Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Wife tries to cope with spouse's revelation

Q: Less than two weeks ago, my husband dropped a bomb — he says he is no longer attracted to me and doesn't feel that we have much in common anymore. This was a huge surprise to me because he has not expressed any real dissatisfaction previously.

Although he has not yet asked for a divorce, he also has not yet indicated that he wants to stay married. He is going to a therapist to figure out how to better understand and express his feelings.

This is a huge shock to me, and he is showing no outward signs of being committed to our marriage. How do I protect my mental health while I'm waiting it out?

My Husband Pulled a 180

A: I'm so sorry.

I suggest you don't "protect" your mental health so much as actively promote it. Start taking excellent care of yourself — exercise, healthful eating, adequate sleep, time with friends who build you up and love you as you are — and, wherever possible, immersion in things you love and find uplifting, like art, music, books, shows, movies. Wear your prettiest clothing, get your hair done.

Consider finding a therapist of your own to talk to as well, especially if it's a struggle to do the kind of self-care I suggested.

And, in general, don't treat this as "waiting it out." That says you need to know what he wants to do before you can start deciding what you want, and that's not completely true.

Sure, you can't stay married unless he does, too, but virtually everything else is yours to decide. Do you want him? That should be an open question, given the information you just received about his investment in the marriage. And if the answer is still yes, then on what terms? What changes to your lives together will you accept, or would you insist on?

You have more say in this than you apparently believe. Please realize that you have ways you can act, instead of just react. You may not be ready to take advantage of them yet, but just knowing they're there can help.

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