Of course you deserve to know why she ended it, but the most you can do now is hold her accountable. Let her know (in an email or text) just how frustrated and angry you are. Point the finger back at her and her issues regarding cheating and not being able to speak up. Let her know that most things can be resolved if two people communicate about them, and that she’ll never have a healthy relationship with anyone until she’s able to do that. Often holding someone accountable like this will get them to finally respond. Also, making her feel a little rejected by you often pushes a button that might make her even give you another chance – if you want it.
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Women never stop complaining that men are unemotional. But if you've watched your husband or boyfriend watch a football game, you know that he can be very emotional. His face can turn red, his muscles tighten, loud screams. In fact, sometimes it seems like he might have a heart attack if he doesn't calm down!
If you like football, that's great. You can watch the game with him and join your man being emotional over something other than you. However, if you don't enjoy football, like me, you dread the weekend.
Years ago when I was married, I was an angry football widow. It was one of the many reasons our marriage ended in divorce. I dreaded weekends and Monday nights. I was disgusted by the ugly sight of my husband in front of the TV drinking beer and yelling. I resented the hours he spent involved in this pastime, when he never had this kind of time or passion for me.
Maybe if my husband and I had spent the quality time together I longed for, I wouldn't have resented the games. Maybe, if he'd ever shown emotions with me, I wouldn't have felt so slighted. Maybe, if I'd gotten as involved in something I really enjoyed instead of trying to play the "good wife," it wouldn't have seemed so unfair.
In other words, the problem wasn't really football. It was that I sat through those games with him, sacrificing my needs for his, hoping that someday he would do the same for me. I hoped “justice would prevail,” and that he would be nice to me because I was nice to him. Then I realized that I had to make my own justice. Healthy relationships involve communication about compromises and trade-offs. But too often one person does most of the sacrificing. And no, it isn't always the woman. But often it is. I resented the games because I resented my husband. Football was just symbolic of the other relationship issues my husband and I hadn't resolved.
In my present relationship, I don't behave that way. I'm no longer a football widow. I don't sacrifice. I don't try to please him, hoping he'll some day please me. I don't hope he'll be emotional with me instead of the football game. I don't think, "If he loved me, he'd want to talk to me instead of watch the stupid football game." Instead, I make sure that I get my needs met -- some on my own, and some within the relationship. I tell him what I want, and we make deals.
Deals to Make with Him about Football
Don't be a football widow. Instead take advantage of the fact that he likes football, and use that to pursue your own interests or to negotiate getting him to later do your favorite things with you!
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Live Selfishly -- the Key to Happiness
The idea of living selfishly will probably put some people off. After all, we all agree that it’s difficult to be around people who are self-involved or narcissistic. And of course, I’m not encouraging you to feel entitled, think only of yourself, act arrogant, or exploit others. This takes selfishness to the extreme. But most people aren’t selfish enough. They try too hard to be good and do the right thing – which holds them back from true happiness.
Most people believe they are “good” if they do what is expected of them. And if they don’t do what they “should” do, they are usually guilt-ridden, and possibly guilt-tripped by family and friends – especially those who are following what they themselves think they “should” do.
I believe the key to happiness is to live a selfish life instead of following “shoulds.” That means one where you do what you “want” to do instead of allowing other’s expectations to guide you. That does not mean that you shirk your responsibilities. You still need to pay your bills, keep promises, and follow through on commitments you’ve made. It does mean that you need to think carefully before you create responsibilities that will tie you down and possibly create resentment on your part, responsibilities and commitments that will keep you from living a selfish life.
My sister followed the rules. I did not. For years, my sister thought that I was a bad person because: I got a divorce, chose not to have children, moved far away from my parents, and dropped out in Aspen in my 20’s. I quit jobs I didn’t like, sometimes drank too much; I tried various drugs, and was promiscuous. In other words, I didn’t let others expectations or the understood rules of society guide my life. A lot of my behavior was simply rebellion from growing up in a Midwestern Baptist home. But rebellion is often necessary for us to figure out who we are.
Although I was as disgusted as everyone else at Miley Cyrus’s sexual display at the VMA’s, she is no doubt experimenting and rebelling. After having to grow up in front of everyone as sweet Hannah Montana, following all of the expectations set by Disney, her parents, and most of all her fans (or parents of her fans), she’s trying to figure out who she is. In an interview in the October, 2013 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, she opens up about her image and says, “I was an adult when I was supposed to be a kid. So now I’m an adult and I’m acting like a kid.” Most of us who did rebel didn’t have a camera following us, so our secrets were kept safe. An identity is made up of beliefs and morals from your past, but also includes a total of your vast experiences, along with your mistakes and successes. Obviously Miley’s identity isn’t completely formed yet.
I have many clients who come into my office that still don’t know who they are or who they want to be in their 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s. They don’t know because they’ve simply done what they thought they “should” do, became who others wanted them to be. They may have rebelled a time or two, but usually go back to following the expectations of others, never becoming who they want to be.
Following Society’s Expectations
We all want to be loved, and fear that not doing what others want will keep that from happening. And of course, even when you do what they want, it’s never enough, so you still end up feeling unloved. Growing up, becoming your own person, means choosing a path of your own regardless of what your parents, the church, your work, your friends tell you to do. Don’t follow others’ expectations unless you want a life just like theirs
Many people, women in particular, are overgivers – which is of course the opposite of selfish. They’re trying to be a “good” person by society’s standards, believing that this will make them happy. They think that helping others and doing what others want you to do somehow wins you gold stars in heaven and in other people’s eyes. And it sort of does. But it also causes you to lose yourself, and often even causes depression. When you overgive and follow the “shoulds” of others, you often feel good in the process, but not in the long run. First of all, whether it’s your husband or a friend, or your adult children, overgiving creates inequality in the relationship. In a somewhat positive way, you’re on top, being the strong one who has something to give. In a negative way, you are on the bottom, getting used again and again. And although you’ll probably claim you are altruistic and expect nothing back from the various people you overgive to, there is always an expectation of some sort, even if it’s just gratefulness or simple kindness toward you. But you seldom get it because you yourself have set up this unequal relationship. Most people you overgive to have two opposing feelings toward you: a little gratefulness but also a lot of resentment that you are superior enough to be able to help them.
So, although overgiving may get you into heaven or have your neighbors and churchgoers saying, “He/she’s such a good person,” that will be your only reward. Being selfless does not bring happiness or joy. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a good feeling when helping a homeless person or a friend out of a jam, but continual overgiving is simply enabling, which is actually a disservice to others, but especially to you and your happiness. I continually tell my overgiving clients to work at being more selfish.
How to Live Selfishly
In living a selfishly, your focus needs to be on your own happiness. The focus is not to harm other people, but to stand your ground for things that are important to you. Many people still believe that it is your mate’s responsibility to make you happy and vice versa. Some believe that if two people both live a selfish life and no one in the marriage sacrifices, the relationship will die. But actually if both people focus on their own happiness, communicate this to each other, and compromise on the differences, you’ll both be happier as unhealthy behaviors usually caused by resentment should disappear. Make yourself happy by living selfishly and ask others in your life to do the same.
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Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C, is an expert on relationships and a licensed therapist. She is known for being one of the top relationship therapists in the country and the author of 3 relationship books. She has appeared on Oprah, the View, and many other TV shows, and she has been giving relationship advice on Denver radio for more than15 years. She has been helping people like you improve your life and relationships for more than 30 years. Cosmo, US Weekly and other magazines quote her expert relationship advice, and McCall’s named her one of the “Top 6 Passion Doctors” in the country. Carolyn Bushong always has fresh, up-to-date, hot information on topics that will inspire you and change your life and improve your relationships. She has clients all over the country, some who come into her office and others who receive Carolyn's expert advice through phone counseling. Carolyn Bushong is an excellent psychotherapist, but she also lives what she teaches, as she is in a happy, healthy relationship with Alan, her mate of 26 years.
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How to get Carolyn Bushong's Relationship Advice:
Individual Counseling: l hour or ˝hr sessions in office
or phone, Health Insurance covers a portion. Couples Counseling:
1 ˝ hr. sessions, Health Ins. covers a portion.
Phone Counseling is a great way to do therapy, especially for the really busy person who's constantly on the go, or the person who is shy or hesitant to talk about their problem, or when the weather is bad and you don't want to drive to a therapist's office. It just makes sense in this day and age to be able to call and discuss a problem and get advice on a situation with having to leave work and drive to my office.
Email Advice: Visit Carolyn's website for more information.