Stop Blaming Your Unhappiness On Him — He's Not The Problem

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unhappy girl at home

One of my clients, Lauren, came to me in need of some marriage advice:

"I have been married for 12 years. Our marriage has always been a struggle of various forms. I have started to feel so empty and resentful that I can hardly look my husband in the eye, let alone be loving to him. I feel my inner self tell me it's time to be done. But my mind tells me differently because of our wonderful children. I'm trying to find out if there's hope for our relationship and if I can truly feel love and intimacy for him without sacrificing my own health?"

Lauren, I don't know enough about your relationship to know whether or not there's hope for your marriage, but what I do know is that there's much inner work for you to do. Before deciding that it's time to leave, try learning how to love yourself.

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How to tell if you've stopped loving yourself

The first telling statement is, "I have started to feel so empty and resentful."

I know you believe that your emptiness and resentment are about your husband, but they're not — they're about your own self-abandonment. You feel empty and resentful because you're not taking good care of yourself.

If you leave the relationship before finding out how and why you're abandoning yourself — which is what's causing these feelings — your dysfunctional relationship patterns will continue, no matter who you're with.

Some ways you might be abandoning yourself are:

  • Ignoring your feelings by focusing on your head rather than your body
  • Judging yourself harshly
  • Turning to various addictions to numb your feelings
  • Making your husband responsible for your feelings of pain and joy

Next is, "I can hardly look at my husband in the eye let alone be loving to him."

Your inability to look your husband in the eye or be loving to him sounds to me like a projection of not seeing your own essence and not loving yourself.

When we see and value our own true self — our own soul essence — then we're able to see and value the essence of others.

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How to self-love changes your perspective

Right now you're seeing your husband through the eyes of your wounded self. We cannot see our own or another's essence through the programmed eyes of our wounded selves. Until you do your inner work to learn to see and value your own essence, it is unlikely that you'll be able to trust in your husband and feel intimate with him again.

Because you're probably abandoning yourself rather than loving yourself, which is leading to your inner emptiness, you have no love to share with your husband. When you learn to fill yourself with love, then you will have love to share.

Once you're full of love for yourself, then you can know whether or not there's hope for your relationship.

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How to make the most of hope

There's a good possibility that when you're loving yourself and making yourself happy, your relationship will change for the better. But even if it doesn't, at least you won't take your self-abandonment with you into your next relationship. 

I suggest that you let go of the outcome regarding your relationship and focus on the process of learning how to love yourself, which means learning and practicing inner bonding. By learning and practicing the Six Steps of Inner Bonding, you will gradually stop abandoning yourself and start loving yourself.

Your health is determined more by whether or not you love yourself than by any other factor. Leaving the relationship without learning how to love yourself will not necessarily improve your health. You might feel relief for a while, but self-abandonment takes a huge toll on your health. Also, the problematic patterns of behavior are likely to repeat if you have not healed.

Learn how to love yourself and then see where your relationship is. You might be surprised at the outcome.

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Dr. Margaret Paul is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, and educator.

This article was originally published at Inner Bonding. Reprinted with permission from the author.