He is taking me for granted

-- Question for John --

I have been divorced from my ex-husband for about 5 years. We decided to give it another try and have been back together for 5 months. A lot of things have changed and gotten better, but a lot has not. It just seems lessons he said he has learned have fallen aside once again. He seems to be taking things for granted again falling into old ways.

I feel he does not have enough time for me and I can hardly get his attention let alone any romance, it seems the only time he is like that is when we get into bed and it makes me feel it is just a routine.

I have expressed my feelings to him and he gets better for a whole day or so and he is not much for going to counseling. How can I get him to realize that he is jeopardizing things once again and that I am tired of things being one sided again? Help!

-- Answer from John --

Tell him very simply and clearly that if he wants to stay together, he has to show you he is willing to make changes, and keep to those changes. Then figure out 3 very specific changes you want. They have to be very concrete and non-ambiguous. They have to represent the 3 most important needs you are not getting fulfilled.

After you are clear on the 3 things most important you want, and have written them down for him. Show him the list. Ask him if he is able to do all 3 things. Ask if he is willing to do all 3 things.

If he agrees to just 1, you are probably ahead of the game. Then it’s a matter of negotiation for the other 2.

But if he is not able and not willing to do any of the 3… or if he continues to fall into old patterns, then give him just one more choice or it’s goodbye, which is to go to counseling and figure out with an outside “coach” just what the two of you can do together to change things so that you are happy.

If he is not willing to do even that, then you have all the information you need to do what you already know you will need to do then…. which is to realize you do not have a loving partner and so you say goodbye, let’s just be friends… as hard as that may be, you’ve done it before, and you can do it again.