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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have been married 27 years. I have lost attraction due to the fact that we have not kiss

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I have been married 27 years. I have lost attraction to him completely due to the fact that we have not kissed in more than 15 years. He chews tobacco. Also we have other underlying problems, have gone to marriage counseling in the past but we end up back in the same place. I am exhausted and think separation is inevitable. He has ignored my pleas to quit chewing among other self destructive behaviors and now that I am about to leave- he is ready to stop. I don't feel any attraction what so ever to him and now I feel guilty for being ready to call it quits. I am just tired and done. What next?

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. I can sense your deep frustration at your husband's lack of personal motivation and momentum and lack of consideration and showing of love and caring. You are clearly an intelligent and competent woman and feel demoralized and at a dead end from this. And you have now begun to consider leaving, which is an important sign that the problems are growing and need fixing urgently.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. You are looking for EMOTIONAL fullness and this is an area that is not his area of strength. I cannot tell you whether to leave or give it another try with my answer below at this time. I've worked with many couples and that the husband refuses to do ANYTHING to change himself until the wife threatens to leave happens quite often. Then there are the ones who won't actually change until she actually DOES leave. This is also common. Do they "get it" at this point or is it just temporary? This is what you are really trying to find out.

I can tell you that many men actually do get it at this point. I'm working with one right now. She left and won't come back. And he truly and sincerely XXXXX XXXXX it and is making real changes in himself. Will she come back? I doubt it. Her anger is too strong. But his changes will benefit him tremendously as a human being and a man and he may find someone else. So should you give it another try? I think so because you've invested so much of your emotional self in this. And you will know within a matter of a 3 months or so. But if you decide to leave, I would support you in this as well because your frustration is very high.

So it seems that in your marriage, an emotional vacuum has developed. What do I mean?

We humans are not built to tolerate emotional vacuums. When we have an unfulfilled emotional need, and we want that need fulfilled, and we don't find a way to fulfill it, we have created a vacuum. Our emotional selves feel the void and want it filled. So we feel the sense of "missing" something and life seems unfulfilled. You seem to be in the throes of this vacuum. What to do?

Clearly, the two of you MUST work on how emotional connections are made and maintained if the marriage is to be saved. The two of you together need help in learning how to make your marriage more emotionally intimate and positive. If you have decided you've had enough and you are through trying, I can understand and that would be that. But if you want to give it another chance of succeeding, then there are two types of therapies I recommend strongly for you two to consider. And do not hesitate to let him know that this is the last chance you're giving the marriage and that you've got one foot out the door. And I recommend you print out my answer and take it and him to a Starbucks or other quiet neutral place and discuss it to help get the point across that he needs to take this seriously if he doesn't want to be single soon.

One type of therapy is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Why? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Please consider it before you take other action.

Here is the web address for their therapist finder:

http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php

On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg. You may, however, not find an EFT therapist in your area. So, the other therapy is Gottman therapy. Seek a therapist who is certified by the Gottman Institute. Here's their web address for finding a therapist:


http://www.gottman.com/49824/Find-A-Therapist.html

Why? Because John Gottman is the foremost researcher in marriage today and his couples therapy model is the most straightforward model available and you may need that because there isn't much time to see if he will move closer. I hope that therapists working in these types of couples therapies are listed for your area. If not, find a couples therapist who makes you feel confident in his/her skills and values and works in learning to fill the emotional vacuums created in marriage.

I know this is stark, but as I alluded to above, my experience tells me that the marriage needs urgent help. You have to bring this clearly and completely into the open between the two of you for any chance of the marriage becoming what the two of you would want it to be.

Okay, I wish you the very best in this and in the future!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

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