Odds are, early on, you liked your husband enough to marry him.
So what has happened since then?
If you dislike your husband, you should ask yourself when this first started. Since you married him, it’s safe to assume that you did like your husband before. So why don’t you anymore? Did he change or did your opinion of him change?
Maybe you had a change of heart. You thought you knew your husband, but you recently realized that you’re incompatible in some fundamental ways.
How fundamental are those things? Is there still hope for your marriage? No one can answer this for you. A therapist could help you to identify your issues, but you know your situation best. And you know your husband best.
Has he changed? If so, consider the reason for this change, not just the change itself. Is your husband stressed or unhappy in other areas of his life? Is he depressed? Did something happen in the marriage? Was there some major trauma outside of the marriage that changed him?
Answering these questions can help you bring back your husband and save your marriage, but is that what you want?
Before doing any of the things listed below, think about your marriage. Is your relationship worth the trouble to fix? Or would staying with your husband mean sacrificing your own happiness in the long run?
Before answering that, consider whether your feelings for your husband are really gone, or do you just dislike some of his recent actions?
Obviously, when you have been married for a long time, you can’t expect the same level of passion that you experienced during the honeymoon phase. So don’t be quick to assume that the spark is gone.
You can like your husband again, and you can help him become a better person. What you shouldn’t do is stay in a marriage where it’s not worth the trouble for you or you disagree on fairly fundamental things that aren’t going to change.
If you want to, give your marriage a chance by trying out the things listed below.
You can still do these things if you think that there’s no hope for your marriage; however, don’t expect miracles. If the current state of your marriage is that bad, and you care about saving it, your best bet is to try counseling.
On the other hand, if you think that you would just sacrifice your own happiness to help your husband, consider separating for a while to make up your mind. More on that later.
For now, try this:
1. Remind yourself that you can’t change him.
Maybe you don’t like your husband as a person, but he is going to stay that person anyway. People can change, but only when they choose to and put effort into becoming better. You can’t force your husband into becoming a more likeable person. And you need to accept this.
Can you love him for who he is? Did you ever love him for who he is? Has he turned into someone else?
What you should do depends on your answers to these questions, but start by accepting that you can’t change him. Maybe your husband will change again, but if that doesn’t happen, could you still love him and be okay with who he is? More importantly, would that be good for you?
You can help your husband realize the bad aspects of his behavior or personality, but you can’t expect him to change who he is for you. However, you should expect him to treat you with love and respect. If this is not the case, some time apart might be necessary.
2. Remind yourself why you fell in love with him.
Assuming you were in love with your husband at some point in your relationship, what made you fall in love with him? How much has he changed since then? Do you still love certain aspects of his personality? If you don’t love his personality right now, could you learn to love it with time?
Remind yourself of the good times you shared and all the happy memories you made. Think of when you looked at him with love and when he did things to make you happy. Was there ever a time when you liked him as a person?
Assuming your partner is not simply a bad person, what made you dislike him? Identifying what exactly changed in your relationship is the first step toward fixing it.
3. Ask yourself what has changed.
Maybe you can’t think of something that changed, because it didn’t happen in your love life, but in your partner’s personal life. Maybe he is under a lot of stress because of work or family problems.
Always make sure to consider his side of the story. Think of things from his perspective. Is there a good explanation for the way he has been behaving recently? Sometimes, it’s that simple.
On the other hand, maybe nothing changed, you just recently realized that you dislike your husband. You don’t agree with him on some very important subjects, you’re incompatible in other ways, or your husband is not your friend anymore. Before concluding that this is the case, ask yourself whether those things really matter to you that much.
Unless your husband is being abusive, you could be exaggerating his flaws because you’re unhappy or bored in your marriage. A recent big fight could be why you feel like you dislike your husband right now.
4. Focus on his positive sides.
Let’s assume that you don’t really dislike your husband as a person but certain aspects of his behavior and/or personality. What is it that you do like about him? If you want to like your husband again, focus on his positive side.
Think about his positive qualities and behaviors without adding the “but.” There must be some major flaw that you are worried about, but if you want to overcome that and like your husband again, put it aside for a while and focus entirely on the positive.
Think back on your entire relationship, not just recently. Your husband is probably still the same person, even if some things have changed. Think about how you felt about him before, when he proposed, and on your wedding day.
If you have been together for a very long time, you might have gotten bored in the relationship or taken some things for granted. So think about what you would be missing if you ended your marriage. It can help you notice things that you might be overlooking.
5. Encourage positive behavior.
You often hear about how important it is to say “no” when people break your boundaries, but it’s also important to say “yes” when they are doing everything right. Talk to your husband and tell him what you like. When you notice a behavior that you like, encourage it by acknowledging it.
You can also encourage positive behavior by setting an example. Treat your husband the way you want him to treat you. If you want to go on more dates, ask him out on a date, don’t wait for him to ask. If you want him to change, talk about what you could work on changing about yourself too.
Sometimes you simply have to ask for what you want. Maybe you’re constantly criticizing your husband for what he doesn’t do and you’ve forgotten to acknowledge the things he does do. Appreciate his efforts, and he will be encouraged to put in more effort and repeat his actions.
6. Communicate clearly and openly.
Did you ever tell your husband what you dislike about his behavior/personality? Now that you’ve thought about all the positive things, think about what you dislike. Is it that important? If it is, you should talk to your husband about it.
Communicate clearly and openly. Remind him of his positive qualities, but explain the negative things that are bothering you and how he could change them. Don’t make passive-aggressive statements or force him to guess what you’re thinking. Simply say what you need to say.
Think of specific examples of when your husband displayed the behavior that you dislike. Mention them, and be open to hearing his side of the story without getting mad. Try to communicate calmly without turning the conversation into another big fight. Focus on the one thing that’s wrong, not blaming each other for it.
Perhaps you hate the way your husband talks to you, or it upsets you when he doesn’t care about your feelings. Whatever it is, learn to talk to him about it.
7. Don’t point fingers.
It’s important not to play the blame game. You should only discuss what’s wrong and how to fix it, not blame your husband for everything.
Use more “I” statements than “You” statements. So instead of saying, “You don’t ever listen to me,” you could say, “I often feel unheard.”
You should also acknowledge the positive things that your husband might mention and even bring them up yourself. Don’t make him the bad guy in the story, and accept your part of the blame too. If he has something to tell you, listen to him and react the way you’d want him to react to your side of the story.
8. Set clear boundaries.
When you communicate about the things that are wrong in your relationship, you should also communicate if there are some things that you can no longer tolerate. Then think about the ways that you are going to stop those things if they happen again.
If something is so important that you would be willing to end your marriage for it, then you should threaten to leave. However, don’t do this unless you’re ready to go through with it.
When you set boundaries, it’s crucial that you stick to them. If you threaten him with something, you should be really prepared to go through with it.
9. Be alone together more often.
Maybe your husband has truly changed. If so, consider getting to know this new version of your husband. You might even learn to love him!
So spend more alone time together. Go on romantic dates every now and then and just spend quality time together talking it out.
With work, and possibly kids, you may have neglected each other. You need to be reminded of what your husband brings to your life. So, if he has been absent lately, ask him for more alone time together.
This is especially important if you have kids. Find someone to take them for a weekend so you can focus entirely on each other and who you were when you fell in love.
10. Return to happy times.
What did you and your husband used to do that made you feel happy and loved? Maybe you would take the dog for a walk or bake pancakes together. Whatever it was that you were doing back then, do it again.
If you shared the same hobby, start practicing it again. Recreate your happy memories and relive them. You could even recreate your first date or your honeymoon.
Don’t be afraid to look to your past for inspiration. Remind yourself of who you were when you fell in love by being those people again.
11. Think about your needs that aren’t being met.
You probably don’t like your husband because some of your needs aren’t being met. What are those needs? Should he listen more? Do you need him to be more present? Have things gotten boring in the bedroom?
Think about what exactly you need and how your husband could meet those needs. Do you want more adventure or stability? Do you need him to be kinder or more honest?
What is it exactly that’s missing from your relationship? Once you’ve identified the real issue, you can start searching for solutions that you can suggest to your husband.
12. Suggest solutions.
Don’t wait for your husband to read your mind and guess what you need and how to meet that need. Think of the solutions on your own and suggest them to him.
Your husband would probably be happy to give you what you want if he knew what it was specifically. The more specific you can be the better.
Don’t leave anything for him to guess, even if it means being entirely blunt about what you want. Make sure that he knows the problem, as well as the solution, and he’ll likely do something about it.
13. Try new things to rekindle the passion.
Rekindle the passion by trying new things. Start a new hobby, try new foods, listen to new music, learn a new skill… Try new things in the bedroom too.
Things can get boring when you’re with someone for a very long time. Sometimes, the problem isn’t that your husband has changed, it’s that he hasn’t changed a bit. And you’re tired of your life being so predictable.
Ask him for an adventure. You could catch a plane to an exotic destination or take a scenic road trip. Keep learning and discovering new things to keep your marriage fresh and exciting.
14. Talk to someone.
Is there someone you could talk to about this? Maybe you could confide in a trusted friend or a family member. Don’t hesitate to tell someone else what’s going on, especially if it affects your well-being.
Your friends and family members could help you by offering advice or simply a shoulder to cry on. However, they might not be objective, and their advice might not be the best thing you could do right now.
So, consider talking to a relationship counselor on your own. You don’t have to start counseling with your husband until you talk to the counselor on your own to figure out what you really want.
15. Consider counseling.
If you want to save your marriage, suggest counseling to your husband. If you’ve tried everything else on this list, your next step is to start counseling.
This is not because you have a huge problem in your marriage. It’s just that you might be in a situation that requires tailored advice specific to what you’re going through.
While you can learn a lot by reading online, you can’t get the best advice unless the person knows the specifics of your situation. So, make sure to tell someone about what you’re going through.
16. Consider some time apart.
In the end, you don’t have to try to save your marriage. If you don’t like your husband to the point that you don’t want to be married to him anymore, that’s okay. However, it would be best to give it some time before making a big decision such as getting a divorce.
Consider getting some time apart from each other where you can think in peace. For now, you may be happier when your husband is away from you for a while, and this can then help you consider things more rationally. Don’t immediately file for divorce; instead, separate for a while so you can think things through.
Your marriage should make you happy. When your marriage stands in the way of your happiness, it’s okay to consider ending it. However, it’s important to give things time, so talk about living separately for a while before considering a full-blown divorce.