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7 Signs You're Expecting Way Too Much From Your Husband
Often, women start to expect their husbands to step into a role that would be better played by a friend. Time passes, we get busy (and, uh, lazy) and stop making as much of an effort to keep developing female friendships. This can take a surprisingly big toll on your marriage. "Your husband doesn't think like your girlfriends," says Tara Fields, Ph.D., author ofThe Love Fix: Repair and Restore Your Relationship Right Now. "If he has a two-word response after your monologue about a frenemy's insecurities, he may just not relate to the topic, especially if it's subtle, emotional content." It's going to frustrate both of you if he feels like he's failing to fulfill that need of yours, so give yourself permission to revive girls night so you don't feel deprived if he doesn't want to dissectThe Bachelorwith you.
Trust us, if this isn't a common occurrence and your sex life hasn't drastically changed (or disappeared), it most likely has to do with work stress or exhaustion, not a big problem in your relationship. And yes, there are plenty of therapists who recommend scheduling sex to squeeze it into your busy lives, but researchers recently found that the happiest and most sexually satisfied couples are the ones who go with the flow when it comes to sex—i.e. do it when they're in the mood for it—rather than try to have it on a forced schedule. It never feels good to be turned down, but if he's only doing it once in awhile, try to remember that it's probably really not you (just like it's not always him when you're not feelin' it). Find another way to connect instead, like giving each other back rubs, or snuggling up in front of a movie.
Some say it's all in the details, but that's not the case when it comes to most men. If his eyes glaze over as you're explaining the backstory of how your boss's cousin met her fiance, it's not that he doesn't find it interesting, it's just that he's waiting for you to get to the point. "Most men are about the bottom line. They're solution-oriented, rather than detail-oriented," says Fields. "He should be mentally present while you're talking—that's a fair expectation—but don't think of it as a character flaw if he's less interested in, or simply can't remember, the details." Laugh it off next time he loses the thread when you're recounting a lunch conversation with your work wife, but if it's a serious matter, cut to the chase: Say up front that you want to talk to him about something important to you and his ears will perk right up.
Men don't really dwell on or analyze events from the past as much as women do—which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it's good because it's easier for them to move on from an issue that's already been put to rest. Fields says that can be the best move in some situations, when it's healthier to move forward and focus on the present. On the other hand, though, sometimes it means they don't understand why something that they think is over really isn't—because you want to make sure there aren't any lingering issues.
When this happens, well, blame both of your emotions. Women have more natural mood highs and lows than guys do, and along with that comes a wider range of emotions. So when your man seems to be dismissing you, he probably isn't—it's more likely that he just isn't experiencing the same emotions as you, and he's already expressed everything he's feeling. "For women, it's like a fun, recreational sport to talk about feelings," says Fields. "For men, a recreational sport is a basketball game." If you really need to talk it out still, just let him know that and he's likely to make the effort because he knows it's important to you. That said, don't assume he'll have a perfect, well-formulated response. He may need a few days to process it all, so tell him it's okay to discuss it again in a few days.
Unless he does it constantly or is disrespectful, it's normal for your husband to appreciate other attractive women—as long as he isn't making rude comparisons or making you feel uncomfortable. If he's checking out the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, it's probably harmless and not worth digging in your heels over. When it comes to porn, though, John Gottman, Ph.D., author of The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, suggests talking it out: "Couples should discuss porn usage and whether either of them perceives any adverse effects on their relationship." It's not fun, but at least you can blame evolution: Men are biologically programmed to notice other women because they're technically potential mates to carry on his genes—doesn't matter if the guy is married or not. The good news: He's also biologically programmed to think, and we've evolved so that humans—even straight, red-blooded men—are now able to survive and thrive in monogamous relationships.
When you have a hellish day and assume that's written all over your resting bitch face, it would be great if your husband said or did the perfect, world-fixing thing—like he used to do when you were first dating. Unfortunately, years into a relationship, it's not-so-realistic to expect him to magically sweet-talk your problems or bad mood away. "It's up to you to manage your own expectations," says Fields. "Don't push him too much to do or be or say what you want—you'll only be disappointed." When he doesn't talk you off your stressed-out ledge as sweetly as he once did, or dropped the habit of surprising you with flowers long ago, it could be a sign that he's got an awful lot on his own plate. Every marriage (and spouse) experiences tough, less lovey-dovey phases. Put yourself in his shoes: Is he 110% overloaded with work obligations, family responsibilities, bills, and more? Probably—but he doesn't have the natural emotional inclination to tell you all about it. Rather, guys tend to act out or shut down entirely when they're struggling. So rather than snap at him more for not reading your mind, try to remember that he's probably had a rough day too, and the two of you can work together to end your day on a high note.
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