"My husband and I have a great working relationship. He's great to the kids, he's nice to me, he works hard on the house but he isn't very interested in getting to know me for who I really am. Any exploration around personal growth is threatening to him. Sometimes I feel so depressed to think I'll spend the rest of my life with this person when I want so much more, but there isn't anything wrong to point to as to why I would leave."
Nellie was having her first phone counseling session with me.
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The problem was that Nellie was discounting her deep need for emotional intimacy — her deep need to know and be known, her deep need for emotional connection. Stating that, "there isn't anything wrong to point to" indicated how little she understood her need for emotional intimacy and connection.
For most people, emotional intimacy and connection are absolutely necessary to thrive. So what does a person like Nellie need to do when she has children and she doesn't want to break up the family? What is she to do when she really needs something that her husband in unwilling or unable to give to her?
If Nellie wants to stay in her marriage, then she needs to accept the lack of intimacy and have her personal growth explorations elsewhere — with family, friends, groups and workshops. It is possible to accept a companionship relationship for the raising of children. Many couples create excellent companionship relationships when they are willing to let go of both physical and emotional intimacy.
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With Nellie, one of the problems was that her husband would get angry and withdraw when she didn't want to have sex with him. There was no way Nellie could feel turned to her husband, Brad, when there was no emotional intimacy — no sense of connection. If Brad was willing to accept the lack of sexuality, then they could make it work. But if he continued to get angry and withdraw, then Nellie would have to explore other options.
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