Having a hard time

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2012
Having a hard time
Thu, 08-22-2013 - 2:35am


Thanks for taking the time to read this.  I'm stuck in a quandry with my marriage and I'm to the point where I don't know how much more I can take.

My husband and I have been together for eight years and our fifth wedding anniversary is coming up in September.  This is my second marriage, his first.  My first marriage was abusive and I spent a lot of time working on myself before I got back into the dating scene.  Things were great the first few years we were together.  In 2009, I made the decision to return to grad school with his complete support.  Don't laugh - I went back for Psychology.  This is one of the reasons I'm so stuck, I see this issue very clearly.  We were warned at our orientation that the amount of work on ourselves we had to do in the program could heavily damage our relationships (if we were in one), or potentially end it outright.  This was something I was very concerned about and voiced this to my husband.  His ready answer was, "Don't worry about it, it won't happen to us, I won't let it."  Fast forward not quite two years, I'm sitting in my own therapist's office, telling her about the lack of sexual intimacy and I admitted to her that I felt like I'd settled again and that bothered me, because I wasn't honoring myself after all of the work I did.  I treated it as my problem and continued to try and put an effort into the relationship. Then came last summer.

The first week of June, my husband was unexpectedly sent across the country to New York for two weeks for work.  He had about 36 hours' warning - and completedly freaked the hell out.  I was the one who was calm, trying to give him information on where he was going, what the area was, etc. He was (overly) concerned about leaving me by myself (I wasn't working at the time and was a little frustrated with my situation), but I told him I'd be okay.  As soon as I saw him at the airport, I could almost feel that something was wrong.  This is the guy who would tell me he missed me constantly when I'd be gone to conferences with my old job, but he just wanted to go home and rest.  I understood, didn't really think it was that out of line.  A couple of weeks later, I found out my mother was going to have major open heart surgery sometime in the next couple of months.  His answer?  "I can't ask for time off.  There's too much to do, I'm not goint to have any free time until the end of the year."  When I found out the exact date, I told him, and he reiterated that the day off wasn't happening.  In fact, he told me, "I'm not going to ask for it off."  I was at the hospital by myself.  Fortunately, my mother's surgery went well, but I was driving back and forth from our residence to the hospital daily (40 miles one way) because I needed the normalcy of my own house, and I needed my husband.  He could barely acknowledge me.  The day before my mother was discharged, I broke down in her house and got a hold of him at work via text, told him I needed him, I felt very alone.  He told me he was at work, and that he couldn't do much than say he was sorry.

Around this time, we also had an extremely emotional, very hurtful (to me) conversation regarding children.  Before he proposed to me, and one of the things that I was very happy about, was that he ardently stated he wanted to have children with me.  I was talking about something and mentioned having children, and I saw a very negative look cross his face.  I asked him if there was something he needed to talk to me about, and he said very bluntly that we were too old to have children.  I asked him to explain his rationale, and all he could say was that WE were too old, and that if we had children then, he'd "have one foot in the grave" when the child graduated from high school.  Folks, he turned 40 this past January.  I'm 39.  My OB/Gyn told me a couple years ago (when I told him, hey, I'm going to start the process of getting medically cleared to get pregnant, to which he said nothing) I had time for two.  When I reiterated that to him, he spat out, "And I thought she was f-ing insane."  As I sobbed uncontrollably, he stood and watched me.  I told him how deeply he'd hurt me, that this was something I wanted very badly and he'd agreed to years earlier, knowing we'd have to wait a while.  "Guess I just didn't think it through.  I like the idea of having kids, but it's just too late now."  More sobbing out of me, he turned and walked out of the bedroom.  

I put my psychology hat on for the next few weeks and I watched how he behaved.  He came home, would usually say something neutral or negative about his day, go change clothes, then either drop into the computer chair or in an almost obsessive-compulsive way start doing chores that don't need to be done right then.  I'd encourage him to sit down, and I usually got a terse, "Nope, gotta do this now."  He barely said anything to me.  After watching this for two months with little variation, I made the decision that I never wanted to make.  I gave up my dream of having children.  I knew that there was no way I'd be okay with leaving an infant with him that might be cranky, or sick, because if he couldn't even ackowledge my presence, how would he be able to think outside of himself and take care of a child?

Things have continued and I'm growing steadily more and more dissatisfied with my marriage.  I used to try and get affection from him.  I'd hug him, kiss him on the head, ask him what I could do, but there was no return of affection, and I had to start chasing him into the bedroom to even get a peck on the lips good night.  Half the time he can't even say good night to me.  There's times I need someone to lean on, times where I've hit my max and I need a partner, a teammate, and he can't even offer a hug.

I don't feel like this is salvagable.  More to the point, I don't think I want to save it.  He did his own counseling for a year, but he was actually worse when he was in counseling.  He openly admits he doesn't listen to anything I say.  I don't know, if somehow I'm convinced to give things a chance, that he'd be able to sustain the changes, because it seems like this is complacency to me.  He tells me he doesn't care about things I find important because they're not important to him.  There's times he'll tell me he can tell that my new profession is absolutely what I should be doing with my life (remember, he's agreed to my going back to school, he agreed when I took a post-graduate position that wasn't guaranteed hours.) I'm presently working three jobs to bring money in, but a couple of times he's looked at me and told me to find a full time job, now, the first place that will hire me, it doesn't matter where the job is or what the job is...but don't give up the post-grad position.  

I hate the thought of going through another divorce, but I'm not happy.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Thu, 08-22-2013 - 9:45am

I'm sorry he's treated you this way. You probably have another 40 to 50 years on this planet. Don't spend it with someone who doesn't make you a priority, ignores you and doesn't give you any affection. No, divorce is never pleasant, but if you don't get one, your one precious life will be spent in misery. Give yourself a year to be alone to grieve the relationship and to be emotionally ready to date again. Date someone at least 2 years before making any major decisions like moving in together or marriage. Make a must have and dealbreaker list when dating, and cut a guy loose as soon as you see he possesses a dealbreaker or lacks a must have. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 08-22-2013 - 11:06am

I understand how you feel about not wanting to get divorced again.  I was married the 1st time for 13 yrs, had 2 kids.  A few years later I got married again to a guy who turned out to have bipolar disorder (didn't know this before the marriage, but he certainly acted strangely).  I stuck it out for 5 yrs just cause I was so embarrassed about getting divorce again, plus there were financial considerations, but I just couldn't take it any more.  He really was emotionally abusive to me and it was affecting my kids.  That was 5 yrs ago and I am just so much happier even though I haven't had a relationsip since.  At least I don't have to go home & worry about his personality, what kind of mood he will be in and are we going to have arguments.

so your DH changed his mind about something very important to you w/o even discussing it with you (children).  I had my 2nd child at 38 and obviously 40 is not that old to have kids.  He's not going to have one foot in the grave when they graduate from high school--he won't even be retirement age.  So that thinking is kind of nutty.  Not to mention that he shows you no affection.  I'd really like to know what is going on in his head.  I think I might come right out & ask him directly--say that he doesn't seem to care about you or the marriage any more and ask if he thinks that you should get divorced.  I'm sure you know that a marriage can't be successful if only one person cares about the relationship.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-18-2009
Fri, 08-23-2013 - 8:05am

I cant pinpoint one thing that is good in your marriage but I'm sure there is something that is keeping you there and the only thing that could be is / are -- fear of divorcing again and being alone.Or there are good times to which you are holding onto.

Now, the good times that you are holding onto are only good because he wants them to be good so that you stay reeled in. He has gotten back on his word for having kids. Thats a huge betray , IMO. He cant just go back on that. My brother,now 52, had his first child when he was 45 and his wife was 42.The child is healthy , no issues. They are not having anymore but I figure, one is a blessing.If either of you had problems conceiving , that would be a different story than trying even.That brings me to no sex in your marriage. That could be one of the reasons for sex spirraling down. No initmacy, no affection , nothing.

Him being insensitive when your mom had a surgery, is another indicative of him being emotionally detached from you , while doesnt indicate that he will he be insensitive to his own kids. Kids do have a way of changing people , well, either good or bad , it could go either way.

Him compring you work life with personal is just outright to the extreme. I would never put up with this.

You have given up a lot for this man and I have to ask you, why ? Only because you fear divorce.Lemme tell you about myelf. My mom was cheated on by my dad and they got divorced while me and my bro were 14/18 , resp. I got divorced when I was 45 but I stayed too long and the only fear was ' stigma ' attached to mom and daughter being divorced . But hey, I have one life to live.Coming from a conservative family , who follwed old traditions makes it tough, even in this day and age.I found love again.

Non of us can tell you what you should/nt do. But looking in from out here, your marriage is over.You could try couples therapy but it only works if both partners want to work on their marriage but from the looks of it, your husband doesnt want to but again, therapy could change his perspective.

Keep us posted.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Tue, 08-27-2013 - 2:56pm

So sorry.  You know what you need to do. 

I had a friend who actively persued artificial insemination with a donor.  She was in her late 30's and it didn't matter if she had a BF, or not. She was getting pregnant. 

Just something to consider.  :) 

Many women are pleasantly surprised in their early 40's, so don't give up if you really want to be a mother.  Your dream isn't attached to this man or this marriage. 

Hang in there, you will be okay.  :)

Serenity CL making a second marriage work