Neglecting your better half is not loving behavior

*”I Want Him Back” from Orinda is 48 years old and has been married for 24 years. When she was 26, her mother died and things unraveled. She admits that she hasn’t always been a good wife. While she was out having fun and going out with her friends, her husband was home taking care of their twin girls, the home, and going to work. He told her then that he loved her unconditionally. She had never cheated before but about 2 years ago, a co-worker started paying too much attention to her and when one thing led to another, they ended up having an affair. Later, her daughter discovered a text message the co-worker sent to Alice that gave away the affair and told her dad. Alice’s husband upon finding out was angry and hurt. Her twin daughters were angry as well.

“IWHB” asked for forgiveness and since then (about 11 months now), according to her, she has changed her behavior drastically. She has been a good wife and a good mother. Unfortunately, last Friday, her husband warned her that as soon as the girls graduated from college, he’d be moving out and filing for divorce. She has begged, pleaded, cried and asked him not to leave because she loves him. She has asked her daughters to ask their father not to leave but they have both refused. Alice is frustrated because she has changed for the better and neither her children nor her husband acknowledge her changes or give her any positive feedback. Now, she’s asking for fast help, because the twins will be graduating from college in the beginning of December. She wants to know what can she do to convince him that she is a changed woman.

Answer: This is what happens: when we are consistent with our behaviors (good or bad), we are showing people who we are. It becomes our identity.

After years of neglecting husband and children, I think it’s unreasonable to expect them to give you kudos after a few months of change. You will have to come to terms that he may never acknowledge those changes and that he may leave you. Sometimes, marriages are irreparably broken, especially after years of neglect.

You can’t hold it against your husband for not loving you unconditionally. When people say they love others unconditionally, it’s not true and people who do so are not psychologically healthy. For example, would you unconditionally love someone who abused or killed your children? Would you love your man if he beat the daylights out of you? Not unless you’re sick in the head. People are human beings, filled with emotions. People are not pets.

All I can say is, keep up the good behavior by improving yourself and perhaps by the time your girls are out of college he may change his mind. Or he may not, and if he doesn’t, you need to be ready to accept that. Unfortunately, not everything can be repaired and trying to convince or change someone is a futile exercise. You can’t change people; you can only change yourself to try to sway others your way.

If the situation with your husband doesn’t improve by your behavior change, then keep your concentration on being a good mother and salvaging the relationship with your daughters. I apologize for not being more helpful but perhaps one of the readers who may have been in similar situation may offer some advice that has worked for them. Good luck.

*Pseudonym chosen by reader


  1. Globetrotter says:

    Thanks, nice post. I totally agree.

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