CAN THE PATTERN OF A RELATIONSHIP EVER BE CHANGED?
Women Don't Lie - Men Don't Listen
Success Coach - Doc Love
Ive been in this relationship with my wife, Meredith, for 18 years now. I met her
when I was 13 years old, and she was the same age. Back then she had very high Interest
Level in me. All throughout my teenage years our pattern was to break up for a few months,
find other relationships, then, when I wanted her back, she would leave her current friend
Weve now been married for 10 years and have three kids, and after reading your
articles on askmen.com, Ive come to the realization that her Interest Level in me is
low (very low). This year she decided she wanted a divorce and took interest in a family
friend (my old navy buddy) and they decided they were going to move in together. They were
even making wedding plans.
I was heartbroken for about three months. Depressed, I stayed home with the kids on the
weekends while Meredith was out doing the town. Finally I decided to take my wedding band
off, and when I did, women came at me from everywhere. I started dating too and leaving
Meredith with the kids on weekends.
Women were sending me cards, watches, and other gifts. When this happened, Merediths
Interest Level in me began to rise again. I slept in the guest bedroom, and one morning I
caught her sneaking around in there reading the cards and going through my pockets
checking for womens telephone numbers. When she realized I was awake, she threw a
fit. She said I had the smell of other women on me, castigated me for being out late, and
accused me of being loose. Her Interest Level was high again. We made up and I took her
Now, with predictability and the passage of a little time, her Interest Level is low
again. I cant say anything without her getting offended. Every now and then I do
something special for her, and she doesnt appreciate it at all. It seems like she
actually hates me. Do I have to cheat again to raise her Interest Level? Should I send
myself some flowers to spark her Interest Level? I refuse to let her see my concern, and
act as though Im not even bothered by her loss of interest. What do I do? It seems
that we cant escape the pattern we established when we first met as kids.
Lee - who wants to break the vicious cycle
Heres your problem in a nutshell. You and Meredith started out on the wrong foot.
Its not as if you two were on the same page from day one, that you never had any
problems until now, that you never had to break up, and so forth. The deadly pattern you
find yourself mired in right now kicked in when you were 13 years old. So guy, you have to
ask yourself this question: WHY?
All this agonizing back-and-forth stuff that you put yourself through is simply an
extension of what happened between you and Meredith at the very beginning. If that
werent the case, wed have a different diagnosis for your problem. But like a
dog chasing after its own tail, you two are lost in a nasty cycle of breaking up and
getting back together. What it tells me is that you probably really didnt dig
Meredith that much in the first place. At any rate, this has been a longstanding pattern.
And the pattern says that you guys were never meant for each other despite the fact that
you had three kids.
But lets give you the benefit of the doubt anyway, and examine some of the specifics
of your dilemma.
First of all, Meredith might have gone after your buddy just because he was your buddy.
She might not really even like the guy, have you thought of that? Its a strong
possibility that she might just have been rubbing that relationship in your face. After
all, you and she have been good at tormenting each other over the years, right? (And by
the way -- its okay for her to run around; even to get it on with one of your old
friends, but when you do the same thing, its HORRIBLE. Whatever happened to
whats good for the goose is good for the gander? As my cousin Fast Eddie
Love would say, So much for a fair fight!)
Taking Meredith back was basically a mistake, dude. It was okay to make up with her for
the sake of the kids you brought into the world, but you were way too easy. When you take
a woman back after shes making time with your best buddy, she knows she can get away
with anything in the future and she has no respect for you whatsoever. And Interest Level
is built on RESPECT.
You see, pal, Merediths Interest Level plummeted all over again because you always
go back to your old ways. If you would have been a Challenge to your wife, then maybe you
could have kept her Interest Level up. Her interest dips more times than a yo-yo because
you dont continue doing the things that bring her back. You keep reverting to your
old ways again and again, thereby perpetuating the mutually destructive pattern.
Lee, I have to tell you that youre a real glutton for punishment. Didnt I once
see your picture next to the word masochist in Websters Dictionary? Once
you do something special for a woman and she doesnt appreciate it -- and this goes
for any woman, not just your wife why in the world would you do it again? If
you dont get a sugar-sweet thank-you for your romantic gestures, as Sal
The Fish Love says, FUH-GET ABOUT IT!
And forget too about continuing to cheat, Lee. By being a cheat, you wear yourself down,
and in that mode youre being a negative challenge. What you need to be -- and what
youve never been throughout this excruciating process of torture -- is a POSITIVE
CHALLENGE. You dont have to imitate Hugh Hefner and run around with 10 women to
raise Merediths interest, but you can keep your hands to yourself and keep the
conversation light and funny and let her initiate intimacy. If you study my principles,
youll know thats the way to do it! This advice applies whether its your
first date or after 18 years of marriage.
You have done one thing right, though, and this might be something you can build on if
theres any hope left for the two of you: its great that youre not
letting Meredith see your concern over her loss of interest. Thats where you should
be at all times. (And yes, mail yourself some flowers once a week for a month, or send
yourself some candy and sign the cards with the names of different girls, with notes like
Your secret admirer, and I love you for your mind, and
Youre the greatest thing since popcorn! That sort of thing.
So heres the Doctors prognosis: if Merediths Interest Level hasnt
dropped into the forties, you have a shot at salvaging the marriage. You say you love your
wife, but Lee, I have to ask you this question: Are you IN LOVE with your wife? Even
though I counsel you guys never to consider your own Interest Level in a woman, in this
case I have to ask: What do you want? Youve got to be introspective and brutally
honest as far as whats going on inside your psyche. Wheres your Interest Level
in Meredith? Exactly why are you going back and forth with this gal? Thats what has
to be delved into here. Thats the question thats begging for an answer, and at
the end of the day only you can provide it, even if you dont like what the answer
But as with anything in life, as my Uncle Jethro Love once wisely observed, When
youre off on the wrong foot, boy, youre gonna have a hard road ahead of
Remember, guys: when you break up, dont waste your time by going back.
To send me your love questions or to find out more about The "System," visit me
at http://www.doclove.com or call (800)
Doc Love is a talk show host and entertainment speaker who coaches men in his seminars.
For the past 30 years he has asked thousands of women, "Why do you stay with
one man versus another?"
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