She’s bored He’s anxious

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: I just read a post where a gal is bored with her marriage. I feel the same way. My husband and I have been married for 16 years. I am bored with our sex life. I have been working at my fulltime job now for over a year and made friends. I work with a great group of guys and good friends with 2. I am the gal where I work. But friends with a few girls as well. One of the guys I work with are good friends, if not best friends. My hubby tells me I can hang out with my friends where I work. I understand he wants me to call him if I am doing that and I am gonna be late. Sometime he calls between. Or he will text me while I am working, and I am not allowed to answer till my breaks and lunch. Lately he has been driving me crazy and smothering me as well. One night I told him I need to get out. I went at 1030 my time up to work and hung out till 1am. When my friends got done. I told him I would be home in a short while. I got home like 150. He came into the living room wondering what took me so long. I feel like he is breathing down my neck about everything. I sometimes wonder as well what it would be like to be single again. I sometime do want to leave. Help

A: It looks to me like you and your husband are falling into a cycle that’s going to make you both very unhappy, if it hasn’t already. After 16 years together, your husband knows you well. He is picking up on the fact that you are distancing from him. He doesn’t want to be seen as a controlling guy. He’s doing everything he can (encouraging your friendships, not fussing much when you leave at night) to give you space. But he’s also needing reassurance that you’re not slowly leaving him. So he ups the phone calls, texts, and questions. You find that “smothering” and distance further. He gets anxious and starts to question you. You feel hemmed in and distance still further. Instead of talking things out and trying to fix your marriage, you two are in a silent “conversation” that will inevitably end in the marriage blowing apart.

If you’ve already decided to leave this marriage, be honest about it and stop torturing your husband with hints and sighs. If you’d like to fix it, start putting your time into your relationship with your husband instead of your relationships at work. Find a qualified couples therapist. The problems you are having are not unusual or unsolvable.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 May 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). She’s bored He’s anxious. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/10/shes-bored-hes-anxious/