Over the 45 years that I have been counseling individuals and couples, I have very often worked with people who are considering leaving their marriage. Often they say things like:
• I no longer feel close or intimate with my spouse. I love him/her, but I'm no longer in love with him/her.
• The love we once had seems to be lost.
• We don't seem to have anything in common any more. We have gone off in different directions.
• I've met someone that makes me feel alive again. I haven't felt this alive with my husband/wife for years.
Generally, I try to find out if these two people were once in love and felt passionate about each other, and most of the time they did. But often the person on the phone with me believes these feelings cannot come back, especially if he or she has met someone else.
For example, Brandon consulted with me because he was thinking of leaving his marriage of 18 years. He still cared about his wife, but he was no longer in love with her. He had recently fallen in love with another woman, with whom he now had all the passion he previously had with his wife. The reason he hadn't already left was their four children.
I asked Brandon not to make any decisions about leaving until we had a chance to work together for a few months with Inner Bonding.
It soon became evident that while Brandon was deeply desirous of having an intimate relationship, which he believed he had with the new woman, he had no intimacy with himself. By this I mean that he had lived his life ignoring his own feelings and needs.
Brandon was a nice guy who was there for his wife and children, but never there for himself. He was completely out of touch with his own feelings and needs. He had abandoned himself. He was often judgmental of himself, which led to his relying on others' approval for his sense of himself. He would care-take others in the hopes that they would give him the love, attention and approval that he was not giving to himself.
Love and intimacy almost always disappear in a relationship when we abandon ourselves by judging ourselves, by ignoring our feelings, and by making others responsible for our sense of worth. Because Brandon had been abandoning himself for years in his relationship with his wife, he was a sitting duck for an affair.
Brandon met his new fling because they were in the same profession and they met at a national sales meeting. Over dinner, she gave Brandon the attention and approval that he was not giving himself and that Jennifer was not giving to him. His wife was an executive in a large company and a busy mother of four, did not want the responsibility of taking care of Brandon. The problem was that Brandon had not wanted the responsibility of taking care of Brandon either.
As Brandon started to practice Inner Bonding and learned how to attend to his own feelings, and how to give himself the love and attention that he needed, he started to feel much better inside. He discovered that the more he learned to value himself, the more he reconnected with his wife.
I have often found in my work that as a person starts to treat themselves with the love and valuing that they have always sought from others—when they become intimate with themselves, they find themselves experiencing intimacy with their spouse. A marriage they thought was over becomes renewed with the love that they had been seeking from someone else.
Before you leave your marriage, especially if you have children, do your Inner Bonding work and learn to have intimacy with yourself. Apply this marriage advice, and you might be surprised at what happens with your relationship.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
For More Marriage Advice From YourTango:
- The 5 Worst Bits Of Marriage Advice We Happily Ignore
- A Glimpse Into Marriage Advice From The 1950's
- Love: Tips & Expert Advice