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Married life has been a disappointment

Dear Dr Nekia,

I got married recently, three months after my mom passed. We then moved into our new place, away from my dad and sister who needed me the most during our very difficult time.

I thought marriage would make dealing with my grief a little easier but my husband has been nothing but a disappointment. We fight every day; I can’t remember the last time I was actually truly happy. It drives me insane that he still runs back home for every little thing. He puts his mom first, and only listens to her. I can tell him the exact same thing his mother will tell him but because I said it, he won’t agree. She sends him messages saying she woke up early to make something for him and that he should come over. What about me? I cook, he does like my food, but he will always pick her over me. He has not made any effort to keep the spark alive in our marriage.

I still surprise him with gifts and create special moments for him but the most I get out of it is a thank you. I have told him how I feel but he is adamant that I am the problem, that I’m always finding fault and that I just live to fight. Please could you help with some advice.


Disappointed Wife

Dear Disappointed Wife,

Far too often people get married hoping their relationship will somehow improve. The result is usually disappointment. You got married during a very vulnerable time, when you wanted your husband’s support and affection. It seems he wasn’t mature enough to be the kind of man that you needed. Your husband’s mother is partly to blame here. Her mothering and his desire to remain comforted by her have created a codependent relationship.

Quite honestly, it is going to be very difficult to change your husband’s behaviour unless he or his mother realise the harm in what they are doing. Because he does not want to change, he will accuse you of nitpicking. You will want to be sure that you truly are not picking at every little thing because you are feeling resentment towards his lack of support and his attachment to his mother. Your resentment would be understandable, but holding on to it does very little for your personal happiness and the success of your marriage. Many men don’t realise the importance of a woman being able to fulfil her wifely duties.

Such duties are not defined by society but individually by women, each of whom has their personal view of what a wife is and what she should do. Any time a woman is not allowed to meet her personal vision of being a mother or a wife, she begins to lose her sense of womanhood.

It is very important that you explain to your husband and to your mother-in-law how this is making you feel. Respectfully ask his mom to create distance by not mothering him so much. Maybe set aside a night or two where she is allowed to prepare dinner for you both, but set boundaries. If the boundaries are not adhered to then you are going to be stuck in this unhappy situation because you alone cannot change it.

Especially here in Bermuda, men have women competing with one another for their attention, taking care of their wants and needs, financially picking up their slack or outright supporting them, and mothers who want to take care of their male babies until the day they die.

They become lazy and stagnant in their growth as men and, quite honestly, they begin to lose respect and value in women in general. A great deal of them need to unlearn negative habits, but that will take a willing man and a woman who knows how to get the best out of her man. You will have think of what your man responds positively to and use those tools to encourage change. Also, live by example. Demonstrate the characteristics you would like for him to obtain, and refrain from scolding him. Be consistent in this. You are married so it is not as simple as getting up and leaving him should he not change. You will have to approach your situation a bit differently than a woman who is unwed.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I met someone about a year ago and we hit it off really well from the beginning. The only thing is that it took longer for him to commit than it did me. Eventually we did decide to become a real couple and we were happy — for the first month. I thought that if he gave me a commitment that I would happy, but I do not feel like this is what I want. I cannot point to anything specific about him that is making me unhappy and I feel too guilty to leave because I am the one who pushed so hard for a relationship. This whole thing has me questioning if something is wrong with me. Why can’t I just be happy?


Still Not Happy

Dear Still Not Happy,

It would be easy to say that you do not know what you want but I do not think that is the case here. You created a picture of what happiness would look like and gave it the face of your partner while attaching to it the idea of a relationship. You basically created an alternate reality in your head and worked hard to make that mental ideal your tangible reality.

The problem with this is that no situation or person can ever really live up to our created ideals. You were happy for the first month because you accomplished the goal of getting him to commit. However, as time went on, reality began to set in and you began to feel that he just might not be the one for you after all.

It is my guess that you still have some internal work to do before you will be happy within a relationship. If it were not so, then you would not have gone through such lengths to get what you want only to be still unhappy. Do not feel guilty for this. Life is about learning and growing and hopefully this has taught you a valuable lesson. If you truly feel that you are only with him because of this guilt, let him go. You are doing neither one of you any favours by sticking around. It is better to allow him the time to be upset and hurt rather than to have him wasting his time living a lie with you.

You really do not want for him to continue to invest his time and energy in a relationship that is bound to fail should you remain unhappy in it. Relationships rarely are magical pills of happiness and we really do need to stop seeking them out to make ourselves feel esteemed, valued and loved.

Want relationship advice? E-mail nakedtruth@royalgazette.com