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AIBU to ask you to help me understand why...

(9 Posts)
heirloomcurls Mon 06-Jul-20 11:30:45

...I can't find make up my mind whether/how/when to leave my husband?

We've been together for 25 years, married for nearly 20. He is 9 years older than me. We met and live in his country. We have two teenagers.

I feel that I have grown up and changed and want more than he can give me. There is no intimacy, not just physical. I feel that he has never really cared about who I really am. I'm just the wife. No emotional support, nothing in common, not a great deal to say to one another and no fun. He is not abusive although I feel in the past, as I was younger and in a foreign country, he took advantage of my 'weaker position' as it were. I'm older and wiser now.

I work and could support myself. I have a few friends but no family (elderly and live in my home country).

I would like to move 'home' but this would mean starting over and besides, my children will no doubt stay here so I suppose I have no choice but to stay here too really.

I wish I had left when the children were small. I wanted to but at the time I was a SAHM and just didn't see how I could.

The children are at the age where they are starting to think about university, careers and leaving home and it has brought things into focus. I don't want to be with my husband when it's just the two of us.

Can anyone help me understand why, when I have clarity on the above, I can't seem to act on it?

I worry that I could be making a mistake. That I will be alone in a foreign country should anything happen to me ( ill health) with no support. I worry too about the effect on my children, one of whom has struggled with anxiety and depression. I worry less about finances as I will have enough to get by OK as I work and earn a decent salary. We also have enough equity for me to pay a deposit and get a mortgage.

I feel as though I would be throwing a grenade and blowing up everyone else's world for what are, essentially, selfish reasons.

What's going on? Is this normal? How do you move forward?

OP’s posts: |
yellowroses16 Tue 07-Jul-20 13:56:26

I am at a similar stage to you. A new chapter is about to start when your teenagers finish school. But what will this chapter look like - what will it bring and how can you shape it?

Through your own efforts you are in a good position financially to make choices. Now you are older and wiser what do you want going forward, what is your vision of a life you will enjoy? When you say you want more is that all about your relationship with your husband? or are there other areas you want more from too? You have built a full life so perhaps counselling (rather than throwing a grenade) will help you get clarity for the future and plan how to go forward.

I don't have many hobbies in common with my husband but I know we have the same values. However, I have not been happy for a number of years and often feel very lonely in our relationship. Now the kids are older I am thinking of counselling as I can't untangle how much of my sadness in our relationship is to do with family and life pressures or our lack of emotional connection. I know we had fun before children - how about your relationship before children? From how you describe your relationship now do you think your husband could be happy.

heirloomcurls Tue 07-Jul-20 21:43:31

Thank you for taking the time to reply, and for sharing your own situation. I'm sorry to hear that you are at a similar crossroads. I too feel very lonely in my marriage.

You raise some interesting points which have given me food for thought.

Yes, I think we were quite happy when we first got together. But I'm not that young girl anymore. I think my husband wishes I were: naive, easily pleased and also eager to please. I don't think he is happy either but he seems more accepting of this noman's land. It has to be said that his own parents have modelled a relationship which is far from ideal.

I feel as though I fell asleep on a train journey and have woken up at the destination and realised that this is not at all where I want to be. I even have dreams about this.

I think you are right that counselling would help me see things more clearly and find a way forward. And you are right again to perceive that it is not only my marriage which makes me unhappy. Work is a constant source of stress and frustration, and I do so wish I hadn't committed to a life in a foreign country when I was young and carefree. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I can envision the kind of life that I think would make me happy. It wouldn't suit my husband at all, and when I fantasize about this future he isn't in it. Which is very telling. I suppose I either stick with the pretence/status quo or strike out on my own.


I hope you manage to find the solutions you are looking for.

OP’s posts: |
DeadCity Tue 07-Jul-20 22:33:36

Hello, you replied to my post and I thought I would have a read of yours. As predicted, I was feeling very similar to you when I put that grenade under my marriage. I married quite young, too, and had a similar age gap. We reached a crossroads: his vision of older age did not match mine.

We went to couples counselling. Would this be an option for you? Could you talk it through with your DH, and maybe work on a new vision for a different future together?

In retrospect, I found marriage an uncreative process (apart from my 2 DCs). I felt, like you, that I was a “stand in” wife with no sense of autonomy. Everything I did, was for the family, or just for him. It grated.

I don’t know if I am being taboo in saying this, but divorce has certainly made me more selfish. I have a lot more time to myself. This has come at the expense of seeing my kids. Despite making my house nicer, and believing that I was the stronger parent, they prefer staying with their father. That smarts a bit.

Anyway. Some ideas here. Definitely get counselling - first with him, if you can, then alone. Be prepared for a long ride! Good luck. flowers

CyberNan Tue 07-Jul-20 23:29:10

are you unhappy or just bored... ?

be careful what you wish for... being single is great, I love it but its not for everyone. are you actually ready to take responsibility for your own happiness? remember if you do get rid of the old man, you wont have anyone else to blame for what is missing in your life.

I think you should give some very careful thought to what you actually do want before you unload what you think you don't want...

yellowroses16 Thu 09-Jul-20 01:45:58

It is quite a powerful image you conjure up when you say "I feel as though I fell asleep on a train journey and have woken up at the destination and realised that this is not at all where I want to be. I even have dreams about this."

But the reality is that a lot happened on your journey, you courageously moved country, you got married, had kids, set up a home, developed new friendships, are having a career and have created financial security.

Hindsight isn't a wonderful thing because it is flawed thinking. Perhaps time to really process this your life journey so far will help you. The fact that you already know the destination you want to get to is fantastic (I'm struggling with creating a vision myself).

Like you I moved country but only in recent years have felt homesick. I think for me a key reason for feeling torn and guilty now is because my parents are getting elderly and also I have two siblings that have tough illnesses.

Regarding your husband, reading between the lines maybe you are assuming some things about him which may or may not be true - maybe he would like to be part of your vision if you would let him? At least it is worth finding a way to help him articulate what he wants from life. Maybe he feels trapped too? Saying that having these type of conversations can be too high stakes but maybe counselling will help you figure out how you can create the right environment to talk more honestly.

Thinking about your husband and the fact he is 9 years older than you if he hasn't had some thoughts about what he wants from his final decades he must be a dull person … unless he is suffering from depression. Whilst he may have ended up re-playing out his parents' marriage in your marriage is he doing it unconsciously - maybe a serious wake up call could help you re-connect again. But if it doesn't at least if you decide to leave you will have given your marriage a chance to develop and become more truthful.

heirloomcurls Thu 09-Jul-20 15:59:24

Thank you all for your thought-provoking questions and insights.

DeadCity thanks for popping over. I've just read through your thread again and some things that either you or others have said are uncannily similar to my own situation. I lost a parent when I was very young too and the blended family I grew up in was not very happy. I often felt out of place and lonely and think I may be carrying this around with me. My father coped with his bereavement by becoming emotionally dead and my husband is very much like this too. I'm also going through perimenopause and a midlife crisis, I suppose. And I've been wondering about ADHD.

With regard to my marriage, I feel a lot of resentment. I sacrificed so much for our relationship (living abroad, putting my career on a back burner to benefit his, numerous moves to different cities involving uprooting the children and losing friendships, theirs and mine) and nowadays I have nothing in return. The love has gone. It's as if we're only together because we're scared of being alone. I also resent him for leaving all the emotional heavy lifting to me. I am the one the children talk to because he seems unable to relate to them. He seems to be emotionally stunted. I don't know why it has taken me so long to realise this.

I feel deflated. Lost. I don't think he has changed. It's me. I agree that counselling would be a good idea but as a way for me to work out what I want. I don't think any amount of counselling is going to make my feelings about my husband change. I care about him as a person and feel so sad that things have turned out the way they have.

The life I envision involves living in the countryside, gardening, entertaining, laughing, having a dog, going off camping, rambling, exploring, trying new things, meeting new people, painting, writing, decorating my home to suit my tastes, singing out loud and dancing in my house, living a 'greener' lifestyle, inviting old school friends to stay with their children...

None of this would be acceptable to my husband.

He is an insular homebody. Hates dogs. Won't ever agree to live in the countryside. Doesn't like change ir the unknown. Yes, he is dull and quite uptight.

He works hard then comes home and that's it. He will do a little DIY and a share of the chores but other than that he just watches sport or the news/current affairs programmes. He is honest, hard-working, dependable. A good man. But I feel stifled. At my lowest points I have felt as though I am just withering away.

I have taken on board the advice to sort myself out and try to find happiness from within, and not blame my husband for my unhappiness.

Thank you again for listening. It has helped me get some of the swirling thoughts and emotions down in black and white.

Wishing you all the best on your journeys.

OP’s posts: |
WakingUp55643 Thu 09-Jul-20 16:21:12

Oh my goodness @heirloomcurls this is almost word for word where I am too. I am so unhappy, but to make myself happy means that others have to be thrown into chaos and I just can't see a way to make it work.
The news and current affairs thing - this is my DH!!!! It's like he can't get enough of it! But doesn't give me a second glance. We are no more than friends, and most of the time not even that. I just don't want to spend any time with him. It hasn't all been terrible, but I just don't want to feel nothing for the rest of my life. I'm sorry, I have no advice, but I wanted you to know you're not alone, and I hope you find a way to a happier life. Your plan sounds lovely by the way! xx

yellowroses16 Fri 10-Jul-20 00:57:40

All the very best to you too heirloomcurls. Your vision sounds so free and energetic - I hope you can attain much of it. Thank you for your post it is starting a spark in me to articulate my own vision.

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