How Do You Do "Happily Married"????

I've been married twice.  I am still married to husband number two.  Husband number one was my college sweetheart.  That marriage lasted five years.  The marriage ended because my husband couldn't keep his pants zipped up.

Waited a very long time before I remarried.  This second marriage has lasted 14 years.  We knew each other for about 14 or 15 months before we married.  Our marriage was the second marriage for both of us.  In my husband's case, he was widowed.

When we met, I was a professional making good money.  I have a Master's degree and I was very self-sufficient financially.  I've never been a person who had to have "somebody" to feel okay about myself.  In fact, I prefer to live alone.

Neither one of us had children from our previous marriages.  Due to our age when we we married, we weren't interested in having biological children.  However, we both loved kids.  Several years after we were married, we adopted two older children.  We adopted our older son when he was five years old.  He is now sixteen.  Our younger son became part of our family when he was three years old.  He is now nine years old.

Basically our marriage was over about seven or eight years ago.  At about that time, I started going to counseling alone in an attempt to figure out how to stay married to this guy.  I was extremely committed to staying together for the boys' sake.  Coming from a divorced family, I believe that it's important for kids to have a mom and a dad.

The past seven years have been really rough.  We ended up going to marriage counseling together.  That was absolutely worthless.  My husband could talk a good story in the counselor's office.  But that's all that it was: talk.  He simply wasn't interested in doing anything that was inconvenient or a hassle to him.

My husband is a high level technology consultant.  In the last two years, he took a position which requires that he is out of town about 90 percent of the time.  It has helped tremendously to have him out of the house.  I love not having to deal with him on a daily basis.  In fact, I dread it when he is coming home for a few days.

As I mentioned earlier, for me, there were a lot of years between marriage number one and marriage number two.  Between marriages, I dated extensively and had long-term relationships with several men.  

Although I have thought about divorce for a very long time, my priority is my children.  I don't want their lives disrupted in any way.  My boys adore their dad and that is important to me also.

Since I have quite an extensive history of dating and several close, long-term relationships with men prior to this second marriage, I don't have any romantic illusions about a "soul-mate" or a wonderful man out there who would make a delightful husband and make my life complete.   

I'm not interested in looking for somebody else.  In fact, if my husband died tomorrow, the last thing that I would want to do in this lifetime is to get married again. least for now, I've decided to stay married.  For the past 7 or 8 years, I've been driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to "make our marriage work."

Now I've decided that the smart thing to do is to take my focus off of my marriage.  Why?  Because my marriage doesn't work and it's not ever going to work.  Why waste my time over a bad deal?  I made a bad decision when I decided to marry this man.

However, since I don't have any plans to replace him, why should I disrupt my life and my kids' life by wasting all of that emotional energy divorcing him and having to spend enormous amounts of time and effort to build a new life?  I'm fine with my life the way it is.  I just wish that my husband wasn't part of my life.

My strategy is to minimize my husband's effect on me.  I refuse to fight with him about anything.  We've already had all of those same old stupid fights and not a damn one of the fights solved anything.

I've moved him off of my radar screen.  I'm focusing on the things that make me feel good about myself and the things that I enjoy.  I'm making myself a new life that doesn't include my husband.  He has always been one of those immature types: a kid dressed up in a grown-up suit.  Everything has always been about him anyway.  He won't miss being left out of my new life.  In fact, he probably won't even notice!

So that's where I am right now with my "unhappily married" situation.  So what?  I have finally come to the conclusion that our culture promotes a totally unreasonable view of marriage. 

We are led to believe that marriage is supposed to be based on a profound, deep, soul-stirring love.  We are led to believe that our partners should be totally in tune with our every need.  We are led to believe that there is one special person out there for all of us:  our soul-mate.  We just have to find the soul mate. We have been led to believe that our marriages should be "fun" and entertaining. 

Sorry, but I've decided that we have been seriously duped.  We all must be far more stupid than we ever thought to have bought into what is probably an unattainable "marriage made in heaven" fairy tale.

At least that is my take for now.






Shazz Shazz 56-60 24 Responses May 24, 2008

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I've been married twice also. It's either the desire of the relationship that doesn't last or the fact that people change. It's rare in life to be one way always. Or eat the same food. So many options out there

So much of what I've read here reflects my story. I am currently sticking out my unhappy marriage. I'm doing it to avoid disrupting the kids lives, for financial reasons and to avoid the trauma of divorce. I've been with him so long, that ending it feels almost impossible, and I'm scared of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire: single motherhood in straitened financial circumstances just doesn't look like a good alternative.

I've tried to adopt some of the coping strategies Shazz describes, i.e. I try to keep engagement with him on most levels to a minimum, to avoid strife and angst. I try to run my life separately from him as much as possible. For some years we've had separate beds, separate rooms, separate friends. For a long time we had separate meals, although he's recently changed that. That was part of a drive on his part to avert the divorce I have previously asked for. To be fair to him, he has tried to fix things within his lights, but it's too little, too late, and he just isn't capable of playing nice for long. He refuses to divorce, and has made it clear he will make it traumatic for us all if I force it. So I leave him to control his world. That suits him on many fronts, as long as I don't get in the way of his plans or routines. He can be very controlling and bullying. He does the 'fun Dad' stuff with our two boys, or the bits of the kids routine he enjoys. leaving me to do the rest. By default, that tends to be the drudge work. He will try to control my social life as much as possible. For instance, there are certain friends and relatives of mine whom he doesn't like, and he will give it to me in the neck if I want to make time for those people.So right now, I have decided to just get on with it, suck it up, make the best of things and keep off his radar as much as possible. Much of the time, it's not actively nasty. There's cooperation. I get my emotional satisfaction from my children, my social life at work and the work itself. He doesn't quibble over my giving time to my work these days. That wasn't always the case, though. He initially expected me to be a 1950s housewife servicing his career from a position of domestic drudgery. The truth is, though, it's hard to sustain. I get very weepy, and there are days when it's very hard to get up in the morning, and hard to sleep at night. I'm pretty depressed about it all, and very, very lonely. Until I leave him, there will be no possibility of love and romance. No room for a significant other. I wonder how people who posted on here have been managing? Is it possible to carve out a contented life from within an unhappy marriage, or is it better to go through the pain barrier of a split? Is anyone making this work for themselves? I would love to know how Shazz and others got on.

Wow. . there are so many people out there just like me! Wish that made me happy but it doesn't. . makes me sadder!

Marriage for the most part is a silly institution that we join thinking that because we are human we can truly be happy with one person.
People grow apart, most of the unhappiness is sexual or money. and pray my children never get married,

Wow, thanks for yr inspiring story. It really resonates with me. When marriages end, it's not only a breakup between 2 people, but a big dent in the lives of those around us--kids, family, friends, and yes, even pets! The lifestyle is affected greatly. That's why it's so scary to jump ship--you don't know whether you'll drown or find an anchor. Specially for women, it's mostly the money concern and the effect on the kids that takes priority over personal happiness.

I've been married for 30 yrs now to my college boyfriend (my first and only--how I wish it wasn't so) but with my son still young I couldn't leave although I want to. I'm just scared for my son and me as I've never really been an independent type and we do have a nice and comfortable life, although crappy usually. My heart just isn't in it anymore after he had an affair when my son was 2, and although most people said "ditch him", I couldn't for the sake of my boy, who after 11 years now has been happy with the family together. Of course, there have always been conflicts day in and day out, but my boy just takes it all in stride as we are basically happy when my husband is not around. It just gets hard because I keep on avoiding all kinds of closeness to him, physically and otherwise. Some say how can you stand it, while others say leaving may not really make you any happier, ESP since you have a comparatively good life. But do I really?

It's possibly a matter of time, but yes, I'm working on myself and my life now and keeping him "off my radar", and in due course I may soon feel empowered to hit the roads on my own, despite my age w/c is similar to yours.

We just have to take better care of and be gentler to ourselves, do the things that make our lives pleasant and worthwhile. I've been having counselling, mostly for self understanding and am looking for a good support group for self empowerment.

Thank you so VERY MUCH for your honest and well-written post.

Your words resonate with me, very deeply.

I have been in an increasingly unhappy -- frankly brutally horrible -- relationship for the past 2 years (living together for 4 years)... and it's been getting worse.

But being alone this past week while he's away on a business trip, I've begun to realize that I CAN feel peace again... when he's not around, when I'm not interacting with him in any way whatsoever.

So your post has deeply affected me because I realize that I simply need to "get him off my radar screen."

My strategy will be just like yours: "to minimize his effect on me. To refuse to fight with him about anything."

It will be like living 2 almost completely separate lives... which I've/we've slowly but surely been creating anyway.

Thank you for being so candid and REALISTIC.

My Lamborghini my Angela

I dreamed about you as a little kid. How much fun you would be? How fast can you go? How does it feel to sit in? How cool would I look with you?

Then we met! You are so much more than I dreamed of! You are the sexist thing I have ever seen. Your lines are crisp and smooth. You stance is aggressive and suggestive. The sound of your motor calls to me like the sirens of the sea. The feel of your seats are so soft and supple. When I sit down I fell you hug me. When I turn your key I hear you whisper in my ear. Then I step on your throttle and even the neighbors know how much you love me. I love how you stand out on the freeway. On the race track, there are many sexy machines but none like you. I love the ride to the store as much as turning fast laps with you.

Then I was told I had to buy you. How could I let this come to an end? So, I brought you home the happiest man on earth. How did I ever get so lucky? I parked you in the garage, I got you a blanket and I took pictures. I showed you to everyone I could.

Little did I know that buying you would change our days of going to the race track and fun trips to the store and everyday enjoyment. Now, few and far between are the trips to the store and even rarer are the days at the race track. Yes, you are still the sexiest thing I have ever seen. Better than the dreams of a little boy. But why did I buy you my Lamborghini my Angela?

Thank you! So true!

I've been married almost 15 years. This is my 2nd marriage. When I first got together with my husband, it was amazing and fun. I have a child with him. I stay with him because I don't want to be a single parent again. I was one for nine years prior to meeting him. I'm doing much like you are, I do things without him, I have a better time without him. He is like a child and I have to "teach" him how to do something EVERY day. It's quite frustrating. I only include him when I must, when it involves my daughter. That's not in everything she does, either. I really understand where you are. If he were to die tonight, I wouldn't marry again. I'd be sad for my daughter, but would not miss him. I don't like, or love him.

I knew there was a whole lot of people living their life like me. My situation is some what similar, but yet so different. I will be married for 25 years this December. Yes, I do feel so unwanted, but care for. We don't have any intimacy in fact, sometimes I feel I'm sleeping with a total extrenger. About two year ago we were still sleeping hugging each other, now he hugs a pillow and his Zip machine tube. He brings coffee to me while I get ready for work every morning before he goes to work.. He helps with all the house chores, is extremly devoted to our now 22 year old pregnant daugther, and our 19 year old son. He is very attentive to most of my needs except sex. He is suffering from ED; no matter how much we talk about it use different pills, sex still sucks. I'm 46 years old who still very much alive, and need that sexsual healing. He is a good husband; our sex was never the greatest I think. I had never been with anyone else, but I have heard stories, that can not all be lies. May be if we did other things together I wouldn't feel so longly. All he does is work and wacth TV.

Well thought the story dates to 2008, I'm reliving it now and in France of all places! I'd really love to know what's up with Shazz's marriage now. I'm 47 and I'm almost certain, short of a miracle (that I do believe God is capable of doing, but will we follow His lead), nothing will change. I too had started going to counseling, pretty much alone, and wasting my money on it. I too have been struggling with how to "keep in it" for the kids, since I divorced my first husband for cheating on me (and introducing his girlfriend to our children as a friend - that was the straw that broke the camel's (my) back). I'd love to hear more from people who managed to live content and productive lives despite remaining married to people who didn't love them. Please give me some hope, especially for my kids. I manage to " show the love" towards my husband (since I still love him), but with time I know this will be hard. I'm so afraid they'll reproduce this "distant, selfish" love he learned from his father and his parents relationship. I just hate the thought of this, especially when I'm trying to emulate Christ who loves us in spite of, so I know there's got to be a away to do the same and be sincere (yet content).

Hope you've been ok after all these years. I understand how hard it can be with a crappy marriage that we're just trying to put a bandage on for the sake of the kids Like you, I also have some religious considerations that stop me from leaving for now and am doing it mostly for my son. Unlike you however, I don't know whether I still love my husband although I took him back after he had an affair when my son was 2. Friends say ditch him, but I'm just too scared, ESP for my son, who's still young. I think it's good to continue with counselling, as I've been in it although off and on. Maybe find a support group-- I'm looking for one close to home--take good care of yourself and your kids, read good self-help books and meet people. Life could brighten up and miracles, big and small, do happen.

I'm 22.. I'm a female.. and I'm laying on my bed, downing my second beer.. alone, of course. I've been married for just a little over a year.. and he is sleeping on the living room floor right now.. As many mistakes I've made in my life.. I feel like marrying the "boy" I did, was the worst mistake I've ever made.. I know how you feel when you say you don't need anyone and that you actually prefer it alone. I don't have kids, but its only because I made sure not to. I feel so young to be unhappy and tied down to such an inconsiderate idiot who doesn't appreciate anything I do. I don't want to be someone's maid for the rest of my life....... I'm glad that I know I'm not the only one in this situation, with the same feelings... So thanks for sharing, your story inspires me to not give up hope and to work harder to become more "successfully" independent so that the day comes that I can't take this s**t anymore.. (that day will come), I can walk away from a hopeless relationship without fear of only having the clothes on my back.

I suggest you read the book by Mort Fertel called Marriage Fitness. It is a marriage counseling alternative. He tells you constructive advice on how to reconnect with your spouse. I've read alot of books but this one I highly recommend.

He also gives free marriage saving tips via email:

It's very strange... these days. On one hand you have people saying it's lame and marriage isn't a game and stay together. On the other hand, there are those who say staying is a crime when one's heart isn't in it. So who's really wrong here? Centuries of people sticking it out - unhappily? Or, those today who decide to leave?

This is interesting because I have been contemplating the same things as you. I can't determine if it's reality, or am I dreaming, that I should be able to be married but not happy with the spouse. I know every one has been in my position, but its tempting to run because, today, it is so acceptable.

I don't want to get married again, or even be in a real relationship; I just want to be left alone. So why go through divorce? Why not just focus on myself and ignore him because he is so self absorbed anyway, and he certainly won't notice or care. I don't even care if he has someone on the side, as long as he doesn't touch me. If I fall in love with someone else, then we'll just get divorced. Or, he might decide to divorce me ahead of time.

Whatever, the fact is I'm not ready yet, but, when I am, I will leave.

This is interesting because I have been contemplating the same things as you. I can't determine if it's reality, or am I dreaming, that I should be able to be married but not happy with the spouse. I know every one has been in my position, but its tempting to run because, today, it is so acceptable.

I don't want to get married again, or even be in a real relationship; I just want to be left alone. So why go through divorce? Why not just focus on myself and ignore him because he is so self absorbed anyway, and he certainly won't notice or care. I don't even care if he has someone on the side, as long as he doesn't touch me. If I fall in love with someone else, then we'll just get divorced. Or, he might decide to divorce me ahead of time.

Whatever, the fact is I'm not ready yet, but, when I am, I will leave.

wow!!!! we have a lot in common jkcool, I am also the wife of a minister and that is a hard job, my husband is very rude and disrespectful. he was labeled as disabled and has not worked in years and he uses it to his advantage, this man does nothing he is so lazy, he wont even take out the trash when it is time to take it out, but he expects me to work and pay the majority of the bills that are due in the house,and romance dont even get me started on that there is none just a lot of argueing and shouting at one another. I divorced from my previous husband because he cheated and I was lead to believe from this man that he was different but he is not.I have had to put up with his "female friends" as he calls them , calling like they are in a relationship with him instead of me. the reason why I stay is, I am from a small town with nothing as far as job's that is going on there, I am unemployed and cant leave so the only thing keeping me here is lack of money.

I'm so unhappy with my marriage; I looked up unhappily married and found this site. I'm so glad I'm not the only one struggling, but feel bad at the same time there are other people who are suffering like I am. I've been married for almost 20 years. Like Shazz I decided to move my husband out of my radar and just focus on raising my kids because I didn't want to disrupt my marriage for my kids sake. I've been doing this for over more than 10 years. I have two step kids that I've raised since they were 5 and 7 and have two of my own. Two step children are now 26 and 24. My two kids are 17 and 14 and they all still lives with me. My husband is a pastor, so he doesn't make much, so I've been supporting the family basically by myself through out my entire marriage.

My husband expects me to be a full time pastor's wife, full time job, full time mom and full time wife. Even if he stays home during the weekdays, I run all the errands.... such as taking the kids to the dr's, picking them up from school or from friends house, cook, clean, etc you name it. I basically feel like I'm a single mom. You think raising two of his own kids from his previous marriage and doing all this, you get a pad on the back or get some kind of appreciation, but I was always ignored and he treated me like I was worthless and treated me like I was his property. I couldn't do anything and couldn't go anywhere. Couldn't have the hair style that I wanted or couldn't wear the clothes that I wanted. He is very controlling. It's been always my way or no way. However he does everything that he wants to do, meet everyone that he wants to meet, buy everything that he wants to buy. I always had to hide the things that I buy because I would always hear a negative remark from him. I've been putting up with these for so many years for sake of my kids. Now that I'm a middle age women, I don't want to live rest of my life this way, so I asked for a divorce, but he refused to get a divorce. He said he recognizes his issues and problems and he said he'll change... which I heard before, but I think he really changed, but now I don't have the desire and passion to make this marriage work. If I stay for my kids’ sake, I'm so unhappy. If I decide to leave, I'm afraid my kids will rebel on me. I don't know what to do!!!!! I'm so frustrated.

Wow, thanks ladies for the comments...and thanks to Shazz for starting the conversation. Being 50+ I kind of thought I was the only one to feel this way. But obviously not. I have been attempting to live my own life...sans a depressed alcoholic. I stayed for the sake of our know, nice house, good neighborhood, schools, etc. Now he is 21 and I feel totally lost...don't look or feel my age...know I have let a lot of living go by simply to keep the peace in the household. Now I am totally rebelling,,tired of being ignored (in more ways than one), tired of being manipulated and made to feel guilty, tired of now supporting (emotionally and work wise)an unemployed, tv watching man with an on again/off again personality. I know I need to make a permanent move soon, or I feel I will finally crack under the strain. What went wrong? Perhaps Shazz is correct...high expectations being thrown at us regarding marriage. Or perhaps some of us simply settled...I think I did.

I have the same exact marriage you do. I would walk out in a minute if it wasn't for my kids. I am trying to let go of my marriage, emotionally anyways. I don't want to disrupt my kids either. It's too bad you and I couldn't have a man in our lives that values or appreciates us. Life can stink when it comes to husbands/men!!! I am so glad I am not alone.

it is not easy to leave and throw everything , specially when children are involved , too.

Very interesting story that really hit close to home. You could have been my ex-wife: we were married 24 years; had 2 biological children ( the second I am certain is mine; the first I'm not so sure of).

We were too young when we got married: 23 for me, 20 for her. But, at that time, that is what nice middle class kids did when they started having sex: got married. Never mind that we had little in common other than raging hormones.

My work took me out of the home for 2 to 3 weeks per month for 10 years. Then, I changed jobs and worked a lot of mid-nights and weekends. Once I went to a "normal" day shift; home every night and all weekends, plus all holidays, we found out we couldn't stand one another: probably should have divorced right after the marriage.

While you seem to have a great plan by ignoring him, you might meet someone else who wants things differently. Another man in your life could give you the sex and physical love we all seem to need; without the encumbrances of "marriage." IF that happens, you'll be trapped by being married.

When my wife started her affair that led to our divorce, I was devastated. After about six weeks without her during the separation before the divorce, I realized I was much, much happier without her. The same just might happen for you. And, once you take care of yourself...your health, your spirit, your'll be far more attractive to other people and might just find other significant adult relationships.

Don't think your children don't know something is wrong. My boys just told me...ages 17 and 23 when we finally divorced...that they thought we should have divorced 10 or 12 years earlier !

Here we stayed together hoping to make a happy home for the boys. Without happiness between the adults, there is NO happiness in the home.

I can so relate to your story - I'm married to a retired Navy, now merchant marine who is gone for months at a time...that is one of the main reasons we've been married for almost 19 years (he's only been home for 10!). I have a 17 year old son who is very independent and have had one foot out the door for more than 5 years. I struggle with how my son will deal with all of this, but being married to a strict Mormon (who was not practicing when we met) is becoming more and more of a drain on my soul. I read a really good book called Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay - there are some questions in there that may help you with the process.

I really do respect the way you put your kids first. But I have read that the best way people can take care of other people is selfish as it sounds..putting themselves first and making sure they are okay. If you think that moving your husband off the radar and accepting "a bad deal" is going to make things okay for you then Yeah totally go ahead and do it!

But... I want you to know that not ALL divorce situations are as devastating as the result often seems. And honestly if there is any part of you that thinks maybe you would be happier living life without just doesn't seem like a good idea to ignore that for much longer. For the same reason it is not a good idea to hold in one's emotions for a lengthy amount of time, it just isn't a good idea to stick with something like a bad marriage for to long. It could end more catastrophically than if you just ended it sooner...rather than later.

But maybe not. I mean. I guess the fact that I am only twenty would come into this equation at some point and thus have limited experience. But I do watch people for a living...its how I write and how I make movies. and I am speaking strictly from observation.