I’m 36, unhappily married. My husband appears to others to be a wonderful man, but he’s his own best friend, not mine.
He’s happiest at work, or watching/playing a sport. When he’s with our two sons, he’s the fun-daddy, while I’m left to be the disciplinarian.
We only have sex about every four-to-six weeks, and when we do, it’s all for him and over fast.
I work, and more than once have been pursued by a colleague for a romance. I’ve resisted because I don’t want to accept that having affairs are the way I’ll stay in this marriage.
I convinced my husband to go to counselling with me, once only.
He stonewalled the therapist. All he’d say is that he’s happy and sees nothing wrong with our marriage.
When I told the counselor that he rarely has time for conversation with me, isn’t interested in my work, doesn’t want to pursue any new interests with me, my husband’s only response were that these were my problems, not his.
Do I just leave; even though it’ll change my children’s lives, risk my never finding the kind of mutual love and intimacy I want?
Lonely and Distraught
“Just leaving” only makes for a getaway, not a new life.
You’ve done some work on trying to improve your marriage.
Now you have to do the hard work of understanding what’s involved in leaving.
A lawyer will tell you the basics of how your lifestyle and finances will be affected. You need to know ahead what you’ll be able to afford, where you’ll live, what custody and child support issues need to be worked out.
And you need to be prepared for how your husband will react.
Yes, your children will be deeply affected.
Despite your feelings (anger/resentment/hurt) towards their father, they’ll have the right and need to continue their relationship with him, however that happens.
The fact that divorce is relatively common doesn’t make it easy, especially where children are involved.
Continued counselling for yourself (and some for the kids) will help through this transition, if you proceed.
My grandfather had a stroke two years ago. My grandmother’s since become increasingly dependent on my dad, her eldest son.
She expects him to drop everything for her, which he does.
Recently, grandfather broke his hip and is now in a long-term care facility.
Grandmother now refuses to do anything for herself, though she’s still capable of doing everything.
She hates my mom for reasons I can't comprehend, and is doing everything she can to ruin my parents 40-year marriage.
Can I confront her about her behaviour? I cannot sit by idly and watch a once-strong marriage go up in flames because of her.
Your parents marriage is their business, but your being supportive can be helpful.
However, being intrusive, taking sides, or sounding like you have all the answers, may have the opposite effect.
Your father has to come to his own way of dealing with his mother’s pressure. Your mother has to balance her feelings about being ill-treated by her mother-in-law, with understanding her husband’s sense of duty and guilt.
Suggest to both that they talk to someone experienced with crisis issues for the elderly and their partners – e.g. a social worker at your grandfather’s long-term care facility.
By directing them to a professional, you lift the burden of their trying to figure everything out on their own.
And you avoid your own personal reaction becoming another divisive element.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who discovered she has a "Delicate Friendship" (July 26):
Reader – “I’ve known several people like this person's friend, who have a "cynical" and "sharp-edged" sense of humour.
“Most people like that can deliver a joke but can't take it when it’s directed back at them, despite being humorous.
“I know I have a great rapier wit and when I have responded in kind to these people, their most common response was to get angry, as it was a blow to their fragile egos.
“These jokesters always like to make others the object of their jokes and putdowns.
“However, if someone says something to them that’s equally caustic, their world comes crashing down. They're basically not being good sports.
“I don't think the writer here did anything wrong. She/he even attempted to apologize, but the friend obviously has a thin skin and can't take a joke… or possibly is a raving narcissist.”
Tip of the day:
Leaving a marriage should be decided only after positive efforts, information-seeking, and planning - unless your safety’s involved.