Conflicting feelings?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2007
Conflicting feelings?
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 1:43pm

Hello all,

I am having some conflicting opinions and need to know if what I feel is normal, and maybe I just need to get this off my chest. First here is our backstory:

My husband and I are both in the military, and met in the military. We started dating and had an amazing relationship for about a year. Then we were both cut orders to the opposite side of the world, even though at that time both of us were supposed to be ineligible for orders. So this was a very very big shock. At this time we had many in depth conversations to decide if we just wanted to end it, do long distance, or get married.  After many conversations and heart searching we decided to get married. We have been married now just over 4 years. Up until now we have been the couple everyone wants to be like.

Recently I have been feeling unhappy. The thing is it is not because of my husband. We still have a great relationship. He is my best friend, we don’t fight, he supports me in anything and everything I do…ect. But I feel like the spark between us is gone. So these feelings are very hard for me. I have talked to my husband about everything and we have discussed about how both of us are very un-happy in work, and are counting down the 2 years we have left in the military. He believes that’s where my feelings are coming from. Right now I’m just waiting for my contract to end so I can chase my ultimate dream of going to work for another government agency.  He is also waiting to go become a contractor overseas while I’m in training with the DOD. So about 6 months ago we chocked it up to us both being stuck in a limbo land of sorts, and how we are both waiting for our “real life” to start.

I was happy with that discussion for a while, but I still can’t shake these feelings. I was talking to my best friend and just told her, I feel like we are both waiting for us to get out of the military because it will start a 4 year separation while we both chase our dreams, and I will be very surprised if we make it. I told her how I feel like I’m waiting to get to that point so it won’t be a nasty divorce it will be more like our life paths just took us away from each other. We were also talking to a friend whose first marriage ended when he went and did a tour in Korea. He told us how every marriage but one ended while he was over there, a total of 27 divorces. A few weeks later my husband came home and told me he put Korea on his dream sheet, yet every single day my husband tells me how happy he is he married me, and how I’m his best friend.

In the last few weeks I have been having a harder time hiding my emotions and feel like I’m on the verge of breaking down and telling him I don’t want to be married anymore. Yet, when I think about doing that I cannot imagine doing that to him. I won’t be able to live with myself if I hurt him. Are feelings like this normal? My friends who have been married a long time tell me that they are. That sometimes you just have a bad few months (and sometimes years) where you just have to stick it out and make it work.  Right now I feel like we are best friends that shouldn’t have gotten married. I feel like if we would have done long distance we would have both realized that our relationship wasn’t meant to be. I also feel like these are feelings I shouldn’t have towards my husband.

If anyone has advice please share. I’m open to anything, and thank you in advance. I’m so sorry this is so long.


Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Tue, 07-16-2013 - 2:05pm

I agree that counseling is the best way to find out whats going on and get to the bottom of your feelings. One thing came to mind while reading your story. Did you and your husband perhaps get married fairly young? That seems to be a common theme among military personel. You get started on your career right at 18 or so and so you jump right into married life as well. Military or not, getting married at a young age increases greatly your chances of divorcing down the line, as both of you are still becoming the people you will end up being in life and so as you change, you grow apart. You also mentioned dating for a year before marriage. While a year is not necessarily disasterous, it is often not really long enough to really flesh out the person you are with. Things can still come up a year or more later that will make you say "whoa". So could this be another log on the fire of why your feelings have changed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Mon, 07-15-2013 - 9:40am

Sounds like the both of you have let yourselves get emotionally disconnected from one another. Why not try injecting some new sizzle into the relationship? Make a date night/day once a week and take turns planning it. It has to be different things you don't usually do. Hiking, bowling, fondue restaurant, roller skating, ice skating, picnic by the lake or the beach, picnic on the living room floor. Take a home depot/lowe's class on building something. Go to a pottery making place, take a cooking class, take dancing lessons. Go to a couples sex store and pick out stuff together. Look at Cosmopolitan magazine online to get ideas to spice things up. Leave him a lipstick note on the mirror. Write a letter telling him how much you appreciate him. Bake him his favorite cookies. Ask him to give you a foot or back rub. Pick up something from the store that he's run out of. Put a sexy note in his work pocket to find later. Marriage is like a plant. If you don't regularly attend to it, it dies.

You haven't been in the dating pool in a while. Believe me. It sucks. Good men are really hard to find, so I'd put all the effort I can into getting the sparks back before throwing in the towel. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2007
Sun, 07-14-2013 - 8:16pm

Just to address the job issue. I was VERY upfront with my husband about my goals in life. My career is number one, and I DO NOT want to have kids, ever.  I told him right off the bat that I would never be a military wife and follow him around. He also knows that the job I am going after has a two year training program where I will be gone for most of it. I have told him since day one that during this time he will have to figure out what he wants to do during that time because no matter what we will pretty much be long distance during that time. He has since decided that if he doesn’t stay in the military then he will go overseas as a contractor during that time because the money has the possibility to set him/us up for life.  The down side to that is that usually it is a minimum of a 4 years contract with the agency over there.  So that’s where the 4 years separation comes from.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2007
Sun, 07-14-2013 - 8:08pm

Thank you so much for your responses. I do know that I am not clinically depressed. My mother suffered from it for many years, so I know the signs. I do not like my management/leadership at my job, but I do LOVE my job. I’m also involved in a lot of other activities and have a great social group. I am a very happy person and I LOVE life.

I have been thinking about finding a counselor for a while now. Due to my job in the military I can’t go through the military to get one. My work is very sensitive in nature and therefore they can report back findings to my work if a therapist believes I am unfit for duty (although I really don’t think they would, but I don’t want to chance it!).  I told him I want to start seeing one and he was completely supportive.

I have been reading on these boards for a while, and have seen a lot of great advice given. The one thing that echoes on all of these boards is to tell your partner what is bothering you and given them time to change. My problem is there is nothing my husband is doing/not doing, and as cliché as this sounds I know it is me and not him.  I also don’t know how to voice that to him. He can tell I’m pulling away. We haven’t had a passionate marriage for at least a year. At first I thought it was just us settling into marriage, and that we would morph into a deeper bond. Now I feel like we are just friends, living in a marriage.

We did have a talk a few weeks ago about how we both felt that when we got married we would be facing separations, and how for two fiercely independent people that wasn’t a bad thing. Yet, we have been married for over 4 years and have only spent 3 nights apart. We were planning a vacation to go back to my hometown for 2 weeks. After this discussion he suggested that maybe I go alone and during that time he will go back to his hometown to see his family (I don’t get along with his family). I think that is a great idea. We are never separated. We work in the same career field just in opposite facilities. There are a few couples that work across from their spouse like we do, so our facilities got together and agreed to line up all of the spouses on the same schedule. So we really don’t have any time away from each other at all.

I’m scared of the upheaval that counseling might cause. I expressed that to him this afternoon. I told him I don’t want to be the reason he ends up having baggage. He expressed to me that nothing I do will mess him up more than knowing he is the reason I am not happy. It is when he says things like that that I feel like an awful human for even feeling this way.

So thank you for the advice. I put in the paperwork to see a counselor. So hopefully that will be my next step.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 5:22pm

  My advice based on my observances is always follow your dreams.  Your dreams are paramount.  It is more important to leave cleanly with no baggage.  The future is unknowable.  But you do know of your dreams.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Sat, 07-13-2013 - 12:23pm

A lot of marriages go through periods where you feel like "the spark is gone" and that's where the best friend part comes in handy. But it does require wanting the marriage to last and being willing to wait out the bad periods. And its not uncommon to feel unhappy in a relationship when the real dissatisfaction is inside of oneself, so please take the time to explore that before ending your marriage.

However if both of you separate for 4 years to pursue training and careers then ithere's a good chance it will finish off the marriage. I think that one of you will need to put things on hold while the other gets his/her training, unless its possible to both pursue dreams in the same location. This is common give and take of a working marriage and requires tough choices but can pay off in the end.

Like the others said, you should work through your feelings with a professional.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 8:47pm

I think after the honeymoon period wears off that lot of people (myself included) go thru periods in their marriage where they wonder if they made a mistake and didn't marry "the right one"  I think that is normal. And I think military marriages are so much harder when there are long separations. My husband was in the military for 6 years when we were much younger and I've seen several marriages break up due to the long separations. I think it takes a really special love to stay together in this situation and it just sounds to me like you're really not feeling it for him anymore and are already projecting that your marriage is going to fail when the separations happen. I think (as music suggested) that some counseling to sort all this out in your head might be a good idea. Good Luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 07-12-2013 - 2:42pm

I really feel like you should find a therapist to help you sort out these feelings.  I don't really think it's typical to look forward to being separated from each other as the excuse to get a divorce, yet you also dont' really have any complaints about your DH--you think he's great but the "spark is gone."  I wonder if you're depressed because you don't like your job and it's carrying over to the marriage or you have an unrealistic view that marriage is always going to be a thrill a minute.  I think that in most marriages, if you get along great most of the time w/ your spouse, that's a really good marriage--most of the time, it just isn't that exciting, but it's good if you can get days where you say "that was a great day" or you have some romantic nights.  But I also think that preparing for an overseas job that's going to last a long time where you won't be with him probably will be a guarantee that your marriage won't work out.  I don't really know how military people do it where they have those year long deployments but they surely have to put in a lot of effort to keep the marriage together.