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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

He Doesn't Feel the Same Way About Me...

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 15th 2011

He Doesn't Feel the Same Way About Me...I receive many questions from people who are either married or unmarried about why their partner has grown distant?

For some reason he or she no longer feels the same way. The question is, why?

Intimate relationships always have their ups and downs. Daily pressures of life, such as money, career, in laws, arguments over petty things, sex, raising children, all exact a toll on the relationship.

Three of the major problems that afflict most intimate relationships are sex, money and mutual communication.

1) Sex:

After several years,sex can become routine unless a couple does something to make it stimulating and exciting as it was in the beginning. This requires making the effort to discuss what does and does not excite and what each wishes the other would do. For this to happen the discussion must be open and honest. Surprisingly, this is difficult for many couples. That difficulty may reflect a lack of trust, fear of being criticized and the dread of being told that you are not good in bed or, worst of all, being judged or ridiculed.

2) Money:

How to handle finances and pay bills exert an enormous amount of pressure on most, if not all couples. Questions arise such as, who will pay bills, how will the cost of entertainment be handled, will money be combined and distributed equally or will each keep their salary? It would seem like these questions are easier for married people to handle but that is not so.

3) Mutual Communication:

Handling the inevitable disagreements and conflicts is of primary importance to all who are intimate. Withholding frustrations and anger can result in disaster for the couple. Fear of confrontation causes some to avoid conflict at any cost. As a result, they withhold dissatisfactions while irritations mounts until a boiling point is reached, ending in an eruption. Then, there is shock and dismay.

The alienation resulting from all of this poisons a relationship that can end in divorce. Depression, anxiety and confusion are common when things deteriorate and people do not know what to do except separate.

Couples or marriage psychotherapy can be of great help to those who are motivated in wanting to salvage the relationship. After all, people have a lot invested in one another in terms of intimacy and attachment. That is why separating or divorcing are so very wrenching.

What are your experiences with these problems? What do you recommend to friends and family and others who experience this? Your comments are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Is it OK to Express Anger - Jeanette Kasper - Mar 16th 2011

    What is the best way to express anger with my spouse? I find that when I talk about something that annoys me, he gets upset right away. It's difficult to resolve issues and solve them when we get upset if the other comes into the conversation already upset.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note:  It's hard not to get defensive and then angry when you feel accused.  For this reason, it is a good idea to try to separate out what someone does specifically that gets you upset from the person themselves.  This is to say, ask for a specific behavioral change rather than coming at the partner with a global complaint.  For the same reason It is also useful to emphasize how the problem behavior impacts you (e.g., "I feel hurt when you ... ") rather than to emphasize what a jerk the other person is being.  The more you can make your complaint specific and actionable (e.g., a behavior change will solve the problem); the more you can communicate why the behavior is a problem; and the less you make the complaint an attack, the more success you may see.  Of course, habits of feeling defensive can be very difficult to break.  Marriage/relationship counseling can be useful when other strategies fail if only because the therapist can act as a neutral traffic cop who can help translate partners' messages.  Good luck. 

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