Relationship Deal Breakers

Deal Breakers

You meet the man of your dreams, get married, and plan to have a family and stay married for the rest of your life. A dream come true. Right? You’re elated when your first child comes along, and your husband helps with nightly feedings and diaper changes on the weekends so you can finally get some rest. You think to yourself, ahh this isn’t so bad, I can do this. So, you have another child. Again, he takes the nightly weekend feedings because you really need to catch up on some rest now that there are two little ones. You each have your roles you play and things seem to be moving along just fine.

As time goes on and responsibilities grow along with your growing family you realize your roles are played out to perfection, but you and your husband don’t have time for each other. Women naturally seek connection more than men, and you’ve realized how far apart you’ve grown so you nudge him to be involved with the kid’s daily routine and responsibilities like homework and bath time. He will only do it when asked and views it as more of a chore rather than an opportunity to connect with his kids. Pretty soon you’re doing all of the household chores including mowing and edging the lawn while pregnant. And, hanging the Christmas lights on the second story while pregnant too. Wait (hearing tires screech to a stop in your head)! You think to yourself, you are all alone in this partnership and co-parenthood? You look to see what you can do to fix it. You try little love notes, surprises, and thank you cards for no reason to tell him how special he is but there is no reciprocity.

He’s involved in all the important events like birthdays and school events, but soon he doesn’t have time for most of the school events anymore. You’re disheartened, and don’t see how you got to this point. Was it you? Were you so on top of things that you enabling him to not participate? Did you make him feel like he wasn’t needed at these events for his kids and to be a co-parent? You try to look at every angle.

With a little more time and self-reflection you realize he has completely checked out from the family. He will only go to the kid’s sports or be involved if it’s the sport he particularly likes, while you go to all the practices and games. The only thing seemingly important to him is his work, his computer, his diet, and his workout. How have you gotten to this point you ask? You try weekly dates, but still, you feel disconnected and empty afterward. Six months go by and you are about to burst needing to talk about what you are seeing and feeling one on one. You try to have many couples’ conversations hidden from the kids in the closet. If you are not being accused of “trying to argue”, then he will on rare occasions agree to talk. You trying to share what you feel but then you’re shot down again by “you’re just trying to argue” comments so you go to bed angry, have no resolve, and are disheartened.

Now you can only go 3 months before needing to talk, even though it’s about the same things you have been trying to discuss all along. He continues to be disconnected and likely is wondering what you would even need to talk about? After several years of this pattern, you wonder if you’re the problem because you are the only one that needs to talk. It is only getting worse as time goes on. You’ve given it 2 and a half years with no change so the answer is clear. You are completely unfulfilled in your relationship, unsupported and you are the only one working on it. You need to get a divorce.

It may take years to figure out without a support system around you, but it doesn’t have to be such an arduous process. Here are some clues that will help you decide if you can work on it, or need to walk away.

✅ If you tell him how you feel and he and starts to make a change in the right direction then this is workable.

✅ If he apologizes and agrees to share responsibility for kids and chores, it’s workable.

✅ If he starts to become more involved in you and less preoccupied with his work, his computer, his diet, and his workout, it’s workable.

❌ If he dismisses your thoughts and doesn’t want to communicate. This is a deal-breaker. Walk away.

❌ If you suggest counseling and he makes you feel like it’s you with the problem. This is a deal-breaker. Walk away.

❌ If you feel alone in your relationship and take on most of the responsibility in spite of communicating your needs. This is a deal-breaker. Walk away.

❌ If he doesn’t honor you and repeatedly forgets your birthday and anniversaries. This is a deal-breaker. Walk away.

❌ If he doesn’t like your friends and insists you get rid of them. This is a deal-breaker. Walk away.  

You don’t have to feel alone. There is support. Reach out to a friend, a counselor, or a support group to navigate whether you are with a narcissist, an Invisible Man (someone unavailable even though they are next to you) or if this is something you can work through.

XX Lola

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