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'Ok' marriage – do I stay or leave?

HomeForumsRelationships'Ok' marriage – do I stay or leave?

This topic contains 27 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of anita anita 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
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  • #140091
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    I feel like I’m at a massive fork in the road of my life and not sure which road to head down.
    Bit of background. I’m 35 and I’m married to my 2nd husband. My 1st husband was my childhood sweetheart and he had mental health problems  (which developed after we narried) and ultimately after a few years or trying to work through them and stay married, we split up (on his instigation). It was an awful time as anyone who has been in a relationship with someone with serious mental health problems would probably know. I had to start over and it was a really tough time.

    I came out of the 10 year relationship mentally exhausted and shattered. Less than a year later, aged 27, I met my current husband.  He was (and is) stable, calm, honest, reliable and hard working. We narried 18 months ago and have been together for 8 years.

    The problem? I feel empty and unfulfilled. I care deeply for my husband but there is no real emotional depth or connection between us.  I am a thinker, he is not. We don’t have much in common. We tick along fine, each day we go out to work, come home, watch TV together but we have no plans for the future. We is a workaholic with his own company and his world revolves around that. He also spends a lot of time away for work (his work is also his hobby so he is fulfilled). I work to live, I don’t hate my job but I see it as a means to an end, to give me the money to live the life I want to. I have tried talking to him but he says he doesn’t understand what I mean about emotional connection. He is a very straight forward man with little emotions and is not affected by things easily.

    My husband is too busy with his business to do things with me (he is away most weekends for work from March to September).

    I feel sad, trapped and unfulfilled. I care for him deeply but I’m not living the life I want. He cannot reduce his hours and this is how it will be forever.

    I thought it was enough for me until I had an emotional encounter with a work colleague. We bonded over our relationship issues and there was a real connection between us. We were able to talk for hours, I felt alive in his company. I imagined what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone like him.

    My work colleague and I have cut contact as we know it’s not right as we both have significant others. But do I leave a perfectly ‘ok’ marriage for the chance that I might be happier or better matched to someone else in the future?
    My husband is a great man but I don’t feel understood or content. I just don’t know what to do.
    Thanks for reading.

    #140343
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    I understand the part about your husband being gone a lot, spending so much of his time at work while you are not involved in yours that much. The part I need to understand better is when you do spend adequate time with him- what is lacking: can you give me an example of a conversation you started with him, one that didn’t go anywhere for you, where you ended up feeling empty and unfulfilled? You can paraphrase such a conversation, it needs not be exact, of course.

    anita

    #140361
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    We have never really had any talks about ‘important ‘ stuff. Not even about whether or not to have children! I don’t think either of us have a massive urge to have kids but when I tried to talk to him about it I just got the reply ‘I’m not adverse to it’. And that was it.

    We don’t talk about things we want to do together, places we want to visit, what we want from our future. We live very much in the moment and reactive around his work and schedule. He would never initiate a dinner, weekend away, holidays. He will go with me if he is free.

    It was just so different with my work colleague. We discussed books, movies, what we wanted from life, the future. I don’t know.  It’s so hard to explain.

    I tried to talk to my husband about our lack of emotional connection and depth and he said I was talking mumbo jumbo and he didn’t understand.

    Does that make any sense to you?

     

    #140403
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Lea,

    I believe the problem is not your husband but you, let me explain myself, it may not be another type of relationship what you need but to find what you want for yourself, develope yourself as an individual.

    Of course ir is exciting to find a new person you seem to have chemistry with, but that is not what you need to feel your life fulfilled, un a few years it will be the dame story because you haven’t work on yourself, you say you work to live and that’s it, so you are basing your life on a relationship, doesn’t matter who the man is, it won’t make you feel complete.

    You have been married since you were todo young, do you have any passion?

    Do you desire to become a mom? Bring it directly yo the table, find a passion of YOURS, a partner is to share life, not to be the reason and salvaron of it.

    Be honest with your husband and talk about it with him, see if he wants to give something from his part but don’t let living based on what he does. You are a part of his life, not his whole, and that is Ok, that is why he may not be understanding what is happening.

    Believe, a relationship Will not come and change your life, the only one who can achieve it is you.

    I tell you a have a child and he is the light of my life, but I also have my very own passion and dreams, and they keep me moving.

    Hope you can solve it, blessings.

    #140405
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply.

    I don’t have a ‘passion’ in my life but I do keep myself with my own hobbies. I enjoy reading and have founded a book club where we live. I love to travel and see new places and do this as much as I can although I end up doing it on my own as my husband is not able to come with me due to his work.

    I also love music, TV and films and do these regularly. I also have some really good friends who I socialise with on a regular basis.

    So yes you are right, I don’t have a big passion in my life of a major hobby, but I do keep busy with these things….

    Thanks

    #140409
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    I re-read your original post and your reply to me. In your original post you wrote: “I came out of the 10 year relationship mentally exhausted and shattered.”- then you met your second husband. I think that there is important information in what you took with yo from that ten year intense relationship, something that is playing a big part in your current relationship and your current challenge: to stay or leave.

    Therefore I ask, what happened in those ten years, in summary best you can, what mental troubles came up for him after marriage, what happened… and why did he initiate the divorce?

    anita

     

    #140457
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    Hello Anita

    My relationship with my 1st husband was very good (if inexperienced as we started dating at 16) until 3 months after we married. He had a string of bad things happen to him (an issue at work which meant he nearly got fired, his mother got cancer, our dog died and then his parents very unexpectedly split) and this triggered a deep depression. He then became suicidal and had to see a psychiatrist. They tried him on different meds but he was never the same person again. He decided he didn’t want to be married any more, that he no longer felt the same for me. This was 3 months after our wedding. We spent the next 2 years trying to see if we could fix things but we couldn’t. He would go thru weeks of saying he thought he loved me again followed by weeks of telling me he didn’t love me. It was a very difficult time where I supported him emotionally and financially and it hurt immensely to be rejected with no real explanation. After 2 years something inside me snapped and I could no longer do ithe any more. He maintained at the end that he didn’t love me anymore and it wasn’t his mental health issues clouding it, but more him being unhappy and unsatisfied with his life causing his mental health issues. Everyone we knew including his family were deeply shocked about how he changed and our separation as it was such a bolt out of the blue.

    II think when I met my current husband I was very attracted to the stability he offered and the fact he was very straightforward and trustworthy and dependable. However he literally has no emotion. He can say he loves me but he has never cried since childhood, despite his brother being killed a few years ago. On our wedding day he decided not to do a speech (on the day – I was expecting him to do one and he didn’t say he had changed his mind) because he had nothing to say. I know he loves me in his own way but I feel I am just a part of the furniture in his life rather than a priority. Relationships are a priority in my life, work is the priority with him.

    Thanks

    #140471
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    Your husband doesn’t like to talk “mumbo jumbo”, that is, beyond the practical issues of the day. Your first husband, on the other hand, talked a lot: “He would go thru weeks of saying he thought he loved me again followed by weeks of telling me he didn’t love me.”

    I love you- I don’t love you- I love you- I don’t… no wonder you came out of that marriage “mentally exhausted and shattered”.

    And no wonder, you welcomed the no-talking character of your next husband: you welcomed the silence, the calm and stability in it (“He was -and is- stable, calm”).

    That silence, calm, predictability was welcomed shortly after the turmoil of the first marriage ending. But over time, you got bored, understandably. The side-effect of such silence is a sense of deadness. When you talked with the co-worker, you felt ALIVE.

    As the social animals that we are we need connection with others, and as the thinking animals that we are, we need connection, most of us, beyond casual association, as what you experience in your current marriage.

    Your husband, reads to me, had significant negative experience with past connections, most likely with his parents. His solution was to focus elsewhere- work. He is comfortable with this solution and is very unlikely to give that “mumbo jumbo” another try.

    In comparison to the first marriage, to that noise, the silence of your second marriage was a welcomed relief. But since time has passed, and you had the alive-feeling talking with the co-worker, in comparison to this new experience, the silence of your current marriage is no longer welcomed.

    What do you think at this point?

    anita

    #140483
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I think you have summed it up perfectly. My husband is a very nice guy and I care for him deeply but I didn’t realise how much was lacking in our relationship until the interaction with my co worker. The only way I can describe it is its as if life was black and white before, but now I know it can be colour. I felt passion and alive .

    I feel guilty and bad because my husband has not changed … I have. He is finding it very difficult to understand.

    He is a good man but our relationship doesn’t fulfil me. Would it be terrible to leave him, even though I do love him, because of this?

     

    Thanks

     

    #140485
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    No, I don’t think it will be a terrible thing to leave him, for the following reasons and with the following (suggested) understandings:

    1. When you leave him, you are not ending the “black and white”/ no color living and entering a life of ongoing Color. There will be difficulties, down times, challenges, distress and sometimes black-and-white.

    2. When you leave him, there is no guarantee of anything.

    3. You leave him with an honest explanation, telling him your thoughts and feelings as-they-are; no convenient thinking applied, just the truth.

    * His focus on his work is well established. He will most likely continue his focus and his life will not be significantly interrupted.

    * Regarding the fact that you changed but he didn’t; meaning it may be unfair for you to change the rules after accepting them- it is okay, because you did not plan this. And because when you got together with him, he had the opportunity to get to know you, to get to know your past and your mindset. If he had taken advantage of that opportunity (and if you did answer him honestly, which you would have, correct?), then he would have learnt that you may need more time to recover before getting into a relationship with him.

    He didn’t take that  opportunity because, I assume, he considered such talking to be “mumbo jumbo”- well, he is responsible for his choice, to not get to know you better before (and after) getting married with you.

    anita

     

    #140513
    Profile photo of Donna
    Donna
    Participant

    You think this is an OK marriage?….sorry, this is not a marriage at all.

    #140543
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Donna

    Could you elaborate a bit more?

    It’s funny, my mother thinks I ‘expect too much from life’ and should accept my relationship with my husband for what it is and be grateful.

    Like I said earlier, my husband is a good man and he is very good at practical things. For example, the bills are paid on time, if the car needs maintenance or whatever he arranges that. From a practical partnership point of view, he is good. From an emotional point of view, not so much. That’s not to say we don’t speak – we do, but it’s always very superficial and about day to day things, eg how was your day? What shall we have for dinner? Shall we put this TV show on? We need to do such and such…  As someone who doesn’t seem to have much emotional depth, this is enough for him and he is happy and content with our relationship which is another reason why it’s difficult to change things. He cannot fix something he doesn’t consider to be broken.

    Thanks Anita for your words, it’s like you have summed up the whole situation.

    I wonder what is stopping me leaving him. Love? I’m not afraid of being on my own but something is stopping me leaving.

     

    Thanks

    #140557
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You are welcome. To be clear: I am not suggesting that you should leave this marriage. You are considering leaving and I am here to help you explore the option, come up with thoughts and ideas as to “do I stay or leave?” (title of your thread). I enjoy exploring such things, and so, as long as you are willing, we will continue.

    You stated a few times your belief that your husband lacks emotional depth. I don’t believe it is possible, that he lacks emotional depth. He found a manageable way to live his life with minimal distress, that is all.

    You mentioned your mother telling you that you expect too much from life, from your marriage. Will you tell me more about this input from her, that you expect too much- when did she first express it, in what circumstances (in your childhood?)

    anita

     

     

    #140585
    Profile photo of Lea
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I am very different to my parents. We have very different outlooks on life. My parents were satisfied working their manual labour jobs, one holiday a year, and spending all their free time watching TV. They also aren’t very happy together….they have ‘settled’ for each other. My mother said openly to me that my father was not the love of her life but life is like that. That’s not the sort of life I want.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m being mean, I’m not, we just have very different outlooks. I don’t have children so my free time outside work is my own. I like to travel. I like to push myself and do things that take me out of my comfort zone. Last week I did a skydive to raise money for charity. I went on holiday for a few days on my own in January. I plan to attend a mindfulness weekend retreat next month. I spend a lot of time with my friends. My mother thinks I do too much and thinks the way I live my life isn’t normal. She says that I don’t seem to be able to just sit at home and relax. I do that most weekday evenings, reading, but she doesn’t seem to think that’s enough. I think the fact that I haven’t had children also frustrates her because it isn’t ‘normal’ in her eyes not to.

    I’m just very aware that we are here for a very short time and I want to make the most of it. Maybe this attitude does have something to do with my marriage problems. My husband, when home from work, prefers to sit in front of the TV or do chores. Not unlike my mother. He has also said he thinks I have ‘unrealistic expectations of life’.

    I don’t think I do but I would be interested to hear what others think. I just want to be on a relationship where I feel content with my partner.

    Thanks

     

     

    #140651
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You want to be very different from your mother, to not have her life.

    You’ve been thinking for a long time that she wasted her life, correct? You don’t want to waste your life- is this something very important to you, to NOT be like her? Is not being like her a motivation in your life?

    anita

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