When There’s No Time For Love

By M. Gary Neuman

Question:
My husband and I travel a great deal independent of each other. He owns his own start up company. We fully discussed it and I was very supportive of his need to travel constantly during the next couple of years. In the meantime, I am the primary wage earner and have to travel somewhat myself. Our youngest child is in college so we aren’t tethered to home. A long time ago, about 15 years, my husband cheated with a co-worker. We obviously got by it, although we were separated and it took a while. I never thought my fears would come back. He’s done nothing wrong for years to give me fears. But lately, we hardly talk, are apart so much and when together are just exhausted. We’ve even avoided some weekends together because it’s just too much to travel to the same place. I haven’t brought it up to him because I’m afraid he’ll get frustrated. I did agree to this and I have no reason to be worried or suspect anything. I’m at a loss of how to deal with this.

Answer:
If you have no reason to be worried, why are you? You have plenty of reason for concern but it may not be the reason you think. The fact that your husband cheated many years ago does have the right to creep up on you when you least expect it. But even if your husband had never cheated, both of you should be concerned about your relationship. Every marriage depends on a close emotional connection. It’s a falicy to think that marriages can go for long periods of time without an active emotional relationship being nurtured.
This is why we often hear about famous Hollywood stars and professional athletes’ marriages being dismantled due to infidelity or other circumstances. These couples often spend excessive amounts of time apart from each other as that is the nature of their jobs. The lifestyle of the rich and famous may sound glamorous but ultimately it usually dictates a lack of the consistent energy needed to create and maintain a loving focus on marriage.

Many couples make the mistake of saying, “We’ll be closer and have more time when the kids are older,” and find themselves too busy for love well after the kids are gone. Simply put, your present lifestyle is not supportive of a loving and protected marriage. You spend most of your time separated and the time you’re together is spent discussing your collective exhaustion. No wonder you’ve begun to opt out of weekends together. Why be exhausted together when you can do it alone?

Time for a change. It begins with a clear understanding that you are making a decision for your lives together. Make no mistake, this isn’t about whether you want to be happier or closer. This is a decision about whether you want to stay married. Right now you want to but after more of this lifestyle, chances are you’ll decide to go your separate ways or stay together amidst much struggle. Decide today to set a solid time to spend together daily on the phone or better yet on skype or Ichat (through the web). Find a minimum of 30 minutes a night to see each other on your laptops. If you do this every night it’ll force both of you to chat and discuss the day’s events as well as other musings. Knowing you’ll be talking will cause both of you to remember things throughout your day that you’d like to discuss at night.
You don’t even have to talk for the entire 30 minutes. Be creative, read to each other, even watch the same television program and chat through the laptop as you’re both watching (do this only once in a while and only after you’re 30 minutes together has become a regular part of life)

Finally, move mountains to be together as often as possible, at least weekly. And clear a day to relax and be together. Don’t allow this time to get filled with other obligations to be with friends and such. Make it sacred time to love each other. Have fun, be private, touch each other a lot and remind each other why you love each other so much.

 

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M Gary Neuman is a New York Times best-selling author, and creator of Neuman Method Programs. He was on the Oprah show 11 times as well as having made multiple appearances on Today, Dateline, the View, NPR and others.  Oprah referred to Gary as “One of the best psychotherapists in the world.”