I'm Stuck With A Grumpy Old Man.
Here's to all my sisters (and brothers?) who are counting down the days until the children are grown and they can leave a bad marriage with a clean conscience. I'm one of the many who's staying married for the kids. My marriage is not abusive, or I would've left long ago, but it's pointless, painful, frustrating, not good at all for either of us.
I married husband #2 (#1 was a five-year starter marriage. He tried to boss me, wouldn't listen to me - I left.) when I was 28, he was 42. It was a good match at the time. We shared many common interests, and he was lively, passionate, great in bed, interested in life around him, active, physically fit. I knew that the difference in our ages could one day lead to heartache, but I had no idea that it would come so soon. Now he's in his early 60s, retired, bored with life, depressed, in poor health, seldom leaves his recliner chair, anti-social, impotent, a heavy drinker, resentful, but afraid, I think, to start over without me. Honestly, he's become so passive that I just can't imagine him starting a new household on his own. And yes, I've urged him many times over the years to get professional help. He took a few tentative steps in that direction, but with no improvement. Hubby is much more of a burden than a friend or supporter these days. I can count on him in a dire emergency, but that's it. Hell, I have friends who would help me in dire emergencies! And me? What's my part in all of this? Well, when we first married I was young and willing to follow his lead in most areas. Now I'm middle-aged, confident, earning good money, and not willing to settle for the crappy relationship and crappy living situation I'm stuck with for now. I'm not afraid of being on my own - in fact, I crave solitude and independence. Some people need a mate to feel safe and happy, but I've learned that I don't.
We moved recently, and hubby hasn't unpacked much - and only his own stuff. He's retired and home all day, while I work full-time and transport our daughter to her various after-school activities, but he can't be bothered to deal with anything that's "ours" - he only deals with what's "his," and he deals with it by spreading his belongings and papers over every available surface. Daughter is also a lazy slob, though a wonderful person in other ways, which means that they'll only help unpack and clean up if I raise a huge stink. I'm someone who needs a reasonably organized home to feel relaxed, and his (and her) stuff is everywhere! I've been fighting this fruitless battle for 19 years, and I'm through.
He lost interest in me sexually early on - probably when he saw our daughter being born. At first, he introduced various kinky approaches to increase his interest, then he lost interest entirely. And there's never been anyone on the side, as far as I know. There's been no sex at all for three years, and in my mind, that's grounds enough for divorce! I'm too young to be expected to give up sex just because he can't/won't. I mean, if he truly cared for me, he could please me in other ways, right? But he can't be bothered. I don't want another spouse, but I'm looking forward to finding a boyfriend - a nice guy with whom I can share some laughs, some good meals, a movie or show now & then, and fantastic sex. And then he'll go home to his place, and I'll go home to mine. Heaven!
The thing is, we have a lovely 16-year-old daughter whom we both want to protect. I nearly divorced him five years ago, but she begged me to hold it together until she finishes high school, and that's what we're doing. Our situation has an extra geographical complication - I work overseas, he did too before retiring three years ago, and if we divorce now he'll have to leave the country. Daughter wants to graduate from high school here, so here we stay. We're working on the plan for afterward, but it looks like husband and daughter will be moving back to the U.S. where she can start college. We've lived over here so long that we don't really have a U.S. home, which leads to another problem -where and how to divorce? If hubby establishes residence in the U.S., I guess that makes me a resident too, and then I can file for divorce - my fervent hope is that he'll file, since he'll be there and I'll be here. I can't afford to quit this well-paying job in this economy, and I really don't want to give up my financial independence. I could eventually file for divorce in this country, perhaps, after we've been separated for two years. We've talked about this before, but I'm avoiding bringing it up recently because things have been fairly peaceful in our home lately, and I'm afraid that if we start planning the actual divorce, things will get very unpleasant. So I'm waiting until he's back in the U.S. to broach the subject again. Cowardly? Maybe, but I only have the measure of peace I've found by distancing myself, refusing to engage in arguments, and treating my husband like a roommate.
I belive that I'll be much happier living alone. I've been married (to someone or other) since I was 22, and I'm so looking forward to getting to know who I am on my own. Every day, I get through the rough spots by reminding myself that in a few years, all this will be mine - my house to organize and decorate, without his and her dirty laundry and trash everywhere, without the constant blaring of the TV, without anyone expecting me back home at a certain hour. I can work out, go out to dinner with friends, take classes in the evenings, a world of fun and freedom beckons. If I can just make it through another two years, life will be good!