Marriage and long-term partnership

Us married and partnered folk in the mental health blogosphere virtually never talk about our relationships and I’m wondering why tonight.

For me it’s mostly an issue of privacy and respect for my spouse but right now I feel like it could be very helpful if people shared some of what goes on in their relationships with their significant others. It would be for me anyway.

My marriage is not easy. I seem to gather from most people in and outside of the mental health sphere that this is the case for most marriages.

Is there a way to open dialog while remaining respectful and maintaining appropriate boundaries around these issues?

I’m hard to live with right now. The withdrawals in conjunction with nasty PMS make me irritable. My husband in turn gets tired of me sometimes and acts out occasionally even when I’ve not done anything triggered by irritability and I’m completely innocent but he becomes defensive for no obvious reason to me. In general I trigger stuff, but we both get engaged in what seems to be a sort of mild power struggle. We are sometimes on pins and needles.

Over all our relationship is strong. He supports my psychiatric drug withdrawal and acknowledges I’m integrating the panoply of emotions that are coming to the surface over time. He is watching me grow and heal and acknowledges that.

So we have a solid foundation, but sometimes its just darn hard living with anyone at all for me. I did get my own place for a short time where I stayed two or three days a week and found I much prefer living with my husband even though I desperately wanted to be in town where we are now preparing to move. So it’s not like I don’t want him in my life. It’s just sometimes really hard to have him in my life even while wanting him in my life.

Anyone have anything to say to that? I’d like to find a way to talk about this stuff. I’m not sure how. I’d like this to be an open thread for anyone with a partner and anyone who has ever had a partner or anyone who has any insight at all into relationship for that matter. We’re all relational after all. So have at it. I hope we can discuss this.

37 thoughts on “Marriage and long-term partnership

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  1. Gianna,

    Somehow, we’ve always been able to remain best friends. And for us (my wife and I) it’s come down to being able to forgive each other – time-and-time again….

    Somehow – some way, we always seem to be able to let go of the hurts, and move forward again….This has been a saving-grace for us.

    I don’t think there’s any magic formula. A marriage is hard work – but, easier I think if the person you are married to is a true friend – a best friend


  2. Very enlightening post Gianna, the comments are awesome too. I’m glad to see so many positive relationships with caring partners, who step up to the plate it appears. I’m glad you have a supportive husband Gianna, and the ‘chicken bone incident’ is probably a good thing, because it caused you to step back and see the over-all positive relationship you seem to have with your husband. I wouldn’t worry too much about being neat…it’s all about balance.(which I know you already know).

  3. naturalgal,
    I’ve looked at flylady because you’ve mentioned her several times…
    I will try to see if she can inspire me.

    I remember your shine the sink post!!

    I like the gradual philosophy…I’m making so many gradual changes already—I think that’s part of the problem—we can only make so many changes at once…

  4. Gianna,

    Try just a couple things from or the Organizer Lady… Just pick a couple little things you will do and keep doing them. I started out with making my bed every morning and keeping the coffee table clear…that is all ………

    “Never underestimate the power of gradualness”…The Organizer Lady and “You can do anything 15 minutes at at time” Flylady….isn’t that how we have weaned off our psych drugs…gradually until we made a lifestyle change.

  5. Susan,
    I’ll have to put more effort in. You simply sound like a better wife than I am.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to be neat. I simply don’t notice mess.

    But it’s true that it is such a small thing. I intend to put more effort into it when we get into our new house…it will be a fresh start.

  6. “He supports my psychiatric drug withdrawal and acknowledges I’m integrating the panoply of emotions that are coming to the surface over time.”

    A very difficult self-assessment I am sure. Kudos for having the courage to bring up this topic. I pray that your marriage strengthens over time.

  7. Gianna,
    My husband is very neat as well. And I’m much less so. One of the ways I “pay him back” for all he does, is to really try and keep the house neat because that really matters to him. While it’s a small thing, it’s not small as far as he’s concerned. And I figure it’s the least I can do.


  8. Val,
    thanks so much for the doggy advice…it was scary to think I might have hurt her…I called the emergency vet last night and they were not reassuring…probably to cover their asses…I’ll listen to you…

    So far so good…she is on the small size though, about 26 lbs…I’m hoping you mean a really tiny dog…

  9. Oh Gianna –
    Dr Val sez don’t worry about your dog; if he/she is of any significant size “this too shall pass”… [of course disregard my assvice immediately if the lil’ darling begins to act sick, but “most of the time” canines can digest what they have ingested…
    I wish I had some sterling relationship advice too but of course I DON’T; my marriage really feels like a see-saw most of the time, & not even a particularly fun one at that!
    [P.S. at this moment in Houston, getting my yearly battery of tests; will post thereafter]

  10. thank you Susan,
    My husband has stepped up to the plate too. He takes care of everything when I’m not well too.

    We sometimes have conflict because it does get hard on him living with me and when he does occasionally become impatient I overreact. That is basically what triggered this post.

    I suspect my husband is an unrecognized saint because I’m an ungrateful person some of the time.

    I have a hard time seeing how much I have sometimes.

    Last night my dog ate a chicken bone that I had wrapped in a paper towel and not thrown away immediately. We were both worried about the dog as I’ve heard that chicken bones can rip the intestine wall.

    I’m a bit of a slob and my husband pointed this out—I felt blamed for possibly hurting our dog. My messiness is a sore point in our relationship.

    That’s all that triggered this…we are most often content though life with these withdrawals is difficult for both of us.

    I’ve had all day to ponder relationship and I feel very grateful to have such a loving husband who supports me so profoundly.

    thanks again everyone!! I really feel enriched. I hope people will continue to add to this thread.

  11. Gianna,
    My husband and I have been married for 26 years and have been together for 30. For the first 11 years, I just had two undiagnosed six-week depressions a year that barely affected our lives. (I felt a little down, but it wasn’t that bad.)

    After my diagnosis and subsequent medication merry-go-round, I was very sick. And our son was five years old. My husband stepped up to the plate in every way. He was not only wonderfully supportive to me, but he took over major parenting responsibilities when I was sick, and cooked and cleaned and did everything–plus working fulltime.

    I can never thank him enough. Whenever I was well, I tried particularly hard to not only do my share, but to let him know how much his support meant. And to let others know–in his presence–how wonderful I felt he was/is.

    I truly believe he is a “saint” and has stuck by me, supported me, and been a true helpmate, when few others would have.

    What I think is that it is very important is that we try terribly hard to remember how difficult it must be to live with someone who’s bipolar. I have always tried to be as supportive of him as he is of me, to remain patient (even when my hypomania might have made me act otherwise), to apologize when I’m wrong, and to do thoughtful things to show him my appreciation.


  12. Welcome Rebecca, and thanks so much for more insight. You sound very pragmatic and your relationship sounds lovely.

    Pragmatism in some ways can take one in either direction—being that on one hand it can be said nothing is necessarily destined to last forever and be reason to end a relationship—or on the other it’s not gonna get greener elsewhere so it’s better to stay and work on issues—problems will arise in any relationship…

    Ultimately it really depends on the relationship. Neither perspective seems right or wrong to me.

    I know I feel like all relationships suffer difficulties and rough patches and for me anyway, I can’t imagine not wanting to make it work with my husband because he is so thoroughly decent that even if it got extremely difficult I can’t imagine it not getting equally difficult with any one else at some point or another.

    I suppose I have an old fashioned view of marriage and as long as we love each other and can be good to one another it’s worth working through the hard times, but I don’t feel like it’s wrong for someone to feel like it’s okay if something doesn’t last either.

  13. My partner and I keep our separate residences, though we pretty much always stay together at one or the other place. We’ve both been married and have kids–his wife died many years ago now; I was married for almost seven years and then divorced.

    We came together as I was leaving my marriage. He gave me the space I needed–hard when he left town for almost 6 weeks!–but I’m glad he did, so that I could make the important decisions for myself and without his presence affecting my choices. We had known each other as friends for about ten years.

    We try to avoid negatives–or at least not build them up. Negatives seem to weigh much more than positives over time–but I also try to take my time about things that bug me–if they keep “coming back” or bothering me, we talk it out.

    It was hard for me, coming out of what I called a “ladder” relationship (what’s the next rung? move in together? ring? house? kids?). I always felt like we were trying to figure out what we were “supposed” to do next.

    I feel now like the whole reason I got married is because I thought that’s what a woman my age was “supposed” to do (that and I was coming out of an especially toxic relationship–my ex-husband seemed the type that would never leave me, which later wasn’t such a great thing).

    My new relationship with my current partner didn’t have a map, and sometimes that freaked me out (he doesn’t want to re-marry! how do I know he loves me?), and then I started calming down and realizing that maybe I didn’t want to re-marry either, and maybe we didn’t even need to “officially” move in together. Now, “I’m home” means that the one of us has returned to the place where the other is–home is more about us being in the same place than about the building we’re in.

    We pay attention to each other. We are both interested in a wide variety of things–some the same, some different, and sometimes that means I am listening to him talk about something I don’t really understand (and him too, I’m sure).

    We are both very respectful of each other as people–I’m constantly amazed at how many relationships I’ve seen where people aren’t–to their spouse/partner/kids/friends! How could I tear him down and still respect him, or have him respect me?

    We allow each other our pasts. In my marriage, my then-husband wanted to pretend he’d never been with anyone else, and wanted me to do the same. He was angry and resentful when I refused. My partner and I talk about what we’ve learned from our various experiences, but without prying. We don’t “tell each other everything,” but we don’t keep secrets, either.

    I don’t assume that our relationship will last “forever.” I am suspicious of those kind of promises because they can become impossible to keep through no one’s fault–but it seems everyone wants to find fault when a relationship ends anyhow.

    He is older than I am, and anything can happen (to me as well). But in building positives and trying to avoid or defuse negatives, we keep it good in the present, and give ourselves some insurance that unless there is some unforeseen disaster, it will continue to be good.

  14. Doe,
    Beautiful addition to the conversation and certainly issues I have dealt with and continue to deal with. Thanks so much for being brave enough to introduce these ideas.

    For me, I know the root problem are indeed the drugs. My sexuality is coming back in leaps and bounds, but I have a lot of catching up to do. Because I was cut off from my sexuality for so long, I don’t believe I appropriately matured sexually as I grew older.

    The intimacy created by functioning well sexually was not part of my marriage until very recently and we still have to explore all that. I’m finally functioning physically, but I think things have to catch up…and I even believe I will function even more profoundly as the rest of the drugs are removed.

    I’m still on 3 mg of Klonopin which effects sexuality…I may be functioning physically, but I think I’m still cut off in part emotionally from the full sexual experience. I have a lot of optimism though about this issue because I’ve already seen great changes.

    Perhaps those will come for you too as you continue to get off the SSRI. It was really stunning what happened when I got off the SSRI and then my God…I didn’t even know what a quantum leap would happen when I got down to less than 1 mg of Risperdal…no one tells you that neuroleptics mess with you big time too! I thought there was something wrong with me.

    I figure it’s likely to continue to improve as I’m still on offending meds.

    In any case for anyone on psych meds this is a very important issue as so many of us are impacted negatively by the drugs. I think until the drugs are out of the picture there is no telling what one truly has as far as “chemistry” and passion.

  15. Hmmm…not sure what to add to this discussion…

    Firstly, I’ve got a great partner. We have very similar life and spiritual values and have created an unconventional life that works very well for us. I feel completely unjudged and accepted by my partner. He and members of his family have struggled with “mental health” issues, so he understands it in the marrow of his dna, not just intellectually, which makes a big difference in my mind. We share a creative life–we play music together, are in a band, and our spirituality and creativity are some of our biggest bonds. I respect my partner a great deal, and often feel he is a genius–although society would probably never see it that way. His perspective on life, what he is able to see and create, leave me amazed and speechless. We are very comfortable together, very affectionate, very compatible. We have great discussions.

    What I struggle sometimes is the thing that people try and convince us is unimportant, which is passion. Yes, I know it’s not the most important thing, that it passes, yadda yadda yadda…but it gets to me sometimes–wishing we had more of that. It’s like my partner is good for my soul, but sometimes my body isn’t convinced of that. We have “enough” physical compatibility to get by–of course I wouldn’t ever be with someone that I felt physically repelled by–that would be impossible for me–but sometimes I feel that niggling desire for more intensity, a sexual, soulful intensity. And I think there is wisdom in the body, so that makes me doubt what we have sometimes.

    On the other hand, there are other factors. I know that it’s human nature to always think that the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence…to wonder, “maybe there’s someone else I would feel that with…”, but I have my doubts about that too.

    I’ve come to suspect (although I am by no means sure) that the lack of passion is not something that is “his fault” or because we are somehow incompatible in this way. (I used to always suscribe to the belief that you either have that or you don’t, it’s not something you can _make_ happen…and maybe that’s true…the jury is still out on that one)….but I also think that when you find someone you can totally trust and be all of yourself with, you find that the places where you are blocked come up to be challenged. I am thinking that maybe this is the crux of it…letting myself be completely known and seen in that particular way is very frightening for me, perhaps…and although it might feel that passion is just not there for us, it could be that all the ingredients are there, it’s just a matter of conquering the fear and rising to the challenge of being that intimate, open and free with someone–sexually.

    Anyway, this is way too long, I realize. Sorry. Other things confuse the matter of sexuality–like antidepressant drugs which mute your sexuality, your passion, and your spiritual centers (I think it’s all connected)…plus being in perimenopause with the sex hormones going down, the body no longer pushing you to procreate…all this affects everything as well, and profoundly, I’m sure.

    At any rate, I’m mostly pretty damn happy with my partner…the little demon that comes up for me isn’t money, or space, or any of that—it’s sex and passion–that little bugger gets to me sometimes.

    That’s my 2 cents…or judging from the length of the post…2 dollars, maybe.

  16. Oh mm!!

    that is so beautiful and you may be aware that Kahlil Gibran is one of my favorite poets of all times….I’ve posted other stuff by him on this blog.

    I’ve somehow never come across this one.

    thank you so much.
    Love to you! I miss you!

  17. GK – The best wisdom I have found on the subject is by Gibran. I have been with my partner for over 20 years and the most important thing to me is giving each other space. It gives a chance for each of us to explore our own interests.

    On Marriage

    Kahlil Gibran
    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

    Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

  18. I’m feeling totally overwhelmed by the response I’ve gotten and don’t know how to respond to all of you in the ways you deserve.

    I’ll start with Marrissa first since I just read your comment. I don’t think you’re being idealistic at all, unless we consider marriage itself idealistic and I’m sure many people do. We live in a society that believes less and less in long-term committed relationships even if we keep walking down the aisle.

    Your comment moved me to tears. Bless you and your husband for saving one another. I certainly feel like my husband has saved me many times over. I don’t think he shares that feeling for himself, but that is okay. He didn’t need saving and is a very strong man.

    I was not surprised to read your comment. You’ve made allusions to your marriage and I’d already figured out you must have met your husband in high school. What a beautiful story-book romance. It’s what everyone wishes for, and I believe many of us can get there if we don’t already have the actual history.

    You and your husband are both solitary which I’m sure helps with compatibility. My husband and I are totally opposite in that regard. He is very solitary and I need lots of people in my life. I do think my husband appreciates the social dimension I bring to our life, though lately, of course, I’ve not been able to get out and about too much. I find his ability to rely on himself very inspiring and I think it’s rubbed off on me to some degree, though I’m working on it. I like that I’m a people person in any case!

    Your story warmed my heart and is very inspiring.

    j12 and Jim S,
    Both of you moved me deeply. I do intend to reach the 30 plus club and you both said many practical and wonderful things.

    Sometimes I think it’s very important to have one’s own space and my husband and I made sure we could do that in our new house.

    Mark!! thanks for the good laugh!!

    I feel like marriage is a mystery and I often wish there was a friend I could talk openly about my hopes and dreams and fears, but I often feel like people won’t understand. I still just really like the idea of getting outside perspective. I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with a married “friend” who seems to want to denigrate my husband if I say one negative thing. I think she is probably very unhappy in her marriage. She is the person I see most often who is married, but I’ve learned she’s not a good person to talk to.

    I do have two girlfriends I can talk to pretty openly and comfortably and safely, but I hardly ever see them.

    And a lot of my friends aren’t married or partnered and it’s really hard for them to grasp the enormity of a long term committed relationship.

    thank you so much everyone… and please continue!

  19. I’m not sure how to respond. So far, I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive husband, although I guess it wasn’t always that way.

    My husband came to counseling sessions with me and we still have counseling sessions together every other week. It’s been going on 2 years now.

    When we were dating (long distance), it was very tough and he got very angry and upset with me. When we first got married, I’d have mixed episodes and our marriage really started out on the rocks — the opposite of what happens to most couples.

    Since we’re all fallen beings, it’s tough to always be supportive. My husband still sometimes gets irritated with me and he suffers from mild depression and I sometimes get irritated with him but I think a couple needs to verbally make a commitment to each other that they’ll fight mental illness together. I suppose I’m being idealistic but that’s been my experience.

  20. P.S. As long as you are married your spouse has a legal right to tell the psychiatric community to keep their paws and meds away from you. A friend or boy/girl friend has no such right.

  21. Hi,
    I purposely don’t say too much. I don’t feel it is fair to another person (my husband) to be blogging about his stuff…or the problems of our relationship. I would love to, but I feel that would be an invasion of his privacy.

    We have made a life for ourselves, and we had a goal of having friends. We have a circle of friends who probably think we are very, very happy.

    He is probably happier than I in the marriage, but I don’t know that for a fact.
    I feel his is my greatest support out of the prescription-drug induced fog of hell. I read somewhere that a depressed person in a so-so marriage does much better than a depressed person without a marriage. (This study said so-so marriages, not abusive marriages.) The pain of loneliness after my divorce was more than I could have imagined. I spent the next decade regretting my divorce and wanted to be married again. I HATED being single and so did he.

    Sometimes I feel like we are a couple of escaped torture victims and nobody really knows our hell, except each other. That is what we have in common. We helped each other out of a lives of hell. And we respect each other for it.

  22. I just woke up to nine wonderful responses! Since I’m still waking up (and I AM in my PMS time and my brain is scrambled I will think about all you’ve all said and respond more thoughtfully later…

    In the meantime, please, anyone else who cares to continue the conversation please do. Thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses!

    I may be going out for part of the day too. I’m hoping to get to yet another yoga class in which case I won’t be back until later in the afternoon.

    thanks for making my morning.

  23. Hubby and I have been together for over twenty years, and I think the most important thing as far as keeping our relationship afloat this long is that we were friends first. I met him when I was fifteen. We hung out all through high school, each dating different people. I didn’t date him until I was 21. So we already knew how to do the friendship part, and I think that’s part of our strength, that underneath it all, the foundation for that relationship is friendship.

    We are both fairly solitary people…neither of us likes to be in a crowd, and both of us have mostly solitary interests. He’s a digital artist and a computer programmer, I’m a writer and a fabric artist. So we don’t have a situation where one of us is engaged in something that takes up all our attention, and the other is pining for a cuddle. Most evenings find us in the same room, together and enjoying each others’ company, but engaged in our own separate pursuits.

    Communication is vital, too. And it’s not always easy. I’m a talker…I like to talk around and hash out problems. He’s not. He doesn’t like to keep harping on the same thing. But he understands my need to talk it out and I understand that he doesn’t find that helpful, so we compromise and talk it out a little when necessary…it’s not even something we’ve consciously written the rules for…just a way of operating that we’ve drifted into that works for us and gets problems solved with the minimum amount of fuss and the minimum amount of ruffled feathers. I’ve found that going for walks together is a great time for us to talk things over, because then I have his complete attention.

    Our backgrounds are pretty different, but they leave us with a common goal–he was raised by his mother after his father walked out, so he comes to the marriage determined not to do the same thing to his own children; my parents are still together and will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in a couple of years, so I come to the marriage determined to stay in a committed relationship for the long haul.

    I’ve heard that money is the number one thing people fight about. Hubby and I both come from backgrounds where, while our basic needs were met, there was not enough money for luxuries and a lot of extra things, so neither of us was raised with the expectation that we should have everything we desire right now, and I think that has helped us tremendously.

    The thing is that we are all different. We all come to relationships from different places and with different expectations. So no two marriages are going to work the same way…and as my mother says about her best friend’s marriage–what’s normal for them would mean the brink of divorce for us.

    Sorry to ramble on so…I just find this topic fascinating!

  24. Jim S–I can’t thank you enough for writing that. I agree with you on everything (also being in the “30” up club). My son might describe himself today just as you once did… He had a beautiful relationship with a wonderful girl. We thought they would be living happily ever after by now… until the bipolar problems came to light. Your post is beautiful and has so much truth and hope in it…thanks.

  25. I’ve been married for over thirty years. That’s not bad for someone who is alcoholic, bipolar, and used to weigh 300 pounds. I did not have much positive to offer anyone.

    Everyone seems to have strong opinions on what to do in relationships. I’m not really sure what keeps a marriage going, but I have a few ideas that may or may not be good.
    -My wife and I both had parents who got married then stayed together until death. I think leaving a relationship when things stop being exciting is the style now. Everyone is doing it, so we want to do it too.

    -Expectations are too high. We want perfect partners and a perfect life. At first, realtionships are like drugs, they make us feel so good. However, after a year or so the high disappears and life responsibilities reappear. At that point, we want to find someone else. I say if you want a long term relationship, you need to accept life on life’s terms. Of course, maybe some people like to keep chasing that high from new relationships. That is their business.

    -My big thing with relationships is money. We need to manage our wants. It is so easy to get into debt today. My main hobbies gardening and visiting libraries do not recquire much money compared to things like racing giant trucks, so I don’t waste money, consequently my spouse can’t blame me for screwing up the finances.

    -The biggest thing is probably to do onto others, as you would have others do onto you.

    Jim S

  26. “Thank God men are not having these same hormonal changes every month”
    Sure we do, ever seen the TV show Seinfeld? The episode “the contest”
    The phrase “master of your domain”

    (Jerry and George. They’re bickering at each other due to the lack of sex)

    GEORGE: All you got is instant coffee? Why don’t you get some real coffee?

    JERRY: I don’t keep real coffee in here, I get my coffee on the outside! (Intercom buzzes. He answers it) Yeah?!

    ELAINE: (Through intercom) It’s Elaine.

    JERRY: (Shouting) Come on up! (Opens his door for Elaine)

    GEORGE: Where did you get those socks?

    JERRY: I don’t know.

    GEORGE: I think those are my socks!

    JERRY: How are these your socks?!

    GEORGE: I don’t know, but those are my socks! I had a pair just like that with the blue stripe, and now I don’t have them anymore!

    JERRY: (Sarcastic) Oh, yeah, that’s right, well, you fell asleep one day on the sofa and I took them off your stinkin’ feet. They looked so good to me, I just had to

    have them!

    GEORGE: Yeah, well, they’re my socks!

    JERRY: They’re my socks!

    (A brief moment passes as they look at each other)

    GEORGE: Oh boy..

    JERRY: What are we doing here..

    GEORGE: ..Oh boy.

    JERRY: This is ridiculous.

    GEORGE: Do you believe this? We’re fighting. We’re fighting.

    JERRY: I haven’t been myself lately. I’ve been snapping at everybody.

    GEORGE: Me too. I’ve been yelling at strangers on the street.

  27. Good Topic–I can’t think of a more important one. I know this is a repeat, but I’m thinking that you’re both feeling a ton of stress with the move–don’t underestimate that “contribution” to your relationship. Believe me, the grass isn’t any greener…being alone sucks and all good relationships take work. (Sometimes I don’t feel like working at it! I just want to escape!)

    I could write a book or two on this topic, (someday, I just may) but I’ll just say that I’ve learned that PEOPLE are the most addicting thing on the planet, and for good reason. I see so many people hopping in and out of relationships when the “chemistry” wears off in 1-5 years–much like a drug that we become tolerant too, so we look for someone else to feel what we thought was deeply loved and alive again…as for us, we’ve tried to remind each other that we’ve decided to be friends and lovers, and we’re in it for the long hall.

    In most longterm relationships there is a “teter-toter” at play, and just like our bodies are doing, it is seeking balance. I start bitching about a specific problem, about lack of communication on top of it, and then I feel guilty because he always listens and tries to understand the tears, the sadness, and to “fix” the problems…He processes things differently than I do. I think it boils down to the fact that women ARE different from men, thank GOD! Since you mention that PMS is a problem for you, I’ll just talk about that for now. We “fall apart” every month physically and emotionally (for many of us) for a purpose. I think it’s so that we can literally release some real emotions. Physical things are washed away, too, and we do have real pain…Maybe it’s there to bring us closer together–you know, to ease each other’s pain?…Thank God men are not having these same hormonal changes every month, so someone in the relationship can keep an even keel. I really do feel sorry for men. How and when do THEY get to express their pain? History tells us that in some Native American cultures, women went to the “menstrual hut” during PMS–I think it was a wise move, not only since they hadn’t invented kotex yet, but to preserve the family relationships and the guy’s sanity! (LOL)

    Like you, I’m still having fun! with PMS, but thinking that menopause is right around the corner–(‘had a pity party yesterday, crying almost all day about how bad EVERYTHING is)–I’m looking forward to that “even keel…” I think it may help the relationship…and my husband to have that good friend and lover he so much deserves EVERY day.

    There’s much more, but I’ll stop writing now, and look forward to reading for sure, as Cricket said…I hope you find the words to give voice to your concerns, if only to release them and process them–I know you love and respect your husband much and I hope you will find the insight you need right now, knowing you’re not alone…

  28. This is such a universal problem that my support group (for people with mood disorders) has a special sub-group about the topic altho as of yet it’s only for people in dating or committed relationships excluding marriage.

    In our support group a married woman & her husband lived in a nice-sized house. At least once a month they could not stand each other so the husband would move into the back of the house – there was no entry to the front – and he would live there for a week or so until the 2 of them could tolerate each other again. It preserved the marriage.

    My boyfriend & I live in separate houses right next door to one another. He will never comprehend my need for solitude and that interrupting me when I’m writing is utterly exasperating. So we came up with a plan because I don’t want to be rude and inconsiderate (which I’ve been) to this darling darling man. I simply tell him my hours of occupation and he stays away. Good communication between partners can fix almost anything. Also we must know ourselves & acknowledge our flaws.

    Great question, Gianna! I think just opening up the dialog is good for all of us.

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