Is My Marriage Doomed?

Indeed I am married... what does that mean? Certainly not what I had hoped for 6 years ago.

When looking back at my previous long relationship, I can see how I was fitting the stereotypical image of a man. I am not referring to the near Cro-magnon American beer belly, belching, farting, TV/buddies, but more to a general state of emotional check-out. I remember conversations with her where she was nagging me for not 'being here', for not acting like I was committed. At the time, I am not sure I was fully understanding what she was complaining about.. after all, I was there everyday, and I was faithful, and I was taking the trash down.

Over time our relation became strained. I felt trapped and nagged for things that I did not understand or would not agree were legitimate. Eventually, we were so boxed in our respective corners that she suggested to get some outside help. I did not want. Everything was fine and she was just impossible to satisfy. I can't remember what changed, maybe through a conversation with my mother, I opened up to the idea. But before going together, I thought that we needed to do some personal clean-up. So I went to see someone.

It was an eye opener. Over time I started to understand what she was referring to, how intimacy was one of the ways to cement last relationships (I say one of, because unhealthy relationships have their own way of being very stable over time). How someone could be in the same room, in a conversation, and yet gone, and more importantly, how the other person could be aware of it as it happened, or how much hurt it could generate.

What goes around comes around they say. Today I am married to someone with whom i very regularly feel what my friend must have felt. And like her then, I find myself bumping my head in a wall of non-comprehension. When I first met her, one of the things I found attractive about her was her profession... having studied psychology, I thought that the eye opening I had recently gone through would be old news to her, that the was so ahead of the curve that I would still have to work on my self for us to be able to build something of quality together.

Turns out we are were we are today. I is emotionally checked-out and has been for years. Much of the time we spend together is made of tensions, or absences. I feel like I have to constantly beg for her presence. I have conversations with perfect strangers, even with men, that feel more emotionally connected than most of our exchanges. Looking back, I think the writing has been on the wall for a long time. Looking at her with her siblings or parents, I can see that she is the same. I remember asking her sometimes how she could sound so cold during a phone conversation with one of them, that she would invariably end with a 'love you' or 'love you too'. I spend countless hours replaying clips of social interactions involving her in my mind (for some reason, I do have a good memory for these things), and invariably I see the same things: little or no tuning into the emotional contents of these interactions.

In my previous committed relationship, my partner's questioning ended-up prompting me to take some action, and I eventually attempted to reconnect with emotions. When I see my wife's childhood and early adult life, I can fully appreciate the reasons why she is where she is today, and why she is more comfortable dealing with the stress of our current situation than to face alone what I had to face before I met her. I don't even think that what I live as tensions are tensions to her. They are simply what she is used to, and probably how she aspires at being when she is free of tensions. When I try to have these discussions with her, I am often left wandering if she understands, lacks the desire to attempt to change, or simply just does not understand yet.

My problem with that is twofold: 1) it makes for a very emotionally shallow life with her, filled with sharing tasks, and at times, very little else. But more importantly, 2) we have a little girl. People tend to think I am quite intelligent, and looking back at my early childhood, there is so far every chance to believe that our daughter is more perceptive than I was at her age (not that difficult), or than her peers. Looking back at my life, I can see how my own emotional disconnection has been an issue for handling many social situations: as high as my IQ might be, my Emotional Quotient was, and still is, probably low. I wish for my daughter an easier life than mine in dealing with these situations than I had, so I wonder what consequences her mother's emotional unavailability will have on her.

NoBullshit NoBullshit
41-45, M
1 Response Jul 10, 2010

I wrote this about a year ago... I think my wife is slowly changing, but some days I wonder if, as I am myself changing, the gap between our perception of emotions is not actually increasing. <br />
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I fell more alone than ever.