He Wants to Win Her Back. She Feels Pressured.

Can You Help This Reader Out?

I got this question from a reader:

My wife and I have been married for twelve years and have two children. About 4 months ago, my wife informed me that she no longer loved me. Of course this came out in the midst of a fight as opposed to sitting down and talking about things.  The truth is that she had told me this several times, but it was always in the course of fighting. I didn’t take it that seriously. We all say things we don’t mean when fighting, right? The fights were always over stupid little things, which masked the real issue that she didn’t feel loved and appreciated. Frankly, neither have I since the children were born. I knew that our relationship wasn’t what it one was, but I thought this was the natural course of marriage. Hot at first and then things cool over the years, especially after children. The last four months, I have been a changed man. Even my wife admits that I’ve been a perfect husband. I truly am doing everything I can think of to make her feel loved and appreciated. I do household chores, send her sporadic notes, and bring home flowers. However, she says she still doesn’t love me. We don’t fight anymore and we’ve started talking about things.  She does want to make our marriage work, but she says she feels tremendous pressure to love me. She is scared that the feelings just aren’t coming back. I’ve told her that we aren’t on a schedule, that she needs to relax and take each day one at a time. I’ll wait as long as it takes.  Her happiness is more important to me then hearing the words “I love you”. I’m desperate for any advice you may have. Is my approach of being the best husband I can be and being patient the right approach? — A Reformed Husband

This is probably the most common problem that brings people to this site. Case in point: I wrote a post called “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” back in 2009. It’s still one of the most read posts on the site. People comment more on that post each week than they do on the fresh ones. It now has more than 200 comments, all of them from people mired in similar situations. Another popular post is “How to save your marriage when your spouse doesn’t want to try.” Oddly I wrote that one in 2009, too.

I don’t have much more to offer than what I wrote in those posts:

  • Reformed Husband: I think you are doing everything you can possibly do.
  • Situations like this can create a power dynamic that can actually hurt the marriage more than it helps. As you pursue, she retreats. Her retreating causes you to pursue even more. This causes her to feel more pressure and retreat even more. If this is the case, try to find a middle way of acting in love (being a supportive, loving husband) while still maintaining strong boundaries. Know what you need to be happy and ask for it. Be strong. Speak your voice. Do not become a timid doormat who is afraid to speak up for himself because he worries she will leave. Women are attracted to strong men. Stand strong in your convictions.
  • The feeling of love takes time. Actions can lead to feelings. Is your wife acting in love? Ask for her to behave in loving ways.

I wish I had better advice. I hope other readers here can step up and help. Readers: What should reformed husband do? Have you been in this situation? Are you in it? Are you the spouse who has fallen out of love? Can you provide that perspective? Leave a comment. (If you are reading by email, comment by clicking on the post headline, which will take you to the blog on the Internet).

88 comments… add one

  • Mandy June 15, 2012, 11:11 am

    Even if your wife isn’t feeling the love right now, the fact that she wants to make the marriage work is significant. Your behavior has changed for the better, but it may be too soon for her to really trust that change, and that may be why she isn’t feeling the return of love – yet. Given time, that may change, especially if you are talking and if she is willing to take Alisa’s advice and behave in loving ways. I can tell you from experience that this helps. During a marriage crisis, when I felt angry and hurt and feared I would never be happy again, I still forced myself to behave in kind and loving ways toward my husband. It helped me move toward the state of mind I needed to start really loving him again. I would also suggest making sure that you have plenty of physical closeness (I don’t mean sexual, although that’s good, too). Sit close together on the couch, hold hands when you are out together, touch each other gently when talking, always exchange a hug and kiss when leaving and arriving, etc. Over a surprisingly short period of time this kind of affection can help you relax together and start to feel better.

    I’m also a big believer in marriage counseling IF you can find the right kind of therapist. Two resources to help you find someone with a positive, pro-marriage attitude are http://www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com/ and http://www.iceeft.com/. (We found our excellent therapist through the second one.) I wish you all the best.

  • Kathy June 15, 2012, 11:14 am

    To me there is a huge difference to being “in love” and “loving someone”. I wrote this on another article here – “in love” always gets me “in trouble”. It’s like a buzz, it fades and it can be a total crash. But loving someone is completely different. Maybe you don’t feel all romantic every day, but you know you would have a horribly difficult time living without that person in your life every day.

    So, maybe your wife isn’t “in love” anymore. But can she imagine life without you every day???

    I knew my other marriages were over, when I couldn’t wait to not have that person in my life every day. Now with my current husband, no matter how mad I am at him, I can’t imagine him not walking in the door every night. At those moments, I don’t “much love him”, but I would be hard pressed to live my life without him.

    That may be the question to ask your wife. Can she imagine life without you in it?

  • Julia June 15, 2012, 11:28 am

    Dear Reformed Husband,
    Based on the info you’ve given I’d say you’re on track. The difference I see between the two of you is that you are putting forth effort, and she is passively waiting for the feeling to “come back.” It’s cliche, but marriage takes work – especially after children. I guess my one piece of advice would be that you BOTH need to put your marriage – each other – first in your lives. Even above the kids. Some think that’s harsh but I believe it’s like taking care of your health. What good are you going to be to yourself or anyone if you lose your health? What good are you going to be to your children if you can’t model for them a healthy, happy relationship? Schedule the date nights. Make time for each other daily, even if it’s only 15 minutes or whatever and just enjoy each othe’s company, low-key style. Right now the effort’s one-sided, and that’s hard, but it won’t be forever. Keep it up and I’m willing to bet she will catch on eventually. IMHO I think your approach is spot-on. Good luck!!
    Julia´s last blog post ..Easy, frugal lunch recipe (and a delicious break from the sandwich)

    • Mrs January 28, 2013, 8:59 am

      “The difference I see between the two of you is that you are putting forth effort, and she is passively waiting for the feeling to “come back.”” You have NO idea WHAT the wife is or is not doing or what she went through to get where she is. The husband IS likely “spot on” but making him think that his wife isn’t being fair is NOT going to help him keep doing what he needs to do.

      • Julia January 28, 2013, 9:34 am

        This post asks for readers to offer advice based on the information given, and that’s what I did. It’s all any of us had to work with. That said, I agree with you that there are always two sides to the story and, with that in mind, perhaps this isn’t the fairest place to solicit or give advice. I believe, however, that most folks here are coming from a helpful place, and most of us suggested that, WHATEVER his situation is, that he not give up, that he put everything within his control into improving the situation. That part, I think, is good advice. Finally, I certainly did not, in any way, mean to speak poorly of the wife. I was paraphrasing the husband. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

      • Alisa Bowman January 28, 2013, 12:36 pm

        Dear Mrs.–Everyone’s input is important here. People who write to me want a diverse set of opinions so they can make the most informed decisions for themselves. We welcome your thoughts, but there’s no need to attack individual opinions. I try to keep this a site that is founded on kindness and insight. Thanks for your understanding.

  • JasonS June 15, 2012, 11:52 am

    As a pastor the greatest problem I see is not the issue of a lack of love. The greatest problem that I see is a lack of commitment that leads to acting in unloving ways.
    I would recommend much patience and prayer.
    I would also recommend seeing a Christian counselor, if at all possible.
    I believe that kindness and love have an amazing power over the hearts of those who are on the receiving end. The effect doesn’t always show up immediately, however.
    At the same time I must echo the advice that your wife begin to act in loving ways. Commitment to the marriage, and then acting upon that commitment to begin to try to be a loving wife will probably result in you both being blessed in the long run.
    All of these things being said, I have a feeling that there is much that was not (and could not) be said in this post. That is as it should be. A wise Christian counselor or seasoned pastor could help a couple recognize some underlying attitudes and causes for these feelings in the relationship.
    I also can’t help but wonder about this wife’s physical state. If the children are still very young, she could be suffering an adrenal deficiency or some other physical problem that leads to feelings of depression. These could also be contributing factors.
    I cannot recommend enough that a couple in this situation counsel with someone who knows how to address these issues.

    • Michael June 30, 2015, 10:25 pm

      My wife has left two we fight off and on but have great time to.ahe recently started walking.had a argument about not wanting to spend time with me on my birthday she left for 3 day said she needed time came back for a night and day and left again.lost and confused

  • KimW June 15, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Everyone has great comments. The “in love” is a big piece that reformed husband and wife should consider. What exactly does that feel like? Can you truly recapture the “in love” of the early days and years when you grow to know someone at such an intimate level? I would argue that “in love” is a nice high that returns sporadically but love remains daily when it is a choice.

    One other thought, wife, please consider a full evaluation by your family doctor. Undetected medical issues can play a large role in emotional well being and our perception of said state.

  • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 15, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Reformed Husband,

    I believe that your approach is sound. Being patient, kind, and loving like a man should be. However, taking care of the house, leaving notes, being kind, patient, and loving at all times is NOT ENOUGH for her to have those feelings that she wants. In fact you might be going overboard with these things and that is creating the pressure she feels. You are nice… and she is NOT being so nice… that creates pressure see?

    Now… I’m sure that you’re learned by now how to meet a woman’s needs (affection, converstaion, etc). But you might be missing out meeting her biggest need of all. It’s quite possible you never even knew it even was a need:

    A woman’s biggest need is to FEEL ATTRACTION for her husband. If she’s not feeling it… then she has to override her feelings in order to get intimate with you, which only serves to add resentment and move her further away from you. This is a story that plays out in many many marriages.. ESPECIALLY the ones in which the man is a “nice guy”. You are “safe” to her… but not “attractive” to her.

    Of course…. she would NEVER tell you this. Because even she can’t articulate that this is what she is missing in her marriage right now. All she knows is that she doesn’t FEEL the attraction for you… and you would do well to learn how to become that attractive man and SOON.

    You can change the dynamic of your marriage by changing yourself… into a man whose mode of operation is appealing, sexy, and attractive to your wife. You will DISCONTINUE any behaviors that are repulsive, gross, and repelling to your wife. You have to purge negativity, neediness, any gloom and doom you might be projecting.

    I’ll end this by saying I don’t think your wife is “broken” at all. Logically, you are the perfect husband. But in the emotional world of a woman’s mind. Logic DOES NOT rule. Her feelings rule. She reacts to you my friend. I know this because I was once a “nice guy” too. This doesn’t mean that I had to turn into a jerk to attract my wife to me… but it does mean that I do not let her steer me away from my values.

    Hope this helps…
    David Justin Bibby
    also a Reformed Husband.

    • Kerry June 16, 2012, 3:06 am

      Can you please talk to my husband, who informed me the other day that, however I feel, he doesn’t feel it’s *that* gross to leave his toenail clippings on the night table? I’m feeling more and more distant from him, and he just doesn’t get that little things like this are NOT helping, given the fragile state of things. (Please, nobody yell at me or oversimplify my situation by saying something like that I’m not trying hard enough due to toenails … I could not possibly go into the detail required here to accurately describe how things got to this point :( )

      • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 16, 2012, 6:03 am


        Guys can be so DENSE sometimes right? You only want something simple from him, like clipping his toenails in private and not leaving the evidence behind, and he accuses you of trying to “change” him, am I right?

        Furthermore… any attempt you make to let him know that you don’t like seeing this he construes as “nagging” and he resists it completely. However… if another MAN tells him the same thing you said to him… he’ll “get” it. This undoubtedly makes you feel unimportant and unappreciated.

        But if he doesn’t “get” it soon… he’s apt to lose you.

        You or your husband can feel free to email me at davidbibby@leadyourmarriage.com

    • chasmama June 20, 2012, 12:04 am

      You have figured it out…I emailed the link to your post to my husband. I wanted him to read it because what you said is 100% exactly right on and that it was written by a man. Thank you, thank you for sharing your experience and for being so straight-forward. I hope that I will be as fortunate as your wife is to have a husband that will “get it” one day. I know he has it in him, I just hope I can find it in me.
      Again, thank you!

    • alan m. December 8, 2012, 2:57 pm

      i am in the same situation , , my wife is 24 i am 54 i am that nice guy experience
      my wife is hot , so any guy wouldn’t mind giveing here something, I have done everything right , except in bed, she say doesn’t feel anything she isn’t arrosed any more we have one child…….,and this is hurting me . I noticed past 4 months she has been distant from me, but she is addicted to her i phone , I am trying as in even before your post, i suspect she is having an affair maybe not though she is not that type to sleep around I have stopped texting her or calling her it seem to help because she is the one calling me and texting.. , she,likes to talk to men instead of women, she needs space and i find it diffacalt to deal with it.
      but i have to let her go, or to lose her I am trying to win our love back , it is also i think my fear, or disparration will lead to a divorce.I will not give up on her, she loves me but maybe not in love with me.
      age is against me but wasn’t the age in the beginning.I have been married 5 years with her.so if anyone has any comments please reply

    • Derrick Williams August 26, 2014, 8:02 am

      I’m not married but this is perfect! She didn’t feel attraction to me. Also I didn’t trust her, which hurts her the most. I need to take care of myself first and be attractive for her. All these times, she have been saying to me that she doesnt feel beautiful toward me. I didn’t take the time to do something for her. I know she loves me. I know it in my heart that she is still in love with me but I waited too long to figure this out sooner before we broke up. She is the love of my life! Now I think I know what to do.

    • mike December 18, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Sounds on point!

  • LinMarie June 15, 2012, 6:52 pm

    Oh my goodness, subtract the kids and you could be describing my exact marriage situation. Chills!
    And I have to hand it you David Bibby, you just did an amazing job of describing my exact feelings about my marriage. More chills!!!
    My husband is a wonderful wonderful man….true blue, keeps his word, does a ton of housework, he is morally, physically and financially responsible….I should be perfectly happy, but I am not. He may do more in one day than most men do in a week, but he is also needy and prone to emotional highs and lows and I find myself walking on eggshells when I see that irritated look on his face.
    He has never and would never be abusive, I am just repulsed by a man who cannot smoothly navigate the ins and outs of life and dealing with others, someone who cannot take it all in stride or see the humor in a difficult encounter.
    David, you are right on when you advise Reformed Husband to get rid of any behaviors his wife does not like. So true! Gentlemen, if you need to do something gross, leave the room and go do it in private!!! That little effort may make a big big difference in your wife’s attraction to you – I am positive that unconditional love does not apply to excessive nose blowing or sinus clearing, just take it somewhere else!

    Personally speaking, I find myself daydreaming about having a place of my own and just seeing my husband once or twice a week to have dinner or to take a walk, kind of like when we were dating. I dream about waking up in the morning and NOT having him laying next to me, knowing that he is hoping that I will touch him…I actually look forward to going to work Monday through Friday because I like the agenda that gets me out of the bed and out of the house.
    We get along great on so many levels, but do I feel “in love”?? No, I really don’t….I feel like we are roomates, sharing meals and experiences and travel, but I am keenly aware that there is a huge divide and I don’t know that I am ever going to be able to cross over to reach the other side.
    Sorry to be of no help solving the problem….
    Reformed Husband, I can vouch that David is correct in his advice to be a man, develop your own interests, take time to talk about interesting things and not just the house, job and kids, get a hobby and spend some time away from home, be physically fit, continue to be nice but own who you are!
    A Disillusioned Wife

    • chasmama June 20, 2012, 12:24 am

      You could be me talking. Please ignore the posts from people like “Terry” who sounds suspiciously like my husband (and your husband!) who turns everything that is wrong with our marriage back around to point at me. It is amazing how David has hit the nail on the head. I just hope for the sake of many, many wives out there that more husbands will start to “get it”. We women don’t need much, just a man who will not discuss the productivity, or lack of productivity, of every bowel movement, leave dirty socks stuffed into the sofa cushions, leave used q-tips by the sink, or toenail clippings on the bedside table…
      I have just ordered the Project: Happily Ever After book and we are in marriage counseling. I’m willing to give it 100% to try to get back what we once had, but it is going to take a lot of work on both our parts.
      All the best to you!

      • Terry June 29, 2012, 8:03 am

        I never said that there wasn’t anything that her husband had to work on. In fact, it’s a two way street, I’m sure if you look in the mirror, you may not be picture perfect either. While her husband should reduce the behaviors that she doesn’t like, she also has to recognize those changes. That’s what a marriage is about. Acceptance.

        In fact, your cut and dry statement about how women don’t want, “We women don’t need much, just a man who will not discuss the productivity, or lack of productivity, of every bowel movement, leave dirty socks stuffed into the sofa cushions, leave used q-tips by the sink” is extremely general. I know some women who are worse than guys in that aspect and have no problems having their men like that too.

        If and when you read Alisa’s book, you’ll see that alot of it isn’t all about change (both changed), but is also about acceptance and compromise. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter how much one person changes, the other will never be satisfied.

        I am a little skeptical about your comment, though because it sounds like several quotes I’ve found from many of the sites that David advocated.

    • Fighting for my marriage January 23, 2013, 2:39 pm

      i am in the same situation. I have been married to the same woman for 13 years. We were best friends, and we got married. I felt I had the best marriage, and the best woman on the planet. I made mistakes though. I took her for granted. I always thought of myself over her. Thats not to say, I didnt do nice things for her birthday, or anniversarys or Christmas and stuff. But It should be everyday. I realize that now. We have been in counseling for over a year now. I found out just this past Christmas, that she had an affair, that went on for a while. I was devastated, but am willing to work through it. She says, she is emotionally detached, and dont know how to re connect. She is seeing a female counselor on her own, to hopefully get it figured out. We have 2 wonderful children. I have changed in so many ways. I consider her needs over mine everyday. She sees I have changed, but cant respond at this time. I know it will take time.
      I have to say, LinMarie, you seem to be the person I used to be. You are self, centered, and dont seem to care about anyone else but yourself. You should treasure your husband. I know, because the pain I am going through now, is too much to take. I know now, that I was to blame, for 90% of what we are going through now. I encourage you, to look at yourself, and take that step, to love the one your with. Love is not a feeling, its an action. You just have to choose to do it. I know my comments here, probably wont be met with approval, but its what I am feeling. Sorry.

      • Bryan June 22, 2015, 4:48 pm

        Do NOT blame yourself for her infidelity. Even IF she is apologetic about it, DO NOT allow her to call it a “mistake”. She, and all other cheaters, CHOOSE to do what they’ve done and they do not deserve nor have the right to shirk the responsibility of having purposely made that CHOICE. They own it and the devastation that it has caused your family and the family of their paramour. People are so pathetic these days to not man or woman up and take responsibility for the choices they make. Make for a very pathetic society.

  • Terry June 15, 2012, 8:58 pm

    This first post is for LinMarie.

    Those “faults” that you find in your husband could just be his reactions towards something you did. Rather that relying on him making you feel happy, how much effort have you put in to getting that “spark” back? Is it easy to get that attraction back? Yes it is, but you need to start it first. Plus if you say you are utterly repulsed by him, then there is something going on in yourself that you need to look at.

    • Kerry June 16, 2012, 3:26 am

      I am in a very similar situation as LinMarie and I know from experience that sometimes you’ve been so hurt and disillusioned that it’s no longer emotionally safe for you to allow yourself to feel close with your partner, and that lack of closeness definitely makes it harder to overlook things that would otherwise cause you, or anybody else, to be repulsed by them. And yet at the same time, you might not be completely sure that it’s over, because your partner is trying to change the things they do that hurt you and you feel you owe it to them to give them that chance before making any permanent decisions. Sometimes you need to be allowed to just be in a holding pattern in order to sort things out in your head, because these decisions are rarely made overnight. Yes, you can possibly get the spark back, if you decide that is the path you want to take. But it is impossible to mentally prepare for staying and mentally prepare for leaving simultaneously.

    • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 16, 2012, 6:35 am


      I agree that everyone show look at themselves first. But I firmly believe in this statement:

      “A woman reacts to the man in her life”.

      It could be that his faults are a reaction to her, but I think it’s the other way around. By the way LinMarie describes her husband… I can almost guarantee that the problem in their marriage is that her husband lacks a backbone. He’s a “nice guy”, like I was once a “nice guy”. The problem with living with a “nice guy”, from the outside, everyone think he’s a saint, he’s the perfect husband, etc. However, what outsiders DON’T see, is that he’s sexually NEEDY. That is by far and large the biggest repulsive thing to a woman. He operates under the presupposition that “If I’m nice and I do all this work around the house… she’ll want to make love.” Of course.. this doesn’t work. It only makes him that much more repulsive. So what does he do? He tries to be even MORE NICE… and do MORE WORK… until he creates enough pressure for her to “give in”.

      A man who operates in this mode for too long will find his wife leaving him, or cheating on him. Such a man would do well to read this article before that happens: http://www.leadyourmarriage.com/members/as-a-husband-which-one-of-these-three-groups-do-you-fall-in/

      In LinMarie’s situation. I’m willing to bet that she’s done everything she can to try to build her husband up. In my opinion.. the only impetus strong enough to make him see the light is to move into another bedroom or otherwise cut him off sexually. That’s pretty much the only thing that will make him seek outside help for his situation.

      I would never have believed ANY of this until it happened to me. I have to commend my wife for having the courage to straight up tell me “I love you, but I’m NOT attracted to you.”

      • BrianC June 19, 2012, 9:44 am

        Very true… we get the relationship we create, right? I was guilty of the “nice guy” syndrome too. I figured if I was nice and did what I was supposed to everything would be great… doesn’t work that way and, really, it’s just a easy way out. Men need to step up, take the lead in their marriage and their lives. Have a plan, don’t leave everything up to her. She will resent it. Tell her what you want to do and invite her to join you; she can either follow you or not, and that’s OK, but she can’t follow you if you don’t take the lead. Lead with love and respect. It’s a challenge but it can lead to a much more fulfilling marriage.

      • C November 9, 2012, 12:11 am

        I stumbled upon this forum and immediately when I read the post by Reformed Husband, I seriously thought my husband wrote it until I read the last few sentences. As I read further along I came across the replies written by David Bibby and BrianC, and felt the need to add my opinion. That said, I have been married for almost 13 years and recently discovered that my husband is a classic case of Passive Aggressive. It almost sounds like the “nice guys” described by so many here men and women are describing a “passive aggressive man”. Especially, when I read “he’s the nice guy that to the outside, everyone things he’s a saint and perfect husband”, yet that is not the reality from inside. In a nutshell that’s my husband and my marriage, he looks like the handsome/easy on the eyes, nice guy that to outsiders appears like a saint/perfect husband. Yet in my world, yes he can be a wonderful guy in many ways, but watch your back because before you know it the passive aggressive so called nice guy is punishing you so discretely because you can’t magically read their minds.

        For me as a a woman, I have to agree with the men in that women have needs that most men can’t figure out how to meet, even when we directly express them to our spouses. In my opinion, the “unattractive part” plays into the men being or becoming needy, sulking, not leading as a man, discretely pressuring their wives to always find the solutions and/or become resourceful forces, and well you all get the picture here. I have outloud said that I’m tired of being the driver, I want to take the back seat and have my husband take the driver’s seat, except he won’t do it! Partly his PA disorder/patterns keep him from getting himself together. We married very young early 20′s and now in our late to mid 30′s. As far as I’m concerned or based on my experience, I never noticed these things because for starters I was too young and immature to know the patterns. I was too busy wanting to build a career and make money to buy the things we once had. I didn’t focus on these things that were always there, until later which is in my case 13 + years all together. Changing is not always enough and I do agree with BrianC, that women do become resentful of men because they do not take the lead as man of the house, or man. I’m frustrated to the point that my heart truly aches. I felt this pain so much that I thought I must be falling out of love, because this can’t be love to feel this heartache. Via a google on this subject is how I stumbled upon this site. My husband has been seeing a therapist to help him and it’s helped a bit, but not enough and/or fast enough. Now we’re considering marriage counseling and he will continue his separate sessions with his other therapist. I really don’t know what to make of my situation, except that I’ve asked myself can I live without seeing him every night like another person suggested here… and my reply is not ready yet. But then there are days I’m happy he’s at work and not around. I’m struggling with my marriage not just because of what my husband does to me which in my opinion he likes to poke or push my hot buttons (things that annoy me) to see my reaction, it’s like he gets a thrill to see me upset. It’s sad this is what its come to, or at least that I think this of him. We were like best friends and worked together for 10 years and still do a lot of things together, but it’s like that other reader wrote “we may be like roomies”…I’m not sure.

        Overall, it’s refreshing to read other men getting it and expressing what some women feel as far as needs. Please add more details as to how you finally arrived at that “aha” moment about your wives needs before it was too late. I’m at a loss here because I feel like after 13 years we should know more about each other, yet I feel more disconnected from my husband or like I’ve never met him before sort of way that it truly scares me. I think I still love him because I do still want to see him at night, or be held by him. Personally, I’m disappointed and have lost much respect for my husband because of the way he has portrayed himself as the “nice guy/saint” that he’s not, and at the same token does not have life goals, career goals, fire in his belly to move forward in life, does not stand up for me when he should, does not take the lead when he should, sulks about stupid things all the time, ambiguous, super needy, and almost flocks for attention from anyone because he’s needy. I’ve noticed he’s only nice to me when I’m nice first. He never takes accountability for his actions or lack of, and loves to zone in on anything negative that I do and/or comes out of my mouth rather than consider all the positives. It’s draining the life out of me and I used to be a positive, go-getter, bubbly personality–I’m not that girl anymore!
        It’s all very sad. Now, I’m not as nice and don’t want to be and have admitted to it. I feel betrayed because for so many years I gave so much of myself and tried to make things better, find solutions, etc and at the end of the day I always look like the bad guy or it’s my doing that caused him to react–according to him. I’m turned off by his behavior towards me, about me and lack of. I’m not cookie cutter, but I can hold myself accountable when I do wrong and say sorry. This never happens coming from my husband. So my last point is about the “reformed husband” post which is what brought me to reading all these posts. Maybe your wife gave a lot years ago and you did not, after all you call yourself “reformed husband”. So maybe now she’s not ready to be nice. She’s resenting some of the things that could have taken place in the past and just because you’ve decided to reform doesn’t mean that you actually fixed the real problem behind it all. And the fact that you are “being the nice guy and doing all the chores, etc” could be playing against you because she knows that’s not really you. It’s the guy she wanted way back when, but now she’s mad! If this is the case, sounds sort of like me in some ways which is why I described it this way–then you’re in trouble buddy. You’re going to need by starting with a “genuine” apology for your wrong doings. And the key element is being consistent with your kindness. Being nice three weeks out of four doesn’t count–just assuming this is the case. And the truth is your wife probably wants you to admit that you messed up somewhere along your marriage and own it–without adding to her faults and/or wrong doing! Just own it! When she sees you have truly held yourself accountable for your own mistakes and become consistent at truly being a reformed husband and listening to her needs and following through on her needs and request–then maybe you may get her back. Plus, maybe separate counseling and then together. I say this because we tried together and it became a weekly tell all match–not good. So I thought it was best if he found a therapist he can go see alone and help him with his issues and let him vent, but get pro advice too… and later we can resume our “marriage counseling” but 2x a month. I don’t want it to be a weekly tell all fighting match… I may be way off here, but just sounds like a little bit of my life and so I thought I’d offer my thoughts coming from my woman perspective. Don’t give up on her if you truly want to make it work and love her. Life is not easy and/or no one gave us a booklet that leads to a happy marriage. So if you have so much invested in her, fight for her! At least, I wish my husband would do this for me.
        With the stresses of life today, people homeless, no jobs, etc… it seems like my story along with many here are becoming the new normal-epidemic. So sad! Wishing all of us the best!

      • David Bibby November 11, 2012, 1:21 pm

        This is in response to the question “C” proposed above…

        C asked:
        ” Please add more details as to how you finally arrived at that “aha” moment about your wives needs before it was too late.”

        I reached the “aha” moment AFTER my wife decided that she’d had enough of being unhappy all the time. She had a major blow up, seemingly over something small, but unloaded many YEARS of built-up resentment towards me. She’s had blow-ups like these before and I was sure, as always, that it would blow over.

        Except this time, she started sleeping in a separate bedroom. She also told me that if things weren’t better in six months that she would ask for or file for a divorce.

        We went to one marriage counseling session, which didn’t help things. But the counselor wanted to see my wife individually, which she did for a few sessions to explore the reasons why she married me in the first place.

        I was convinced that this counselor was going to encourage divorce.

        I started doing my own self development. I bought programs, read all kinds of websites, etc. I discovered that my behavior was very unattractive and that I was also sexually needy and slightly passive/aggressive. I would whine, pout, or sulk if I wasn’t getting what I wanted, which was the equivalent of having a dirty, snotty nosed kid hanging on your arm shouting “pick me up!”

        heh… NO WONDER she was so put off.

        So I had to learn and grow as a MAN. All this happened back in 2008. Today, we’re more in love than ever. We still have challenges, but the levels of closeness and intimacy are far better than even when we were dating.

        I have to really thank my wife for being brave and courageous enough to completely CUT ME OFF… or I never would have learned what I now know or have found what I have found. Had she not did that… we could still be stuck in a miserable loop of resentment and neediness… and neither of us would be enjoying life.

        So “C”… you have an amazing ability to endure hardship and struggle… but you shouldn’t have to. Your husband COULD be the guy you’ve always wanted, but he needs a MAJOR Impetus to change. For me.. Losing my wife forever was what brought me around to taking action. Believe me, it wasn’t easy either. It still took over 3 months before she came back to the marriage bed. She didn’t trust that I had “really” changed. You’ve been hurt for so long that I doubt you’d believe it’s possible for your husband to wake up either. But it CAN happen. But first you gotta get him to MOVE. The only way that I can see that happening is by withdrawing, withholding your gifts, and sleeping away from him, with further escalation if things do not get better.

        There are things that I wish did not happen in our marriage. But we’re past all that now… and walking together and growing closer.

        I wish you the best.

      • Jerry December 6, 2012, 11:50 am

        David, The post above describes my situation perfectly. My wife and I have been married 8 years, with a 4 year old, and she said “I’m not attracted to you.” She mentioned that I should maybe stay at my parents for a weekend after the holidays. She is not putting much effort into the marriage at all over the last 4 years, but has focused on our son, her job and her grad classes. I’m the NICE guy that over does things to make her happy. Question – What specific things can I do to show her I’m a man(not needy, desperate, groppy, etc.) and to bring back that attractiveness to her? Also, what else should I do to give her space? I’m trying to find the balance from being a supportive husband and not going overboard, catering to her every need. Thanks so much!!! Jerry

      • David Bibby December 6, 2012, 4:17 pm


        I’m going to respond to you in a point by point fashion.

        You said:
        “My wife and I have been married 8 years, with a 4 year old, and she said “I’m not attracted to you.””

        My Response:
        This is very common with us NICE guys. The reason that she’s not attracted to you is because you’ll literally do ANYTHING to please her. You’ll do ANYTHING to get her to LIKE you. In your mind you’re thinking, if I DO THIS, she’ll want to do nice things for me and maybe we’ll have sex more.

        If you want to start attracting her back to you again. Than your world needs to be more exciting, more fun, more spontaneous, more adventuresome, and more seductive than HER world.

        You need to take her out on a date AT LEAST once a week. If she won’t go with you… then go by yourself. There IS FUN to be had with you and she’s missing out if she declines to go.

        You said:
        “She mentioned that I should maybe stay at my parents for a weekend after the holidays. She is not putting much effort into the marriage at all over the last 4 years, but has focused on our son, her job and her grad classes.”

        My Response:
        It’s fine to stay with your parents for a night or two.. BUT NO MORE than that. She COULD be prepping you to move out or maybe she just wants the chance to miss you. The logic here is that you stay 2 nights away once… then it becomes 3 days… then a week… then 2 weeks… then she’s asking for a permanent separation.

        If your wife needs MORE SPACE than 2 nights without you at a time, then she should plan to go somewhere herself.

        You said:
        “I’m the NICE guy that over does things to make her happy. Question – What specific things can I do to show her I’m a man(not needy, desperate, groppy, etc.) and to bring back that attractiveness to her? Also, what else should I do to give her space? I’m trying to find the balance from being a supportive husband and not going overboard, catering to her every need. Thanks so much!!! Jerry””

        My Response:
        I hope I’m clear about this. You cannot MAKE her happy, so stop trying. If she’s holding resentment towards you… it doesn’t matter WHAT you do… she’ll assign a negative value to whatever it is. For example, a thoughtful gift or poem that would have melted her heart when you were first dating (+ value) would now have the OPPOSITE effect of what you intended. She might even call you manipulative, conniving, or controlling (- value). Again, you can’t make her happy, only she can do that. She’ll be happy again when she can witness YOU being the man she fell in love with.

        Your job is to MAKE YOURSELF happy (regardless of your marital situation). If YOU are happy, chances are she’ll want to be a part of that. But don’t make the mistake of following this logic: “Do Nice Things = Happy Wife” IT DOES NOT WORK!

        Instead.. you have to learn how to operate the way an attractive MAN operates. This doesn’t mean become a jerk. It means to improve you VALUE, not to her, but to YOURSELF. Think back to what you were like before you met your wife. What did you do? Who did you hang out with? There was something about you during that time that caused her to fall head over heels for you. BE that man again!

        Hope this helps.

      • Jerry December 20, 2012, 9:02 am


        My wife and I had a pretty huge discussion/argument last night. She has been seeing a counselor and the counselor says my wife is rejecting me/avoiding me/needs time away from me because she doesn’t feel “secure”. As you said, an essential part of a woman’s needs is to be attracted to her husband but also to feel “secure”. I have had 6 jobs in 13 years, was laid off in 2011 and am now gainfully employed. Even though I tell her I am doing well at my job and it is secure, it doesn’t matter. She is focusing on the past. She has no confidence or security in me or my job and that I can provide for the family. I have always provided for her and my son with sending him to a good school, food, going on 1-2 trips a year, etc. She said, that she needs more. We downsized from a house to smaller town home this year. We stopped credit cards and are buying only what we can afford. When the subject of money comes up, or not having the money to pay for something, she erupts. We can’t have a civil conversation about saving money, etc. All of this has piled up over time, and she says she needs a break from me. She has not specifically mentioned divorce, but says she would rather do this (raise our son, live her life, etc.) by herself. I am not forcing marriage counseling on her, because she knows that is her choice. I can’t make her want to do anything, she has to do this on her own. Since our son was born in 2008, she has put little effort into our relationship but has focused on our son, her job and “trying to survive” as she would say.

        On a side note, her dad was an alcoholic and left her and her mom when she was 8. Maybe the Security issues come from that situation. She is overwhelmed with life, work, taking classes, raising a child, and me. She might have some depression and anxiety mixed in. This is turned into an unhappy life for her and her distancing herself from me. I am trying to be strong, be a man, show confidence, live an exciting life, adventurous, and be the man she grew to love when we were dating. I want this to work, but am giving her space. I need your advice and counsel David on what I can do in this situation or shouldn’t do on the points above. Thanks so much!

      • David Bibby December 20, 2012, 5:07 pm


        Here’s my response to your latest post…

        You said:
        My wife and I had a pretty huge discussion/argument last night. She has been seeing a counselor and the counselor says my wife is rejecting me/avoiding me/needs time away from me because she doesn’t feel “secure”. As you said, an essential part of a woman’s needs is to be attracted to her husband but also to feel “secure”. I have had 6 jobs in 13 years, was laid off in 2011 and am now gainfully employed. Even though I tell her I am doing well at my job and it is secure, it doesn’t matter. She is focusing on the past. She has no confidence or security in me or my job and that I can provide for the family.”

        My Response:
        In the area of “security”.. you have got to be completely transparent and forthright with all things related to finances and income. This means that you cannot keep her in the dark regarding what’s in the checking account today or in your savings accounts.

        She should know that your job is not in danger and that you are doing everything you can to be the best employee at work, and that you are seeking to better yourself there and try for a promotion in the near future.

        At the same time.. you don’t want to have “tight” control over the purse strings at home. It’s great to be saving money. But you and your wife BOTH need to be able to spend without having to ask each other if it’s ok.

        So… if your wife has no spending money at all… that will be a problem.

        You said:
        “I have always provided for her and my son with sending him to a good school, food, going on 1-2 trips a year, etc. She said, that she needs more. We downsized from a house to smaller town home this year. We stopped credit cards and are buying only what we can afford. When the subject of money comes up, or not having the money to pay for something, she erupts. We can’t have a civil conversation about saving money, etc. All of this has piled up over time, and she says she needs a break from me.”

        My Response:
        Do not leave your home under any circumstances. Also realize that it is not your job to provide “luxury” for your wife. If you are being wise with the family money, and providing a roof, clothes, food, utilities, a bit of fun, entertainment, and still able to save a little… then you are doing a GREAT job at providing for the family. Now.. IF your wife is not currently working… and she “wants more” than you can provide without harming the family… then she needs to find a job. And if she gets a job… then let her spend the money she makes on whatever she wants.

        You are her husband… not her sugar daddy.

        You said:
        “She has not specifically mentioned divorce, but says she would rather do this (raise our son, live her life, etc.) by herself. I am not forcing marriage counseling on her, because she knows that is her choice. I can’t make her want to do anything, she has to do this on her own. Since our son was born in 2008, she has put little effort into our relationship but has focused on our son, her job and “trying to survive” as she would say.”

        My Response:
        I personally don’t think marriage counseling is all that useful. If your wife feels like she can do it better without you, tell her that she is welcome to try. I’ll say again, Do NOT leave your house under any circumstances. If your wife wants to try living her life and raising your son without your help… insist that she find her own place and that you’ll help her achieve that. I think she’ll find that you’re more valueable that she gives you credit for when she’s faced with that decision.

        You said:
        “On a side note, her dad was an alcoholic and left her and her mom when she was 8. Maybe the Security issues come from that situation. She is overwhelmed with life, work, taking classes, raising a child, and me. She might have some depression and anxiety mixed in. This is turned into an unhappy life for her and her distancing herself from me. I am trying to be strong, be a man, show confidence, live an exciting life, adventurous, and be the man she grew to love when we were dating. I want this to work, but am giving her space. I need your advice and counsel David on what I can do in this situation or shouldn’t do on the points above. Thanks so much!”

        My response:
        Your wife is bored and exhausted. She needs YOU to SHOW her adventure. So start inviting her to share new experiences with you outside the home. Date no less than once a week with small (low key) dates. And if she declines to go on a date with you… be sure to invite someone else. If you cancel your fun time because she declined your invite… then you both lose. But if you go anyway… and she doesn’t go… then SHE misses out.. and SHE won’t like missing out too much,

  • Teresa June 15, 2012, 9:00 pm

    Print this out and ask your wife to read the post and everyone’s comments. If she is interested in finding her way back to the marriage she sould spend some time everyday actually feeling in-love with you and being grateful for having you in her life.

  • ck June 15, 2012, 9:06 pm

    I understand that you are doing all you can for four months now. However do not overdo it. Just be yourself because overdoing it would only backfire to you. You do not have control over the lost feelings of your spouse so it is up to her to deal with it. The only thing you could do is to take care of yourself and commit to change everyday.

  • Terry June 15, 2012, 9:07 pm

    A Reformed Husband,

    For your situation, I recommend that you start doing things on your own to build up your self-esteem first. Give your wife some space and you can be loving but don’t push it. Most importantly, whatever actions you do for her, do not have expectations. Don’t expect her to act a certain way. That’s what creates pressure.

    Stop with the relationship talks and keep things light. Go back to when you first married her. You were able to have a certain amount of closeness with her but at the same time kept a level of individuality about you. Get that guy back again. Don’t give her gifts or go over the top with doing nice things for her. All that creates pressure.

    When she says that she feels “pressure” to love you, tell her to take a deep breath and that there is no pressure. When she opens up, listen and validate her feelings even if you totally disagree with what she’s saying. Validate her right to feel the way she does. If she starts changing your marital history, just say “Hmmm, personally I don’t recall it being like that, though I understand why you might feel the way you do”. And when you do talk to her, never use the word ‘but’. When you talk to her and say, “I agree, but…”, the word ‘but’ negates everything she opened about before. It makes her not feel safe and that you’re not listening.

    Remember what it was like to listen to her in the beginning of your dating. How you put all your attention on her and let her get her feelings out. Let her move towards you slowly. With time that trust will get re-established. And when things are stable enough, recommend marriage counseling. But take care of yourself first and the rest will follow.

    • Jerry December 6, 2012, 11:10 am

      Hey Terry,

      My wife is overwhelmed with work, grad classes and 4 year old, myself and life in general. She needs a break from things. I am working on myself to be the person my wife married. I am giving her “space” and not forcing things like touch, conversation, etc. But, I had planned on giving her a nice but not over the top necklace for christmas. Do you think this is adds too much pressure? If I back off, and give her space over the next 3 weeks, I thought it would be something she would love.


      • David Bibby December 6, 2012, 11:31 am


        Have you given her gifts like this in the past? Does she like jewelery and usually buy necklaces or earrings for herself?

        The reason I ask is that SOME women love jewelery and they value it proportional to the money you spent on it. Other women would be appalled that you spend ANY amount of money for them for a necklace or earrings. They value bargains and cannot fathom spending $50, $100, $250 or more for jewerly. For these women a homemade, but thoughtful gift speaks louder.

        You know your wife best… so plan accordingly.

        One other thing I’ll say… is that if you give her a gift… that make sure there is NO expectation for her to give something back to you. It is a simple gift because that’s the kind of man you are. You cannot get disappointed if you get nothing back. If you do.. THAT creates the pressure you’re trying to avoid.

  • Rmschmidt June 15, 2012, 9:45 pm

    Hello Reformed Husband,
    My marriage had an amazing transformation after my husband and I attended an eight week marriage enrichment course. I cannot speak highly enough about this program. We sounded just like you and your wife. I was not sure I was “in love” anymore. Two children and very demanding lives left us both drained at the end of the day. This course changed our lives! Eight weeks equals a new life! it was the best thing we could have done for our family.

  • Shana June 16, 2012, 9:22 am

    Continue to pursue her. Never stop pursuing her.

    If she’s waiting on a feeling, it might be a while. The truth is the love, in many ways, is a choice. It’s choosing to stay committed, choosing to see the positives in your spouse instead of focusing on the negatives, choosing to humble ourselves and stop picking apart our spouse, choosing to be thankful for the person God has made for us. When my husband and I were first married he would tell me he knows he loves me but he couldn’t “feel” it. After 18 months of counseling, his walls of resentment have begun to come down and he is feeling emotionally connected again. After years of not really communicating our feelings, we’ve learned how to repair after conflict and speak from the heart.

    Practically speaking. I would pray for your wife and your marriage everyday. I would seek wise counsel together, but alone if she refuses. Consider reading these books together. Sacred Marriage paints a beautiful picture of a marriage that isn’t about our happiness. Hold Me Tight walks through conflict resolution and emotionally focused communication.

    Praying for reconnection!

  • Richard June 16, 2012, 11:35 am


    Your situation sounds exactly like where I was 5 years ago. Three kids, youngest was two, life was more practical than passionate but I was under the impression that everything was still good. Then, out of the blue, “I don’t love you.”

    In this case, it turned out that she’d had a one-night-stand (while away at a wedding), and was secretly still in touch with him and planning to meet up again. I think the excitement and thrills and newness of that was contrasting very strongly with the routine and predictability of our lives. I DESPERATELY hope there is nothing similar to this in your situation.

    I tried exactly what you’re doing. I honestly think that you are doing the right thing, it is the best approach there is. I vowed to give it a year, in the end I hung on for three (complicated by several further affairs, some supposedly clandestine and some more blatant). Unfortunately, in my case, it did not work, and in the end I had to call time on the relationship and we are now apart.

    So, I will re-iterate, I think your approach is correct. One caveat – there is a possibility that she will take this new situation for granted. If it goes on too long, she can get the message that it’s ok to take advantage of all you’re doing for her without the need to make an effort and reciprocate (or in my case, it’s ok to enjoy all the practical, financial, and shared-parenting advantages of marriage while continuing to screw around). Another commenter pointed out that women do appreciate a strong man, so don’t let this approach come across as you being needy, desperate, or a walk-over.

  • Brian June 18, 2012, 8:13 am

    Some great advice here. I being think being a loving, faithful, devoted husband and father are great but, as others have said, don’t dote on your wife or over pursue her. Leave some space for the two of you to grow.
    One way to be attractive is to have a life of your own. Have a hobby or two, get out with the guys once in a while, exercise and eat right. Basically, make yourself the best you can be. Your confidence will improve and, really, that’s what women find attractive in a man. Finally, lead with love…

  • Brian June 19, 2012, 3:39 am

    This sounds like my situation somewhat… Married 21 years, 4 kids (18, 16, 13, 11) – except for the fact that 1 month ago I found out she had met someone on a trip with friends, had seen them twice, and had been talking/texting with them quite a bit in the last 2 months. I confronted her, got us into counseling (she went twice – no more) – and have been pleading with her to try and work things out. The other guy has broken off contact – due to learning about my research into who he is – so she is dealing not only with our issues but also the loss of this “new” thing that she was drawn to.

    She’s been very withdrawn, and I have tried to tell her we need to talk about this – before we jump on that road to separation, divorce, etc. – that we owe it to ourselves and the kids to make a go of it – to at least try. I’m in it for the long haul, if she’s willing to try and work things out.

    She approached me last night and basically said she doesn’t feel like working things out right now, has no desire to try. I can’t force her to change, to love me, to want to work things out, etc. I countered with a position that I’m not leaving. I want to do everything possible to spare us, the kids, of going through this, that after 21 years we should talk more about our lives together more than just the few times we have tried.

    I don’t want to leave, which is what she wants – she thinks the kids would be less-disrupted by her being here with them in our house – but I feel that regardless of our issues, whatever has made her unhappy over the years, etc. – that I was not the one to cheat. Plus – I don’t want to send the signal – unintended – to my kids that *I* am giving up. As it feels like if we approach them, tell them we’re “having trouble” and oh by the way Dad is moving out… they will lay part of the blame on me, and think I’ve given up on them.

    Stuck, confused and lost. Sorry for the long post.

    • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 19, 2012, 6:59 am


      Your situation is not uncommon. We have a rule in our group..or a policy if you prefer. “The one who doesn’t want to work on the marriage…is the one who leaves”.

      Your wife has a fantasy of having it all… the house, the kids, the security, everything except you.

      DO NOT leave you house, ever. If anything.. continue to make yourself the best man that you can be, and send the message to your wife “As long as you are here in THIS house… I take it as a sign that you want to work on our marriage. If you no longer want to be in a marriage relationship with me, then I’ll help you find a new place that YOU can move into.”

      No matter how she tries to spin it… if YOU leave, then you will be seen as the “bad” guy… the one who gave up.

      Your gut feelings are very correct Brian. Stay Strong, Kind, and loving even when your wife is hurling junk at you.

      If you would like support for your situation, please reach out.

      David Bibby

      • BrianH June 19, 2012, 7:54 am

        David – Thanks very much for your words of encouragement. I’m trying to stay as strong as possible throughout all this – for myself and for the kids.

        I definitely feel like she is withdrawn, and quite possibly emotionally overloaded at dealing with ALL these issues – us, her and him, us and the kids – etc. but I don’t think she’s fully considered the consequences of what she’s proposing. It sounds like she does want the best of both worlds. Me there when it’s convenient for the kids, etc. but not there when it might cause her stress at thinking about our situation, what she did, etc.

        My bother mentioned yesterday, as did the my counselor, that she may be putting herself through the wringer still, feeling very guilty about what has happened, and how I found out, etc. She’s said more than once that I’m being too nice to her, and when I get angry she quickly says I have every right to be – given that she’s the “bad one” and similar talk like that.

        I think she sees my leaving as a way for her to get back to some semblance of “normal” – with me not in the picture to remind her of our issues, and the mess we’re in – not that she “caused” it – we certainly have our issues that need to be worked out.

      • Jodi June 19, 2012, 3:04 pm

        The problem with that rule, “The one who doesn’t want to work on the marriage…is the one who leaves”, is that not all situations are that cut and dried. The house was mine before I even dated him; he has lied, abused Rx meds, betrayed, broken the law, worked only sporadically for years at a time (while I paid the mortgage/bills), lied some more, had an emotional affair, used porn, hidden large purchases, we’ve been in counseling sessions at two points during our marriage, etc. etc., and I’m just feeling like it has all taken its toll on my feelings for him to the point that I don’t even want to be around him anymore despite the fact that he has resolved most of his problems. I say most, because the last incident of lying was just a few months ago, after he swore for about 2 1/2 years that he doesn’t lie anymore, so how do you ever know whether they’ve stopped lying or just aren’t getting themselves in as many predicaments that require lying to conceal? I feel like he’s going to lie whenever it is convenient and can never be fully trusted. If anyone’s to blame for the destruction of this marriage, it’s squarely him. Our last counselor flat out said that I was clearly the “high functioning” one in the relationship. I love my house, my dad acted as my realtor and found me this house, and has since passed away. My parents helped me with the down payment to buy it. I’m NOT leaving. Yet I’m not sure I can do this anymore. I sometimes feel like I’m having a mid-life crisis, but then when I look at the history of things, it seems obvious why I feel the way that I do.

        I know Brian’s situation is different, but in other cases the person who’s the most destructive won’t leave. They might not have any issues with you or the marriage, its working for them, so they’re going to ride it out as long as you will let them. It doesn’t seem right for you to be obligated to keep trying and putting up with their abuse or else leave your home. That’s just not right. I just don’t know what I’d do if I finally decided I’d had enough and my husband refused to leave because I was the one who didn’t want to try anymore.

      • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 19, 2012, 4:33 pm


        While it does seem like a tough rule.. I really do stand by it. Of course.. I’m usually counseling men who want to SAVE their marriages instead of leaving them. However.. if a man I was counseling was with a woman who was extremely abusive, throwing things, destroying things. Then clearly.. it would be in his best interest to remove himself from the situation.

        In the past… I have lied to my wife. Mostly they were about finances because I had a very hard time telling my wife “no” when she wanted to buy something. So when the account would get low of course she’d get very angry. Other times I’ve lied because even with a low account I’d still buy a 20 oz. soda at work even though we agreed not to buy anything. Her trust in me dwindled down to nothing. Mostly… I lied to spare her feelings and it ate me up inside.

        What keeps our marriage together is both of us forgiving the other of past faults, and some grace to know that we’re both human. I DID NOT promise to NEVER lie to her again, because that’s impossible. But.. I am mature enough to come to her and say “I didn’t mean to lie to you yesterday about _____. I am sorry, will you forgive me?”

        I can just about bet.. that if you husband feels that he is one lie away from you leaving him… then he will be carrying a huge weight right now, because he won’t know what’s going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

        I have no idea the types of things he lies about… so I can’t say whether or not the next lie will be the one that sends you to the lawyers office. What I CAN say… is that he WILL lie to you again. He’s only human, just as you are.

        The question is… is there enough GOOD experiences over the last 2 1/2 years to out weigh his major character flaw? Is there anything he can do so that you let go of all this resentment that you feel? You say that the destruction of the marriage is squarely on his shoulders, and it would probably make things easier for you if that were true. But holding resentment for him, withholding love, affection, etc. is just as destructive to a marriage as his lying is.

        I can also understand your attachment to the house. And if it was your house before you got married, then perhaps it is best that you keep it. But if I were advising your husband right now.. I’d tell him to fight for the marriage.


      • Jodi June 20, 2012, 12:17 am

        I think I listed enough serious marital issues to make it clear that he’s not lying about something like buying a 20 oz soda. I would not flip out about that, although I admit I’d have concerns about someone feeling the need to lie to me about something so trivial. And while I will own the resentment (I admit I’m damaged), I see it as the direct and expected fallout of the problems he brought upon our marriage. I would have likely worked through these feelings by now had he not kept throwing more fuel onto the fire.

        Anyway, I’m not particularly looking for advice. Nobody walks in my shoes but me, and I know that I’ve been a good wife and have been more patient and forgiving than I probably ever should have been, to the point of being a door mat. I just wanted to shout out an example of how “The one who doesn’t want to work on the marriage…is the one who leaves” rule may be a bit misguided, as it fails to take into consideration the complexity and unique circumstances of each relationship.

      • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 20, 2012, 9:54 am


        I absolutely see where you are coming from, and you are absolutely right: There are some obvious limits to the rule. One of the guys we’re working with has been living in separate bedrooms from his wife for a very long time. Many times, he was ready to throw in the towel and we talked him from the ledge. It was the rule that keeps him fighting for his marriage. Now.. if it turns out that after he makes the changes he needs to make, and has done everything he could possibly do … and his wife still won’t forgive or let go of the resentment she carries… then it may be time for him to move on.

        It’s not about the house for him at that point. Now it’s about him moving on with his life.

        We have the rule so that men don’t give up too soon. The circumstances change the rule may then not apply.

        If your marriage cannot be saved, if your trust in your husband can never be restored, I’m not sure what you can do or say to your husband that will stop him from trying to work things out with you.

        Your happiness should be of prime importance to your husband…and if it isn’t, you’ll take your happiness in your own hands.

        While it might not seem like it.. I’m actually on your side.

    • BrianC June 19, 2012, 7:12 am

      Hey Bri,
      You are right, don’t leave. If she wants to leave let her but you need to stay put for your kids and for yourself. Your situation is so much like mine was. My wife was going through a difficult time, a midlife crisis, she wasn’t happy and was putting the blame on me. Not that I’m perfect but I’m a good guy. We had a tough year and it was touch and go for a while and I almost left but I stuck it out. I stayed strong, tried to stay upbeat (probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done), and tried to be the best Dad and husband I could be. I read everything. Alisa’s book is awesome… buy it! Also, a great ebook Survive your wife’s Midlife Crisis by Christine Carter Schaap. These books gave me valuable insight to what my wife was going through and helped me to be a little more understanding, strong. I came to realize that whether she knew it or not, my wife needed me. She needed me to be strong, understanding, and above all… patient! I gave my wife space physically and emotionally so she could figure things out for herself but I was always there to listen (not fix) when she wanted to talk. One thing I would not tolerate was her being unfaithful to me. I made it clear I would not share her with anyone. Some boundaries need to be set and enforced.
      We’ve been through a lot but the past few months have been good (this past month has been great) and hopefully we will continue to reconnect. We are both committed to the marriage and each other and when it’s all said and done I think it’s that commitment that makes all the difference. In good times and in bad, right?
      Wish you all the best.

      PS I’ll be BrianC from now on to avoid confusion… :)

      • BrianH June 19, 2012, 7:36 am

        Thanks for the kind words BrianC.. and I’ll be BrianH (unless there is another…) from here on out. Far be it from me to claim sole rights “Brian”.

        The counselor – “our” counselor for 1 joint visit, and 1 individual visit each – and whom I’ve seen twice now, just on my own – advised that I do much the same. Not as a result of last night’s discussion/her thoughts on me moving out – but just playing it cool. I know you’re not supposed to say “I’ve changed” but I have in a great many ways. I’ve been unhealthy/overweight for quite some time, and have dealt with it by eating to hide the pain, etc. not to mention the fact that my father, 71, went to prison last fall for molesting his girlfriend’s two kids. That has been devastating to face, since last fall, coming to terms with that. PhD in Physics, college teacher, my dad – who aside from divorcing my mom 20 years ago, quite messily – has always been a good “dad”.

        I’ve refocused on work, have lined up a very good side project that nearly doubles my salary, and have lost 20lbs so far… have joined a gym… and aside from the whole infidelity/marriage turmoil mess – I feel better and more awake than I have in years. So I can safely say – I’ve changed, and I’m ready and willing to work on things with her.

        I told her last night that her non-desire to at least attempt to work on some of our issues just about hurts me more so than her affair did, and finding out about that. I don’t think she’s in a good place right now, emotionally, and I think she sees getting me to “leave” as the answer for her to not have to face or deal with what she did, or address any of our issues.

        So there’s no way I’m leaving, but I told her if she needs space apart, time to think, etc. – she’s certainly free to do so. When I said that, she asked – somewhat incredulously, how could I force the kids to deal with that? I countered with.. that’s exactly what she’s trying to get ME to “do” to the kids… It makes no sense.

        I know she’s dealing with the pain/loss of this “new” thing she found with this other guy, the conversations, the flirting, the rekindling of feelings of “new” love – and she as much admitted last night that she’s angry with me for sleuthing, and causing him to break things off with her. She’s also admitted that it was her that pursued him. 33 phone calls to him in a four month period, and only 1 from him. Same with text messages, which I can’t confirm through our billing, but she’s admitted that she initiated those conversations as well.

        She’s not in a good space to make this decision, and I know I can’t “force” her to want to try, or to love me, or to do anything – but neither one of us is at this point. Do I hope we can reconcile and get back together? Yes. But I’ve also told her that I will get through this, with or without her – and that we owe it to “us” and to our kids to make a go of it, and not give up at this point.

        Thanks for your comment.

  • Richard June 19, 2012, 7:14 am

    Hi Brian,

    I really feel for you, this is just where I was 5 years ago.

    First up, my suggestion is to give it time, don’t pressure her, but be the best husband you can be. You can’t force her back to you, but you may be able to tempt her back to you. (OK, that didn’t work for me, so I may not be the ideal guy to give advice, but there were moments it came very close).

    Secondly, if the worst comes to the worst, it is not a given that the kids lives will be wrecked, nor that they will feel you abandoned them. I was the one to move out in the end, and yes, I felt that was very unfair because she was the one who’d been continually unfaithful while I’d been extremely forgiving and done everything possible to keep us together. But, in the end, that didn’t matter so much as what was best for the kids, and it was better for them to keep a home in the house that they grew up in. If you move out, but stay close, they can still be your kids as much as hers, and they won’t feel abandoned. My kids spend 2 weeknights per week with me, and alternate weekends, so they are with me on average 43% of the time. The key to managing it well for the kids is to keep things amicable with their mother, and for you both to recognise that the kids are the priority and arrange things in the way that is best for them. If it gets nasty, it’s bad for the kids if they see you bickering, being mean, or scoring points of each other. It becomes worse if you fight over who gets what and who owes what to whom in the separation. It is horrific if the kids themselves become another bargaining chip and a source of contention. As a side benefit, keeping things amicable will be much better for you too, for your emotional well-being (as well as your finances – when battle-lines are drawn, the only winners are the lawyers).

    Oh, and if at all possible, don’t discuss with the kids the details of why you are splitting, or more specifically, whose fault it is. It may be tempting to try and get them “on your side”, but it’s bound to get back to their mother that you told them it was her fault, and then bang goes your whole amicable thing (because, no doubt, in her head she has a totally different interpretation of events that doesn’t lay the blame as firmly at her feet as it seems from your perspective). Given their age and maturity, there’s a good chance they’ll work it out for themselves, but at least then you won’t be blamed for telling them and thus starting any sort of battle.

    I seem to have written far more about how to manage the split than how to keep it together; this is the wrong emphasis, because I really want you to have the patience to try and make it work. The rest is just re-assurance that it isn’t the end of the world (or your relationship with your kids) if it doesn’t.

    • BrianH June 19, 2012, 7:48 am

      Thanks for your comments Richard, and I certainly appreciate – and realize – that as much as I want her to “want” to work on things, in the end, regardless – I can’t force her to try, or reconcile, etc. so that yes at some point I/we will have to do what’s best for the kids.

      What makes me angry now – and my counselor has advised me to keep it cool, have patience, be the best dad and husband I can be in this situation – is that I don’t think she’s considering the consequences of her actions. She wants me to leave, and thinks the kids will be OK with it, provided we handle it as adults. Conversely, when I say I’m not leaving – for the reasons I’ve given, I don’t want to feel like *I’ve* given up, and more importantly – I don’t want *them* to think I’ve given up – but somehow me leaving would be just fine “for them”. It makes no sense.

      I certainly have tried to hide as much of our discussions (the few that we’ve had) from the kids, but they definitely know something is up. I’ve been sleeping downstairs for a good 4 weeks now, and things have been a bit.. tense when we’re around each other. But there have also been some good, relaxing family times too.

      Ultimately, regardless of what happens with “us” I know that the kids would be better off, better prepared to deal with the new possible “family setup” with us being apart -either temporarily or permanently – being in the only house they’ve ever really know, with one of us there. But I don’t think my wife is in the best position emotionally to force that situation on them now.

      • Richard June 19, 2012, 8:03 am

        Hey BrianH

        Yeah – I suspect thought that is rational, balanced, logical, and able to see things from your perspective as well as hers, is probably not in her repertoire with the emotions and turmoil she’s going through right now. Don’t even bother expecting that of her – put your perspective across, of course, but don’t be surprised that not only does it not agree with hers, but she is unable to even comprehend yours. This can be extremely frustrating, I know!! It’s a rollercoaster, and you’ve just got to ride it as best you can.

        One thing I’ve learned from the experience I went through is just how different two people’s interpretation of exactly the same situation can be. Nobody really perceives themselves to be a “bad person”, so they always have a reason with which they can justify their behaviour to themselves, whether or not they use that to justify it to someone else. They have to live with themselves all the time, after all! She may be unwilling to understand your perspective, but it will help you to understand her, to listen too her, and maybe reconnect with her, if you try to understand her perspective. You don’t have to agree with it!! But at the very least, it may help you get through this with more sympathy and less stress and anger if you get what’s going on in her head, how she perceives the situation and how it came about.

  • Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life June 19, 2012, 7:30 pm

    The biggest issue is that women only drop the “I love you but I don’t love you” speech on their husbands when there is another man involved.

    The OP backing of and being nice is just giving the wife and the OM room to move. The first step is always to actively rule out another man being in the picture. The purpose of the fights over nothing is to create space as well.

    It is no accident that two other coomenters above said “that was exactly my situation with the exception of another guy being in the picture.”

    Otherwise it’s going back to basics and doing what orginially attracted her to you.

    • BrianC June 20, 2012, 7:08 am

      I gotta say that this is true more often than not. It may not be physical but just having another man involved, emotionally or otherwise, seems to be the impetus needed for a wife to give the “I love you but…” talk to their husband. The complications of a third party must be avoided if a marriage is to survive.

      BTW great book Athol… thanks for writing it.

  • Terry June 19, 2012, 8:22 pm

    I’ve read tons of sites that prescribe what you do and the bottom line is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s obvious you’re schilling something since you’ve tied your site to Calle Zorro’s so I’ll take that with a grain of salt.

    I’ve known lots of women whose men have lots of backbone and actually have nothing wrong with them, but they leave just the same. Everyone’s different.

    • David Bibby | Lead Your Marriage June 20, 2012, 11:26 am

      Hi Terry,

      I’m very glad you brought this up. You are correct on both items:

      1. My own site IS tied with Calle Zorro. The man absolutely saved my marriage back in 2008. Like many married men…I had felt that I was doing a great job being a husband and father. I was providing a decent income, always carried a job, didn’t drink alcohol, didn’t smoke, didn’t curse, didn’t yell, and I wasn’t a mean spirited person. I have high self esteem, a high level of confidence, and a drive to succeed in everything I do. I had THOUGHT that I had a great marriage. I had THOUGHT that my wife and I were heading down a path to a great future, and that we were on the same page. So it was a total shock to me when she moved out of the bedroom saying she was “unhappy”.

      I typed in “My wife doesn’t love me anymore” into a Google search and that’s how I found Calle’s materials.

      I followed his advice, I’ve spoken with him over the phone, and I have met with him in person. My marriage changed from “divorce-bound” to “thriving” in a matter of months. I owe it all to Calle.

      I’ve been a part of Calle’s world ever since. I’ve helped hundreds of men create the loving, affectionate, intimate marriages that everybody wants and so few have.

      Is there a price? Yes there is. But it is a SMALL price compared to traditional marriage counseling, certainly far lost costly than a bitter divorce. For the price of a dinner at Olive Garden, a man can get the same materials I received that turn my marriage into what it is today.

      Why is it not free? Because free advice is “taken with a grain of salt”. It goes ignored and unused. If a man is serious about fixing his marriage, he’ll pay the price of admission.

      2) The other thing you said, which is a true statement, that sometimes the program works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m here to tell you that the BEST CHANCE of success with your marriage is to get into this program. But even the men who DID NOT succeed in saving their marriage STILL report the program as a success!

      How can that be? It’s because they’ve regained their sense of self-worth, their masculinity, their personal power, and their lives back!

      In the midst of men participating in the program right now… we’ve had some that have or currently are going through a divorce. They’re satisfied with knowing that they’ve done EVERYTHING humanly possible to draw their wives back to them (as evidenced by everyone around him), and their wives decided to remain closed off and cold. Now.. these men a happy to be moving on.

      Like you said.. everybody is different. But what we can all agree on is that the “Nice Guy” type of man is not attractive to his wife, and neither is the “Angry Guy”.
      We can also agree that if a husband is not purposefully “drawing” his wife to him right now… then she IS moving away from him slowly and surely.

      • Terry June 21, 2012, 7:28 pm

        Uh no, your whole post is a sales pitch for overpriced “save your marriage” programs. You can find a ton of people selling the same stuff feeding off other people’s bad situations who are looking for real help.

        Here’s the proof in your own words:
        “Why is it not free? Because free advice is “taken with a grain of salt”. It goes ignored and unused. If a man is serious about fixing his marriage, he’ll pay the price of admission.”

        Alisa is gracious enough to offer her own advice and others free of charge because she really wants to help people. If you were that altruistic, I suggest you do the same. I also suggest readers to this blog not to fall for such self-serving trickery.

  • Terry June 19, 2012, 8:30 pm

    “The biggest issue is that women only drop the “I love you but I don’t love you” speech on their husbands when there is another man involved.”

    Wrong. When women say this, they are missing the deep emotional “feeling” that they associate with love. They (and men) who believe this, think that if you don’t have that burning desire, then it’s not love. However, as everyone knows, those intense feelings of love don’t last and often comes in waves. That’s why it’s important for both partners to work on it and keep the fires burning. It’s why there are so many self-help books and guides on how to “rekindle” your relationship.

  • Alisa June 21, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Terry–Thanks for responding to this and also for your kind words about me and this site. I’d like to take over this discussion from here, some of which will happen off-list.

    David–90 percent of your comments are extremely helpful and add much to the overall discussion here. That’s why I’ve overlooked the not-so-subtle sales pitches here and there. I’d love to keep this entire site a spam free zone and I hope you will be willing to comply with that wish. Because I see that these pitches are annoying to readers, I will be deleting any future comments that request readers to come over and check out your site or articles. Thanks so much for your understanding.

    • David Bibby June 22, 2012, 7:50 am


      Thank you for your kind words. I do wish to remain a contributing reader and I will refrain from adding links or my email address inside of my responses. Truly I never meant to spark a debate here and I’m sorry that others have felt my intentions less than honorable.

      I have a high amount of respect for you Alisa, and because I am a man of integrity, I will work within the boundaries that you set.

      Feel free to edit my previous comments and remove the parts that you deem questionable.

  • Wes October 11, 2012, 3:41 am

    Hello, my wife of 1 and a half said she feel indifferent towards me. we are living in her parents house when my daughter was born. I always helping her out with the chores and stuff. we had some argument about trust ( i didn’t cheat on her or visa verse) She realize that i have some anger issues with my daughter and i decided to deal with it. I no longer lose or get angry with her anymore.and everything is going fine untill she behave cold and avoiding me. when i approach her, she told me she just don’t love me…i have change from the man she have met…. I really want this marriage to work out and even when we went couselling, she still wasn’t happy. what to do

  • Natasha December 11, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Reformed husband,
    I’m there with you. My husband told me one week ago that he loves me but he’s not in love me. He told me that he has not been happy for many years, but this is the first I have been notified. We have two children; one 12 years old and a 8 month old. He told me that there was another woman and he meet her a year and half ago. That means that he meet her while I was pregnant or when we were trying to conceive. He told me that they never had sex just kissed, that they never went out by themselves. The day he told me I called and spoke with our pastor’s wife. We have gone to two marriage counceling sessions with the pastor. I felt this would be best because our pastor did our per marriage counceling. He began his secret life two weeks after the baby was born, that was March 2012. He began going out with friends, coming home at all hours of the night between 12:30 and 6:00 am, he went to Florida alone in May. He still stays out but is home now between 11:00 and 3:00 am. He has never really helped with the baby since he has been born except when he has to. I love him so much and want to keep our family together but he keeps telling me that I can’t change the way he feels. He also is unsure if he wants to remain a family or not. He wants to be together for the children but not for us. I don’t know what to I pray constantly and he asks me to pray for him because he’s not sure why he feels thus way. Any suggestions. I have been reading all the posts and everyone seems to have a different outlook on things. I’m hoping that others opinion may guide me. Thank you all.

  • Steve December 12, 2012, 1:36 pm

    @David Bibby

    Thank you all for your comments/posts on this topic. I too like many of you are in the same boat. I was on the “happy” marriage train when all the sudden it got derailed by my wife informing me that she was no longer happy and was struggling to find that “spark” that she needs to continue to feel “in love” with me. I too like many of you are what most would consider the perfect husband/father from the outside but on the inside I of course do contain my flaws. I have misinterpreted a number of her requests over the past year for me to be more respectful, loving, and over all just making her first in my life. I, also like many of you are rather newly married (5.5 years) and have 2 beautiful children (4 and 2) that we love and adore. Granted I do believe that once the kids came is probably about when things might have started to slide as we began to shift our focus off of ourselves but more onto them. We are both guilty of that.

    So as of a couple of weeks ago, my wife dropped that bomb on me which included the request for me to live with my parents for a while. A while turned into 2 weeks until i stated that I was coming home b/c our kids deserved to have me/us there together. She was totally willing to allow me to come home so that is a positive (after reading some of your posts I know understand that I will no longer move out of the house if more time is needed). I whole heartedly believe that my wife is in this to end. She of course has had her thoughts of divorce and what not but right now she has told me that she is totally committed to making this work. We both agree that after a certain amount of time that if there is no chance that we would not just stayed married for the sake of the children. We don’t want to live the rest of our lives not happy.

    I have been going to counseling now for a couple of weeks, which was originally intended to be for Anger management due to my ability to go from 0 to 60 and back to 0 in the matter of seconds. Mainly this is with the kids. Don’t get me wrong I have never hit them but I do forcibly remove them from situations very quickly from time to time. My counseling quickly shifted from Anger to more of couples counseling session since the day I started was the day I was asked to move out of the house for a period of time which of course changed my world and hence no “anger” issues to really work on at that point. While away from the house I came to learn that my wife believed that she was able to do this on her own and I truly believed she was on the way out the door until a conversation the night before I came home at which time she said she was going to give everything another try. I of course had gone from being the normal husband to an exceptional one during our break because like any life changing event of that nature it made me see things differently. I realized that I was missing signals (Just as she was mine) and that we had drifted apart. I began to feel something different in me that I probably hadn’t felt since we first started dating. I had endless ideas in my head about how to sweep my wife off her feet, but to my dismay these only seemed to push her further away.
    She just went and saw a Deccan last night, which I was thoroughly thrilled about b/c it meant she was talking to someone other than her girlfriends that I’m not certain were always a healthy choice. She came home and let me know that she needs to find herself before she can be happy again and ultimately allow me to get close to her again. With that she said that she needed to build “boundaries” for us. All she could elaborate on this was that she didn’t want any physical contact. That pained me to hear that, not that I was in need of anything sexual but a hug or holding of the hand goes a long way right now. But after reading one of David’s first responses about his wife cutting him off sexually I was able to come to terms with it.
    We do look to go to a couples counseling session tonight but she is not overly thrilled about it, b/c she doesn’t want someone else to intrude on her current mission that she is working on with the Deccan. I told her we could just go to this one and then determine next steps. Like I said I was thrilled that she was talking to a Deccan, he has to hopefully be pulling for the 2 of us to work this out!
    Long story short, I was curious how far you took your physical separation. Right now she is allowing me to sleep in the same bed and then shower/get ready in the same bathroom. My question would be do you think it would be a good idea for me to set up shop in the basement and then use another bathroom to get ready/shower in the morning? It kills me not to be close to her, but in the end I need to learn to be strong and at the same time patient which is what I have been working on. She understands that I would wait for a very long time for her to come back but of course we both know that we would never stand for any infidelity.
    Thanks for staying with me through this long post

  • Johnny January 8, 2013, 3:14 am


    On New Years Eve my wife of 7 months dropped the total bomb shell that her feelings for me had changed, to the extent that she didn’t want to have a house with me or have a family. Currently i’m in that numb/cold zone – just pure emotional agony. She still says she loves me and always will, but not in the same way.

    We have been together for 4 years. I moved my life to her and we lived with her parents for a year before getting a flat together for 18 months. We then decided to move back in with her parents a year ago to enable us to afford the wedding. Since then the plan was to save for a house deposit.

    I am that “perfect” husband from the outside and a nice guy – I would do anything for my wife to make sure that she was happy, I am that “yes-man” which I thought is what a woman wanted. We never fight or argue – i’m really non-confrontational. Her family think the world of me. We would have the odd disagreement over time over what I would think, small things – e.g. me becoming more assertive. I would find that really hard as my wife doesn’t like it when I use the “no” word and I would figure that it was the easy option just to agree on things.

    What makes matters confusing for me is that only 10 days ago she was saying that 2013 was our perfect year, she wants a house and everything etc..Now, its the total opposite. She does not find me physically attractive. When I asked her why she said this her response was that “because its what you wanted to here.”

    Her parents are now aware of the situation (granted we live in their house where its difficult to talk freely) and are pointing the finger at my wife – “she is crazy” etc…which only fuels her emotional fire. She wants to move out (without me) and I have said okay. I have told her that I will support her if that’s what she want’s. She has told me that she doesn’t want to give up on us. I have told her that I can change…although I’m at a loss as to how.

    We have been sleeping in a hotel (together) – although it is killing me that she won’t hug me, hold my hand, or kiss me. I’m terrified of touching her for fear of pushing her away more. How do I know when it will be safe to touch again.

    I know that if she gets her own place then I need to move out of her parents too to de-fuse the situation.

    I just worry that I won’t survive by myself. I’m really an emotional guy. I have no social network, family or support (they are 300miles away) – I need to be around people. I know that I have to fight her but at this moment I’m struggling to find the inner strength.

    I’m not sure I expect answers, I just need to get this off my chest.

  • brandon January 9, 2013, 5:55 pm

    My wife told me she loves me but is not in love with me anymore. that she just wants to be on her own. i told her i will do what ever it take to make my marriage work, that i dont want it to end that i love her more then anything. she told me she does want to make it work , but she still leave with me. i go out of my way to put little notes around the house tell her i love her i been do all the chours. she is gone all day and comes home to sleep then leaves agian. i feel like quiting but i dont want to quit on my wife. i feel used, is she just going through a faze and wait for her to come around. what should i do?

  • noel January 19, 2013, 2:15 am

    i am in a bad spot right now my wife says she has no feeling for me ill give u a bit of background i am type 1 diabetic and i always feel horrible tired lazy etc etc but i work 10 hrs a day 5 days a week and suppuort them well i have 3 kids 2 of my ow and a step son from my wifw prev marriage i love her dearly but i do blame myself for not being involved in activities she like dance and girly movies etc etc i work through my tired spells the best i can but she is very healthy and fit i dont think she realizes how hard i have to fight to even get up in the morn. i agree i have not been the best guy around when she goes shopping or to her inlaws house i should be there no matter what but sometimes i feel so bad i stay home the truth is she says she has no feelings for me anymore do women just turn off like that?? i would do anything for her and my kids i would live with her for 50yrs and hate her just to keep my family together maybe im dillusional idk plz advise me i need help plz!!

  • noel January 19, 2013, 2:16 am

    plz help

  • James January 21, 2013, 1:30 am


    Man do I feel your pain… I have my wife of ten years who six months ago stepped out on me over the internet and had an emotional relationship with an old high school friend. You know the guy in High School all the girls wanted but he would not give her the time of day then.. but now that he has been married and divorced and she for some reason is feeling ” out of love ” decided to act on contacting him. I found she met him once and lied about it.. then continued to talk to him having sexual conversations over her phone for a few moths until I was able to prove the deceipt and expose it. Well now to make a long story short I told her i was done and wanted a doivorce and she quickly relented and has been doing amazing for the past six months..Ofcoarse I have made a lot of improvements after the incident to show her I am a good guy and understand I have improvements to make as well.. well all of a sudden the last 2 months I find her shying away from with intimately..Havent been together physically for 2 months. One day a few weeks ago I told her I love her as I left for work and she said nothing in return.. well no biggie one time thing right… wrong !!! A week ago on her way out the door she gave the kids hugs and kisses and pronounced to them I LOVE YOU to all three of them. Well when she walked up to me she gave a me a half hearted kiss then turned around and walked out after I said I love you… SO what did I do? I said it again… later that night she hit me with it… she does not find me desiroious anymore but yet when I try to communicate with her and ask why… nothing she doesnt know why.. She says she wants this to work… yet shows nothing to back it up… No I love YOu’s or intimacy at all…So here I sit in the same Boat with you Johnny.. I treat her the same giving 110% to her .. yet when i hang up with her, or say goodbye and I love you I get nothing back…I know how you feel man… you love so deeply yet you are getting nothing in return… how long can a person hold out? I would love to talk to you man if interested let me know Id happily share a phone number over email…or something .. anything to help me understand what I do here…

  • James January 21, 2013, 1:33 am

  • john January 22, 2013, 1:18 pm

    i recently separated from my wife after 6 months of marriage. we were in relation for almost two years but were living together from last 6 months after marriage. she is living with her parents now. i am trying to contact her but she is avoiding me even she is avoiding my parents. i want her back in my life but don’t know what to do? please help me or guide me?

  • Brandon January 23, 2013, 6:18 am

    an update to my post i found out that my wife has been with another man. i confronted both of them and told her that she had to chose. and she chose him, i dont know what to do i have two kids and she left us all. Help Plz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Richard January 23, 2013, 6:53 am

    Hi Brandon,
    I’m sorry to hear this – but unfortunately this does seem to be the most common thing in this situation. A woman in a good, stable, marriage with a home life and kids and everything has an affair; the relationship with the new guy is exciting, she’s getting that great endorphine rush that happens in a new relationship that hasn’t been there with her husband for years, there’s none of the childcare and laundry and washing up that’s associated with her home life. Some men have affairs that can be just about the sex; with women I think it’s more often that an emotional attachment occurs too. Then they compare the thrill of the new relationship with the safety and routine of their home life. No contest.

    If she’s determined to leave, you can’t make her stay. If you try to stop her going (in ANY way, whether it’s threats, pleading, evoking pity, or being extra-nice to her to show her what a great guy you are) she’ll go anyway.

    You’re best hope, I think, is to let her do what she wants, because you cannot stop her. It’s good that you’ve called her out on this, and got her to a point where she has to make a decision, even if it’s the decision you don’t want. There is a chance that, after a while (and this could be SEVERAL months), she’ll realise that this new guy is not all she hoped he would be; the endorphins will wear off, and she’ll see the situation in a clearer and more level-headed way, and decide she wants to get back with you.

    For this reason, DO NOT start another relationship, even a quick fling, while she’s gone. Keep being a good dad, see the kids as much as possible, shared custody if at all possible. My bet is that this affair won’t last 6 months. If it does fail, she may decide to come back to you. But don’t pester her to, don’t tell her you’re waiting for her, don’t even suggest that it’s an option – it’s a decision she needs to make on her own.

    I’m not saying this will work. It may well not. But it’s the best option I can suggest.

    In my case it didn’t work. And learn from me – if it doesn’t, in a couple of years you’ll look back and be glad that it didn’t, and that you’re not still stuck in a marriage that one of you doesn’t want to be in, and you’ll find someone new who really appreciates you.

    Finally, WHATEVER happens, keep being the best dad to your kids that you can possibly be. They need to know their dad loves them, and will always be there for them.

  • Brandon January 23, 2013, 8:38 am

    thanks for the words of advise it really help, i know i can only be strong for my kids. but do i even let her back in my life after that i feel i may never beable to trust agian. How do i know she really want back that i am not just a back board till she fines another.

  • Richard January 23, 2013, 8:51 am

    Hi Brandon – that’s a good point. If my ex had wanted us to try again, I would have tried to forgive her and trust her, for the sake of giving it a go. But I totally understand that for many people this is impossible, or inconceivable (because of who they are and/or who they know their (ex-)partner to be). And that’s a totally valid and reasonable approach.

    I would just council against making any hasty decisions. Right now, anything you decide will be clouded by the anger and upset and all the other emotions you will be feeling. Give it some time before you decide whether having her back now is something you want, or could deal with.

    Going to a counsellor to discuss these things with really helped me – they don’t give you any answers, or really any advice, but talking things through with a sympathetic ear who’s totally non-judgemental can help calm you and help you work out what you want. Sometimes a good friend could do this with you, but most friends, however close, will have at least an opinion, if not an agenda, and will try to encourage you one way or the other, rather than simply facilitating you reaching your own decision.

  • john January 25, 2013, 3:36 pm

    i recently separated from my wife after 6 months of marriage. we were in relation for almost two years but were living together from last 6 months after marriage. she is living with her parents now. i am trying to contact her but she is avoiding me even she is avoiding my parents. i want her back in my life but don’t know what to do? please help me or guide me?

  • Mrs January 28, 2013, 9:15 am

    I can’t help but notice that many replies judge what the “wife” is or is not doing and informs this man that the “wife” needs to be doing XY &Z. MAYBE she did all that for YEARS and these “fights” they had over 12 LONG years were about that! How do you know? How on earth does anyone know what she is doing; the guy never says! What he does say is: “this came out in the midst of a fight as opposed to sitting down and talking about things. The truth is that she had told me this several times, but it was always in the course of fighting. I didn’t take it that seriously. We all say things we don’t mean when fighting, right? The fights were always over stupid little things” MAYBE the wife got tired of her FEELINGS being thought “stupid little things”. MAYBE she was trying not to let the love die when she TOLD her husband “several times” that she was not feeling love for him! MAYBE after twelve years she cannot quickly move past her husband not taking the things she says “seriously”. Not to mention, we have no idea what kind of things this guy has said to his wife that “we don’t mean when fighting” that MAY HAVE broken this woman down to where she is. Now, I’m not saying she’s a saint, I’m not saying she is right or wrong; I AM saying that BEFORE we give “advice” in another person’s life, we really need to know the WHOLE story. Okay, the guy asked for advice; FINE, give HIM advice about thing he can do that may HELP HIM but leave her out of it, you don’t know HER side and SHE didn’t ask you to stick your nose in HER relationship. He asked “I’m desperate for any advice you may have. Is MY APPROACH of being the best husband I can be and being patient the right approach?” Which is a good and responsible question. The answer is simply; YES. He does NOT need help to feel his wife is unreasonable. It looks like that may just be what got them where they are in the first place.

  • Cara Rogers May 2, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Having gone through the feeling of falling out of love I could’t explain what happen to me or why those feelings where just not there anymore.I think you at least have a fighting chance with your relationship. My marriage had fallen apart and counseling didn’t help and there wasn’t love anymore so I simply was done with being married. Your wife on the other-hand wants to work on it and keep that marriage so there is some love there in some way. I would say try a marriage counseling just be careful and chose wisely. Maybe you will discover an underlying issue that brings the love back.

  • Jeff June 3, 2013, 9:04 pm

    The most common source of problems in relationships is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after the attraction fades, and wondering where the love went.

    It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has nothing to do with attraction. Love is a promise to do 4 things.

    1. To accept everything that you know and do not know about her now.
    2. To accept her regardless of what happens in the unknown future as you both age – for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health for as long as you both shall live. Even if she is later disfigured by an accident or crippled by illness, you promise now to accept her.
    3. To forgive her later. Since neither of you is perfect, you both depend on each others’ forgiveness.
    4. To encourage her to improve. This 4th one gives purpose to your relationship – otherwise it will get boring.

    If you are both ready to make and keep these promises to each-other, then you are ready to love. When you keep them, you demonstrate your love for each-other. After you formally make your promises at your wedding, you complete or consummate these promises with sexual intercourse. Every time that you subsequently have sexual intercourse, you reinforce your promises – it is truly a wonderful and mutually satisfying experience.

    The problem is that she may simply have rode the wave of emotional attraction until it was exhausted. Fortunately, the marriages can be improved almost immediately if both of you chose to love.

    Source: Attraction is a feeling. Love is a Promise. by Grenville Phillips, president of Walbrent College. (LoveIsAPromise.wordpress.com)

  • Michelle August 18, 2013, 2:39 am

    So my husband an myself was doing drugs… but now I am first.ding out he was going behind my back talking to other women going by there house with out me!
    He now is in rehab but quiet a bit is coming out do I try to start a clean slate an try to forgive an forget…an keep a one sided loyal marriage or what?????

  • Needtoknow October 23, 2013, 9:11 pm

    I have been with my wife for 16 1/2 years, we have two children, the first ten years of our marriage we worked together, came home together, never apart. Believe it or not always happy. We only became a little distant over the last couple years, have not had babysitters like we use to. Also I was laid off 3 years ago, just got a real career started back. (I always had income, just not as great) so money slight issue but not the problem. I understand everything about her, all her annoyances, make sure I do none. Like leave seconds on microwave, hair from shaving, etc…. Anyways we have not been able to talk like we used to. We have been through everything together. Always worked through our problems, anyways I approached her about us not talking and little distance and she responds with. “I have been unhappy for almost a year, and I don’t know if we can work through this, I have no feelings for you at all, good or bad, and I don’t think we can ever get there again, sex is great and the best, but I think it’s just because you know my body so well, I think I just want to be me.” floored me, I knew we grew apart, but Damn, I’ve never cheated, I don’t even look at other girls, that upsets her that I won’t even look. I love her and have always been attracted to her. Have not lost a feeling for her, I have actually cried about this. I have not cried at a funeral but this woman is the only person apart from my children that can bring the water works. Anyways, lots of story, bottom line we have not been able to do anything without kids, and have not really talked in months, other than bills, kids etc. Six days ago she told me she was done, had no feelings toward me at all and doesn’t even want to try. I don’t know what to do, I made a commitment, and I am still head over heels in love. I’m an emotional wreck, it’s going to be Damn hard to not show emotion. When you think everything is Ok, small problems maybe, but end it? No way. I just don’t know what to do.

  • Richard October 24, 2013, 3:25 am

    Needtoknow – I hate to say this pal, but this is the sort of comment that can come from a woman who’s having a fling (or at least thinking of doing so) with another guy. The fling seems so exciting and tantalising and new, and she sees the contrast between that and the steady, nothing-new, nothing-changes, excitement-free life she has with her husband.

    I’m not saying this is necessarily the case here, and I sincerely hope it’s not, but it’s pretty close to the comment I got from my ex-wife when she first made me aware that she felt there were problems. A couple of days later she admitted that she’d had a one-night stand, and was planning to see the guy again. Be aware that that might be the case for you, and look out for any signs.

    Otherwise, I think the trick here is to try and win her back – rekindle her excitement. Take time to do things yourselves without the kids. Take her somewhere you haven’t been. If you can get away for the weekend (leave kids with their grandparents?) and go somewhere new, or somewhere you loved going when you were first dating. The attitude should be that you are trying to woo her again from scratch.

    Also take time for yourself. Don’t dedicate yourself entirely to her and the kids, but have an interest or hobby of your own. It’ll help you achieve mental balance, and it makes you seem a more interesting person to her.

  • adam August 30, 2014, 3:55 pm

    dear reform husband,
    my friend I am going through kind of same situation but atleast your wife wants to work on your marriage, my wife tells me she loves me but she is having trouble to trust me, see trust is a big thing aftr and before all the hot things goes out, be brave, love your wife with all ur heart and soul, time will give you the opportunity to join hand again with your wife, god bless you, try to be very graceful and try to understand her needs

  • Josh August 31, 2014, 4:01 am

    I know exactly how this feels. Currently it’s been two weeks since I was told by my wife she isn’t in love with me and feels we are just friends. I’m now moving out and she is keen to move on. It’s extremely hard. Emotions go crazy and everything seems like it’s falling down. Time and space can sometimes be the best remedy. I’m hoping it works for me.

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  • Paul Raezer January 29, 2015, 9:48 pm

    My wife and I are technically separated, but still live together. She says she doesn’t know whether she can be married to me any more. She says we are not together right now, but she would like me to be the man she can love again, because we were together for 15 years.She is somewhat cold and distant at this point. We are in counseling, but she says she is doing it because it is what I want. How should I approach this?

  • danny villanueva February 4, 2015, 5:42 am

    Hi . I’m in very deep situation and need and beg for advice.let em take you to where this started . Me and my significant other have been together for 9 years . We met when we where young I was 16 she was 14. We started talking and hanging out for a couple months . When I finally ask her mother for permission to date her. We eventually got together after a few months. To tell you the truth we never really dated . We did go out to eat and do a few other things but that was it. I loved her and she loved me at times it was overwhelming and felt good and suffocated . After a while I wanted to leave her and chase other girls she kept steadily showing me love and not let me go. We continued like this for years until we had our first daughter . After that things where still a little better but I still was unfair and unjust to her. Never gave her position in my life. After out second daughter was born I left the house because I was tired off living how we were and selfish .at the same time I started talking to another girl that I liked back in grammar school. Off course she had me feeling good I sent her messages about how I felt . My spouse believed that she was the reason I left. It wasn’t. Meand my spouse still communicated and went out and I eventually came to realize that I loved her and wanted to be with her. We moved back after 6 months and things weren’t really good she was back with me but her spirit wasn’t there.it was like this until I started having arguments and doing tantrums with her for now giving me love while I was pouring out my heart for her. It was selfish and childish of me because así had realized that I loved her I expect her to love me in return automaticlly. What I hadn’t done yet was to see what her needs and desires where I was to focus on my self . After many arguments she finally told me that she didn’t feel the same way and she thinks she needs space. I know I been horrible person and unjust and unfair to her.i broked her heart many times and she stayed with me . I repent and don’t want to lose her or my family. We currently still live together . Please give me some advice . I am willing to do anything and everything to try and repair the damage that I had done to her heart.

  • kabiru bala March 28, 2015, 6:17 pm

    I am in a similar situation I travelled abroad for almost two yerars and left my wife with the kids. Only for her to sell off my properties and moved in with a pastor and eventually now she has gotten herself an apartment. And, she is insisting I get my acts together finacially that she is longer intrested in managing life with me that she is moving to tje next level of her life. Least I forget we have 3 sons ages 11,8*and 5 .


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