What do you want in a partner?

What do you want in a spouse?  

Dh seems to want sex for his release, my adoration, my respect, laughter, eroticism, cute flirting, freedom to do what he wants the way he wants to do it, no criticism, no discussion other than joking, no talking about finances, someone to take care of finances and to make a home for him, freedom to come and go,  a drinking partner. He just wants us to enjoy ourselves.....in essence, to me, that is singlehood (or boyhood).  This is what I gave him for decades. My mistake.

What do I want in a spouse?  Trust, attention, partnership, commitment, someone who I want to be intimate with and share my thoughts and my body with, serenity, faith, a friend, shared goals, integrity and mutual pride in ourselves and in each other, inspiration from each other to be better people together than we are if we are alone....in essence, to me, that is a good marriage.  This is love matured. This is what I am trying to give and get now that we are older.

My idea of what is important for a relationship is too structured, too assuming, too much work, too involved, too serious, too entwined, too much for him. I am ashamed and afraid with him now that I see that he has not matured into a man I can put my trust in.

His ideas of what is important are too low-standard, scary, too devil-may-care, too lonely, too self centered,  too flimsy, just not enough for me to be happy with ourselves as a couple. He hates my expectations.

Maybe our problem is not ADD but rather in who we are and what we want out of a relationship.

How do spouses get what they want from each other?  Not by nagging, complaining, criticizing.  Which is what I had been doing. Not by isolating, drinking by himself, giving up, arguing, being obstinate which is what he has been doing.

By being attractive, involved in activities that are enjoyable and satisfying and meaningful for themselves and sometimes for each other, by paying attention to what is going on around us and being filled with love for life and involved with people and community.

I am trying.



I can relate

to your situation so much. (I'm new to the forum so bear with me!) I'm not married to my bf yet, and I am considering the possibility that we want very different things in a relationship. He sounds so similar to your dh: doesn't want criticism, wants to do what he wants when he wants without "answering" to anyone, enjoys the sexual aspect, wants my adoration, doesn't want to commit to plans, prefers small talk, etc. His ADD is definitely a factor, but I don't think it's the only one. I thought immaturity might be the issue, but maybe it's more than that.

I find myself asking myself what can I do differently or what am I doing wrong for him to not be fulfilling (or even acting interested in) my needs. I am starting to think that it isn't me, that bf just can't handle or doesn't want to do anything other than what he feels like doing, or doesn't understand partnerships the same way. I can't tell if it's a choice he's making or if it's just how he is. All I get lately is an "I'm sorry you feel that way," like somehow saying that is a substitute for bulldozing over what I want and value. I'm not sure he understands how it affects me, because I am supportive of him and he can't imagine the shoe being on the other foot. I don't even really consider the carefree, non-committal relationship my bf wants to be a partnership. I have been rationalizing his behavior, but a friend of mine pointed out that he simply isn't doing anything to fulfill my desires or needs outside of fulfilling his own. I'm somewhat afraid to face our differences because he always makes me feel like I'm the unreasonable one, and I don't want us to break up, but I also need him to give.

Your wants and needs sound absolutely reasonable, and I think mine are too. We shouldn't have to constantly ask for or negotiate or justify our desires. There's something to be said for focusing on the positive--who doesn't want to enjoy their marriage/relationship? But it seems like we both want partnerships that offer support, consideration and trust. I thought if I backed off with the nagging, things would change, but I was still making myself responsible for his behavior, which hasn't changed. I think both people have to give. All I can think to say is be kind to yourself, because I don't think what you want is unusual at all. 

Team players

I will tell my grandchildren.  Choose the partner who takes part in team sports.  If he can pass the ball to others for the sake of the team, you have a team player.  If he joins committees and is willing to do the work behind the scenes, he is a team player.  If he makes plans with others to build things together and follows through, you have a winner. If he has been kicked off a team and is angry at the world for not giving him what he thinks he deserves, you got a problem.

  I totally agree jennelamon.


I totally agree jennelamon. I feel that somehow I made the transistion to 'adult' and left hubby behind at 'boyfriend' sometimes...

He was a great boyfriend. And he is a loving man, to me and the kids. But... I just feel that I'm not allowed to ask anything more of my life, of him... of anything at all, really. My role seems to be to be his cheer squad, support person etc, while getting little in return. He is very good at deflecting me when I try to voice my unhappiness or needs. So I give up trying to tell him and he goes along perfectly happy as he doesn't seem to see that I've withdrawn.  Lately, I've started bringing things up that bother me via email. I don't like doing this. I'm not trying to unsettle him at work. And deep down I think I must just crave his affection and approval too much to press any given issue. I've noticed that if I express any disapproval, no matter how gently I word it, he withdraws affection from me, his body language becomes that of a sulky child. Not great in a grown man a foot taller than me and about twice my weight...

My husband takes great pride in the fact that we don't fight. Trouble is, this not fighting is much more a reflection of my difficulty in getting my needs/ wants/ worries addressed - than of our relationship being in any way perfect. I'm not sure quite what I expected from a spouse when I got married.. But this wasn't it.

My dh is the same way. I have

My dh is the same way. I have told him multiple times that I think, deep down, he really wants to be a bachelor. The life of no real worries or responsibilities or commitments is what appeals to him and what he pushes for. I told my mom that one thing I'm afraid of happening with the separation is that he will be all too happy to be a "weekend dad" and only have to deal with the kids for 2 days a week. Once he adjusts to the idea of not seeing them every day I can see him totally digging his new found "freedom" and not working very hard to progress. If that happens, I guess I will have my answer as to what my  next step is.