Man taking ring off ring finger. When to call it quits in a marriage.

WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS IN A MARRIAGE?

I picked up the phone to reach out to a potential new client for couples counseling. After introducing myself, the client’s first question for me was, “When do you know to call it quits in a marriage?” 

This question didn’t catch me off guard because it’s the same question many couples ask me at the beginning of couples therapy or discernment counseling.

With these couples, communication problems, lack of sex, and emotional intimacy have been going on for quite some time. Attempts to fix these issues with or without professional help can leave couples feeling exhausted and hopeless.

I’m the biggest cheerleader for relationships. The investment both partners have made to keep a relationship going isn’t worth throwing away at the drop of a hat. However, there are some key signs to look for when trying to decide if continued investment in the relationship is worth it for both partners.

How Do You Know When Your Marriage is Over?

Unwillingness to Communicate

One of the most prominent signs of when to call it quits in a marriage is unwillingness to communicate. No matter how hard you try to engage your partner, it doesn’t seem to work. You try the nice voice and the sweet thoughts. You try the yelling and the threatening. It doesn’t matter. You get little to no response. [More: “How to Communicate When Your Partner Shuts Down”, and “Are You Trapped in a Codependent Relationship?”]

Consistent Negativity

This one’s a doozy for all relationships – consistent negativity. You don’t seem to communicate outside of what is necessary and even then, the content remains negative. Most of the things you say to each other reflect black and white thinking, “You never” or “I always.” At this point you probably can’t make decisions on seemingly insignificant options – like where to go for dinner or who is picking up the kids.

You Feel in Your Heart the Relationship is Unhealthy

You’ve tried everything you know to do to improve your relationship. Talked to your friends and read too many relationship books. In your heart you know that you can’t keep going on like this. You can feel the energy between the two of you isn’t getting any better, in fact it’s either the same or worse. [More: “Are You Addicted to a Toxic Relationship?”]

Unwillingness to Change

It takes two to tango. You’re not perfect, neither is your partner. You both see areas in yourselves that need to change in order to make the relationship work. However, neither of you seem to have the motivation to make those changes.

Won’t Seek Help

You’ve begged your partner to see a counselor. Maybe you’ve gone to one or two appointments without much buy-in from your partner. Overall, you feel a strong resistance personally or from your partner to engaging in counseling.

Grow, Together.

Our authentic relationship experts know how to help you learn, grow, and move forward into a bright new chapter.

Is My Marriage Over?

…if both partners are willing to work towards a healthier relationship, there is hope, and there are tools.

Maybe you can identify with some or all of these red flags. You may be asking yourself, “What do I do next?” Every couple is different but if you see these things in your relationship, things have to change. The relationship problems won’t resolve on their own. Here’s what to do next:

Get support

Even if your partner won’t come with you, reach out to a couples counselor or relationship coach. Whether you stay or leave this relationship, you need help to process your emotions, set healthy boundaries and expectations, and take steps forward. There are divorce and break up recovery groups online and maybe in-person in your area. Do your research.

Get Informed

I know it’s scary to think about all that will change and if you’re even up for it. Gain as much information as possible from an attorney or research the state laws. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make about your future.

Take your time

Don’t rush a decision. If you don’t know what to do about your situation, seek support until you find clarity. For many couples, the problems have been ongoing for years. A few more weeks or months won’t change anything. Take this at your pace. There is a lot to grieve, process, and plan.

Every couple is different, as well as every situation. I believe that if both partners are willing to work towards a healthier relationship, there is hope, and there are tools. Exhaust your options, arm yourself with knowledge, and have accountability. No matter how little the step, it’s still moving forward. You don’t have to stay stuck.

At times like these, the path forward can feel confusing. There is so much support for you here. We have a podcast on “When to Call it Quits in a Marriage” that does a deep dive into signs that a relationship can be saved vs. signs it’s really time to call it quits. There is also a special kind of relationship counseling that most people don’t know about called “discernment counseling” which is specifically for the purpose of helping a couple get clarity about whether or not their relationship can be repaired (and, if so, what it’s going to take to restore a healthy relationship bond).

You can view all the free resources we have available for you on this topic in our “Relationship Clarity Collection” of articles and podcasts. It’s all for you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby


Growing Self Counseling and Coaching

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90 Comments

  1. My husband refuses to return my calls. I’m in the dark and hectold me that I not going to like it where he is living before he left on 10-2-16 and in 2016 for nine months I’m tried.

    1. Such a painful situation Vivian. I’m sorry you’re going through that. It sounds like the best thing for you right now may be to work on healing yourself and rebuilding your life. I hope you consider enlisting the support of a good breakup counselor. Have you considered scheduling a free consultation session with her? You might also look into enrolling in a supportive breakup recovery program like our online breakup recovery group that Sonya Jensen facilitates. Connecting with others and having a place to talk through your feelings and do the work of healing from such a traumatic relationship is what you deserve. Wishing you all the best… Lisa Marie Bobby

    2. My husband doesn’t want the grandkids to come over or spend a night. We have 3 grandchildren newborn and twins 4. It’s always mood swings and cause us to argue when I ask can they come over. I don’t ask can they come over for months at a time to keep peace between me and him. It hurts I can’t bond with them at our house while they are little. I’m not happy in this marriage he’s selfish. He don’t have no interest in bonding with them. 😢What do I do it’s pretty much that’s why He said he’s not buying us a house cause don’t want them to ever spend a night. My husband also doesn’t treat me as one flesh one body as wife. We been married 2 years together 5. He still treat as a girlfriend. I don’t know nothing financially about him. He still got his sister handling all his life insurance everything. He even sold his house to his sister without telling me. He didn’t look at it that it can benefit our future. It’s always his not ours. It hurts to feel like a girlfriend. I even ask him why did even marry someone who have 2 grown children. When He knew one-day it will be grandkids and don’t want them over. This his first marriage and mines. He refuse counseling. Any advice it’s tough

      1. Natasha, this sounds like a really difficult situation and you have every right in the world to feel upset. Anyone in your situation would be wondering if this is a sustainable relationship. Have you had the chance to listen to my recent, “When To Call it Quits In a Relationship” podcast episode? In it I go into more detail about things you can do to find out whether or not growth is possible (and what to do if it isn’t). Here’s the link to it on Spotify and on Apple Podcast App too. I hope you check it out.

        Wishing you all the best dear,
        Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  2. my husband and i have been together for 14 years. he proposed Christmas 2017, ring was 2 sizes to big and he has had no desire to get it sized. he will complain that i don’t wear the ring, but it falls off my hand and i feel like i deserve to have a ring that fits. he says the proposal was a last stitch effort to make things better. at least 10 years have been very unhappy. seems as if we have had more downs than ups. we have 3 kids under 12 yrs old. i have left twice for a few months each time. when we get back together things are good for a week or a few weeks but then back to arguing daily over the stupidest things, not wanting to be in the same room. we haven’t even slept in the same bed for months. i was 15 when we started dating. we do not communicate. hes always negative about everything. he says that he doesn’t know how to communicate or show affection. it kills me because when we started dating i told him about my past and things i had been through, my favorite thing to do was to lay with my head on his chest and his arm around me. this was my favorite because it made me feel safe. he hasn’t let me do this in years. says i’m a “heater” i make him to hot. for me feeling safe is a huge. i feel like we are two completely different people now. i feel like we have nothing in common anymore. all these articles i read tells me i should just leave. that i made a bad decision to date him in the first place. its been 14 years and 3 kids later and i feel so empty. did i make a terrible life decision to settle with him or should i hope that one day he will actually love and respect me. i feel like if we split up i’m letting my kids down, they are my world. NEED ADVICE PLEASE.

    1. My advice is that you stop messing around reading blog posts and put your energy into marriage counseling. You’re describing a really hurtful, painful relationship that is not going to get better without intervention. You have kids, you’re fourteen years in. Get the support of a professional marriage counselor, either on our team or somewhere else. You deserve it, your kids deserve it, and this CAN turn around. I’ve seen it happen. But it will not change unless you are working with a professional who is strong enough to help you change this dynamic and start doing things differently.

      Lisa

      PS: When you are shopping for a couples counselor please be very careful to actually work with someone who has training and experience in couples therapy, specifically. Most of the people happily offering their services in this area do NOT. Look for an LMFT or an LMFT-C. Ideally, one who uses Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy or The Gottman Method of marriage counseling, both of which are evidence based forms of couples therapy that have been shown by research to work. This is important: What you’re describing sounds like a relationship on its last legs, and I’d hate for you to do “hail Mary marriage counseling” with someone who is not competent to help you, and then have it fail. Your marriage is riding on it.

    2. If you don’t change he never will . You need to get professional help. It will help you to love yourself & respect and then you will know what to do . With guidance & support you will move forward. You unhappy that means your children are not growing in a healthy family. Find help foe you and your children .
      Respectful/ will pray that Gods help you Ans guide you !

  3. Who’s wrong Here? Who’s Right here? Should I try to make this work? I love us together but I don’t trust my husband and now he doesn’t trust me. What happened!?

    My husband and I have been together for 5 years and married for 3. I came into the relationship trying to work on myself and a little unsettled. I thought we could make it work. I had a strong feeling I wasn’t ready but an even stronger feeling that my husband was right for me.

    I told him I was going through a lot as far trusting in relationships, and I didn’t want a relationship unless marriage with me was something that was on the table for him.

    Him being a mental health specialist himself said he understood and that we could work through it. He just wanted me with him. While I felt uneasy about the pace of our love (moving in fully after a few weeks of knowing each other) he had a gentleness I loved and needed, and really seemed to go out of his way to help others.

    I tried to settle into our relationship, but I kept noticing the way he acted around other women. He’s always super flirty and had a tendency to use the same lines I found romantic on his friends, most of whom are female. He only has one Male Friend who has crippling low self esteem.

    I’m not sure how important that is when it comes to a friend’s gender. He says it’s because he was mostly raised around women which is mostly true but he never seems to desire to make the connection with other men.

    Any way, since we’ve been together he’s always had this very flirty way with women since we’ve been together. Leaving hearts on pictures and saying he wanted to be the object of another woman’s sex dreams.

    Each time I would talk to him about it, he’d be outraged for a few years at me. The first time I admitted to going through his computer he raged at me and didn’t talk warmly to me for an entire month. He didn’t come around until I stopped sleeping in the bed with him.

    Coming from an engagement that ended in infidelity before him, I told him how much it bothered me. Each time he promised not to flirt, he kept going back to it. There was a particularly bad online affair I caught him in where they exchanged highly explicit messages. He called this woman a few times and he would even vent his frustrations to her. This was a result of me wanting to explore our relationship sexually. I wanted to impress him, but I thought he would keep me in the loop. He doesn’t consider this infidelity because I agreed to give him a chance and call it a misunderstanding so that he felt heard and had a fair shake.

    It’s always like this with him when it comes to the things I know and can’t prove. He will lie, insistently, to my face, and when I catch him not apologize, make it my fault, or minimize his fault in it. When I agree to try to work through it, he holds me making it ok against me.

    He even blamed me for making him end one of his inappropriate friend ships.

    I admitted two days ago that I went to beer with a guy I met online because I felt unattractive. I told him this along with a lot of other very private things in hopes that maybe if I was more vulnerable he might feel comfortable to come clean too. The beer date hugged me on the waist at most. I didn’t kiss him or have sex or anything like that. I just wanted to feel attractive again.

    I wanted him to come clean because his bahvior has not only gone back to flirting, but he’s been secretive, and I discovered he was snooping in my phone and has been for a while. He won’t even come clean about that because of how he reacted when I came clean about when I did it in the past.

    His response was that I was a cheater. I’m trying to make excuses for my cheating, and I’m trying to make him wrong for the things he did in the past. The eerie thing about him saying I’m a cheater is how calm he is. He’s always more calm when I put my ugly out there. It’s so strange. But I’m strange too so I never held it against him.

    Also! We have gone to therapy. We went consistently for about 6 months. Each time we went, the therapist seemed harder on him than on me. Maybe because he’s a fellow therapist? But it was the only way he would make convincing promises to change and do better. To give him credit he really did better for a while. I felt heard and respected in our conversations. We even managed to have a lot of fun!

    While our marriage has its issues, and has gotten better in many aspects, I still don’t feel like he’s telling me everything and I never consistently feel like I can trust him because he keeps doing things to break the trust that I keep trying to give him.

    Giving him secrets and truths that most couples take to the grave, I thought it would make him feel safe enough to open up to me. Instead he’s going to lord it over me, and never tell me his whole truth.

    I love our good times, but I’m so afraid to leave because I don’t want to be alone. Everyone leaves me because I have ADHD (except very recently my little cousin) which is frustrating for others to deal with and the people who stay mistreat and betray me.

    I’m afraid if I leave, I’ll either risk getting betrayed by love again or not ever connect with someone because of how my brain chemistry is. I’d be ok alone, I know I’d survive. But i don’t know if I could be happy knowing that I’m that damn unlovable… that’s going to be hard to overcome.

    What do you think? I don’t know what to do and I’m so, so, tired of feeling disrespected, sad, and worthless.

    Thank you for reading my novel lol. And I’ll take any Help I can get!

    -E.T.

    1. E.T., thanks for sharing your story. I’m hearing that emotional safety and trust needs to be the primary focus of the work in healing this relationship. In my experience, that is accomplished by changing behaviors and really working hard to show each other that you are trustworthy and committed. Once safe behaviors are re-established, it will be really helpful to talk about the hurt and anxiety that you’ve each sustained over the course of this relationship, with the focus of fostering empathy and compassion for each other.

      I am glad that you are involved in good couples counseling with someone who is holding you both accountable to be trustworthy and emotionally safe for each other. I hope that both of your commitment to the relationship and love for each other is strong enough to help overcome some of the old patterns that are interfering with your sense of safety in this relationship.

      If there is unwillingness on either side to follow through and commit to helping each other feel safe and secure, I agree: It might be time to let go and stop trying to make this something it might not ever be. I hear that there is fear about being alone, but there is also pain about being repeatedly hurt. It might be helpful to you to get involved in some supportive, positive life coaching or personal-growth oriented therapy that can help you get clear about your values and what you want for your life — no matter what the final outcome of this relationship is.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Lisa Marie Bobby

      1. My husband and I (LGBT) have been together for 6 years. I thought everything was fine and about 6 months ago we fell into a really rough patch. He cheated. I tried to forgive but everything about him changed. I didn’t feel respected or even acknowledged anymore. I kicked him out and he was gone for two months. He is back now and we are attending marriage counseling but I don’t think we are seeing eye to eye. I have expectations of what a marriage should be and his expectations of what he wants are totally different. I’m giving him space, independence, and trying to gain understanding but I feel like it’s a losing battle. I’m giving it 110% and it feels that he’s half in and half out. He said he still talks to other people and even after expressing that it makes me uncomfortable for him to seem to be shopping around, he brushes it off. Hes mentioned being in an open relationship but doesn’t know why it’s something he wants. When do I say enough is enough and move on? I love him and want to be with him but I feel that we don’t value the same things in a relationship or even in life….

    2. We all make mistakes no one is perfect. Don’t be so hard on yourself… if you are able to come clean about something’s and get it off your chest do that and don’t expect him to do the same. You may be a better person than he is. Accept just that. More Self love and set boundaries, if those that love and care about you see that you truly love yourself and don’t allow people who overstep those boundaries. They will either love or hate you. That’s when you fall back on the haters. Remember who you are and be who you want to be. Do things that make you happy and make friends with likeminded people

  4. I’ve been with this man for 7 years, he is extremely generous with money but not with himself. He proposed 2 years ago but still no commitment. We planned to get married but he broke off the wedding the day before. We both sought counseling and decided to try it again. He has bought me literally over $100,000 worth of possession including a down payment on a beautiful new home where “ we can start a life together”. That was 2 months ago and he refuses to move in, he won’t leave his single wide trailer that is literally rotting and falling apart. It has been one excuse after another and has been for years. I have voiced my feelings and always get the same answer “soon” or “I’m sorry I’ll try harder”. I love this man with all my heart and don’t want to imagine my life without him, but at the same time I feel so alone and I’m honestly starting think things will never change, and he will never officially commit to me.

    1. Christy, I agree: What people communicate with their behaviors is much more powerful than what they communicate with their words. His behaviors are saying 1) I don’t want to live with you or marry you and the financial behaviors are saying “and I feel guilty about that?” (Just speculating).

      At any rate, 7 years is a long time to be dangling on the end of a string. You’ve been jerked around time and time again. I wonder if the best course of action here would be to stop focusing on him and trying to get him to be different, and start focusing on you: Who you are, how you got into this situation, and what you need and deserve to have in a healthy relationship going forward. If you’re not already in some supportive therapy or growth oriented coaching, you might consider it.

      You may not be able to change him Christy, but you’re the only person in charge of YOU. If you want something different, you have the power to create it.

      Respectfully,
      Lisa Marie Bobby

  5. My husband has been caught chatting to a few girls, the last one last a month before I found out. He says he stopped talking to her but always ready to freak out and throw the blame game at me for his wrong doings.. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to get over this but he just keeps throwing the negative and doesn’t want to admit to his wrong doings or stop having passwords on his phone apps. I’m starting to think this is the end and there’s nothing more for me to do but let go..

    1. Hi I have just read your article about codependents in a relationship / marriage and I have come to the realisation that I am in a codependent marriage. My husband and I have been together for 5 years and this will be our third year of marriage together as of March. For the past year or 2 my husband has been nagging me and getting frustrated with me in regards to the changes I should be making within the marriage. Every single conversation or argument we have is about how I am not doing enough to support this marriage. Every time we talk about it I get upset and very frustrated with what he is saying to me and in my heart I believe that I am changing to make this marriage a better environment for the both of us. So when I hear him talk about these things I shutdown and the conversation ends. He has told me time and time again that if I do not change this marriage is not going to work and we will need to end it. I do believe that when we do have these discussions I change in order to be a better wife and a better person in this marriage however I feel belittled every time we talk about these things. He tells me he loves me and I love him too there is no doubt in my mind where I don’t trust him when he says that but I don’t know if he believes me when I say it back. To me I think he wants to see change he doesn’t want to hear about change and I get that. He tells me change is not going to happen overnight but when I take my time he gets frustrated because it’s taking too long when I believe I’m doing what I can in the situation without feeling disheartened or frustrated at myself. He is a man of logic and reason and I am a woman of emotion and my emotions always get the better of me.

  6. My husband and I have been married for 2.5 years, together for almost ten. Throughout the years we have had normal issues that most couples have, bickering, decision-making, commitment, etc. The issues really started after we got married.

    A couple months before our wedding, he started getting close with one of his female coworkers. Started off with lunch together, going on walks during the day, then spilled over into drinks after work. He initially told me about these things and would talk about her and tell me how I would probably like her, someone I’d be friends with. But the more they started hanging out outside of work, and texting, I made it clear that it bothered me and I asked him to stop.

    Then we got married. Instead of cutting it off, he continued this friendship with her, and it seemed to get deeper and deeper. The more that went on the more I expressed that I wasn’t okay with it. This is when he would just try to hide everything from me, or lie about where he was, when he was really getting drinks with her. He insisted there was nothing going on and they were just good friends, however he never once introduced me to her. It got to a point where I was about ready to walk out the door. Each time I thought I would, I just couldn’t handle it emotionally and he would convince me that he loves me and there is nothing going on, but it would be weird if he cut it off with her because they worked together. I eventually just tried to distract myself by working more and focusing on that. Slowly it seemed like there was less going on with them, he wasn’t staying out after work, texting all the time etc. Even though we never fully addressed it, I guess you could say I let it go, and this girl eventually moved to a different city, so she was officially out of the picture.

    However, over the past year, between the issues going on with him, a lot of my friends either moved away, or started relationships and I really did have any friends left around me, and my family was halfway across the country. On top of that, my job wasn’t exactly going the way I wanted it to. I started to feel really isolated and like I just needed a change. I wanted to be closer to my friends and family to feel like I actually had a support system, especially because of everything that was going on with the husband. I started applying for jobs, getting interviews closer to home. The whole process took almost a year, but I eventually landed a new job across the country, closer to my home. I should mention he is also from where I’m from so all his friends and family were there too.

    Throughout the entire time I was job hunting, he refused to job hunt himself. He is petrified of the interview process and doesn’t know what he wants to do next in his career, so he had been putting it off. I eventually moved, while he stayed behind while he figured out his next move. It has now been 4 months since I’ve moved, and he is still hesitant to move.

    He says he’ll never get a job, no one will hire him, if he moves he’s going to feel like a loser without a job. However he has not even attempted to apply for jobs or figure out what he wants to do. He would rather stay in his dead end job, same city, same apartment forever then have to figure it out, and just hopes I’ll decide to move back. Meanwhile, I’m telling him if he doesn’t move to be with me then we can’t be together. His most common response is fine, then I guess we won’t be together. Of course hours later he’ll call me and act like everything is fine, and of course he’s going to move eventually. It is a constant rollercoaster, but each time this happens it seems more and more like he really isn’t going to move.

    Part of me doesn’t want to give up because I think he is internally conflicted about his life in general and truly has some issues with confidence and what not, but how can I stay with someone who won’t move to be with me, and make the effort, especially after everything else he has put me through. I don’t know what to do.

  7. hi,am Jay.Am in relationship with a man who happens to be the father to my 2 kids. It’s been 7yrs and counting and both parents have never met. He has his own business and am currently jobless.I feel there’s has never been respect or genuine love between us,Any time he brings up a topic of Marriage I get scared and refuse to make things serious.reasons I don’t know.I just feel like enough is enough, but I don’t know what to do since am jobless.please help.I feel so frustrated almost giving up.

    1. Been with my husband for 10 years. Beginning was great, spent a lot of time together, lots of sex and adventure, he brought me out of my shell. But as the years go on, my health has declined due to migraines, diagnosed when I was a kid, and we have sex from 1 to 4 times a month now. We both work fulltime, have 2 kids.,He seems to be very angry,depressed, anxious and claims sex is the only thing that can keep him together. He sufferes from BPD. Hes always saying I dont love him or hes worthless or I must be cheating on him when he doesnt get sex from me. This has been going on foryears, hes talked about suicide for a very long time, and always goes back to blaming the lack of sex. We are both at a breaking point like every week. We love eachother, but at this point I dont know if it’s enough. He refuses to do therapy or counseling. I’m breaking, I dunno if I can take it much longer, but I love him.

  8. Dear Dr. Lisa Marie,

    I am desperate for some guidance.. back in November 2019 I caught the father of my kids cheating with 2 women, only weeks apart.. since he got caught, other people have cane to me with other instances where he had cheated before.. we have been together 14 years..
    I just can’t get passed what he did.. I have went to numerous counselors, but as you mentioned above, they were not specialized in this type of issue so they were dead ends. He promises me that he now knows what he has to lose and is willing to do anything to make it right.. but after this, his words mean nothing to me.
    My question is, from your experience can a repeat cheater change?? How do couples get passed stuff like this?? How do you regain trust when you’ve been so deeply betrayed by the one person that was supposed to protect you from the evil in the world??

  9. I am writing this comment with tears of joy. My marriage fell apart after 6 months because my mother In-law asked my husband to divorce me and marriage the woman she betroth to him as his wife. All this drama started happening in our marriage and my husband left me and our one month baby just so he could do as his mom wants him to.

  10. I’ve been in a relationship since I was 15 and my Hugh school sweet heart and I split after 5 years and decided to go separate way when I met the guy I’m currently with 12 years later. Things have got to where the little to no communication without arguments, I also have cheated on him about 2 years ago if you wanna consider it cheating… (there’s a whole situation behind it) I decided after he forgave me that I would really try and I personally feel like I have been. I can admit fault he doesn’t find any fault usually everything is my fault. I’m dammed if I throw clothes out and damn if J don’t. My opinions don’t seem to matter and if I like something bug he feels there not value in it it’s junk to him. I’m now 32 and I’m getting older and haven’t had much time for me we hVe a bond that’s been incredibly intense and not all for good but I’m stuck in deciding what to do where to go and how to go about it. I’m 10-12 hours away from my family Nd I don’t know a bunch of people here J can trust so I’m kinda in a rock in a hard spot Any advice or questions or anything is appreciated I need direction

    1. Christina, sounds like there’s a lot of water under the bridge. Unfortunately the path to repairing this can’t be found in “relationship advice.” There are no quick fixes to repair this type of relationship damage. There are, however, excellent, evidence-based approaches to relationship coaching and couples counseling that can help both of you identify what you’re each needing in order to feel good about the relationship… and also whether you’re both willing to invest the time and energy into making it happen. This will require a process of learning, understanding and growing on both of your parts. It’s really impossible to decide what to do about a relationship when you don’t really know what is possible for it (or not). It sounds like there’s a lot of history here, and getting better information about what the path forward to repairing your bond would look like may be really helpful. This would require sitting down with a good, experienced couples counselor in order to determine the strengths and the growth opportunities, and to assess the motivation you each have towards improving the relationship. Through that process you’ll be able to determine if there is enough for you to stay and work on, or if it would be better for you to be done. Wishing you all the best, no matter which way this journey of growth carries you… LMB

  11. I’ve been with my fiancé for about to be four years in September. Where to start. Whe started dating online then after three months I moved to where he was at to be with him, I had lived there previously. Right away his ex was always present bc they had a child together but there was times where she didn’t need to be present but he wouldn’t say anything to her. I got pregnant after three months with our first baby. The pregnancy was horrible, he would hit me occasionally, he would lie to me about where he was at and what he was doing. We ended up homeless several times. After I had the baby I noticed something was off about him and asked him if he was on drugs but he would deny it, and me being his woman believed him. We were always broke and when we did finally get out own place the electric would go out, he wouldn’t pay the phone, I had to go to local organization for help with food and rent. I was so embarrassed but he didn’t care. Then I became pregnant again when our baby was only three months old. Shortly after I found out he was doing heroine. I decided that was it and was leaving him. He begged me for a second chance and we moved stayed together. He got clean but never really involved me with the money, he never told me how much we had or where it was going. We lived with multiple family members of mine. Eventually we got our own place again and I would threaten to leave bc he would not help me with our sons, then I became pregnant again! He took no interest in our sons and it hurts me to see that. He did end up working hard at his job and making good money but I told him there’s more to it than just making money. I felt like for a while he would only get near me if he wanted to have sex. And he would get very angry if I wouldn’t have sex with him, but if he told me no I had no choice but to be ok with it. Now mind you I haven’t been perfect, within the first two months of us being together in person I cheated on him three times, not actually having sex but kissing and what not. I have told him about this and he has forgiven me. He says he doesn’t hold it against me but every now and then he will call me a cheater. I haven’t cheated on him since then it’s been years now. He became an alcoholic and would spend more on beer than food for me and the kids. He would get mad at me if I spend $40 on food for the week. I literally had to plan out every meal and snack. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat so my kids could. I cry when I think about everything he’s put me through. It’s been a week since his last beer. He has decided to get healthy and work out as I have I. But he still doesn’t help me with the kids, it’s been months since he has given one of them a bath. We are about to move back to the state we used to live in and I’m pretty fed up. I love him but I’m not in love with him. He works hard and says he sorry for everything. He says when we go back he won’t let his ex be around how she used to. I believe him but it feels too late. I haven’t worked so I don’t have any money for myself. We share a car and even at that I can’t drive it bc the power steering is bad. Idk what to do. He has a Job lined up and says when we go back that I can get a job. I want to leave him and just be my own person with my kids but I’m not sure if that’s the right decision. I know he loves me bc he has changed for me but I also now that I can’t let go of the past. I’ve told him about going to a counselor but he doesn’t want to. Any one have any advice?

    1. Oh my goodness, Stacy. What a difficult situation for you. I mean, what you are describing has so many different layers of toxic, abusive, and desperate it’s hard to even know where to begin. I am glad you are poking around online looking for support and for answers, but in my professional opinion you are going to need a lot of support for yourself and your kids, and you deserve that. This is way more than just figuring out what to do about a relationship. I’m reading between the lines here that you are trying so hard to care for and protect these little babies of yours in a really bad situation, and that it feels hard to survive.

      Here are some resources to help you:

      – First, please know that if you’re in the US you can call 2-1-1 from any phone and be connected to a caseworker in your local United Way office who can help you get connected to things like food pantries, financial assistance to keep the lights on, and emergency housing support if necessary. (And more). They can also help you get connected to local social services programs and also mental health treatment. IF your partner is willing they can also help get him connected to local substance abuse treatment programs but with what you’re describing it may require the involvement of child protective services to make that happen.

      – Also, please visit https://thehotline.org which is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving people trapped in abusive relationships. You can find more information there about abusive dynamics and I think that it might be enlightening for you to see that much of what you’re describing (above and beyond being hit and lied to) including his control over whether or not you get a job, his control over finances, pressuring you into sex, and more, are really consistent with intimate partner violence. Through that organization you can connect with a trained domestic violence counselor who can help you make a safety plan for yourself and your kids, and even help you get connected to legal resources, housing resources and more.

      In addition to the other resources I shared, you might also consider just Googling “community mental health center near me” to get access to local services above and beyond therapy. Usually they have an intake line where you call and make a first appointment, and at your first visit you’ll usually also have the chance to meet with a caseworker who can do a needs assessment and help you get connected with supportive resources (food, housing, benefits, job training and placement, support groups, etc).

      I have more emergency resources on this page of our website if you’d like to check them out.

      If you’d like you can listen to a podcast I created that goes deeper into the subject of “When to Call it Quits in a Relationship” but I’d caution you against hoping that major growth and change is possible in this situation through couples counseling. A competent and ethical couples therapist would literally not work with the two of you under the current circumstances because it would not be safe for you. (Couples therapy is contraindicated when intimate partner violence and/or domestic violence is a factor).

      In your case, I’d pay more attention to the part of the podcast where I talk about what it looks like when change is probably NOT possible, and also what needs to happen when your partner has serious problems that are not being treated. Lastly, I think a lot of the info I shared about what to do in a situation where you’re trapped due to circumstances, like financial dependence, parenting, etc. is relevant for you.

      I hope that this information helps you find your way dear, but also please know that reading some articles and listening to some podcasts — while wonderful if it helps you get some direction — is not even a fraction of the support you need. Also know that you are NOT ALONE. There are so many people and organizations in your community who are ready and waiting to help you and your babies create a healthy life for yourselves and I sincerely hope that you take advantage of them.

      Wishing you all the very best….
      Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  12. I have been with my husband for 10 years total but only married for 3 years. We have a total of 4 children but 2 are our children together. I have a son from my last relationship and he has a daughter from his last. We have had a very rocky relationship for the whole 10 years. I saw red flags when I had known him for only a week such as him being very jealous and having a temper. He blamed it on his ex cheating on him so I believed that he was just traumatized from it. I also wanted to see the good in him bc I also can have a bad temper. His lies had and temper continued throughout our relationship. He started hitting me and being emotionally abusive along with it. He was also destructive to our home breaking anything in sight. He would threaten me that he would be gone for good if I ever called the police on him. I would stay bc I did have a temper on me where I would argue with him back so he would drill it in my head that I would get him to the point to where he would get so angry and hit me. I got pregnant 10 months into our relationship so I wanted it to work badly. I didn’t want to be a single mother again and with 2 children. He would argue with me then find the excuse to leave and would turn off his phone and go to his parents. I would find out once he was back that he would go to bars and try to leave with women. Supposedly he never did anything with these women but I had a feeling inside that he would and if it didn’t happen he was at least trying so it caused me to not trust him at all. He would call me crazy and so would his parents and they would literally make me feel like I was going crazy. Till this last time in December of 2019 when he left after an argument bc he felt neglected. I was working full time and going to school full time. I got into his iCloud and saw he added a girls phone number and and address. He went and slept with her after meeting her at a bar. His parents were with him when he met her. This showed me this is what he has been doing to me for 10 years. I did as well sleep with someone this last time bc at this point I got fed up and wanted him to feel what I had been feeling for 10 years. We got back together after a month and I thought I could get over it but it’s all I can think about. I have so much hate for him one but then the next we are fine. I just want to know if this can be fixed or has my relationship ran it’s course. I get depressed sometimes thinking about it bc he has made me feel so worthless but then when he’s done with that he can make me feel like he’s really sorry. He tells me this last time he learned his lesson and really wants to change. I don’t trust him or his family at all. I want nothing to do with his family anymore. Is this wrong of me?

    1. April, you are describing an abusive relationship consistent with domestic violence. It is common for victims of domestic violence to be emotionally traumatized to the point that they struggle with whether or not to leave, even when it’s really, really bad. This is really bad. I would encourage you to reach out to the trained domestic violence counselors and resources available at https://www.thehotline.org so that they can help you see this situation more clearly, make a safety plan, and ultimately, and action plan. For emergency support in your area (if you are in the US) you can also dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a caseworker at your local United Way office, who will be able to provide you with information about shelters and supports in your area. You and your children will be in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo, Dr. Lisa

  13. This was very helpful, thought I had problems but after reading I realize how great my husband is. Thank you Seriously!

  14. I need some support. I married my husband almost 8 years ago. I have 2 boys and he has 1 girl. We met and got married 3 weeks later. I know it was crazy. He scooped me up and put me and my boys on his insurance. He began telling me to not look at other people in their cars when we are driving. He was picky about what I wore. He put a tracking on my p;hone. He would get and still gets extremely anxious and irritable when we are all out together, which does not happen anymore, because he needed full control. He has angry lectures to me and my son just about daily. I love him for always being there whenever i needed him, but i cant take the verbal abuse. My son has shown signs of depression and asked me to leave him. My son is a senior and after seeing how he feels trapped when my husband lectures him, it broke my heart. I left last week and am struggling emotionally. My son and I basically did everything separately from my husband and his daughter. Now his daughter is 16 and doesnt want to come over anymore because of how uptight he is. Dinners were very uncomfortable at times. We have had good times, but the bad is definitely more dominant. I know I am code dependent as he is as well. Why do I miss him.

  15. Am Monica. I brought my story here on this blogs to testify about priest manuka how he restored peace back to my family that was on the brink of divorce. It all happened when I had a big argument with my husband few months ago I thought it was just an argument I did knew it will lead to something else, he decided not to sleep in the same room with me, he team up with his cousin sister who lives with us to chess me out of the house, I have to get an apartment over my head few days later I was served with a divorce letter from my husband, My Husband and I have our first mediation sessions which it did not goes well what left for was to sign the divorce, I was doing my best to save my marriage. The next day I was led to an email by looking up reviews on marriage mediation and how to save my home. I thank God for leading me to the site where I met a testimony about manuka temple who has done a lot of for people. I contacted manuka for urgent help to save my marriage my surprise about this priest in less than a week my went back to the court and cancel the divorce by his self and call me to come back home there’s no need for the divorce anymore. The reason am here now is to appreciate what priest manuka has done for my life with the reunion love spell he did for me. I will also his contact information here. ( lovesolutiontemple1@ gmail. com )

  16. My husband refuses to return my calls. I’m in the dark and hectold me that I not going to like it where he is living before he left on 10-2-16 and in 2016 for nine months I’m tried.

  17. Such a painful situation Vivian. I’m sorry you’re going through that. It sounds like the best thing for you right now may be to work on healing yourself and rebuilding your life. I hope you consider enlisting the support of a good breakup counselor. Have you considered scheduling a free consultation session with her? You might also look into enrolling in a supportive breakup recovery program like our online breakup recovery group that Sonya Jensen facilitates. Connecting with others and having a place to talk through your feelings and do the work of healing from such a traumatic relationship is what you deserve. Wishing you all the best… Lisa Marie Bobby

  18. my husband and i have been together for 14 years. he proposed Christmas 2017, ring was 2 sizes to big and he has had no desire to get it sized. he will complain that i don’t wear the ring, but it falls off my hand and i feel like i deserve to have a ring that fits. he says the proposal was a last stitch effort to make things better. at least 10 years have been very unhappy. seems as if we have had more downs than ups. we have 3 kids under 12 yrs old. i have left twice for a few months each time. when we get back together things are good for a week or a few weeks but then back to arguing daily over the stupidest things, not wanting to be in the same room. we haven’t even slept in the same bed for months. i was 15 when we started dating. we do not communicate. hes always negative about everything. he says that he doesn’t know how to communicate or show affection. it kills me because when we started dating i told him about my past and things i had been through, my favorite thing to do was to lay with my head on his chest and his arm around me. this was my favorite because it made me feel safe. he hasn’t let me do this in years. says i’m a “heater” i make him to hot. for me feeling safe is a huge. i feel like we are two completely different people now. i feel like we have nothing in common anymore. all these articles i read tells me i should just leave. that i made a bad decision to date him in the first place. its been 14 years and 3 kids later and i feel so empty. did i make a terrible life decision to settle with him or should i hope that one day he will actually love and respect me. i feel like if we split up i’m letting my kids down, they are my world. NEED ADVICE PLEASE.

  19. My advice is that you stop messing around reading blog posts and put your energy into marriage counseling. You’re describing a really hurtful, painful relationship that is not going to get better without intervention. You have kids, you’re fourteen years in. Get the support of a professional marriage counselor, either on our team or somewhere else. You deserve it, your kids deserve it, and this CAN turn around. I’ve seen it happen. But it will not change unless you are working with a professional who is strong enough to help you change this dynamic and start doing things differently.

    Lisa

    PS: When you are shopping for a couples counselor please be very careful to actually work with someone who has training and experience in couples therapy, specifically. Most of the people happily offering their services in this area do NOT. Look for an LMFT or an LMFT-C. Ideally, one who uses Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy or The Gottman Method of marriage counseling, both of which are evidence based forms of couples therapy that have been shown by research to work. This is important: What you’re describing sounds like a relationship on its last legs, and I’d hate for you to do “hail Mary marriage counseling” with someone who is not competent to help you, and then have it fail. Your marriage is riding on it.

  20. Who’s wrong Here? Who’s Right here? Should I try to make this work? I love us together but I don’t trust my husband and now he doesn’t trust me. What happened!?

    My husband and I have been together for 5 years and married for 3. I came into the relationship trying to work on myself and a little unsettled. I thought we could make it work. I had a strong feeling I wasn’t ready but an even stronger feeling that my husband was right for me.

    I told him I was going through a lot as far trusting in relationships, and I didn’t want a relationship unless marriage with me was something that was on the table for him.

    Him being a mental health specialist himself said he understood and that we could work through it. He just wanted me with him. While I felt uneasy about the pace of our love (moving in fully after a few weeks of knowing each other) he had a gentleness I loved and needed, and really seemed to go out of his way to help others.

    I tried to settle into our relationship, but I kept noticing the way he acted around other women. He’s always super flirty and had a tendency to use the same lines I found romantic on his friends, most of whom are female. He only has one Male Friend who has crippling low self esteem.

    I’m not sure how important that is when it comes to a friend’s gender. He says it’s because he was mostly raised around women which is mostly true but he never seems to desire to make the connection with other men.

    Any way, since we’ve been together he’s always had this very flirty way with women since we’ve been together. Leaving hearts on pictures and saying he wanted to be the object of another woman’s sex dreams.

    Each time I would talk to him about it, he’d be outraged for a few years at me. The first time I admitted to going through his computer he raged at me and didn’t talk warmly to me for an entire month. He didn’t come around until I stopped sleeping in the bed with him.

    Coming from an engagement that ended in infidelity before him, I told him how much it bothered me. Each time he promised not to flirt, he kept going back to it. There was a particularly bad online affair I caught him in where they exchanged highly explicit messages. He called this woman a few times and he would even vent his frustrations to her. This was a result of me wanting to explore our relationship sexually. I wanted to impress him, but I thought he would keep me in the loop. He doesn’t consider this infidelity because I agreed to give him a chance and call it a misunderstanding so that he felt heard and had a fair shake.

    It’s always like this with him when it comes to the things I know and can’t prove. He will lie, insistently, to my face, and when I catch him not apologize, make it my fault, or minimize his fault in it. When I agree to try to work through it, he holds me making it ok against me.

    He even blamed me for making him end one of his inappropriate friend ships.

    I admitted two days ago that I went to beer with a guy I met online because I felt unattractive. I told him this along with a lot of other very private things in hopes that maybe if I was more vulnerable he might feel comfortable to come clean too. The beer date hugged me on the waist at most. I didn’t kiss him or have sex or anything like that. I just wanted to feel attractive again.

    I wanted him to come clean because his bahvior has not only gone back to flirting, but he’s been secretive, and I discovered he was snooping in my phone and has been for a while. He won’t even come clean about that because of how he reacted when I came clean about when I did it in the past.

    His response was that I was a cheater. I’m trying to make excuses for my cheating, and I’m trying to make him wrong for the things he did in the past. The eerie thing about him saying I’m a cheater is how calm he is. He’s always more calm when I put my ugly out there. It’s so strange. But I’m strange too so I never held it against him.

    Also! We have gone to therapy. We went consistently for about 6 months. Each time we went, the therapist seemed harder on him than on me. Maybe because he’s a fellow therapist? But it was the only way he would make convincing promises to change and do better. To give him credit he really did better for a while. I felt heard and respected in our conversations. We even managed to have a lot of fun!

    While our marriage has its issues, and has gotten better in many aspects, I still don’t feel like he’s telling me everything and I never consistently feel like I can trust him because he keeps doing things to break the trust that I keep trying to give him.

    Giving him secrets and truths that most couples take to the grave, I thought it would make him feel safe enough to open up to me. Instead he’s going to lord it over me, and never tell me his whole truth.

    I love our good times, but I’m so afraid to leave because I don’t want to be alone. Everyone leaves me because I have ADHD (except very recently my little cousin) which is frustrating for others to deal with and the people who stay mistreat and betray me.

    I’m afraid if I leave, I’ll either risk getting betrayed by love again or not ever connect with someone because of how my brain chemistry is. I’d be ok alone, I know I’d survive. But i don’t know if I could be happy knowing that I’m that damn unlovable… that’s going to be hard to overcome.

    What do you think? I don’t know what to do and I’m so, so, tired of feeling disrespected, sad, and worthless.

    Thank you for reading my novel lol. And I’ll take any Help I can get!

    -E.T.

  21. I’ve been with this man for 7 years, he is extremely generous with money but not with himself. He proposed 2 years ago but still no commitment. We planned to get married but he broke off the wedding the day before. We both sought counseling and decided to try it again. He has bought me literally over $100,000 worth of possession including a down payment on a beautiful new home where “ we can start a life together”. That was 2 months ago and he refuses to move in, he won’t leave his single wide trailer that is literally rotting and falling apart. It has been one excuse after another and has been for years. I have voiced my feelings and always get the same answer “soon” or “I’m sorry I’ll try harder”. I love this man with all my heart and don’t want to imagine my life without him, but at the same time I feel so alone and I’m honestly starting think things will never change, and he will never officially commit to me.

  22. Christy, I agree: What people communicate with their behaviors is much more powerful than what they communicate with their words. His behaviors are saying 1) I don’t want to live with you or marry you and the financial behaviors are saying “and I feel guilty about that?” (Just speculating).

    At any rate, 7 years is a long time to be dangling on the end of a string. You’ve been jerked around time and time again. I wonder if the best course of action here would be to stop focusing on him and trying to get him to be different, and start focusing on you: Who you are, how you got into this situation, and what you need and deserve to have in a healthy relationship going forward. If you’re not already in some supportive therapy or growth oriented coaching, you might consider it.

    You may not be able to change him Christy, but you’re the only person in charge of YOU. If you want something different, you have the power to create it.

    Respectfully,
    Lisa Marie Bobby

  23. My husband has been caught chatting to a few girls, the last one last a month before I found out. He says he stopped talking to her but always ready to freak out and throw the blame game at me for his wrong doings.. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to get over this but he just keeps throwing the negative and doesn’t want to admit to his wrong doings or stop having passwords on his phone apps. I’m starting to think this is the end and there’s nothing more for me to do but let go..

  24. E.T., thanks for sharing your story. I’m hearing that emotional safety and trust needs to be the primary focus of the work in healing this relationship. In my experience, that is accomplished by changing behaviors and really working hard to show each other that you are trustworthy and committed. Once safe behaviors are re-established, it will be really helpful to talk about the hurt and anxiety that you’ve each sustained over the course of this relationship, with the focus of fostering empathy and compassion for each other.

    I am glad that you are involved in good couples counseling with someone who is holding you both accountable to be trustworthy and emotionally safe for each other. I hope that both of your commitment to the relationship and love for each other is strong enough to help overcome some of the old patterns that are interfering with your sense of safety in this relationship.

    If there is unwillingness on either side to follow through and commit to helping each other feel safe and secure, I agree: It might be time to let go and stop trying to make this something it might not ever be. I hear that there is fear about being alone, but there is also pain about being repeatedly hurt. It might be helpful to you to get involved in some supportive, positive life coaching or personal-growth oriented therapy that can help you get clear about your values and what you want for your life — no matter what the final outcome of this relationship is.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Lisa Marie Bobby

  25. I can understand why this would be feeling really hard, and honestly, toxic. Have you attempted any type of evidence based marriage counseling?

  26. My husband and I have been married for 2.5 years, together for almost ten. Throughout the years we have had normal issues that most couples have, bickering, decision-making, commitment, etc. The issues really started after we got married.

    A couple months before our wedding, he started getting close with one of his female coworkers. Started off with lunch together, going on walks during the day, then spilled over into drinks after work. He initially told me about these things and would talk about her and tell me how I would probably like her, someone I’d be friends with. But the more they started hanging out outside of work, and texting, I made it clear that it bothered me and I asked him to stop.

    Then we got married. Instead of cutting it off, he continued this friendship with her, and it seemed to get deeper and deeper. The more that went on the more I expressed that I wasn’t okay with it. This is when he would just try to hide everything from me, or lie about where he was, when he was really getting drinks with her. He insisted there was nothing going on and they were just good friends, however he never once introduced me to her. It got to a point where I was about ready to walk out the door. Each time I thought I would, I just couldn’t handle it emotionally and he would convince me that he loves me and there is nothing going on, but it would be weird if he cut it off with her because they worked together. I eventually just tried to distract myself by working more and focusing on that. Slowly it seemed like there was less going on with them, he wasn’t staying out after work, texting all the time etc. Even though we never fully addressed it, I guess you could say I let it go, and this girl eventually moved to a different city, so she was officially out of the picture.

    However, over the past year, between the issues going on with him, a lot of my friends either moved away, or started relationships and I really did have any friends left around me, and my family was halfway across the country. On top of that, my job wasn’t exactly going the way I wanted it to. I started to feel really isolated and like I just needed a change. I wanted to be closer to my friends and family to feel like I actually had a support system, especially because of everything that was going on with the husband. I started applying for jobs, getting interviews closer to home. The whole process took almost a year, but I eventually landed a new job across the country, closer to my home. I should mention he is also from where I’m from so all his friends and family were there too.

    Throughout the entire time I was job hunting, he refused to job hunt himself. He is petrified of the interview process and doesn’t know what he wants to do next in his career, so he had been putting it off. I eventually moved, while he stayed behind while he figured out his next move. It has now been 4 months since I’ve moved, and he is still hesitant to move.

    He says he’ll never get a job, no one will hire him, if he moves he’s going to feel like a loser without a job. However he has not even attempted to apply for jobs or figure out what he wants to do. He would rather stay in his dead end job, same city, same apartment forever then have to figure it out, and just hopes I’ll decide to move back. Meanwhile, I’m telling him if he doesn’t move to be with me then we can’t be together. His most common response is fine, then I guess we won’t be together. Of course hours later he’ll call me and act like everything is fine, and of course he’s going to move eventually. It is a constant rollercoaster, but each time this happens it seems more and more like he really isn’t going to move.

    Part of me doesn’t want to give up because I think he is internally conflicted about his life in general and truly has some issues with confidence and what not, but how can I stay with someone who won’t move to be with me, and make the effort, especially after everything else he has put me through. I don’t know what to do.

  27. My husband and I (LGBT) have been together for 6 years. I thought everything was fine and about 6 months ago we fell into a really rough patch. He cheated. I tried to forgive but everything about him changed. I didn’t feel respected or even acknowledged anymore. I kicked him out and he was gone for two months. He is back now and we are attending marriage counseling but I don’t think we are seeing eye to eye. I have expectations of what a marriage should be and his expectations of what he wants are totally different. I’m giving him space, independence, and trying to gain understanding but I feel like it’s a losing battle. I’m giving it 110% and it feels that he’s half in and half out. He said he still talks to other people and even after expressing that it makes me uncomfortable for him to seem to be shopping around, he brushes it off. Hes mentioned being in an open relationship but doesn’t know why it’s something he wants. When do I say enough is enough and move on? I love him and want to be with him but I feel that we don’t value the same things in a relationship or even in life….

  28. hi,am Jay.Am in relationship with a man who happens to be the father to my 2 kids. It’s been 7yrs and counting and both parents have never met. He has his own business and am currently jobless.I feel there’s has never been respect or genuine love between us,Any time he brings up a topic of Marriage I get scared and refuse to make things serious.reasons I don’t know.I just feel like enough is enough, but I don’t know what to do since am jobless.please help.I feel so frustrated almost giving up.

  29. Dear Dr. Lisa Marie,

    I am desperate for some guidance.. back in November 2019 I caught the father of my kids cheating with 2 women, only weeks apart.. since he got caught, other people have cane to me with other instances where he had cheated before.. we have been together 14 years..
    I just can’t get passed what he did.. I have went to numerous counselors, but as you mentioned above, they were not specialized in this type of issue so they were dead ends. He promises me that he now knows what he has to lose and is willing to do anything to make it right.. but after this, his words mean nothing to me.
    My question is, from your experience can a repeat cheater change?? How do couples get passed stuff like this?? How do you regain trust when you’ve been so deeply betrayed by the one person that was supposed to protect you from the evil in the world??

  30. Hi I have just read your article about codependents in a relationship / marriage and I have come to the realisation that I am in a codependent marriage. My husband and I have been together for 5 years and this will be our third year of marriage together as of March. For the past year or 2 my husband has been nagging me and getting frustrated with me in regards to the changes I should be making within the marriage. Every single conversation or argument we have is about how I am not doing enough to support this marriage. Every time we talk about it I get upset and very frustrated with what he is saying to me and in my heart I believe that I am changing to make this marriage a better environment for the both of us. So when I hear him talk about these things I shutdown and the conversation ends. He has told me time and time again that if I do not change this marriage is not going to work and we will need to end it. I do believe that when we do have these discussions I change in order to be a better wife and a better person in this marriage however I feel belittled every time we talk about these things. He tells me he loves me and I love him too there is no doubt in my mind where I don’t trust him when he says that but I don’t know if he believes me when I say it back. To me I think he wants to see change he doesn’t want to hear about change and I get that. He tells me change is not going to happen overnight but when I take my time he gets frustrated because it’s taking too long when I believe I’m doing what I can in the situation without feeling disheartened or frustrated at myself. He is a man of logic and reason and I am a woman of emotion and my emotions always get the better of me.

  31. Been with my husband for 10 years. Beginning was great, spent a lot of time together, lots of sex and adventure, he brought me out of my shell. But as the years go on, my health has declined due to migraines, diagnosed when I was a kid, and we have sex from 1 to 4 times a month now. We both work fulltime, have 2 kids.,He seems to be very angry,depressed, anxious and claims sex is the only thing that can keep him together. He sufferes from BPD. Hes always saying I dont love him or hes worthless or I must be cheating on him when he doesnt get sex from me. This has been going on foryears, hes talked about suicide for a very long time, and always goes back to blaming the lack of sex. We are both at a breaking point like every week. We love eachother, but at this point I dont know if it’s enough. He refuses to do therapy or counseling. I’m breaking, I dunno if I can take it much longer, but I love him.

  32. I am writing this comment with tears of joy. My marriage fell apart after 6 months because my mother In-law asked my husband to divorce me and marriage the woman she betroth to him as his wife. All this drama started happening in our marriage and my husband left me and our one month baby just so he could do as his mom wants him to.

  33. I’ve been in a relationship since I was 15 and my Hugh school sweet heart and I split after 5 years and decided to go separate way when I met the guy I’m currently with 12 years later. Things have got to where the little to no communication without arguments, I also have cheated on him about 2 years ago if you wanna consider it cheating… (there’s a whole situation behind it) I decided after he forgave me that I would really try and I personally feel like I have been. I can admit fault he doesn’t find any fault usually everything is my fault. I’m dammed if I throw clothes out and damn if J don’t. My opinions don’t seem to matter and if I like something bug he feels there not value in it it’s junk to him. I’m now 32 and I’m getting older and haven’t had much time for me we hVe a bond that’s been incredibly intense and not all for good but I’m stuck in deciding what to do where to go and how to go about it. I’m 10-12 hours away from my family Nd I don’t know a bunch of people here J can trust so I’m kinda in a rock in a hard spot Any advice or questions or anything is appreciated I need direction

  34. I’ve been with my fiancé for about to be four years in September. Where to start. Whe started dating online then after three months I moved to where he was at to be with him, I had lived there previously. Right away his ex was always present bc they had a child together but there was times where she didn’t need to be present but he wouldn’t say anything to her. I got pregnant after three months with our first baby. The pregnancy was horrible, he would hit me occasionally, he would lie to me about where he was at and what he was doing. We ended up homeless several times. After I had the baby I noticed something was off about him and asked him if he was on drugs but he would deny it, and me being his woman believed him. We were always broke and when we did finally get out own place the electric would go out, he wouldn’t pay the phone, I had to go to local organization for help with food and rent. I was so embarrassed but he didn’t care. Then I became pregnant again when our baby was only three months old. Shortly after I found out he was doing heroine. I decided that was it and was leaving him. He begged me for a second chance and we moved stayed together. He got clean but never really involved me with the money, he never told me how much we had or where it was going. We lived with multiple family members of mine. Eventually we got our own place again and I would threaten to leave bc he would not help me with our sons, then I became pregnant again! He took no interest in our sons and it hurts me to see that. He did end up working hard at his job and making good money but I told him there’s more to it than just making money. I felt like for a while he would only get near me if he wanted to have sex. And he would get very angry if I wouldn’t have sex with him, but if he told me no I had no choice but to be ok with it. Now mind you I haven’t been perfect, within the first two months of us being together in person I cheated on him three times, not actually having sex but kissing and what not. I have told him about this and he has forgiven me. He says he doesn’t hold it against me but every now and then he will call me a cheater. I haven’t cheated on him since then it’s been years now. He became an alcoholic and would spend more on beer than food for me and the kids. He would get mad at me if I spend $40 on food for the week. I literally had to plan out every meal and snack. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat so my kids could. I cry when I think about everything he’s put me through. It’s been a week since his last beer. He has decided to get healthy and work out as I have I. But he still doesn’t help me with the kids, it’s been months since he has given one of them a bath. We are about to move back to the state we used to live in and I’m pretty fed up. I love him but I’m not in love with him. He works hard and says he sorry for everything. He says when we go back he won’t let his ex be around how she used to. I believe him but it feels too late. I haven’t worked so I don’t have any money for myself. We share a car and even at that I can’t drive it bc the power steering is bad. Idk what to do. He has a Job lined up and says when we go back that I can get a job. I want to leave him and just be my own person with my kids but I’m not sure if that’s the right decision. I know he loves me bc he has changed for me but I also now that I can’t let go of the past. I’ve told him about going to a counselor but he doesn’t want to. Any one have any advice?

  35. Christina, sounds like there’s a lot of water under the bridge. Unfortunately the path to repairing this can’t be found in “relationship advice.” There are no quick fixes to repair this type of relationship damage. There are, however, excellent, evidence-based approaches to relationship coaching and couples counseling that can help both of you identify what you’re each needing in order to feel good about the relationship… and also whether you’re both willing to invest the time and energy into making it happen. This will require a process of learning, understanding and growing on both of your parts. It’s really impossible to decide what to do about a relationship when you don’t really know what is possible for it (or not). It sounds like there’s a lot of history here, and getting better information about what the path forward to repairing your bond would look like may be really helpful. This would require sitting down with a good, experienced couples counselor in order to determine the strengths and the growth opportunities, and to assess the motivation you each have towards improving the relationship. Through that process you’ll be able to determine if there is enough for you to stay and work on, or if it would be better for you to be done. Wishing you all the best, no matter which way this journey of growth carries you… LMB

  36. I have been with my husband for 10 years total but only married for 3 years. We have a total of 4 children but 2 are our children together. I have a son from my last relationship and he has a daughter from his last. We have had a very rocky relationship for the whole 10 years. I saw red flags when I had known him for only a week such as him being very jealous and having a temper. He blamed it on his ex cheating on him so I believed that he was just traumatized from it. I also wanted to see the good in him bc I also can have a bad temper. His lies had and temper continued throughout our relationship. He started hitting me and being emotionally abusive along with it. He was also destructive to our home breaking anything in sight. He would threaten me that he would be gone for good if I ever called the police on him. I would stay bc I did have a temper on me where I would argue with him back so he would drill it in my head that I would get him to the point to where he would get so angry and hit me. I got pregnant 10 months into our relationship so I wanted it to work badly. I didn’t want to be a single mother again and with 2 children. He would argue with me then find the excuse to leave and would turn off his phone and go to his parents. I would find out once he was back that he would go to bars and try to leave with women. Supposedly he never did anything with these women but I had a feeling inside that he would and if it didn’t happen he was at least trying so it caused me to not trust him at all. He would call me crazy and so would his parents and they would literally make me feel like I was going crazy. Till this last time in December of 2019 when he left after an argument bc he felt neglected. I was working full time and going to school full time. I got into his iCloud and saw he added a girls phone number and and address. He went and slept with her after meeting her at a bar. His parents were with him when he met her. This showed me this is what he has been doing to me for 10 years. I did as well sleep with someone this last time bc at this point I got fed up and wanted him to feel what I had been feeling for 10 years. We got back together after a month and I thought I could get over it but it’s all I can think about. I have so much hate for him one but then the next we are fine. I just want to know if this can be fixed or has my relationship ran it’s course. I get depressed sometimes thinking about it bc he has made me feel so worthless but then when he’s done with that he can make me feel like he’s really sorry. He tells me this last time he learned his lesson and really wants to change. I don’t trust him or his family at all. I want nothing to do with his family anymore. Is this wrong of me?

  37. April, you are describing an abusive relationship consistent with domestic violence. It is common for victims of domestic violence to be emotionally traumatized to the point that they struggle with whether or not to leave, even when it’s really, really bad. This is really bad. I would encourage you to reach out to the trained domestic violence counselors and resources available at https://www.thehotline.org so that they can help you see this situation more clearly, make a safety plan, and ultimately, and action plan. For emergency support in your area (if you are in the US) you can also dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a caseworker at your local United Way office, who will be able to provide you with information about shelters and supports in your area. You and your children will be in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo, Dr. Lisa

  38. Oh my goodness, Stacy. What a difficult situation for you. I mean, what you are describing has so many different layers of toxic, abusive, and desperate it’s hard to even know where to begin. I am glad you are poking around online looking for support and for answers, but in my professional opinion you are going to need a lot of support for yourself and your kids, and you deserve that. This is way more than just figuring out what to do about a relationship. I’m reading between the lines here that you are trying so hard to care for and protect these little babies of yours in a really bad situation, and that it feels hard to survive.

    Here are some resources to help you:

    – First, please know that if you’re in the US you can call 2-1-1 from any phone and be connected to a caseworker in your local United Way office who can help you get connected to things like food pantries, financial assistance to keep the lights on, and emergency housing support if necessary. (And more). They can also help you get connected to local social services programs and also mental health treatment. IF your partner is willing they can also help get him connected to local substance abuse treatment programs but with what you’re describing it may require the involvement of child protective services to make that happen.

    – Also, please visit https://thehotline.org which is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving people trapped in abusive relationships. You can find more information there about abusive dynamics and I think that it might be enlightening for you to see that much of what you’re describing (above and beyond being hit and lied to) including his control over whether or not you get a job, his control over finances, pressuring you into sex, and more, are really consistent with intimate partner violence. Through that organization you can connect with a trained domestic violence counselor who can help you make a safety plan for yourself and your kids, and even help you get connected to legal resources, housing resources and more.

    In addition to the other resources I shared, you might also consider just Googling “community mental health center near me” to get access to local services above and beyond therapy. Usually they have an intake line where you call and make a first appointment, and at your first visit you’ll usually also have the chance to meet with a caseworker who can do a needs assessment and help you get connected with supportive resources (food, housing, benefits, job training and placement, support groups, etc).

    I have more emergency resources on this page of our website if you’d like to check them out.

    If you’d like you can listen to a podcast I created that goes deeper into the subject of “When to Call it Quits in a Relationship” but I’d caution you against hoping that major growth and change is possible in this situation through couples counseling. A competent and ethical couples therapist would literally not work with the two of you under the current circumstances because it would not be safe for you. (Couples therapy is contraindicated when intimate partner violence and/or domestic violence is a factor).

    In your case, I’d pay more attention to the part of the podcast where I talk about what it looks like when change is probably NOT possible, and also what needs to happen when your partner has serious problems that are not being treated. Lastly, I think a lot of the info I shared about what to do in a situation where you’re trapped due to circumstances, like financial dependence, parenting, etc. is relevant for you.

    I hope that this information helps you find your way dear, but also please know that reading some articles and listening to some podcasts — while wonderful if it helps you get some direction — is not even a fraction of the support you need. Also know that you are NOT ALONE. There are so many people and organizations in your community who are ready and waiting to help you and your babies create a healthy life for yourselves and I sincerely hope that you take advantage of them.

    Wishing you all the very best….
    Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  39. We all make mistakes no one is perfect. Don’t be so hard on yourself… if you are able to come clean about something’s and get it off your chest do that and don’t expect him to do the same. You may be a better person than he is. Accept just that. More Self love and set boundaries, if those that love and care about you see that you truly love yourself and don’t allow people who overstep those boundaries. They will either love or hate you. That’s when you fall back on the haters. Remember who you are and be who you want to be. Do things that make you happy and make friends with likeminded people

  40. My husband doesn’t want the grandkids to come over or spend a night. We have 3 grandchildren newborn and twins 4. It’s always mood swings and cause us to argue when I ask can they come over. I don’t ask can they come over for months at a time to keep peace between me and him. It hurts I can’t bond with them at our house while they are little. I’m not happy in this marriage he’s selfish. He don’t have no interest in bonding with them. What do I do it’s pretty much that’s why He said he’s not buying us a house cause don’t want them to ever spend a night. My husband also doesn’t treat me as one flesh one body as wife. We been married 2 years together 5. He still treat as a girlfriend. I don’t know nothing financially about him. He still got his sister handling all his life insurance everything. He even sold his house to his sister without telling me. He didn’t look at it that it can benefit our future. It’s always his not ours. It hurts to feel like a girlfriend. I even ask him why did even marry someone who have 2 grown children. When He knew one-day it will be grandkids and don’t want them over. This his first marriage and mines. He refuse counseling. Any advice it’s tough

  41. Natasha, this sounds like a really difficult situation and you have every right in the world to feel upset. Anyone in your situation would be wondering if this is a sustainable relationship. Have you had the chance to listen to my recent, “When To Call it Quits In a Relationship” podcast episode? In it I go into more detail about things you can do to find out whether or not growth is possible (and what to do if it isn’t). Here’s the link to it on Spotify and on Apple Podcast App too. I hope you check it out.

    Wishing you all the best dear,
    Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  42. This was very helpful, thought I had problems but after reading I realize how great my husband is. Thank you Seriously!

  43. If you don’t change he never will . You need to get professional help. It will help you to love yourself & respect and then you will know what to do . With guidance & support you will move forward. You unhappy that means your children are not growing in a healthy family. Find help foe you and your children .
    Respectful/ will pray that Gods help you Ans guide you !

  44. My boyfriend called off the wedding tonight. He had couple of drinks and he started talking about is not fair for him to marry me when I have been married before and had kids with my ex husband. I have no close family or place of my own. We have been together for 11 years, he cheated on me (one night atand) a year after we moved in together and had a child. I love him very much and decided to forgive him and move on. 7 years later we planned to get marry, i already bought my dress and we went yesterday for a tour at the venue we liked. Im so crushed, I feel so lonely and worried about what to do next. The only person that had my back was my mother and she just passed. Im not sure what to do or how to handle the situation

  45. Need help !! I feel like if it weren’t for our “bedroom time” we would have nothing we constantly fight have ALOT of stress in our lives. Trust has always been an issue I can’t trust him after numerous occasions of him talking to women online.. we have talked about separating several times in the last year, we can’t go anywhere without fighting. We are so close to calling it quits but neither of us can pull the trigger on separating.

  46. So? Is it time? My wife and have been married for 30 years. For most of that time I have been a typical male. I knew what I wanted, and expected it to appear at my feet like magic. I didn’t really know why I wanted what I wanted, and I didn’t really know why I needed what I needed, but over the past 5 years or so I’ve learned. Our marriage has always been fairly one-sided with respect to sex. In my younger days I wanted it almost daily, and would have been very happy to have had sex daily with my wife. Let’s assume that’s not realistic, LOL. I would say you could refer to our activity on a “monthly” basis. I learned to live with it. I mean, this is a partnership and just because I want it all the time only proves I’m male, right? Well, not so right as I’ve come to learn – late, but finally. And I’ve also learned how to communicate. Truth is, it is much less about sex and almost completely about my need for physical affection from someone I’m emotionally connected to. That’s absolutely what I need. The problem is, my wife does not. She doesn’t enjoy physical contact very much at all and as a result, doesn’t provide it as a means of showing love. I, on the other hand, have come to understand that physical touch is really the only way to show me you love me if you want me to “feel” loved. I know, logically, and intellectually that she loves me. She tells me she loves me, how much she appreciates me (I feel I do a lot for her and I’ve really made efforts to find out what makes her “feel” loved and try to provide that constantly), but she’s only touched me once (intimately) in the past 6 weeks and I can’t remember the last session of oral (maybe 8 or 9 weeks ago). This touching doesn’t have to end up as sex, I just need the touch. She’s entering menopause now (she thinks) and didn’t have a great libido to begin with (as stated above) and want’s to write it off as “she’s rarely, if ever, in the mood. If I were to push the issue and request services, I have no doubt she would comply. As a matter of fact, she would prefer I do just that – tell her what I want when I want it. She doesn’t understand that it would be the same as her having to tell me to tell her I love her – Wife: “Tell me you love me.”. Me: “I love you.” Would that make her feel loved? Of course not. And yes, we’ve talked about this several times now. It was painful and awkward the first time. I felt weak and vulnerable, but I tried to evolve and communicate. What now? Is it time to just say we’re done? There’s no animosity between us at all. I’m just not being made to feel loved. I’m not “happy”, but not unhappy. I am somewhat depressed by it. And it is on my mind constantly and interfering with work. If I try to talk about it again she will (again) become defensive, cry and state she’s has once again disappointed me, and then this will somehow circle back around to being my fault.

  47. Sounds like my husband, 34 yrs here & I left him 3 months ago, still trying to work it out but more & more I feel like I don’t like him, I love him but not in love anymore.

  48. Same here, husband blamed me for his cheating because I wasn’t providing enough for him.
    Always suspecting me cheating on him.

  49. I just need some help, someone to talk to about this issue and maybe I do need to schedule a consultation I’m just not even sure it’s worth wasting more time and energy, oh and money. My fiance and I got pregnant the first month we met, there was so many sparks and passions and it’s been roughy the pass 6 years don’t get me wrong, but I never thought I would feel like this. There is no passion in our sex anymore, he make me feel like it’s a chore for my to please me orally and it’s causing a lot of frustration and problems. Now we had issues in the past that was taken care of by him going to see a specialist and getting on testosterone . But it’s been another year now since then. I am so angry all the time, I refuse to have to pleasure myself daily, because what is the point in being engaged and having a so-called partner that can’t do this primal job?

  50. I’ve been married for 22 years. Over the years I’ve worked odd hours. Or I go hunting and have to get up extremely early to leave. But anyway I have sent my wife a sexy text or say something like I need to kiss your sweet lips tonight. Of course she responds with a oh my . She works from home. I’ll get home from work and she will still be in her pajamas. So basically not showered for 2 days. I’ve gone to the store to get something for dinner, fix it put away the leftovers and it’s like 9pm I’m leaving at 3 am and I ask her are you not going to take a shower ? She will say ya I will in a bit. She knows I’m leaving at 3 am. I remind her that I am leaving early . she’s like I want to see this show. I said it won’t be over till 10/11 pm and then by the time you shower it’s like 11:30 I am leaving at 3 I need to sleep. I told you I want to make out with you this morning you couldn’t have showered while I was at the store or fixing dinner. She said she was busy I was like you were playing candy crush on your phone !! This isn’t the first time this has happened. She rolls her eyes and throws it in my face that we have sex more then other couples. And it’s not going to hurt me to wait another day. Am I wrong for being upset? I’m tired of it always has to be convenient for her. I’m always very considerate during sex. I make sure she is taken care of. I want to be like you want to compare to other couples I’ll act like other guys. I’ll get mine and be like thanks. Idk sorry for venting. I’m just sick of it. She’s been super lazy for the last year or so, gained a bunch of weight, found out she has diabetes. I asked her if she has been taking her medicine and she said no cvs hasn’t refilled it. It’s been a week. I’m like WTF call them she said I have they didn’t answer so I got dressed and went there and got it filled. I don’t want to throw 22 years down the drain but I’m serious sick of it.

  51. I finally spoke to my wife about divorce. I let it all out. The bag on my shoulders is much less heavy; weighed down on me for over a year. She convinced me to try to make it work for minimum 1 year. I agreed. Problem is, even though I said yes and that I’d get counselor, I really have no desire to make it work or put in the effort.
    I made a “pros & cons” list, except labels “love & don’t love” the live side was immensely shorter. Too 3 on love is “mother of my daughter, loves me, wants to make effort.” The top three on don’t love are: “doesn’t like deep conversation, no sexual chemistry, no intimacy, doesn’t trust my fidelity.”
    Ok that’s 4 but figure it’s a big one. I did have the self-realization that I am afraid of confrontation (not one to break up with past girlfriends and I have avoided fist fights my whole life). I think that is why I agreed to counseling. Is it wrong for me to not want to fix things? Is it wrong that I said I would but backing up now? Should I at least give the appearance of effort?

  52. Both my wife and I have health problems, mainly our backs. I do most of the chores while she plays games on her phone. She won’t do anything until those games are finished. If then. I have expressed my frustrations to no avail. Is it time to end the marriage before I lose the rest of my health and sanity? We have been married for 32 years.

  53. I’m not happy with my wife because we never are intimate unless she wants it. I never know what is going on until the last minute and it’s always about whoever she friends with now. I really don’t know who she is friends with but she has to know all my friends. All of a sudden coming in at 6 am in the morning, everything has changed all of a sudden.

  54. Need advice
    My marriage of almost 3 years and being together for 3 years is falling apart. My wife would post everyday on Facebook what a great guy I was and didn’t know how he put up with me. In November she said we needed to talk the communication was down and intimacy was down. She shut down after that
    She Said she wasn’t gonna spoon feed me the answers to our relationship. She wouldn’t talk to me for a week . After a week of me pushing and her saying she needed some space we got into one of the first arguments in our marriage. Sge was snapchating a guy at her work over and over. I questioned it after her daughter came to me and told me about it. Then I sW where they talked 3 hours on the phone after a argument late one evening. She said it was work related at 10 at Night. She left and moved out said she wanted a divorce. Two days later she said she wanted to split everything and for me to release her phone so she can get her own plan that was December 10. As of today May 14 she hasn’t filed she hasn’t removed her phones. She won’t sit and talk with me at all. She’s blocked me on everything. She messaged 2 weeks ago saying she was gonna file on Friday and send me papers and as of today nothing. I’m exhausted I’m drained I feel like I’ve tried everything and I’m getting absolutely nothing on her end. Please help with some advice

  55. Hi,

    My husband and I have been together for 14 years, we have two
    Kids 9 and 12, I’m
    Going through some mental issues and my mood has been up and down. I feel as if our relationship is dying, because I no longer have the energy to fight for us , we are on autopilot and we are more like a roommates than a couple. I hurt because i don’t want to hurt my kids by separating, but I just can’t do this, I have no more fight me. I’m also having issues with Not having sexual desires, not sure if that has to
    Do with my meds or the fact that I hate my body and I no longer feel sexy, I’m just so lost I don’t want him to fix me, just want him to put a little
    More effort in this relationship, he always tells me I know I need to do
    More but I just don’t know what, I can’t direct him anymore , just feel
    Like after 14 years together he would know.

    Please tell me if I’m wrong and I should just stop complaining and just make it work.

  56. My husband and I have been married two years but together four, I’ve known him awhile. I was married before so I have two kids from another marriage and one with him. We aren’t on the same page with parenting. We seem to million miles apart on some things. We do have a lot on common, but he has a hard time holding down a job so I’m the primary bread winner, he uses his disability from the army as a crutch for a excuse why he can’t hold down a job. I try to talk to him and reassure him that I’m not like women in his past and I don’t cheat. I am a hard working mom that does everything for her kids. And explain to him we are in this together. He does a gambling problem and blames it on his ptsd. It seems like no matter how positive I try to be he always finds the negative in everything. He gets upset that my teenage daughter has to be told to do things and gives attitude. I explain that she is a teenager and it may not be right but we live in a different time now and how we were raised isn’t how we should do it. There is just so much negativity from him. No matter how much I try nothing ever helps. He is only happy when we have our two year old that we have together and if things are going his way. If things aren’t going his way he throws a fit like a child. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve asked about counseling and he says we don’t have the money for it and he doesn’t want yo be put on meds but tells me to find someone. Sometimes it feels like nothing would happen if I didn’t do it. When I try to tell him my feelings he says “ everything is always his fault like usual” or if I’m so unhappy why do I stay. I need direction. I feel lost. I can’t even go out with my kids or even myself without him constantly bugging me making me feel bad because he isn’t there. Then when k try to explain the way I feel he just says it wasn’t his intentions. Please help

  57. There’s many things me and my wife try to work out, but there’s some things she refuses to work on and change, and those things are crippling my marriage and I don’t know how much longer I can last before I just let this marriage go. My marriage feels poisoness to be I at times and there’s to much blaming going on. What do I do at this point?.

  58. My husband and I have Been together for 10 years, we have 2 wonderful children and we love our family. However the last few months have been very difficult. Arguing more than usual, he seems irritated always, nothing I do is right. We argue one day and it blows up and he finally says he’s not in love with me anymore. He still loves me, but just isn’t in love with me. Comes to me as a shocker since the week before he was wanting to try for baby number 3 and I asked him to wait a year so I can Plan accordingly. Now one fight causes him to doubt everything? He says I have No motivation, I have Gained weight and is no longer attracted to me. I suffer From depression since before he met me and it was never an issue. I am Medicated and I have Had a child since we married, weight gain happens. I’m working a full time job, I take Care of my children full time and keep a clean house, I dont Know how much more motivated he wants me to be. He stopped saying he loved me for a few days and was very distant. I requested we see a counselor and he was hesitant at first because “he doesn’t have a problem” and I’m the one who needs help, but he reluctantly agreed. We had no sex for 3 wks and I was Emotionally exhausted. All of a sudden 2 days ago, he starts talking again, says he loves me but hesitant and in a different tone in my mind and just a little at arms length. We finally “make love” and I notice He isn’t looking at me period, not once which made me feel off. He seemed excitable to say the least, but it just felt wrong. I tried Talking to him about it and he said to take it one day at a time and I expressed How I’m just confused how he can tell me he doesn’t love me anymore and the next day have sex with me. Of course no response from him. He just have a blank face. I’m hurting, I feel Cheap now, I feel Like my husband used me basically. I’m tired and don’t know what to do at this point anymore. He has massive narcissistic tendencies and it makes it that much harder when we do argue, because he will never admit he’s wrong, even if it means losing us.

  59. How to know what to do?

    I found out in June my wife was sending inappropriate pictures and messages to several other men. I confronted her and it has been a nightmare since. We have had ups and downs, we go to therapy together, we go to our own as well. Throughout the past two months, I continually felt she wasn’t being truthful. It led me to looking through her phone and journals. Each time, I have found more information and confronted her. Ultimately, I discovered she had an affair with another man. I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m angry. I want her to hurt. I feel like I have wasted 2 months trying to work on something when she has yet to be honest. Now I do not trust anything from her. I found out officially on the affair last Friday (today is Tuesday). It feels like the bottom dropped out. My feelings seem to be dying. Part of me wants to stay and work on it, and part of me hates her. I have no idea what to do or how to move forward, either together or alone. I can’t for the life of me tell if I want to stay out of love or fear at this point. If anyone is out there, I would love support, advice, anything.

  60. Hello there, I’m so sorry you have been treated this way. It’s normal to have ambivalent feelings about whether to stay or go, even after someone you love has betrayed you. Attachment doesn’t just turn off when we get new information. And your anger and mistrust is valid and understandable. You may want to reach out for support, or consider the option of discernment counseling with your spouse. In the meantime, the episodes “Infidelity Recovery Stages” or “Recovering From Infidelity” might help you start to gain clarity. Warmest thoughts, Dr. Lisa

  61. Hi, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It sounds incredibly difficult, and painful. It sounds like you’re doing your best to repair the relationship and understand what he’s feeling, even if he isn’t communicating it clearly right now. Even if your husband isn’t ready to participate in couples counseling, which could help him to navigate that difficult communication around what he’s needing, it sounds like a good opportunity to get some individual support, yourself. In the meantime, you might find this podcast episode helpful, “Withdrawn Partner? Stop Pushing Them Further Away.”

  62. Hi, I’m sorry to hear this. It sounds incredibly frustrating, and sad. My first question is are you in couples counseling? It’s not uncommon for long-time relationship dynamics to lead to a stalemate. We can become stubborn, defensive, and forget how to truly listen to understand. A trained marriage and family therapist can help bridge this gap (it’s often easier to hear the same things from a neutral expert than your own partner!) and help create insight, understanding, and that connection you once had, again. In couples counseling, we work to stop the blame cycle and learn new communication strategies. I wonder if you’ve tried this yet? If you have, you might also find this validating and enlightening: “Discernment Counseling.” Warm regards, Dr. Lisa

  63. Hi Laura, what a tough situation you’re both in, I’m sorry. The things you describe dealing with are not the kind of issues I can offer a quick fix for with tips and self-help strategies like the ones in the podcast or here, in the comments. They require the support and guidance of a trained, experienced marriage and family expert. PTSD, gambling abuse or addiction, recovery from infidelity, even coparenting strategies take time and cooperative work, together, with help. But there is help and it can get better. My best recommendation would be for him to work with an individual therapist, if he isn’t already, and for the two of you to work together with a marriage and family therapist who has experience working with blended families. I wonder if you’d both be open to this. The work is well worth the reward: peace, fulfillment, and feeling close once again. In the meantime, you might enjoy listening to “Parenting as a Blended Family,” “Blended Family Problems?,” or “Discernment Counseling.” All my best, Dr. Lisa

  64. Hi Andrew, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and are having to heal from infidelity. I know it’s incredibly painful. I hear you talking about her mixed messages and the inconsistencies between what she says and what she does. It might be a good opportunity to focus on you – what do you need right now to take care of yourself? You don’t mention any opportunities for reconciliation (and based on what you shared, that may be best for you?). This gives you space to focus on your healing, and what steps to take or boundaries to set in order to take care of yourself and prioritize your healing. Have you met with a therapist for support? That would be tremendously helpful right now. You may find comfort in this episode: “Navigating the Post-Divorce Stages of Grief.” Warmly, Dr. Lisa

  65. Hi Jeronne, I can understand your frustration. It just so happens I recently put out a podcast episode “When Your Partner Rejects You Sexually” that you might find comforting and validating. But I do wonder if you’ve tried couples counseling yet with your wife, or talked to her about your frustrations? Couples counseling can help you communicate with her in a way that she can hear. You might also find the episode “Unhealthy Relationships” helpful. Best to you, Dr. Lisa

  66. Hi Michael, I can hear how hurt and fed up you’re feeling – and that makes sense! To try to communicate but not feel heard or see any change is…maddening. Your question is such a personal one, that only you can answer after some deep soul searching. Perhaps the episodes “Should We Break Up or Stay Together?” or “Cutting Cords to Toxic Relationships” might help you find insight – or meeting with a therapist who can work with you through discernment counseling? It’s a decision that can’t be answered with a quick yes or no, and that requires a process of reflection and accountability. Warmest regards, LMB

  67. Hi Jen, there are so many understandable factors that can contribute to low sexual desire for your partner, as well as growing apart or getting stuck in a distant relationship dynamic. You mention some of them here. Working with a marriage and family therapist can help you communicate with one another differently than you ever have before, get unstuck, and grow closer again, or decide where to go from here. My best, Dr. Lisa

  68. Armando, it’s not wrong to not want to work on your relationship. It’s important that you know what your willingness to work on it is, so you can continue to give your wife the honesty she deserves. I have podcast episodes on this: “Should We Break Up or Stay Together” and “When to Call it Quits in a Relationship.” And you may not know about discernment counseling. This could be a good way to prioritize what she needs, honor your promise to her, and also get the support of an expert in communicating with her around how you really feel. You can click here to get more information on it. I think you’d find it truly helpful! Best, Lisa

  69. Tara, I know it can be exhausting to work on your relationship sometimes, or start with a therapist, especially if you’re feeling hopeless. It just so happens I recently put out an episode “When Your Partner Rejects You Sexually” that you might find enlightening. There are so many factors that impact our sex drive and, since you once had so much spark and passion in the past, it doesn’t sound like sexual compatibility is an issue. So I wonder what is coming up for him, what’s changed for him? Your feelings and needs are completely valid and understandable. Only you can answer, are you willing to keep working on this with him? If so, meeting with a sex therapist would be the next step I recommend. We have a few at Growing Self, Dori B. and Renelle N. Kindly, Dr. Lisa

  70. Jared, this sounds so very tough. When we feel sexually rejected, or just not a priority to our partner, it hurts – and if repeated over time, the damage to our relationship is substantial. There is indeed a tipping point after which relationships can’t repair that damage. But it sounds like you’re reaching out, to her and here. And I wonder if you’ve tried enlisting the help of a couple’s counselor? In the meantime, it just so happens I recently put out an episode on “When Your Partner Rejects You Sexually.” I chat about the explanations for why this can happen, offer some comfort, and tips on how to deal with it. You might also find the episode “Feeling Emotionally Invalidated by Your Partner” helpful? Warmly, Dr. Lisa

  71. Oh, I’m so sorry Mary, what a terrible disappointment. But also… truly, how lucky for you that you didn’t marry this person. It would have been awful for you long term, and for your kids too. This would not have ended well, and better to get out of it sooner than later. I hope that you get some support in using this experience as an opportunity for personal growth and self awareness that results in a healthier relationship with someone who is worthy of all the love you have to give. It may also be helpful in getting some support to support your children through this rollercoaster of an experience, and help them rebuild a foundation of stability and security with THEIR most important person: you.

    Wishing you the brightest and best in this new chapter, my dear. xoxo, Dr. Lisa

  72. Mel, I would encourage you to try a specific type couples counseling called “discernment counseling” to help you both get clarity about whether or not this relationship has a future, and if so, what you each need to do to make it better for both of you. Wishing you all the best, Dr. Lisa

  73. Thank you for sharing this story. In my professional opinion, before you make a decision either way, you should seek out couples therapy from a qualified sex therapist. I say that because many couples in both of your positions legitimately do not know how to repair this dynamic… and that’s why splitting up feels like the only option. But just because you don’t know the path forward doesn’t mean there isn’t one. You guys have been together for 30 years. Spend 3-6 months longer working deeply with a marriage and family therapist who understands sex therapy, and see what you learn about yourselves and each other.

    Also, please note that I was very specific in the kind of therapist I am advising you to see. When you start looking for a provider you should be aware that most (like 95%) of therapists who offer couples counseling have had, at best, one graduate-level class in couples therapy and are not actually qualified to help you. They will tell you to have a date night, and use “I statements” and it will fail, and you’ll believe you’ve tried everything, and next stop: divorce. This happens all the time, and I don’t want it to happen to you. This is a make-or-break moment for your marriage!

    In contrast, a licensed marriage and family therapist will have an entire graduate degree largely focused on relational issues like that which you’re describing, and years of post graduate training and supervision in systemic relational therapies. Even then, many MFT’s don’t have additional expertise in sex therapy. Here is an article I put together with more information about what to look for, and how to find a good marriage counselor. I hope this helps you make informed decisions!

    With the right help, you and your wife can embark on an exciting “journey of discovery” together. I know that sounds cheesy, but that’s really what it is. Even couples who’ve been together for decades and think they know everything about each other, and what’s possible or not possible based on previous experience, can have some really eye-opening insights through this process. Whether or not you ultimately decide to stay together or part ways, this depth-work will most certainly open a new chapter for both of you, and one that you will write together through this process.

    Respectfully,
    Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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