So, you met the person, took the vows and got married. But far from being ecstatic that you get to live with the love of your life, you seem to be bitching and moaning and wishing about your partner to your single friends.
To save any more of you talking at me about your marital woes, here’s a cheat sheet that you can use. Think of it as a kind of ‘inflatable Greta’ you can whip out whenever you need a kick up the Khyber.
- ‘I’m cheating on my wife – for a while now’
No, you’re not. You’re cheating on both of you, and you’re making a lie out of wife’s life. You’re also putting her sexual health at risk.
I don’t care if you haven’t had sex in 5 years. What interests me is how you let things get to that stage in the first place. If your marriage were a job, your behaviour would be classed as gross negligence.
So now, you’re meeting secret sexual partners, and even paying for sex? Do you know that’s the opposite of ‘partnership’? Those actions define betrayal. You may be in physical proximity to your wife, but you’re not at this point in a real relationship with her.
There’s no failure in honesty – although there will be just consequences to face up to. There is, however, failure in living like a git – and making someone else’s life ridiculous.
- ‘My husband’s lazy in bed, I feel naughty but I’m having an affair’
This isn’t about him being ‘boring in bed’ – don’t kid yourself. And no, you’re not ‘being naughty’: you’re not a child. Your cheating is grossly unfair to him, harmful and could potentially wreck his life.
This is about some connection between you changing, and your need to feel like the centre of attention. Troubleshoot that with honest conversations and plenty of positive reinforcement. That’s what is called ‘work’.
You’re telling me that you want him as a provider and like him because he’s a good father, but your feelings have changed? Do you know how that makes you sound? How about if I put it in these words: ‘I like that he pays for my life and helps with my kids.’ Would you like someone to like that about you?
Why don’t you get a job yourself and some help in the house? That way you can free both of you from the burden of being married to you.
- I don’t want to be married any more, but I’m staying because of the children.
Children aren’t stupid. They’ll often know your relationship has changed/is sinking before you do. While they might not have the right words to describe their feelings about what they see going on around them, they’re certainly aware.
Staying in a crap relationship thinking that you’re doing your kids a favour is ridiculous. Much better to explain carefully and sensitively to them the facts of life: that things change between people. That what was good is now not so good. And no, it’s not their fault. And that you love them, and that you – and he – will always be there for them.
You only have one life. But your life can really impact other people’s lives – for good and for bad. Get yourself to a good place in your life, so that goodness can overflow to others – especially your children.
- ‘My wife hasn’t given me head in a long time.’
Firstly, I’m old school. What happens in the bedroom isn’t shared conversationally. Yes, you can talk to a therapist, your rabbi, your priest. But sharing that in social chit chat amounts to a betrayal of your partner’s right to intimate privacy.
How would you feel if your wife divulged the same thing about you? What image of you would that create among your friends?
Secondly, sex isn’t just about what happens in the bedroom. In fact, sex is a result of everything that happens outside it. If you find your sex life is unsatisfactory, it’s gone time to communicate that to your partner. After all, you married each other presumably because you were able to make each other happy. Rediscovering that takes effort, but so does getting out of bed and having a shit. And frankly, the consequences of not putting the effort in, in both case, are exactly the same.
- ‘I married him but never loved him. I married him because I didn’t want to be alone.’
Okay, I’m still listening to you because you’re my friend, but I have zero patience for this.
Your husband is your emotional roadkill.
You basically told another human being that you loved him, you’d be there for him (till death) and that you’d always be his, all the time knowing that it wasn’t true from the start. What you should have said in your wedding vows was ‘I promise to try to make myself feel better about my life by being with you, although I will never love you.’
You tied another person to you to try and avoid being in rooms by yourself. I use the word ‘tied’ because when you make someone believe that you love them, a bond is formed. You’ve deceived your husband. He’s lost years of his life caring about you, who never loved him, when he could have found someone who truly loved and cared for him. He tied himself to you thinking he was part of a log raft; in fact, he tied himself to an iron anchor.
I hope you’re proud of yourself. You’re certainly not the victim here. In fact, I think you’re an emotional thug.
- ‘I didn’t want children three and four. I was happy with two. She’s all about the kids.’
And yet, you gave them to her.
Did you decide her happiness was more important than yours? Or did you just cave in to the nagging, the pouting emotional blackmail, or the thought that you were being selfish by having your own needs? I can’t know what happened in your mind.
I do, however, know that there are some people who can only love others because of what you can give them. No give = no love. I think you married one of those; she’s tied you into the role of ‘giver’, which is how she interprets being loved.
I think you know this.
You’re still with her. And still giving her children – and anything else she thinks she wants. So, perhaps, on some level, somewhere, you seem to need to do this. You bought the ticket, now you’re on the ride. See where it takes you, and try not to judge the journey.
- ‘She’s not the woman I fell in love with and married.’
Really? And are you the man she fell in love with and married?
People change. Life changes people in all sorts of ways – in fact, change is the one constant.
Your choice is simple – try and love the changes in both of you, or get the hell out and stop bitching about it.
- ‘If my husband had more sexual experience, I would be worried he would cheat on me.’
I can’t even express how ****ed up that is. Your comment shows such an utter lack of respect for your husband in every way. Not just the fact that you’ve shared such an intimate observation so casually, but that the very nature of it demeans your husband as a man on every level. He’s not sexually experienced enough to even know that he might want an affair. What?
I don’t think you have a problem with him. But I do think you have a problem with you.
- ‘I’d love to have a go on that, before I go home to my wife.’
That’s delightful. Thank you for sharing. To me your comment confirms the whole beauty, joy and wonder of the institution of marriage. I wish you many more happy years ahead.
- ‘Greta, why didn’t you get married?’
Well, for a start, have you read this article?
And then, of course, I’m a firm believer in human rights.
© Gvons 2016