Should I Sleep With My Ex Husband – What’s In It For Me?

I get this question quite a bit.  Women who are separated or divorced from their husband will often still have an emotional tie to their former lover and will wonder if it is OK to sleep with their ex.

So since you came her seeking answers, let’s explore whether it is ever a good idea to sleep with your ex husband.

I would imagine there are a lot of things running through your mind right now.

You might wonder what’s in it for you if you should bed down with your former man?

Could it open up an avenue for you and your ex husband to form a new and improved relationship?

Do you even want that?

sleeping with your ex husband

Or is the sexual encounter just that….a sexual encounter you are having with your ex husband and you simply see it as a win win?

Should you be concerned about whether sleeping with your ex hubby will result in some bad emotional outcomes?

Will you and your ex husband end up developing an “ex with benefits” type of relationship?

Is that a good thing or are you setting yourself up for failure?

Different Strokes for Different Folks

regretting sex with ex

As you can see, there are a number of issues that revolve around this issue of whether you should sleep with your ex husband.

As you probably can already tell if you have read some of my previous posts,  I am not one of those black or white kind of guys.

To me, the people around us and all of their experiences, feelings, and behaviors is colored in many shades.

There is no easy answer that is right for everyone, just as there is no one right person for each one of us.

The complexity of our feelings about our lovers  and the choices we make about who we wish to be intimate with will always be a very layered and nuisanced subject.

But many people out there are struggling with what is the right thing to do.

So I will try to steer you in the right direction.

For example, here is a scattering of some of the inquires I have gotten in the past on the topic of whether you should jump in the sack with your ex.

Let’s treat these as separate case studies.  Later, I will comment on how I advised each of these clients.

Bessie’s Case Study of Doing the Sex Thing With Her Ex Husband

meeting up with husband under covers

Hey Chris.  I know I shouldn’t be doing this sex thing with my cheating husband.  We are not divorced.  It is sort of our own separation event.  I made him leave our apartment. I don’t think I want him back.   The sex we now have always seems to leave me confused later.  I go in saying, “No,  I won’t give in to his little seduction games”.  But then I fall all over myself wanting to be with my guy. He wants back in my life but I am really mad at him for a casual fling he had.  I think at the time we are both adults and we know what we are doing.  You know.  No harm, no foul.  The sex is great and he is good too me. But when it is all over, I have to remind myself that I chased him out of my live for a reason and every time I jump into bed with him, I know it just creates friction for us further down the road. What do  I do??”

Tricia Case Study of a Husband Who Wants Back In

hooking up with ex husband bad idea

My husband and I broke it off a few weeks ago.  He calls it a trial separation.  I call it good riddance.  You see, he cheated on me with my best friend.  Now he says it over and was a mistake and only wants me.   He keeps coming by to check on me and makes these sexual overtures.  I know what he wants.  He thinks if we make love, I will soften my hurt feelings.  I should be pretty enough for him and yet he cheated on me, then thinks I can just wipe it all clear and please him in bed. He is trying really heard to win me back.  Part of me hates him for his stupidity. Another part of me hopes  his efforts are genuine.  Can I trust him? We have always been a sexual couple and I do miss him.  Should I just cool it with him for a while longer? I am still not sure if he really ended it. My friend tells me he did but I don’t trust her anymore either.  Should I just have sex with him to satisfy my own needs, but tell him that it doesn’t change the problem we have?  I am so confused.

Amelia’s Case Study of Wanting To Create Havoc for Her Ex

screwing up ex husband's life

Chris, I need your advice. My husband and I have been divorced for a couple of years but we still see each other socially sometimes.  I guess I mean that we still have sex.  He has his new girlfriend and I really have not take up with anyone. It is not like we plan for it.  It just kind of evolves.  We had plenty of problems during our marriage. Lots of conflict and sad little dramas we would each have a big hand in.  But our sex life was pretty good and I have to admit I get lonely and when he start acting in a certain way I signal to him that I want it. He is always happy to oblige.  I know in a way I am jealous that he found a younger version of me in this new girlfriend of his.  My husband is not a bad-looking guy and stays in shape. Another part of me is still angry at him and I sometimes get thoughts of secretly video taping some of our lovemaking and sending it to his girlfriend. I know that would just mess everything up big time.  What I need to know is whether I should be carrying on with my ex in bed.  Am I making things worse for me?  I feel that way.  But I still do it.

What To Do With All Those Sexual Feelings?

where to put your sexual feelings

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

As you can see, they cover all types of situations.

Do you struggle with knowing where to draw the line with your ex husband?

As I alluded to earlier, whether it is the right thing for you to sleep with your ex husband is really a tricky proposition to answer.

Just based on my experience in consulting to clients that talk about this subject with me, more often than not having sex with your ex husband leads to worse outcomes than better outcomes.

I guess if I was being purely puritanical I would tell you to never, ever have sex with your former husband.  But you see, I am not a Puritan at heart. I am more pragmatic about these things.

I have seen cases where a former husband and wife understood each other’s needs and were able to avoid any of the emotional fallout.

Though my sense is that a long-term pattern of sleeping with your ex husband is likely not going to end well.

At some stage, no matter what the circumstances are in each of your lives, you both need to move on.  After all, you broke up for very likely a good reason.  So unless there is a concerted effort to come back into each other lives and make the marriage work, routinely having sex with your ex husband is likely to lead you down the wrong path of confused thoughts and wrong signals.

I want you to understand though that making love with your ex husband should not be something you should feel ashamed of and if you are confused by your shifting emotions and moods around this whole topic, just know that sex has always played an important role with couples. Even when they are in a break up or divorced situation, thoughts of sex with your former partner or lover will often find its way into your life.

So the question is what do you do with these feelings or if a real situation unfolds, what should you do?

Getting Lost in Sleeping With The Ex Husband

getting lost in sleeping with ex husband

Let’s take the first case study I referenced above (Bessie).

In her situation you can see she is struggling out of the gate when she comes to me.  The relationship with her ex husband has turned into one in which sex is the primary force pulling them together.  Don’t get me wrong, having good sex with your husband is important.  It can act as an enabling force in a marriage.

But we are talking an estranged husband here. In a situation in which the marriage is on the rocks, if the sex is getting in the way of working through the core problem that caused the marriage to crumble, then that sexual activity is not an enabler. Rather it can be a disabling force.

What this couple should be doing is addressing the core issue that caused the problem.  My client explained to me that they really have not had the “talk” about why her husband strayed. I explained to her that until they can hash that out with honesty, it will be very difficult for much-needed trust to be rebuilt.

As it is, even with her husband fully accounting for his actions and acknowledging how much pain he has caused for his wife, the road to full recovery will be a long run.

Trust, particularly when it comes to matters of sex and emotional intimacy, is repaired over time through many acts of love and kindness.

I explained to my client that this is where they need to get to, but what is muddying the waters is her husband desire to try to resume their relationship as if nothing really happened.

Obviously a lot has changed and in a way, it seems that her husband is using their sexual connection as his door back into the relationship.

In this case, sleeping with her husband who she has thrown out is creating a lot of conflicting signals for both of them.  I suggested they should cool it with the sex and start focusing on discussing the problem and the steps they wish to take to bring about some sense of normalcy.

I told her that if she doesn’t want her husband to live with her anymore, then she should cease having sex with him.  If reconciling is important to her, then she should discuss this with her husband and also honestly explain that she enjoys making love and wants that to be a part of their life going forward.  But that resolving the hurt feelings and resentment is more important for now.

Let’s see where her husband’s commitment level is.  If he truly loves her and wishes for the marriage to get back on track, then he will learn to accept that he cannot just expect to have sex with his wife without ensuring trust levels have been repaired.

Sex can act as a bond or glue that helps rebuild trust.  So I explained that neither of them need to act like a monk and withhold affection and intimacy.

But since her husband was avoiding talking about forgiveness and had not laid down a marker to work on rebuilding trust, agreeing to sleeping with her estranged husband was causing more harm than good.

Confusion Can Reign When You Sleep With Your Ex

confused by sleeping with husband

In the second case study (Tricia), the client is also struggling with what is the right thing to do.

Similar to the first situation, the break up was precipitated by the husband infidelity.  And also like the first situation, the ex husband was trying to wedge his way back into his wife’s life through sex.

My advice was similar as in the first case study except I told Tricia that it seemed that she was confused about whether she really wanted her husband to return.

Sometimes when a woman get sexual with her ex husband, the confusing and conflicting emotions get churned up.  The chemistry of making love results in chemical changes of the brain.  And as a result, you end up craving those intimate moments you had with your ex.  Dopamine and oxytocin can cause even the best of us to lose perspective of what is best.

Later when these chemicals have less influence on our thinking, we can usually see things more clearly and like Tricia, come to regret the encounter with her ex husband.

I told Tricia that she and her husband have a lot of work ahead of them if they want their marriage back.

Right now, it is more of a friends with benefits type of relationship.  I told her that  what might be best for her in the short-term is to tell her estranged husband that she needs time to herself for a few weeks.  Explain that she has been trying to sort through her feelings and has realized that  his affair has hurt her deeply.

I told her to use that time to focus on healing and focusing on her own needs.  I explained that her ex husband will not at first understand and may feel rejected.  But the truth is that her husband rejected her and broke the faith and trust between them.  Their bond of sexual intimacy has been broken.

I suggested she should tell her husband that she wishes to see him in two weeks and wants to be assured that his affair is completely over.  Ask him to come up with a plan on how she can trust him again.  In a way it is a test of whether or not her husband is being completely honest with her about wanting back into the relationship.

I have counseled couples who have had infidelity issues and tried to patch things up really quickly.   Once separated, one should not rush back into the relationship when the break up was caused by matters of unfaithfulness.  The rebuilding of the marriage should be deliberate and thoughtful.

Using Sex As a Pay Back Strategy – Not Cool

 

In the third case study (Amelia), my client was struggling with whether she should continue to have casual sex with her ex.

The first thing I told her was to simply forget about trying to get some payback by poisoning the relationship her ex husband has with his girlfriend.

I explained that any such effort would be destructive for all parties.  A lose – lose.

I told Amelia that I thought it was time for her to move on.  Her continued the sexual relationship with her ex of several years was not healthy behavior.

She agreed that she was feeling guilty over what they were doing as she had met his girlfriend and liked her.  She said that she really believed this woman was a good thing for her former husband.  But she also admitted that she sometimes would have these pangs of jealousy and resented her husband leaving her.

I explained that when it comes to marriages that end up on the rocks, the emotions that can flood the mind, even years later, can be complicated and even overwhelming.

I explained that she was enabling her husband’s poor decision to cheat on his girlfriend.  Men can be that way.  Given the right priming, they can be like putty in the hands of a woman who knows how to push all the right buttons.

So I advised her to end the affair she was having with her ex husband.  I explained that she needed to work on investing some quality time in finding someone else.

Part of her was still holding on to the past.  There is so much more for her to experience if she can invest her love and share her intimacy with someone who will be there for her over the longer term.

How Do You Know If Your Husband Is Still Attracted To You

We all want to look attractive to our lover.

If you are married, you want your husband to gaze upon you lovingly and with desire.

We all want to think that our spouse loves us for who we really are.

We want to be assured that whatever we are doing in our marriage, that we have not left behind those things that made us feel beautiful, handsome, or whatever the case may be.

is your husband still hot for you

I did a Podcast the other day on one of my other websites.  A woman was wondering if there were things she should be doing to ensure her husband still found her attractive.

A Closer Look at Keeping Your Husband’s Focus on YOU!

keeping your husband interested

So we opened up the dialogue on this point and it took some interesting turns.

She had been married for 6 years and while the couple was still relatively young, they had been with each other exclusively for all that time and she was feeling that the relationship was getting old.

It was not like she was tired of her marriage.

She loved her husband very much and the two of them seemed happy together.

But she was wondering out loud what it is she can do to ensure her husband still found her “hot” as she described it.

She was not vain by any stretch of the imagination.

And it wasn’t like her whole life was wrapped up into how she looked or how well she pleased her husband in bed.

But she wanted to keep things fresh and she wanted to eliminate those little insecure thoughts that sometimes creep in and get stuck in our minds about our attractiveness.

It was important to her to feel desired and while she could not point to anything specific that was wrong with the marriage, she just did not like feeling that she wasn’t doing enough on the attraction front.

In the early days of their romance everything they did together was electric.

She couldn’t even walk or make a movement without her husband staring at her and commenting how incredibly gorgeous she was.

Her husband seemed transfixed by her every movement, glance, or smile.  And she like that.  It made her feel incredibly attractive and wanted.

What was particularly satisfying for her was that she did not have to do anything out of the ordinary to get a rise out of her husband.

She wasn’t trying to be sexy or do things to get his attention or turn him on.

Rather, she was just passing through the day like she had always had.  She wasn’t dressing differently or wearing some incredible perfume.  Her husband just seemed to be naturally enamored with her and all of her little habits and ways.

She explained that her husband, in the earlier days of their marriage, seemed to celebrate just about everything about her, even her imperfections.

That was a good feeling and made her confident that she could just be herself.

It wasn’t like she lacked a lot of confidence or was insecure about her body image or looks.  Back in those days and even now, she said she thought of her self as “pretty” and in good shape.

To her husband, she felt like a beauty queen.

She tried hard not to act the part because that was just not her. She enjoyed being down to earth. But no doubt, the praise her husband use to heap on her about her long legs and beautiful eyes and graceful movements left an indelible mark in her memory.

And now she was sometimes wondering if her husband still found her the “knockout” that he use to frequently tell her she was.

Those were the sweet early days of marriage and she enjoyed every moment.

She asked me during the discussion we were having if it was wrong to want to recapture those feelings.  She was embarrassed to check in with her husband.

She knew he would immediately tell her she was the most beautiful creature he had ever laid eyes on.

He was that way.

She knew he loved her and she knew he would never say anything negative about her.  And it was not because he though she was too hung up on her body image or had an inflated ego.

Rather it was because her husband was a “good guy” and a “good husband” and would move heaven and earth to please her.

Yet she could not help but notice over the last few years or so that his compliments were fewer.

The Ebb and Flow of Attraction

ebb and flow of a man's attraction

When she would undress, she would not catch him watching her like he noticeably did in the past.

Her husband use to show little bouts of jealousy when they were out.

She explained that other men would cast wayward glances at her and smile approvingly at her.  That behavior still happens on occasions.

She explained that she didn’t invite or need  to experience those kinds of little flirtations.

Most of the time, when other men flirted with her she  didn’t mind.  Sometimes it would annoy her but much of the time it was casual and gave her a little ego boost.

But her husband would get a little uptight about it and while he would try to laugh it off, she knew he was not fond of other men giving her the eye.

But now the dynamic was different.

She still gets the looks and occasionally she even catches herself smiling back and enjoying more.  But the main difference now is that her husband doesn’t seem to notice other men casually flirting with her.

So naturally, this very intelligent and lovely woman found herself wondering if her husband was still enamored with every aspect of her persona.

Had he grown too accustomed to her and all her ways?

She wondered if that was a bad thing for the marriage.

Had her looks faded over the years?

It was natural for everyone to age and lose the sheen of their youth.  But since they had only been married for six years, she didn’t think that was a major component.

She liked the way she looked.  She just didn’t like she wasn’t getting more attention from her husband.

I assured her that what she described was not out of the ordinary.

I explained that the little doubts and uncertainties she was having around this topic were completely normal and that she should not feel any less attractive or desirable because of these thoughts.

So I decided to talk to her about the phenomenon of attraction and how it emerges in the early period of a relationship and then how it evolves over time.

How Husbands See Their Wives Over Time

how your husband sees you

Essentially she was looking for some assurances that her husband still found her attractive and what she could do to get back to those earlier days of the relationship.

I explained to her that one of the fundamental success factors in a good marriage is the couple’s ability to refresh their relationship.

I underscored that it was normal for couples to start taking each other for granted.

Both men and women tend to think less about doing those little things that bring fire to the relationship.

We can’t fire on all cylinders at all times.

When we try too, it dilutes the value of attractiveness.

And as time winds by, we can easily fall into predictable patterns.

That is how our brains work.

If there isn’t some effort made to tweak our look or behavior on occasion, then it is perfectly reasonable to expect that the day-to-day chemistry occurring between husband and wife will get lost in the status quo.

So what do I mean by “day-to-day chemistry”?

You see, each day when you interact with your husband, there is a certain baseline of behavior that you each expect of the other.  Your husband grows accustomed to a certain way you look and act.  Our brains are engineered to put things into recognizable categories so we can better process the information.

So naturally, when your husband sees you and relates to you in all different ways, unless something is noticeably different in how you look or what you are saying, his impression of you will largely remind seated in the category that he has assigned for you.  And if you can imagine, each category can be broken down into subcategories.  That is how complex our mind processes information.  For example, he might put you into the category of  decent looking wife or good looking wife or great looking wife or super hot looking wife.

When things start getting predictable and routine, a husband may more often put his wife into the decent looking category.

I know this sounds somewhat clinical, but this is how men and women interact at a conscious, even subconscious level.

So the question is what can you do to break his little paradigm of you.

It is not like the way he thinks and looks at you is a bad thing.

The category that he has placed you in is probably relatively positive.

During the course of the day, he might just link you to his pre-formed category of “loving” and “supportive” wife.

That sounds good, right?

Sure it does.

But what if your aim is to make your husband expand on his categorical view of you such that he also thinks of you in a more attractive, even somewhat sexual manner.

After all, that is what my client says was missing more  from her interactions with her husband of late.

She thought of herself as an attractive, good-looking and desirable woman.

And she knew if her husband was asked, he too would say his wife is a lovely and attractive woman.

But she was not getting that kind of feedback from him, either through words or gestures.

At least, not too often.

She wanted to change that.

The Best of Days When She Shined in Her Husband’s Eyes

when you shined in his eyes

So how does she turn it around?

I asked her for some specific examples of the things her husband use to say or do that she now feels is missing in her life.

Here is what she said.

“He would breeze by me in the kitchen and lightly touch my thigh as he gave me a peck on the cheek. I just loved that. It was sensual, but not overt.”

“He would surprise me with a special night out that included the works….flowers, dinner and wine.  It would always end up in just beautiful lovemaking late into the night.”

“I would catch my husband staring at me as I prepared myself in the morning for work.  Just the simple, little things stood out.  He would comment on my hair as I was blow drying it.  He would help me pick out my undergarments.”  It would all come and go in seconds, but the impression and moment had a long afterlife as I found myself  casually thinking about it later on at work or the next day.

“In the evenings as the hours ran long he would sit on the couch with me and just listen to whatever was on my mind.  He would offer neck massages if I had a particularly stressful day. He would touch me always, but it was non sexual. Yet the memory of his touches would linger with me and made me feel secure and relaxed.”

“My husband would not just tell me how beautiful my body was or how pretty he thought I looked, but would describe in detail what he saw and how it made him feel.  I got goose bumps as I could tell he really meant it. It often got me into the mood later during the evening and our sex would just progress naturally, not mechanically.

So as you can see, this woman had some very clear and vivid examples of the things that made her feel special.

And it was through these kinds of interactions with her husband that she was made to feel wanted and desired.

As she explained, those moments were becoming fewer.

A part of her felt it was just because they were getting set in their ways and not doing enough to spice up the relationship.

And she was right about that and I told her as much.

But another part worried that just perhaps her husband did not see her in the same way.

And that was not what she wanted for their marriage.  She wanted him to be satisfied with her and attracted at all levels.

Building Attraction Through Breaking Marriage Routines

breaking your routine with husband

I was all too happy to work with this woman because after all,  the solution was obvious to me.

From everything she told me, the marriage was rock solid and that there was not really any areas of dysfunction.

But as I explained to her, even the best of marriages need maintenance and renewal.

She asked me what marriage renewal might look like?

I think she was afraid that it might entail changing  something in a big way and rightfully so, she was not interested in making any wholesale changes.

Why change a winning strategy she said.  And I agreed.  I explained that renewal in her case is taking what has worked in the past and tweaking it.

I again emphasized that it is expected and normal for marriages to become somewhat stale.

I explained that the interactions between husband and wife can fall into a predictable and somewhat comfortable routines.

But the problem with routines is that you can find yourself trapped into doing things in the same or similar way and it becomes comfortable and secure.

Introducing change and a little risk can be a game changer.

I explained that when it comes to upping attraction levels, doing things in the same and predictable way is usually not a recipe for enhanced intimacy.

How to Up The Attraction Levels Through Enhanced Intimacy

making intimacy count

I have always believed that much can be accomplished on the sexual attraction front by doing the little things.

I explained to her that men are responsive to becoming re-attracted to their wives through leveraging the sexual connection which they currently have with their spouse as well as teasing out certain erotic images or fantasies most men harbor.

One way to breath new fire into the marriage in so far as the “attraction front” is to introduce new things….new experiences.

That does not mean that my client could not make use of some of the tried and true kinds of interactions she has had in the past with her husband.

But new and creative is better when it comes to re-igniting attraction levels.  I told her that what was missing in their relationship was the firing of certain brain chemicals that raise attraction and intimacy levels.

And when a couple has been together for a long period of time, to break the routines and to enhance arousal may require her stretching her comfort level just a tad.

As I explained earlier, arousal was not a problem with this couple.  They enjoyed a healthy sex life.

But she wanted her husband to notice her more and do the little and big things that made her feel special.

I emphasized that predictability and routine were arousal killers.

So we brainstormed with the goal to come up with a list of things that she could do to make her husband take a lot more notice.

I have to admit she was very creative.

I told her to draw up a list that range from very subtle things she might do to arouse her husband to very erotic things that she may have never thought of saying or doing.

I told her that she need not do everything on the list that she came up with.

I explained that part of the process was to think creatively, so doing away with boundaries usually helps.

In addition, she might just land on some wonderful attraction techniques that she  otherwise would never have thought of if she did not allow herself freedom to stretch.

In all, she had about 20 things she listed out.

We narrowed it to 5 things she would explore with her husband over the next week to see if it upped the attraction levels.

We called it her “Building Intimacy” list.

I added one more thing that I believed was vital.

It involved including her husband into making up the next list after she had completed all five of her attraction techniques.

Here is what she came up with.  I helped a bit, but she owned this list! These ideas are not in any particular order.  But the idea is she wanted to do these things over the course of a week:

  1. When he returned home from work, greet him with a smile and instead of giving him the traditional quick kiss, hold eye contact for 3 seconds and kiss him more deeply.  Then go about your normal routines.   Holding eye contact can increase oxytocin levels and the deeper kiss sends an intimate message that you are available.  But men like to chase.  So casually going about your business allows him a opportunity to pursue.
  2. Offer to give your husband a back message.  This also stimulates a man’s brain chemistry in all the right ways.  Tell him you are using some special massage oil you purchased for him.  Don’t initiate sex.   Just let things proceed naturally.
  3. Buy a new perfume and wear it during the course of the week. Don’t mention it.
  4. Surprise the husband with tickets to his favorite sports team.
  5. Get a little naughty with your nighttime habits.  For this post, I chose to leave out the details for privacy sake.  But to give you a hint as to what my client did to grab her husband’s attention involved wine, a candle, and something else they had not tried before.

 

Why Does My Wife Act Like She Hates Me So Much

Recently, I heard from one of my guy clients.

He and his wife were married a few years ago, but things have been deteriorating in their marriage for some time.

As he described it, his wife acts like she hates him and when he tries to get to the bottom of why she treats him in this way, he is lost for answers.

wife hates me far too much

I asked him to describe the hateful things his wife was saying or doing that made him feel that the marriage was crumbling.

It seems there is an avalanche of things that she has told him over the last several months that has gotten him to the point where he now seriously questions the survival of the marriage.

Can a Marriage Survive If Your Wife Hates You?

can marriage survive hate

He admitted that he and his wife get into arguments about a great many things and when attacked, he strikes back with some verbal abuse of his own.

But he explained that it only seemed to embolden her efforts to launch a counter verbal offensive.

Yet, he kept falling into the trap and their fights had escalated.

A couple that engages in frequent arguments are prone to say a lot of hateful and ugly things.  But this situation was different as it had been brewing for a good spell.

It was as if his wife was in a race to the bottom of the marriage pits.

At least, that is how he represented the whole situation.

Knowing a bit about relationship dynamics, I understood things were probably far more complex than what they appeared to be with his initial description.

Something clearly was eating away at their relationship and it seemed his wife was clearly upset or resentful about some things.  So upset, that her words and deeds were demonstrating to her husband that she was disgusted with him and seemed to hate living or being around him.

Obviously, that is not a good thing.

A couple should be able to coexist and enjoy each other’s company. Indeed, they should crave it, though not to the extent that they don’t have their own life.

So I probed some more.

Why Might Your Wife Act Like She Despises You?

my wife despises me

I asked my client for some examples of the type of things his wife may have said or done to cause him to believe that she hated him so much.

I inquired as to whether he might be overreacting to some off-color comments she could have made.  Perhaps (I reflected), your wife is blowing off some steam and you are taking her complaints far too seriously.

He assured me that was not the case and that something in the marriage was awry.

So I asked for more examples and details.

Here is a short list of some of the things he said for which I have removed all references that might point to identity.

Let’s see if you can make out what might be going on with this relationship.

If you read carefully and stitch together a few clues sprinkled in his commentary, you might just discover the crux of the problem.

“Sometimes I feel like I am like a pariah to my wife.  Nothing I do or say can make a dent into her hateful demeanor.  Suddenly she will get upset and dish out some of her venom. We agreed to get some help as this marriage rut has gotten deeper. I thought I was doing good-by agreeing to counseling, but all she did was blast me in front of the counselor.  We didn’t even finish the session as we both got very defensive and angry.”

“Are you kidding me.  Sex is an important thing with my wife.   She is very aggressive and I enjoy that part, but lately it seems like she is taking out all of her anger at me.  Look, I don’t have any complaints in that department but I know something is off because I can tell she is coming from a different place. I can’t put my finger on it.  I don’t know if she is play acting sometimes or just still angry at me about something we argued about earlier.  Lately, she seems to hold back. Then it is like she rushes in.  It is like she is withholding sex with me as a punishment for some stupid little thing she thinks I said or maybe did. Half of the time I don’t even know what is bugging my wife. Since she usually initiates our lovemaking, I just go along with the frequency.  It is dwindling.  But when it happens, it is good.  So it is hard to read what is going on in her mind.  Her words say one thing.  Then we make love and her body says another.”

“Much of the time, when things get heated, she will launch into a tirade, like she has been bottling up everything inside her. She will tell me that I am a good for nothing piece of crap.  She will say she wish she would never had married me. Later we will make up, but the least little thing will set her off.  I know the state of our marriage is crap right now, this constant bickering.  My wife’s mood is everywhere. She will laugh it off when I bring up the frequency of fights like it isn’t a big deal.  Then out of the blue she will freak out over the smallest of things.  I don’t get it.  Something is off and I don’t know what makes my wife tick much of the time anymore.

“The other day, she picked a fight.  She started in about how she hates me.  What are you to do when your wife makes a point to tell you that she hates everything about you.  I know she is overreacting to a large extent.  My wife is a passionate person. But why must she act so hateful toward me and lace every conversation with put downs and complaints.  I have things I need to work on and we talk about it and made a couple’s pack to do each other better.  But lately, she is pulling way back on affection and seems distracted.  When I probe to find out what might be going on, she lashes out at me, then ignores me.  It is like she dreads being around me.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  What is going on with her. It is like I am married to a stranger.

Exorcising Your Marriage Demons

surviving marriage demons

Sometimes I find that if you give someone a platform to dump all of their worries and upset feelings, it can really do wonders on two fronts.

On the emotional front, it helps to just get it all out.

After talking about it or even writing about whatever you perceive to be your problems, the weight of the issues is lessened.  You can go from feeling low and unloved to a place where you see that there could be a solution and that things are not as bad as they seem in one’s mind.

I always emphasize to my clients that there is no silver bullet in solving many relationship issues.  By the time they come to my attention, the problem has evolved to a place in which the couple is in a bad place.

Whether it be your wife behaving like she hates your guts or you are at your wit’s end ready to toss in the towel….coming to a solution is usually a multi step process.

If you can’t get the feelings out, emotions will run high within you.  And that is usually a recipe for more marriage conflict.

It is good to have perspective.

I try to explain to my clients that while relationship situations can be volatile, just because you feel hopeless doesn’t mean that is the state you will always be in.

Remember, the journey of life you are participating in can take you to all kinds of places.

You need not think that everything depends on reconciling with your lover.

Your long-term happiness should not ride on one person in your life.  There are always alternatives and the future is full of many positive potential outcomes, even if the immediate environment you find yourself in is littered with sadness.

Getting To The Heart of the Affair

an affair of the heart is what did us in

Another benefit of telling your story and getting it all out is that sometimes in the retelling of events, you will learn something about yourself or something about the underlying causes of the marriage difficulties you and your spouse are undergoing.

My client has been taking an emotional beating.

His wife is steering the relationship and everything he is complaining about sounds like a relationship gone sour.

But there is something underneath all of these surface problems he is complaining about.  He tells me that his wife too frequently acts like she despises him, as if she is holding something against him.

But from his story, something emerges.

It turns out that his wife really does not hate him.  Rarely is that the case between husband and wife.  Rather, she is acting out on some feelings that emerge from an issue that she has hidden from her husband.

If you guessed an affair, you would be right.  It was not clear at first and I sure didn’t want to raise the topic with my client without coaching him on how to probe for clarification with his wife.

Here is how it went down.

I told him directly that he is completely wrong about his wife hating him.  I explained that hate is the opposite of love and that all the evidence points to his wife loving him.  She wouldn’t have sex with him or continue living under the same roof if she didn’t care for him.

Nor would she had agreed to see a marital counselor if she hated him as much as he feared.

Yes, I agreed with him that her inconsistent behavior (i.e. pushing him away, then pulling him in) was troubling.  But it was also revealing.

It suggested to me that his wife was battling with a demon. Not like some make-believe creature, but rather she was in an intense battle within her mind about some matter and was struggling with reconciling what it is she thought or felt about it.

So I taught him a technique that would help him uncover the hidden truth of what was really agitating his wife.

I simply told him to go quiet.

It takes two opposing forces to create friction.

I explained that he and his wife had fallen into a routine in which she instigates a conflict by frequently complaining about his behavior and making ugly and hateful statements.

In a way, his wife is looking for an adverse reaction from him and when she gets it, a fight ensues and the ugly, hateful talk between them takes root.

I told him he needs to end this paradigm.

It makes no sense to participate in all this in fighting with your wife (I explained) if the outcome is you end up getting insulted and having lower self-esteem.

To change this dynamic you need to go quiet.  Just go silent.

This will not be the reaction his wife will expect.  By calling her husband out and telling him how much she hates him, she is looking for a reaction.

I explained, if you want to get to why she is doing this….what the underlying factors are that is pushing her to use abusive language, then he needs to break the mold of how he responds to her when this trouble is brewing.

When you go silent and remove yourself from the situation (think walking into another room) you wrestle control away from your wife.

When she doesn’t get the reaction from you that she expects, she will probe to find out.  Now the whole dynamic has changed.  You have wrestled away control.  And when your wife inquires as to why you are so quiet, that is when you probe.

My client then asked me what he was probing for?

“It’s simple“, I told him.

“Now that you have her full attention and she is beginning to see the gravity of the matter,  you want to make a profound statement, then ask a penetrating question”, I explained.

Tell her something like, “Our marriage is close to being over”.

Short and simple.

Remember, less is more.

Your demeanor and speech pattern should be entirely different from how you normally act and speak.  This behavior of yours will bring considerable attention to the matter at hand and it is likely to command the truth from her.

Even if she does not take the bait and open up, you will have been successful in conveying to her in a serious and calm tone that the marriage is floundering.

Sometimes something does feel “real” until it is said.

So give this approach a try to see if you can change the communication dynamic with your wife.

After all, that is what you want.  You want to know why your wife is launching the hate bombs.

So after making the statement about the marriage being in jeopardy, you should ask the million dollar question.

Getting Your Wife To Open Up

getting your wife to open up

You should look directly into her eyes for a few seconds without speaking, then kindly and calmly ask your wife, “Please tell me what is really going on with you”.

Then stop talking.  Say nothing else.  Go silent.  Do not respond.

Let your wife do all the talking.  There are many ways this can go down.

If your wife starts in on you with negative comments and tries to start a fight, remain calm and don’t take the bait.

Bring the conversation back to “what is really going on”.

Call her bluff.  If she has continually told you how much she hates you as her husband and hates being married to you, then calmly tell her that the hateful environment is destroying the marriage.

You are simply stating the obvious.  But remember, sometimes using words to describe the impact and pain the marriage is undergoing helps lift up the discussion.

Eventually, if your wife will wants a solution to the relationship problem, she will need to switch from complaining about you and the marriage and put her cards on the table.

The more you remain dead calm, the greater the probability that your wife’s fear of really opening up will subside.

After all, that is what is keeping her from telling you the truth about why she is behaving differently toward you.  It is her fear of how you will respond that is holding her back.

If you want the truth, it helps a lot to project calmness.

You can tell your wife that she is in a win win proposition.

Reinforce that whatever she tells you, however horrible it may seem like to her, you are committed to remaining calm and discussing it with her without retribution.

Take away your wife’s fear and the chances that she will really open up increase.

Sometimes the problems between a couple are many and it takes more than a single discussion to work through them.  Sometimes, both of you need to seek some relationship counseling if the issues are complex and deep.

But in this case, it turned out that the underlying reason that was causing the wife to act out her ugly emotions was the guilt she was having about having an affair.

She was being pressured by the other man in her life to try and end her marriage.  So she was acting on that impulse.  But she was internally conflicted about what she really wanted.

It turned out the affair had been ongoing for about three months.  It was the catalyst for a lot of his wife’s helter skelter behavior.

Revelations of this kind are seldom resolved in a few days, weeks, or even months.  But now the problem was on the table and if the couple wanted to stay together, they at least had a chance to work though the problem.

Of course that is a different discussion and I will save that for another post.

But don’t forget that seldom does the person you live with really hate you.

Their behavior and treatment of you emerges from a place within them.

It could be very complicated, the catalyst to those feelings they project. It could be something as simple (and sadly) as your wife often lives in a moody place.

It may be a core part of her personality to act this way for reasons that goes back to before the two of you met.  And if that is what is going on in your marriage, then you probably have had a good idea that she was capable of this kind of behavior.

Or it could be a singular event has happened and is influencing your wife’s actions.

Whatever is the main cause, just remember, there are always ways to get to the truth.  There are always ways to address the situation.

And you always have options in your life to better your situation.

My Husband Has Moved On – How To Get Him To Notice Me Again

Are you in a marriage where it feels like your husband has moved on?

Do you get the feeling that your husband has checked out of the relationship?

Perhaps you and your former husband are separated and everything points to him no longer caring for you.  It may have been a difficult parting and the emotions are still lingering.

husband does not notice me

Or it could be a situation in which the two of you broke up.  Maybe you have not officially separated or divorced, but perhaps the two of you are really going through a rough patch.

Or it may not even be that you and your spouse are at each other’s throats, cursing the day that you both got married.

Rather, your husband may be slowly withdrawing the level of attention and affection he shows you each day.

This sense of your husband down shifting into another gear such that you are no longer his first priority could be something that just slowly takes shape.

You look over at your husband as he holds court each evening, watching his favorite shows or participating in his favorite activities, and you can see him slipping further away from you.

Try as you might to connect with him, you fall short as he seems less and less interested in you or whatever you want to talk about.

In fact, you sometimes get the feeling that you are no longer husband or wife, but rather just two souls living in the same house, passing each other by.

Do you ever feel this way?

Is your husband giving you the sense that he is pulling away or living in another moment?

Do you feel like all the things he noticed about you before and complimented you about now seems to be missing in every day conversation.

What is it with husbands that cause them to ignore you or cease complimenting you?

Why don’t men do a better job of showing you the loving care and kindness you so richly deserve?

Today, we are going to tap into some of the reasons why a husband may choose to pay less attention to you.  We are going to peel back the layers as to why your man seems to not enjoy your company as before.

What Makes A Guy Pull Away From his Wife

why my man pulls way from me

This sense that your husband (or ex hubby) has just moved on can apply to many different situations irrespective of whether the two of your are still together.

Today, we are going to focus on ongoing marriages in which the husband seems to have put the wife on the back burner.

When you and your guy got married, you expected to receive about the same level of attention as you got before getting hitched.  After all,  you and your husband are supposed to be living together happily ever after.

Let’s look at a typical marital situation that I hear about.

It could be a few years into your marriage or many years into your relationship.  But for reasons that you cannot fully grasp, your husband seems to be in retreat.

It is like he has given up on even trying to make the marriage work.

All you want it to be loved and to love.

You want a marriage that is vibrant, fun, and richly rewarding.  But all you know is that what you were promised at the altar and what actually exists between the two of you, is far from ideal.

On any typical day, you find yourself glancing over at your husband and he just does not seem engaged with you.

He acts like you are a bother or a nuisance to him.  All couples go through periods in which they will get angry and annoyed at each other.  In good marriages, that should happen infrequently.

But let’s say that things have deteriorated to a point where your husband seems to have locked himself away from you. It’s like he does not care a lick about what happens or how you feel about the crumbling relationship.

This type of behavior is often described as “checking out”.

So how do you deal with this kind of behavior when things with your husband get to this point?  If you feel like your guy is treating you like you don’t matter s much, you need to get to the underlying reason.

But how?  Do you confront your husband about his treatment of you?  Do you ignore his behavior and hope it goes away?

That is the main marital scenario we are going to explore.

The fact of the matter is you do matter and even in the case of an ex husband, there are some practical reasons for seeking to rebuild the relationship.

So we have two types of cases to discuss.  One in which you are still married and your husband barely notices you.  The other case is if you have an ex husband who has shut you out of his life.

How do you turn it around?  Should you put on a full court press and demand you get the attention you should be receiving?

And why do some men behave this way and what  can you do to turn it around such that the man in your life shows you attention, respect and consideration?

Why Did Your Husband Give Up On You?

my husband giving up on me

First of all, just know that it is highly unlikely that your husband has given up on you and wants to discard all that the two of you have built.

But with that said, it is clear when something is off.

A woman can sense when their husband show signs of withdrawing.  When your guy starts clamming up or going into his “quiet” demeanor, you usually know something is wrong.

I can’t say I know with certainty why your husband is acting in a way to make you feel small and unnoticed.

Quite frankly, there could be many reasons.

Often, your husband’s behavior is not predicated on one reason or a few events.

It is usually far more complicated and as you probably already know, once your husband gets to the point where he seems to have “moved on”, much has already happened to “grease” the emotional skids.

Here are some of the leading reasons why husbands can shut it down in the “caring department”.

  1. The Selfish Man Surfaces. Your husband is taking you for granted because he has gotten lazy about showing you how important you are to him.  He loves you and really cares for you, but other priorities have entered his life and instead of putting you first, as he should, his selfish needs have taken the forefront.
  2. Your Guy is Distracted.  There can be a ton of reasons that can cause your husband to become distracted and forget to reach out to you and let you know how he really feels.  Your husband may be feeling some extra stress from the workplace and it is sponging up all of his attention.  He may be worried about his own health situation.  Men sometimes can get into period of high anxiety over the craziest of things.  Later, it may seem inconsequential and completely ridiculous that he would get panicky and upset, but certain buttons, when pushed, can drive your guy to go a little bananas.  He may have been obsessing over his sports team.  Maybe he and his buddies are going fishing or hunting and all he can think about is this outing and all the things he needs to do to get ready.  Whatever it is that has got him turned sideways from you, it most often has nothing to do with you and his love for you and everything to do with his obsession or overly focused attention to things he really should not be spending so much time on.  Now, while I don’t wish to alarm you, it is possible your husband is distracted by an emotional or physical affair he is having or thinking of having with another woman. Such a dynamic can cause your husband to avoid you due to guilt.  But I mention this last because this kind of event should usually be at the bottom of your worry list.
  3. Your Husband May Be Unhappy.  Your man could be unhappy about something and it may even have very little to do with you.  Sure, it is possible he and you have been growing apart and that is the cause of him pulling back on showing you affection and attention.  And we will talk about that later.  But consider the possibility that your husband is unhappy for other reasons that do not directly relate to anything you are doing.  Some guys can find themselves in the grip of depression, not because of anything you are doing wrong, but largely because of the chemistry of their brain.  They may be prone to suffering from depression or mood swings and act out their feelings in such a way that you can misinterpret them as you are at fault and are failing to please your husband.  The truth is that individuals who are suffering from mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and forms of depression may, as a reaction to their illness, pull away from you and go within themselves as they seek to battle their mental demons.
  4. Your Husband Expectations for Marriage Are Not Being Met.  While this may be hard to hear, it is a possibility that your husband is unhappy with the relationship. His emotional and/or physical needs may not be met according to his view of things.  Of course, sometimes husbands can have very unrealistic views on what a marriage should be.  If your man falls into that category then it won’t be surprising if he behaves in a way that suggests he is dissatisfied.  If he is spending far too much time complaining about the marriage, or worse, starts hinting around about bringing the relationship to an end, you can be assured that something is really off.  An important thing to keep in mind is that sometimes what a guy thinks he wants and what he ultimately really ends up realizing can be two different things.  Use this time to look at yourself and honestly ask what it is you can do to become the best “you”. Maybe it is nothing.  Perhaps you are already a wonderful wife and much of the problem lies with your husband.  Don’t be afraid to have this conversation with your husband.  But as you will see, there are strategies you should employ to maximize the success of such a conversation.  Sometimes the communications between couples are so warped that they never really talk to each other.  Many couples end up arguing and talking at each other, instead of taking turns to talk to each other. Often, couples never get to the crux of what is bothering them.  And if that is the case, then it is usually something that is meaningful and probably difficult to discuss.  Hence, this leads to couples often keeping their problems hidden from the other.  The truth can be difficult and open and honest conversations can be really difficult. But when honesty pours out of each of you, the chances of successfully reconciling  grows larger.

What Can You Do To Make Your Husband Notice You More?

get your hubby's attention

While it may sound contrary to your first impulse, sometimes the best way to get noticed by your husband is to do less.

I have this theory that in many situations, “less is more“.

What your husband might be expecting is for you to plead, beg, bicker, or complain about him not paying enough attention to you.

For many husbands, this is a turn off and will just lead to him avoiding and ignoring you more.

Tackling the topic head on can create a confusing mix of signals and outcomes.

While you are trying to change his behavior by calling him out, he could in turn resent you further for pointing out that he is not doing enough to make you feel loved.

The truth is that he is probably guilty as charged.  Your husband probably is not doing the little or big things to show how much he loves and appreciates you.

Your guy may not be doing the things he needs to rebuild trust and make you feel like you are the most important person in his life.  He may not be showing you enough kindness.  That is a biggie in my book.

A marriage without a frequent exchange of kindness is a relationship buildt on a weak foundation.

It is very likely your husband is taking you for granted.

On one level, he may not even realize this.

He may be in denial.

But deep down, your husband probably knows that he is short-changing you.

To add to the complexity of the situation, your husband does not really want to be reminded of his own shortcomings and failings.

Yes, truth can liberating.  But for some, it can be demoralizing if they receive too big a dose of relationship truth.

So instead of addressing the obvious and turning off your husband even more, simply do the opposite of what he would expect.

But do it in spades.

So exactly, what is it should you do to turn the tide such that your husband pays you more mind?

What you eventually want to do is figure out what are the underlying reasons for his behavior.

Of course, that is not easy either.

For some men, it may be difficult for them to open up about this.  So you need to think in terms of small steps.

When your husband participates in a discussion that mostly centers around their failings, it will invariably make them feel inadequate or like a lesser man.

Your husband may not want to admit to a weakness.

Nor does he want to be reminded of his guilt.  Like I said, on some level, your man probably knows that he is not satisfying you

He may not be prepared to talk about whatever the problem is.  He needs to be primed.

So How Do You Prime Your Husband To Open Up?

getting your husband to talk

Figuring out what things you can do to get your husband to open up and talk about is the first communication bridge you need to cross.  Figuring out why he is withdrawing his affection is a really important element of the entire problem.

You cannot advance to solving the problem, unless your husband is willing to acknowledge the problem.

So how do you approach this sensitive subject?

Well, as I alluded to earlier, it is usually a better strategy by getting your husband to come to you instead of you raising the issue and rattling his cage.

To do that, consider going into the “quiet mode”.

Chances are that he will notice something is wrong or off.  If you are usually a talkative or extroverted type, the difference in your normal behavior and your quiet, withdrawn behavior will be noticeable.

And like most guys, he will be itching to find out what is going on.  And that is what you want.  You want your husband approaching you and asking you if “everything is OK”.

Your reply should be cryptic at first.  You can say something like:

I am working through some personal issues”.  Say it with an air of confidence and positivism.

Notice that while you don’t outright accuse him of anything or complain of his lack of attentiveness to you, it will likely be difficult for your husband to leave it at that.  Eventually, he will want to know what personal issues you are referring to.

Most guys don’t want to be confronted with problems and complaints.

Husbands tend to move away and avoid discussions they think will draw them into long, drawn out discussions about the relationship.  Men are usually not good at that.

But when you express with confidence that you are working through the problem, your husband’s curiosity will likely be raised.  Your air of confidence will resonate positively with him.  He likely won’t be scared away and will be tempted to open up the dialogue which is exactly what you want.

Since he won’t  feel defensive, your man might just do the very thing you want which is ask you to explain more about what is going on.

This is when you can take the conversation to a 3rd person perspective.

Remind him again that you feel you have a good angle on how to solve the problem.  He will like hearing that.  Your husband defenses will be relaxed.

He will likely not be looking to bolt away from the conversation.

You can tell him something like you are “married to a handsome and sexy man but you are not sure if he likes you as much as he use to because he doesn’t seem to notice you as much”.

There is a lot going on in that sentence above.

First, you are trying to put the issue on your mind front and center, without it being a threat or turnoff to your husband.  You have laced this brief exchange with some subtle sexuality which almost always triggers certain the receptors in your husband’s mind that gets him thinking about something that will make him feel good.

You have also complimented him with words like “handsome” and “sexy” which builds his ego.  And by talking in the 3rd person, you have not elevated the problem to a level that seems threatening.

Usually, a person is more amenable to talking about a personal problem when they are in a receptive mood.  If your husband is behaving in an argumentative or resentful manner, he is not likely going to open up and tell you what is really on his mind.

So it is helpful to pick your spots when you want to discuss the very thing that has been on your mind for so long.

It is about picking the right moments.

One woman client of mine told me that she had some great success when she tried a similar tactic.

She was wearing something provocative and when her husband inquired why she was acting so quiet, she told him that she was super turned on when her husband did and said little things to make her feel loved.

Then she told her husband that she wanted him to hear more about that but first she wanted to make love with him.

After they made love and after all of the oxytocin (i.e. the snuggle hormone) was released, she and her husband had a lengthier discussion in bed about how he makes her feel when he says all the little things to her that makes her feel precious.

When she believed that he understood and was going to make a good faith effort to show her more attention, later that night, just before he fell asleep she surprised him in bed again to reinforce what she had told him.

Men are turned on when their wives are turned on.  But sometimes a husband does not realize how important it is to show their wife how much they love and appreciate them.

Your guy might just need to be taught.

A husband should not expect to be rewarded with sex just because he says or does something nice.

But at a very deep level, both men and women will enjoy all of aspects of their marriage much more when they talk about their feelings and show love, kindness, tenderness, and intimacy in the same moments.