Dear Dr. Eve,
How will I know when my marriage is over? I think that every marriage
has a sell-by date and maybe I have reached mine. I like my partner of
many years, respect him, but just don’t feel attracted to him. Not
sexually, not emotionally, and not physically. We have become such
different individuals. He is now very religious and I am not at all. I am
very physically active and he does not move much. I am unhappy and I
know that he is too. Is it time for us to have a conscious uncoupling?
I wonder what you expect from marriage now? No doubt what you
expected many years ago no longer match what you now expect.
Perhaps back in the day, you expected the traditional behaviors that
romance movies and novels, family and culture taught you. Namely
forever love and sexual attraction will exist between the two of you, all
free time and resources must be shared between the two of you and
children are the priority.
In 2013 a study found that the main reasons for divorce were lack of
commitment, infidelity, and conflict/arguing. The most common “Final
Straw” reasons were infidelity, domestic violence, and substance use. And
most everyone blamed a partner for the divorce- not themselves. Other
studies have cited the most common reasons for divorce were growing
apart, not being able to talk together, and dissatisfaction over the way a
partner manages money.
According to my clinical observations, people know what they long for in
modern-day marriages/relationships: they long to be happy. This is a
a relatively new concept. Raising children, supporting the breadwinner,
running a home, and having dutiful sex was considered the purpose of
marriage. Now it is Happiness.
Happiness today means thriving not just surviving. This includes self-actualizing within the marriage, in other words being the best you can be
with the support of the system of partnership. It means intimacy and
Intimacy is gained through PRESENCE. PRESENCE happens when you feel
NOTICED by your partner. And when you feel NOTICED, you will
automatically draw closer and attach more deeply.
Gwyneth, I think your marriage feels detached as your husband no longer
attends to you as you no longer attend to him. The vacuum has been
filled with other external activities. In a healthy equitable intimate
relationship, external interests add richness, layers of communication and
contact, to the partnership.
It is amazing how attractive that person becomes once his/her gaze falls
upon you as his /her object of interest.
- Cheating happened
- No longer feel the same sexual attraction
- Bored with the familiarity of each other and our lives together
- Can no longer tolerate feeling neglected
- Sexless marriage