Tammy & Robert
Married 15 years
Okay, I’m not even sure where to start Doctor Jeff! I feel like I am married to a teenager sometimes. Now, I know that men take a little longer to mature, but, Robert is 36! He tells me I’m boring and that he likes to relax with his friends “once in a while.” He usually meets up with them after work or sometimes on the weekends to watch sports. I believe he can be trusted but when he drinks I get concerned. Especially about his decision-making when he’s under the influence. He tells me I’m making a “big deal” over things but I don’t think so. I’m curious what you think I should do. How should I approach him? I really feel that he just has more fun with them. He sees me as just plain old boring. We are parents and I’m just not interested in the “bar scene.” A nice romantic night at home is fine with me. He is very sensitive and defensive when I try to talk to him about these concerns. I don’t want to push him away but it seems that’s all I’ve been doing lately. Any suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated Dr. Jeff. Thank you!
Tammy, it’s great to hear from you and sharing your difficult situation with our community. It can be very frustrating when you and your loved are not on the same page. Do you believe that you are the one at “fault” for the choices Robert is making? If you were more “fun” he would behave himself and stay home? Be careful the story you tell yourself and what you choose to believe. If we look “below the surface” the reality is that your relationship is deteriorating because you are not “connecting” with one another. In a relationship, you either grow together or grow apart. How are you both nurturing your marriage? Until both of you sit down and began to understand the “lens” each of you use to see your worlds nothing will change. Are you creating space in your relationship to talk about what’s uncomfortable? Avoidance will lead to the more pain and distance. How much can both of you take of this until there is no longer a marriage left to save. I would encourage you to sit down Robert and have a “heart to heart” conversation. Describe to one another what a “fulfilling relationship” looks like and what kinds of changes need to happen to get to this place. Until both of you are open to finding new solutions nothing will change. Pain is often a great motivator. If you are unable to resolve your differences together it’s time to seek a marriage expert/therapist. I have found that many of the couples I coach on Skype or in my office must reach a “desperate” place before they are ready to change. There is always room for change. The key to heading in a new direction is for both of you to be “on board” and willing to do whatever is necessary for things to be different. Tammy, stay strong and be true to yourself. Thank you for sharing with us.