Struggle And Frustration

12 years of a good marriage, 3 beautiful kids, a near-ideal situation ... and in the span of a few months, turn it all upside-down, inside-out, into the mess of a world we live in now.  Home used to be a sanctuary for all of us, the one place where we go, let out all of our frustrations to each other, get some rest, and gear up for the challenge that is raising a family in our hectic lives.  Both of us work, both of us are go-getters, type-A personalities, good people in our hearts, very caring and understanding, rarely have extended fights ... or so I thought.  I'm a good person at my core, I don't drink, smoke, do drugs ... heck, I'm probably strange that way compare to most people.  I'm a good father, I take care of my family, the bills, my children, their homework and projects, I take them out one-at-a-time, tell them how much I love them constantly.  I am a romantic at heart, very passionate about love, and what that means.  And my wife is similar, that's really why I married her, because she was such a good person, so kind to others, and so loving towards me.  Don't get me wrong, we are not without our faults.  We do fight, get irrational, get mad at our kids, sin, whatever you want to call it.  We're far from ideal, and we know that.  Home isn't the same, it's tense.  I'm filled with anxiety, my mind races to places far and wide, for no reason at all.  I can't sleep peacefully at night, and I feel like I'm with someone who doesn't care, doesn't love me anymore ... when just a few months ago, all of that was never a question.

Then something happened.  Like everyone who I've chatted with, read about, or met who has had a similar situation,  there was a turning point.  It seemed like overnight, something changed.  Sure, most people will automatically jump to the "there's someone else" card, and feel free to do so.  Believe me, in my mind, that possibility has been exhausted to point of personal destruction.  Look, I have no choice in that matter other than to ask a direct question, get a direct answer, and take that as the truth.  And that's what I did.  If it isn't the truth, then the choice is already made.  If it is, then there's no need to go through it again in my mind.  Make sense?  Someone who loved you so much, with everything they had, turned into a cold, frigid stranger.  Not only was intimacy all of a sudden out, but communcation was out, kindness was out, good morning and good evening was out ... heck is there anything else?

The things that rings through my mind endlessly are these:

1.) She can't tell me if this is she wants to work this out.  She says she doesn't know herself what she wants to do, and it's going to take time, and a lot of it.  Meantime, she's off doing whatever she doing, travelling with a frequency she's never done before, spending time with friends who I don't know, stuff like that.  Again, you can play the "there's someone else" card ... sure, go ahead.  I'm pretty much done with that, as I mentioned before.  For me, I've told her that my desire is to try and work it out, because fundamentally if we're both not bought in, then is it worth continuing?  This is a deep struggle for me.  It's not enough for me to leave, that she's not sure if she want to work it out or not, but it's also wearing me down, as you can imagine.

2.) My kids, of course.  Like everyone.  They need a strong father in their life, that much is clear.  In my mind, I see them 20 years from without me as a part of their life, because they despised for giving up on them and leaving them, and they're in a mess.  I can't live with that.  I don't mind taking care of them myself, but even with that, they may even despise me for giving up on their mother.  I know, I know.  Don't stay together for the kids, just for them, it's not fair to anyone.  I've heard that, I see both sides.  It's a tough one to rationalize, likely with no real answer, just more questions.

3.) I'm inherently a happy person, always have been.  And now I see myself changing into someone else.  I look at pictures or myself years ago, and see peace in my face.  People who've known me only know a very positive and happy person.  My wife, on the other hand, has her moments, but I think inherently she's not a happy person.  She always needs 'things' and 'stuff' to be happy, and I really don't.  We've drifted apart that way, in many other ways.  But, I have a hard type extrapolating my future and seeing myself happy again, if I stay in this relationship.

I'll tell you, as a fairly rational and logical person, the things that go through the mind are devastating, especially because they are fictional events that get replayed over and over again.  Think of the most traumatic experience in your life, and take from that and make a movie out of it that replays over and over, without end.  That's what's going on in my mind, and it's hard to stop.  I've seeked therapy, counseling, etc. and heck, everyone who hears my side of the story sympathizes and empathizes with me.  I'm not a bad husband, not a bad father, not a bad person ... but I'm treating this way.

One story I found very interesting that may shed light on my situation is this one:  When I read that, I was blown away by the vast difference between a woman's needs, desires, and expectations and man's understanding of them.  All of the women who read the article were in complete agreement, while all of the men were in complete shock.  It's crazy!  For you women reading this, let me give you my point of view.  Life is so hard already, with work, kids, a busy life.  Sure, when we first married you, there was so much time and passion to send messages, pay surprise visits, be romantic, plan weekends together, send flowers, etc.  And to be honest, you were different then, too.  You did a lot more, said a lot nicer things, weren't so grouchy and grumpy.  For you to expect that same level of passion, and compare us to how we were, given all the years that have gone by, and all the added responsibiltiies, is mind-numbing to us.  You want us to do everything we used to do (including be passionate about you as we once were) while you're different now, while our lives are different now, while we have kids ... and you're going to punish us and turn off because of that?  Wow!  Maybe I'm being dense, but expectation kills joy, especially if you're not doing your part to make it happen.  Look, not all guys even deserve that, they beat their kids and wives, they verbally abuse them.  There's no room for that, and it's inexcusable.  For for the few of us who are 'good guys,' what have we done so badly to deserve that level of neglect?

I'm trying my best to work through my issues, because I do love my wife, even given all of her faults and changes.  I pin my hopes on her core being, and hope that this 'mid-life crisis' is just transitory.  I do so because I love my kids.  And I do so because I love myself, at my core, I'm a good person, one who doesn't give up.  I pray daily for God's help, and am thankful for all of the family and friends I do have, that listen to me, and care about me.  And if you're going through something similar, I hope that what I wrote gives you something to think about.  I pray for you, as well, that you may find peace and happiness in your life, wherever it may lead you.

jamestk jamestk
41-45, M
Mar 6, 2010