A Deficit of Attention Will Lead to a Marriage Deficit

“How do you communicate with someone who has adult-diagnosed ADHD and is very insecure?  My husband refuses to listen to or believe me when I try to offer him any kind of fact, but if someone else tells him the same fact, their word is believed immediately.  The few days of the week that I’m at work and he stays home with our daughter, he will just do the barest minimum of housework or caring for her even if I ask him to take care of one thing around the house.  He constantly reminds me that he has a high IQ, and makes me feel stupid compared to him.  Yet he mentions that my memory is infallible compared to his. Why is he so full of himself if he is insecure at the same time? I just feel like if we have nothing in common besides our wonderful child, why are we still together?”

~T

Hi T,

Thank you for your question.

Let me start off by saying I’m not a doctor so I can only give you a relationship answer, not a medical one. For a medical answer please talk with your doctor.

That being said, let’s get into your relationship with your husband, not his medical condition.

You didn’t mention when these relationship problems started with your husband. I’m sure you knew about his medical condition before you married him.

When did your communication problems with him start, before you got married, after you got married or after you had your daughter?

Let’s look at all three.

If your communication problems started before you got married then I’m not sure why you married him. Your communication with him is supposed to be excellent before you get married because if it isn’t excellent then after you get married it will only get worse.

If your communication was good before you got married then how was it after you were married for a while? Was it still good or were there “rough spots”?

If there were some rough spots then what was the subject matter of those rough spots? Was it the same topic over and over or was it generalized things? What was it about the rough spots that were causing friction?

I’m going to guess the problems started after your daughter was born. Whose decision was it to have the child? If you had the child against his will that would explain his current attitude. From what you’ve said about your relationship with him it seems he’s no longer interested in being married and doesn’t want the responsibilities of being a father.

One of the worst mistakes I see women make is assuming everything will “work itself out.” It rarely does. The problems just get worse.

You didn’t mention whether he worked or not or if he was on disability. You didn’t mention whether or not he wanted to be a father.

Unfortunately the situation you’re in is only going to get worse because you can’t force him to do anything. It sounds like he’s resentful of your daughter. Before she was born he had you all to himself. Now he has to share you with someone, your daughter, who needs a lot of time, energy and attention. Time, energy and attention that used to go to him. And it’s time, energy and attention you have to give your daughter for the next 18 years.

He seems to be completely unwilling and uncooperative regarding any adult responsibilities and it sounds like you are more of his mother rather than his wife.

I’m sorry to sound so negative but you need to realistically look at the problem and your options before you can deal with this situation to the best of your ability and try to be fair to all three of you.

You didn’t mention where your parents or in laws live. You didn’t mention any brothers or sisters or brother or sister in laws. That is one option for your daughter: Let her stay with them while you work on your marriage and see if it’s worth saving.

Your top priority is the care of your daughter.

It sounds like you need a break from all this to figure out what your options are and what your best course of action is.

Right now you’re raising a dysfunctional daughter because your relationship with your husband is dysfunctional.

The conversation you need to have with your husband is you need to ask him whether or not he wants to be a father. The second question you need to ask him is whether or not he wants to be married to you.

As painful as the truth may be at least you can deal with it. It’s the dragging of it out that is a complete waste of time for all three of you.

Why?

Because if your relationship with your husband is over and you drag it out it’s eventually going to end anyway. All that time, all those fights, won’t change him mind or his attitude. It just drags it out.

Not only does it waste a lot of time but it’s time you could have put in another relationship.

So here’s my advice: Find a relative, your parents, his parents or one of your brothers or sisters or one of his brothers or sisters who can take your daughter for a week while you sit down with your husband and flat out ask him:

1) Do you want to be a father to our daughter, yes or no?

2) Do you want to stay married to me, yes or no?

Regardless of what he says it will tell you what you need to do to protect and take care of your daughter and yourself.

I wish all three of you only the best,

Bryan Redfield

Check out my online course How To Get Him To Commit To You

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Hot and Heavy or Hopeless?

I connected with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a few years. We did Reiki shares at a common friend’s home. This friend, Jim, is 13 years older, age 74. So we started doing things together. I feel as friends, but soon he was trying to kiss me. I didn’t feel a similar interest, but eventually relented, thinking maybe the relationship would be worth a try.

He is a sensitive, nice guy. The problem…. the first time things got hot and heavy he says; I feel like a teenager again. False assumption on my part, thinking it meant that his male parts were working properly. He wants to kiss, get touchy feely and have a hard on, but nothing more. I explained that it doesn’t feel right for me as I have a healthy active libido and want sex from a partner. He is not interested in seeing a doctor to figure things out. A nice guy, but missing the romance and the sex. It doesn’t feel like a true romance. I feel like I am dating a dirty old man. I have wanted to break things off with him for several weeks. Any advice on how I can do this in a thoughtful and kind way.

~G

Hi G,

Thank you for your question.

Let’s start with a few “beginning a new relationship” basics first to save you time in your next relationship.

I teach my students that when you first meet a guy who is a potential dating prospect or romantic interest you want to get the answers to these four questions as quickly as possible:

1) Is this a good prospect by YOUR definition? At this point it doesn’t matter what he wants. What matters is what you want.

2) How long will it last?

3) Does he want a serious relationship or does he just want to use me?

And your answers to those three questions will give you the answer to the fourth question which is:

4) Do I want to see him again?

You will spend your entire relationship with him answering those questions. If you get a negative answer to any one of those questions at any time in your relationship with him then why would you continue to look at him as a dating prospect or a potential romantic relationship? It will only lead to your frustration. Not only is it a waste of time, the tragic thing is it’s time you could have put into finding or establishing a positive, healthy, constructive relationship with a guy you DO get along with.

While you are doing your research and collecting your data on him at the beginning of your relationship uppermost in your mind you should also be asking yourself this question: Am I dealing with a man or a boy pretending to be a man? If you automatically assume you are dealing with a man instead of a boy pretending to be a man then you will be sorely disappointed and extremely frustrated. It sounds like that’s what happened in this relationship.

If you seem to be getting along then at that point it boils down to another four questions:

1) CAN he give me what I want, need and desire in a positive, healthy, constructive romantic relationship?

Maybe he can, maybe he can’t.

2) WILL he give it to me?

Just because he can doesn’t mean he will. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t.

3) HOW MUCH of it can he give me?

4) What do I have to go through to get it?

A basic Golden Rule I teach all my students is: Never compromise your self respect for any reason at any time. If you do then you’re just allowing yourself to get used and you’ll feel terrible. I’ve yet to see an exception to that Golden Rule.

When you are dealing with a new relationship you have to go by this Golden Rule: Assume nothing. You assumed he was looking for something more lasting. What people say, what they mean and what they do can well be three completely different things. That appears to be the case with Jim. That’s why you assume nothing.

If he’s looking for something romantic you have every right to ask him NICELY what he’s looking for. Too many women at this point grill the poor guy and he shuts up. They aggressively ask, “Where is this relationship going??” “Where do you see us in 5, 10, 20 years??” And so on.

Look at it this way. What would you do, how would you feel and how would you react if that same guy started grilling you: “When are we going to start having sex?” “How often will we have it?” “What do you like to do in bed?” You get the idea.

There are easier, safer ways to get all the information you want and he will give it to you willing WHEN you know how to ask the right questions and interpret his answers.

So how do you do that?

Imagine this: You’re with your guy and you simply say, “I really enjoy being with you.”

What he says, how he responds, is going to tell you a great deal about how he feels about you and what he wants. If he relaxes and smiles then things are going smoothly. If he gets defensive [look at his body language] then he’s telling you he isn’t looking for a commitment or something long term YET. He may change his mind but he’s not ready yet. He may never change his mind.

Just enjoy what you have for the moment and see how it unfolds.

How open is he with you about his feelings? That’s a sign of his maturity level and what you can expect long term.

Another thing: You only make his needs, wants and desires more important than yours when he makes your needs, wants and desires more important than his. Otherwise you’re going to get used. I don’t want to happen to you.

When he told you he has a problem and he has no desire to go to a doctor to get it fixed he just proved to you that he’s a boy pretending to be a man. A man addresses his problems and actively gets positive, healthy, constructive solutions that effectively fix the problem. He doesn’t make up excuses. Jim is giving you excuses, not reasons.

When he said, “I feel like a teenager again” you should have asked him what he meant rather than assuming anything because it turns out what he said and what he meant were two completely different things.

When you told him you have sexual needs his response [or lack of response, depending on how you want to look at it] was what it was then he just told you he doesn’t care about what you need, want and desire in a relationship. That should have ended things on your part right then and there.

So you’re at the point of realizing you’re wasting your time on a relationship that can’t give you what you want, need and desire in a positive, healthy, constructive way. How do you break it off and how to you do it using class, style and dignity without compromising your self respect or your integrity?

If you would like to try to remain friends then I would suggest you stop treating him like a romantic partner and start treating him like a friend. Treat him the way you used to before you started dating.

If you call him, stop. If you text him, stop. Let him do the calling and let him do the texting.

When he wants to get together for a “date” suggest you get together in the daytime rather than the evening. Nighttime is for romance. Daytime is for friends. If he says he’d rather get together in the evening then you tell him honestly you’re not enjoying the evening time you spend together. Notice you’re NOT putting him down. You’re just saying you don’t enjoy the evening times and you’d rather concentrate on getting together in the daytime. If he doesn’t want to do that then it ends the relationship altogether.

If you get together with him in the daytime then make sure you don’t respond romantically. It’s just two friends getting together. If he tries to kiss you romantically, rather than two friends who meet, just turn your cheek so he kisses your cheek rather than on the lips.

If you go somewhere where you spend money, like a coffee shop, etc. make sure you pay for your stuff. That’s what friends do when they get together. Sooner or later he’ll get the message after one get together.

If you’re bold then you could say, “Jim, this looks like false advertising.”

If you’ve decided you don’t want to stay friends with him then you simply tell him when he asks you out that you’d honestly rather just be friends rather than romantic partners. The key is you don’t put him down or blame him or anything like that because you just make yourself look bad. Don’t tell him it’s your fault, either, because it isn’t.

Then you just stop answering his calls and any other communication he tries to do with you.

You didn’t mention whether or not you run into each other socially. If you don’t then that’s the end of that. If you do then don’t avoid him when you see him. It just makes you look bad. Just interact with him the way you did when you were just friends. Let him get uncomfortable, not you.

The good thing here is you never got sexually involved so it makes it a lot easier. You should be disappointed it didn’t work out but not hurt. A long term relationship with Jim would have ended up being a babysitting job. You deserve better than that.

Another critically important thing I teach my students: When a relationship hasn’t worked out the way you want then do your research and write down why it didn’t work out. Keep detailed notes. What did you miss that you should have seen that would have prevented you from wasting time on Jim? This will protect you from having it happen in your next relationship.

Don’t let the good things in life rob you of the best things in life.

Bryan

Check out my Course at GetHimToCommitYou.com

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Holiday Humble Pie

This time of year is really stressful for my husband and myself – our relationship with his parents is so difficult because we feel that his mother criticizes everything. Any advice on how to stay chill and not let her ruin the wonderful season? Thank you!

~S

Hi S,

Thank you for your question.
You are making memories with your husband that will last the rest of your lives. Let’s make them as fun, pleasant and enjoyable as we can.

When families get together for the holidays most of them regress to the most childish levels possible. Parent’s behavior tends to regress to the level of when you were a five year old child and they try to correct and discipline everything you say and do.

In order to deal with this situation effectively there are three critical things you need to realize, understand and accept: 1) You are not going to change them or their behavior so don’t try. 2) You can’t take any of this personally. 3) You can’t take any of it seriously.

Those three things are the Golden Keys on how to handle the situation in a positive, healthy, constructive, stress free way.

Here’s how you do that: In order to make most people happy all you have to do is agree with them. No one can argue or fight with someone that agrees with them.

So no matter what she says, no matter how negative it is, all you have to do is agree with her.

When you realize, understand and accept that her negativity doesn’t mean anything it puts you back in control.

Look at it like you’re pacifying a child. You and your husband can make a game out of it called: Who can be the most negative? Whatever she says you say, “Oh, it’s much worse than that….” and be as negative as you possibly can be.

Remember, it’s only a game.

When you realize, understand and accept that it’s only a game and it doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong then it takes all the pressure off of both your husband and you. Just don’t get sarcastic. Sound sincere. Realize her negativity is not from something you’ve said or done and don’t take it personally. This is the way she was before you and your husband were born and she’ll take it with her to the grave.

Pretend you’re dealing with a spoiled, pampered child. How would you treat her? Also remember what she says is no reflection of you. It really doesn’t matter what she says or what she thinks. You’re just trying to keep the peace in a non confrontational way.

And remember: You don’t have to live with her all day. Her husband does. [And he’s lived with it since the day they met… That poor guy…]

Happy Holidays,

Bryan

GetHimToCommitToYou.com

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Sound Like a Lamb, But Be a Lioness

Question:

How do I get people to listen to me without being a B? Not like command, just LISTEN. I have a soft voice so I think that has something to do with it. I get talked over a lot and it’s very annoying.

~J

Hi J,


Thank you for contacting me. You didn’t mention whether you wanted people to listen to you in your romantic, personal, professional or social relationships so let’s cover all four. It’s perfectly okay to have a quiet voice. A quiet voice and being shy usually go hand in hand because they’re so closely linked. If you’re not shy, that’s okay, because this information will apply to you either way.

If it’s a romantic relationship, and you haven’t had an argument, then you’re involved with the wrong man.

If it’s a personal relationship then they aren’t your friends.

If it’s a professional relationship, connected to your job or your business, and they don’t listen it’s for one of two reasons: 1) They don’t feel or believe what you’re saying is important. 2) They’re ignoring you. If they’re ignoring you then why waste your time trying to communicate with them?

If it’s your social relationships then you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd.

There could be many reasons or excuses people will give you as to why they don’t listen to you but the bottom line is they don’t believe what you are saying is important to them. Let me give you an example: If they were dying and you knew how to keep them alive I guarantee you could whisper and you would have their undivided attention. They would tell anyone who tried to interrupt to shut up and be quiet. So one question to ask yourself is: “Why do they consider what I’m saying to be unimportant?”

You can analyze it all you want and probably never know so let’s get to the real root of the problem and how to fix it.

The real root of the problem is for some reason you don’t believe you deserve to be listened to and treated with respect. This is all connected to your belief system and your self image.

So the first thing for you to do is realize the problem is connected to belief system and your self image, not them. Realizing that takes you out of “victim mode” and puts you back in control. And we both know: A woman’s place is in control. When you are back in control then you can do something constructive about it.

How, exactly, do you do that?

Or more precisely, how do you fix all four of those areas in your life [romantic, personal, professional and social] and how do you do it in a simple, effective, positive, healthy, constructive, stress free way?

I suggest you write out this sign and put it on your bedroom wall so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see before you go to bed. This way it will sink into your subconscious mind effortlessly. It will change your self image and your belief system in a positive, healthy, constructive, stress free way. It’s simple and it’s very effective. I know it works because I’ve used this technique for years.

Here’s the sign:

“I only attract positive, healthy, constructive people into my life who like me, respect me and eagerly listen to everything I have to say.”

I would also like to suggest a book that had a profound effect on my life. It’s Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. It is a classic that is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written in 1960. I’ve read it many times and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Please remember: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Don’t let the good things in life rob you of the best things.

Bryan Redfield

Creator of GetHimToCommitToYou.com

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Introduction

Welcome! This blog is the home of Bryan Redfield, your new favorite advice columnist for all things relating to human relationships and interactions.

Have you got problems in your relationship? Are you afraid you’re seeing signs that your partner isn’t the right one for you? Are you worried about the stability of your marriage? Do you feel “stuck” being single and can’t figure out a way to meet someone you might fall in love with?

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