Worst Wives Club

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

My wife and I have been married almost a year, and together for almost 3. Before tying the knot, we had discussed things like children (I have two from a previous relationship, and we'd both said we wanted at least 1 more), sex, and our goals. Now that we're married, it seems like she isn't following through with our previous agreements. She says she wants to rethink a third child. We rarely have sex...and when we do it's usually focused on her pleasure...and I'm the one who asks/wants it more. I am almost done with a Master's degree. She works part time at a fast food restaurant. When we first got together she was an artist and did okay with her commissions and show winnings. She went almost a whole year without doing any art to work at a fast food establishment. Now she's doing art again in addition to working, saying she's too busy to have a kid, or to have sex, or to be intimate at all. Then twenty minutes to an hour after we have that conversation, she comes back and says I don't pay enough attention to her, that I'm not romantic, and that I don't try hard enough. I work full time and pay all the bills. All I ask of her is to take out the trash twice a week.

Why...what...am I going insane? I feel like I'm in a never-ending struggle with her about my needs vs. her needs… I have a therapist, and she's seen a counselor. It just seems like they always point toward the other...but I don't feel like it's a blame issue. Is it terminal incompatibility? I hope not, because she's a great girl and I love her...but at the same time...is that enough?

ANSWER

I don’t know… Is it enough?  Do you deserve a partner who pulls equal weight and who satisfies you sexually? Does she deserve a partner who hears her concerns, validates her feelings and steps up the attention and romance in the relationship?

Here’s the problem: You vomit a ton of requests onto her in the form of a complaint (you’re not in alignment with the goals you set forth at the beginning of the relationship, we don’t have sex often enough, it’s always about your needs in bed, you’re an under-achiever) and then you’re shocked when she responds by doing the same thing to you.

You want her to change before you’re willing to change, and as long as you stay positioned in this power struggle, nothing’s going to change.  If you want change, than CHANGE. YOURSELF. Stop looking to her to lead the way. You lead.

If what you’re saying is true and each of your shrinks is blaming the relationship problems on the other, than you should fire them both and find a couple’s counselor who will stop the finger pointing and start creating safety within the relationship so that real healing can begin.  If you’d like some names of couples counselors, please email me. In the meantime, I’m telling you that at a minimum you are 50% responsible for the problems in this relationship. You’d do yourself and the relationship a favor by dialing down the self-righteousness. There are no victims here. Just volunteers. Relationships are almost never terminal. They end because people want change without having to change.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian