What you should do if your partner becomes complacent in your relationship, lets themselves go and doesn’t make an effort.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer whose wife has become complacent in their relationship. He admits he has also been complacent in the past; however, she has a drinking problem and texts other men, and he is constantly being taken for granted.
He recently realized that he had become a pleaser and a doormat and no longer wants to try to make a marriage work when his wife is not making an effort to make it work. He asks my opinion. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
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The reality is whoever is writing the email to me is the person that I’m talking to, because if somebody is open to help, if they’re open to participating in their own rescue, I can help them. But if one person’s willing to put in the effort and the other person is not, there’s nothing you can do about that. You can be the best boyfriend, the best husband in the world, the best guy, but if the other person is not making a mutual effort, it doesn’t matter. So, that’s kind of the situation where this particular guy is at.
Never, ever try to keep somebody who doesn’t want to keep you. It’s so important. A lot of people put up with that in their friendships, or their business partnerships, and especially their intimate relationships. The harsh reality is there’s a lot of women that marry guys they’re not even in love with, and the guy has no idea. Especially down the road, that becomes really apparent, it’s just not a happy relationship, and on top of that, the person that they’re with is being nasty to them.
Yet, they tell themselves they don’t want to be single. They tell themselves it’ll get better, they’re just going through a rough patch. And then, the years roll by, and their life rolls by, things just get worse and they become roommates. They’re in a loveless, sexless relationship. I’ve done phone sessions over the years with guys that have been married for thirty years or more, and they stopped having sex with their wife ten, fifteen years before. I mean, can you imagine?
And then, obviously, once they get back into the dating world, it’s like they go on a tear to make up for lost time. And you can understand where those guys are coming from, because they spent so much time being with somebody that made no effort, but, “Oh, we’ve got kids, the family. What are people going to think?” And yet, they’re not happy, they’re not fulfilled, and they make excuses for it. Meanwhile, the years are just rolling by in life. You’ve only got so much time. The sands in the hourglass are always running out, no matter what you do or fail to do.
Thank you for all the articles and videos. I always look forward to them and am forever curious about how these apply to my own relationship. I rarely (never) comment, but today’s offering about complacency spurred me to do just that.
From my own failing marriage, I have recently become complacent. It’s happening because my wife is an alcoholic and exercises very poor judgement in every aspect of her daily life.
Well, the idea is, whether it’s a friendship, a business partnership, an intimate relationship, you need two equals, two co-creators, two people that value, appreciate and actually make the effort to make the relationship work. You just can’t have one person, especially in this case, that is not willing to do anything to make it better. In this case, she’s got an alcohol problem.
She is financially irresponsible, often selfish, (I make dinner, she will get a plate from the cupboard for herself and not also grab one for me).
Some women just aren’t givers. If you make a bad choice in the beginning, and then you expect the person is going to change or become different, there’s not a lot you can do about that.
She fails to ask how my day was but will quickly criticize me if I don’t ask her. It makes no difference to her behaviors whether I’m engaged with our relationship or not. Example: recently I found myself with a 5-day weekend, so I planned some fun and exciting things for us to do, things she had been asking to do. We had a great time. At night, while I was asleep, she was hitting the bottle and hitting up another man she met recently. Her infidelity is not for my lack of trying or lack of attention to her.
Well, my man, she belongs to the streets! That’s a deal breaker if she’s hitting on other guys. I mean, infidelity, I don’t know if this is the first instance of it or this is just another instance of it, but in order to have monogamy and exclusivity, you have to be with somebody who actually values that. Somebody that’s got a drinking problem and who’s texting other men, I wouldn’t put up with that.
Whatever you observe, you participate in. Whatever you tolerate, you invite more of. And the reality is it’s not your fault that she’s become an alcoholic and is letting herself go and is openly texting other men. Obviously, she’s a very unhappy person. And if she’s not willing to do anything about it, it’s not your fault.
I’m very attentive and caring, I do my share of cooking, cleaning…
What does she do for you?
…yard work, meal planning and keeping after the financial aspect of our household.
Yeah, what does this woman do for you? What is she doing to be a good wife, to make you feel loved, wanted and desired? The reality is somebody that’s using drugs or alcohol addiction, it comes from a failure to feel. If they’re constantly using substances to not feel the unpleasant, icky feelings, obviously, that’s not a good thing, because what you resist will persist. That’s why it doesn’t get better.
I make plans at least once a week to take her on a date. I take the time to book a reservation at a decent restaurant, dress nice, (no sweatpants and t-shirt for me), etc. I will put together a bike ride or a bike with a picnic along the way. We will take a drive to someplace new and interesting. I sit and watch her favorite shows with her.
In bed, I’m always careful to take care of her needs and am usually after her more often that she will agree to. She has no problem turning me down for sex, and I respect her choice. If I happen to turn her down, she takes it personally and believes that I no longer find her attractive.
Boy, it sounds like a really fun marriage.
All this is for naught, however. The drinking is ever present and it infiltrates into every aspect of our relationship. After trying so hard for years, I realized recently that all my efforts to support her we’re done at the expense of my own interests/desires/wants/needs. No matter what I did, it made zero difference in her behavior or engagement in our marriage.
Well, I would definitely have a heart to heart and tell her where you’re at. Say it needs to change, the alcoholism needs to change. I mean, if you’re at the point where you’re still willing to give her another chance. For me personally, if you’re dating somebody and they’re texting other men and inviting attention from other men, and yet you’re supposed to be married to them, it’s over.
Once somebody shows you that they’re disloyal and they don’t care and they don’t respect the vows, you’ve got to go on down the road. Because you allow, and they’ll just keep doing it. That’s the reality, especially somebody that’s got a drinking problem.
This realization ultimately caused me to step away and I had to re-learn how to have my own life.
I think that’s great, dude. Good for you.
This has led to me being disinterested in her particular issues any longer.
You can’t help somebody who’s unwilling to help themselves. You deserve an equal, a teammate who is on your level, not an alcoholic who’s inviting attention from other men, and on top of that, just has a foul attitude all the time. Like I said before, you could be the most charming and playful guy, but if you’re with a woman who’s just simply not nice and is grumpy and is determined to be in a shitty mood and take it out on you, after a while you’re going to get tired of it.
For long term relationships, the best relationships that I’ve had, the girlfriends I wrote about in “How To Be A 3% Man,” they all had a great attitude — easygoing, easy to get along with. Women like this, I know these kinds of women. They have a scowl in their face, they’re unhappy and they take it out on everybody else around them. That’s their problem, it’s not your problem. And if she’s not willing to do anything about it, well, she can have the consequences of that.
I’m the one that’s most always made the effort. It’s important to recognize when the man becomes complacent in a relationship, (taking our partner for granted). It is equally important to realize when the man’s efforts are fruitless due to influences outside his control.
I’m curious to hear your input on this particular situation.
Well, I’ll drink some freshly ionized water to that. I agree, it takes two people. She’s not making an effort, she’s an alcoholic, she’s rubbing other men in your face. She has a crappy attitude, she’s not easy going, easy to get along with. So, if it was me, I’d be I’d be gone like Casper the Friendly Ghost. I’d be like, “Hey, see you later.” I’d definitely be talking to a divorce attorney in your state or your country, wherever you’re at, and find out what the laws are and do all this stuff ahead of time before you drop the bomb on her.
I think it’s great that you’ve taken your power back and you’re taking care of your own self and your own life and making your life interesting and fun, because you have to be at a place where you enjoy your life as well. Because if you can’t have fun by yourself and with your friends and your family, you’re not going to be very good company in a relationship.
During the honeymoon period, maybe the first six to twelve months, things will be good. But at the end of the day, if you’re an unhappy person when you got into that relationship, after the honeymoon period wears off and you realize that your significant other can’t be a perpetual source of your happiness and zest for life, then you’re going to recognize that they can’t make you happy either.
And then, typically what happens in those cases is the guy starts making the effort to make the relationship work, because at the end of the day, he’s still been unable to make himself happy. So, you’ve got to do the work on yourself. And I think it’s great that he’s taken his power back and is doing that. A woman that’s like this, she’s an alcoholic and it sounds like she’s cheating with other men. He didn’t really elaborate, but he mentioned infidelity, so I’m assuming that this is not the first time it’s happened. And you continuing to stick around just enables her behavior.
And quite frankly, any self-respecting, self-loving man is just going to tell her what he expects to see from her, give her some time, maybe thirty days, to change it. And if he she doesn’t, he’s out of there. He’ll pull the plug and get a divorce. But before you have that conversation, I would go talk to a divorce attorney in your country or your state and find out what the laws are and where you’re at, and then give her an ultimatum to go to some kind of rehab or something, or just cut back.
She’s going to have to participate in her own rescue. But just reading this, it doesn’t sound like she’s probably going to be very willing to do that. And if she’s inviting the attention of other men, you can’t work with that. If you value monogamy and exclusivity and your wife is an alcoholic and flirting with other men and it’s been going on for a long time, that’s not your problem. She was like that before you met her.
Maybe you made a bad choice. I mean, at the end of the day, it comes down to goals and values. What’s her value system? You always look what people do, not what they say. And she didn’t honor the vows that she agreed to when you guys got married, so, therefore, hey, you did your part. Good on you. Good on you for taking control of your life.
So, if you’ve got a question or a challenge and you’d like to get my help, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen and book a coaching session with yours truly.
“All relationships require the continuous mutual effort of all parties involved to make them thrive. When one or both people no longer value the relationship and don’t make an effort to make it work, it cannot survive. Just like a garden that is not tended to properly will become overgrown with weeds and die, so do intimate relationships. Never try to keep someone who doesn’t want to keep you. If your goals and values are not aligned, it’s time to move on so you can create a space for someone who’s a better match and, most importantly, makes a mutual effort.”
~ Coach Corey Wayne