When your husband doesn’t clean up even his part of the mess but just leaves it for you to do or plays video games instead of putting the kids to bed or wants you to notice the yard work he did but never says a word about all the work you do, it can get irritating.
When he makes plans without checking with you, forgets to tell you about them, then disappears when he knew he was supposed to help out with moving the furniture, it can make you resentful.
If your guy sleeps through middle-of-the-night feedings, expects sex whenever he feels like it, and seems to want you to solve all of his problems like the world revolves around him, it’s not only exhausting, it’s lonely.
But there is a solution.
Here’s how to get your selfish man to be more giving so you can get a break.
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Laura Doyle: My guest today is Sonya, who is miserable depressed and alone with her kids because her husband emotionally abandoned her and spend all this time playing poker instead of helping with the family.
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Laura Doyle: This is going on for years and she had tried many ways to get them to pay attention and be engaged as a husband and father
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Laura Doyle: But nothing worked until she made a discovery which is going to tell us about that made her marriage tender and connected and wonderful again, Sonia. Welcome to the podcast.
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Sonya: Thank you.
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Laura Doyle: So things didn’t go as planned in your marriage, tell us what that was like.
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Sonya: I had all of these hopes and expectations that we get married, we’d spend all of our free time together, we would enjoy each other’s company, we would be
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Sonya: 5050 and everything he would help out. And all of these ways and as things progressed, he got more and more withdrawn and I was more and more alone and sad and depressed and felt like I was doing all the work.
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Sonya: And he was playing video games. He started playing poker and spent a lot of time playing poker and had friends over to play games for late hours and I was just all by myself.
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Laura Doyle: Yeah, it does sound very lonely and so he wasn’t he wasn’t helping out at all like you, you were doing everything
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Sonya: That’s what it felt like. And he Yeah he wasn’t
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Sonya: He was sometimes there and body, but not in any other way like not emotionally with me not talking to me not helping. And we end up having two kids and I felt like a single parent, even though he was there in body.
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Laura Doyle: Wow. So what did you try to do to get him to show up as a father and husband.
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Sonya: I tried to get him to go to counseling and he didn’t want to go to counseling and I tried to get him to go to marriage conferences and
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Sonya: One time he got sick and didn’t make it through it another time, you know, he was just disengaged ANOTHER TIME I WENT BY MYSELF AND SHE DIDN’T GO AND I HAD ALL THESE BOOKS tried to get us to read books together.
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Sonya: I would write him notes about what I thought he should do, how I was feeling how upset. I was, and I would even write some of his family members notes to try to
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Sonya: Get to him and yeah and then I would cry like I’d have these tearful conversations about how I felt. And how disappointed I was and how I didn’t want to go on like that. Yeah.
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Laura Doyle: Was there a moment when you said I, I can’t go on like this, like this is ridiculous.
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Sonya: But, and I ended up going to a counselor by myself. And then I would just tell her, my problems and I wouldn’t really feel better because it’s just focusing, you know,
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Sonya: Anyway, I was very upset. And so she suggested, because our marriage was kind of a facade. It was a sham like he wasn’t doing his part that to try to get his attention, we should
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Sonya: Like separate and because I had no money. I stay at home mom, he was still in training so
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Sonya: That we should just do an in house separation. So one of us basically sleep on the couch and so I told him, you know, and I thought he needed to be sleeping on the couch, because it was him. That wasn’t doing his part wasn’t really being a dad wasn’t there being a husband and
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Sonya: He’s just yeah wasn’t doing any of that stuff. But we couldn’t even agree he wouldn’t agree to that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. So we could even agree on how to separate so that that failed as well. So we just continued living side by side, but not emotionally together.
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Laura Doyle: He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.
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Sonya: Yeah, he thought that I, you know, had all these unrealistic expectations, want to be married to my father, not him. You know, like I wasn’t accepting him for how he was and he needed his downtime and that yeah he he wasn’t seeing his side of it for sure.
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Laura Doyle: So how did you feel when he said, oh, this is your problem, not mine.
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Sonya: Well, I felt really hopeless because how was he going to change if he didn’t see you know the first thing you have to do is admit you’re wrong. Right, so he wasn’t admitting he was wrong. And so I saw no hope for the future because he
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Sonya: Yeah, he thought that it was all my high expectations and
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Sonya: And so he couldn’t see his yeah didn’t see his part of it and didn’t want to change.
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Laura Doyle: Did you ever think okay, I’d be better off without this guy like I maybe I need to end this marriage.
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Sonya: Yes. I mean, like, actually, like, six months into the marriage. I was thinking that. And then after I had kids, I was like, I don’t want to
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Sonya: raise them, you know, have I thought it actually be harder because it was already hard enough, and then to have to coordinate apart with complicated but I
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Sonya: Also thought I was going to be miserable and sometimes it was sadder to be facing the misery, all the time, then to think I might have some break from it. If I was a part
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Laura Doyle: Yeah, so it’s like the fantasy of leaving him in a way become becomes an escape. Like that’s at least there’s some hope that someday I don’t have to suffer like this in the future. Right.
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Laura Doyle: So what what happened.
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Sonya: Well, I
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Sonya: A friend of a friend of mine introduced me to to your book and I read it and then I just kept it on hand.
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Sonya: Which is
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Sonya: The surrendered life, the original one, and it was fairly early on because I was complaining to her. So I read it.
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Sonya: I decided I should read it every year because I so related to it. And then I highlighted it I wrote computer notes on it.
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Sonya: And then at some point I realized that you had an online presence. And so I signed up for your email list and then went to the retreat and then found out about coaching training coaches training and so I signed up for that and started
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Sonya: On the on the road to to help
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Laura Doyle: And so looking back now. What did you do that you think made a difference in in making your marriage, what it is today.
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Sonya: I one thing I did was
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Sonya: Not well I quit focusing so much on what he was doing that was bothering me and quit pointing it out all the time like recognize
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Sonya: His computer time he has a stressful job he is trying to have some self care. And so I started focusing on myself care. The things that brought me joy, instead of
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Sonya: begrudging him the things that were helping him to relax and so then I found things that made me happy. And so I was happier And less worried about him.
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Sonya: And then I also started trying to express gratitude and recognize the things that he was doing well and verbally affirming those because in the past. I had
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Sonya: Not firmed anything I hadn’t noticed anything that was going well. And so I had only been negative all the time. And so I started
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Sonya: Trying to find three things, a day. And sometimes I’ll text them during the day. Sometimes at the end of the day, like before bed just
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Sonya: show my gratitude towards him. And that really changed my heart towards him and changed his heart towards me because he didn’t see me as enemy number one who was always out to point out all of his failings all the time.
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Laura Doyle: How hard was it for you to get to that spot where you could be grateful for this guy. That wasn’t doing anything.
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Sonya: That was, that was a big, big shift it. It was a discipline, because that did not come naturally to me. I had high standards and expected him to meet them and wanted him to do better wanted him to want to do better. So I was trying to, to let no ways he could, and that
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Sonya: didn’t work out that way. But I had to be very intentional on that.
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Laura Doyle: Yeah, so you you became willing but it couldn’t have been easy.
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Laura Doyle: Right. Right. Okay. And so, but as you were doing this. So you were focusing on your own happiness, your little less miserable and you’re not criticizing him as much and you’re actually expressing some gratitude. So how did he respond like
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Laura Doyle: Was there a moment. We thought, okay, this is this is working.
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Sonya: Well, one year I got no gifts for Christmas for my birthday. And I was really, really upset about that and then a year later, when I was starting to work with this.
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Sonya: I got all sorts of gifts, like a nice gifts that I had wanted or that he knew I wanted. And so I got T and I little bonsai tree and a special press to make
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Sonya: What pasta and puzzle press and then he made signs and put them up all over the house said happy birthday, so I felt so cherished and adored after many years of, you know, being so disappointed and
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Sonya: Yeah, felt feeling really I’m loved on my birthday to feeling very loved and cherished
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Laura Doyle: So, um, what about helping out. What about being a father, helping with the kids.
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Sonya: Yeah, I started noticing some of the things he would do and started affirming those and thanking him for those and saw a lot more of it one time he was making little fairy doors with my daughter to put around the base of trees. It was just very, very sweet.
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Sonya: And not something I would have ever thought to do so. Just little things that he would do with the kids that I might have not ever noticed if you’ve done them before but started noticing more of that.
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Laura Doyle: And this is that same guy that
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Laura Doyle: I am. You have to take trips and your husband’s he has was not such a fan of trips
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Sonya: Right. Well, I felt like I’d always have to beg him become or nag him to come and then he would be so grumpy that I was like, why did I even want to go with him, you know, and
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Sonya: Then he started planning getaways for us and he actually planned an international trip for us taking the kids out of school for like 10 days, and it was at the same year, I was just really starting this work and it’s like, wow, this my dreams have come true. Like, I can’t even believe this.
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Laura Doyle: Wow. And so what is your relationship like now.
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Sonya: It’s, it’s really great. He, he had a really serious medical event, a year ago and he had one surgery and then he had an emergency surgery and he almost died and
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Sonya: Afterwards, he was just raw emotional and just told me how he really had seen that I change that he was much more happy I was much more happy. And he’s like, and I think
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Sonya: I think it had to do with that training, it did. And he’s been telling his, you know, best friend, his brother in law or brother, you know, just really recommending that
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Sonya: Their wives. Do the same thing because he’s seen the difference. It’s made, but he
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Sonya: Plans trips. He’s the other day, I said, oh, you know what I really like is to get this one website upgraded an app upgraded. So I would get premium so I could have more functionality in probably within. Well, the next time I checked my email. It had been done, he just takes care of me.
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Sonya: Is looking out for gifts for me takes takes things off my hands that are stressing me out wants to spend time with me wants to go on walks and hikes with me.
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Sonya: And plans yeah getaways.
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Laura Doyle: So all those expectations you had about what a marriage would be like
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Sonya: Yeah, it’s true. I, I am the recipient now of the things I had dream like 20 years ago and suffered many, many years, not having
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Laura Doyle: Now, what was his reaction when you first decided to sign up to train to be a coach.
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Sonya: But I told him I had a part time job. So I just set aside the money. So I just said, I’m going to do this training to learn to be a better wife. Okay.
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Sonya: And then I had pay by credit card. So I went on the credit card bill, and when he saw that he was just like what and
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Sonya: And I was like, well, you know, I’m just going to transfer money. It’ll all be okay. So you just kind of had to de escalate from Matt.
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Sonya: But then when he was in his recovery after all the anesthesia and everything and was just really open hearted with me. He’s like, that was worth it was worth every penny, which must have felt so good to get that
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Laura Doyle: Validation
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Sonya: Oh, yeah.
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Laura Doyle: So if you could go back in time and tell yourself what you know now from back then. What would you say
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Sonya: Well, I wish I had known what I know now, then I really wish I had focused on my own happiness and learned about self care and then the gratitude piece to start
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Sonya: Affirming all of the positive things because it just brought much more my way and it made me more grateful and more happy. So I yes I really wish I had done that earlier.
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Laura Doyle: And what, what made you finally start doing that because you’d have the book The survive for a while.
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Sonya: Yeah, I really needed the accountability of and the constant reinforcement that I got through
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Sonya: Working within the program. And as I was in coach training I had partner coaching to keep me accountable and I was constantly reading or listening infusing myself and the information so that I would keep it going. Keep it present with me.
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Laura Doyle: So what’s a tip that you would give to a woman who wants. He’s not feeling like you felt where her husband’s just not showing up or helping out
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Laura Doyle: But wants to be that treasured woman who is taken on international trips and gets 16 things for her birthday and signs and her husband makes fairy doors, what should she do
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Sonya: Well, definitely get into the program and start learning and start practicing the skills and have be surrounded with other people that encourage and support the same thing.
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Laura Doyle: Yeah, I love that these are these are hard things to talk about. So yeah, I appreciate you going back in time to the battle days and sharing it with us. Why, why are you willing to talk about that old pain with us.
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Sonya: The main thing is if it could help someone else because really believe in marriage and one of
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Sonya: You know, wanting to be married forever and then have this whole hopeless period where I thought I was just going to suffer till the end. And so I would, would have loved to spare myself some of that and would love to spare others. Some of that pain.
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Yes, this is where
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Laura Doyle: Like if we could time travel. You could go back and and spare yourself in a way spare another woman by paying it forward and I appreciate that. It’s an incredible transformation, you’ve been through. I’m very inspired to hear your story. Thank you for coming on and sharing it with us.
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Sonya: Thank you.