Need some tips for starting over in current relationship? Let the advice our dating coach gives this reader help you.
Starting Over in Current Relationship
I am having marriage problems. My wife and I have been together for 1 year, and we have been married for 4 months now. We connected back in 2005 when I was in the army. During my first tour in Iraq, we emailed and talked on the phone a few times, but our conversations were intimate. During my second tour, I talked to her roughly 2 months before I got home, and again intimate conversations. When I got home form the 2nd tour, we met up the first chance I got. She welcomed me home with a passionate kiss, and we had wonderful "where have you been sex" the same night. We dated from then on until March when we got married. She said I started to change around that time, slowly not being as romantic, loving caring, and so on and so fourth. Well now it is the middle of July, we are "separated" and I'm well into my 3rd deployment. She says she has fallen out of love, but wants to start over, as friends. Then date, and then go back to normal married life. I tell her I can only do so much, and I am doing all that I can. I need help, I need her in my life, as my loving wife.... -- Contributed by: Nick
Some of the best romantic movies have themes that are set during war, espionage, or some other battle. Watching these epics, one can't escape watching the intense desire and passions the couple shows one another. Each person seems to throw caution and inhibitions to the wind in favor of living in the here and now. The fear of losing a partner forever is an aphrodisiac like no other. Unfortunately, the audience never sees what happens to this romantic couple after the war ends, the bad guys are captured or the hero goes home. This is because the 'everyday' stuff that all relationships experience is not nearly as exciting or romantic.
Sound a little familiar? You and your wife intensified the relationship during your tour of duty. Then when you were home for longer periods the relationship began to settle down a bit and just like in the movies, reality is more work when the 'everyday' creeps in. This is when and where your wife began pointing the finger and saying that it's your fault and where you began pointing the finger and saying it's her fault. The truth is that it's no ones fault and instead is both your faults. The two of you need to learn how to talk, problem-solve and be romantic, when the tour of duty is no longer the focal point of your relationship.
This is what I believe your wife meant when she said she has fallen out of love with you. Her suggestion that the two of you, in a sense, start over and try to normalize your relationship and build a foundation like the one most couples do is a good idea. Not only would this give you an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to the relationship, it also gives you both a chance to learn how to be a couple. Instead of dismissing her suggestion by stating you can only do so much. Think about the opportunity you are gaining by being given a second chance as a couple.
What can you do to develop a friendship while away on tour? My suggestion is to go back to the 'old school' of romance and write letters. The key is how you write the letters. Try writing handwritten notes and intersperse these with emails. One of the most romantic things a guy can do is handwrite a note. I don't know why, but most if not all women find handwritten letters the epitome of romantic. The key to writing a letter is not to overtly flirt or be sexually intimate. The key is to write in a way that professes your deep commitment, love and dedication to the other person. Believe it or not, you can do this simply by writing about the 'everyday, the boring and the reality.' Use the letters to tell your wife about the things and people in your life, this includes your friends, your superiors, your fears and your successes. Ask questions about your wife that gives her an opportunity to share with you information about her friends, family and daily life. As you come to the close of your letters, tell her something that you love or remember about her that is special to you. An important key is to be specific. For example, "When I am lonely, I think about our vows and how beautiful you looked that day. This fills me with happiness and the memories of our wedding day make time without you pass more quickly." When you end the letter, do so with an ending that becomes your signature close. Skip the love Nick. Instead, use a close that is your 'last call of the day," as in, when you lay your head on the your pillow and close your eyes, imagine … Love always…
When you are home, plan a date. Spend time together as a couple, running errands, cook together, etc., but don't forget to share your thoughts, hopes and dreams. Soon, who you are when away on tour and the person that is home on leave or permanently, is all the same. This is the man your wife is asking to fall deeply in love with.
Was I Wrong?
I am a 20-year-old female. My boyfriend and I started dating in our senior year of high school and were together for two years. Our meeting was rather unusual; he was the friend of a guy who I was dating, Ryan. Ryan introduced us and we ended up becoming great friends. When Ryan and I broke up, he was there to help me through it and the two of us ended up getting together. Our relationship was great, but at times I found myself thinking about my ex (Ryan) who I had never completely got over. The summer before we left for college, Ryan told me that he wanted me back and I found myself trying to choose between the two. I loved Mark, but I knew I still had feelings for Ryan and I wanted to know what they were about. So, in the dumbest decision I have made in my life, I decided to break up with Mark and date Ryan for a while, just to see how serious the feelings were. Ryan and I ended up sleeping together, but afterwards I realized that Mark was the one I really wanted to be with and I went back to him. I told him what happened and he was initially hurt, because he was my first and I had been with no one but him, but said that he got over it after a while. Things were great again, we went to college together and had an amazing Freshman year together.Things got rocky the beginning of our Sophomore year. Right before our 2-year anniversary, Mark started saying that he didn't want to be in a relationship anymore. He initially said he just didn't feeling like dealing with the "responsibilities of a relationship" and that he wanted to experience the single life. However, after a while, he eventually told me that he was hurt by what I did with Ryan and that he never got over it. Why it took so long, I don't know but he said he lost his love and respect for me. I was heartbroken. I did everything I could to try to get him to come back. However, he continued to ignore my calls and reject me. I spent the past few months severely depressed.
Finally, on New Years, he said he was ready to try our relationship again. However, not much has changed. He still says he doesn't want to be in a relationship, he just wants to "date/talk" for now. He ignores my calls, yells and hangs up on me, doesn't call me, and is extremely disrespectful. Whenever I ask him about our relationship, he gets upset and says something like, "Why do you have to ask so many questions? What difference does it make?" He expects me to wait around.
I really love this man. When things were good between us, he was the best boyfriend I could ask for. He really cared for me. Its terrible that it took this disaster for me to see it, but I really don't want anyone but him. However, I feel like I am somewhat being used and abused.
Is this my fault? Should I continue to deal with it? What do I do from here?
-- Contributed by: Jas
The problems between you and Mark are not a result of you having ended this relationship when you were in high school. The problems are a result of Mark's own issues. First, it wasn't a dumb move on your part to find out if there was still chemistry between you and Ryan. In fact, it was a very smart move. Had you continued to try to deny your feelings for Ryan, those feelings would have continued to haunt you. Every time Mark did something that hurt your feelings, you would have compared his behavior and actions to Ryan. In the end, it is likely that your relationship with Mark would have ended. Moreover, since you were smart enough to pursue your past feelings, you could be sure that they no longer existed for your ex.
I think that Mark and you had a good thing for a while, but over time, his feelings changed. It wasn't because you did something wrong, it was because he has discovered for himself that his feelings changed. This is most likely a result of being in college along with gaining some maturity and some perspective. He is recognizing that what he wanted or was interested in while in high school is not the same now. Since he is still maturing, he may not have the verbal skills to express this or the insight to articulate it. He has tried to tell you this in a variety of somewhat nice ways that things are different between the two of you, but since your feelings for him haven't changed, you're not seeing or hearing what he is telling you.
As time goes on, he is no longer able to suppress his true feelings. He doesn't feel the same way about you that he once did. Now, he is at the point where he is frustrated and angry by your clinginess. This is why he ignored your attempts to contact him and also why he tells you that the reason he doesn't want to be in a relationship with you is because of your having gone back to your ex way back when you all were in high school. Unfortunately, your relationship with Mark is continuing to deteriorate and neither of you is happy. My advice to you is let go. Move on. Give him some space to explore during his college years. Maybe he will realize that you are the woman he wants, but I wouldn't count on that. I know this will hurt, but by not letting go, you are also being hurt staying in the relationship.