Husband: Why Does She Want A New Model?
by Laurie Weiss,
may believe that never arguing with each other
will make your relationship strong. What usually
happens though, is because you're both human you
have different needs and wants. If you never
even notice, let alone discuss (argue about?)
your different needs and wants you may not even
realize the damage you're doing to your
the problem that brought Jeff to my office.
Jeff was stunned when Eileen announced that she
wanted a divorce. For nine years he had
considered himself a model husband, never
arguing, letting her do whatever she wanted to
do, and working hard to increase his income to
support their lifestyle.
begged her to reconsider and offered to seek
counseling to prove he was willing to change.
However, he had trouble imagining how he could
do anything differently.
refused to come to counseling with him. Her
position was that if he couldn't figure it out
for himself, it proved he was hopeless.
talked, it was clear that Jeff knew what he
liked to do and how he felt about lots of
things, but he had very little information about
Eileen. He was puzzled about her seemingly odd
would she want to redecorate the living room? It
seemed fine to him. Nevertheless, he was fine
with her repainting the room and putting in a
new floor by herself. He was a little annoyed by
the mess and by her being too tired for much
lovemaking, but he managed.
also admitted he was a little annoyed when
Eileen attended meetings several nights a week,
but he never said anything to her about it. He
usually got involved in online computer
exchanges with others when she was away; in
fact, he got so engrossed that he would not even
notice when she would come home and go to bed.
had no idea what her meetings were about. He was
surprised when I suggested that he ask her, but
he agreed to experiment by doing his best to ask
and to really listen to her answer. To
demonstrate to her that he was listening, he was
to try to restate what she said.
next week Jeff reported that Eileen was so
encouraged that she was now willing to set up a
joint counseling meeting.
admitted that he wasn't particularly happy in
his marriage either, but thought that was
normal. Growing up with his divorced mother, who
did whatever she could to make his life easier,
he had never really had the opportunity to see a
couple discuss differences or solve problems
was understandably furious at Jeff for ignoring
her for so many years. She had made many
attempts to tell him about what she needed, but
he had never even noticed. Finally she had
started attending a support group and a study
group, which had helped her decide to leave her
However, Jeff's recent attempts to listen to her
made her hopeful that he could change.
She was surprised to discover that Jeff had
never learned the basic emotional skills that he
needed to create a more satisfying relationship.