Overwhelmed by Need to Change

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 36,married 7 years but have been with my huband 12 years.We’ve a great ‘practical’ marriage-we’re great at organising holidays & doing everyday chores,etc, but haven’t had sex in years.We have 1 friend in our town,where we’ve been living for 7 years.My husband never asks anyone to our house or organises nights out.If we do go out it’s because I organise it.Usually,we go out for dinner & a few drinks but he would never initiate conversation with anyone,so it’s been impossible to make friends since I’ve met him.If left on his own,he either watches tv or plays computer games.I’ve asked him to turn them off but he won’t.I’d love him to organise a ‘date night’ but that won’t happen.I’d love him to be more sociable.He’s quite happy just to sit in every night,just the 2 of us.I want to meet people & make friends but he’s not interested.I’ve joined us to social groups.This worked briefly-he went & chatted to people but didn’t take their numbers or keep in touch with them.I don’t know what to do.I think of leaving him but I don’t want to.Where do I start to change our life?

A: Not everyone is sociable. You married someone who is satisfied to have one friend – you. To his credit, he did go and chat with people when you organized the event. That suggests that he can at least tolerate social events even though he doesn’t seek them out. All couples divide up the business of being a couple. It looks to me like in this marriage you will always be the social director.

It is not your husband’s fault that you only have 1 friend after 7 years in your community. Nothing is stopping you from making a wonderful circle of friends. I’m sure you’ll find that there are other women with equally reclusive husbands. Every now and then they may agree to get together with other couples but they’re just as happy at home. Meanwhile, you and the women can get together to enjoy each other’s company as often as you like. Join a book club. Get involved in an organization. Volunteer where you’ll find others who share your interests. Start inviting people for tea or to go to events and attractions. Make your life what you want it to be.

As for the lack of sex: You didn’t give me enough information for me to make any suggestions. I do wonder if it’s more of the same, with you wanting him to want it and so not making the first move. If he’s able when you start it, I hope you’ll just let yourself enjoy the closeness and not deprive yourself of the pleasure of intimacy because you had to be the initiator.

If you love this man and want to stay with him, stop focusing on what he should do and instead get going on what you can do to make your life more satisfying.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jun 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Overwhelmed by Need to Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/06/06/overwhelmed-by-need-to-change/

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