#17 I'm not happy with my nice husband / I think my husband is the source of my dissatisfaction
Dear Prudence: I have been married for six years. I have a nice man for a husband and a wonderful child. But of course, I am not satisfied with my life. I say this because I married my husband when I was barely 19 after dating him for only a couple of months.
I had doubts about the marriage before we were married, but I’m a people-pleaser and don’t like to hurt anyone’s feeling. However, after six years of being a "pleaser" to my spouse, I have drastically changed. I am no longer an immature 19-year-old who needs a man to care for her. I am going back to school to get my degree so I never have to depend upon anyone to take care of me or my child. I am very independent and starting to feel so smothered at home that I feel as though I am going crazy.
The more I pull away, the more he clings to me. I am no longer sexually attracted to him, and when he touches me I cringe. I do everything I can to avoid kissing him. He’s a very good-looking man, but I feel a brotherly kind of love for him. I suppose I should try counseling, but how can someone teach me to be attracted to him again?
I am very sad and confused about what to do, — Little Lost SheepDear Lit: How very sad for you. You need to take action so you don’t spend another six years feeling miserable but afraid to wound your husband.
Counseling would be a useful opening salvo in straightening out your life. And, there’s a chance that your husband could change a few behaviors, allowing you to arrive at a workable modus operandi.
There is, too, the chance that therapy will allow you to leave the marriage without a ton of guilt, if that’s your decision. — Prudie explorationallyGabby's Reply:
Hi Lit: There are quite a few lies we need to address.
You write that you are not satisfied "because I married my husband when I was barely 19 after dating him for only a couple of months." If you keep repeating that reason, as though it were the source of your dissatisfaction, you’ll keep producing more dissatisfaction. Even unconscious lies have consequences.
You write that you are "a people-pleaser" and that you "...don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings." Nothing could be further from the truth. If we were in communication with your husband we’d discover that he’s continually hurt by your withdrawals and aversion to affection and sex. Perhaps you think occasional, albeit wifely, duties, pleases him. It pleases him not. At some level he knows what it would be like to be loved and appreciated. He is no doubt unconscious of his constant pain.
You write, "I am no longer an immature 19-year-old…." Not 19, correct. "Immature" incorrect. It’s all relative.
You write, "...so I never have to depend upon anyone to take care of me." Here’s where your immaturity reveals itself. No woman is an island. You are presently ripe for a debilitating disease that requires a doctor, perhaps even a male doctor, to treat you for life. That, or start now asking bag-ladies what to look for in shopping carts.
You ignore the unfair reality that most universities and businesses are male dominated.
You write, "...or my child." It’s too late. You have already, unconsciously, programmed her to attract a partner such as you did, and to put up with dissatisfactions, and to lie about the cause of her problems. She’ll either begin straightway to be a "pleaser" or she’ll resist being like you; either way, with your present mind-set and support it will take a lot for her to know who she is. If you'd like to enlighten her I recommend that you do the Spouse Abuse Tutorial
. She will become enlightened though your realizations, it's a psychically transmitted, osmosis thing, not through your words.
You write, "I am very independent." While you sincerely believe this, the truth is you are entirely dependent, upon him, or another like him, to blame. You are addicted to blaming. You honestly believe that he and your marital circumstance is the source of your dissatisfaction; that somehow if you could only change the circumstances you would suddenly be happy. Not so. Perhaps for a few hours, days, or even weeks, you might experience exhilarating freedom, however, I assure you, you’d then have to confront that "it" followed you. An "independent" woman would have left him long ago without any letters to me. Such a person does not attract smotherers. You have unconsciously, though your leadership-communication skills, trained him to smother you, and, you blame him for doing so. That’s not only powerful, it’s abusive.
You ask, "how can someone teach me to be attracted to him again?" You have a misunderstanding of the effects of communication (what you have been doing is called talking. which produces the results you have). A counselor/communicologist does not teach you anything. What happens is they are the space in which you empty your mind of all your considerations, which when gotten (recreated, therefore disappeared), reveals the truth, specifically just how you caused your own problem. More excitingly in the space of being gotten you’ll then act consistent with what you say you want in life. Communication always results in the experience of love—and, it's not the attachment kind of love that requires one to stay married.
Re: "Sad and confused." This I get. That's a great place to be in. In the enlightenment game it’s called not-knowing. The problem is that usually when people get here they make a decision that doesn’t work. So then they have to set up life all over again to get back to the same place so that they can then choose to be sad and confused, which when intended supports you in doing what works. It might sound weird, but to choose sadness and confusion it works to walk around acting (I mean really dramatizing) like a sad and confused person. Almost immediately you will find yourself laughing.
My sense is that your addiction to pleasing manifests itself in withholds and deceits. Your story reveals that you have not been telling him the truth with the intent to get the truth of your dissatisfaction. The truth told, "I cringe at the thought of touching you." when communicated from blame causes upset and more cringing. The truth, "I experience revulsion when I even think about kissing you" when communicated as your problem, and as a consideration, opens up the space to discover what other thoughts you have not been sharing with him. You are right to fear telling him the truth. You intuitively know that sharing all your thoughts with him will create the experience of love. This is what happens when communication takes place. However, just because you experience the experience of love with someone doesn’t mean you have to stay married. It would work to practice telling him everything, and in so doing prevent it from happening again in life. With aloha, Gabby