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All By Myself: Why My Husband Doesn’t Read Good Enough Mother

Buff and Rene pic

At the moment I’m sitting in Good Enough Mother World Headquarters where I have just finished the first of what I hope will be several life shows on our new Ustream.tv channel. But instead of feeling elated, I’m a little sad. Yeah we had technical errors, but that’s neither here nor there; I’ve worked in enough small TV markets to know if it can go wrong, chances are it will! No, I’m sad because, frankly, I feel like my husband has no idea what goes on in my life, nor is he all that interested.

Now I know I’m probably tempting fate writing this; heck some of you are probably covering your eyes and mentally screaming, “Stop, GEM! He might read this.”  I can assure you he will not. I wrote an entire book about my life, our life together. He had a chance to read the manuscript when it was typewritten and in a binder. Did he? Nope. He had a chance to read it in galleys before the final printing. Did he? Nope. Then the book came out. I have 246 copies here at the house. You think he’s ever read one? Do I need really to answer that?

A couple of nights ago, I excitedly told Buff about what Team GEM (Richard and Roger of Savannah Media) was about to embark on with Ustream. Buff, an old school media guy said, “I don’t have time to keep up with all that”, swiftly popping my little bubble of excitement. But we went ahead with it and pulled it off, just the team and me. Before I knew it, there were dozens of people in the chat room – friends, fans, gawkers, all wanting to share and talk with me, to hear what I had to say. It was fun, exciting and ultimately rewarding. Yep, all of those things until Buff couldn’t find the remote for the TV and peeked his head into my “office” (the walk in closet), interrupting me while I was on live. Why finding the remote AT THAT MOMENT was so critical was beyond me, but the action, as they all do, speaks volumes.

Buff is a great guy. He’s also a very, feet-on-the-ground sort of thinker, which I so desperately need; I cannot imagine being married for 17 years to anyone else. Unfortunately that pragmatism can sometimes get in the way of big dreams. It’s that common sense that on the one hand, keeps us out of debtor’s prison but on the other, also keeps us chained with golden handcuffs, in a job that pays but sucks the enthusiasm from our soul. It isn’t until the end of our days here on earth we realize how much nicer it would be to be a little hungry but a lot happy.

I can’t fault Buff too much; the guy gets up at the crack of dawn, he takes an hour long train into the city, sitting next to a guy who eats raw garlic for 37 miles (I am not making this up). Then he trudges along 3rd avenue to his office where he sits at his desk, managing people and crunching numbers in an effort to stretch budgets in a troubled economy. Then he takes the same train home, 10 hours later (the garlic eater is gone) and walks in the door of the house for which he alone is carrying the financial burden, (unlike in years past) and what does he see? His wife, excitedly yammering on about some new technology that he’s too tired to try to wrap his head around, especially when it’s easier to dismiss her with a “That sounds great honey.”

Now in a moment of full and complete disclosure, I could do more; NEED to do more. Buff is a neat freak whereas I am allergic to anything domestic, still nursing a chronic case of dishpan hands from my teen years. I can generally tell what type of evening we’ll have soon after he walks in the door and spies the pots and pans. But there’s a reason for it, and it’s not just because I hate housework (nor am I alone in that). It’s just that housework ranks so far down the list of priorities. Who can worry about a dirty dish when the sanity of the parents is at stake? Of course in a moment of stunning clarity, I have come to realize Buff’s sanity is also at stake.

Sometimes I wonder though, what happened to us. We used to have deep, DEEP conversations about everything. Life. Dreams. Goals. Each other. But the picture we painted didn’t resemble reality, not in the least. The road in real life was dotted with the potholes and speed bumps of job loss and illness; stuff that can splinter a relationship like an F-5 tornado ripping through a 130-year-old barn. Sometimes there’s enough of the structure left standing, the bones are still good enough that all it needs is a shiny new shell. Other times, it collapses on itself, a result of the pressure from all sides.

Buff and I are strong people individually and together we are invincible but without question it’s time for a new shell. It’s time to reconnect and renew. I don’t want him to come home with monosyllabic answers to the “How was your day?” question. I’d love to hear the minutia of his day and I yearn for him to take an interest in the minor victories in my life. I am building an empire one brick at a time. It’s slow and tedious work and not one bit sexy. I’ll get there eventually but I need his support and it’s got to be way more than lip service. I need his heart. I need him to have faith in me. I need him to believe in my mission and to see my vision, even when he’s too tired to focus. When I get to the mountaintop, and oh, I will, I’ll be carrying a bottle of Dom Perignon and two Champagne flutes. I will drink from one; I’m desperate for my partner, friend husband to taste the sweet success from the other.

So start commenting everyone. Do you ever feel the same way? Like your partner doesn’t understand, or worse, doesn’t make the effort? What did you do to help him or her “get it?” I’d love to hear your thoughts

34 Comments

  1. Brandon

    April 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Fantastic! Perhaps this is one letter that you both can read together.

  2. Kim Schultz

    April 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Rene – You are an amazing writer…Admittedly, I clicked on the picture of you and Buff so I could look at the pic, then found myself reading, relating, then feeling everything you wrote…I don’t have insight to share on how to overcome because I’m a single girl, but, it’s really, REALLY, nice to know I’m not alone in having the same thoughts and feelings your’e having with regard to dreams, relationships, life partners! Maybe just a ‘girl thing’? Anyway, I dig bein’ able to say I knew you ‘way back when’. The Local Girl Done Good! 😉 Peace & Joy! K ~

  3. Irene

    April 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Yep, all of those things until Buff couldn’t find the remote for the TV and peeked his head into my “office” (the walk in closet), interrupting me while I was on live. Why finding the remote AT THAT MOMENT was so critical was beyond me, but the action, as they all do, speaks volumes.

    I think you sent some gemmy elves to my home and have a hidden camera! Ha!

    Seriously, my Monday started out great until Monday night when I was having a gemdandy good time on facebook and the troops in my home wanted my undivided attention, wanted to watch other things, wanted something microwaved…. (I usually blow things off as when you have an ex spouse, a spouse and 8 kids you really cannot sweat the small stuff.) Well, for some reason this kinda bothered me this time. This morning when everyone was off to their destinations I made a big breakfast and sat with hubbie. I told him about how I really was enjoying the virtual company and watching DWTS…His reply about sent me into orbit…”irene it’s a tv show & computer people aren’t real…” Boy, I let into him and suggested he go whine to Good Enough Guy Will about that….lol….

    I mean really….are people becoming so self centered they can only think of their goals, etc as important. I am like many g.e.m.s I have great hubbie for all intensive purposes and kids that I wouldn’t trade for anything but this whole thingy about what you do is something I am not interested in has got me thinking…glad I am not the only one….

  4. Auntie Lisa

    April 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Good one! Maybe this is a question for Good Enough Guy… why do guys seem to ask where something is, rather than look around themselves? Honestly, if it’s behind or under something, or 2 inches from its normal spot, it becomes invisible to my hubby! And no matter what I am doing, I’m called to immediately join in the search. :-S

    But seriously, yes… there are times when I feel like I’ve joined him on his journey, but my own has become peripheral. Partly my own fault, as I do not speak up about it enough (with tact and good timing, that is). When I can calmly talk with him and explain my feelings and needs, he at least tries to get it.

  5. america

    April 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    wasnt the game on last night???? If so THAT’S WHY HE NEEDED THE REMOTE…otherwise..IDK..I’m so single I have cats and the dirty dishes to prove it…Loved the story BTW 🙂

  6. Sharisse

    April 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Lots of guts and courage you have Rene… to reveal yourself so honestly.
    I commend you!

  7. Jana

    April 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Rene, you know my husband pretty well. And we’re in the same boat with years and years of solid marriage, happiness, bumps and friendship with our husbands. I can honestly tell you that when the auto-pilot kicks in with us ( you now, when you’re just going through the motions of life), it’s tough to keep the deeper connections going. You know all of this. Here’s what I’ve learned from my experiences along these lines:
    1. My husband is oblivious to what I need from him most of the time. Every now and then he gets it without a reminder or a brazen instruction but most of the time, I have to spell it out for him. His idea of “support” is really different than mine and he never seems to generalize what he’s learned in the past on that topic.
    2. The more I expect or want him to be involved in something I care about, the more I push him or hint or prod him in that direction, the more he digs his heels in and doesn’t. Some kind of passive-aggressive, don’t-boss-me mentality that he seems to hold on to from the days of living with his very demanding, very bossy and overbearing mother. He doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.

    I’ve finally had to accept that his support and enthusiasm will have to come in ways that might not be what I need or want. And, like you, I hold tight to the solid, unwavering steel skeleton holding us together, always. We’ve been through a number of shiny new shells and I know you’ll find yours again. And, btw, I hope he does read this. Use my favorite trick — email him a mysterious link at work where he *has* to check his email. Trickery is often our friend when we’re working toward a mutually rewarding goal. He just doesn’t know it yet. Hugs, my friend!

  8. Beth @ TheAngelForever

    April 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I still remember the day when my husband laughed at my desire to be on Twitter. I was a fool and walked away without signing up. A few months later, he joined and suddenly it was a grand idea. He also followed into the blogging world a year after I started. Unlike your husband, mine is all over my Social Media world. I can’t Tweet without him possibly taking something the wrong way. Rene – you saw my business cards at Disney.

    Still, I understand what you mean. When I was teaching, my husband did not get a lot of my little victories and it hurt. He didn’t understand why I was so upset with parents harassing me over break, principals not supporting the staff, and lack of funding. Of course, I don’t get his geeking out when a code on his website finally works. Taking the time to recognize that you need something to connect is half of the battle. Making the time to do it, that’s the harder part.

  9. m.e. johnson

    April 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I had to think a while on this. Several things came to mind:
    > The best/most liberal men tend to dismiss anything women do as just not all that important. “So you’re publishing/editing a little ol’ community newspaper. Big honkin’ deal.”
    > My friends would sometimes rattle on and on about their (fill in te blank), which I found borrrrring.
    > If it isn’t something we approve of (doctor, lawyer, ceo), how much of what our children prattle on about do we really listen to? I read that a child told her mom “Uncle (?) pulled my pants down.” Mom: “Haven’t I told you about telling lies!”
    > When I was acting we most often had a full house but my best friend never once came to see me. She said she didn’t like plays. But she would say, “Oh I know you did good.”
    As for you, Rene, as Flip Wilson said, “What you see is what you get.” That’s all I got.

  10. Errika

    April 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes and laughter in my heart because I was sitting here this week thinking “my husband could care less AND he’s probably the only one.” Thanks Rene for being so transparent with us and thus allowing us to be transparent to someone (definately not our husbands). I just had a conversation (uhhemm, maybe a loud conversation) with my husband about my community involvement and how much it means to me and his response “do you really have time for that stuff, what about my . . .” (feel free to fill in the blanks). It’s a good feeling to not be out there alone. We’re definately in the day to day grind of life that I don’t like the least bit, but what I am thankful for is that he’s a great dad to our four year old and at some point he’ll come around and we’ll come back around to those early years of no kids, no mortgage, etc.

  11. Jacki Marie

    April 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    This is definitely a post he needs to read. Print it out and put it on his briefcase for his hour long train ride. Be prepared to talk about it the next time he has a day off.
    I think they(husbands) want to be supportive, but overwhelmed and misinformed. Staying married takes work. You (you/he) have to constantly make it a priority. Get aways (sans the offspring) are imperative. Date nights are important. I know people who make it a weekly event. I think spending time talking should be a regular occurrence, but making a “date” of it more sporadic to keep it fun. Sadly, too many couples allow too much time to pass and the rut becomes an uncrossable gulf. One of the things I like about you is that you make us think about and talk about these things.
    You are much too talented to do dishes <<—- That's what teenagers are for. Or the people that you can hire with the piles of money you're going to make when you are stinkin' filthy rich.
    Hey, that's what I think about it. 🙂

  12. PassPorter Mom Sara

    April 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I think your husband came from the same school of husbands as mine. Mine has never listened to a podcast, never read a newsletter, isn’t on Twitter and happily shows up for our trips but has no interest in planning one. No, he is not going to get drawn into the minutia of my little techno-world and yes, in spite of the fact that I have mentioned Rene and GEM ohhh 4 million times in the past month, he still asks, “Rene who?” when I mention next week’s podcast, but at the end of the day, that can be a benefit. Because when the time comes (and it always does) that I need to WALK AWAY from my computer and talk about ANYTHING else, he’s my guy! He’s the one that reminds me that there is a world outside my home office. And when I really do need him to tune in to what I am doing, he will make an effort. (It helps if there is food or the promise of other adult activities afterwards but still, he makes the effort!)

    And besides, if they did start paying close attention to what we do, how would we bitch and moan about them with impunity? 😀

  13. jennie hickox

    April 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I, too, have been married 17 years and believe your post is the essence of all marriages where there is love and respect but just a bit too much taken for granted. I am right there with you sister…..life gets in the way of true connectedness with the one person we love the most….. to be honest, I keep the hope that when things get less complicated (empty nest), my husband and I can connect the way we used to…….i truly believe that will happen

  14. Pam R

    April 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    All I can say to you Rene is that I was on with you the other night when he walked in….it was funny but I could see it in your face that you were not amused by it the least bit. I can understand. It seems like just when I get started and excited about something my husband comes right behind me and sabotage me (from what he says he doesn’t do this). He does. I hope and pray that you get what you need from your husband. In all honesty and I think a few people mentioned it already…he needs to read this post that you made.

  15. Donna naria

    April 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Renee you are not alone… My husband is a stick in the mud, he has been at his job for 26 years, uses the same toothpaste for 15 years.. He’s traditional, practical… Does not believe in taking risks, wants to be SAFE… Sits in front if his laptop when at home talking to his facebbok friends, commenting, laughing.. Full of life. I tell him something that happened to me at work… He has no comment, doesn’t even check the Fresno like button… Life I didn’t expect to be like this , men lose passion enthusiasm for life ..I want attention to be noticed, a little eye contact would be great…I miss the excitement for the future as well.. Teenagers in the house, hot flashes, disconnected husbands, not what I thought my life was gonna be.. Miss the 20’s, 30’s life was exciting…full of promise… I need a Thelma and I wanna be Louise right about now…

  16. Lorraine

    April 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    You truly write from your heart Rene!!!

  17. Mark Joyella

    April 26, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Rene,

    It’s so easy early on, when we’re trying to discover if we’re compatible with another person, for us to devour their every written word, to catch the change in haircut, or, as I did with the co-worker who would become my wife, the bandage on the ankle covering a new tattoo (opening! something to fire up a conversation over!)

    What happens is, as life goes on, those little surprises are harder to sneak by each other. Though, of course, they happen. My wife does things all the time that catch me and make me think–when did she find time to do this? How did she know?

    But she’s also busy. I write–a lot–and love, love, love having her feedback on my thoughts. Her approval is so important to me. (Especially when I’m writing on my Dad blog about our life together) But I understand when she’s home after a long day, catching up on email or doing bills and I ask about a blog post and she says she hasn’t read it yet. (Not to say I don’t wish she’d say she read it the minute it posted)

    I do the same to her. She blogs about how annoying I am, and I hate hate hate it when she asks about a new post and I have to realize I not only haven’t read it, but I didn’t realize she’d posted it.

    So thanks for the reminder, Rene, it’s making the effort each and every day not just to say “how was work” but to actually slow down and listen to the answer.

    And, of course, to read each other’s blogs.

    Mark

  18. Rene Syler

    April 26, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    @Mark: great explanation! You and our Good Enough Guy appear to be cut from the same cloth, only several years apart. I love the pragmatic explanation and it makes perfect sense. Thanks for helping me understand. BTW, tonight there was eye contact. Hey, thankful for the little things 🙂

  19. Kimberly Lewis

    April 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Rene, you are voicing many truths about what our expections of our marriage relationships coulda,shoulda,woulda be and what they actually really are. We are in the age range of recognizing our middle ageness in ourselves and our spouses. Your work is so greatly appreciated, and your honesty is commendable. I’ve told you before and I’ll say it again- You keep everything so real and because you do, you are such an awesome blessing to those of us who can relate to your experiences. Thank you for being you and giving so much of yourself to the rest of us. May God continue to bless you and Buff because you all are a beautiful couple. (((BIG SISTERLY HUGS!!!)))

  20. DawnKA

    April 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Your posts are so refreshingly honest which really helps because it serves as a support for those of us who can relate. I LOVE IT!!! Our time to reconnect is usually on vacations or weekend get aways where it’s just the two of us. Perhaps it’s time to plan a vacation 😉

  21. Wendy

    April 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    One of the things that makes you so enduring is your honesty! You are truly, one of the most REAL people that I know. Now get out of my head because whatever I am thinking about or going through you write about it!

    This summer will mark my 17th wedding anniversary as well. My experience is VERY similar to yours. My husband and I have had our ups, downs, good times and bad times, but one thing for sure is that he ALWAYS has my back and I have his!

    Several years ago, I made a major decision to quit a job to write a book. Although this job paid well and I had worked there 16 years, I despised it and should have left a long time ago. My decision to quit didn’t come lightly but my husband supported it 100%! Now, like Buff, he has become the sole provider, which at times I’m sure is frustrating for him, but he never mentions a word about being frustrated.

    However, we are like two ships passing in the night. He is extremely absorbed with his work and I am absorbed with taking care of the needs of our two kids and EVERYTHING that needs to be done in the household. He can talk endlessly about work related issues, but anything involving me, the kids, the household or anything outside of his work issues are quickly reduced to 50 sec. sound bites!

    In his position he is responsible for over 32,000 people and has to manage several millions of dollars so I know it is not easy but even before he was in this position and I was still at my job, I remember having a hard day at work and waiting for him to come home from his office to discuss my issue with him, he told me flat out “I am not interested in talking about where you work any longer” and just like that I tried never to mention anything about my job to him, or if I did I should know better because it was going to land on deaf ears.

    I guess like everything else in life, there are major trade offs in our marriage. Is he reliable
    and there for me when I really need him? Yes he is. Is he a faithful husband and good to me? Yes he is. Is he a good father and provider? Yes he is. Is he always there for me emotionally? No he’s not but I guess that’s where having good friends comes in handy. When things are going good is he my biggest cheerleader? Yes he is and when things are going bad is he there for me? He may not want to hear the whole sad story but he is always quick to come up with a solution.

  22. Will Jones

    April 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Married couples become the feet of their families. The only way to move the family forward is for the feet to move in unison. One foot is set solid (Buff) as the other swings forward (Rene). They can’t both move at the same time. That’s hopping; very unstable and a waste of energy. But the walking isn’t bad. The feet are never too far apart, they pass each other very often and they have plenty of time to chat about where the other foot has been and what it has seen up ahead. The feet are so excited to have started this journey together.

    The walk is easy, but soon the family has more needs (kids, bills, dreams), so the family needs to move faster. Soon the two feet are running. The strides are much longer; sometimes one foot barely knows where the other is… and the pace is so fast that, even as the feet pass each other, there’s no time for one to speak to the other… hardly even enough time to make sure the other is strong enough to keep running. Pretty soon, it’s an all-out sprint with no finish line in sight and one foot’s not even sure if the other knows where it’s going. Both feet start to hurt, but both are scared to stumble or to stop, for fear of letting the other down.

    Three things can happen here;

    A. The two feet stop because they get the family to its destination (if they can remember where they were running to begin with.) This almost never happens.

    B. The two feet stop because one foot can’t run, won’t run, or doesn’t want to run with the other foot anymore. This happens the most (death, illness, divorce, etc.)

    C.The two feet stop. Just stop. For a few hours, a day, a weekend, or however long it takes to remember when and why they started walking together in the first place. This NEEDS to happen… OFTEN. If it doesn’t, one of the other two will.

  23. Kimber Bennett - The DOB

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I think we’re married to the same man.

    Well, OK, maybe just very similar men. I’m growing, changing, morphing right now, and he’s…..not. And he thinks he’s being supportive of my new endeavors and enthusiams, but he’s…..not – at least, not the way we gals think of support.

    But if I remember to look back at how far we’ve come in the past 24 yrs. together, I see how much progress he’s made in the listening/communicating area, and I feel grateful and hopeful. He’ll keep doing what he’s good at – keeping me grounded so I don’t just float away – and I’ll keep him from turning into a fuddy-duddy. Together, we’ll get to where we’re supposed to be; the universe knows what it’s doing.

    Love & luck to you and your special fuddy-duddy ;-}

  24. Pink Kitchen

    April 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    This seems like a cruel joke of nature – that women love to express their heart and be truly known by their significant others…and men…just…don’t. However, some try way more than others 🙂

  25. mybad

    May 2, 2011 at 5:17 am

    They live in “Husband World.” Cut from the same cloth, I tell ‘ya! Nothing is important until they are experiencing it. THEN, it’s earth-shattering! Love it!!! This kind of honesty is refreshing. Thanks, Rene!

  26. Meg

    May 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I am feeling the same way this morning. I should be in a great mood, I ran a very succesful fundraiser last night that I worked very hard on. It’s over and everyone had fun. Bin Laden is dead. The sun is shining. But I can’t help but be sad because my husband was so unsupportive of me last night. Glad to hear I’m not alone.

  27. Rene Syler

    May 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

    @Meg: Hang in there! Would you join my FB like page and tell us over there about the fundraiser? I’m 100% serious! I think they just don’t really get us sometimes and until we grab them by the collar and say, “Pay attention, this is going to help up both” it sort of doesn’t register. We’ll support you though, CONGRATS!

  28. David Freeman

    May 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Rene, I do this too, as does my overworked wife who has the same schedule as Buff. And I know we’ve both grown into slightly different people than we were when we first met. But we’ve also got that exoskeleton you speak of, which is THE priority. We both simply know we have the other’s back.
    I hear from my houswife clients all the time that they feel unlistened too. I try to explain to them that men and women ARE different on many levels and that they need to look for the language their man speaks to find the little signs they are looking for. We were all raised to “bring home the bacon”, and it only gets mores tressfull and important in times like these, in a corporate world where loyalty is laughed at.
    We have different hormones running through our veins, we are treated differently then girls are from the point of “tabla rosa” on up to however old we are now.
    I bet Buff wishes he had more time for things like this and is carrying too big a load from work as it is, and just doing his best. I bet he wishes he had time to take on a project that was entirely his baby from the ground up with people he gets to have an actual relationship with, not just issuing orders at work or “selling time” all day.
    If you want to communicate with, I honestly don’t know that sending him this post is the best idea, although I don’t know the man. As a man, I’d prefer my wife pull me aside on a sunday or talk on a night I come home not so seemingly exhausted and plainly tell me what her needs are so I can try to meet them. You know me enough to know i’m a pretty sensitive guy myself, but even I miss social cues at times and until they are explained to me, I just really had no clue and figured my hard work, taking out the garbage, being ready to go to the in-laws on time, even when I’d rather answer emails in my bvd’s, etc. are signs that “I’m here because this is my place in life, by your side, fighting the battles of life as a team.” And because I am home more than my wife, I truly know your side of the story because I too feel unacknowledged at time. But then I try to do what I’d want her to do, and i tell her instead of letting it fester. And it takes so long to fall into these habits, they won’t change overnight. Neither of us minds an occasional reminder to give our partner what they need. But we both need to speak the other language and notice that the languages are slightly askew, or different, as much as we want them to notice us, so we CAN find that nicer place to be in our marriage. what you get to do is much more engaging and tied in with who you are as aperson. He needs to get AWAY from work for a bit each night. You need to understand this is how he retains his sanity to go out to the train again the next morning, all for you and your kids, because he wants you all to do the things with your lives that he may not often have the chance to do. Your kids are getting into the teen years, you’ll have more time together very soon. Of course thats no reason not to work on this now, but you need to understand hiw work is very different for him, even if he “kind of enjoys it”, than yours is for you. I’m not saying your wrong in your feelings. They are valid and true. We all know it. My argument is only for a little understanding of his day on the same minute level you want him to understand yours, and how different his is, and to learn a little “man vocabularly”. I have book somewhere called something like “The new man psychology” or something like that. If I can find it, I’ll send it to you. I made the Mrs. read it and it helped our relationship tremendously.
    The main thing is you have that skeleton. sometimes that does need to be enough for a period of time.

  29. Cathi

    May 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I’m not the one to answer this because…I’m married to Prince Charming. Truly!
    But…my first husband was clueless to anything in my life or our children’s life. He announced he was leaving our 21 year marriage the day we buried our 17 year old daughter. Nothing would have helped but…that’s okay now. It truly is.

  30. Tonya Soon-to-be Alexander

    May 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Oh wow you went and made me cry LOL Right now that’s pretty easy to do. I just had a baby boy last Nov and planning my own wedding that’s coming up pretty soon! Oct.

    Right now both my fiance and I are still at the newly wed stage of our relationship even though we are not married yet. But I know there will come a day where we both will get comfortable and have those kinds of answers and feel in a stuck position. That’s when I plan to create surprises for him. Leave him little notes 🙂 hell even send HIM flowers for a change. In my hopes it will make him start to think and renew his fire so to speak. These are the nice ideas I have whos to say they would actually work LOL but I think the biggest key is communication, trust, love and VACATION TIME 😀 perhaps you need more one on one time together with out work?

    But I don’t know much Im only 30 and have a LOT to learn 😀

  31. Rene Syler

    May 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    @Tonya: Thanks so much for this. There is some truth to what you say but I have to warn you (as every married person will) I felt the same way you do now when I was 31 and getting married for the first time. We were in sync, invincible and nothing, NOTHING could stop us. Then real life set in and along with it real work (read this piece: http://www.goodenoughmother.com/2011/01/the-story-of-us-happy-anniversary-buff/). None of that means that we are any less strong or committed to what we have together; heck, we built an entire life together and I cannot imagine mine without him. But when you’ve been with someone a long time, and they have interests and you have interests and then there are kids who take an UNREAL amount of time and energy, things change. It takes more work to connect and to stay that way. I will admit we probably should work harder at it. Your letter has reminded me of that. Thanks! God bless you; you’ll be a wonderful wife and partner. 🙂

  32. Kym

    May 15, 2011 at 9:37 am

    GEM
    I can relate to this. Except my husband is the opposite of yours. My husband is I think intimidated by me. Yes, that does hurt to write that. I think he is bothered in a sense of my success. I am successful but only in comparisson to my family. I am the first to graduate from college, I was a teen mom/wife, and I had dropped out of high school. So now after 23 years of marriage and much hard work I have finally got to a level in my job that is respected. But my husband lost his job 4 years ago, he doesnt have a degree and I think resents me and mine. He brags it up to other people but our day to day relationship, I feel it. The quiet, turn your back on me/us moods he gets in. I beat the odds in my own life, coming from a extremely abused childhood to succcess. And I am truly the only one who celebrate that success. For many I still have a long way to go. In my heart I am at the pinnacle.
    I would love nothing more than my husband, whom I adore, to look at me and tell me how proud his is of me. Instead i feel like I am pushing him farther away from me.

  33. Rene Syler

    May 15, 2011 at 9:55 am

    @Kym: oh honey, I am soooo sorry to hear that. We need Will Jones in on this one. I think unemployment is such a tough thing for men because their jobs are what define them, in many respects, unlike women who are defined by myriad things in their lives. What does he say when you talk to him about it?

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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