Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Love, No Reason

Posted by Anonymous.

I've been married for eight years. We have two beautiful children and a comfortable life. He is not a bad person. He doesn't drink, smoke, gamble, hit me, cheat, spend hours in bars or looking at internet porn. He's a good guy, he can make me laugh, and he loves me. The problem is that I just don't love him anymore, and honestly, am not sure if I ever really did.

We got married young, not an excuse, just a fact, and I'm not sure if the circumstances had been different if I would have ended up married to him. I was young, had made a mistake, and was trying to prove to everyone, and myself that I had done the right thing. It was also an issue of security. I felt like I had no where else to go, and did not want to be alone.

After our oldest was born he became very resentul of the time and attention that she took away from me. I feel like that for the past several years he really has not been there for me. He worked alot, and I spent many nights alone with the baby, and she was not an easy baby. I had thought he would be such a great dad. He wanted kids, I wasn't so sure, so I expected alot from him and when he didn't deliver, I think it really hurt me. He also said some very hurtful things to me in those years. I really thought about leaving him when she was a baby, but I wanted another baby so two years later our son was born and it was pretty much the same story. I was the sole parent, anything I asked him to do was a chore and I felt bad for it. He never got up in the night, never did baths or feedings, he spent a lot of time away at work or in front of the TV.

We've talked about all this, been to counseling over it and the way I feel about it, but it's pretty much just my problem. He understands that I feel that way, but he doesn't agree with it, and I just have to get over it. To his credit, he has made an honest effort to improve over the past year, but he still isn't the husband
and father I thought I was getting. I have to give him credit for trying though.

Now, ten years and two kids later, I don't know what to do. I've been to counseling, we've been to counseling together. I have told him how I feel, but he just does not accept it. He says that he can make me love him, he thinks that because we don't fight everything is fine. When I have talked about leaving he called be a selfish ***** and reminded me of everyone I would hurt by leaving, our families, the kids, him. So now when he asks what's wrong I just lie and say nothing, because he doesn't want to hear the truth anyway.

I wish I had a reason to leave. Everyone thinks he is great and I'm so lucky, so they wouldn't understand. If he would mess up just once, I could leave, I could justify a divorce, but the way things are now, I can't. Life isn't horrible, it isn't good, it just is. I have my kids and my home, but I don't have a partner, a companion. I dream about a place of my own, just me and the kids, where I could do what I wanted, decorate how I wanted, cook how I wanted.

Why can't I leave? Why can't I bring myself to stand up to him and just tell him that I can't do this anymore? Why am I so worried about doing the wrong thing and what everyone else would think? Also, I hate to disrupt my kids' world. They are young, 5 & 3, and I hate to tear their lives apart on a whim. I don't want to waste my life unhappy when I could have a shot at being happy by myself or with someone else.

Other than more counseling, any advice? Has anyone been in the same situation and what have you done? Am I just being selfish, idealistic? Are all marriages like this after awhile?


Anonymous said...

I think the fact that you are unhappy is reason enough to leave. If no one else understands, to bad for them. You've tried to get help and explain things to him. Maybe being more direct would help when he asks you what is wrong.

bubandpie said...

From what you've said here, it doesn't sound to me like the reason for you to leave is that you just don't love him. When you put it that way, it makes it sound as if what you're looking for is some kind of emotional fireworks. But when I read on, it sounds like the real problem is his refusal to step up and be a partner.

What exactly do you mean when you say that he considers it your problem that he's not contributing to the rearing of his children? Is it that he has fixed the problem, and you're focusing on the past (that can't be changed), or is it that he flatly refuses to do more? If it's the latter, what is his justification? Does he claim that he is already doing enough? Or does he simply feel entitled not to do anything based on his gender?

If the division of labour truly is unequal (and I'm not at all skeptical that it is), and he's unwilling to make any changes, then it's not your lack of love that's the problem here - it's his.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that you state: "After our oldest was born he became very resentul of the time and attention that she took away from me." And then immediately state that "I feel like that for the past several years he really has not been there for me."

Sounds to me like YOU quit being there for HIM a long time ago.


Anonymous said...

I could have written the first two paragraphs. Very much like my life. Like yours, my husband is not terrible or anything. I just don't think I love him. I've been with him since I was 16 (now 33) and we have two kids 4 and 7. I won't disrupt the kids lives and leave. I'm not miserable or anything, but I know financially I wouldn't be able to do it. So I stay. And do my best and try to get along with him the best way I can. Really, I couldn't do it to my kids, divorce is hard on kids. I know what it's like and I won't do it to them.

Anonymous said...

It's not a "whim". You've tried to make it work and to be happy. You deserve happiness. Kids recover from divorce (I did). I think it's more important to have happy parents than parents who live together.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes feel the same way towards my husband. Life is good, we have two beautiful kids and I know he loves me. I've also tried talking to him and somehow he turns my feelings around on me. Not purposely, but he says that I married him the way he is and why would I want him to change. I love him but sometimes I don't feel in love with him anymore. But like you, I stay in the comfort of my home knowing that I will always have a roof over my head and finances for anything I need. Maybe things will change for you and me. If not, at least we are taken care of.

flutter said...

has this been talked about with him, at all? considered counseling or anything?

Kate said...

It sounds like he's good enough - he doesn't do any of those big bad things that would give you a clear, "DO NOT PASS GO" sort of sign that it's time to leave.

But you know what? Sometimes good enough isn't good enough.

If your child was in precisely the same relationship, would you want her to stay?

pkzcass said...

I am coming from a different perspective. I have a good marriage (although my husband can be difficult at times) and have no intention of ever leaving him. Because my husband is a REALLY good guy. Aside from the fact that he doesn't drink, cheat, etc., he's also involved with his children and does his share of housework, etc. He is an ACTIVE part of our lives.

Sounds like your husband is not as great as everyone thinks (even you), and that you've given it many chances with going to counseling. I agree with anon 10:22 that to leave him wouldn't be a "whim." Start to picture your life without him, and see the reality of it. Can you afford to leave? Will you get a job if you don't work now? Who will watch the children?

Based on the ages of my children now (8 and 11), I think that if you postponed leaving him for 5 or 6 more years and then finally decided to do it, the damage to your children would be much greater. They're still so young now that I think they'd adjust easier.

As for anon 11:28, I think that what you are describing is marriage. It's not always red hot passion and excitement. I'm not always wildly in love with my husband, and I have fantasies about the cute guy in work, etc., but I've got a good life and I wouldn't do anything to mess that up. I am learning each year that marriage really is hard work, and it requires constant attention for it to be successful. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I think more than half of "happily" married couples feel like they are not "in love" with their spouse at some point in their lives. I have had periods where I felt the same way you do for many of the same reasons, and I have also had times where I was so happy with him. Most of it depended on my attitude about the situation. Whatever you decide to do, best of luck to you.

Becky said...

Marriage is hard work. Sometimes, I'm not sure it's worth it. What I do know is that if you have to shrink yourself to fit your life with him, it isn't worth it.

That said, it sounds like you have a lot of old anger to deal with, and that's tough to get over. I've never gotten over some of the anger that I had towards my first son's father and I doubt that I ever will. I don't believe that it makes me a bad person, nor do I believe it makes you one, either. It just is the way it is.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was in the same position only he was not in love with his wife anymore. There wasn't anything he could point to as "wrong," and so he spent many years just sucking it up and getting by. Eventually he found the emotional connection he was looking for...outside of the marriage. It took having an affair for him to be able to end the marriage, and let me tell you, it was a much uglier and messier way to go about something that should have been done years and years before and was all but inevitable.

My advice to you is that if it's emotional connection and support you're looking for, please please please do not allow yourself to get involved in another relationship until you're out of the first one. Even the cleanest divorces are hard, so it's best to keep them as uncomplicated as possible.

For my part, I think you've given it a good, honest effort and it's not working. You deserve to be happy. You really do.

Anonymous said...

i'm scared this will be me soon

Anonymous said...

You need to suck it up. You chose to have another baby, because you wanted one. Your husband wasn't the ideal father with the first child, what made you think he'd be so great when you purposefully had a second baby. And maybe you are not his ideal mate either....sometimes marriage is all about putting up with the good and the bad. And you have made your bed, you had children with this man and you will be conntected with him for the rest of your life, like it or not.

Anonymous said...

You have a reason to end the are miserable. You deserve to aim for happiness. Your children need to know that their mother (all, all PEOPLE) are worth more than constant misery.

If you hadn't tried, if you were just bored, I'd say "suck it up." But you have tried counselling. You've tried expressing what you need and want. And it's not working. Sure, "you chose to have another baby" as the previous commenter said...but having a baby takes TWO people.

Find a way and move on. Yes, you will be connected to him for the rest of your life, because you share two children...and you owe it to him and to your kids to not fight with him or say ugly things about him (regardless of how he behaves!)

Your children need to know that women are not supposed to subjugate all their happines for the rest of their lives for the sake of others, just because they've become mothers. Your children deserve a whole, happy, healthy mother.

And as another commenter said, don't get into another relationship until you've disentangled yourself from this one. Find strength and contentment ALONE first. It takes two whole people to make a whole relationship...make sure you want to be with someone else for themselves, not just because you don't want to be alone.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I say stay and continue to work on the marriage and the way you relate to your husband. He's not a terrible guy, and you shouldn't leave him because he's not a wonderful one. You have some work to do you yourself; I suggest you stop worrying about your marriage and start working on your expectations of marriage and of life.

This is the real world we're talking about here. You married him for better or for worse. Don't think if you shop around you'll do better; most likely you won't.

You do not *deserve* happiness. You deserve the right to try and attain it. What have you done to achieve happiness, other than trick a guy into marrying you, fathering your children, and supporting you?

It was your decision to have those children; should they have to grow up in a single parent, financially-unstable household with bi-weekly visitations with their father all because you think you deserve better?

c.a. Marks said...

Oh honey, just do what the hell you want to do NOW, while being married to him. If you want to leave then leave, if you don't see a way out then make the best of it as it is and do what you want. Find out things about YOURSELF, what you like and do it. Go back to school, get a job, a new hobby, something. Do things for yourself! Life is too short. Believe it or not you can be happy in your situation, you just need to do for yourself.

Anonymous said...

me too. EXACTLY. i go back and forth between sucking it up, trying to get him to participate in our family, and fantasizing about leaving.

i don't know what to do either. i'm sorry. good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I am gradually pulling myself out of this. I could have written a lot of this except that I know I loved my husband when we were married. I loved him for many years.

He made some bad choices a few years into our marriage, which coincided with my first pregnancy. I discovered them and soon after I discovered other things he had been lying to me about since we'd met. This made me reconsider our relationship. I was very angry at him for a very long time. But he is not one to fight and so I let it simmer for a few years.

I almost left him. It would have taken so little to put me over the edge. I waited until I had enough savings to start off by myself with my son. I started my own business and knew I could support the two of us.

I still don't why I didn't.

Jaelithe said...

IMHO, when one spouse tells the other spouse that he/she is unhappy in the relationship and has started to fantasize about leaving, the appropriate, loving response is not "You selfish bi#$@!!!!!"

My idea of an appropriate, loving response is, "I love you. I don't want you to be unhappy. I don't want to lose you, either. How can we fix things?"

Anonymous said...

Some of these comments are blowing my mind.

I wonder if you would all be saying the same things ("YOU tricked him into marrying you, YOU wanted another baby, YOU need to work on yourself and be a better wife, your children deserve the stability of a two-parent household with a miserable mom rather than a single-parent household with a happy mother, YOU made your bed so now you have to lie in it, etc.") if he was hitting her?

Sounds like some of the narrow-minded advice of 60 years ago..."just use makeup on that black eye, honey, and be glad he provides for you. You must have driven him to hit's got to be your fault. You're married now! You made your bed, now lie in it!"

She's admitted he's been verbally abusive...does that not matter? She's said he's a terrible parent...does his mere presence in the home make it a better home environment with him there and her miserable than a happy home with just Mom?

I'm a child of divorce. It affected me (the eldest) far more than my brothers because I was a teenager, and 1. by that point expected my parents to stay together forever and 2. was not as resilient at that age as my younger brothers were. However, my parents were going to stay together until my youngest brother was finished with high school. We three BEGGED my parents to go ahead and divorce...we NEEDED to see our parents try for some happiness, and we three were much happier when our parents stopped being miserable "for our sakes" and began finding their own paths.

And how does her admission that they "had to get married young" translate into "she tricked him into marriage?" Sounds like it was more along the lines of two young people accidentally getting pregnant, and making a decision together...and that particular act usually does not involve a young woman FORCING a young man to have sex with her! More of that mindset from sixty years ago: "Oh, it's all her fault for getting herself pregnant and tricking him into marriage! He's blameless, and has no reason to put any effort into the marriage, because that hussy did this to him!"

Sounds to me as if there are many people out there "sucking it up" in miserable circumstances, who want to make sure others have to join them in misery.

To the original poster: you have my sympathies and my best wishes.

Anonymous said...

If your husband refuses to continue counseling, it may still benefit you. It sounds to me as though he is the one being selfish. You have tried to speak honestly to him about how you feel about the marriage and family, but he does not want to listen. He cannot "make you love him" by saying that your feelings/emotions/opinions are not valid and by calling you selfish for wanting to find a way for both of you to be happy. A lack of fighting does not mean that things are good.

I can't evaluate whether you are better in this limbo you are in or better without him. I can't evaluate whether you can handle any of the negative ramification of leaving, should you decide that's what you want. But I can say that your willingness to work to fix the marriage and his refusal to do so because he doesn't believe there is a problem is a problem in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

I'm the original poster. In answer to some of the questions...

My not leaving has nothing to do with finances or fear of being alone or raising the children on my own. I can handle all of those things. I just honestly want to do the right thing, the best thing for my children. I don't want to sacrifice my children's happiness for my own. They are safe and content and secure, and that's part of my dilemna, if they are happy is it selfish to do something that would make life harder for them.

Also, alot of my fear is "whar are people going to think" and I know that's stupid, but somehow I can't get over that.

Lastly, I was not pregnant when we got married. That was not the mistake. The mistake was getting too involved too young and too soon. Moving in with him, and then getting married, because I wanted to say to everyone that it had worked even though we had lived together. Again, stupid I know, but I was young.

Anonymous said...

I am in the same boat as the original poster, and feel exactly like she does in her last post. Is it selfish to tear up a decent home, where the kids are loved and well taken care of, for my own chance to find a partner? I want someone who can admit to a mistake, accept responsiblilty for problems, and not be my third child. I crave affection, a simple hug. Someone I can discuss things with who will listen. My husband and I get along fine as roommates. It is a problem when the natural expectations of being married and the husband/wife roles and expectations come into the picture.
So honestly, all of you out there, is it wrong to potentially sacrifice your children's security for the possibility of finding a person who will be a husband? Or staying unmarried for the rest of my life, which would work for me too.

Anonymous said...

Your children's security should be the security of children who know they are loved.

Is divorce hard on children? Of course. Is it hard on kids to realize Mommy is miserable, and staying miserable FOR THEM? Yes!! Or perhaps Mommy can hide how miserable she is, so they can feel secure, and stay convinced that the world is a safe place which revolves solely around them and their needs, and screw anyone else's needs. Is that a good thing? My personal opinion is that it is one of the worst things you can do to your children.

Of course you want to shield your children from all pain and sadness, all upheaval and change...but you can't. The world holds both joy and misery, and holds a hell of a lot of change. Better that they go through these things now, with love and support, than realize later that they were the root cause of their mother's misery...or realize later that the reason they can't seem to leave the nest or get rid of clingy Mommy is because she has subjugated her life for them and has no other life outside of them.

We teach our children best by EXAMPLE. Sure, telling them to say "thank you" a million times is a good thing, but they learn it best by hearing you say it -- to them, to other loved ones, to strangers. Want them to be honest? Telling them not to lie doesn't work if they see you lying. The same holds true if you want them to grow into happy, well-adjusted, non-abusive adults who don't tolerate abuse, you have to strive to be the example of a happy, well-adjusted, non-abusive adult who does not tolerate abuse.

Anonymous said...

Well if financial stablility is not your concern, and you dont have any doubts about being able to handle the kids by yourself, then I dont think there is any other reason to stay in this marriage. Since the feeling toward your husband is slowly starting to get stronger - you may turn that anger on your kids/others around you. What if you start resenting the kids since they are the primary reason for you to stay in this marriage? Would you recommend that to your children if they were in the same scenario?

Liam's Mom - Gina said...

Friend, I totally understand where you are coming from. I do. I really appreciated anonymous commenter "4:28 PM" He/She was very empathetic and that is what you need right now, not people saying you are selfish or need to do more to nurture the relationship.

We are human, not always hero moms/wives like we want to be. We have limits, get our hearts broken and have nervous breakdowns. It's a part of marriage and motherhood. BUT - just because we are flawed doesn't mean we need to stay put and suck it up.

Please email me. I would love to chat with you further:

Anonymous said...

I've posted elsewhere, but this can very easily fit here, also:

There are many stories, this, just one of many.

I walk into the home, then the kitchen, and very abruptly, then awkwardly, a phone conversation is ended. Later on in the evening, another call is taken, again, awkwardly, and privately, this time, however, observed to be answered quite eagerly.

And all day, among trips to the doctor for pregnancy screening, to the pharmacist for medicine, my husband is lost in thoughts, distracted until snapped back by a voice into present time, and I suffer the slings and arrows of occasional acknowledgement.

When questioned about the need for privacy, the necessity to make a phone call when alone, the answer removes oneself from any individual culpability while reinforcing the urge to protect, “I knew you would be jealous.”

This is offered as diversion when jealousy for her, for anyone else, really, has never been expressed, if recalled correctly.

And of course, in defense there are unnecessary invitations extended to check phone calls made, e-mails received and sent.

All unnecessary because this is what slays: There need not be traces, real, imagined or erased, to know that hearts and minds move to other timbres heard deep within, words played over and over in past remembrances.

There has been, for the few years I’ve known him, something inherently sad, pained almost, a look that fixates on some unknown, invisible object on the floor in front, in the near distance, unmoving and vacant that has strangers on the street, comment: “You look so sad.”

The same look observed all day yesterday, both before and after the phone conversations, of a man tortured by thoughts, lost, I believe, in memory of a young woman, herself, no stranger to life’s tragedies. The force of this painful realization is almost physical.

A friend mentioned her previous husband’s visits to her: “They always undo me, days before, days after.”

And this is what threatens to undo me, for now, for much longer, the realization that my husband loves elsewhere someone, unlike me marked by flaws and foibles, a woman frozen forever young and beautiful, someone whom circumstances and practicalities render unattainable.

Within one story, there are many truths, on the other side, many complex realities.

I wish I could offer you some anodyne, but I think this is not the way life goes.

Anonymous said...

All of these comments are well thought out and well articulated.
I would like to boil my opinion down into a (paraphrased) Dr. Phil-ism: "The only thing worse for children coming from a broken home is coming from a miserable home"

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. You're the closest thing to my situation that I've ever read online. I hope you're still reading this. PLEASE e-mail me:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:28 said it exactly:

"I wonder if you would all be saying the same things ("YOU tricked him into marrying you, YOU wanted another baby, YOU need to work on yourself and be a better wife, your children deserve the stability of a two-parent household with a miserable mom rather than a single-parent household with a happy mother, YOU made your bed so now you have to lie in it, etc.") if he was hitting her?"

I think that some of you are judging the OP entirely too harshly and I wouldnt at all be surprised if ironically they find themselves in a similar situation and are attempting to justify their own feelings or the feelings of their spouse.

Anonymous said...

If he's not hitting your and not treating you like crud.. I know you sound like you want to leave, but I'm of the 'stick it out' and 'make it better' mind. This is my take based on my marriage and experience.

I don't believe for an instant that all a kid needs is happy parents. They need support, love, and stability. It ISN'T fair to have to take 'fixing things' on yourself, but he's not figuring out what he needs to do (to improve things) on his own. The fact that he thinks it's fixable is a good sign that he is willing to try things. But you have to be willing to work hard on it too, for the sake of your kids.

It stinks to have to manage everything, but if you have something you want him to do, tell him. Maybe after all this time, he just assumes you don't need him (you've done it alone for so long) so he can watch tv, etc. and it all gets done. So tell him "Sweetie, I need you to give the kids a bath." He might grumble, but stick with it. When he does it, give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him thank you. Or whatever it is you want him to do. Don't assume he'll think of it. And show him you appreciate it (I mean a thank you and a kiss). If he's a good guy at heart (and he probably is from what you've said) he'll get to where he doesn't mind helping. He's needed, appreciated, and he'll get addicted to the time with the kids. If you want to decorate, DO IT. There is no reason not to. You might tell him what you want to do, as that's only fair. But say it like this "I want to decorate the living room. This is the paint I want and I plan to do such-n-such." If he doesn't like it, make an arrangement. You get a room and he gets a room. Might set a few ground rules (very limited. like maybe just rule out both of your 1 least favorite color) But there's no reason you can't both make the home your own. If you want to make something for dinner, make it! That's what you are having for dinner. If he doesn't like it, he can get something else from the fridge or you can start trading who is in charge of dinner. All of your examples are places where compromise or just saying what you want to do should make a difference.

Which leaves 'he isn't there for me'. I've found that when I feel like this for my husband, I have also pulled back from him. It's a mutual thing. It IS best for the kids for the parents to be together as long as there is no abuse, etc.. So make the sacrifice of making the first move. Treat him like you love him. Ask how his day was, fix him a drink, give him a kiss. ACT like you really do love him. See what happens. For me, everything changed. But give it time. Commit to do this for 2-3 weeks. I say this all from experience. It IS hard and a sacrifice but it is worth it.

Anonymous said...

I know this post if from a long time ago but I just saw it and OMG, this is my marriage, except my husband won't try even counselling with me. Your words rang true to my heart.