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What Happened To The Men We Married!


man with fat belly

That ring on your finger that’s been there long enough to see a tan line when you take it off… it’s a comfortable reminder of the life you share with someone special.

You build a home, careers, a family and dreams together and along the way, experience good times and bad. And you get comfortable; really, REALLY comfortable with each other. But what happens when you get too cosy with your life partner? Read on…

A friend recently forwarded me an article from Essence magazine  that talked about the do’s and don’ts of nighttime wear – and specifically if a do-rag is acceptable in the bedroom.

Which got me to thinking about the things that we let “slip” in long-term relationships. After all when you’ve been with someone for a long time it’s hard not to get comfortable with them and let a few areas slide.

So here are four things I hear women complain about, that men let slide in long-term relationships. Here they are in no particular order:

1- WEIGHT GAIN: That six-pack has been replaced by a keg and not just in the front. He got busy, you got busy and life got in the way. Pretty soon we’re penciling in work instead of working out. The weight creeps up and middle-age spread and apathy creep in.

 2- INATTENTION: When you were first dating, he held your hand and his gaze was like he could see right through you. Now when you’re out on a date, his eyes dart about like a lookout driving the getaway car. And shame on you if that date is in a sports bar. But more than that, he doesn’t really LISTEN to what you say or he does, in a selective fashion. He can’t remember you told him a month ago about your company picnic but he remembers when the big screen is going to be delivered.

3- SLOPPY DRESS: Sigh! When Buff goes to work, he looks amazing, tailored suit, tie just really snappy. But at home? Well, let’s just say there are a few of his favorite items that are about to go the way of DB Cooper. Guys, we’re not asking that you look like a GQ model at home but maybe use the stained, Cheap Trick T-shirt for washing the car.

4- PREDICTBILITY: There’s something really comforting about knowing what to expect with someone. But day in and day out, comfort becomes predictable and predictable becomes boring. How about switching it up a bit? Doesn’t have to be diamonds and sushi but maybe flowers and a different burger joint?

Okay guys, calm down, I’m going to give you your chance because we’re guilty of these things too. But I think it’s time for all of us to look at things just a little differently with regard to our mates; I know some of our Good Enough Guy’s answers have made me do just that.

So with the spirit of love, cooperation and communication, it’s time for you to weigh in.  Guys, what are the things that we women let slide when we’ve been in a relationship for a long time? Women, what are the things I left off this list? And the bonus prize goes to those who can figure out how to make it better on all sides.

Okay, sound off!

24 Comments

  1. Vanzell

    August 3, 2011 at 8:26 am

    For simplicity’s sake, all of the points made are the same in regards to what women let slip. we both have varying reasons as to why we let them slip, and the reasons tend to be unique to each relationship. but realize that men accept and deal with the things that women let slip just as we deal with most other things, alone and in silence. also, as problem solvers, we prioritize our wife’s problem ahead of our own b/c we know that if wifey ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy…

  2. Auntie Lisa

    August 3, 2011 at 8:32 am

    5. Manners — When dating, he opens doors for you, never interrupts, says “please,” “excuse me” and “thank you,” and remembers to introduce you to people. After the wedding, it’s like he doesn’t (as much) feel the need to try to make you feel special.

  3. Auntie Lisa

    August 3, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Also under Manners: A dating guy doesn’t usually burp out loud in front of his date.

  4. Brian Gagnon

    August 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Without meaning to sound gloomy – aw, who the hell am I kidding? It’s totally soul crushing. People just flat damned wear out. That bright future we all hear about at our high school graduation burns us all like the ant on a hot sidewalk under a magnifying glass. During that process our relationships become akin to the objects we’ve collected over the years. We know we have them and we count on them being there and we know they are ours. It’s not intentional and for the most part we mean no harm to one another but it happens. Often times the love we used to express in the form overt of romantic gestures become simple and bland things such as cooking dinner and doing laundry and getting the oil changed. We just need the occasional swift kick in the ass to be reminded why our spouses are there and that the good life that we have only exists because the other person is laying there snoring next to you keeping you awake again. Be grateful.

  5. Cody Williams

    August 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Well, as my mom used to say, “The only way you don’t get old, [out of shape] and ugly is if you die young.”

    One of the beauties of growing old together is that we’re able to look past the physical and still appreciate each other. With those beautiful bodies we see jogging through the park or leaving the gym often come issues. And lots of them.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been married but I remember the mundane stages a lot more vividly than the exciting beginning.

    In the beginning, before the children, breast pumps and bounce-house play-dates, initiating a raucous romp was a 50/50 equation. Either of us was just as apt to start a romantic encounter as the other. After kids with women, not so much.

    Whatever happened to playing footsies under the covers? I mean like you now spend all that money on weekly pedicures, a brother sure would like to know how those steppers feel against his skin sometimes.

    If candles, dim lights and mood music were a good thing to entrap a brother, then those little snares could pop up periodically to remind us how we got trapped in the first place.

    And the most important. When stressed, about anything, women feel less sexy. Men, on the other hand, often use sex to release tension. So, when a couple is going through the same stressors and the same time, women should consider what’s needed to un-stress the man. At the same time he may want to figure out a way to relax her so she can help relax him. If you know what I’m saying.

    Oh, and talking is overrated.

  6. Cody Williams

    August 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Sure wish I was better at self-editing. Look pass, instead of past.

  7. Joss

    August 3, 2011 at 10:03 am

    @Cody Williams Talking, is so not overrated. And since when is marriage entrapment?

    OK, so I’ve been married for only 3 years, but believe me we have had our fair share of difficulties and issues thrown at us.

    Talking, brings us closer as a couple and creates a more intimate environment. But heres the thing, we don’t just talk about our problems or how to fix things, but we talk about life, work, our friends, our plans, our dreams, our kids, latest things we have read, TED talks, etc.

    We also plan our meals together and come up with delicious meal ideas that are also healthy so that we both loose the weight we gained in our last pregnancy. We each have time blocked out for gym time and occasionally we run together, but we often go for walks, bike rides and hikes in the mountains.

    We also enjoy silence. Sometimes we just don’t have anything to say, so we don’t stress about it. He does his thing, I do mine.

    We joke around and laugh together. We also play with our kids together and try to make them laugh.

    How do you prevent the downward slide? Communication, eating well and living happily. It’s not a simple fix, both parties have to be committed to keeping their physique in check and keeping the relationship interesting.

    Thats my take on it

  8. Victor Hogan

    August 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I agree mostly with what Cody said. Joss added some good balance to Cody’s “talking is over rated” comment.

    my marriage lasted 14 years we were together for a total of 17 years(we started REALLy young. college sweethearts). so i’m speaking from my personal experience(a divorced dad of 4 kids).

    communication is a must, compromise is king and selfless love reigns supreme. the challenge is people change. some more drastically than others. there’s no guarantee that you’ll be with the one you love forever. and there is no set formula that makes it work. staying fit/healthy, dressing well(looking good for ur spouse), spontaneity(romance), etc… all help keep a marriage going. although, these things don’t guarantee a “forever marriage”, they sure do give it a fighting chance!

    we all let things slip in our marriages. life happens! the key is to communicate what we need from our spouses and give them what they need in return…. AND DO NEW THINGS(experience life) TOGETHER!!! whatever that “new thing” is…. (kinky, simple, explorative, risky, places… WHATEVER).

    … one day at a time, one act at a time, one moment at a time. life happens. how it happens is up to us.

  9. Elizabeth Betrand

    August 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

    @ Joss, yes, I can’t agree with you more. “Communication, eating well and living happily. It’s not a simple fix, both parties have to be committed to keeping their physique in check and keeping the relationship interesting.” You hit the nail on the head!

    @ Cody, since when is marriage entrapment. You either want to marry that person or you don’t. That definitely struck a nerve. Wow! I would be so embarrassed to find out that a person is dating me because he feels entrapped. It sounds like you have to be caught (or forced) to be in a committed relationship. Very interesting.

    Exercising should be included as a daily routine not for vanity, but for health reasons as well as wanting to live for a long time for your wife and children. Usually, people who eat well and exercise regularly live a happier lifestyle.

  10. Auntie Lisa

    August 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

    @Elizabeth: “Exercising should be included as a daily routine not for vanity, but for health reasons as well as wanting to live for a long time for your wife and children. Usually, people who eat well and exercise regularly live a happier lifestyle.”

    To that I say “Amen!” Exercise also is a huge stress-reducer, which is so needed in a 24/7 relationship!

  11. Cody Williams

    August 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Hey, this is Rene’s page. I shouldn’t have to defend myself over here. LOL.

    But, in doing so…

    I’ve learned that the best communication, when it comes to intimate relationships is physical. Not verbal.

    Ladies, a man can fix his mouth to say anything. And we often do. But, if you really want to know how he feels about you, as the song goes, “It’s in his kiss.”

    Talk is cheap.

    Actions, touching, caressing, holding hands, spooning in bed, long quiet walks on the beach, two surprise plane tickets and an extended weekend in Paris, dinner at an sidewalk bistro, roses. Quiet.

    “Hush, now…,” As Etta James put it.

    When you’re bodies learn to communicate to each other, outside of words… when you’re meeting each other’s most fundamental of needs…

    that’s what I’m talking about.

    Why do you think Monks take a vow of silence? To experience life without the chatter. You hear so much more.

  12. Cody Williams

    August 3, 2011 at 11:52 am

    @Liz, yes it will take a bear trap. One of them rusty ones with claws, that frantic animals desperately try to gnaw their leg off to get free from.

    And after that a strong sedative and a cattle prod to lead me around gazed and loopy.

  13. Cody Williams

    August 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Dazed and loopy.

  14. m.e. johnson

    August 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Auntie Lisa mentioned manners. Women and men forget them, then wonder why the children don’t exhibit them. “Take the garbage out” or “Will you take the garbage out, please”. Which would you rather hear? And I tell you, “thank you” works wonders, any place, any time. Say it to your children, too, even if they only did what they were supposed to do.

    And y’all leave Cody alone. “Entrapment” is a word men use a lot. Whether they really feel that way, I don’t know. He has made some valid points. Rene has let me say things she doesn’t agree with. If she doesn’t want him here, he will be gone. So be tolerant. Thank you.

  15. Joss

    August 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    @m.e. johnson I know me use the word “trapped” but I think all we are trying to get at, is that if it feels like entrapment, then it’s not the right relationship.

    Trapped, it’s a term that doesn’t define marriage as a mutual commitment or decision. It points in the direction of coercion, deceit, and possibly abuse. And hey, there are totally relationships that fall that way. It would be unfortunate if Cody did have one of those relationships, however, past experiences define our current world view.

    @Cody, I hope you don’t feel attacked. Us women can get worked up by words like that! But hey, you seem to have a lot of good stuff to say. Wishing you all the best

  16. Will Jones

    August 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I’d comment… but I’m having too much fun reading.

    Please… go on! 🙂

  17. m.e. johnson

    August 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I should have said “PLEASE be tolerant”. I am giving myself ten lashes… with a wet noodle.

  18. John

    August 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    My $.02 — whether it’s guys or ladies, there’s something to be said about taking pride in oneself…appearance, mannerism, attitude and the list goes on.

    I try to be a gentleman and keep myself in decent condition and try to avoid wearing my Cheap Trick t-shirt, not just for my spouse, but because I have pride in my appearance and in the way I treat not just my wife but everyone.

    Why some of us lose that pride as we get older or as our relationships mature, is a question for someone a lot more wiser than I am!

  19. majones9645

    August 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Personally, I feel it’s an obligation for both mates to look the best you can at all times whenever possible. That’s not to say you’ll never have slob days – everyone does. But to take the position of “it’s just you” and you’ll accept me regardless because he or she loves me is not right, and shows your lack of appreciated for your mate.

    Is that a reason for divorce or separation? No, it’s more a sign that one needs to work on communicating their feelings and give consideration to each other in the relationship. I strongly believe you should not just let yourself go because “you got him or her”. That’s just wrong and it will eventually build resentment.

  20. Kathy

    August 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I have always been full-figured, heck that’s one of the reasons my husband married me. He loves my largesse. And after 2 kids, and married life for 8 years now, he still calls me sweetheart when we talk on the phone, kisses me when he comes home/leaves for work, and still gropes me in the kitchen while I’m trying to cook dinner or just cleaning in the house (of course we are discreet; not in front of the kids.). But even though my husband has gained weight, he still makes my heart skip a beat, and is still pretty hot in my book. He said the same to me not long ago.

  21. Will Jones

    August 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Rene, your list of things aren’t things men let slide; these are things that men change for the benefit of the wives!

    1. It’s not weight gain: it is part of our “hug improvement plan”. Have you ever hugged a skinny person? It’s like wrestling with a tree branch. Things pop and crack and poke you in the rib cage… nothing good in that. Even kids don’t want to sit on a skinny Santa Claus’s knee. We gain this weight to provide for our wives. We provide heat in the winter time and shade in the summer.

    2. It’s not inattention, it’s prioritizing. Women, over the years and years of talking, provide their husband with VAST amounts of information. Often times, before a man can properly listen to, comprehend, analyze, and answer some of this information, new information is introduced. So, because we love you so much, we put away many of the questions that we believe are most important to you for further analysis, while the things that we see are much less important, we can usually answer immediately. (You’re welcome!)

    3. It’s not sloppy dress; it’s relationship protection. Don’t you remember how attractive we were when we used to dress to kill for every date? So do we! And now that some of our wives feel less attractive, it’s mean, rude, and downright dangerous for us to leave the house looking that way. If we put on our four-button suit and silk tie, how are you really going to feel in that ratty bath robe and scarf. And if Miss Johnson across the street smiles at us as we leave for work… well, let’s just say if we don’t dress down, we’d have to move.

    4 It’s not predictability, it’s a guarantee! You’ll like what we do. Why? Because we’ve done it for you a million times before. Why change now? If we know what you want, why take a chance on doing something you may not like? That’s just silly. But if you do want things changed, just let us know. We’ll be more than happy to surprise you whenever you want us to. Simply plan the surprise that you want, tell us when and where, and we’ll be there. “Surprise!”

  22. m.e. johnson

    August 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    @Will, I knew you’d have to speak. I am cracking up laughing. I would smile at you in a New York minute.

  23. Will Jones

    August 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    M.E.- Why would you say a thing like that?! No I have to gain more weight and find worse clothes! 😉

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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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