Help me Funky Brown Chick: My marriage has become a ‘pseudo friendship’

sad man couch
He loves his kids, but his marriage is flagging — Funky Brown Chick has the answers. Credit: Pixland

I’m a 36-year-old man, married eight years to a woman who is basically the Belgian version of me. We have two girls who are 4 and 7. Our youngest child has special needs. I love my children, but my wife and I simply tolerate each other because of our shared interests and, of course, the kids. We never have sex and our relationship has devolved into a pseudo-friendship. We have talked about getting things on track, but there never seem to be any results. I would really appreciate any advice you might have with this situation.

If you want to keep your current relationship or are seeking a new one, please understand you will screw it up. Repeatedly. Without meaning to, you will say things to hurt your partner. You will be inconsiderate. You may even grow bored in the long run.

Maintaining a good relationship is less about getting everything right and more about realizing that you and your partner are both perfectly flawed human beings. Sometimes a little advice goes a long way.

You understand the situation at hand, and you gave no indication that you want out. It sounds like you feel restless and trapped by your wife, and want to be heard, validated, excited and get laid on a regular basis. This is my advice:

Look at your conversations
To speak is to take action. Be mindful about who initiates your discussions about how things are going. Who speaks loudest or the most? Are both parties listening? Do either of you see progress? Be purposeful.

Define concrete terms
Don’t passively talk about “getting things on track.” Explain what “better” looks like to you: at least X days of one-on-one time without the children, and sex Y times a month. When I moved out of a Manhattan studio, I didn’t want a better apartment — I wanted a one-bedroom place with a dining area for parties. Apply this same level of specificity and focus when expressing how you need to be loved.

Get to know your partner before having children
If you’ve been married eight years and the oldest child is 7, it is possible the two of you were together less than a year before getting pregnant. While this is not independently problematic, kids make it very difficult to leave — so think hard first.

Commit to change
If it’s over for you, don’t drag your partner through indecision. Want out? To end your relationship, say when and why you are leaving. Alternately, if you wish to keep and strengthen what you have, voice your concerns, listen to your partner’s needs, show up, seek counseling or do whatever else it takes to make things better in the short term. Check in and re-evaluate as time goes on.

Don’t be afraid of your differences and be ready to talk them out
Seeing someone as a copy of yourself is an attempt to dodge challenges. You avoid each other’s vulnerabilities because neither wants the confrontation. This ultimately stunts your growth as an individual and partner. Learning to value your differences — and getting them out in the open — is a step in the right direction.

Twanna A. Hines is an award–winning educator and sex columnist. She has contributed to CNN, NPR, Sirius, Lifetime, Mashable, Nerve, Fast Company magazine, CBC (Canadian National Radio), Paris Première (French television) and Al Jazeera. She’s online at FUNKY BROWN CHICK®, and you can follow her on Twitter @funkybrownchick. Send your deepest love queries to questions@funkybrownchick.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Parched Texas town turns to sewage water to…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - When the going got tough due one of with worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita…

International

NYPD: Robber makes elderly man drive to Queens…

A robber grabbed an elderly man's neck outside a Queens supermarket, stole his wallet and made him drive to ATMs for withdrawals last week, police said.

Local

Manhunt on for armed bandits in $181,000 heist…

A manhunt was underway on Tuesday for masked bandits who reportedly stole roughly $181,000 in an armed robbery at Caesar's Atlantic City casino in New Jersey, police said.

Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

Arts

Theater: “Love and Human Remains” is like a…

"Love and Human Remains" is the worst show we've ever not walked out of.

Movies

Review: 'A Most Wanted Man' works better when…

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman headlines the John Le Carre adaptation of "A Most Wanted Man," about the pursuit of a Chechen refugee.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, July 22: 'Royal Pains,'…

Catch a new episode of "Royal Pains" where Hank has to help out a housesitter.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.