More Fun Without Him
Q: She treats everyone else in her life great and they always laugh and get along and there are moments that she flirts and strongly gets flirted back to. She works at a bar-and-grill that's slightly family-oriented but still is a meeting ground for all the town's usuals that all have long stories of betrayal. She keeps driving me crazy by telling me about how some guy came in tonight and this and that. What about this poor ole guy at home that gets no fun, no laughs, no attention, no nothing, just smart remarks and a mean attitude? We even have kids, but it seems she's happiest away from home. If neither I nor the kids are amusing to her, she just all of a sudden has to pick up extra weird shifts at work. I stay and stay, losing more and more self respect. If I don't make a lot of money one month or two out of a year, it gets even worse. I'm almost non-existent. But I still really love her! She is hot in my eyes. She is not just a sex goddess to look at but her personality is one unmatched by any woman ever. How can I bring out a lust in her for me? -- Charles, 37
Dr. Susan: So you married (or whatever) and had kids with a woman whose hot, outgoing, flirty personality wowed you big-time. And guess what? She's still hot, outgoing, and flirty. And works in a bar-type of environment where she enjoys stimulation, laughs, come-ons, and fun at all hours. And your problem is that she doesn't give any of that attention to you? I can imagine how galling that would be.
Have you discussed all this with her? I don't mean complain or criticize, but actually suggest the two of you take some time to figure out how the two of you can both get your needs more fully met? You're not going to be able to change her personality, so you may always have to deal with feelings of jealousy that she has so much fun without you. But that would be livable so long as you had fun with her too (not to mention her enjoying her own kids). The whole "mean attitude" thing could be improved somewhat by you setting better boundaries. Some kinds of talk shouldn't be allowed between mates, and she needs to be told that. If she treats you in a way that is destroying your self-esteem, you might be an emotionally abused spouse. It's not only women who don't know how to manage being abused that way. You might have to get yourself some counseling, even if she won't come with you. The way she's using and abusing you and taking you for granted offers your kids the worst possible model. You'll need to be firm but gentle in letting her know that, although you're still very much in love with her, you can't go on this way. And mean it!
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.