*Lauren, in Hayes Valley, has been married for 9 years. When she first met her husband, they dated for a short period of time and then she got pregnant. They married; and after all these years, and three children, she says that his personality has changed and that has built up so much resentment to a point where she can’t stand him. She’s no longer feeling attracted to him since he put on some weight and that turns her off. Everything he does irritates her. When she talks to her girlfriends, they tell her that she should just get a divorce and don’t “give” it to him, whether he liked it or not, since her husband still finds her very attractive otherwise just suck it up.
Answer: Lauren is very negative about her husband. One would think that she never loved him. Is that why she couldn’t wait to marry him? Was it so bad that throughout her marriage she managed to make three babies with this husband that she’s so negative about? Hmmm….. and now she says his personality has changed, too.
I hate to break it to you, Lauren, but people’s personalities don’t change once they wear “the dress” or the “cummerbund,” unless they have a brain injury, drugs, alcohol, or some kind of brain disease. People’s personalities just don’t change like that. I think it’s fair to say that you married someone a little too quickly and didn’t know him well; but it’s not fair to say that his personality changed.
If I were to take a wild guess, I would say that you probably have your sights on someone else or you are finding people outside your marriage pretty darn attractive. When things are not so hot at home, we tend to gravitate towards interests that look much more attractive than the slob we have at home. Also, your girlfriends’ attitudes suck. Instead of telling you that feeling the way you are is pretty normal and to focus on the big prize, they’re busy telling you how you have to not put up or suck it up. You have adopted their negativity towards marriage by putting up with, pretending, and longing for what you don’t think you have and suffering about it.
The reality is that if you think you are the wonderful woman and the greatest partner that your husband thinks about, well, think again. It happens throughout any marriage: ups and downs. Sometimes life gets harder. Sometimes we get a little bored. Sometimes we get a bit frustrated with everything in general. We may even get resentful about things that have nothing to do with our partner, but we put it all on our partner because it’s easier. Then we think if only our partner were different, then we would be happy. Then we blame the other person’s personality, too. Not fair.
Instead of blaming your husband’s personality, make a mission to have a good marriage. Start thinking about the positive things that attracted you to him in the first place. Speak up about him to others in positive terms and do things as if you’re still in love with him. Find some older people who have good marriages and ask the women how they made their marriage work. You will be surprised to find out that every man and woman who has been married, or in a long-term relationship, have been through what you’re experiencing.
The way you’ll make it from one point to another is if you start behaving as though you love him with your next breath. Bring back some of that same enthusiasm you felt when you first met him and you couldn’t think of being without him. It may take a little while, but you will feel that way again because your actions will bring out your feelings. Good luck!
*Name has been changed to protect her privacy.