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Your Second Marriage as Good as You Hoped it Would Be

Dear Emily, I am beginning to regret that I entered into this marriage with a guy that puts all of his energy into fighting his custody legal battle and raising his daughter. I feel like all I have for affection and kindness is my puppy, and he thinks I am insane for giving the dog tons of attention. I am lonely. Help! "Janice"

Dear "Janice", Your resentment are understandable, and you are not alone. To me it seems like your relationship with your husband has changed dramatically since you guys decided to become engaged, and that your discontent is growing intolerable.

I would love to offer you a couple antidotes to your misery that you could begin to apply soon, and see if the outcomes you receive are opposite than what you are experiencing now.

1. Are you familiar with the thought that "what you resist will persist"? If you are spending a lot of your energy and time to focus on the things that are wrong in your relationship and what you are scared about, it is very possible that you will see more of things that you DON'T wish to see; and keep getting the outcomes you are desiring to avoid. The medicine here is to just start looking at what is CORRECT about your relationship. This can be hard to do once you start, because you are so discouraged. Something as easy as "He comes to the house every night and sleeps in our bed." Or "He always makes sure th at there is enough gas in the car." . . . Hopefully you may start to examine all the ways he shows his love to you and his family.

2. Develop an "attitude of gratitude". Criticizing is not a habit that gets us what we want. When we complain, we are pointing out to the person all that they are not doing correctly and how they are failing as a partner, a provider, a husband. This does not necessarily make him want to be you feel like he should be. In fact, he will begin to get so down and believe that {whatever he does will never be as good as you want it to be and so he will just give up|no matter what he does it won't be good enough, that he'll just stop trying|. Why trouble when the only thing that will happen is that he will be told "too little, not enough, could have been better . . ." You get the picture. The cure for complaining is to begin feeling appreciative and openly acknowledge all the ways he is showing up. You'll be bewildered at the results. It's taking the noticing a step further and showing with a heart full of gratitude all that you notice . The more you do this, the more you'll find things to be grateful for - it can be quite magical! And, you could become very creative in how you express your gratitude. One spouse started putting little post-it notes of thankfulness around the house, so he'd see them as he did everything he did in the mornings. A different wife left a voice mail message showing her thankfulness to him at his job office. Did you know that men usually receive recognition is through hearing, seeing or what is done with him?

3. See how you could be contributing to problemsyou are faced with. What are acts that you are doing that could be making him feel uncomfortable around you? Are you whining? Are you withdrawn? Are you unreceptive to his advances? Are you jealous? Notice what things that are getting in the way of his attention and love for you. The greatest cure to not receiving everything you want is to start giving everything that you feel like you should have to anyone you think you should get it from but ALSO to yourself! Stop expecting for the person to show up and wonder how you may start showing up in a different way. And START giving to yourself what you think you should have. Sounds like you are getting your needs obtained by using the dog - but you are excluding your spouse. Is there a way to include him as well? Can you let him have that level of affection also?

One pattern that might be in play between the two of you is something called "Passing the Experience". Just as you see him giving all of his attention and affection to his daughter, that's what you may be doing with the dog. Each of you are receiving your needs met with someone/something else, instead of reaching out to each other. And chances are there's so much disappointment in the middle of the two of you that talking to eachother could be too scary to do by yourselves!

I am interested about how old his daughter is, and how you were feeling about life when you were the age that she is. Maybe if you take a fraction of your time to go back there in your mind, you can receive some information into why you are particularly triggered by his devotion to her.

NOTE: Use of this article requires links to be intact.

06/03/2008
About Author
Emily Bouchard, has over eighteen years of experience in working with children and families dealing with adversity. Emily is also a loving stepmother to two young women who were teenagers when she entered their lives. She publishes a free Blended Family newsletter. For a unique copy of this article for your website visit Second Marriage Bad.
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