I’m two years into my marriage and I’m worried it’s failing. We don’t talk anymore. My husband comes home and disappears into his Man Cave to play video games, surf the web, whatever. and I don’t see him til bed time (we usually eat dinner and watch TV together, the only conversation we have is during commercials). On the weekends we’re either trying to get caught up on all the stuff we couldn’t get done during the week or running around doing stuff with friends. I don’t feel like we have any time together anymore. Top it all of we haven’t had sex in like six months. We were talking about starting a family, but the seems like forever ago. I’m unhappy and lonely but I don’t want to leave him. Is there any hope?
My heart aches for someone who ends their question with “Is there any hope?” even when from where I sit it seems like there’s better than hope, there’s a concrete, simple way out of your predicament. But before I go on let me say that what you’re going through is very common for married couples, especially when we live in a world where we seem to live lives of pure distraction: Digital Gadgets, social networks, even the tried and true TV, all these things often function as diversions from what matters. And it follows that if we’re distracted, we can’t be focused or attentive. Your husband is distracted from his marriage, he’s not being attentive to you, so of course you feel lonely and sad.
I wonder, however, if your husband isn’t unhappy as well, hence his apparent escapism. Not through any fault of yours, but perhaps also as a result of the marital doldrums you guys seem to have drifted into. I assume you both work: so the better part of most of your days, when you’re both at the peak of your energy levels and attention spans, is spent away from each other (one of the prices of the Post-Industrial Age we live in). When you get home, you’re both tired, perhaps even exhausted. It’s all you can do get dinner on the table somehow, eat it, get some kind of slack time in and hit the sack. Repeat for five days. Then the weekend comes, the house is a mess, the fridge is empty, there’s shit to get done before it’s time to go to whoever’s house for dinner. Then it’s Monday again: back to work. Repeat the pattern over and over until dementia or death arrives, whichever comes first. Thus will be the remainder of your gloomy existence.
The alternative is that you both make the effort not just to rediscover each other as the people you fell in love with, but to also be the person your spouse fell in love with. I don’t mean this in some kind of shallow physical way, or even going to extravagant ends to create a romantic evening (although that doesn’t hurt now and again either). I’m more talking about creating a whole series of “little things” that add up to affect a major change in the current state of intimacy inertia you find yourselves in.
For example, one thing you mentioned was watching TV while eating dinner, and talking between the commercials. What if you didn’t watch TV at all during dinner, and, stay with me … sat at the table together and talked over dinner? Or, when you do watch TV, do you sit on opposite ends of the couch, or close together? Even something as simple as holding hands for awhile could begin to stoke the embers that you feel have gone cold. Everybody’s tired at the end of the day, and it’s perfectly understandable to just not physically have the “oomph” (for lack of a better phrase) for sex, but that doesn’t mean physical intimacy has to go out the window altogether. Find some way to touch and hold each other and that alone can work wonders. And it’s got to be a repeated, maintained thing. Do it every night, make it part of your evening ritual. You may be surprised how fast things begin to change. This isn’t to say you should wall up your husband’s man cave, either. We’re looking to strike a balance here, not move to the opposite extreme. Something you may want to consider is creating your own space to go to for alone time, your Woman Cave, as it were. (Would we have a “Cave?” Is that too butch? What about a “Woman’s Plateau,” a place of elevation and stability? “Lair” sounds kind of cool but it makes us sound like a nesting predator).
The one caveat I would offer with this is that all I have just suggested to you goes with the assumption that the reason for the slowdown in your marriage is simply because the distracting and exhausting nature of day-to-day life got the better of you. It is also possible that your husband is isolating himself because he’s troubled by something, in which case I hope you can remind him that he’s not alone, that you are there for him, and that whatever the problem is you two have a better chance of solving it together than as a fractured unit.
Regardless of what the cause of the situation is, the starting point is the same: Talking to each other. Equally as important is to listen to each other. I’m 99.999% sure your husband isn’t deliberately trying to upset or hurt you, and I hope when you bring this up for discussion with him, you feel equally assured. You arrived at this point by drifting apart, you can leave it behind if you come together.
With Love and Light,
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