I have been in a relationship for a year. Last month the woman with whom I have been living told me that she no longer has any feelings for me, that she feels empty inside. What could be the problem? Please help.
Many relationships start on the right footing, with the future looking all rosy and romantic. But what many people do not realise is that even a car that starts a journey on a full tank will run out of fuel at some point.
A new car needs maintenance, while a bank account will require occasional deposits if you expect to withdraw something from it.
Sadly, many who get into relationships think that everything will remain the same forever.
The truth is that the emptiness your girlfriend is feeling right now could be the result of many issues.
The love in a relationship can be eroded for several reasons, including unresolved conflicts, unmet needs, unfulfilled expectations and a lack of sensitivity and relational intelligence needed to detect relational dysfunctions.
There is one sure way to find out what might have happened. Your girlfriend is the only one to help you on this journey of disclosure.
As they say, it is the wearer of the shoe who knows where it pinches. Ask questions that will help her make the necessary disclosures that could lead to the two of you talking about the issues affecting your relationship.
But you have to be careful how you navigate this path. There is a need to be sensitive so that you do not to appear to be blaming her. She might have been hurt so badly that she does not want to talk about it.
I suggest the following: 1) Assure her of your love and commitment. 2) Let her know that you are as concerned that she feels that way. 3) Ask her whether there are issues that have built up over time to make her feel the way she is feeling now. 4) Let her know that you are not going to judge her for feeling the way she does.
If you are committed to the relationship, work through the issues one by one. Ensure you do this in the right environment, in the right place and with the right attitude.
Try and avoid finger-pointing and shifting blame. You can only walk this road if she is willing to face the issues.
There are moments when one can be so deeply hurt that they feel that it is over for them. Do not be tempted to force her to talk or discuss anything.
My husband is obsessed with taking care of his mother
Thank you for your insightful relationship advice. I hope you can help me.
I am a newly married woman, but I already doubt whether our marriage will last.
First, my husband is distant, both emotionally and literally. He is an entrepreneur and lives next to his mum on his family’s farm while I am a civil servant working in a different county.
We talk on the phone almost daily but I do most of the travelling to visit them; he rarely visits me. His excuse in the past was his mother’s ill health, but now she’s better, yet nothing has changed.
Second, he has mama’s boy tendencies. He has involved his mother in our arguments in the past.
His excuses for not visiting me or spending money on me have always been because his mother needs him.
Do not get me wrong, I absolutely love her and I know she loves me too. I have always chipped in here and there when it comes to taking care of her.
However, I think he is a bit obsessed with taking care of her and being there for her, to the point of ignoring his own wife’s needs. I mean, he does have older siblings who can also take care of her but he says “they are not reliable”, so he doesn’t trust them.
Three, he is stingy. So stingy that he hasn’t bought me anything for Valentine’s Day or my birthday. Note that I have bought him a birthday cake and a Valentine’s gift.
He has given me two “gifts” in the past. I later found out that they were gifts his sister had given him, which he didn’t like. He even failed to pay my medical bills after I suffered a miscarriage and had to be hospitalised.
Thank God my insurance paid 80 per cent of that! I footed the rest myself.
It is ironical because, prior to that, I had helped pay his mother’s medical bills. I also took him to a hospital and nursed him back to health following a short illness without asking for a single cent from him.
It seems as if I am the giver while he is the taker. This is something I am not happy about because I believe giving and taking should be mutual.
I do love him but I’m not head over heels in love with him at the moment. I have never understood his true feelings for me. He says he loves me but does not prove it.
At times I think he married me because of his mother; she and I have always got along. I have to add that I am more educated than him, although I am not sure how it comes into play in any of this.
Do you think I’m stuck in a loveless marriage? Am I being used and taken for granted? Should I leave now while I still can? We do not have children yet.
A mother will always be a mother to her child, depending on the connection she had with the child. There are cases where some people love their parent(s) so much that when they get married, their partners might feel that they are being manipulated by their parent/s.
But there are, indeed, parents who are manipulative and cause problems in their children’s marriages.
The distance you mention appears unhealthy for your relationship, considering that you are newly married.
The question one would ask is whether this distance between you and your husband is caused by your mother-in-law, or is it the result of mounting issues between you and your husband?
Identifying this is key. In some cases, a man and woman might have issues that keep them apart and end up, knowingly or unknowingly, seeing parent/s as the cause.
Examining the reasons without drawing his mother into the scene would help figure out if there is anything that needs to be dealt with between the two of you.
Showing concern for his mother could just be that and nothing more. Maybe he feels such a responsibility over her and thinks that you have neglected to show concern and care.
I am not sure if you have tried in the past to get a transfer so that you can work nearer home. He might be keeping off because he thinks that is the best way to send a message home to you.
It is also important to remember that distance in itself has a way of reducing the connection between a couple.
That said, I have this feeling that there is a lot of baggage that you are carrying that you need to deal with. There is the issue with gifts, a feeling of him abandoning you for his mother, and his failure to visit.
These issues are big enough to send you into developing strong negative vibes towards him.
I suggest that you try to talk honestly without pointing a finger at anyone. Find out if he feels there are areas you need to make improvements.
As for you, there is need for you to show him that you really care for his mum. There may be need to also reconsider getting a transfer so that the two of you live together or at least close by.
Ways of bridging relational gap and building intimacy
Intimacy is about a couple’s level of connectedness. This calls for couples to work at hindrances to intimacy that build up with time.
Some of these hindrances might start like insignificant molehills and develop to become gigantic mountains that obscure our vision of each other.
To help bridge this gap and eradicate the mountain, couples need to be in the habit of dealing with the little foxes that spoil the vine by:
1. Depositing little but intentionally thought-through actions of gratitude.
2. Giving unsolicited support whether emotionally, spiritually, or physically.
3. Concentrating on value adding actions that keep the relationship vibrant.
4. Defending each other from outside aggressors and aggression.
5. Making reasonable requests that are both achievable and manageable.
6. Avoiding saying things behind your partner’s back that would demean or embarrass them.
7. Showing true empathy when your partner needs it.
These are just some of the gestures you can include in your daily and weekly routine to spice up the relationship.
Increasing one’s self-awareness is such an underestimated and overlooked component in this critical quest for relational intelligence that breeds intimacy.
Pursuit of relational intelligence must begin with giving time to self-awareness because it frames the entire conversation around being honest with ourselves first and foremost before we connect with others effectively.
We all have blind spots, and we need other people’s input if we want to maximise our relational intelligence. Have a great relational week.
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