Cindy’s Question For Marsha…

“We’ve been married over 22 years, together over 23 1/2.  I really don’t like him AT all!”

1) I don’t really remember our marriage every being “good.”
Before the “I do’s,” we at least seemed to be content, although we were broke and didn’t do much.  Of course I believe I made HUGE mistake in marrying him, but you can’t undo history.

2) Our marriage is a constant war zone. I’ve been a homemaker, stay at home, homeschooling wife/mom.  Our oldest, who’s 19 moved out this June. He’s betrothed and in college. Our youngest is 16, has been lonely with his brother gone, we live in a dead very small little town. He’s sick of being here alone in the war zone with us, and I’m ready to let him move into his own place near his brother for his own mental health.

3) I think my husband is a sociopath. I have standards and believed in staying till the kids were grown, and have almost accomplished that. But I am having a hard time now believing that was the best choice. The oldest moving out, and now likely the youngest, it’s forcing us to deal with all of our problems, and he trys to avoid everything. At least he works. He knows this is the case, because he’s so out of the loop around here, when he attempts to pay attention, he gets himself in more trouble than if he’d have just kept his mouth shut. Then whines complaining, “I know, I’m just the witless provider.” I say back, you get what you put into life. I’m just tired and realize divorce is likely the only option out of this hell.

4) So what can I do about it? I don’t think there is anything I can do about it. You can’t become a emotionless robot, catering to everyone else’s needs while your own go un-noticed, unmet. I need to heal myself. I’m trying not to let my spirit die, but my will isn’t there anymore. He hasn’t touched me in any consistent manner in years. We have sex maybe 5 times a year. He isn’t interested.

I’ve been on your mailing list for almost 2 years now. I’ve been reading all you write. You seem to simplistically narrow it down to treat each other right by giving the wife money and the man sex. She’ll “give out” if he “pays” for it. Our marriage so does not relate to all that. I’ve always had the sexual appetite. He’s the one who’s wanted money. I could live in a cardboard box, and get our food from a pantry. He’s got a steak mind and a hamburger pocket. He’s NEVER happy or thankful about/for anything in his life. I’m very basic needs kind of person, He’s always bored and unsatisfied. He’s had 5 one night stands, but not any actual affairs. That would be my deal breaker. But I’ve gained weight, and he says he’s not attracted to me. But weight is so fixable. My emotions are starving, and the food filled the void.

That’s it in a nut shell. I don’t see how we can get help, when most marriage counselors have the approach to needs you have always preached. So do you have any other ideas/thoughts to help an odd couple like we are? Because I just pretty much don’t care anymore.

Marsha’s Answer:

Dear Cindy,

I do not want you to think that I may have all or any answers to your problems. All I can do is to tell you what I think, believe or have done. I also want you to realize that I do believe in telling people exactly what I think even if they may not like it. Having said that, I have read your email over and over. OK… here goes.

To me it sounds like you have a lot of time to think of what might have been or dwell on things you don’t like about your husband. I use to hate Larry and just threw myself into making my kids happy.

Then the kids grew up and left home. I started to look around at other people and realized that they all had issues with their spouses also. Many people aren’t happy in their relationship and if they say they are then they have either come to some sort of understanding with each other, they are hiding the truth, or refusing to accept the truth. I have seen a whole lot of couples that outwardly seemed happy together and then divorced and the truth came out.

I use to be a person that had certain expectations and they rarely came to be. I have no expectations at all now. I don’t believe that it is up to Larry to make me happy. I am happy because I don’t have a dreamy idea of how something should be. I have never thought of divorcing Larry because I make a decision and then live with it. I have never thought of finding someone else or just being by myself. I think Larry and I have worked out that we both our flaws, but we also know that everyone else does too.

Don’t wait for your husband to make you happy. You have to make you happy. He is probably as miserable as you are. You say that you don’t care anymore but you wrote me. I think you do care. My suggestion would be to find someplace in each others lives that you can both be happy in. He doesn’t sound like he is a total waste. I find that if you develop a sense of humor about most things they tend to not be as bad. Larry and I pretty much goof around about everything including each other. I think most people would find our humor odd but it works for us.

You also mentioned that you have two sons. If you and your husband could somehow learn to accept the things you don’t like about each other and even joke about them, I think you would set a good example for your sons when they find they have problems in their relationships. There has to be something you like about your husband. There is a reason why you stuck it out for 22 years.

The one thing that I have found that is the most valuable part of my relationship with Larry is that he lets me be me. Throughout the most difficult period of our marriage we had many heated arguments and fights, but during that time I had decided that this was one thing that was more important to me then anything else.

See if you can find even one thing like that to build some sort of relationship on. You have always heard that you only have one life. No one should be that unhappy.

You can find some happiness for the time you have left. I really believe you can. I am sure that you both love your kids. Even realizing that your sons are here because of both of you and enjoying them might be some common ground. I am not saying that you should stay together for the children, but you decided to bring two other lives into the world. They are here because of you and I am sure they would love it if they had two happy parents.

I would like to hear from you again, so keep in touch.

Thanks for your question Cindy,

– Marsha