Q. I really can’t believe I am 54 years old and never have I been in a relationship that I felt loved. Where someone was nurturing, a good listener and emotionally present. I am married now but feel so alone. Does anyone else feel this way? —- Stephanie
A. There are many people who feel this way!
Countless individuals are in relationships that aren’t working. It is interesting how people can continue in an unsatisfactory situation for a very long time until something or someone decides to make a change. Emotional pain just like physical pain seeks relief.
It is sometimes difficult to tell your partner that your needs are not being met and you need to feel loved.
The following is a true story of a married female who desperately tried to get her husband to love and nurture her. (Names and specific details have been changed).
Karen had been married to Kent for 8 years. They had 3 children. Karen had been feeling lonely for months. She would try to get Kent to talk to her about more than just the kids and the bills. She longed for intimate conversation and time together. She said Kent was always in motion, made weak eye contact and always had an excuse for his lack of connection.
One day Karen left the house to run her usual errands. She wanted to buy some new music and stopped to look at some CD’s. Mark was also looking at CD’s. They started talking about different bands, favorite venues and their fondness for music. Mark mentioned going for coffee and continuing their talk. Karen said yes.
Karen was like a sponge for conversation. Especially someone who shared her love for music and a desire to talk about it. They met more often and as time went on they developed strong feelings for each other. Karen had decided to ask Kent for a divorce. She actually felt that he would not be that upset because he had not shown an interest in her needs for a very long time.
Karen was wrong. Kent made her put a stop to her relationship with Mark. Refused to give her a divorce, then went overboard to meet every need she had ever verbalized. But it was too late for Karen. She chose to stay in the marriage but was not optimistic it would last.
Time has a way of changing people. Relationships need to be nurtured and revisited periodically to see if both people are on the same page. People grow, sometimes in different directions. You can’t make someone love you in the way you want, if they can’t or won’t.
Stephanie work on you. Read books. Go to therapy. Ask your spouse to go with you. Don’t give up until you know what is healthy for you or as my therapist said to me, “How is this working for you?” It wasn’t!!
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Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
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