10 Tips for Improving a Bad Relationship

Yes, you can make a bad relationships better – especially if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in. These tips for fixing relationship problems will help you fall in love all over again!

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last — more than passion or even sex.” ~ Simone Signoret.

The stronger your threads are, the better your relationship will be. Below are several tips for improving a bad relationship; if you’re unhappily married, read 4 Ways to Create Love and Peace in an Unhappy Marriage.

One of the most popular relationship improvement books on Amazon is How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. The authors (Love and Stosny) say talking things out isn’t always the best way to improve a bad relationship or achieve more connection and closeness.

Untangle money issues – they contribute to couples problems

“Often, when couples argue about money, it’s not money that’s the problem,” says William Harley, PhD, author of His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. “Instead, the money fights are a byproduct of relationship neglect.”

Money can become a weapon when one spouse uses the other’s spending habits as ammunition or when a spouse spends money to get even. To improve a bad relationship, figure out exactly what you’re arguing about — especially if you tend to fight about money.

Take risks together, as a couple

Trying new things together, such as sky diving or learning about astronomy, unites you as a couple. Psychology professor Leaf Van Boven from the University of Colorado explains that happiness is found in what you do (not what you buy) because experiences are open to positive reinterpretations, become a meaningful part of your identity, and contribute to a happy marriage or relationship.

Learn how to express anger

Expressing anger and resolving conflict not only improve a bad relationship and keeps your love alive, it also lengthens your life span. “When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict,” says Ernest Harburg, researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Michigan. “Usually nobody is trained to do this.” His research reveals that couples who suppress anger are twice as likely to face early death as those who express it.

Commit to checking in with each other every day

“Commit to checking in with each other every day – or at least a few times a week without distractions,” says Marriage and Family Counselor Lisa Brookes Kift. “Marriages often get “dry” when couples get busy and don’t prioritize each other and get a read or take the pulse of how the other is feeling.”

This tip for improving a bad relationship will help you stay committed.

Find reasons to laugh (laughter is a surprising fix for couples problems!)

Kift also suggest “cracking each other up” with  stupid pet names, funny looks, and private jobs. Humor binds couples together and de-escalating conflict.  It also demonstrates friendship in the marriage, which is very important.

Stop criticizing, stonewalling, and being defensive in your relationship

Be mindful of criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness.  If a lot of any or all of these exist in a marriage – research has shown that the chances are much higher for divorce. Criticism and contempt do not keep love alive; in fact, it’ll thwart your relationship goals for good.

Remember your romantic beginnings

“To improve a bad relationship, visualize the person you dated and married,” says psychologist Bruce Eimer. “Remember that person is still alive inside of him. The stressors and tribulations of life may have made that inner goodness hard to see. But, if you can remember who you fell in love with, you’ll improve your marriage.”

Appreciate your partner – be grateful for your love

Look at your husband and take a moment to appreciate all of the things that he does for you and gives you.  You may in fact want to express your appreciation for him verbally and/or non-verbally. To keep your relationship strong, tell your husband what you like about him and watch him beam.  You’ll beam too!

Keep your intimate life alive and healthy

Knowing how to say “I love you” in small daily acts of love will improve a bad relationship. Making one day a week a special day–a day during which to schedule a “goody time” — can help your marriage.  This can be any shared activity that you both can appreciate (such as a dinner out, going to the movies, etc.).

If you struggle to express love, read How to Increase Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship.

Keep communicating

Research shows that contempt and holding back communication are harbingers of marital trouble and potential failure. So, find things about your spouse to appreciate and respect, and don’t stonewall.  To improve a bad relationship, you need to keep talking, touching, and connecting with each other.

If you have a hard time standing up for yourself, read How to Say No to Your Boyfriend.

If you have any thoughts on improving a bad relationship, please share below…



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90 thoughts on “10 Tips for Improving a Bad Relationship”

  1. Hi,

    Me and my BF have been together for 5 years. We have a daughter whom is 4 years old. Our relationship is at a very bad stage at the moment and i dont know what to do…

    We broke up after 2 years for 3 months. we got back together. A year later we broke up again for 6 months. He came back every time saying that he missed me and relized that he loves me…

    But over the weekend i found out that he messaged another girl, becouse he found out she was seeing someone. I confronted both of them, she indicated that she doensnt want my man, and he indicated that it was only a flirt message as he thought it was harmless fun. They have a bit of a history so i am scared that they have unresloved feelings for eachother.

    When we spoke about it he said that he loves me but also feels that he wants to be single. He says every guy has a part of him that still wants to be single. We have decided now to try again and make this relationship work. But I dont know if he is saying this just to not hurt me and then will continue to taxt this other woman… We fight alot about things and i know i can be a real B***** but i dont want to loose the father of my child becouse i do really love him alot.

    But how can i believe him when he says that he has no feelings for her… as he has lied alot about things in the pass…

    I am torn between wanting to make this work and just leaving him and just be happy, but i know i will never be really happy eithout him…

    He is saying things like, he feels that i am controlling him, and he cant do what he wants and always has to explaine and ask me before he can do anything….

    he said maybe he is just not the type of guy for a relationship….

    What should I do….

    Please help

  2. Hello,

    I have been with my wife for 15 years, but only married 2 years now. We have 2 kids together, and the realtionship was great. I need help on what to do. Over the years I’ve changed alot aswell as she did, but I’m the only one (from her) that needs correction in my ways after we gotten married. We had a huge fight last night, and this has been on-going for about a year now about everything I do seems to be wrong to her. I’ve told her all I do is change for you, but the things you spoke about changing never happened. She told me it was over last night because of I told her I am tired of her commanding me to do things but she never owns up to hers. Things got really heated, shouting matches back and forth, she told me she never wants to talk to me again, and she wants a divorce. She also said I have too much anger towards her, aswell as she has towards me. She hasn’t spoken to me all day, and ignores my calls and emails. Is there any fixing this after 15 years together??? Can someone just give up on a relationship that’s been in it this long, so quickly???? PLEASE I NEED HELP! We both have said alot of hurtful things to each other, but I LOVE HER SO MUCH, and want my family to stay together.

  3. Hi,
    When my bf and I started dating two years ago everything was great….he was a nice guy and we had evryhting in common there was nothing we couldn’t talk about.he was honestly happy I chose to be with him. …but that all quickly changed after I gave birth to our son and became a stay at home mom…..I suffered from really bad post partum depression and I gained a lot of weight……and now its like he dosent love me anymore he makes comments about my weight my hair and my whole over all look and when i get mad he says oh your so sensitive……i shouldnt be with someone who makes me feel bad but right now its hard to find work and i have no where to go…..what should i do?

  4. I have a boyfriend and have been dating for about a week now, and he said that he doesn’t care if we tell people about our realationship, so did I, but he acts like it’s a HUGE secret!!! Can you help me a little bit???

  5. *Remember your romantic beginnings

    Yes. Some people thing it’s cheesy to relive that first date or celebrate different types of anniversaries, but those kinds of events, however cheesy, can often go a long way towards providing more glue that holds your relationship together.

  6. Hello,

    I have been with my husband now a total of 14 years, married for 10 of those years. We have 4 children together 12, 11, 6, and 14 months. I stopped working last year when my employer went out of business which in a way kind of benefit me. My husband opened his own barber shop last year as well and things have been going great for his business. I guess my biggest problem is that he makes me feel like I don’t exist. I am always busy with the kids and I know he is busy as well but I can’t remember the last time he actually wanted to spend time with me or even the kids. When he comes home from work he does play with them but that is for only about an hour if that because he gets home late. On his day off Ill suggest that we should go to lunch or something while the kids are at school and its like he would rather go fishing or just stay home or visit his parents. He his planning on visiting his brother and sister next month by himself they live 8 hours away. When to me in reality I think he should spend some time with me and our kids. I don’t know if its just me being selfish but I don’t like the unwanted and feeling alone, ignored, and empty feeling. Ive tried talking to him and talking to him is like talking to a brick wall. Any advise would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  7. I made a huge stupid mistake and I threw away my chances by lying to my girlfriend. I’d do anything to get her back. I’d do literally anything the part that makes it hard for me. Is that I only have four hours to fix all the stupid shit that I cause. I’m not sure whose been more hurt by what I did. Me or her. Honestly if I could take back what I did. I would. I mean to me it doesn’t sound like she cares at all anymore. But she has offered to give me 4 hours she says if it goes well we can work it out but I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m heart broken by it all I haven’t eaten in days. I haven’t slept in about a week I constantly feel sick. I can’t get her off my mind. She is my world. I adore her. I shouldn’t have done all the stuff I did. All I want is to prove to her how I’m a changed man and how I would do anything for her. But that’s really hard to show. I’m a terrible person for what I did. I just want a way to make it up to her so even if she decides I’m not worth it at least I tried. I mean one day I want to marry this girl and grow old with her and be able to see her radiant smile every day honestly her smile melts my heart. She is my world. I know I’m young (20) and I know she is young (18) but she is my world and at this point in my life I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love her. Can you please help me all I want is to be better for her and be the man I should be and not the boy I was acting like.

  8. I do not understand my husband. He is so inconsiderate when it comes down to me. When we met, he wined and dined me, took me on trip, We went to the movies and the lot. Now that we are married, all he does is wacthsports twenty-four seven. He has children just as I do that were before we got togther. I love everybody, but he makes mesick with the actions that come with his family and children compared to how he is with my children and grand kids. He also has grand kids. He doesn not care about anyone but his daugjther and grandson along with his oldest siater. He discusses any and everything with them. When it comes to communication between us there is a problem. He hides everything from me. I usually fine out things from his sister. Whom I love dearly. He is very selfish, self-centered, rude and ignorant. I now see why his first two marriges did’t workout. He should have never married anyone, because of his stubborn ways and attituide. He has a gift of gab, but is all fake and he fooled me tremendously. I have thought aboutmleaving him and ending this relationship so many times, but my sister-in-law says fight for my marriage, but I often think that it is not worth saving, especially since he doesn’t seem to care one way or another if we stay togther or not. He acts like he’s married to his daughter. He is much more loving and caring to her tham me. I wish she would stay home and away from my home.

  9. Me and my husband have been married for almost 3 years and we have a one year old son. We dated for about 9 mo. And got married before our late deployment. I came back halfway. Through and got out and had our son .well I went to stay with his family for the rest of the year because it was a hard pregnancy which we spoke about .and since then our relationship. Has been on a downward spiral since the baby and we argue about him the being lazyand unreasonable Now we talk (I) till Im blue he does not listen to me calls me crazy and names all the time. Shoots down everything I say and of late has started treating our son less then nice ignoring him and yelling all the time to, the point were he is scared of him. And his manners, hygiene. Are disgusting. Now. I want, need to know what to do should I even save my marriage. Also I am a stay at home mom but I get VA benefits every month and maybe he expects me to be the subservient. Wife that worships him. If so how do I assert myself to him in non aggressive. Manner

  10. This is to Nikki… Broke my heart reading your post… I think you have to first and foremost put the needs of your children first- I really don’t like the fact that you used the word “neglect” when you were describing how your husband treats your oldest daughter- not to mention hes not buying any food to feed his family- to me these are huge signs that you need to make some kind of drastic move in relation to staying with your husband. Do you have the support of your outside family? Maybe they could let you stay with them for a while until you could get on your feet- or provide childcare so you could get a part time job even so you can start building a life for you and your children.
    I feel for you because I myself am pondering the end of my marriage (7 years and 2 daughters) and I know how scary the concept of being alone can be- but from what you have said about your husband it seems to me like your children deserve better- you deserve better- look for support and friends who are there for you- there are people in the world who love you and want to help you- Don’t ever forget how special you are!

  11. One sign of a bad relationship is lack of interest on your boyfriend’s part! If he isn’t contacting you, then maybe he’s not all that into you.

    Here’s an article for girlfriends whose boyfriends aren’t interested in the relationship – I wrote it in response to Jasmine’s comment and question.

    Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Text or Call? How to Pique His Interest

    I’m sorry I can’t write articles for everyone…I sincerely wish I could respond to everyone who comments, but I have to get back to work!


  12. Hi there

    I am a 27 year old woman married for 4 years with 3 kids, aged 9, 3 and 2 years. A couple of months ago I have decide to leave my work and take care of the kids to reduce their constant ill health, well it work they are not so sickly as before. However now the finacial problems is building and I am unable to get employement again cause all the accounts that could have been paid has rather gone int arrears. My husband received a good bonus last year and could finish the debt that was on my name, but just went on doing his own thing and making his own plans.

    Now things are really tough, he has not been able to buy food inb the house for 2 months now, everytime he runs to his mommy. But when he gets money he uses it for other things knowing I dont have an income he stillgoes ahead and does his own thing, he does not talk to me about anything. Not even about his day at work, he treats me as if I am a stranger and my oldest daughter is being neglected by him complety. He only gives the little ones attention.

    I dont know what to do any more, when I talk to him, he refuses to answer or pretends that he did not hear me. It is hurting me, cause it seems the only time I am of any worth to him is whan He wants to sleep with me. It makes me feel like a cheap whore, and I dont like feeling this way. He hardly ever says that he loves me or ever show it either.

    Please I need advice, cuase it feels that we are growing futher and futher apart.

  13. Hi,
    we had a love marriage, things were fine but soon after my daughter was born it changed, now i and my husband keeps fighting, its gone worse we have reached till divorce. he just keeps doubting thinking i go out with boys whereas i do not relation with anyone. i know i am married and a mother of a child. he just keeps doubting. infact i feel he has relation with someone else. he is in australia and now we have stopped talking to each other.he have asked for my daughters custody. he doesnt understand. i am tired and have left all the hopes that things will clear.

  14. Well as I can see I’m nt the only one that is in need of
    Advice when me nd my bf first met everything was going great
    Never fought nd if he did we would tlk about but then again our
    Relationship wasn’t that serious until we told eachother that
    We loved eachother … it was an amazing feeling but as we gt serious
    We kinda strted arguing for lil dumb thing will then all the fighting stoped
    Once we found out we were 6weeks pregnant ..but at high risk of miscarriage
    Now me nd my bf been together for seven months ..nd now
    5monhs pregnant ..nd now we fight all the time I love my bf soo much
    We hve days w no Fightn but when we do argue.its over the phone I mean
    At 7months nto the relationship we shouldnt be arguing we should be
    Making memories feels like my relationship is the opposite I do have a lot
    Self estem nd insecurities w my self … because my past relations
    They were abusive, physical nd emotionaly I think it has a lot to do with
    With the fighting ..soo I need to fix this before I lose my bf nd my relationship
    For good

  15. Hello Everyone. I have been with this guys almost for one year, and i love him a lot. He used to text me and call me everyday before he had me. However, now i do all the calling and texting. When i complain about it he says that he is going through a lot now. He just lost his business and he is working as a waiter. He wants me to be understanding and he doesn’t have time for problems. When i do the calling, and i plane the events he is fine with it. If i don’t do it he won’t. Is it wrong me doing the calling in the relationship? things will get better one day?? we fight sometimes for stupid stuff. Once we drunk coffee at 5:30 am at the park, and i felt he loved me… he says he is tired and has a lot of problems and still he tries to give me time. And he admitted that he should treat me better, but he is depressed. what should i do??

  16. Im only 16 and i was in a relationship with someone since i was 11.. i know its pretty young but i love him. i still do.. He gets busy in work and doesnt talk to me for days. I have spoken to him about this but he keeps ignoring me. I feel like im not worth his time or something. i try my best to ask him to help me out and we could see each othe rmore often but we always end up in a fight because my parents are strict and im not allowed out much besides my free periods at school. I feel the he is maybe cheating on me. I know he loves me but these things happen when you least expect them. And please help me out because he hasnt talk to me for 4 days now… he isnt answering his phone. i even got my friend to call him but he didnt answer. and his facebook is deactivated.. i need to speak to him. i know he will speak to me soon but he is ignoring me now and he does it all the time. please help me.

  17. Me and my girlfriend fell in love very early in our relationship. We both had been married and divorced. She asked for time to think 6 months ago and the next day started texting another guy. Spent some but little time with him during this week. At the end of the week she said they had only text. We got back together and she told me that’s all it was and that she had told him we were gonna work it out and that they didn’t need to talk anymore. I found out a couple months later that she was texting.g him again. But she lied to me when I asked and got mad that I asked and said why don’t you believe me when I say no.I kept probing and finally after a long 3 day fight I got the truth. She was texting him again only when I wasn’t around and that it meant nothing. So there have been 3 times since that I’ve asked her has she talked to him. They are coworkers that teach in the same hall. When I ask her she gets mad and makes comments like we arnt ready to get married and that I question her too much. This last time she refused to talk about it and after 4 days I demanded we talk threw it. She wouldn’t and we got in a fight and its been over 3weeks since we’ve talked or seen each other. She had told me 5 days before the fight that she wanted to marry me. Then during the fight she said that was just wishful thinking. I never thought we would break up but we have. This is the best relationship either one of us has ever been in and we are happy except when we fight. She runs and doesn’t want to talk about it and here we are. Broke up. We love each other and I’ve told her I want work on it and not give up but she’s done. We have a strong love
    e for each other and bond. She tells her friends that she wanted to marry me just a few days before this happened. I don’t want to lose her but what can I do? She’s not willing. Any advice? Or maybe why she acts like that one day and turns it off the next?,

  18. ok so i read one of your post about half way down the page…and your right it goes upon what i KNOW is right for me…idk i just maybe im to young to understand it yet..i just know that the feeling is real..

  19. hello…so me and my boyfriend of 4 years have recently been fighting like every single day for the past year now….he is a full time homebody that works graveyards and i am a nightowl that works the day shift…ever since our new shifts we have become complete opposites in everything evrything everything…it hurts me that when we fight we say anything and evrything bad to each other…hurtful words pour out from both of us…we both get paid good but im the one that usualy ends up with the exspenss..when we go out to eat when we go shopping when it comes to our habbits…i just want that to get sorted out and us to be fair to each other..i love him and i know he loves me but i am scared that we will fall apart and its not gna last forever like we plan..he gave me a promise ring and i know he is so sincere about it..i forgot to mention that i was only 18 when we began and was still exporing myself..now that some things in my life have happend i like to be typical and do fun things and be out doors and adventurous and hang out and be happy..he on the other hand would rather be locked in the house either on the games on his phone or on the playstation..dont get me wrong i enjoy it too but he will wake up at all hours of his rest and get on his phone…it makes me furious…when he wants to do something sumtimes i wont because of that..and when i want to do something hes to tired..we are constantly back and forth at each other..he tells me i act like im 14 and vise versa..i just dont know what to do…its killing me..i need advice..my heads sayin to leave but my heart knows if i stick it out that we can overcome it…but how long is it gna take and is it healthy??? sorry for the novel im just realy sad..

  20. Hi i am 40 currently living with my parnter who is 39, we have brought a house together, we are not currently getting on, mostly due to finances, we have been together for 11 years now and got engaged last year. The financial pressure is that i pay for 95% of the bills in the house and feel that he doesn’t appreciate this as he will make snied comments about me putting the lottery on, i snapped and asked him what does he think of me, i said to him its alright for him as he does worry about money, from that his body language changed and we haven’t spoke for 2 days. Finances always come up every so oftern, i really feel that we have reached the end of our relationship as he doesn’t let me in when i try to sort out our finances also i feel that he doesn’t see me as part of his family. he has 3 children with his ex partner and his mother died 2 years ago who he would go to for money and when we argued he would go back to his parents house. i would say that i am the dominant on in the relationship and because i see things what he does it gets me angry and i hold it inside, which frustrates me. Even though i am the stronger on, he can be very dismissive of me and completely block me out, this has gone on for years and wish that i had left then, but i feel that i am trapped now because of the house. does this sound like the relationship is over?

  21. Okay, I have been wondering this for awhile now. First it started off as me & my fiance living together & one day I get a call from a friend & them asking if her & her boyfriend could stay at my place till they get back on there feet. I went ahead & said yes because I couldn’t just say no. So they have been living with me for over a month now & they bring there 3 dogs with them, plus mine so that makes 6 dogs!! >:/ They don’t offer to buy the dog food nor pay any sort of bills or buy anything for the house. When I ask she seems to give me an attitude just because I ask for stuff around the house. Her dogs have torn a hole in my floor (dont seem like there even gunna pay for it) & ruined the guest bed door & door knob! I want them to move out but I don’t want to be mean about it or make it seems mean in anyway? Does roommate couples ruin you & your fiances relationship? I also noticed ever since they have moved in our relationship has been funny? It was amazing before they moved in & now it’s like this & I don’t like it!! What should I do???? Help!?

  22. Ok im 25yrs old male and im engaged with a 21yr old. Everything was good at the start, then I lost my job we had some real financial problems and she was pregnant at the time. Finally I started working agin everything was looking good. So I wanted to go out with her but evertime i ask her would be an excuse so we started to fall apart we had some problems were we where living. So I lost my job once again we move in with her sister now when I thought everything was looking good she drop the bomb on me ” I love you but im not in love with you” but she still wants to fix our relationship we both recodnized we made mistakes now we are trying to work them but i dont what should I am in love with her how can I fix it or is it done. I need to know what to do.

  23. Hi there Laurie

    I am 20years in a relationship with a 36 years old, the problem is we are fighting alt recently even on minor things. I aint cheating on him and not even considering it at all. We both wan fix up what is really wrong between us and work through it. I love him so much and i know he loves me as well. We just need to fix what is really putting a strain in us. please help

  24. hi,
    I have been in a relationsips for 5 years and in that 5 years i have broken up with him twice and almost a 3 before he proposed to me i have 3 kids one 12 and she has a diffrent dad then the other two my middle child passed when i was 5 months prego and now we have a one year old together we fight a lot about petty things theres lack of trust on his part cause i was acussed of cheating on him i never had but of coruse he doesnt see it that way him mom wants to fight with me all the time his sister in law talks bad about me all them and he gets mad at me for everything he goes through my phone without asking its almost like hes not happy unless we are not fight hes says i dont love and that he only asked me to marry just to make me happy what do he thought it would fix everything what do i do i love him but he gets on my neavres a lot and are sex life well its theres i guess what do i go how do i fix this cause he hates talking about things please help thank you

  25. Dear Kay,
    You had questions about a 3some….sweetheart, Im here to tell u…it completely ruined my marriage…it only happened once butt was enough to do extensive damage…please trust me…what you and your husband have is sacred…Im not an old timer Thats not hip to things these days…Im actually more open minded than most…and Im only 27….Dont do it hunny..

  26. I have been married for almost 10 years and have 3 beautiful children aged 12, 3 and 9 months. Before I married my husband we had discussions about him wanting a threesome. He has had these in the past with previous partners but not with me and I have no interest in it. Before I married him he promised me he wasn’t going to ask me again about having one. In the last couple of months we have hit a rough patch and sure enough he is now saying he wants a threesome. I have only slept with 2 people in my life and find sex something special. Obviously I have been distraught cos now my husband says we want different things. He even told me the other say he was ‘willing to share me”!!! Gee how lovely of him!!! He is trying to sell me on 2 men and then I know he will say but we had another man, now my turn for a woman. I am almost 33 years old and the idea of starting over with 3 kids is terrifying. I love my husband to bits but when he told me he was willing to share me, he broke my heart and I don’t know if it can ever be repaired. Any advice??

  27. I got married three years back. We have a kid 9 months old. I was alchohelic and that became very serious after a level. We had fights, my wife went to her brother twice. The point of argument is that I wish to stay with my parents and leave my place and city of work, to which she has strong reservations. We are at the two extreme ends in this matter. Done know what to do, please help. I might have not been able to narrate in detail but my text would give you some idea.

  28. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Rai,

    What a dilemma – it’s almost like you have to choose between your marriage and the happiness of your family. It doesn’t sound like your relationship is that bad…it’s just the lifestyle that you’re struggling with.

    It’s a difficult life, being a military wife. My husband is a geologist who goes away for 6-8 weeks every summer. I can’t imagine him being deployed – but it would fix one of the most trivial couples’ problems: leaving the toilet seat up! He doesn’t do that, but you know what I mean. Sometimes the trivial daily things cause bigger problems than the big things.

    I wrote this article for you:

    Tips for Military Wives Who Don’t Like Their Husbands’ Jobs

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts there or here.


  29. Hi I have been married for 10 years and have three boys ages 8, 5 and 17 months, My Husband is in the United states Marines and I am very proud of him and love him with all my heart, Recently I took my children on vacation away from him since he could not get anytime off to go with us, since we have been back we have not seen eye to eye as I didnt want to come back to this duty station as I dont have any friends here and nor do my children as everyone leaves and we are still here but we had a really great time on vacation, anyways I havent been treating my husband the way I should he would tell me i dont respect him or his job and his family and now he dosent come home and wont answer my phone calls and hasnt seen the children I dont know what to do I admit I wasnt happy when we came home but I still really love and want to be friends with my husband again not only for our children but for us as he is going for a year away on deployment coming jan 2012 and I want to get through these 5 months without fighting and arguing how do I do it and what advice do you have I have hurt him and i dont think he believes me when I say Im sorry im at the end of solutions please help

  30. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    If your husband refuses to talk about your marriage, then there isn’t much hope that you can improve your relationship! Communication is the key to a happy, healthy marriage.

  31. Julie I hate to say this BUT I don’t think there is much hope for your marriage. Your husband’s behavior will probably only get worst not better. Your belief that your husband is somehow committed to you because he hasn’t already left you, makes me cringe. The reason I say that is because the relationship you have with your husband sound almost identical to what happened to me. My husband had an affair years ago and we stayed together but it took a big toll on me. A few years before he also had an “emotional” relationship with my best friend. He didn’t think it was strange to invite my best friend to stay in our house for six weeks while I was out of state. And I only found out she was there because I heard her voice while I was on the phone with my husband. At the time she was separated from her husband because she had an affair when she was six months pregnant, and obviously her husband wasn’t too happy with her. To this day I’m not fully convince that nothing sexual ever happened between them because she abruptly ended our friendship by only saying that her life was too complicated for our friendship to continue. Anyway other things that our marriage have in common is that my husband also said that he doesn’t love me (he has even said that he doesn’t’ even like me). He also come and go without saying anything to me (I recently started calling him my roomie), he doesn’t hug me or is affectionate either. I tried for years to talk to him about ways of repairing our relationship but all he does is glare at me. Yesterday he moved out which although I am heartbroken it probably is for the best. The only advice that I can give you is think hard about whether you want to try and save your marriage because I would hate to see you waste a big part of your life on a deadend marriage.

  32. I have been maried for 16 years. As any marriage, we have had our ups and downs. 4 years ago my husband cheated on me. It wasn’t sexual, only emotional but still tore my heart. I got through that and worked at our marriage. We had recovered and things were good. One day, 6 months ago, my husband tells me he is not sure if he is in love with me. He doesn’t want to be committed. He wants to come and go as he pleases without having to tell me when and where. AT the same time, he says he wants to try to get back that “it” feeling and that”love”feeling and try to save our marriage. We don’t sleep in the same room and have very little physical contact. No hugs, carresses or kisses. Sex amybe once every 4-6 weeks and mostly because he is horny and not because he feels it. Is it over, is this just a midlifecrisis. I want to save my marriage. What can I do?? Is there hope if I am the only one really trying?? He refuses therapy or counseling or talking about it. How can I bring back that love we once had. I know it is there, or else he would have walked out by now. How can I convince him it is there and to let it out again?

  33. I am so very lost and in search of any assistance. I have been with the love of my life for 4 years now. I 30 and he is 25 and for the last year we have been dating long distance. We both have things in life which we need to do and want that for each other. But after 1 year long distance things are tough. Both of us are questioning how to make it better but there seems no clear answer. Both of us still love each other, but perhaps are not feeling as much ‘in love’ with each other as we used to. I dont want to give up and think I will regret not making every effort I can. While he says he loves me and wants to make it work, I think he is more honest to himself and has been considering how to break up for sometime but never actioned it. Thus part of our difficulty is that, maybe, when he moved he was ready to accept breaking up and so visiting me and writting love letters etc has not been high on his priority. But he still tells me he wants to be with me. Im very confused and really need guidance. Thank you, Sara

  34. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello Jessica,

    That’s great that you and your boyfriend really want to improve your relationship and fix your problems!

    Here’s a link to an article about questions to ask before you get married:


    Since I don’t know exactly how your relationship is “bad”, I don’t know what questions to ask to improve it. But, the questions in that article will help you figure out the areas in which you’re compatible, and the areas you’re not.

    Be well,

  35. Hi there :)
    Me and my long-term boyfriend are having troubles but we both really want to fix it. What sort of hard questions were you talking about that we need to ask ourselves?
    Thank you!
    Jessica xxx

  36. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello Dear Readers,

    I’m very sorry I can’t respond to each of you individually! I just can’t keep up with all the comments, and can’t offer personal advice for relationships.

    But, I can say that if you’re in an unhealthy or bad relationship, you really need to figure out if this relationship is the best thing for you. You can’t improve a bad relationship all by yourself…your partner has to be willing to do some work, too.

    To fix couples problems, you need to ask some REALLY hard questions and be REALLY honest with yourself. I know you love your men, but you need to put your own well-being and self-respect above the love you feel. Love is wonderful, but it’s not enough to save a relationship.

    If you’re with me this far and have more questions, please feel free to ask here! I’ll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


  37. Im EstimaWaiKhian from Malaysia. 18yrs old this year. my girlfriend was elder than me 2years. we had couple 4years plus but broke up July 2010. We couple back this year 2011 Valentine. Everything in my mind. what she hurt me into deep. hardly remove. My feeling and love for her still deep. What can i do now ? We coupled back but i don feel anything better. Her treat to me. behavior. I always b like the only one want the relationship closer.improve. I tired of all these. i wanna hav her. but she a monster killing my mind.heart again n again. deep n deep.I love her too deep. I dont know what can i do.

  38. Hi
    I m in a relationship with Aman.He is 2 years older than me..We are commited from past six months..He talked 2 me day night.whenever i said.but after two months he got busy wit his business nd nt talked 2 me..i have to force hm to talk 2 me….i am damm sure that he is loyal but is ignoring me due to his work nd talk 2 me very less…….one day i lie to him nd nw he thinks that always i lie to him..bt nw i cleared out everything wid hm bt he does’nt have time to talk 2 me becoz of his work.he does nt even meet me.he is totally ignoring me and fed up…..plz suggest me to improve my relation i luv hm so much

  39. Hi

    I have been married to my husband now for 3 years. We only knew each other about a year before that.

    While for the most part we have been a loving couple, we have had a few problems.

    Especially the past few months have been the lowest poits. we can’t stop fighting with each other. Every conversation with him now turns into this big fight.

    So often in these past weeks we have told each other that we want some time away or want to call it quits.

    We have had sexual intimacy issues from the beginning. We are very touchy feely during the day, but not in bed.

    our fights usually stem or dive back into some core issues… he thinks that I want to tell him how to do everything in his life and that he can have nothing go his way.

    I believe that I am insecure in our relationship and want him to keep me involved. I don’t want to be asking him everyday about everything in his life, but want him to come out and tell me. And these questions, then look to him like I am questioning his responses.

    We seem to be going in circles, and now its reached a point, where I have left home for a few hours and we have moved to seperate bedrooms.

    There is so much anger and hurt all around, and he sometimes says very mean things when he is angry and I can’t take that.

    We are both strong willed and its hurting us.

    I want things to change.. I never imagined my marriage would reach this point. I do love him.. but I need him to want me more. I need him to never make me feel that I am not part of his world.

    We have been thinking of having a baby and I am not really ready, and he is. But I am so scared of briging another person in our lives, when we can’t figure each other out yet.

    Pls. help, I do want to save my marriage. I can’t be in pain anymore and don’t want to hurt him either.

  40. hello actually i m in a relationship since past 5 years..my guy is very loving and i know he cares for me n loves me.but he is short tempered n he feels that i try to dominate him.but its not so.this is creating problems in our relationship.sumtimes if i shout on call for he being late night out with his frnds..he yells at me dat he needs his freedom also.he gives imprtnc to me when needed but i just want to prove him dat i care for him n i fear that he may get into bad habits so i stp him..how can i prove to him that i m not dominating him.

  41. Hi Laurie, I was hoping you could help me out. My Bf and i have been together for awhile, since freshman year of highschool. The beginning of our relationship was blissful, he and i were so loving, carefree, romantic, and hot for each other. Lately there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t fight and i get the feeling that i’ve lost who my baby used to be. My first instinct is always to end it when the fighting starts. How can we stop fighting so much? How can i stop wanting to leave everytime something he does hurts me? I just feel like i can’t take the fighting any longer. How can i get my love back like we used to have? I don’t even know where the perfect boy, my other half, and the perfect antidote to me i met in highschool is anymore. Help us.

  42. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Ken, I’m sorry I missed your comment! If you’re still around and if you still need tips, let me know. I’d be happy to help out.

    Bill, thanks for your tip on improving a bad relationship. I agree, that leaving for a long time might not be the best way to fix couples problems.

  43. Bill @ howtofixarelationship

    Time apart could be a good thing, but this should not be long term. And should only be for short periods of time, don’t empty the wardrobe just take a week end bag, and go for a couple of days. If there are children take it in turns.

  44. Hi laurie

    Thanks a lot for your advice, u are the best, “figure out who you are as a man” can u shed more light on that? i have really lost my self confidence and she seems 2 be riding on that, i wud try as much to work on the tips u gave even though it might not be easy. i wud need some ideas on getting physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.


  45. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Ken,

    It sounds like you need to take a step back from your relationship, and figure out who you are as a man. The more you crowd her with jealousy and accusations, the farther away she’ll run — and the more damage you’ll do to your relationship.

    I think it might be good if you build up your self-confidence and self-image as a man — apart from your relationship. The more self-confident and happy you are, the more attractive you’ll be. And, the more confident you are, the less it’ll matter if your girlfriend does end up with someone else.

    You can’t control her, and you can’t control your future. I think the best way to improve a bad relationship is to get as healthy and grounded as possible. As I said, the healthier you are, the more lovable and irresistable you’ll be. But the best part is that you’ll be HAPPIER if can get your head straight.

    I hope this helps….let me know if you need some ideas on getting physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.


  46. My girlfriend travelled out to dublin met a guy there and since she came back home she has been keeping intouch with the guy secretly through black berry msg chat, i have accosted her and she is denying i hve seen text msg dat was exchanged btw the two of them and its tearing me apart, i am a jealous wreck right now, her mind is half in dublin now and she says things like she wants to go and do a course but my mind tells me its just to be with the other guy, wht do i do to win her back bcos i have been nagging and accusing her abt it and she is still keeping in touch with him secretly sometimes to my face and it hurts, can i win her back?

  47. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comments; I’m glad these tips for improving a bad relationship were helpful! Even the littlest of couples problems can be helped :-)

  48. Charlie Christians

    Great article. I especially like the idea to “keep dating.” It’s so easy to get bogged down by daily and weekly stresses that the relationship becomes monotonous and uninteresting. Both parties must make the effort i.e. dress up, bring a joyful expectancy to the date, leave sensitive topics out of date time.

  49. Thanks,
    By chance through news on first page of yahoo with sequentially linking gone through this page and really these articles helped
    me to overcome my failure in love…………
    It is still difficult to bear those feelings of break up and now i
    live the life of a dead in live body
    any way this tips has given a hope that with the time i’ll forget these terrible feelings……..
    once again thank you very much

  50. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Chris,

    I’m sorry to hear about your partner….and you already know that there’s no easy answer!

    It sounds like you’re hoping for something that just isn’t possible: for you and her to have a happy, healthy relationship. For that to happen, she needs to get herself straight. Since she’s suggesting that you find intimacy elsewhere, I suspect she’s not interested in doing the work it’ll take to break from from addictions and get healthy.

    Since you can’t force her to change or seek help, I think you have two options: stay with her for companionship and stability while you seek romance elsewhere, or move out and leave the relationship, even though it’ll be one of the most difficult decisions of your life.

    You need to face reality and change your expectations, my friend. She can’t give you what you need. So, you either change what you need, or you change your life so it delivers what you need.

    I encourage you to get in-person support. Talk to a counselor, join a men’s support group, or contact your spiritual leader. Talking your problems through will make you feel better, and will help you see options that you may not otherwise be aware of.

    I wish you all the best.


  51. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Liz,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble trusting your boyfriend again….that’s a totally normal response to his betrayal!

    Since my thoughts are too long to put here, I’ve answered your question in this post:

    Should I Trust My Boyfriend After He Cheated on Me?

    I hope it helps!

    Best wishes,

  52. Hi my name is Liz and I have a question. My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years. I just found out he has been talking to 3 other girls on the internet. He says he won’t do it again but I am still not sure. I don’t know what to do anymore. What do I do?

  53. My and my partner are in this loop. She has 2 children from a previous marriage who are great and see me as a step father. We have 2 children together who are amazing. But because the relationship started bad and got worse we are now facing separation. I don’t want this but because of our bad history is inevitable. This is going to hurt me a lot. Anyway, she drunk to cope with things and we both used pot a lot. But she can’t afford to move and there’s not many places suited to cope with our disabled son (my step son). She doesn’t have any romantic feelings for me at all and her lack of libido due to antidepressants and alcohol abuse (which thankfully is finished) leaves me wanting what I can’t have and her feeling trapped here. She suggests I have a separate sex life but that feels wrong but she can’t provide one with me. This goes on for years. I think I need to get out more but work takes up most of my time and children the rest. I don’t want them to go and I don’t want a relationship with anyone else but I don’t want this limbo either.
    It’s tough but is there an answer?

  54. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Nikki,

    First, I want to commend you on knowing about self-fullfilling prophecies! That’s exactly what happens in so many relationships — and it definitely stops couples from fixing their problems.

    I think individual counseling might be more valuable than couples counseling, especially since you mentioned your jealousy several times. That may be something that’s yours to deal with, not necessarily a relationship problem (though of course it depends on whether he does anything to incite jealousy).

    The best way to get over your jealousy — and improve your relationship — is to figure out the roots of your jealousy. Then, you can work on weeding them out. I don’t mean to be glib, but I know that the healthier individuals are, the healthier relationships are.

    I’m a big big fan of counseling, because it can solve alot of personal issues that ruin relationships. An effective counselor can help you become stronger, healthier, and happier…which can only improve your relationship! (but, keep in mind that getting emotionally healthy can mean leaving bad relationships behind)

    I wish you all the best,

    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …How to be Lucky – 10 Ways to Get Luckier in Life and Love =-.

  55. I have been with my boyfriend for about four years and during 2 times when we have been long-distance we have had an open relationship. During both of those times I went on a date with another guy, the first time because we had just met and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be committed yet and the second time because I had convinced myself that my boyfriend was going to see this other girl that he admitted he had a crush on, and I was so afraid of the pain of him doing that that I distanced myself from the relationship and dated someone else again. He never saw anyone else and became incredibly upset when I dated the second person. I felt terrible and he was so upset and jealous that he almost ended the relationship.

    It took about a year to heal from that and now he trusts me and feels that it is stupid to be jealous because it only causes pain and suffering. He says that he is no longer ever jealous. I on the other hand, have been tormented my entire relationship with jealousy. My boyfriend is very attractive and other women express interest and I feel so overwhelmed with pain and hatred even though I know it will only hurt my relationship.

    I believe that he feels suffocated by me, and talks about “being a man and finding other women attractive.” He has expressed bitterness about not dating someone else when we have been in an open relationship, because now I am not willing to do that anymore. I really need help dealing with my jealousy and fear of him finding a new woman and cheating on me or leaving me. I am afraid that my own fear will cause a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I am sure I could not suggest couple counseling to him because he would refuse and be angry. Is there any way for me to get over my jealousy? I know that it is unfair because I could never watch him date two other people and still be able to be with him even though he has done that for me.

  56. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Roxanne,

    I’m sorry to hear that your husband has finally realized how important you and your marriage is to his life! It’s too bad that you don’t know how you feel anymore — but that’s completely understandable. He’s put you through alot, and improving a relationship like you have isn’t easy or quick. He needs to win your trust and love back.

    I can’t tell you if you should leave your marriage. But, you have a couple options. You and your husband could try marriage counseling to fix your problems and rebuild trust. Or, you could try a trial separation for a few months, and see how you feel after some time apart.

    One thing I’m curious about: why did he change suddenly? His reason for changing can affect how long his change lasts (because a man who was never there for you doesn’t change his stripes overnight).

    Another suggestion is to call a help line or women’s support group. You need to talk through the possibilities with someone who can give you an objective perspective. Even going for counseling on your own can be extremely helpful, because it can give you clarity and insight.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best in your marriage. Let me know if you talk to a counselor, or if you and your husband will try couples therapy…


  57. My husband and I have been married 11 1/2 years and in the past he has cheated and stayed out late many nights. He was never there for me and our children. He would always hanging out on a daily basis. In the past year he suddenly changed and says he wants to get my trust back and apologized for all he put me through. I prayed many years that God would change him. Now that I see changed I don’t know if I want to be married to him anymore. I think I’m just ready to walk out of this marriage. I just don’t feel for him like I use to. What should I do?

  58. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Jane,

    I’m sorry to hear that your boyfriend is lying to you, and possibly still cheating on you! That’s a big sign of a bad relationship — and that type of couples’ problem isn’t easy to remedy.

    You can’t trust him when he says he’s not seeing her, because he’s obviously lying to you.

    You can’t make him stop seeing her, or to end the relationship. He said he would, but he didn’t.

    If he really had ended that relationship, then she wouldn’t be leaving messages. And, he’d change his phone number or get a new phone if he really wanted to avoid contact with her!

    What CAN you do to solve this relationship problem? Well, you can live with him the way he is, and not expect him to change. But you’ll destroy your self-esteem and your soul in the process…and you won’t be working towards a happy, healthy, committed relationship.

    You can suggest couples counseling with him, so you two can figure out why he keeps lying and cheating.

    Or, you can break up with him and get on with your life! He’s not likely to change….and we certainly can’t make people change. The only person you can change is yourself….and sometimes that means letting go of those we love most.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, and wish I had better relationship advice for you. But the only person who can change your boyfriend is your boyfriend — and he seems to think you’ll believe anything he says, despite what he’s caught doing. Doesn’t seem like much of a man to me….and you need to decide if that’s the kind of guy you want to stay hooked up with.

    Wishing you all the best,

  59. I found out that my boyfriend was cheating on me with a 20 year old (he’s 38). I let him go and he asked me to take him back and promised he would end it with that girl. Well its been a month now and we have been going back and forth breaking up and making up because I find out he has not ended things with her as he says. I get into his voicemail without him know I do and I listen to the messages she leaves him about wanting to see him, inviting him to go to the movies and even mentioning she will stop by his house because she wants to see him. I ask him to be honest with me and tell me if he communicates with her, he flat out lies to me and says no. How can I trust he is not seeing her when its clear on his voicemail that they still talk. If he truly cut her out of his life and he tells me then why is she still calling him. What do I do?

  60. im sorry to hear about those who have been cheated on ( earlier post) . i think everyone deserves a second chance except when it comes to cheating. if you love someone , love them. all of them. unconditionally. ONLY THEM. i think marriage is a beautiful thing.. and should be cherished. If you men out there dont feel like the one your with right now isnt the one, then dont cheat on them, just leave them . it may be painful at first but its better than leading them on. I hope everyone one of you guys find a loving relationship <3

  61. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Amanda,

    I’m glad you and your ex are interesting in working things out and improving your relationship! That’s a great sign, very healthy.

    That said, however, other than telling him that his actions and insults are ruining your relationship, there’s not much you can do to show him he has a problem! If he doesn’t hear you, then he doesn’t hear you. If he can’t understand how his words are hurting you and your relationship, then I can’t see what you can do to make him see the light.

    A therapist might help him see what’s going on. If you can’t afford couples counseling — which, by the way, may be the best way to go, especially if your ex has anger issues. Problems like that don’t just go away for couples — he really needs to deal with the source of his anger. And, he needs to learn ways to express it without making your relationship bad!

    Some colleges and universities have free or inexpensive counseling for students; I suggest looking into that. And, you could try calling your pastor or priest if you belong to a spiritual organization, because they often offer free counseling.

    I also suggest reading up on anger management, and how anger affects love relationships. Your ex needs to read those books too — not just you! You need to read them as a couple, and discuss the ideas.

    Finally, you could consider talking to someone he trusts, who can then talk to him. For instance, if he’s really close to his dad or uncle, then talk to his dad or uncle and see if he’ll talk to your ex. This may not work — it depends on your ex, his relationships, etc. It’s just something to consider.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best…


  62. My,well,now ex has anger problems to the point where he doesnt see what he does.

    I love him with all my heart and we were engaged. We both want to work things out but how can i?

    What steps can i take to show him he has a problem?

    Where can we get help?( we dont have a lot of money, im in college and thats where all my money goes)

  63. Good tip about reading books together – here’s one that’s an easy read and will motivate a couple to make their relationship the best it can be: “A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage,” listed #1 self-help relationship book by the Boston Globe.

  64. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I just saw your comment and question now — I can’t believe it slipped by me! I’m so sorry; I hope you can still use this late response.

    When was the last time your boyfriend had a physical checkup? Sometimes health issues can affect our love lives and libido. He may have a health condition that is diminishing his intimacy levels. As he says, it may have nothing to do with you — he may just need a checkup!

    If it’s not health related, you might want to think about seeing a counselor who specializes in intimacy issues. An objective third person might help you and your boyfriend figure out why he’s not as physically intimate as he once was.

    Another option is to read books on physical intimacy — read them together, as a couple. If you and he can figure out the cause of his lack of interest (stress? health issues?), then you’re more likely to find a solution and improve your relationship.

    I hope this helps a little — and that things have already improved in your love life! Let me know how it’s going — I’d love to hear from you again. I promise it won’t take me so long to respond next time :-)


  65. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Anthonette,

    It doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything “wrong” in your marriage — but it seems like your husband is withdrawing from you physically and emotionally. It’s impossible for me to say why this is happening….but it IS possible for you to figure it out!

    I suggest that you and your husband pick a quiet time (hard with six kids, I bet!), sit down, and talk about what’s been happening in your marriage. Be gentle when you ask what’s been going on with him and why he hasn’t responded to your needs. Try not to judge him, get defensive or angry, or argue. Just be quiet and listen. Give him time and space to figure out how to say what he has to say.

    Of course, you can’t force him to reveal how he feels. In fact, he himself might not know what’s going on…but it’d be great if you could open the door to communication and connection. And — be patient! Men need more time and space to express themselves than women do.

    I also recommend reading Dr Laura Schlessinger’s books about marriage — she wrote one called “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.” Basically, it’s about fixing couples problems by giving love, affection, and attention.

    Finally, you might ask him how you can be a better wife. Ask for three ways to improve yourself as a partner…if you do those things, then he’ll be far more likely to give you what you need in your relationship. Often, improving bad relationships is less about getting what we need from our partners — and more about giving all that we can give. The more we give, the more we get in return!

    I hope this helps — I encourage you to try these things and let me know how it goes after a couple of months have passed.


  66. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. It’s such a betrayal to learn he was cheating on you, and it’ll be a long, difficult journey towards trusting him again. And, I’m so proud of you for asking him to leave! You were strong and courageous, and you showed him how serious his cheating was. Good for you.

    Many marriages survive infidelity — and many couples not only fix their relationship problems, they actually build healthier, happier marriages!

    To rebuild trust and move forward, you need to figure out what you need from him; then, you need to communicate that to him clearly. So for instance if you need more romance and flowers, then you need to tell him that — and forget about the fact that he’s not the romantic type. At this point in your marriage, it’s not about what he needs or wants! It’s about creating a healthy family life. What would make you feel more secure in your marriage? What do you need from him, in order to trust him again? Sit down and write those things out, and then share your list with him.

    I also suggest marriage counseling, or at least talking to your pastor or someone who can give you guidance. You and your husband need to figure out why he cheated — this may help reassure you and him that he won’t do it again. If he wants to stay married, he needs to learn to talk about his feelings and behaviors…it’s the only way to improve a relationship.

    And, I encourage you and him to read books about infidelity and improving “bad” relationships together. Talk about what you’re reading, and do the exercises in the books. The more you learn about each other and marriage, the more connected you’ll be. The key is to learn this stuff TOGETHER — it’s not just you figuring things out for the two of you.

    I wish you all the best, and hope you update me on how things are going!


  67. What am I doing wrong? I feel like my husband should consider me the way I consider him. It seems like I am the only person that has to verbally request what I want. We have 6 kids. He makes it a point to take care of the kids and they never have to state what they want. I always have to beg for intimacy which i think is backwards. He always says he’s too tired and he has to focus on other things. Well, I have to focus on the same things but at the same time I still want my alone time. When I expressed this, he told me that we would start having physical relations 2x a week. Well the time has passed and I have not gotten it yet. When I mentioned it again, he started telling me how I should be more of a wife and do more for him. I work nights, the things he wants from me I do to the best of my ability. I make plenty of time for him.

  68. Hi Laurie,

    Almost a week ago I went to Family Planning for a pap smear because my IUD was almost past it’s expiration date. That was on a Monday. On Wednesday they called me to say that my result came back saying that I have Chlamydia. I asked my partner (we have been together for just over 10yrs now) if he had an affair and he said no. I told him that I have chlamydia and there is only one way to get it and that I was clean years ago.

    He tried to turn it around on me asking what I get up to on my days off and I said that I clean the house. He is the one who goes out almost every weekend and I don’t know what he gets up to. The next 2 days I keep asking him if he cheated and he still says no.

    It is now Sunday and he only told me yesterday (3 days after the news of chlamydia) that he cheated on me twice wih 2x different women about two years ago. I was devasted so I took our two girls to our aunty’s house down the road where we spent the night. I never thought it would happen to me. I never suspected a thing because we always made love often. I did find a blonde hair in the car (must’ve been 2yrs ago) and I use to tease him about it.

    I came back home this morning on my own so we could about it. My partner is not one to express his feelings often so I was asking all the questions and he answered. At least he answered. He didn’t want to talk about it of course but I told him that he has every right to talk to me because it has everything to do with our relationship and because he gave my an STD. I asked him if he knew if either of those girls were using contraception because he didn’t use a condom obviously. He could’ve gotten one or both of them pregnant. He might actually have a son out there that he’s always wanted, or two. He’s lucky he didn’t come home with Aids!!

    He says that the two women he slept with were just girls from the pub that he has never met before and they were not prettier than me, but they were younger. He says he still loves me and I’m the reason why he comes home everynight. I just don’t understand why he did this. Twice he cheated on me 2yrs ago. He goes out drinking almost every weekend while I’m at home with our 2x girls. He thought I would never find out. He reckons he only did it because he was drunk and h**ny.

    Anyways, in the end he apologised, because I asked him what was on his mind. And then I packed his suitcase and kicked him out. I told him I need my space to think about things.

    I can’t trust him anymore. Though I still love him, I feel so hurt!! Ten years we’ve been together and we have 2x girls and this is what he does?

    How can I forgive him? Is it okay to wish for him to win me over again? Buy me flowers and gifts? I know he still loves me. I’m into romance but I know he’s not the romantic type. It took me a lot of courage to pack up his clothes but I had to be strong.

    How can I move forward Laurie?

  69. I have been living with my boyfriend now little over a year and we are having some intimacy and romance issues. I am seeking some advice…..

    We maybe have s*x once a month if that…This started after the first two months of living together, I haver tried wearing nighties, talking about it and many other things… He has told me that him not wanting s*x is nothing to me being diserable and there is nothing wrong with me…..IF I try to caress him he either pushes me away or says he is sorry but not in the mood……When we do have s*x well he starts by being very affectionate then kissing passionately……I don’t get satisfied and then I feel even more frustrated because we cuddle for a bit and since he claims to be not able to cuddle with me and sleep at the same time, we sleep on the other side of the bed……

    I know that there have been some financial issues for the last about 5 to 6 months because of me not working getting my seizures under control but now that they are and I am able to pay my share of things well intimacy still is not happening and neither is romance…. I am so very frustrated because he will not go to any type of counselor or go seea doc for some meds to increase his s*x drive…….
    When ever I even hint that I want to talk about s*x well he gets very angry and a fight happens……

    What can I do, I am at my wits end

    I mean other than intimacy, romance he is been truly wonderful….

    How can I bring up the topic of s*x???

    What types of advice do you have for us, please


    Bonita Wilcox

  70. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Jana,

    To answer your question, I wrote an article that lists several signs of cheating spouses. To read it, just click this link:

    How Can You Tell if Your Husband is Cheating on You?

    I hope it helps!

    Best wishes,

  71. Hi Laurie

    Thank you very much for your advice. This sounds like a sensible solution.

    I have felt very guilty for raising these concerns with him whilst he is supposed to be getting away from it all. However, he has taken to contacting me very regularly and filling me in with rather unneccesary details. For example, he contacted me only yesterday and freely told me that he and his travelling buddy went to one of those famous Bangkok shows where ladies put objects in their nether regions and fire them out in front of an audience! To him, he is just being brutally honest and upfront, to me he’s being very distasteful and in a sense, quite childish. If I were to tell my mother or sister about this, they would be appalled, but then I have been raised in a family where that kind of behaviour in a relationship is very disrespectful. Is it? It doesn’t particularly bother me the way the whole ‘women at work situation’ (as above) does, it’s more of a matter of principles.

    You’re very right in saying it’s wrong to ask him to change. He has always been a bit of a wild card and i’m a live and let live kind of person. Although, I can’t cope with certain things that make my insides churn. I think I want for him to have the same level of respect and consideration for us as I do. This just doesn’t seem to happen though.

    I have always tried to keep things open and have said to him on many occasions that he should continue with his single life if he wants to be foot loose and fancy free (in a very none confrontational kind of way). He then responds to this by telling me that he wants me in his life and loves me bla bla blah. He really does want to just live however he pleases whilst having me on his arm when it’s convenient.

    In answer to ‘do I want this on a long-term basis?’, the answer is nope :(. The moving in thing came up quite some time ago and it was actually him that suggested it. At the time I refused and said it wouldn’t work. As it is, I have reconsidered due to work commitments and financial convenience more than an advance in our relationship. I can’t vet the company he keeps and the thought of him having his unsavoury friends round is quite a put-off. I also think it could be detrimental to us if we were to take this step when he clearly isn’t ready.

    As it is, I need to move quite a distance away and if we don’t do it together, this will leave us with just weekends to spend as a couple. I have grown tired of our overly long dating period and would lack the motivation to travel back and forth every week in an effort to continue a relationship that lacks any sort of progression. So we have reached an all or nothing kind of crossroads…

    It may be that i’m over analysing things and need to just ease off and concentrate on my career? I just feel as though i’m going round in circles contemplating what to do next all the time. I resent a guy having so much hold over my thoughts when he’s on the other side of the world! I feel a little powerless over the situation. Why can guys just never say- ‘actually honey, I really do feel as though I need to live it up for a while and think it’s unfair to drag you along in my wake, waiting for the very distant eventuality of me actually wanting to live and behave like a grown man!’

    Apologies for this being extraordinarily lengthy- feel free to cut anything out…

  72. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Linda,

    It sounds like your boyfriend isn’t 100% committed to the idea of being 100% committed to a relationship! He wants to work alot, travel, have his lady friends…and there’s nothing wrong with that. I waited until I was 35 before I got married, for those same reasons! It’s fun to have adventures and live the way you want.

    He wants to have his cake and eat it too. He loves you, and he loves his busy life, too. That’s cool — he can enjoy or expect anything thing he wants out of life.

    But — and this is where you come in — is his lifestyle something you’re willing to live with long-term? I don’t think you should expect him to change, even if he says he will. People do change, don’t get me wrong, but it takes supreme effort and commitment.

    I’d suggest not moving in with him yet. I’d wait and keep dating for 6 months, and see if he really is ready to be more committed. In 6 months, revisit the idea of moving in together — but don’t talk or argue about it for that time.

    I also suggest being specific about what type of commitment you want over the next 6 months. Do you want to see each other 4 times a week? Spend every Sunday together? Take a Latin dance or astronomy class together?

    Figure out what type of relationship you want, and ask him to do the same. Give him time to think about it — not while he’s traveling or just after he gets back. Set a date to discuss your next steps, and then hear each other out. Remember that you’ll both need to compromise and meet halfway, as you won’t have the exact same ideas of what an ideal relationship looks like!

    Then, see if you both can live with what happens next.

    That’s what I think you should do. What do you think?

    Best wishes,

  73. I have been with my boyfriend for two years. He has had very little time for me due to work commitments and I have always tried to be as accommodating as possible with his busy schedule. I am quite a busy person myself and don’t consider that I am particularly needy, although I do require a certain level of respect and support.

    We have always got on very well and I consider him to be my best friend. However, there have been some conflicting issues with certain lady friends from his work who are unfriendly towards me and at times inappropriately close with him. I have always done my best to be as tolerant as possible with this and have voiced my concerns to which he has been fairly receptive.

    Two years later, he bought himself a one way ticket to the far east with a friend and just casually dropped it in to conversation that he was going. This friend openly admitted to me that he was very easily persuaded. He has now been gone for a month and has been in touch very regularly throughout this time. I have had very harsh words with him whilst he has been away, telling him how hurtful the whole scenario has been and that it has been an enormous ask to go away for an open-ended amount of time. I have found it very difficult to deal with the fact that he wanted to experience so much without me. He constantly tells me that he had to get away due to work commitments and that his decision was nothing to do with his feelings for me.

    He has now limited his time there to one further month to make it two in total. We have discussed living together when he returns and he says that he will try to set more time aside for the relationship and cut out certain negative influences.

    The problem is, I feel very confused about the whole thing. I feel different emotions at all sorts of extremes day to day. One day we might be discussing our potential new home together then the following day I feel like I shouldn’t stay with someone who can hurt me this much. My friends and family have expressed very strong feelings about the whole situation and some of them have openly told me that I put up with far too much and they would have just ended things.

    The fact remains that I could not have done the same to him and I feel that all my efforts over the past two years in being understanding of his hectic lifestyle, have all been in vain. He now expects me to take his word for it that he will be more committed and that he has realised how much he loves me, but I can’t help feeling like it’s too little too late. What do you advise?

  74. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    That’s a scary place to be in your marriage — but it’s great that you’re ready to tackle this now, Erin! (as opposed to enduring 5, 15, or 25 years of suffering). This is a wonderful opportunity to express yourself and build your relationship into what you want it to be. You’re right: you will grow to resent him. Your marriage won’t last if you can’t express yourself and have an equal voice!

    Helping him hear you and change his ways will be difficult, but worth it. You’ll have to dig deep for courage and the ability to clearly express yourself.

    People don’t change overnight, which means you and he will have to work on your “stuff” for at least several months. Then, it’ll become second nature to communicate in healthy ways.

    I’m a big fan of couples counseling. My husband and I did it, and it was uncomfortable but so good for our marriage. We weren’t even struggling with major problems — I just wanted us to get an objective opinion on our disagreement. A counselor can help spouses see their marriage more clearly and give helpful feedback.

    Another really great way to improve an unhealthy or bad relationship is to take a communication class or workshop together. We did the “Nonviolent communication” course — it’s all about talking about your feelings and connecting as a couple.

    The key is that your husband has to be involved in making your marriage better. You can’t do it alone. He needs to see how his behavior is affecting you and your marriage, and you two need to work together to figure out what will make you both happy.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you return to let me know how things are going!

    Best wishes,

  75. My husband and I have only been married for 2 years. I am finding myself in our marriage starting to feel like I am in a relation ship where I have no say over the big decisions for our future. I understand that some decisions require us to be in agreement, but far too often I am the one that has to give in. He is so stuck in his ways that my voice doesn’t even seem to be heard. I am worried that I will not be able to deal with this for the rest of my life. I feel like I am starting to resent him. I love him, but we just seem to have different views on finances and children. Can anyone help me with some advice on how to make my situation better? I am very afraid of losing me and losing my husband.

  76. Glad I could help, Vicki! Another way to keep your relationship strong is to do exciting things together. Go skydiving, take a trip to Europe, drive across the country, visit a dude ranch……the more interesting, exciting experiences you have together, the more connected you’ll be.

    Maybe you could try couples counseling, as well. It might be good to unearth the reasons your relationship has been “flat lining.” Going through ups and downs — boring and exciting times — is normal for any realtionhip, but staying down for extended periods of time is a sign of an unhealthy relatioship.

    Even if you’re not into counseling, you could read books about spicing up dormant relationships together. Or, take a couples workshop or class.

    My husband and I took a “Nonviolent Communication” course together; it was great. Taking a class as a couple not only teaches you new stuff about your relationship, it also puts you in a different environment together and shows you new aspects of one another. It can be exciting to see your partner in a whole new light!

    Good luck, and keep in touch.


  77. Laurie-

    I posted on Letting Go earlier today. Then I saw your response on 3/22/09 to Kim. Thank you. My relationship with Dave is a rebound relationship that has lasted too long. And it has been alot of nothingness… years of it. I think I’ve done Dave a great disservice by staying as long as I have, because I didn’t know what I wanted. Only what I didn’t. The things you said about your marrying your BFF hit so close to home. That’s what I want, and I guess I’ve just never been able to say that. Now that we are talking, maybe this will make a difference.

    Thank you.

  78. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Have you gone through the “rage stage” yet? My friend’s husband cheated on her, and she was furious at him for months! That can be an important part of grieving the end of one chapter of your marriage — but everyone does cope differently.

    I suggest couples or individual counseling, so you can learn together how to rebuild trust in your marriage. After one partner has an affair, it can take months or even years to rebuild trust and a strong relationship. Even talking to your pastor, rabbi, or some sort of leader you trust can help you see your marriage in an objective light, which will help rebuild your marriage.

    Also, read books about the normal stages of and response to marital infidelity. The stories and expert advice can be valuable tools, to help you see that your negative thoughts and mistrust are NORMAL consequences of an affair.

    A great website called Marriage Builders may be helpful – they list 4 steps on coping with infidelity.

    Remember that it takes time to get over your spouse having an affair! It won’t happen overnight — forgiving and trusting him again is something you have to choose to do every day, or even several times a day.

    And, let yourself grieve the end of your marriage as you knew it. Those first 10 years are over – they ended with a betrayal and you need to let yourself mourn. Forgive yourself for not being able to “just get on with it”, for mistakes you’ve made, for not being able to trust easily.

    Marital infidelity is a huge life stress and strain on marriage – and it can take years to heal.

    My friend and her husband have “checks” that make her feel more comfortable and trusting. For instance, he calls often when he’s on business trips. I suggest figuring out what would make you feel more comfortable with your husband, and asking him to help you trust him again.

    This is where a marriage counselor is helpful: to help you both see if you’re being reasonable or too mistrustful!

    Let me know how you’re doing with all this – and thanks for sharing your story. I know other wives and husbands will read this, and not feel so alone.

    Best wishes,

  79. My husband had an affair few weeks ago, and since then I have not felt the same toward him because of his betrayal and my loss of trust on our 10 years marriage.I want to move forward in this relationship, but I’m having a very difficult time forgiving him. I believe, as you do, that honesty is essential in marriage, but my husband does not. I fear that he continues to lie to me about his behavior, and absence from home on weekdays and weekends make me feel more insecure.

    I’d prefer for him to be honest and get it over with so I can begin the healing process, but after weeks of emotional turmoil, my focus has changed somewhat. My inability to forgive is eating me up and I need to get better.His frequent absent from home weekdays and weekends causes the suspicions.How to move forward & overcome roller coaster emotions & negative thoughts about him & his lover? Are there steps I can do on my own to resolve this terrible pain?

  80. At this point, I think you have to trust your husband. If he’s sincerely remorseful about his affair, then you need to believe that he’s committed to keeping your relationship strong — or rather, building a stronger marriage from now on. You can’t live in suspicion or paranoia.

    Rebuilding trust is a long, long process. You can’t trust him and rebuild your marriage overnight. Your marriage will never be the same, and that can be a good thing! If there was something unhealthy in your relationship that may have factored into his having an affair, then now’s the time to work on that. I’m NOT saying that he cheated because of you — I have no idea why he cheated.

    But it would be good to figure out what led him to infidelity, and deal with that problem. If you don’t know what the cause or connection was, then it’s harder to move on, into a strong relationship.

    I suggest reading books on overcoming infidelity in marriage. Gary Neuman’s “Why Men Cheat” is a good one, because it discusses possible reasons men cheat — and it describes how to repair marriages after infidelity.

    Mainly, you two have to renew your committment and find healthy ways to communicate and love each other. Couples counseling may be something else to consider — or individual counseling for you to learn how to trust him again, and for him to learn why he cheated.

    I wish you all the best, and hope this helped a little!


  81. I discovered that my husband comitted adultery last week through his lover.Till to-date,the lover is still hoping that my husband will go back to her even after my husband broke up with her.How do I know whether my husband is serious is breaking up with her?I’m not sure whether they still communicate each other on the MSN or seeing each other even though my husband promises to severe ties with the love.I am still going the painful process of infidelity.Appreciate your advise.

  82. It’s such a hard question…I think it’s normal to have doubts — I know I did before I married my husband! I was scared.

    But I was scared of MARRIAGE, not scared of being married to my man (we were best friends for years before we started dating, too!). I think there’s a difference between red flags about a certain person, versus fear of long-term commitment and intimacy.

    I also think it’s normal to have bouts of “nothingness” in love relationships. We can’t feel 100% romantic, loving, passionate, and ga-ga over our partners all the time! It’s not possible. One of my friends even told me that sometimes she looks at her children and feels nothing, or even dislike. Part of loving people is feeling nothing…dislike…disgust even…disappointment sometimes.

    I think romantic Hollywood movies and books do us a real disservice, because they lead us to believe that we’re supposed to feel all gooshy and love-y every moment, and it’s just not that way in real life.

    Kim, I can’t tell you if you should marry him or not, but I can say that marrying your best friend is one of the smartest things you could ever do! I LOVE that I married a guy I loved spending time with just as friends….because gooshy feelings and passionate chemistry come and go throughout long-term relationships. Marriage is about friendship, communication, fighting, making up, intimacy, and even doubts…….

    Before I married my BFF :-) I spent a whole weekend – from Friday night to Sunday night – wracked with doubt and indecision. He and I talked about whether we should get married (we were engaged, and our wedding was a month or so away) for almost 3 days straight. I expressed all my doubts and concerns, we talked them through, and on Sunday night/Monday morning, I knew that marrying him was the right thing to do.

    I was still scared, but I knew it was right.

    I encourage you to talk to your boyfriend and read books about normal feelings before marriage. My husband and I did premarital counseling, too, which I highly recommend!! There are long lists of questions you can answer, which help you determine if you should marry that particular man.

    I hope some of this helped! Do keep me posted – I’d love to know how you’re doing…..


  83. We were best friends for 5 years before we started dating and we have been dating for about 3 years now. Everything is okay in my relationship, except a few argument here and there about the way he speaks to me or little things that we both do. I sometimes feel empty in the relationship and have a tendency to want to “jump ship” when things go wrong. Is this normal? Is it normal to have doubts? We are about to get engaged and I don’t want to lose my best friend and our love.

  84. Grace, have you tried asking him if he’s seeing his daughter’s mom? I’m also wondering how old his daughter is……if she’s young, he may have to see his ex!

    It sounds like you suspect that he’s seeing her, and that he shouldn’t be. It also sounds like you don’t want to ask him directly…I don’t know what to suggest, other than spying on him or confronting him with the evidence (the reasons you think he’s seeing her).

    Sorry I can’t be more helpful…..I think you should talk to your husband — that’s one of the best tips for keeping your relationship strong!


  85. Are you for real?! Beryl, if your husband is cheating on you, you have a much bigger problem than him not wanting you to call when he’s with other women!

    I suggest leaving him. What’s the point of being married if he’s out with other women?

  86. Question
    My husband has been cheating on me. The problem is whenever he is out with his lovers he doesn’t want me to call. if i have a problem and i call him he says that am spying on him. since 2nd of January we are not in talking terms with him becoz i called him in the evening after work to pass a msg and he said that i was spying on him. Please help me coz my marriage is in shit.