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“Old George” and His Wife in a State of “Irritated Retreat” – Husbands and wives continue to complain about feeling invisible in their own homes.

If a guest comes to your door, you are likely to greet him or her with a hug or at least with a smile. You might offer a drink or something to eat along with the pleasure of your company. Most would agree that it’s rude for a host to ignore his guests and say, disappear to play on his computer.

Apparently the rules are different for spouses.

Freud explained away what turns out be the fairly typical bad behavior between husbands and wives. He wrote that when a woman feels absolutely and unconditionally loved by her husband, she is actually more likely to ignore him. It’s not that she doesn’t love him; she just expects “Old George” to be there, no matter what.

Husbands, Freud says, are just as guilty.

A comic strip in the LA Times showed a man on his cell phone, sitting across a table from his wife who stares at him. She says “Would you mind if I strap your PDA to my forehead so I can pretend you’re looking at me when I talk.”


Love needs to be gentler than that.

When a spouse feels dissed, he or she is likely to respond with anger. When he keeps his anger a secret, it is much more likely to grow. “Old George” and/or his wife start to exist in a state of irritated retreat, hardly conducive to intimacy.

He may have kept his mouth shut at first, because he felt that his criticism would result in her withdrawing from sex. After awhile, “Old George” becomes so angry that he is no longer interested either.

As a Love Doctor I am always honored to teach those who are interested about the right way to criticize. Soft, kind responses, which are clear and non-aggressive are more likely to encourage behavior change.

If that’s what you are really after.

Remember: You don’t have to be sick to get better and neither do your relationships! Sometimes a little honest attention is all that’s needed to U-turn back to the sweet surrender you once shared with your mate.

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