Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

He Doesn’t Know You Are Unhappy

I got an email from a lovely woman, let’s call her Naomi (43). She has been married for 13 years, has two children and wants to work on her marriage.

Naomi’s relationship is not good, from her point of view. She needs guidance. Yesterday.

After a quick chat, it is clear that Naomi’s husband does not understand the dire state their marriage is in. He knows things could be better, but he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. He thinks things will get better, all on their own.

Naomi knew she needed to work out how to approach the subject so that her husband ‘got it’, and so that the focus was on constructive movement forward, together, not a shouting match with finger-pointing and blaming.

As you know, Naomi is not alone. Many men don’t know the state of their relationship. They are totally oblivious to the fact that their wife or partner is not happy.

Here’s a good way of looking at it –

Imagine you are driving on the highway at a 110km/h and suddenly, out of nowhere, the wheels come off and your car begins to veer all over the road, out of control and no time to assess the situation.

What would you do?

How would you feel?

This is how a divorce feels for a lot of men.

They just don?t see it coming.

And then they are totally devastated.

They turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like denial, anger or substance abuse.

And way too often they are so depressed that they commit suicide.

I remember a time when I had my first car, a little hand-me-down beetle from my older brother. My girlfriend at that time always complained. It smells of petrol inside. You need to do something about it. I waved her off. What smell do you mean, it’s nothing and just an old car. Sure enough one day I couldn’t start the car, because all the petrol had dripped out over a period of a few days.

In other words, we men tend to downplay little irritations and think that all will turn out good.

If there is an amber light on the dash-board, we ignore it for a couple of days. Can’t be too serious. If it is still there in a week, I might go to the garage and check.

I think a lot of men behave similarly in their relationships. Their loving spouse is in need of time and attention; feeling unheard, unfulfilled or unappreciated, and yet they just don’t see it. They tell themselves ‘it must be one of those days’ she’ll be right tomorrow.

Some men don’t see the little cracks that appear in a relationship. The problem lies in that while he may not notice the cracks to begin with, he may not notice them growing, intensifying with each passing week and month of your feeling unheard, resentful or lonely.

Those cracks will continue to grow if nothing in your relationship changes. It’s just the way it is. Eventually, the chasm between some couples is so big, it just can’t be bridged anymore.

Don’t ignore the cracks or allow yourself to settle.

Did you know that nearly 70% of all divorces are initiated by women?

If you have read this far, I?m sure you are a conscious woman who realises the need for change in your relationship in some way.

Perhaps you can start by forwarding this article to your husband. Let him know he isn’t alone. Neither of you are.

Next, try communicating with him. Tell him you aren’t happy. Tell him why. Tell him what you need. Encourage him to check in with you, to ask you if you are happy and whether you want to improve the relationship in any direction.

Lastly, it’s time to think about your own role in the relationship. What do you want to be different? How can you help to bring that change about? Have you ever told your husband or partner how unhappy you feel?

You see often times a conversation about this topic can be a start.

And if you phrase it positively, like ‘How can we make this better’ you might get his attention.

All I can tell you is that it does not look pretty when the wheels come off at 110km/h.

And as for Naomi?

I have recommended she take a look at the Inspiring Relationships Quiz perhaps she could ask her husband to do the same. It gives you a pretty good indication on the state of your relationship.

And once he realises that their relationship needs improvement, then we can talk.

Article provided by Jurgen Schmechel from Inspiring Relationships.