Recently I heard from a lady who came to me in tears telling me she can’t stand her husband.
She explained that she has been married and feeling miserable for quite some time now and needed somebody to talk her down from some of her worst fears, emotions, and feelings.
“I can’t stand my awful husband and am miserable”, she declared.
Here is part of her story that describes some of the miserable experiences with her husband who she swears must be the worst husband a woman could ever get hitched up to.
I warn you, her story sounds pretty bad and this woman’s list of complaints against her husband are long and winding.
But know that in the end, her relationship actually got better. Eventually, she went from barely being able to stand her husband to a place where the two of them had committed to start over and appreciate each other’s space and offer each other the gift of kindness.
Now I would like to think it had something to do with the relationship advice I gave her. And I am sure that had something to do with it. But the larger truth is my client figured out that her problem was not because her husband was a rotten scoundrel. Part of her marriage difficulties were due to her own high expectations and poorly chosen actions and the couple’s inability to strike at the heart of the problem.
While this was not the case in this situation, what if you really feel you married the wrong guy? What can you do. Well, I talked about this in this post if you wish to gain some greater insights…
Anyway, let’s get back to my client. Ready, here we go. Here is what she had to say….
I thought I had made the right decision to marry this man. But things in my marriage have disintegrated rapidly. I can’t even stand my husband touching me. It use to not be that way. Our sex life was good and we did it often. But now I can barely resist not running out the door, leaving him forever. What is one to do when you feel your love has turned completely into hate. I don’t care to have sex with him. Things have to be his way almost all the time. I don’t want to be around my husband any more and need help getting out of this mess of a relationship.
I feel like he is hanging over me all the time, telling me what I can or can’t do and why I am always wrong. He can be so petty. My friends hate to come by and spend time with me because he gets jealous. He makes me feel I have to give him an accounting of everything I do when I leave the house. In the beginning of our relationship, I loved his attention and he made me feel like I was his everything. Now it feels like he is smothering me and I can stand it. I am afraid to tell him the truth of how I feel about all this. As I said, I use to like his attention and insistence we do everything together.
He expects sex from me and has no clue I am furious with him much of the time because of his selfishness and insistence that he makes all the decisions. If you ask him, he says our problems stem from me not wanting to make love with him. He is clueless. Why would any woman want to be with a man who insists that she can’t do anything she wants? Why should I feel attracted to him if he criticizes me and finds fault at the least little thing he thinks I did wrong. I am tired of being picked on all the time. I need to be my own girl and do things that I want to do, but my husband has taken that away from me.
Things didn’t just fall apart for us immediately. I guess it’s that way for most everyone. My girlfriend told me that she and her husband don’t get along anymore either and they have issues in the bedroom also. She complains that her man always seems to annoy her. I got that problem too. But when I compare what she has to deal with versus what I have to put up with, it is no comparison. Misery doesn’t come close to describing what I feel everyday and I come to you asking for some help.
If I could just have a sliver of hope I would be so grateful. Look, it comes down to this. I can’t stand to be around my husband anymore and I don’t say that lightly. I feel like I want to hide from him or escape. He is thoughtless. He only thinks of one thing these days (sex) and I guess that is all he believes I am good for. Being married to this man is like a sentence and I don’t want to serve it anymore. I know you probably think I am overreacting, but I am sure other women who have been in this situation would understand. What do you do when your husband treats you like you are stupid and shouldn’t have any important voice in anything. He controls everything and I feel trapped and used. As miserable as I feel most of the time, I am also angry.
He once told me that he doesn’t think I am pretty anymore and should lose more weight. I know he was just trying to get back at me because he came on to me and I told him his body disgusted me. When we argue he threatens me with kicking me out and putting me on the street. That is so stupid because he really can’t do without me.
I know he is just trying to hurt me. But it scares me to hear those ugly words. I now he is angry at me because I reject him sexually as payback. No wife should feel like they have to make love to their husband just because he wants it. He has no clue what turns on a woman. I can’t even talk to him about it because things usually end up in a fight and neither of us listen to the other.
My girlfriends tell me he is causing me terrible emotional damage and said they will take me in. I think I should move out and teach him a lesson. But I don’t know what to do and am afraid he will stalk me if I go off and live somewhere else. I really don’t want to but I don’t think I love him in the same way as I use to. I am just miserable and confused. I am like his play thing. I want out of this situation, but don’t know how I should go about getting out from under my husband’s control. Help me please! I am married and miserable and have no clue how to get away from this wretched marriage.
When I was reviewing what my client was telling me, I felt sad for her but also realized her emotions were all over the place. I can hear the pain in her words, but I also suspected she was in need of venting. The good news is I know there is help.
Indeed, if you feel your marriage is broken you have to start over, dug into this post as I cover a lot of topics you might find interesting….
It almost always darkest just before you pull yourself out of your pain and take action to develop a plan and implement it. It is also sometimes helpful to have someone around to share you story.
Just getting your story out there and unloading your pain and fears can be therapeutic in itself. When I reached out to this woman to gain more insight into what else was going on in her marriage, she admitted that while her relationship was in a bad place, she had exaggerated her situation and emotional condition somewhat.
That did not mean she was not suffering and that she was perfectly content with her husband and his behavior. There were plenty of problems, many stemming from her husband’s tendencies to control her life and his lack of sensitivity to her needs.
But when speaking with her I learned that she was going through a bad spell and wanted to lash out at her husband every way she could and portray him in the most negative light because she was feeling so hopeless and angry at that moment.
It turned out she had no interest in leaving her husband and she did list a number of positive attributes he possessed which she valued.
But the occasions in which she felt miserable in her marriage where far too frequent and she wanted to know what she could do about it.
Ending The Misery in Your Marriage
If you can’t stand the sight of your husband and feel miserable about being married to the man you once thought would be your Prince Charming, then in most cases you have your work cut out for you.
In this case, while things looked really bad on the surface of the marriage, as I probed deeper, I saw some areas in which the marriage seemed to be well grounded.
As far as risk of separation and divorce, I believed the odds to be low.
Here is why.
It was clear to me there was dysfunction in her marriage. The woman I was consulting with was unhappy and miserable. But after some consultation, she agreed that there were some areas of strength and she really did not want the entire relationship to come crashing down.
She wanted to have a baby with her husband, but didn’t feel they were ready as a couple to manage all the challenges a baby would bring to their lives. Of course, her husband wanted their sex life to improve. So did she.
He didn’t understand how on one hand she would talk of wanting to have a baby (he was OK with the idea), but when it came time for intimacy, she would withhold that which he wanted. They were at a crossroads, neither understanding what was truly important to the other and nor did they understand the important tenets of marriage.
There were three things missing from their relationship and for things to get back on track, they needed to immediately address each one.
Giving Each other The Space of Love
My advice was that the routines of marriage had caught up with them. After some followup discussion, I learned that it wasn’t that her husband forbid that she couldn’t go off and do things by herself. He just strongly preferred she stayed home with him. She went along with and for awhile it worked, until it didn’t.
Her husband could be controlling and domineering and she resented that. But she was not a prisoner in her own house. It was just that she had gotten caught up in the routine.
Also, being strong-willed, she just didn’t like it when her husband tried to insist on things she didn’t want to do and she felt compelled to go along with his ideas, even when she wasn’t fully behind them.
Since they were married, they had always been together and were starting to discover all the little things that annoyed the other. If not checked, such little annoyances can grow to be larger problems.
Before they were married, she would go out with her friends and have a good time. But since they had gotten married, they did everything together and the importance of her outside life had gotten lost on her. So the few times she would go out, he would feel left out and when she got back, he would pick on her and make her feel guilty about going out.
Clearly, his behavior represented a selfishness in the marriage around controlling her time. In came from an insecurity that if she was out having fun with some else, then he must not be good enough for her. This led to conflict later when she returned.
I told her they needed to get back to having some of their old life back in which they each did things separately at times. That is how you grow as an individual and when you prosper individually, you can bring more back to the marriage.
I explained that the sooner they could give the gift of space to each other, the better. I recommended she take a trip with some of her friends for several days. But before doing so, I explained it was critically important that she sit down and tell him the truth of her feelings and talk about these three areas of their marriage they needed to make progress in.
No couple will be successful if they cannot spend time apart doing their own thing. It is just not normal not to have your own life and own hobbies and taking time to discover new things about yourself and enjoy the other relationships in your life. This is critically important.
So I explained she needed to have a heart to heart discussion with her husband and convince him that the tighter he tries to hold on to her, the worse it is for both of them. And most importantly, I explained to her that her husband needs to learn that he too should also spend time away, doing things with his friends or by himself. It seemed he had become too reliant on the routines the two of them had created once they got married and as a result, the marriage was getting stale and suffering.
When you have time to spread your wings and do things that you enjoy by yourself or with friends, you come to appreciate the other things in your life.
You come to see life offers so much more and when you can enjoy other things the world offers you. You come to appreciate more the time you spend with your husband more when you are away from him.
The Gift of Kindness
One of the most beautiful aspects of a marriage is when a couple of practices the art of kindness. It seems that my client’s marriage had disintegrated to such a point that little kindness was being demonstrated.
Their daily, dull routines consisted of petty arguments and conflict over all sorts of things. Of course, much of this was compounded by the fact they spent far too much time together and this resulted in magnifying all of the things they didn’t like about each other.
Saying and doing simple and kind things each and every day to and for each other is a powerful love potion.
But before they could practice the art of kindness and lift themselves from the miserable environment that had created for each other, they needed to strike at the heart of the problem.
One big problem that persisted in their marriage was the weaponizing of sex.
Exploring a New Sexual Understanding
When sex becomes a weapon by withholding intimacy, it almost always leads to destructive results.
In the beginning of the marriage, they both enjoyed making love frequently. It was an important part of how they connected and when their sexual intimacy declined, it was no surprise that they began having the most serious of their marital difficulties.
I suggested that when discussing these three areas of improvement, she start first with the discussion of sex. I explained she should bring up all three of the opportunity areas together because I believe they are all interconnected and by making meaningful improvement in these areas, their marriage relations will improve markedly.
I told her she should admit she the was using sex as a means to hurt him. The admission itself will get his attention because most men snap to attention when the topic turns to sex.
Most men think of sex as a physical way of gaining and giving pleasure to their wife. The feelings and thoughts men have around making love with their wife can be overpowering.
For women, sex is associated with important emotional connections to the one they love. Men sort of understand this, but not fully. All they know is that if they are not getting it, they are unhappy and will tend to hold it against you.
Instead of looking at the underlying reason for why sex is not plentiful in their marriage and addressing it with their wife, men will tend to hold a grudge and sometimes negative attitudes feelings will creep into their thoughts about you…sometimes without even realizing it.
In a way, men can be almost child like in their ignorance of understanding a woman’s view of sexual relations and vice versa.
So by telling your husband you very much want to explore a new sexual understanding involving much greater intimacy (perhaps even greater eroticism) you will immediately get his attention, his fullest of attention.
Those are magical words to a man. Sex, erotic, and greater frequency.
So what you say next will be important. Admit that you have used sex in your marriage in a certain way. But also explain that you find it difficult to make love fully and aggressively when you carry resentments. This is when you should be very open and talk about the importance of the other things you feel is important to talk about.
Weave in and out of these three topics. Talk about how important it is that the two of you have intense and gratifying sex. Remember, using words like “intense” when it comes to sex, gets your husband to snap to attention. He will be more willing and ready to understand what he needs to do differently to please you.
Then talk about how important it is that you both have time to do the things you want to do, alone. Explain how having your own life and sense of individual freedom, turns you on. Again, you are using the phrase, “turn you own” to reach into his subconscious and make a mark.
Talk about the importance of being kind to each other when you are together. Then come back again to the discussion of greatly increasing the regularity of having sex and doing it in ways that neither of you have explored before. Then come back to the topic of your need to be your own person and do things with your friends. Then rotate back to the notion of coming back from a day out with your friends and enjoying a quiet and intimate evening with your husband.
I concluded my discussion with my client by telling her that if the two of them could make progress in these three areas of their marriage, the sky is the limit as she and her husband will invariably develop new routines and create a new understanding of how they should spend their time together and away from each other.