A lonely marriage

Wayne Powell

Thursday, February 14, 2019

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Dear Counsellor,

My husband of 12 years emotionally cheats with ex-lovers and others. I am trying to have a close relationship, but my efforts fail. He doesn't care how I feel about his cheating. I confronted one of them and told her it was inappropriate for her to be contacting my husband. He told me he was ending this relationship but he just moved it to e-mail and chats. I want to be the person he turns to for emotional support, but he is distant and cold with me. I can't live with the loneliness of being married to someone who doesn't kiss me or make love to me. I am so unhappy.

It would appear that your gentleman has emotionally checked out of the marriage and is receiving emotional support outside of the relationship. His constant communication with his ex-partners is indicating his level of comfort with these people, which apparently he does not experience being in your presence.

What is it that these exes are providing that you fail to provide? Is it that they stroke his ego and make him feel respected and appreciated? Do they give him a listening ear and share in his dreams and aspirations? Do they encourage his efforts and enjoy humorous conversations? These are some of the factors that would enable an emotionally supportive relationship.

If you are the partner who always criticises and vilifies your man, disrespects and dismisses his opinions, have no interest in his goals and aspirations, and offers no encouragement to his efforts, chances are he will turn to the sources where he feels appreciated and respected.

It is always a good idea to turn the search light within before you focus the light outwards. That being said, if it is that you are doing all the positive things and your partner still insists on flirting with his ex-partners, then the problem is not with you but with him. He needs to disengage from these women and establish solid boundary lines that are respected by himself and the other women.

He will tell you that he is not being sexually intimate with them and so you should not have anything to complain about. But an emotional connection with these women robs you of the quality time that he could have been spending with you.

It is highly recommended that you sit and have a heart-to-heart talk with your husband, sharing your feelings of rejection and loneliness. If you don't believe you are getting through to him via the one-on-one method, then you should consider seeing a counsellor who would intervene and provide the opportunity for dialogue to take place.

Couples in a long-standing relationships tend to relax their efforts and take each other for granted. It is important that the couple keeps the flame burning and does not allow it to be extinguished. The moment one or both partners recognise that the flame is flickering, that should be the alert call for action. Don't just talk about it, do something about it today, because once the emotional connection is lost, the sexual joining will be negatively impacted.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.


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