Dear Dr. Eris,
I am a 38yr. old stay at home mom and wife. We have one 7 ½ yr. old son and my husband and I are approaching our 13yr. anniversary. We have a pretty great life the three of us we adore our son and each other. However, in the recent years my husband and I feel more like roommates than spouses. We talk to each other very briefly during the day about superficial things. I am home all day with our son and no car so I don’t get out much and he works as a full time Collections Manager roughly 50hrs. a week. I feel like we have so little in common these days and I often feel lonely. I think we both are to blame I have become complacent with staying on the computer and he works all day watch sports and goes to bed. Our sex life is a joke when we have it its only when my son is at school or at my dad’s and its very very brief no romance hell no foreplay at all. I feel like I resent him sometimes for being so preoccupied with work although I know this is our main source of income. I just feel so disconnected from him and hell from the world sometimes. I do see a therapist and she made the comment that it appeared to her that I have lost a sense of identity apart from being TJ’s mom and Jeff’s wife. And I am starting to think she is right. I feel like as much as love my family I resent how much I have consistently and incessantly think of their wants and needs and how to be a better wife and mom (i literally read up on how to improve nightly articles online). I’ve forgotten about the ambitious girl who graduated with a 3.76 GPA in receiving her B.A. for Liberal Arts and how proud I was to be the first in my family to go to college even. I started a successful high paying career in human services after college, I took pride in my appearance, I was closer to my spouse, etc. What happened is the question I am sadly pondering. So that’s me that’s my story more or less any advice or commentary at all would be well appreciated.
Dr. Eris Suggests,
First and foremost, I want to point out that you said that you adore each other, your son, and have a pretty great life. Wow! That is great news and you are very fortunate about that. FOCUS ON THAT!
It sounds like the two of you need to put aside some mommy and daddy time to focus on the relationship and each other. You need to focus on what you DO have in common, rather than focusing on what you DON’T. I am sure that there are things that the both of you enjoy together. If there were things that you had fun doing together in the past, you need to focus on finding those things again.
Like you said, the both of you have become complacent. This happens with most long-term relationships. Its not like it was in the beginning of the La La Land stage of love when you were getting to know each other. But, the truth and the crazy thing is that during that phase of a relationship most couples spend a lot of time and energy focusing on getting to know one another and putting their best foot forward. You need to start doing that again.
When it comes to sex, talk to one another about what your needs and desires are. I do a Love Wheel with the couples that I see in my office. Each person takes turns writing down 4 desires and fantasies that they have around sex. Once each of you communicate those things with each other, take initiative and do them – one at a time (as long as you are comfortable with them. If you aren’t discuss that).
When it comes to your husband being the main source of income for your family, instead of complaining and resenting him for working so hard – tell him how much you appreciate and respect him for how hard he is working. Do something nice for him – something that he would enjoy. You are doing this to show your appreciation. Many times it takes one person in the relationship to start making shifts and changes for the entire dynamic to shift. Examples of this are: initiate something sexual, make him a romantic dinner, tell him to have a night out with the boys, buy him golf balls and encourage him to take a day off to enjoy that. Once you do this – you just might be pleasantly surprised at what he will give you in return.
Finally, I agree with your therapist. You have clearly lost a sense of identity yourself. I want for you to ask her to start doing some Solution Focused Therapy with you on how to get out of this rut. The more you focus on the solutions to find happiness in your marriage & within your own life, the more the solutions will show up. The more you focus on the problems the bigger your problems will feel. That ambitions girl with a 3.76 GPA is still there. Go and find her again! She might be right around the corner!
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