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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.