Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
markos, I had viewed that comment as a [legitimate] complaint because it expresses his feelings about the future of the marriage. It wasn't a criticism because it did not include a judgement. But it did convey a very important truth: that he does not want a marriage that does not include SF.

I don't usually disagree with you, Melody, but this one hit a nerve. Markos has said similar things to me. It is a demand and a threat -- it comes across as "I don't want this marriage unless you give me what I want. Meet my needs, or I'm leaving you."

He can express his need for SF without making it a demand. "My EN for SF is not being met, and it is hurting me. I would like to continue negotiating until we come to a solution that makes both of us happy."

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I think it is important that she understands she is not going to be able to keep him in a marriage for long if she refuses to meet his needs. How should he have told her this?

I don't think Hilltopper is in any position to tell her this. Ultimatums are a LB, no matter how you word them.

Dr. Harley says that demands usually follow a complaint when a spouse is being neglected, and it is a mistake. He outlines what should be done instead:

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The most common first response to a spouse's neglect is to complain: "I'd like it if you'd be more affectionate." A complaint is an effort to communicate a problem without being demanding, disrespectful, or angry. It's a notification there's an opportunity to make deposits (or avoid withdrawals) from the Love Bank. There's nothing wrong with that initial approach to the problem of neglect since it's simply communicating a need.

But when that doesn't produce results, mistakes usually follow. The first mistake is to criticize: "Why do you ignore me? What's wrong with you?" A criticism adds demands, disrespect, and/or anger to the complaint. The message of an unmet emotional need is buried under layers of abuse. Instead of creating a cooperative partner, it creates an adversary.

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The first step, as I mentioned earlier, should be to express your need clearly without demands, disrespect, or anger.

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This first step may solve your problem. Your husband may respond positively to your request, and the issue of unconditional love may not become a factor in his thinking.

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But if your husband refuses to accept your offer, the next step I recommend is very controversial, but when you compare it to the alternatives, it makes the most sense. It has two parts. I call one part plan A, and the other plan B. These two parts are to be executed sequentially -- plan A is first, followed by plan B.

Plan A is to give your husband "unconditional love" for a brief period of time, usually a month. I know. I've just written two columns that warn against unconditional love. But I've never been opposed to its use if it's intended to prime the pump. One spouse can't save a marriage, but one spouse can often set an example that the other spouse will sometimes follow. Plan A is to avoid all Love Busters, and to meet the other spouse's emotional needs without expecting anything in return immediately. But it also involves communicating the importance of reciprocity. Along with being an angel, you also explain that you expect your needs to eventually be met, too.

But before you begin plan A, prepare for plan B, which is to completely separate from your husband. You can't simply move out of the bedroom. You must move from the house, or have him move. If you live in a state that supports legal separation, go to the trouble to see an attorney so that all financial and legal arrangements are made in advance. Be sure that you can support yourself for an extended period of time, such as a year.


When To Call It Quits


Markos' Wife
FWW - EA
8 kids ...
What to do with an Angry Husband