I got married at 22. We had three children together.
My husband’s a busy professional and supported our children and me. Though I’d graduated university, everyone, including me, expected that I’d stay home to raise the kids.
But when they all went to school, I realized I’d lost my sense of self.
So I took some courses, eventually got a job. I’ve worked hard these past years and advanced in my field.
My husband doesn’t show any interest in my work. He expected our life to somehow be exactly the same.
He resents any deli-bought meals (not often), my coming home from work any later than 6:00 pm (once every two weeks), and having to hire household help (easily affordable with two incomes).
He stopped having sex with me a few years ago, except for rare and fast reaching out in his sleep.
I’m now 38, unhappy, but can’t define “the problem” when I talk to my mother about this. She sees only that he earns well, doesn’t appear to be cheating, and is a decent father when he’s home.
It’s like we’re both working on the same project (house and teenage kids), but not partners in a marriage.
I feel that I’ll suffocate if I stay, but breaking up the family is a very scary prospect. Am I selfish to want more?
Define the problem to yourself. You’re unhappy, unappreciated for who you are besides being a mother (which you’ll always be even if you separate), and unloved sexually.
For the children’s sake, it’s worth getting to counselling. If he won’t go, get professional therapy about your own needs and wants, and how to proceed in a way that does the least emotional harm to the children.
Your husband can still be a good father when he’s with the children. You can continue to be an involved mother while working, if you manage a home-career balance as best as possible.
Teenagers do not get a great model for their own relationships from living with parents who are distanced and unhappy.
I’m friendly with a couple who’ve decided to get married over the mid-February long weekend (Family Day long-weekend in much of Canada, and President’s Day long-weekend in the U.S.).
When I received the invitation, I asked why they picked that date. Answer: It suited their schedule best.
I was shocked at their selfishness. Most people, including me, welcome that extra day to go away for the weekend or relax in town, to break up the winter.
Now it’s like a test of friendship, whether to do what I’d prefer and have a mini-vacation, or attend this wedding which, no matter how they plan it, will be like all others.
What is it about weddings that entitle couples to behave like they’re the only two people on the planet?
Fed Up With Weddings
The invitation isn’t a command. It’s a compliment that this couple thinks you’re a caring friend.
But they’re wrong. You express yourself as someone as self-absorbed as you label them to be. Or, perhaps I detect (as others might, too) a hint of envy over this couple’s happiness…
If you’re that disinterested, don’t go, so they don’t waste their wedding budget on you. Know that you’ll be insulting them, and the friendship’s over if you choose a weekend’s fun over celebrating their union.
Yes, weddings ARE planned with hope and love as the most important day in people’s lives.
FEEDBACK Regarding the sister considering warning her brother’s new girlfriend about his physical abuse of women (Nov. 29):
Reader – “I fully understand warning a female of a man’s history of anger and abuse.
“But females are aggressive in a different manner and can take down a male suitor by others means. They can be just as controlling, and wreak havoc on a male’s financial and societal growth.
“Men do warn other male suitors about certain females… usually in man code, e.g. "watch out for that one."
“That’s instead of saying outright… "She’ll take you down to the bottom, damage your character, leave you broke and almost destitute, and then leave."
Ellie – The sister’s letter was about a specific case. However, I’m truly sorry for the hurt you’ve obviously experienced to feel so bitter about women in general. If it could help you in any way, please email me your story and I’ll respond.
Tip of the day:
You don’t need parental approval to divorce, just your own solid conviction and professional guidance.