Here Are Some Tips for Your Second Marriage

Dear Emily, I am beginning to regret that I married a guy that puts all of his energy into fighting his custody legal battle and raising his daughter. I think that the only thing I have for affection and friendship is my dog, and he thinks I am insane for giving the dog tons of attention. I am miserable. Help! “Janice”

Dear “Janice”, Your frustration are comprehendable, and you aren�t alone. Sounds like your relationship with your husband has shifted significantly since you two chose to get married, and that your dissatisfaction is growing not tolerable.

I’d like to offer you a couple antidotes to your misery that you could start to apply soon, and look to see if the results you receive are different than what you are feeling now.

1. Are you acquainted with the thought that “what you resist will persist”? If you are spending most of your time and energy focused on what’s bad in your relationship and what you are scared about, chances are you’re going to see a whole lot more of what you DON’T want; and keep getting the results you are wishing to not see. The cure here is to simply start looking at what is GOOD about your relationship. This could be difficult to do once you start, since you are so depressed. Something as easy as “He comes home each night and goes to bed in our bed.” Or “He always makes sure the car is filled with gas.” . . . Hopefully you can begin to examine every way he shows his commitment to you and to his whole family.

2. Develop an “attitude of gratitude”. Complaing is a habit that does not get us what we want. When we criticize, we point out to the person all that they are doing wrong and that they are not being a good partner, a husband. This doesn�t necessarily make him want to be you feel like he should be. As a matter of fact, he will start to get so shattered and believe that {whatever he does will never be as good as you want it to be and so he will just give up|no matter what he does it won’t be good enough, that he’ll just stop trying|. Why worry when the only thing that will happen is that he will be told “not enough,could have been better, too little�” You get the picture. The cure for criticizing is to begin feeling full of gratitude and to openly tell him every way he is showing up. You’ll be bewildered at the outcome. It is advancing the seeing another step and showing with gratitude all that you see . The more you do this, you will find tons of things to have an attitude of gratitude toward then it will become very magical! And, you may become very creative in how you express your gratitude. One wife started placing small post-it notes of thankfulness around the house, so he’d see them as he shaved, as he got his keys, as he opened his brief case. Another wife left a voice mail message expressing her thankfulness to him at his business. You know the ways he most easily takes in recognition – is it through what he hears, sees, or what’s done with him?

3. See how you can be adding to problems. In what ways are you behaving that might be keeping him at a distance from you? Are you pouting? Are you withdrawn? Are you ungrateful to his advances? Are you jealous? Take stock and notice what patterns you may have that get in the way of you receiving his love and attention. The medicine to not receiving what you want is to begin giving everything you feel like you should have to the person you think you should get it from AND to yourself! Stop waiting for the person to show up and think about how you can start showing up in a different way. And START giving to yourself what you think you should get. To me it sounds like you are using the dog to get some of your affection needs met – but you are excluding your spouse. Is there a way to include him as well? Can you let him have that level of affection also?

One pattern that might be in play between the two of you is something called “Passing the Experience”. In the same way that you see him giving every bit of his love to his daughter, he may see you giving all your attention to the dog. Both of you are receiving your affection needs with someone/something else, instead of reaching out to the other person. And there is a good chance that all of the frustration in the middle of the two of you that reaching out may be a bit too scary or challenging to do on your own!

I am also curious about the age of his daughter, and what life was like for you when you were her age. Maybe if you take some time to go back there in your mind, you may receive some insights into the reason that you are triggered by his devotion to her.

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