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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Married 29 years, 2 adult children. Husband for the 5th?

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Hi. Married 29 years, 2 adult children. Husband for the 5th? time has left the home. Always same: I am more needy than he is. He says he is not 100% responsible for my happiness. I know this. We are both christians. He wrote me a note that said: I am married unhappily and have been for a long long time. We have been to christian counselors. He says most of the problem is me. I need to be in therapy which I have been to. SOme counselors tell me to leave my husband. On friday nights he goes out with his friends. Last year he started taking me with him. We've had a great year. He has been calling me where he did not before. This past weekend, he went out all day sunday and when he came home, I took a risk and said "I was a bit lonely today." Ever since, he has gotten sullen, and wrote the above note. He knows divorce is not an option, but wants one. My kids say why would i want to stay with someone who doesn't want me; yet, i have cards, etc that say I love you and anew diamond anniversary band on my finger just bought by both of us. Now, he is at our business, and i have no clue what he will do. Last night before he left, he said I am unhappy. I said, "So what are you going to do about it." He said, "I failed." and left. He also said he needs space. He has left 5 times before through the years. I am horribly hurt, and crying. I'm 58. He's 55. We have had wonderful vacations this year, to san fran, and we just got back from an 8 day vacation when this occurred.  He says he loves me a lot including a bday card just 3 weeks ago. I have been through his leaving before.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your husband is struggling with how he feels in your marriage. He tells you that he loves you and he spends a lot of time with you, but then he gets upset when you tell him that you are lonely. He is responding by acting sullen, which does not help either of you.

The other issue is how you feel about him doing things without you. You did not say whether or not you go out with friends or have other activities that you do without him. But this may be a good idea for you. Relying on your husband for companionship is going to be hard on you. There needs to be a balance for a healthy relationship.

Although he loves you, he may feel responsible for being with you, keeping you occupied and happy. This is not bad, it is just how men work. They tend to feel responsibility where there is a need. And he probably has the sense that you need him so he makes himself responsible, and this in turn makes him upset which he expresses by being sullen. As a result, he feels resentful and thinks the marriage is not working.

The two of you need to sit down and set new rules. Talk about the ways you can communicate when you will be spending time together and when you will have free time on your own. For example, agree that on Sunday you will discuss the upcoming week. Decide which days you will be able to do something together. Then allow for time with friends and the kids. You pick something you will do with your friends and he can do the same. Also, plan a date night for just the two of you. It will give you special time to look forward to during the week.

Also, work on your communication with each other. Acknowledge that you are not responsible for his feelings and he is not responsible for yours. Be there for each other but do not crowd each other. Let each person be themselves. It brings more to the relationship if the two of you can be apart sometimes and be out with others. Then you have a chance to develop yourselves and bring more to the relationship than if you spend every spare moment with each other.

One of the best ways to improve your marriage is to learn about how to be a couple and respect each other. Here are some resources to help:

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy by ***** *****

Marriage Miracle - The 7 Struggles That Destroy Christian Marriages & How to Overcome Them by Morgan Avery

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this has helped,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
hi Kate - no, i don't have friends like he does. I have married friends who stay pretty much with their husbands, although we do get together with other couples, and singles sometimes. He pretty much would not sit down and make a time for he and I, although usually sat night are our date nights. After he went out this past Friday night, straight from work, he didn't call, and came home at 9 pm. He has done this 1000s of times. It gets me so sad, that i am not worth his time. After 9, he says we can see a movie, which we do, and are even intimate. I just feel like he is giving me his leftovers. Earlier in the year he invited me to the friends places. But wants to have time with his friends alone (girls, singles, couples). He wants me to 'get a life.' When we are together, like a the lake, we laugh, and paint scenes over and over (artists trying to be's) and make great love. This problem is reoccurring and it is identical every time. This time he didn't even talk about it after I said "I was lonely" (cause he went 4 wheeling all day). He just got sullen, and wants space. He won't divorce, but he wants to because of the christian ethic. I will not either. Thanks, J

Hi J,

Thank you for the additional information. It helps.

Not calling you if he decides to go out after work is unacceptable. And going out with other women is also not right. Married men should never be around other women unless their wives are included. He is expecting too much from you. And he needs to respect you and he is not doing that.

While it is important that you still develop your own friends and social life, your husband needs to scale back on his. Rules need to be set that both of you follow. If he is not willing to do that, then he is part of the problem in your marriage. Expecting your husband to treat you with respect is normal. As it says in the Bible, a man shall treat his wife as Jesus treated the church. That is not how your husband is treating you.

It sounds like there may be a possible personality issue with your husband. His treatment of you makes me think there may be some narcissistic traits in his personality. Here is a link to help you:

If this is the case, you may need to try therapy again. Try asking your pastor for a referral. Or try this link:

Your husband needs to realize he has a problem before this can be resolved. But that does not mean you cannot respond in a way that can help you feel better. Learning to deal with his behavior will help you build your own self esteem:

Let me know if I can help further,


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