Relationship Hanging On Only Because Of Your Kids?

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Here’s a letter from Lena, who’s struggling with confusion and feeling trapped:

“Rori, I feel my relationship is hanging on only because of my kids. My partner says he loves me but His actions aren’t showing that. To get to the point I am extremely insecure – I compare myself to every woman we see/come into contact with, I am ruining the little friendships I have because I am soo jealous every time my partners around other women. We don’t have any couple friends.

When we are out he looks at other women and for a long time, he can not even look me in the eye, every time I talk to him he quickly looks away.

We have been together for 4 and a bit years and have 2 small children. I am carry a lot of weight and do not feel good about myself. Every time I try and talk to him about anything to do with us he just walks away or we have a fight about nothing, he thinks I am a pyscho and I am starting to believe him.

Other couples have normal happy relationships, I do not know how to be happy anymore. Life’s passing me by and I do not know how to crawl out of this rutt.I am so scared of my partner falling in love with someone else that I am pushing him away. We don’t talk about anything but his work, we do not go out.everthing at the moment is tense and I need for things to get better because my son is at the age where he is learning from us.

And I love him. He is my first relationship and I am not his – his ex is my brother’s good friend and still around. I keep running things that have happened and I think he had feelings for her when we were together and I cannot get the feeling of being second choice and that he still loves her out of my head. He gets angry every time I bring it up. Well, I could go on for hours, I sound like a raving Lunatic. Lena”

Here’s my answer:

Lena, I know YOU know that the work we have to do is NOT in your relationship – but inside YOU – and that what you need to do here to save yourself AND your relationship is to USE the relationship to heal YOURSELF.

Okay – if that sounds complicated – I want to break it down into the steps that are leading you downhill:

1. You’re not treating yourself well.  You’re carrying “weight” and falling into jealousy and obsession and insecurity, and you’re focusing on HIM.You are, in a crucial way – looking to HIM to solve your inner problems of security and self-love, and we alll know that just won’t work for you.

2.  When your man sees you not treating yourself well, he feels UNSAFE with you.  In other words, he can’t believe, deep inside himself, that you could possibly love and accept HIM if you don’t love and accept YOU.  It brings out his worst qualities – his anger, his guilt, his “it’s-all-about-me” qualities.

3. When he behaves badly, because of how he’s reacting to you not treating yourself well and focusing on him – he hurts you.  Ignores you, withdraws, is mean and indifferent.

4. When you feel hurt – you go down even more – get more angry, more jealous, more obsessed with solving the problem of the RELATIONSHIP.

5.And then it all starts again.

6. This is how relationships get so damaged over time – the ruts we dig of this cycle I’ve just laid out get deeper and deeper and deeper.

To solve the problem, you have to UNWIND IT!

So these are some steps to start HEALING the relationship – by USING the relationship to heal YOURSELF!

1. STOP THE CYCLE – When he triggers you by hurting you – ignoring you, being mean – instead of going into the same cycle of being angry, defensive, and then beating yourself up more and adding more weight to your body, STOP YOURSELF.

Step back. Check out your body and what’s going on inside it, instead of just following the same thought patterns you’re comfortable with and always go to. Leave the room and start working on yourself by taking the focus OFF of HIM.

In other words – you’ve now just USED a moment in the relationship to help yourself.  You’ve allowed him to Trigger you and Upset you – and instead of reacting as you usually do – you’re going to CHANGE the pattern. Now…

2. This is where you use my Tools – start with the Power & Self Esteem Series here on the blog – Here’s the first post-> and get my book and all the programs you can. THIS is where you do the work.

Let me know how it works for you, Love, Rori


  1.  #1Daria on November 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Oh Rori that part about “using” the anger to heal make so much sense…

    I think I have been doing this the past two days and I feel so much more at ease in my body…

    I noticed its much easier to do this Around men (maybe I was picking good candidates) than to do this all by myself… is this expected?

  2.  #2Reshi on November 1, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Rori, how do you do it? You have a way of posting exactly what I need when I need it. The past several days I’ve been utterly consumed by the fear that my husband would fall in love with another woman. I dream every night that he’s paying attention to someone else. And he ISN’T trying to fall in love with another woman–but he thinks the problems between him and me are unfixable. I woke up in the middle of the night with this unshakable feeling that my marriage was completely, irrevocably over. And it was a horrible, wrenching feeling that came up through my vagina and filled my entire body and made it next to impossible to get to sleep. When I did fall asleep, I dreamed that he was looking at another girl’s breasts in front of my face and they weren’t even as pretty as mine, but he didn’t care about mine. And then I woke up sick and wasn’t able to go to work.

    So as a result I was able to have a really challenging conversation with him. I basically expressed my fear and told him that I knew he wasn’t cheating on me or trying to cheat on me. And damned if he didn’t open up and express some frustrations of his own–I realized that he’d completely misunderstood things I had said the day a few weeks ago when he told me to leave him. He’d been thinking that I wanted to hurt him and didn’t even want to be his friend. So we cleared that up and I felt a lot better about our relationship…but I still was wondering what I could possibly do to conquer that fear of mine once and for all. And this post really laid it out for me. It’s so clear that I absolutely need to treat MYSELF with love and respect–and that’s the ONLY thing I can ever do that could possibly ever help the relationship. I need to go into the soup and LOVE my fear.

  3.  #3Ken on November 2, 2008 at 7:22 am

    I agree that your marriage is not about your kids. There is a core connection between you and your partner that exist separate from the kids. This is the connection that must be nurtured.

    I find it helpful to focus on three things:

    (1) Observe the patterns in your relationship that feel good or are causing fear/anxiety;
    (2) Reflect on what can be done differently to get beyond the fear and anxiety. This reflection often builds in a pause in your relationship that will allow you to change the patterns;
    (3) Enjoy the effort to practice new relationship patterns with your partner. Ultimately, if it isn’t fun, it won’t last.

    Most of all, stay hooked into a good source of support like the one you find on this site.


  4.  #4Rori Raye on November 2, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Daria, Depression and a great deal of our pain has Anger at it’s root. We work so hard to cover up anger because we’re afraid and guilty about what would happen if we express it – so we can’t even allow ourselves to FEEL it.

    Once you can FEEL the icky emotions, then you can allow yourself to just sink down even further into sadness and compassion comes when you are accepting of your OWN feelings. Love, Rori

  5.  #5Rori Raye on November 2, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Reshi – I totally get this fear of him craving another woman. This is coming from YOU.

    It’s a way of reversing the power. You are afraid, deep down, of your own feelings and anger, especially, and the fact that you actually do have the Power to make some decisions here – in fact to fall in love with another MAN if you wished – and it feels bad to even HAVE these thoughts – so you turn the fantasy around in your head and give HIM to power.

    Somehow – when we give him the power like this – he becomes more ATTRACTIVE to us! And then we feel worse, and obsessive.

    Interesting, isn’t it? So – yes – the way to work with this is to continually build your own sense of yourself, love your power, love your anger, love your flights of fantasy no matter how wretched they are, love yourself – and then you’ll be able to touch the more wonderful-feeling feelings, and you’ll see – these kinds of conversations with your man will open up and things will start to shift for you.

    Love, Rori

  6.  #6Rori Raye on November 2, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Thank you, Ken – it’s so good to have a man weighing in here, offering support and seconding the value of FUN. Rori

  7.  #7pinki on November 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Is there a place in your website where we can blog about practicing the tools you teach us and see the miracles unfolding?

    If there is, can we blog about not just our relationships but also what we focus on when going through a low phase. Like career, hobbies etc.

    I thought thats one of the nice ways to actually practice your advice and tools and not just read them.

    Also, It’ll be great if you can sneak in and leave comments and suggestions on how we are doing?


  8.  #8Rori Raye on November 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    pinki – you’ve got it! That’s exactly what we’re doing here. Write anything you like here, and I’ll comment back! Welcome, and I look forward to reading your thoughts and feelings – and go do the Tools in the Power & Self-Esteem category – a great way for you to do the work and have your lists “Tweaked” by me…Love, Rori

  9.  #9Jaycelle Playda on November 2, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I’d like to attract the guy that I like from work. We rarely get the chance to talk and get to know each other but there are still some little instances where we were able to talk. I’d like to ignite a spark but I don’t know how. I’m concerned that he may not be showing any interest because of this other guy who is showing his interest in me. I don’t like to be the one who initiate anything just to get to know each other. I’d still like to be pursued even if I’m the one who seem to be so into him.

  10.  #10pinki on November 2, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Rori,
    First of all, I am very delighted to get a reply from you. I have been seeing this guy for a year and a half. I come from a community where it is very important to get married by 26.
    I turned 27 this month and my mom has been worrying about my marriage and pressurizing me since 4 years.
    He comes from the same community as well but he is 4 years younger to me. Usually a girl is not supposed to marry a guy who is younger in our community.

    We are aware that we will face problems from both our parents especially his for our union.
    Moreover, he is not willing to commit to me at his young age. Therefore he broke up with me.

    I am very hurt. Words are not enough to express what I’m going through. If I have to listen to my heart and not any community rules or traditions, I’d like to be with him forever.

    He calls me everyday though and we talk for a minute or two. Sometimes I get desperate and call him too. We live in different places in US.

    As you said, I want to focus on myself. I wish some magic happens where I can bypass all these community rules and make him want to be with me forever.

    From your blogs and programs, I understand that I need to focus on myself and love myself.

    My career has not been very smooth either. I finished a project last june and have been out of project since then. I’d like to focus on getting a project from now on.


  11.  #11Daria on November 3, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Dear Pinki…

    I feel so sad reading your letter and I can understand about community rules because I face this issue too even though it may not be the same as yours…

    I have dealt with the community rules by keeping my relationships hidden from my family… which has not always felt good… it has brought on a separation between us but at the same time it does feel good to be allowed my privacy…

    … I know you will start to feel better using Rori’s tools… please do the power self esteem section starting with the lists… they are fun to make and they are like MAGIC
    they work! and it is not really obvious the how and why they work until they have actually started to…

    good luck with your new venture to find a project!

  12.  #12pinki on November 3, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Thanks a lot Daria. I am going to use Rori Raye tools no matter what is happening right now. My family has started looking for guys again. Do you know the concept of arranged marriages where two families talk and eventually you get married to a guy whom you know barely for 3 days ever.
    I am feeling a creepy sensation in my stomach right now.

    I have couple of interviews lined up this week. Will keep you posted.

  13.  #13Reshi on November 3, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Well, the last couple nights since I’ve started to LOVE my fear of being left for another woman, I haven’t dreamed about it…though I did dream that a guy who looked just like Christian Carter told me I was beautiful and that he could possibly love me…LOL!! As far as real life, well, my husband has made it pretty clear that his reasons for wanting to break up have a lot to do with the resentment he harbors towards me for the past 6 years. Now I’m going to have to go back and look at your posts about getting all that hidden anger out into the open…I’m pretty sure that’s what needs to happen, but I’m of course terrified that doing this will somehow backfire on me. I’m sure there’s a right and wrong way to go about doing this…should it be based on Power Speeches, or something else?

  14.  #14pinki on November 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I am following the tools in the Power and Self Esteem blog:
    My Problems List:

    Problems List

    1. I have a very low self esteem and going through a very low point in life, I feel like a door mat
    2. I don’t have a project yet and feel very depressed and low without work
    3. I hate sitting home and preparing for interviews
    4. I don’t feel very confident about interviews or anything
    5. I am not toned
    6. I don’t feel a glow in my face though I eat healthy food
    7. I feel depressed and angry that my boy friend broke up with me because of age issue not between us but for our parents’
    8. I am an introvert and feel jealous that my boy friend has too many female friends.
    9. I feel jealous when I think of his ex and wonder if she is contacting him
    10. I don’t even know if I should call him my boy friend because he broke up with me.
    11. I feel guilty that I checked his stuff and he was so mad at me. I will never repeat it ever. I learnt my lesson in that. It’s a very bad thing to do in a relationship
    12. I am concerned about my parents’ health especially my mother.
    13. I feel pressurized when my mom forces and emotionally black mails me to get married
    14. I don’t like the concept of arranged marriage and I hate it that my parents are looking for guys right now.
    15. They just want to get over with it (get me married) for the sake of society or whatever reasons.
    16. I am scared to tell them that I need space for few more years (maybe till 30) for me to think of marriage because they will never understand
    17. I don’t have peace of mind because of all these issues
    18. I want my boy friend to come back to me and not break up with me forever.
    19. I want to move to have my own apartment and a car once I get a job.
    20. I am scared to drive a car.
    21. I don’t feel independent and powerful.
    22. I want to become little outgoing and make new friends.

  15.  #15Rori Raye on November 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    pinki, terrific work! Now go ahead and do the FLIP in the next post in the series – Love, Rori

  16.  #16Rori Raye on November 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Jaycelle, This whole Attraction issue has many components – and first – if you are WANTING him, and feel as though you’re somehow not worthy – he will pick up on that and not be attracted. You have to FEEL beautiful, attractive, desirable and worthy, so you’ll have confidence that WILL interest him, catch his attention and attract him.

    You can find the Tools to do this in all my programs – start with the ebook, and then try Modern Siren. Also – there are several posts here, under “Attraction” that will help you.

    Love, Rori

  17.  #17Rori Raye on November 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Reshi – yes – when things start to flow – anger will come out. He will grumble because you’re changing the status quo – because you’re wanting more and feeling worthy of what you want.

    As you gain confidence, you’ll be able to handle his anger by either speaking about it in Feeling Messages and working through it with him, or by then leaving the room.

    Love, Rori

  18.  #18nir on November 10, 2008 at 8:16 am


    My husband and I have had a lot of problems in the past 20 years: sex is painful for me, both of us have had desires for other people, our interests have diverged. He’s let me down in so many ways, but he is a good man, a good provider and is good with the kids. But we’re basically together for the kids. We don’t fight often, but he comes home, plays on the computer, drinks heavily, and goes to bed. We haven’t had sex in six months, and he seems really depressed (he’s on medication but the drinking isn’t helping).

    We’ve tried counseling (he left when the therapist wanted to get him to own his side of the problems), I’ve tried every book and method I think there is. We’ve talked about an open marriage which has helped, believe it or not, but neither of us has anyone else right now.

    I’d really like to make this relationship work. I’m a SAHM who does everything. He argues with me when I try to get the kids (teenagers) to help around the house, and makes as much mess as they do. I stopped putting his clothes away, but I still do his laundry. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing or not … when I ask him to help he says things like “if you don’t like it then go back to work” or “if you don’t like things then leave”. He never used to be like this and I don’t know what to do.

    I feel so sad about the way things have turned out. He says he doesn’t care if he dies, that he’s just hanging on until the kids are grown then he doesn’t care what happens after that. I’m crying right now as I write this, because it seems like he’s throwing his life away and it hurts so much to see that. I still care about him but this whole situation frightens me. It’s like he has a death wish or something.

    I know you probably can’t help with this but any suggestions are appreciated.

  19.  #19pinki on November 11, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    The Flip:

    1. I want to feel powerful, I can take charge of my life and be a winner. I want to feel strong.

    2. I see myself working in a project and enjoying my work. I see myself with a good pay probably around $50/hour.

    3. Practicing and giving interviews is fun and successful.

    4. I want to feel very confident. I want to feel like I’d be able to achieve anything.

    5. I want to have a toned body.

    6. I see my self with a healthy glowing face because of healthy food I eat.

    7. I see myself with my boyfriend being with me forever irrespective of any issues.

    8. I want to be outgoing and make new friends.

    9. I want my boyfriend to choose to be with me forever.

    10. I want to feel very secured in every way.

    11. I want my mom to be happy and supportive of me.

    12. I want my mom to be healthy.

    13. I’d like my parents to wait for me until I find the right person and get married.

    14. I want to feel courageous and confident to tell my parents about what I feel about marriage.

    15. I want to feel peaceful.

    16. I want my boyfriend to be with me consistently and forever.

    17. I want to have my own apartment and a car.

    18. I enjoy driving a car.

    19. I want to feel independent and powerful.

    20. I want to be little outgoing and make new friends.

  20.  #20Rori Raye on November 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Yes, Pinki, now go to the next steps… Love, Rori

  21.  #21pinki on November 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm


    1. I have a theme of lack going on in whatever happens. When I prepare for interviews, I dont sound or feel confident. My body tightens. There is a weird sensation in my stomach. My facial muscles are tightened and stressful. I feel my blood boiling. I have an urgency to just get over with this interview process and jump into a job and see myself working.

    I feel depressed that I sit at home and doing nothing or maybe not doing what im supposed to do in a right way.

    2. When I talk to the person I love, I donno what to talk. I dont understand what goes in his mind. He says he loves me but not sure if its me…..What does it take for me? I feel anygry and frustrated and sometimes clueless. I feel weak and less confident. I have low-self esteem. I feel dependent. I feel like breaking things. I feel like shouting and crying. My body feels tight and tensed and not relaxed. Everything feels unpredictable.

    3. When my mom doesnt talk to me or whenever we have a conversation or when I think of her, I feel scared. I feel like letting her know not to worry about me or anything so much. My body feels scared and weak and angry. I get scary dreams.

    I want everything to be alright and peaceful and happy !!!!!! When will that happen?

  22.  #22pinki on November 19, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Rori,
    Even though its been a while since my last post, I have so many thoughts and feelings going on regarding my reality and the way I react to them. Especially since I’ve been following the “Power and self esteem section”.

    The good part is that, I was told that I will be given a in-house project even if I dont get a project at the client side.

    Considering the lay-offs that have been happening lately, I feel like I am in a fairly better situation. I feel thankful. On the other hand, I do not want to feel satisfied but a humble beginning.

    I have mixed feelings going on these days.
    I am beginning to feel little confident sometimes scared.
    I feel grateful for my family sometimes I feel sad and worried that my mom doesnt talk to me very much these days because my marriage is not taking place.

    I feel happy and confident(not clingy) when I talk to my boy-friend but insecured and crummy (in my stomach) when I think about he needing time to be with me forever (whatever those reasons might be).


  23.  #23Tina on November 21, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    My Goals List

    1. To find a job
    2. Make friends (I already talked to this new person i met recently)
    3. Learn knitting
    4. Join toastmasters club
    5. Buy a car
    6. Visit home country
    7. Workout

  24.  #24Scotty UK on December 1, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I have been circular dating for years (and enjoyed it!) and recently opted out of a newish relationship because in the words of the man ‘he didn’t have a permanent feeling about us’. At the point where I started dating him, another guy I’d know for 3 years became very upset and regretted not having made a serious move on me. So when I was free we talked and he asked if I would be my girlfriend. I completely panicked and felt really trapped and couldn’t understand it. I’d known this guy for years (he was recently widowed when I’d met him) and we have shared a lot of good (platonic) times. He had originally stunted any hope of a relationship because i have a very young daughter and he had already raised 4 kids and thought he couldnt’ do it again. I had gracefull accepted it and got on with my life dating other men, building my business and raising my daughter. But I knew in my heart that this guy would one day turn around, which he did. Now I have a big problem trusting that he can cope with my daughter in a relationship (he has made a lot of effort in that direction, but I doubt his sincerity). I also fear that he is reacting to my seriously dating another man, rather than being truly ‘into me’. But worse still, I don’t WANT to give up dating! There is a far more serious element to all of this. I have had a great deal of trouble adapting to motherhood myself. I don ‘t have the big maternal thing with my daughter and our relationship has been so hard for me that I have had a lot of therapy to try and adapt. I am really really scared of letting any man, let alone this one, into a world that I find difficult myself and dating without seriousness allows me to keep them out and away from my depression around all this. The part of me that struggles with motherhood is not sexy, not warm, not fun and I can’t be intimate in that part of myself. I feel that I will be ‘told’ to get into my daughter to solve this problem, but I can’t make myself do that. I am terrified that while I am a parent I will be unable to have a relationship.

  25.  #25Rori Raye on December 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Scotty, Welcome to this site, and thank you so much for bringing this totally new issue to us.

    I’m going to guess that what you’re experiencing with your daughter is an extension of your own experience with nurturing as a child, and that you’re afraid, deep down, to take responsibility for someone else (and who wouldn’t feel that) and still let yourself go into LOVE. This is basically fear of intimacy, and a fear of Love – which works itself out with EVERYONE in our lives.

    Your relationship with your daughter and your relationship with a man are the same thing. It’s about a deep fight inside you between your boy and girl energy, and an expression of rage that you can’t allow yourself to feel.

    I’m so glad you’ve been in therapy, and I so recommend you do all the Power & Self-Esteem Tools here and allow these incredible women to guide you and help you.

    And – PLEASE – Circular Dating is not serial dating. Circular Dating is dating lots of men, all at the same time, and NEVER STOPPING this process of keeping your options open until the relationship you want is actually real and happening – officially and in every other way you want. In Circular Dating, there is no such thing as being a “Girlfriend.” There is no such thing as a “serious” relationship.

    A relationship is either the marriage and wonderful-feeling thing you want, or it’s a “dating” relationship. That’s it. A man doesn’t get to have you all to himself just by “saying” ANYTHING.

    Things take time. I want you to feel relaxed, confident, easy, gentle with yourself, FREE, and happy ALL THE TIME, while all the logistics and officialness of a relationship gets worked out. Love, Rori

  26.  #26Scotty UK on December 2, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Sorry If I gave the impression I was ‘seriously’ dating – semantics I’m afraid. The guy who I split with had been dated alongside other men for ages before we mutually decided that we wanted to work towards a future and he was not only saying, but acting appropriately. I don’t want marriage – actions not rings melt my butter! However, when he showed the slightest of hesitations after only one week of committment, I clarified the situation and put myself back on the market. At this point man No 2 showed his colours and will now do anything to get ME to commit. Then we lead into the intimacy issue of my own on which I totally agree with and am working very hard on. I have a pertinent question on that one – if I have a fear of committment and intimacy (and I’m not sure whether they are the same thing) – then how does avoiding committment get me over that hurdle? I am busy checking out my own fears with men, bit by bit, but at any point where it looks really good, I don’t want to do it, surely staying free keeps me happy avoiding the issue?

  27.  #27Samantha on March 5, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Rori, I am struggling in my relationship, my boyfriend of 14 months and I are living together in the same one bedroom apartment he stays on the couch while I use the bedroom. We have decided to try being “friends” the hard part about this is that for one I am not over him- and two we are still living together which makes EVERYTHING that much harder!
    He said we should be friends and then see what happens like if we want to start “dating” again and then later start a new relationship – and of course we are “free” to do what we want- I know I will not be getting with anyone in any way while we are still under the same roof because well thats very alkward and like I said I am still in love with him.
    The beginning ofour relationship started by diving head first into everything – no thought involved. Just used our hearts to think for our heads, and we completely missed the friends/dating etc boat- Can we still make it work this way??
    Or am I just wasting my time with trying out “just friends” while again still living together-
    Is there anything you can suggest for me to do while we go throuugh this to make me look more appealing again opposed to other girls he may find interest in-??