Need to Get Back On Track

I have been in a troubled marriage for quite a few years now. My wife suffers from depression and lacks self-esteem and confidence. It has quite literally degraded our marriage to the point where we are now living separately and I have filed for divorce. We have five kids and they are living with me for now until she can get on her feet and provide a place for them half the time.

I am very loyal and love my wife very much, but I'm not sure how much more I can take. She has told me that she doesn't love me anymore, she has been very selfish, lazy, and unmotivated. She is 36 and truly doesn't know what she's doing with her life.

Two of our five kids are from my previous marriage and she is now claiming that she cannot be a stepmother. She feels that its beyond her capabilities to do so. My two kids from before are great kids. Their relationship with my wife is strained because my wife doesn't treat them well. My wife is very immature and fights being a responsible adult with everything she has. It has debilitated her life and our family to the point where it is currently at now.

I'd love to be there for her, but all of my friends are telling me that I need to give up on her. She doesn't show signs of changing and I have been miserable with her. She shows me zero affection, she pretty much only thinks of herself, and doesn't seem to appreciate me in any way.

Everyone is telling me that I deserve better and I do agree with that whole heartedly. I'm just concerned about her well being (she's still my wife and I do love her and want her to be okay). The thing that makes or breaks it is that I can't change her. I can't make her want to get better. I can't force her to seek professional help and get her life back on track.

Ugh. This is a trying time (par for the course with her). I really want to be happy in my life. I suppose that happiness will be on hold until the divorce is final (six months in California) or she pulls her head out from the sand (or somewhere else...).

SpringForward2k8 SpringForward2k8
41-45, M
7 Responses Jun 23, 2008

Well, I clearly haven't updated this story for a long time. In 2009, I had had enough - finally - and ended the marriage. Best thing that I ever did - for both of us. She went through about six months of waffling, not sure if she actually wanted out of the marriage or if she loved me (I'm pretty sure she didn't), told me she wanted to work on it when she found out I was dating someone, etc. Since May of 2010, she has been dating and has a boyfriend that keeps her occupied, which has been fantastic. I really do hope that she finds happiness with this guy - he seems like a nice enough person - and that the divorce was the right thing to do. I know it was for me.<br />
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It's not easy for the kids and I hate that part, but I do not have regrets. I know deep down that I did everything that I could to save the marriage. It just wasn't a good scenario and I deserved better than that and so did the kids. They didn't need another bad example of a crappy marriage.

Simply put, do what will make you BOTH happier---life is too short. It could be that she's no longer happy being married as well. But by all means, be sure this is what you truly want and have exhausted all means. Divorce should be the absolute final resort, as making a decision to end a marriage without giving it your all will leave you with lifelong regrets. I wish the best for you and her---it does sound like she has some issues that run deeper than just being in an unhappy marriage. Whatever you decide, reassure her that you support her and want her well---whether you two are together or not.

back when i was married, i suffered from a feeling of emptiness much of the time and major post partum depression.......however since divorce i have realized how truly lucky i was then and i would give anything to be married again, as life since then has been simply put seven years of lonliness and a spiral into a nightmare.....i have lost my job, house, kids , car,and yes at times my name is barely worth if you are lucky enough to be married try to work on it; stick it out.......i tried my best but did not suceed.......see "the end "by linkin park for how i feel.............if there is even a tiny bit of hope any marriege beats the alternative......ethernal lonliness.......i feel like a vampire alone on this earth

tresamore: Yes, I did take a vow. I have been sticking with this longer than I actually thought I could...and continue to do so.<br />
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I've been trying to be "bigger than the issues" and look ahead and not let her words (which are completely negative 100% of the time) send me spiraling...or let myself become reactive. I'm in a strange scenario. I am in a vacuum when it comes to appreciation and affection and anything else that goes along with a positive marriage, but at the same time I think that she may need it to be that way for her to come toward me on her own terms.<br />
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It's not an easy place to be in for me. I'm an action type of person. If an issue is identified, I look at it, figure out my part in it, see what needs to be done and I'm ready to go. She's the "wait and see" type. VERY hard for me to deal with. I get impatient...quickly.<br />
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NotSoHappyInSk: Yes, it's a year later (two years + since this all started) and while we have learned a lot, we are in no better shape than we were when I wrote this. I am taking care of the kids as best I can, but having said that, I am painfully aware that things aren't the way they should be for them...or us.<br />
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My wife goes to counseling occasionally (we just went this morning, in fact), but always with an attitude that it's too much to fix and she wants out. But she doesn't do anything to move in that direction, which leaves me befuddled and wanting some sort of change for the better.<br />
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I get very, very impatient and just want to move toward happy, but she resists completely. She's not ready, but I don't know if she will ever be ready based on past experience. *sigh*<br />
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I'm sorry that you are going through your situation. It is VERY difficult when you both aren't on the same page - that I can totally relate to. I hope your situation gets better. Sometimes when a spouse (I want to say especially a guy) is in denial, it takes something serious to get their attention. I don't mean anything nasty, but a man in denial can put a wall between him and reality if he doesn't understand why things aren't good and his "attempts" at fixing things doesn't work "instantly".<br />
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I don't know if a "threat" of divorce would wake him up or simply going away for a few days with the kids to visit relatives with some heavy words about wanting counseling "or else" would do it. It's worth a try if you haven't already done so.<br />
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A man's ego can be a big barrier - I know from my own reflections. Not an ego in the way that we are perfect, but it's very hard sometimes for a man to admit or come to grips with the fact that he has let things get to a bad place over time. We like to feel that we are the leaders and when we find ourselves in a crappy situation or where our spouse isn't happy, it is hard to be humble enough to fess up. I hope that makes sense...

I just want to say that I wish my husband (2nd marriage for both of us) was able to see how his ego is killing our marriage. I too am depressed, I feel trapped, scared, and alone. We have no children together, but he has a son from a previous marriage (his ex-wife lives in the same house as us in a separate apartment and pays us rent), and I have 2 boys from a previous marriage that failed after I sunk deep into post-partum depression and was moments away from taking my own life. It was the sight of my baby boy sleeping in his crib that stopped me. Then I knew I had hit a brick wall and things had to change, so we separated and things went from bad to worse when his family turned against me instead of trying to help us. Now we've been apart for 7 years and have both re-married. I sometimes wonder if things could've been different. The grass sure isn't greener on the other side.

realize you posted over a year ago but I still wanted to comment. I need to commend you for being there for your children and making them your priority. They will need your strength. I hope things have turned around for your wife. And in response to the in sickness and health who's expense should this be at..if two people aren't happy and are providing a negative enviroment for their children is this beneficial. I say this being a child of divorced parents. I was happy to see my parents happier apart as opposed to living together arguing and making everyones lives around them. Having said that I myslef am on the verge of reinventing myself so to speak. I have been with my husband for 22 ys...married 13 yrs today and I am 36 yrs old. We have 3 beautiful children and my husband and I are clearly not happy. We both are suffering with health issues and are in a rut. I am starting to see the negative effects our unhappiness is taking on our children and feel as a parent we need to take "a break" to re-evaluate ourselves and better ourselves for not only our childrens sakes but also our own. I suggested marriage counselling to him and he laughed and said let me know how it goes! Wow I jusr went off on a tangent there I apologize...I initially started this just to say that I admire your courage. So I will stop with having said that. Although I would love to know how you and your family are faring now a year later. All the best to you and yours!

You took a vow to love in sickness and in health, correct? Obviously something has triggered this behavior in her. She sounds clinically depressed and needs treatment. You both need to speak with a marriage counselor if you both still love one another. Always make sure you tried everything before you give up on something. It hurts not just you but your family as well and you will regret not doing everything you can for your marriage.

Why is she so depressed?