You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…
I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 15 years. We have two children and all appearances would suggest that your marriage is wonderful. However, behind closed doors, our union feels more like a perfect co-parenting situation. Although we appear to be living the “American dream,” long ago I discovered that our personalities are incompatible. He does not fulfill my emotional needs, and therefore, I struggle with meeting his physical needs. We are enduring a sexless marriage that is impacted by our poor intimacy and very different love languages. Although I love him and he clearly loves me, part of the pressure to stay together is based on fear—fear of what others will think, fear of losing a mate that meets our “on-paper” criteria, and fear of being alone and starting over. How should we handle this?
It is very difficult to keep the “American Dream” going when you are living a lie. That lie will eventually become a nightmare if you do not wake up. Unfortunately, you and your husband seem like you have disconnected emotionally. Neither one of you are getting your needs met. You are “enduring” a sexless marriage without a level of intimacy to meet your emotional needs. If you are not meeting your husband’s physical needs, than who is? Who is meeting your emotional and physical needs?
It is the fear that keeps you stuck in a marriage that is not meeting your needs. Not only does the fear keep you from leaving the marriage, it keeps you from talking about the issue and making changes to improve things. It appears that you still love your husband and he indeed may love you. But it is apparent that both of you have fallen into a routine and taken one another for granted. There is no romantic spark or energy put forth to meet each other’s need. This is a dangerous state for your marriage. You must first be honest with yourself and decide if you want to remain in the marriage.
Do not allow your decision to be based on fear. Let it be based on what you truly want and if you both are willing to work to meet each other’s need. I recommend that you seek individual therapy first to decide if you want your marriage. This will also give you a chance to work through your fears. If you decide to stay, couples therapy is needed to work though issues in your marriage. Life is way to short to live a lie. If you want happiness, you are responsible for getting it! — Dr. Sherry
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