Category Archives: Living Together

Advice about living together.

Relationship question?

Hi Rob,
I came across your website and I am searching for some answers in regards to my relationship with my fiance of almost 4 years.
It seems there has been quite a change in our relationship since last year… We haven’t had sex in almost 9 months now.. this has left me with an empty and unsatisfied life… he has been depressed due to finances but this truly bothers me.. when I got to try and touch him, he says “get off”… he also has been putting pillows under his legs and between us in bed.. which really bothers me… it is also hard enough for me to get a kiss good bye or just a nice hug from him… I have never ever been with a man who doesn’t want to hug, kiss or make love to me.. it is so hard for me to understand this problem.. when I ask him why he’s not interested in sex he says it’s not his priority…
I would truly appreciate your opinion.. I just want to be happy and have someone in my life who appreciates and loves me…
Sincerely, Paula

Hi Paula,
Let me start with life’s pressures affecting the way we interact with those closest to us. It’s easier to push people away than to share what’s bothering us.
Open and honest communication needs to be regained in your relationship and you need to find out how to approach the subject without starting an argument or seeming to place blame.
Financial pressures account for the greatest majority of relationship breakups.
Do you have any clues about changes to his (and your both) finances?
Visiting can bring you some ideas on how to start a dialogue that will allow you insight and healing of your relationship.
Best wishes,

Hi Rob,
I stumbled onto your site while researching controling men.

I am 20 yrs old I met this guy through another friend he took my number & we started talking having 9 hr conversations at this time we lived in two different states we talked on the phone for about 4 months and visited each other for a month.

I moved to be with him, then all of a sudden his family who lives in Jordan didn’t want us to live together without being married. This issue had never been risen until I moved. I found this to be suspicious but loved him and didn’t want to have to move back. So we got married in October.

Things go well then go bad.

I am a very strong independent woman who likes a little space and a little input on subjects. I have lived on my own for 2 years and have worked and attended college so I’ve been very self sufficient I guess you could say. He is the one who wanted me to move here now that I’m here and we are married things have changed.

I don’t work because we only have one car so he takes it everyday to go to work sometimes 14 hr shifts which leaves me in the house alone and bored. I haven’t met anyone since I have moved here so no friends no family.

I rarely go out only to the bank, and grocery shop, occasionally we will go for a drive or eat out maybe once a month. I cook for him even when he gets home from work at 4am , also wake up every morning and bring the coffee to the bed side for him, clean, laundry, iron all clothes, run his bath/shower water, massage almost EVERY night (I have yet to get a massage) greet him with a kiss when he comes home from work, and an I love every night before I fall asleep.

He is obviously from Jordan and speaks arabic I have started trying to learn arabic so I can understand him better along with learning about his religion. He seems miserable, tells me that his ex understood him more than I do, wants somebody who listens (I feel that I do listen), & that any girl would be happy to sit at home and relax (truth be it makes me miserable to sit at home).

In return I just feel like I’m being taken for granted and nothing I do is good enough and I’m pretty much not up to his standards. However he does do sweet things but I constantly feel like I don’t have a say in anything.

He’s always telling me I should do this or that or why don’t you do it like this, You know what your problem is (my personal fav. makes me want to yell every time he says it).

He doesn’t like me to really talk to my old old grade school friend who is a guy & a gay guy at that! He also tells me that if I keep listening to my mother and everyone else in my life then they are going to screw up my life. My mom feels that he is controling I don’t know sometimes I see it and sometimes I just see a sweet guy trying his best.

When I try to talk about these issues with him it’s an uphill battle he won’t acknowledge or agree with my view of what is going on in our relationship. He always tells me I look at the small stupid stuff that doesn’t matter, also tells me I’m too sensitive.

I feel that if I said half the things that he says to me it would be ten times worse than him saying it to me if that makes sense, feels like I’m supposed to sit down and take it (not in my nature).

I went crazy on him today and told him that if he wanted something different than me go get her! I feel emotionally exhausted & also like I’m losing that strong independent part of myself!

On top of all of this we are working on his citizenship papers! & we just had 3 officers barge into our home at 630am yesterday! So multiple questions come up! You think he is controlling? What should I do if he is? I don’t want to leave, I hate divorce! If he is controlling can I fix it? Finally how do I make him and myself happy?
Thanx a lot

Hi Anonymous,
He is controlling and it’s a cultural thing as much as a personality thing.

You are right to suspect the type of relationship you’re in and would suggest couples counselling to work these issues out.

You need a third person there to help the both of you communicate better.

Your happiness within your marriage is the responsibility of both of you, not something that you need to work on by yourself.

Is it possible he’s using you for citizenship papers? Unfortunately, because of how you describe ypur married life I have suspicions.

If he won’t go to counselling then start the sessions on your own. And do your best to get a second car so that you have some independence once again.

Best wishes,

Do I Keep My Boyfriend or the Guy I Met Online?

Dear Rob,
I’m in a state of confusion whether to ‘breakup’ or end communicating with this guy. I’m 27 and he’s 26.

I met him online and we’ve been chatting for almost 6 months now.

He’s halfway round the world, obviously. We just talk things out if we’re not busy. We like each other but I guess he likes me more because he doesn’t seem to care if I have a boyfriend already ( I have a steady boyfriend for 6 years in a relationship).

I’m totally impressed with his style because for 6 months straight he remained respectful… not a typical guy you’ve met online who would go overboard, you know those stuffs. No pressure at all from him.

He used to tell me that we’re not talking ‘relationships’ but liking each other.  He said, he really doesn’t know why he likes me so much and remained communicating with me even though I shut out our communication for two months straight.

And I don’t even know what type of relationship we are in right now.

What it’s called Rob?

Of course I should not expect more out of this because I’m cheating with my boyfriend.

That’s the point.  So…

Why does this guy keeps me at bay?

He doesn’t want to end our communication. He said he’ll be around til we grow old. lol…  He said I have every right on him.. every right.  But he doesn’t want to open up his 3 year relationship with his ex. Could it be he still loves her? I’m just a cover up?

And he also told me that if I want to meet him I just have to say so. But as I see it,  no strings attached, since he’s got plans to have a girlfriend in his place.

It’s just that he doesn’t found someone special. He used to say that why we’re so far from each other.

He’s culture bound and he’s not christian.

What do you think Rob?


I think you are cheating on the guy you’re with and looking for a reason to escape this relationship.

I’m not going to give it to you. But I think you’ll make that one up for yourself.

6 years in a relationship and still dating? Living together without a firm commitment on marriage?

Do you see why you have doubts?

You need to decide for yourself which is going to be the better relationship, the one you have now or your fantasy guy that you met online. 6 months of chatting doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

You are in a fantasy relationship with this online guy, that’s what it’s called.

When you meet someone online my rule is: “You never know someone until you can smell them”.

There are big differences between his culture and yours. Watch out. There is a lot more to this story and what you’re not telling me are the reasons why you don’t think this ‘relationship” would work. Follow your gut instinct about this, and end it.

And if you do go to visit him, yes, there are strings attached. You are becoming emotionally attached to this shadow guy, this figment of an online boyfriend. End it now.

I really think you need some single time or counselling to decide why you have allowed yourself to put yourself in this situation.

What are you looking for outside of your current relationship?

Best wishes,


My Ex-Husband Is A Mama’s Boy

Dear Rob,
I am really confused. I had a 15 year marriage to a mama’s boy. All throughout our marriage, he would seek out his mother constantly for everything. For example, he insisted on having meals over his mother’s house two to three times per week (he would have spent MORE time with his mother if I would have accepted it, but I didn’t).

Rob, I actually had to create a structured, written-out schedule with him about “how many times” he should go over to see her (which made me feel so parental, and I didn’t want to be his parent… I wanted to be his wife!).
Needless to say, he AND his overbearing, narcissistic, controlling mother were resentful of me for the “restrictions” I placed on their relationship. How dare I intrude on them!!!!

Every day, My ExH would leave for work, and immediately call his mommy when he got into work, and they’d talk 2-3 times in the day. On his desk at work, he kept my picture AND his mother’s, side by side. At home, we’d argue all the time over taking trips, because he didn’t want to travel. He used excuses such as, “I’m afraid to fly” (ironically, his mother is apparently “afraid to fly” too… yet she’s flown at least 7 times before this??).

When he was feeling ill, he’d immediately ask me to “go get” his mother so she could take care of him (he never asked for ME to take care of him). He got very anxious when I talked about moving out of his parents home (yes, at his request, we lived in an addition attached to his mother’s house). He told me straight out on several occasions, “We don’t have the money. Why don’t we just live here. We’re going to inherit my parents home anyway”, which I thought was ludicrous. Heck, I wanted a normal, independent life with him .I wanted to be one with him. I wanted a healthy adult marriage.

In a very short while after we got married, I truly resented both he and his mother. And this may sound weird, but it actually felt like THEY were the married couple, and I was the affair (after all, my ExH was actually a substitute for his mother’s husband, who was pushed away and ignored… she and her husband even slept in separate beds).

I actually saw a counselor alone and told her about this. The first thing she had told me was, “The situation you are living in is very unhealthy. If he won’t move out of his parents home, then you’ll really have to seriously consider other options, unfortunately.” She also said (and I’ll never forget this as long as I live), “Essentially he is having an affair…and YOU are the other woman.”

Ok, so Rob, now I’ve finally (after 15 years of feeling so resentful, pushed aside, and devalued) left my marriage in October 2005. I felt so free…and yet…so hurt at the same time. The person that I loved so much… the husband that I shared so many fun things with…didn’t bat an eyelash when I left. He was nonchalant about it, and perfectly happy to stay with his mother. His attitude was, “Well, I’m sure we’ll get back together again someday. I love you. I know we belong together.” But he made absolutely NO effort to fight for our marriage.

It is taking me a long time to get over him, because he and I were best friends (who had sex). Let me explain:

Other than the mother thing, my exH and I had an excellent relationship. We spend loads of time together, finishing our graduate degrees at the same time, taking walks in the woods, playing golf, going out to beautiful dinners, and holding hands. However I just didn’t have sexual feelings for him. Still, we had sex but only 1-2x month. And when we did, I felt numb, like I didn’t really want to be there. Yet I love him so dearly, so deeply, because he is such a great individual. His heart is so good, he’s highly intelligent (has his PhD), and an excellent work ethic.

Ok, so here’s the current scoop:
I have a boyfriend whom I love very much. And yes, I finally discovered that I actually have a very healthy, normal sex drive (with my boyfriend) that WAS NOT present with my exH.
Knowing that I have a sex drive gives me comfort, because I totally was not feeling passion or sexual feelings toward my exH. At the same time, I feel sad and GUILTY that I didn’t have “IT” for my exH and I mean REALLY GUILTY, cuz he’s such a great guy.

I still LOVE my exH SO MUCH but DO NOT want to be with him sexually. I believe that the reason I don’t want him romantically is simply because he’s NOT a man (Heck, he’s 42 and STILL lives with his parents – – essentially he’s a “man-child” as you write about on your website, Rob). The mother-son co-dependency thing really soured the whole thing for me.

So, here’s the problem:
My ex-H emailed sent me an email today, asking me to go for a drive with him tomorrow so we can “talk about our relationship” (i.e. he wants to get back together with me). Well, #1, as I said I have a boyfriend whom I love. But #2. I still love my exH a lot but not in a romantic way.
And I’m just so confused about all of this. It hurts tremendously, because I love them both deeply, but in two different ways (i.e. I love my exH so deeply, but he is a man-child who is still very attached to his mother’s umbilical cord VS. I love my boyfriend, who is a real man and can stand on his own two feet). So you can see the horrific dilemma I have.

My question:

Some people say that one can actually “work on” and “develop” feelings for someone. If I were to get back together with my exH, would I be able to CREATE and DEVELOP sexual feelings and passion for him?
Thanks in advance for your reply,

Hi Sue,
I do understand the situation you feel yourself in, but I have to say:
Unless your ex-husband is willing to make positive changes to his lifestyle, initially starting with moving out on his own and getting away from the dependency of “Mama”, there is no hope for the two of you getting together again and renewing a positive relationship.

Sure, you’ve had good times, you’ve shared a lifetime (albeit 15 years) together. That isn’t easily given up on. But unless your ex is ready and willing to crawl out from his mother’s bosom, you’re still in the situation you were when you left him: he’s a baby that wants his mama first and foremost.

I would not get back together with him unless he moved out on his own, started counseling for his dependency on his mother, and was finally able to be a man, not a little boy. He needs to find his own inner strengths, not relying on others. He needs counseling so that if he does manage to move away from “Mama” he doesn’t just project his dependency onto you or someone else in his life.

As far as your current relationship, maybe you need a break just so you can experience the single life for a while. That’s why the confusion when your ex contacted you and the thoughts of giving up on your current boyfriend.

I also think that your ex-husband emailing you a get-back-together message is also a sign that he’s under control of people around him and not able to openly talk about what he wants, another co-dependent trait. Sure, he misses you…. But not enough, not yet.
Maybe he never will.

As for your question:
“Some people say that one can actually “work on” and “develop” feelings for someone. If I were to get back together with my exH, would I be able to create and develop sexual feelings and passion for him?”

This is not correct in your case. You’ve had 15 years of neglect, of being placed second in your husband’s life. Why would you want to go back to this knowing full well he still can’t offer you the true love, satisfaction and commitment that a wife truly deserves?

Until your exH can correct his past behavior, you will not be able to create any passion and sexual feelings for him simply because these emotions will be overshadowed by his types of behavior that never inspired these feelings in you to begin with. The “Love” for your exH you still feel is brought on by your comfort level and security in the type of relationship you did have (romanticized somewhat as well by time), not the relationship you actually lived.

I suggest that you start a journal right now. A past history diary.
Starting date: when you first met your husband.
Include the things you did together and how you remember the feelings you had for him at the time.
Try to remember the dates of trouble and the events that led to your husband running to his mother instead of coming to you.
The confrontations you had with him and his mother that drove you away.

Write everything down in cold hard factual style. Date and times are important. Fill in details later, arrange dates when you can.

You need to face the reality of your old marriage relationship and understand that it’s ending was not your fault. You never had a chance. You were married into a game that had no rules you could follow and still be a vibrant, sexual, compassionate woman.
The fix was in. The honestly pitiful fact is that it took so long for you to understand this.
Best wishes,

The Uncaring, Selfish Husband

Dear Rob,
My husband and I are married for 2 years and 2 months now. We were in love for 4 years before being married.

My parents opposed the marriage and fought against it until it happened.

We have a group of common friends that I like so much. The problem is that my husband is very selfish, he does what he wants to do when he wants to do it without considering me or thinking of our little daughter.

We do not have much of a private life, we have to spend all our spare time with our group of friends. I can not plan to go out anywhere if they are not coming. Thursdays are sacred for them.

I can not go to the cinema if they did not feel like it. My husband does not like going to a restaurant with me to even have lunch. The only common thing that we share is going to the pool. That is all.

I might like to do some things in the weekend but I have to either go by myself or take some of my friends but never to bother him because he will not do anything for me.

If I want to spend any time with him then I will have to do it his way or find my own way to entertain myself alone. He has no concern to do anything even for one hour just for me. In all the occasions, it’s the same to him: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, marriage anniversary means nothing to him.

He does not want to exchange presents and he does not want to go out even though he knows that this matters to me so much. I have to accommodate myself always on his likes & dislikes but mine are my own problems. He does allow anyone to tell him what to do, he chooses what he will do according to his mood. If I want something I have to do it and not bother him.

I hope I explained my problem. I want to find a solution. I love him but still I can not bear this kind of attitude anymore.

I began to be not wanting to share anything with our friends. If I do not want to (sometimes before I used to go not because I want to but because I have to share with him something). I began to feel not wanting to share anything with him if he does not want to share anything with me. I am not over demanding I demand a little and on long intervals other than that we do all what he likes and even this is not appreciated by him.
Thanks in advance,

Hi Mary-Jane,
Now is the time for you to confront him about being inconsiderate of you and his bad behavior.

Sit him down and tell him openly how he makes you feel. That he is not being fair or nice to you. A marriage is a partnership, not a place for a husband to think only of himself.

And, the next time that be talks badly of you in front of you and his friends, you immediately do this:
Repeat what he said, and say “I can’t believe that you’d say that about me, your loving wife” and wait for his reply.
Whenever he says something mean, hurtful or selfish use a variation of that phrase:
“I can’t believe that you’d say that about me, your loving wife”
“I can’t believe that you’d wouldn’t think about me, your loving wife”
“I can’t believe that you’d make me do this all by myself, your loving wife”

If you continue to let him mistreat you, you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your marriage.

If you stand up for yourself, eventually he will understand that he cannot treat you so badly.

Guys like this usually were overly doted on by their mothers or older siblings. They were always allowed to do what they want, the consequences of their actions never being made apparent to them or having to apologize for thinking only of themselves. Changing this behavior requires calm, thoughtful confrontation.
Never become angry.
Don’t cry.

Remain calm when you talk to him about his behavior, don’t let him turn the fault of his behavior onto yourself (a sign of controlling behavior).

And when he’s being mean in front of his friends towards you, repeat what he said and ask him, in front of his friends, why he’d say such a hurtful thing.

To rein in a poorly behaving, selfish husband, you have to make the rules of your marriage, friendship and relationship clear to him. You need to be calm and not back down from talking to him about his continuing to hurt you emotionally by his actions and words.

You may also want to talk to his parents and older siblings about his behavior. How they dealt with it, why maybe he acts this way. A little insight can go a long way.

If you can start counseling as well, this will help you to understand how to deal with these husband troubles. Go alone if he won’t join you.

You’ll become a better person, a stronger wife, for doing these things.
Best wishes,