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Save Your Marriage: "Help! I feel like I've lost myself in my marriage!"
By Susie and Otto Collins

Nate looks back on the person he used to be and he doesn't recognize himself anymore. From his perspective, he used to live life to the fullest.

He took risks, played hard and had a great time.

He's been married to Kate for 8 years now and that robust and vibrant man he used to be appears lost. Yes, he loves his wife and their children.

At the same time, he feels intense regret that he longer has the same level of satisfaction and excitement about his life.

His activities are either centered on work or the family. He has also grown accustomed to going along with whatever Kate wants in order to keep their marriage harmonious.

But all of this is starting to take its toll. Nate is beginning to resent Kate, and even their kids, for what he feels that he's lost.

Do you ever feel like you've lost yourself in your own marriage?

This might come in the form of regret about the changes that have happened since you got married.

Like Nate, you may look back to who you think you were in the past and experience a sense of loss because you are no longer like that.

Instead, you might be drawn to make big changes in your life that could mean a vastly different future than you'd anticipated.

Perhaps you feel blocked or trapped in your marriage-- it could appear that there is no room for both your dreams and your current relationship.

Many people come to points like these in life.

It may directly relate to the dynamics in your marriage and the relationship roles that you and your partner have each created for yourselves.

Does it seem that your partner makes most of "important" decisions in your relationship?

Have the two of you fallen into habits that seem
dis-empowering to you?

It might also relate to disappointments that you may have about where you are right now.

Do you wish that you'd made different choices in the past?

Are there paths you regret that you didn't explore or choices you'd like to have made differently?

Many of us fall into relationship habits that can cause individual pain and marital disconnection. Many of us have regrets about the past and disappointment about our present lives.

Marriage troubles arise, however, when the dissatisfaction takes center stage and creates a wedge between you and your spouse.

It can become even worse-- for all involved-- when one person blames the other for that sense of lost self.

There are certainly situations in which ending the marriage seems like the only way a person can re-discover and re-affirm him or herself.

This is not necessarily the only way.

Take responsibility for your life.

If you feel like you've lost yourself to your marriage, the first thing we advise you to do is to take responsibility for your own life.

We don't deny that it's quite possible that your spouse is playing a role in the way that you feel.

It's probable that the two of you have developed relationship habits that are contributing to this.


If you feel as if you've lost yourself, it only makes sense to start with yourself in order to begin to turn this painful and unwanted situation around.

Give yourself permission to be authentic and honest about what you want and what you are willing (and unwilling) to do in each and every moment.

This might take some practice if you are used to automatically going along with what your mate wants.

Take the time to tap into and get to know your inner desires and preferences.

You can start out small. For instance, you could express to your partner that you would like to choose the restaurant this time.

There's no need to be nasty or argumentative as you make this change. Simply get into the habit of tuning in to you first, before responding to a suggestion or a request.

Nate, for example, perceives that Kate takes the lead in their family in just about every way. He realizes that this is partly because he tends to stand at the "sideline" and let her.

The next time that their children have an argument, Nate steps up and tells Kate that he'd like to help them sort it out this time. Kate seems surprised and pleased about this.

Maintain your own passions, hobbies and interests
Now that Nate has begun to make small changes in the way that he interacts with both Kate and his family, he is feeling slightly more empowered.

There are occasions in which Kate seems a bit put off that Nate wants to take the lead. Most of the time, however, she mainly seems appreciative that he is engaging more than before.

But Nate continues to feel regret because his current life is just not as invigorating as he remembers it used to be.

To tell the truth, he doesn't want to turn back the clock and be the sometimes reckless guy he was a decade or more ago.

At the same time, he'd like to re-introduce more zest into his life.

You may crave that sense of fulfillment and renewed vibrance for life, but not know exactly what would bring that to you again (or for the first time).

We suggest that you create some time to explore your passions and interests. You may not want to do the same activities that you did before you were married.

This is okay.

Try new things and when you find something that helps you feel more alive, keep on doing it.

Nate decides to join a men's soccer league in his city. He misses the natural high of playing soccer and the camaraderie of being part of a team like that.

Sometimes the answer to your feeling lost is relatively simple and fits easily into your lifestyle. Other times, it does not.

Be patient, open and flexible. Share with your spouse about what's going on within you.

He or she might be more supportive of your intentions than you expect.

Believe it or not, as you give yourself the time and space to re-discover your more authentic self and you act in accordance with what's true for you, your marriage can improve as well.

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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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