New Here--another in need of advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
New Here--another in need of advice
2
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 5:43pm
I'm going to be honest up front and say that I realize that what I'm about to say about my marriage is going to make me sound like a heartless, selfish witch. That being said, let's get right to it. I don't love my husband. Okay so that's not totally true. I am very fond of him and I do love him in my own way, but I'm not the truly, madly, deeply in love one would expect from a bride of 5 months. And in all honesty I have to say that I picked him and convinced myself that he was the right choice as a husband partially because he did not spark any overwhelming waves of love in me. He's kind, responsible, thoughtful, everything my first husband was not. In truth, he's probably too good for me.

My first marriage was 11 years of roller coaster, love you/hate you, non-stop drama. I was nearly obsessed with my 1st husband and it took me nearly 2 years after leaving him before seeing him evoked no real emotions. The last thing I wanted was to ever lose myself so completely in another human being.

So along comes DH and he's very different from the ex. I was comfortable with him. When he began to get serious I sat down and made a pro and con list. Terribly romantic of me huh? Meanwhile he's telling me how he's waited his entire life to find me. I'm not saying he's perfect, because he does have his faults, but the man does love me deeply. And I feel like a dog because I can't give him that in return.

Whatever happened to me when my first marriage fell apart is not fixed. I feel numb most of the time. If he does something nice, I'm not moved or touched, and if he does something hurtful(which is never on purpose incidentally), I'm not hurt or crushed. I'm indifferent most of the time. I'm just thinking this can't be normal.

If I were a better actress or he weren't so darned perceptive I still might be able to get by, but he knows. He can sense it somehow and it hurts him terribly. I feel awful knowing that I'm hurting him so I lie and say that I do love him, cause the real truth would just end everything. I got married because it was the practical thing to do. My kids needed a good male role model(EX is out of the picture alot), his kids needed a good female role model(his ex is a drunken tramp), and financially we could achieve things together that neither of us could accomplish alone. I also enjoyed his company and we seemed to value similar things in life. From my perspective, the whole not being in love thing was a bonus, not a drawback. People in love do some really strange things, so I decided to think with my head and not my heart. I guess though that by not using my heart for so long, it's atrophied and not all that functional anymore.

Sorry for the ramble, but if anyone can sympathize, offer advice or tell me how cold and callous I am, please feel free to reply.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 2:36pm
Hi there. Your post has made me think a lot about my relationship with my boyfriend right now. I have been separated from my soon-to-be ex-husband for a year and a half and like you, I completely gave my entire life over to him. We met in high school and were together for 8.5 years before we married (married 6 for a total of 14.5 years)and in that whole time he cheated many times,lied, deceived, and basically treated me like garbage. Our relationship basically consisted of him doing hurtful things to me...me crying and trying to psychoanalyze and make excuses for his behavior, him saying sorry and then turning around and having the whole thing happen again and again. It was a vicious cycle for nearly 15 years. And yet I was so irrationally 'in love' and dedicated and faithful to this man, thinking that I couldn't live without him. I sacrificed alot of myself, including my dignity just to be with him. Well, I finally got tired of the cheating and threw him out in Dec of 2001. He is now living with the last person he was cheating with(for convenience sake I think). He never sees his 2 children, is being run totally by this girl(she is 10 years younger than him) and basically shows me constantly how much of a fool I was for so long and what a selfish loser he is. It took me about a month or two to get over him(which was quick I know after such a long time, but enough was enough)grew some self esteem, and took the separation not as a loss but a huge gain in my life. The problem is that after being with someone so long, you become accustomed to the 'drama' and believe that love must be a product of conflict and sorrow and must be'worth fighting for',in the meantime losing yourself and depriving yourself of how you deserve to be treated.

My problem is that I am now with someone who shows me the complete love and dedication that I didn't experience with my ex. I am not used to someone wanting to be with me constantly(my ex was always out with 'friends'(other women), wanting to discuss any problems that arise(my ex was a closed mouthed, brooding, non-communicating idiot), wanting to have a family(we both have two kids)and the responsiblities that go along with it, and basically treating me like a queen like he says I should be. These are all the things that I longed for with my ex but didn't get. And now that I have them(with someone new) I am having a hard time accepting it all. It was not part of 'my' plan that these things were not going to come from the father of my children, but from the father of someone else's!

My bf has asked me to marry him many times and I can't seem to give him a straightforward answer. I find myself doing the pro/con list in my head alot. I do truly love him but now, being older and wiser,I am thinking with my head rather than my heart. I am not prepared to throw caution into the wind like I did with that 'mad, irrational love' I felt for my ex. I now believe that being madly 'in love' is for teenagers(like I was when I fell for my ex)...it makes you do those irrational, self-sacrificing things that lead only to heartache. Besides, the 'in love' experience is fleeting and the practicalities of everyday life tend to take over in the relationship. The second time around seems to bring a more mature, rational, responsible outlook on love and marriage. This doesn't mean that we don't love the person we have chosen to be with....it just means that we are faced with it from a different perspective than we had the first 'dysfuntional' time around. Like I said before, we bring into a new relationship these dysfunctional dynamics and have a hard time realizing that, this new relationship is the way it should be; the way we should be treated, even if we think we don't deserve it. This 'non-deserving' attitude was constructed by the first husband. The second one won't stand a chance if you don't believe that you do deserve to be loved and accept it freely, without worrying that, if you give yourself totally to your new husband, that he is going to turn out to be just like the first.

I hope I am not rambling too much...alot of this I am working out in my own head right now. All I know is that my bf is not perfect in many ways, but I think he is perfect for me. And the fact that he loves me so entirely makes me love him too....that is all that I ever wanted. Love is inevitably a choice and not a feeling and when there are unresolved issues or learned behaviours from a past relationship involved, it can hamper any feelings of contentment. I believe that it is about you and your past experiences that are affecting this 'new and different' relationship...one that is much better for you, but think you don't deserve. I agree with the other posters...perhaps some councelling will help sort out the feelings you have about the past and your past marriage. Just remember, you may never find anyone who will love you like your husband does, and it would be a shame to waste it or throw it all away. Now if I can only take my own advise...Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 1:30pm
My advice is to get counseling for yourself, and try to get rid of the demons from your first marriage. I don't think you are nearly as cold and callous as you believe yourself to be - because if you were, it wouldn't concern you. Take care of yourself first, and who knows - maybe when you are feeling better about yourself you will look at your husband and totally fall in love with him. Or maybe not, but I think you owe it to yourself and to the commitment you made with him to try to get yourself emotionally healthy enough to deal with the marriage.

I went to counselling after my first husband left me, and it really helped a lot. I still think back to what I was told when issues arise with my new husband - I do not want to keep repeating the same mistakes, and I am trying to deal with my feelings in a way that is positive for both me and my husband. (Unfortunately, I learned how to bury my feelings from my first husband.)

I think you have a lot going for you - you just need to see it. And sometimes it takes a professional to help us see ourselves better.