The lazy hubby – the partnership counseling

Dear ladies (this article is addressing women, but men are welcome to read it as well)!

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If you are living in a long term relationship, and are dissatisfied with it because over the years your hubby has mutated into a Mr. Lazy in terms of „relationship maintenance”, then you will find a way to treat the problem here on this page!

How a woman can bring a wind of change into her marriage or relationship will be exposed here by using an example which allows us to illuminate the general principle in the method; the aim is creating an emotional balance between two partners.

Megan, married since 20 years, is at the end of her tether to the point that she finally consults a relationship specialist about her marital problems. The couple is worn out from frequent arguments, and Megan feels so helpless that she is about to plunk her marriage down. But it’s hard for her to give up, because she still loves him, and although her hope is small, she would like to give it one last try.

Her situation is quite like that of many other wives:

Her husband doesn’t want to lose his comfortable home, but on the other hand he has lost interest in doing something for the relationship. Paradoxically, this was partially caused by Megan’s efforts to make it work again. It’s not easy for her counsellor to make her realize, that without intending to, her own behaviour helped to manifest the problem.

It’s often very hard to make a very motivated partner understand that it’s not only the other one’s „fault” if things deteriorate. If emotions become shallow in a marriage, one of the two will usually try their best and will desperately try to float the boat again – with opposite results. Because the one who cares less is the one who has more power, all the efforts his partner makes fail to affect him, on the contrary, they reinforce his attitude.

How you turn your partnership around

After the relationship counsellor had explained to Megan how the power was distributed in her relationship, and how it affected their love, she was willing to apply a strategy, although she was told success cannot be guaranteed. Nobody knows just where a relationship will go if you begin to work on its fundaments. To use a psychological lever, the more emotional partner has to come down from his or her high emotions.

Magan becomes an actrice

Magan becomes an actrice

A trick is necessary: Megan has to act as if…

The weak point here is that she has to use a goal-oriented mental strategy and avoid following her emotions. Obviously, this behaviour requires a great deal of self-control.
Megan will have to hide her plans and emotions from her husband in order to create the type of neutral atmosphere that might lure him out of his corner, because this is where an overly engaged partner keeps pushing hoping to better the situation, unfortunately the results are the destruction of the partners’ sentiment.
If one will stop this type of engagement, the pressured partner is often surprised how much love is still waiting inside of him waiting to come out.

To utilize this effect, the counsellor asks Megan to unfold her acting potential, as it will help her to bring her marriage back into balance.

      Having little secrets brings a new thrill

This notion will cause discomfort in those who claim that partners should always be completely open with each other and shouldn’t play any games. But love benefits from a few little mysteries and uncertainties. They are like the sweet in the sugar. Complete openness in a marriage is good for the daily dealings with each other, but love is enhanced by a bit of wondering about the other, by some vagueness, by a breeze of mystification. Love draws energy from ambiguities, from uncertainty.

And of course, those„ energy” sources tend to dry out in long-term relationships – when you become oh so familiar with the other one’s little habits and quirks…

Megan now has a new role to play: To show her husband, that she has given up for good on wanting to improve their marriage. She will show him that she is going to build up her own new life – without him. The counsellor tells her not to expect quick results, because it will take her husband a while before he will notice any changes.

A change in emotions will only occur after all pressure has vanished.

Her desperate clinging and fits of fury had the effect that Megan’s husband built a protective wall around him that Megan ceaselessly tried to tear down. And each of her attempts only put more bricks on the wall. However, if Megan will stop „bothering” him, then he will slowly begin to realize that he won’t need those walls anymore; but he will stay suspicious, and won’t trust the peace.

If Megan has a relapse, she will have to start from zero again. Since the counsellor knows how difficult it is for an upset person to keep this in mind, he gives her his private number for emergencies – just to keep her from making silly mistakes. But Megan is pessimistic in her weekly appointments. „He seems happy and content since I stopped nagging….he probably thinks I finally gave up.”

The counsellor now encourages Megan to become more independent and to build up her own life. So she joins a regular’s table for women and also a sports club, something she always wanted to do.

It doesn’t change the situation with her husband right away, but it gives her life a new quality. Especially the meetings with the ladies give her a lot. With two of the women she gets along great, and one of them is in a similar situation to hers.

He begins to fall in love again

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The positive changes in Megan’s life slowly begin to show… she is in better spirits, more relaxed and calmer, and her sense of humour has returned.  And her new hair-do is making her look much more young and stylish. And finally, those changes are noticed by her husband… when he once used to turn on the computer as soon as he came home from work, he now seems to look for her to have a little chat with her.

And one night, when she came home from her „ladies night”, he seemed to have waited for her so he could spend some time with her. But the best of all is that he’s calling her at work again – something he hasn’t done in ages!

Megan’s new friend from the regular’s table said, that that he’s probably worried about Megan having an affair! Now the counsellor warns Megan of revealing too much of her affection too quickly, because now, she should make sure the rapprochement is a slow process.

It shouldn’t be too easy for him to return, or the new feelings won’t grow!

If we think about it, it’s a truly paradox situation:

Here is a husband, whose feelings for his wife are next to non-existent, and he is staying in his marriage only for reasons of convenience. He’s probably even scared of leaving and of having to look for somebody new! After 20 years of being married he’s out if practice, and not used to being alone. That’s why many in his situation stay in a marriage, but also don’t make any efforts to give it its glow back.

Megan’s husband was always 100 % sure that she loved him, and never had to worry about losing her. The only thing he had to worry about was building walls between them, so he would be safe from her needs, demands and complaining. It’s the typical situation of a long term-relationship that has gotten into a rut: One of them keeps attacking, and the other one is being defensive.

Sometimes, you have to take risks

When husbands become relationship lazy, but are still sexually interested, there is a fine tool to bring the thrill back into the marriage and to create a better power balance. So far, during their argumentative phase, Megan never denied him sex, because she hoped, it would tie him more closely to her. But now, her counsellor advised her, to treat sex as a valuable resource – a way too precious to be given away cheaply.

And that is an ugly toad to kiss for Megan… she is concerned that rejecting him would cause offence. It’s quite obvious, that she is afraid to go too far, and of course you can never know for sure what will happen, but it is crucial she will go to the limits. It is mandatory that she levels the power discrepancy between them in her favour. This means for her to patiently wait and to take her time, to do her own thing, and not to display any big emotions and not to worry about him so much.

Sex has to wait

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If Megan can manage to bring up the nerve and patience of letting her husband wait for „it”, while staying kind and considerate, and whilst pursuing her own interests, she will confuse him big time.  He will get scared, because he is not able to judge the situation. He will see her kindness as a positive signal, but her many out of house civilities as a negative signal.

He will begin to wonder how she feels about him, but he won’t be able to figure it out. He will wonder and ponder, think of her, and become aware that after all, he still loves her. Some people may reject this method, because they feel it is too dishonest, too secretive, and too manipulative. It may be so! But I don’t know any other method that is equally successful!

 Complete openness is a mistake

All relationships have in common, that they can handle only so much openness and authenticity. Being completely open with each other is a psychological suicide, because relationships are over challenged with this.

This is also the reason why a social network of friends is so important to catch somebody who is in free fall.  In this way, all those issues are kept out of the ailing relationship.

The term „selective authenticity” describes this attitude, in which everything that is shared with the partner is truthful, but not everything is being shared.

This may come as a surprise, because so many people are convinced that they should share everything that moves them with their partner. They feel that if this is not possible, why have a relationship at all? But this thought is an inaccuracy. Relationships need a healthy balance of intimacy and distance, and a balance between their own privacy and sharing with the partner. Long term relationships lose their erotic thrill because the partners know each other too well: „Familiarity breeds despise”.

Love grows when trust and security are as present as curiosity, surprise and uncertainty.

So if Megan’s counsellor is now designing a strategy for her, he is prescribing a counter program to the overdose of openness she had been practicing all the time-and to no avail. This corrective tool was due years ago. And her husband is not being damaged by this – he gets helps to fall in love with her again, and the purpose justifies the means.

Of course these strategies can’t free all relationships from their lethargy. But what they will achieve is the enhancement of the value of the subdominant person. In polarised relationships, the dominant often has an incorrect notion of his partner’s value.

True feelings surface

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Only a wise strategy, creating the opposite of pressure – negative pressure-, will allow a dominant partner to realize the other one’s value and to develop more feelings for him. But if a relationship only exists out of habit, without any deeper feeling for the dominant, he will at least be happy when his partner has her own new activities, since the focus is not on him anymore.

More than comradeship is not possible then, but at least both know where they stand with each other. Of course this is a blow for the one who had more feelings, but also offers the chance to finally make a new start.

In other cases, using a strategy leads to quite a paradox situation which nobody would have anticipated: The partners change positions: If previously A chased B, it will now be B chasing A. If a partner stops his attempts to create closeness he instantly gains autonomy back, and his partner loses a part of the control. The prospect of possibly ending up alone can cause an instant change of positions.

It’s sometimes truly amazing to watch how somebody, who was recently suicidal, now wonders if he really wants his partner back. A position change like this allows observing how power and love impact each other.

Going to a counsellor together may not always be a good idea.  If there is a power imbalance, it is better to work with the subdominant partner and to help him get out of his mouse hole. Obviously, this is not a very good idea when the partner is listening to the counselling session.