yet stays in a relationship that consistently leaves him unhappy. People say they are unhappy in their jobs, yet remain, succumbing to energy-draining emotional abuse that often bleeds into their personal lives and relationships. People complain they want to lose weight, but then mindlessly eat everything on their plates. So just why do we stay in unfulfilling relationships of all sorts indefinitely?

Fear. Sure, there are a multitude of reasons why people stay in unhappy situations, but it usually can be simplified to some variation of fear that keeps us securely anchored to our discontent. Often that fear is the fear of change itself. Instead of changing our behaviors to align with what we say we want, we often indulge in self-destructive patterns: substance abuse, eating disorders, addictions, and unfulfilling relationships, all of which provide false comfort and a pseudo sense of security.The origin of many fears is unknown to us, usually arising from childhood encounters when we were easily terrified by life’s experiences. These fears remain unconscious although they are running our lives. Fear can handcuff us, leaving us vulnerable and unprotected. Instead, we keep ourselves protected by the idea of, “At least we know what to expect,” so we can closely monitor our fear like a tiger in a cage. If we let the tiger loose, we might become victims: to the fear of the unknown, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, of not being able to pay our bills, death, or perhaps worse, we might actually get what we say we want. And that would set off a chain-reaction of actually having to let go of our deeply rooted belief system that we are not good enough for what we want. Because, often underneath all of this, many people don’t feel that they deserve anything better. While people may cognitively believe they deserve something better or what they desire, they often straddle what the brain believes with what the heart feels, as if intertwined in a challenging game of Twister. It is this unbalanced belief system that maintains low self-esteem, and which makes it very difficult to make any changes. A fall, after all, is just one wrong move away. Indeed, the fear of change, of becoming vulnerable, of losing control, of confronting new feelings and experiences, can stop you in your tracks. But it is an illusion that we can avoid change. It will happen whether we fear it or not and it will force us eventually to embrace it or flee it. But we can’t flee change forever even though we might think we can. So just how do we prepare ourselves to embrace change?Case in point: You can get angry with your partner without fear of being stonewalled, criticized or abandoned for feeling that way. You can let your guard down and trust, because your new friend or lover can sit with you in your pain without minimizing it, trying to make you (and him) feel better about the situation or telling you to stop crying. Eventually, it is through enough of these corrective emotional experiences that we can begin to feel safe to lose excess weight, address our addiction and get sober, or leave an unfulfilling relationship because it no longer serves us to remain distant and heavily guarded from others.

We no longer take comfort in the discomfort. Instead, we rewire our brain to become comfortable in our vulnerability and to face the unknown. We are gifted a renewed sense of strength, a new experience which can now consciously guide our cognitions and, like a domino effect, our behaviors. In fact, it is only until we surrender our iron-tight, fist-clenched hold onto control of an outcome or situation that we truly find ourselves in-control.  


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I specialise in helping couples save their marriage and rebuild it after major hurts such as an affair. Creating intimacy, removing hurt, dealing with sexual and communication problems.I can answer questions about issues arising in marriage: conflict, communication, listening, anger, verbal abuse, infidelity, addiction/substance abuse, pornography, physical abuse, time spent together, finances, in-laws, death of a spouse or child, separation and divorce,forgiveness,anger management issues, problem-solving and much more.


I have over 20 years as a counselor for couples experiencing difficulties. I have been a counselor for over 20 years,26years of marriage.I have been a student of this subject for over a decade and have not only researched it but lived it in my own life!

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I have a bachelor of Philosophy from CPCC in Charlotte NC I can comfortably answer questions about developing or salvaging a strong marriage relationship.

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I have a PhD in Metaphysics, Divinity, am a Minister with Friendship Baptist Church,faithful member, i would love to be a good samaritan to help couples to be blessed with positive answers.

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