Inverted roles

Inverted roles

Dylan and Shelley had been married for many years. And everything seemed fine: they had children, a house of their own, both worked and had money, but the sympathy for each other had disappeared. He stopped doing his chores and she stopped doing hers. He didn’t want to be the breadwinner and she didn’t want to be the housewife. Their roles were inverted.

Nothing worked in bed either: “Leave me alone!”, his wife hissed angrily, freeing herself from his arms. “I can’t take it anymore. Just sleep”.

Dylan rolled away from his wife and lay staring at the ceiling. He was overwhelmed with resentment, anger, and frustration. He felt sorry for himself. He didn’t know what to do. Yell at his wife? Tell her what he thought of her? Stop talking to her in revenge?

“No, that’s conflict again… I don’t care. I’ll wait a little longer and if nothing changes, I’ll get a divorce,” he thought. “It’s really scary what to do with the children, what my friends will say, my mother… Shelly’s a good woman, it just doesn’t work fine out between us…”.

But not even a couple of months later, Dylan found a way out – the other women. And that’s where he got his kicks… Went to them many, many times. No problems, no rejections, no worries.

It was true that he and his wife had become like two strangers, but Dylan tried not to think about it. Shelly flew to some business trips for work, he sat in his office during working hours, and afterward he had a full blast!

A couple more years went by like that. Without realizing it, Dylan found himself in a swamp of homesickness and despair. He found everything boring. He hated his job. And at home he was unloved wife was waiting for him, who was constantly nagging and demanded to do the repairs, the children, and then something else. The only joy for him was a visit to the massage parlor with the girls. He had no strength or determination to break this circle.

Dylan’s life came to a standstill and apathy. That’s how he came to me for counseling.

When I listened to his story, the phrase “My wife is a good, but I don’t like her as a woman” made sense to me. This phrase is guaranteed to mean that the whole root of the problem lies in the relationship.

What do we have? The wife refuses her husband, does not respect or admire him. The husband does not find his wife beautiful, attractive or inspiring. They live like two strangers.

Why is this so? Many people simply say: “We are very different, that’s all”, but this is a false and destructive way. Because it assumes that the relationship cannot be restored, nothing can be fixed, and it is not even necessary to try.

This is not true. Coldness and disappointment in each other as partners doesn’t just happen, it is the consequence of one simple reason:

The main problem of this couple lies in the fact that each partner does not fulfill his role in the relationship. But even worse, Dylan tries on the role of the wife and Shelly tries on the role of the husband! It’s an inverted roles in the family.

The husband does not fulfill a man’s role. He does not take the position of a man who solves problems and knows how to take care of the family. Instead, he avoids household tasks, forgets and ignores his wife’s requests, whines and complains about problems, hoping that his wife will solve them or just leave him alone. Or else he aggressively forbids everything, like a tyrant.

The wife does not fulfill her feminine role. She is cold, hidden, not sincere. She does not rejoice in her husband’s achievements, does not praise him if she likes something. She is silent about the problems and is patient to the last. Including in intimacy. The man does not understand what pleases her, what she likes. Or the woman begins to command, rigidly demanding obedience.

The roles are inverted. The man takes the “whimper, whimper, I don’t want it” position, and the woman takes the “you owe me” position. Where does admiration and inspiration for each other come from?

What can be done in this situation? There is a simple solution I suggested to Dylan if he wants to keep his family together:

  1. No going out “on the side”, not even a one-time thing. Sex only with his wife. If attention goes to the side, there will be no joy in the relationship;
  2. Stop whining, make a list of promises he made to his wife, and did not fulfill, and gradually make them;
  3. Learn to talk to his wife. Ask what she likes and dislikes, ask for praise and share emotions so she opens up;
  4. The most important thing to remember: the wife is cold and closed only when things are bad in the family. Remember the first dates – a woman flirts and admires a man if he is strong and knows how to solve incoming problems, and does not hammer and whine. We need to get back to a state where the man is in charge and the woman trusts him and goes after him.

Dylan listened to my recommendations and began to put them into practice. His relationship with his wife became warmer and more frank, they had intimacy again. They talked to each other, there were many tears and revelations. Of course, there is no 100% guarantee that they will succeed, but at least they had a chance.


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