How to know if your relationship is salvageable, or if you are just engaging in wishful thinking, because your significant other either does not care about you, or does not care enough about you to do what it takes to make things work.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer who has been in a bad marriage from pretty much the start of it, five years ago. He says he wants to save his marriage, even though his wife is unwilling to make any kind of sincere or real effort to save it. He has all of these ideals of honor, commitment, principle and belief in marriage itself, because of their intertwined family ties. His wife has made it clear she is content to live on her own and has no interest in making things work. An obvious feeling of guilt preventing him from moving on to find his own happiness shackles him, and he therefore continues to make excuses and stick around hoping against reality, things will change. He asks my opinion. My comments are in (bold parenthesis like this below) in the body of his email:
Two years ago, you saved my marriage. You gave me the opportunity to know me better as a man, and this masculinity simply exploded. Thanks for that. Well, I confess that I insisted on this relationship, because we have been married for 5 years, and our families and lives are completed tied. (You believe if you change enough things in yourself, it will save the relationship. However, it takes the effort of both people to salvage a relationship. You can be the best person in the world, but if your wife doesn’t value and appreciate you, she won’t give you something she doesn’t feel compelled to.) For me, insisting on making us happy is a matter of principle, belief in the marriage, honor and responsibility as well. (Those are great ideals, but if she does not share them with you, you can’t expect her to live up to those ideals. If you want your relationship to last, you have to make sure the other person shares the same goals and values.) Unfortunately, she turned my love into a fraternal love. (It sounds like you worked on yourself and became a better man, but not much has changed from your wife’s perspective.)
I’m suffering from bad sex since before our wedding. (This is why I’m not a fan of no sex before marriage.) Man, can you imagine having sex once a week with a selfish and shy girl in bed for 6 years? (You are ignoring reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of reality. The bottom line is, the sex hasn’t gotten any better in six years.) The point is, she was not like this before we decided to have an abortion, because we didn’t have enough money to raise a kid at that time. I give her orgasms sometimes, always the same position. She likes to have sex, but avoids it and is like a cold fish. (You feel like if you fix enough of the problems she says are there, then all of a sudden she will become the perfect wife. The reality is, your wife is not making the effort.) It’s very rare to have her starting the fire. Despite this abortion episode and this painful sexual life, we have a beautiful history together. We built our material life from nothing and, nowadays, we both are successful and wealthy. We used to live in the ghetto, and now we own an apartment in one of the best and most expensive areas in town, enjoy gourmet restaurants, and go to Europe twice a year. Romance and fun is not the point, I think. (The whole purpose of a relationship is to meet each others needs. Obviously, sex and romance is important to you, but you’re ignoring the fact your wife’s not into it.) Of course, bad sex pushed me to lose my self-confidence, and I started to go out with different girls to prove to myself that I’m a good lover. Normally, I have sex three times with a new girl, and then I disappear. All of them know I’m married, I love my wife and there is no future with me; we are just having fun together. This is the way I discovered to find happiness. (You two are like roommates. Your wife is unwilling to participate.)
I talked several times with my wife and tried different formulas to make our bed hotter: travels, motels, fantasies, preliminaries for hours, all that I could invent. Always the same position, she got her orgasm, I got mine, sometimes I just give up, and then we went to shower. Because of the abortion, I paid psychologists, went to the church with her, even the Vatican, and had a lot of conversations about this event, but it seems that nothing can help her to overcome this “trauma” in our relationship; or, one of my concerns, she uses this as excuse to stress my limits or to punish me. (The whole purpose of a relationship is that you go there to give, and it doesn’t sound like she’s doing anything to meet your needs or make you happy. At some point, you’ve got to accept reality.)
During this year, I started to have conversations about my happiness and my concerns about our sexual life. She started to leave all the responsibilities to take care of our home, our dog and financial life while she is working, has no time for me and is interested in making it alone. (People tend to vote with their feet. If they’re with you, that means they voted for you. In this case, she’s not making the effort.) Well, it seems a great message to leave, right? We had a conversation with no drama and no arguments, as a fraternal couple, and I left home for a period. My point is, can I or should I stress this relationship more to fix this great, 60% for me, detail that is sex. (You’re saying the problem is there’s no sex, but the real problem is, your wife is not in love with you.) I don t believe that I can recover it with her. Or should I? (It requires the participation of both people, and she isn’t willing to participate.)
Unfortunately, I’m starting to make plans by my own, losing weight, and hooking up with girls. In my brainstorms, I even thought we could be a trio, or have an open relationship, and live in different apartments, both affordable. (You don’t have the same goals and values, and she’s not willing to make an effort. Why torture yourself and stay married to someone who’s not interested in being married to you? At some point, you’ve got to start taking care of you. You have to participate in your own rescue.)
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From my heart to yours,
Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“It takes two people who value what they have and who want to make what they have work, in order for there to be a chance to save or re-kindle a failing romance. Too many people stick around trying to change the other person, hoping things will change with time, or hoping a relationship can be salvaged, when only one of the parties in the relationship is actually making an effort to make it work. You should never try to save a relationship and keep someone in your life when they are determined to wreck it and remove you from theirs.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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