What Do I Do?

I have been married for almost 35 years.  I met my husband when I was in high school and he was in college.  We got married 1 year  after our first date and had a little girl 5 months after the wedding.  I dropped out of college, was in a nursing program.  I eventually went back and got my nursing degree and after that had 2 more children.  We did not have an easy life at the beginning.  I was insecure, his family life was messed up, all this on top of the fact that we were young.  He was more immature than I was and as a result I was forced to take charge of our family, in every sense of the word, emoitionally, financially, I was the disciplinarian and mother to our kids and him.  We always had problems with our intimacy (not physical, since I was 4 months pregnant when we got married) but our relationship was based on our family- all around the kids and being a family, not being a couple first.  To fast forward, 5 years ago I forced him into counseling- we stayed in counseling for 2 years and nothing changed.  He went through the motions during the counseling sessions, but not in our day to day lives.  I have recently started individual counseling to determine if I want to stay in this marriage, where my breaking point is and how to deal with my decision.  The past few weeks have gotten worse and worse.  He rejects me physically and emotionally and he gets offended when I lash out at him.  4 years ago I told him either he had to pay attention to me or leave the bedroom- he has slept in a different room ever since.  No one knows we have marital problems, family and friends think we are "good together" (their words, not mine).  I spend most of my time in the house locked in my bedroom.  He never knocks on my door or tries to have a conversation with me unless it is about the kids.  Next month we have an anniversary trip planned, a lovely trip which I have made all the arrangements.  I really want to go but I feel like such a fake and liar going on a trip to celebrate a marriage which hasn't really existed for decades.  Do I go and pretend like we are happy, do I go and do what I want to do on my own, do I let him tag along for activities I have planned, or do I cancel and plan it again when I am by myself or have someone to share it with?  I have every belief that we will not be together in the future- he has pushed me to my limit of rejection.

After reading what I wrote, I sound like such a baby but I have no one to talk to and no one to listen.
lonlywife lonlywife
51-55, F
5 Responses May 5, 2012

You are not a baby for wanting attention. It is natural and human. I know a fair number of people who have divorced for far less what you have been through. Now, I'm only hearing your side of the story, so I choose to take it with a grain of salt. That being said, after reading the responses to your story and the posts in reply, especially about the vacation, it's hard not to think that you're being neglected to the point of insanity.

I really am able to understand your confusion because you are doing all the work and reaping no benefits. You appear to be the only party with a vested interest in resuscitating this marriage. I'm in a situation which bears some similarities and I also have phases of introspection and times when matters appear salvageable and I feel optimistic again. But when taking stock of the entire relationship's development over the years, I realise I'm probably kidding myself. Today I read a book by Sherry Argov which (I found to be quite irritatingly repetitive) proved to pretty insightful about where my problems began. I had to face some unpleasant truths: I learned that I allowed myself to be taken for granted! I'm definitely implementing some of the strategies for valuing myself. It might not be the solution but at least I have learnt from my mistakes. I sincerely hope you find a resolution.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my marriage and my part in the failure of it. I am in no way blaming him for 100% responsibility in it. I know I spent most of the earlier part of our marriage doing everything I could to make up for his childhood (he did not not receive much love from his parents) and hoping that he would love me. I was so much more insecure than I am now, although I still am. The next layer of my blame is that we got married young, had a child 4 months after we got married and I was in nursing school and working and raising kids and life in general.

But now we are alone, the kids are grown and I am demanding from him certain things that he is not ready or willing to give, such as a relationship between us, that we did not have time to cultivate previously. And i have told him I accept my part in this, but he still doesn't seem to want to to do anything positive. He says he does, but apparently words are supposed to keep me happy, with no actions to back them up.

I hope you find some resolution also. Let me know how it goes.

Well our trip is over. I had a great time, we went to napa/sonoma, drank a lot of wine, had some unbeleiveable food (maybe too much if my scale is not lying). However, it did nothign to bring us closer. I was hoping that maybe we could have sex on our anniverysary, but he has poison ivy, so that idea and hope went out of the window. we did spend one morning walking and talking. Mostly talking about his job. He hates living where we do and there is a chance that he might have to relocate and he expects me to come with. I don't want to move across the country, away from my children, grandchildren, parents and family. My family owns a business that my father started over 30 years ago and now my brothers and I run it. <br />
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I really tried to be relaxed and see what happened but on our anniversary at dinner, he didn't even bother to propose a toast to our relationship, he mostly just sat at dinner watching other people and not communicating with me. I am tired of sitting in restaurants across the table from him ( he never sits next to me so we can talk) in silence.<br />
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Am I expecting too much? Is a friendship impossible? For years I thought it was me, then I decided that I am a worthy person,worthy of at least friendship from him, but now I am thinking my expectations are unrealistic.<br />
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I am still so confused and lonely.

You don't sound like a baby at all - in fact you sound more mature than I've ever mustered the courage to be. By investing in your marriage for so long without getting any returns, and still initiating the counseling and sticking with it, despite continued rejection -- I think you are incredibly strong, and obviously a very good mother. <br />
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It sounds to me like you're tired of trying, and I don't blame you. Have you brought up divorce with him? How old are your children? Maybe you should use this trip as a gentle way to ease into the subject. The fact is, he knows he has lost you, and he hasn't lifted a finger to change the situation. Without knowing much about the situation, I can say that from what I do know, if it were me, I would leave. <br />
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But then, if I were excellent at relationships, I wouldn't be here in the first place, so I don't know what that's worth. I just think you sound like a great person who has a lot invested in your life and family, and I think you deserve more.

My kids are adults, we have 3 grandkids. I don't know if he knows he has lost me. He definitely hasn't done anything to get me back. I have brought up divorce, but he keeps stating we love each other and can work it out, but I am the only one working on it. Our trip is to wine country- I will probably spend most of the time sampling everything California has to offer!

wow, I could have wrote a similar story only about my wife. I just joined this web site because I really need some place to vent all my frustrations. Good luck, I feel your pain.