Are you giving too much in a relationship, and feeling tired at the end of it all?
And I want to share her situation with you, because I believe she is not alone in this. So many of us women suffer silently in loveless marriages, and yet we accept it as if it were the “normal” way.
And I want to tell you right here that there IS A THIRD WAY that is not so extreme as the other two, and it can give you what you want!
So Here is Katie’s letter:
“Sami, I don’t even know where to start. I have been reading your articles and everything on your website the last days, and a lot of light bulbs have gone off in my head because of them. I am glad to be able to write to you. I have been married for over 20 years to my husband. I don’t know where the spark has gone really. He makes no plans for us, he is aloof and always busy with his phone, play station or the television. We end up having arguments when I push him for more attention. I am paying the bills, making our meals, planning our holidays and then, even on the holidays, we end up just arguing. I am starting to feel quite hopeless. Nothing seems to be working for me. He is not responding at all to anything. He is only growing colder towards me–I feel like I am dealing with an angry child. There is no other woman in the picture that I know of so far, but my heart feels scared of that possibility, and also I just feel tired. I just want more out of this marriage too, if I am honest to you. Can you help me change his behavior? Thank you so much for being there. Best wishes, Katie.”
Katie, I SO hear you. And yes, we can totally fix this if you just stop doing this one thing for me:
It’s called over-functioning!
What is over-functioning?
We are over-functioning when we “give” to a man, more than he is giving to us in a relationship.
In some sense, if the relationship were a car, we are in the “driving seat of the relationship” when we are over-functioning–we do all the work, we pay all the bills, we bring gifts to our men, we offer a massage, we call them to keep a “tab” on how they’re doing …
And overtime, our men get more and more passive. I’ve seen it over and over again with my clients.
Why does this happen, you ask?
Well, because a man likes to be “in the driving seat.” He enjoys being in the driving seat. It is in his masculine nature to enjoy it.
And when we over-function, we literally “deprive” him of his pleasure to be a man in the relationship. He gets “angry” with us… like a little child, just as you mentioned.
Don’t get me wrong. A real, happy relationship is like a dance where BOTH partners take their turns to be in the driving seat.
However, over-functioning happens when a woman has been in the driving seat for way too long, for many years, and the man is not getting to hold the steering wheel at all.
In some sense, we are not even giving our men a CHANCE to be in the driving seat, if we are constantly doing everything. Do you get me here?
So Katie–your over-functioning is clearly damaging your relationship dynamics right now, and here’s what I want you to do:
Become really aware of yourself and your urges to “lean forward” and make something happen with your partner, where you want to “push” the relationship with him forward. Planning holidays for the both of you all by yourself alone is part of leaning forward.
Once you start becoming aware, you stop yourself in the moment when you get an urge to over-function. It could look like this: he comes home from work and usually you run to the door to ask him if he is tired and if you could bring him food. Instead, this time, when he comes home from work, you just sit on your sofa with your glass of wine and you smile at him. You create the space for him to come to you.
In theory it might look like a small difference, but in reality, it changes your whole vibe, and a man can sense that from miles away!
When you feel relaxed, a man feels relaxed, and he feels safe to open up to you.
If you are constantly in “work” mode, in “dinosaur” mode as I call it ( I used to be like that!), a man simply has no way to connect with you.
Plus, of course, he gets passive because you’re doing the job of pushing the relationship ahead, which is actually HIS job.
So stop over-functioning Katie, “allow” your man to also “STEP” into the relationship and play his part.
He really does want to play his part–but for that, you first have to quit being in the driving seat yourself.
My heart goes out to you, Katie, and it is my earnest wish that you turn this around for yourself.
I know you can, when you put your mind to it.
If you feel the need for more support, you are welcome to join me in my free and private relationship support group for women called Wunder Divas on Facebook. You will find the link in my bio section below.