I am seeing a trend that is giving me cause for concern and red flags are flying in full force.
Women are seeking revenge on their husbands and are telling them they deserve to suffer. These women have felt they suffered in the relationship over many years and now want their husbands to suffer. They feel they forfeited their youth in order to care for the children. They suffered the loss of time with friends because they cleaned the house. They have suffered in the kitchen and in the bedroom because they didn't feel appreciated. They suffered because things didn't turn out how they felt they should. The children are older, they are older, and and they look at their spouse with a feeling of resentment that smolders within. Then, one day their husbands are blindsided by a forest fire of rage, contempt, and blame for everything that is wrong in their marriage and the only way to make amends is for their husbands to pay! Literally.
These women want all the benefits of being married without the responsibility. They want to enjoy the home they have created with their spouse but they want so much more. They want more money, more time away with friends, all expenses paid vacations (without their husbands), new cars, new clothes, a blank check, and a limitless credit card. They want to date other men and not listen to their men's complaints. They want to stop focusing on the children and focus on their own happiness. They quit cooking, cleaning, and the laundry now becomes the husband's responsibility. When the husband complains they say, "I suffered. Now it's your turn to suffer." Sometimes, the husband will come to therapy and ask his wife to attend, and she will go once or twice, but only to spew the anger and resentment to the therapist so they know their anger is justified. These women blame their husbands and accuse them of being a Narcissist. If the therapist even suggests that the wife has some responsibility in the problem, the wife accuses the therapist of being biased and refuses to come back to therapy. The men who have worked hard to be responsible providers for their family, now feel responsible because there is truth that they didn't communicate well, or that they "should" have made their wives happy. So they pay, and pay, and pay, hoping one day their independent angry wives will say they have paid enough. Sadly, in most cases these woman will not leave the marriage and the husband will never receive vindication. The women take their cake and enjoy eating it alone.
The real problem is couples are not entering into relationships with a plan. They are "falling' into relationships ignorant and without any relationship skills. Feelings drive the results of the relationship and because feelings change, the relationship is constantly changing to meet the need to feel something. People want to feel loved, to feel appreciated, to feel connected, honored, and cherished. When those feelings are not felt consistently the other person is blamed for the change in feelings. "I don't feel..." becomes the mantra and seeking those feelings becomes everything, even seeking feelings outside of the marriage now is justified. But as I have said over and over again, feelings are not facts. What you feel may be a lie and no one is responsible for your feelings but YOU!
When you want to have a happily-ever-after relationship you must plan for that success. It doesn't just happen. Relationships are hard. Just because you don't feel like doing the work doesn't mean your partner is responsible for doing all the work. It takes two to be IN a relationship otherwise someone is OUT. You may say you want the marriage to work, but if your actions are not reflecting your words, you are lying to yourself and your partner. If the only thing you want from your partner is their money and you don't want to give anything toward fixing the relationship, you may feel justified, but it is not healthy. If you are suffering, leave. If you want your partner to suffer, expect them to leave. Either way you'll be left with your own feelings.