“Dear Dr. Eve
I am so desperate: I am thinking of having an affair because I feel so
neglected by my husband. I am opposed to cheating so it’s weird for me
to even think like this. But it shows how desperate I am.
I’ll give you some examples of how he is to me: he never compliments
me, doesn’t notice how I am dressed, and even when I am naked he
walks past me like I am invisible. He never asks about my day or how I
feel about stuff. And the only time he touches me is when he wants sex.
And the sex is bad sex.
What should I do Dr. Eve?
Dr. Eve Replies:
There is a classic scientific experiment called the STILL FACE
EXPERIMENT. Here is a link to an example of the STILL FACE
Be cautious as you watch it as it is disturbing.
In it you will see a baby’s reaction when her mother stops responding to
her. Watch what the baby does as her mother’s face freezes and she does
not move at all. The baby goes through different phases of distress: she
tries to get the mother’s attention through instinctive actions: reaching,
clapping, smiling, then crying, and showing physical distress .. and
eventually, the baby shuts down. Of course in the 2-minute experiment,
the mother responds and all is well.
However, if the frozen shutting down of the mother continues and
happens frequently and there is not sufficient repair, the baby grows into
a child and an adult, who suffers the consequences of childhood trauma
of neglect and abandonment.
I share this with you as you are like that baby, huh?! Your husband
presents to you what feels like a still face and you behave like that baby :
I am sure that over the years you have tried different behaviors to get
his attention. Perhaps you first blamed yourself so you tried to change to
please him or to do what you thought pleased him.. to no avail. Then
you might have cried, nagged, begged even pleaded to get this
attention. To no avail- he remained the same still face.
Now, just like the baby, you move into action .. you instinctively
prepare to move away from him as a way of seeking attention, comfort,
soothing elsewhere as you have given up trying to get it from him.
It’s important to note that right now you are not a baby but an adult
woman who can think critically and make rational decisions. However, this
requires your brain to be still.
I recommend you join a yoga class, as well as seek counsel from an
attachment therapist, one who can work with your own childhood
experiences of attachment. This combination will enable you to find joy
and pleasure in yourself and perhaps in your relationship. By the way,
cheating will only bring you heartache so best avoid that route. #justsaying