Insight/Advice Needed

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Insight/Advice Needed
12
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 4:11pm

I was unsure where to post this but it felt right to post here. I imagine you have all experienced challenged to find happiness.

Background: I am in my late 20's, 12 years with my husband (high school sweethearts), two years married.

I am currently unhappy in my marriage. Quite honestly, we have grown up and into two very different people. I also have feelings for a mutual friend of ours who embodies everything that I wish DH was.

My unhappiness stems from the fact that there's a divide in our relationship. I have a white collar career whereas my DH is blue collar. Our outlooks on the world are inherently different.  I love literature, culture and travel whereas he's content with sitting at home watching T.V. or taking trips to local vacation spots.  I think about everyone else first, he thinks that's me letting people walk all over me, I am outgoing, he is intrinsic, I am sensitive, he is has a tough exterior, He enjoys one genre of music whereas I enjoy them all, I am an enternal optimist, he is a pessimist.

Through all these years together, I have loved him and from the time we met as teenagers, I envsioned marriage and children. Although we are different, we share laughs together and nobody knows me like he does.Now I just worry that I made a mistake by marrying him and that I am holding onto him because he is all I have ever known that we have been through so much together. Essentially, our history.

I wonder what it means that I have feelings for our friend. Even though I would never act on them, I can't help but realize that these feelings are happening due to what is missing in the marriage.  Our friend is everything I menitoned above that my DH is not.  I think about finding someone that does embody the characteristics I want in a spouse.

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Is this all normal to feel? Do you think these differences are too vast to withstand a long, happy marriage?  I feel quite alone right now and I would appreciate any insight you might have.

Avatar for mrosie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2000
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 9:32am

Welcome to the board. I'm sorry you've come here under such difficult circumstances but I hope you get some helpful insight here.

You are right that all marriages face challenges and often the love and commitment required to keep a marriage going is more of a choice during tough times than the starry-eyed infatuation you may have experienced when you were dating or newly married.

Like the previous poster, I would caution you about your feelings for your friend. When we are unhappy in our own circumstances, it is easy to project our desires onto someone else but that person also has flaws and you have to realize that just because he seems like a better match than your current husband doesn't mean that life would be effortless with him.

The things you describe that make you so different from your DH can actually make your relationship very rich and enjoyable for both of you. You both bring different perspectives to the table and if you are willing to compromise, you could learn a great deal from each other and broaden your own horizons.

If you are open to it, I would suggest counseling to help you get back on track in your marriage. Either a paid, trained counselor or a pastor at a church or even a trusted friend could help to give you some outside observations that might help you rechart the path that your relationship is on. DH and I have been married 16 years and we attended counseling together at the 8 year mark and found it to be extremely beneficial.

I would also suggest that you concentrate on finding activities that you both enjoy. If you like going out and he doesn't, plan activities with (female) friends and plan to reconnect when you return and share with him what you enjoyed about your time out.

I hope you will post back and let us know how things are going between you. This is the part of marriage that is work but I can vouch for the fact that the effort is totally worth it if you are both willing to commit to making it work!

RoseAnn

Avatar for mrosie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2000
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 11:00am

I am glad that you are keeping an open mind about all of your options for dealing with this challenge in your marriage! Too often people are resistant to something like counseling because they think it indicates weakness or failure. I see it more like going to a doctor for your physical body...they are trained in aspects that can provide great insight!

DH and I sought counseling prior to his daughter moving in with us after her high school graduation. We were already feeling some strain and we knew that the living situation was going to make things more challenging for us.

I honestly don't remember how we found our specific counselor. I would encourage you to check your insurance coverage and maybe even sound out friends to see if they can recommend someone. I would emphasize that it's important that you find a counselor that you feel compatible with. If you and DH aren't comfortable opening up and being completely honest in front of this person, it won't be nearly as beneficial. If the first one you try isn't a good fit, persist in trying other providers!

The biggest benefit we experienced from counseling was a 3rd party offering observations on our interactions. She didn't do a lot of talking *to* us but let us talk to one another and then would point out things like "You know, when you say xxx in the way you did, you make the other person defensive/resistant/hurt" It really helped us to see our relationship differently and gave us different tools for communicating.

We went to several sessions together, spaced out by a week or so. Then I went for a couple of sessions on my own because we determined that some of my individual issues were exacerbating our relationship issues. All in all, it was 6 months to a year before we felt completely back on track. During that time, my step-daughter moved in with us so I think that slowed down our progress somewhat. :smileywink:

Hang in there!

RoseAnn

Avatar for mrosie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2000
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 1:09pm

You're welcome and I hope that you will share with us as you work on the issues you are dealing with.

I also wanted to say something about one of your previous posts where you mentioned that your DH is verbally abusive. That is never acceptable and I hope that you are able to either point that out to him yourself or discuss it in counseling. For both your benefits, he needs to find other ways of dealing with his stress, anxiety and frustration than taking it out on you!

RoseAnn

Avatar for hugss
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2010
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 7:13pm
Hi there & welcome to the board :smileywink:

I see others have given you some great suggestions & I also agree with them.
People do grow/change within a marriage.
I hope you do try some counseling though.
Please let us know how it is going & good luck :smileyhappy:




iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Mon, 09-17-2012 - 5:37pm

OMG!  At 28, you could start over 2 or 3 times!!  I commend you for working hard at making your marriage work and not bailing like so many "unhappy" people do.  I was 47 when my ex called it quits (after 25 years of marriage)...all because he wasn't happy.  And, honestly...I thought I'd be alone forever!  Was I ever wrong!  I met dh #2 at 48 and we married last year when I was 51.  If I learned anything, it's that we just never know what is right around the corner and to never lose faith in what God has in store for us. 

I'm SO glad your dh is listening to you and is willing to work on things with you.  When you talked about your dh and how different you are...you described me and my dh perfectly, but we have found ways to compromise so we're BOTH happy.  Most couples I know are pretty opposite and have been married for 20-50+ years! 

Best of luck to you and keep us updated!