changing life in 30s (divorce?)
Find a Conversation
|Mon, 11-24-2003 - 3:10pm|
First, let me start out by saying that this could be posted in the should I leave/divorce message boards, but after lurking for a while and spending a lot of time reading divorce/break up messages, I feel like I want a different perspective. Sometimes getting relationship advice from others who are immersed in their own marriage questions is not the most helpful way to go. Also, MUCH of what I’m about to say is deeply affected by the fact that I recently turned 32 and have been sort of obsessed with my age and how it affects several different things in my life. So I’m posting my message here in hopes of getting the perspectives of other 30-somethings on life in general and on marriage vs. single life.
First, in a nutshell: I’ve been married 5 years, but have been with my husband since I was 19. Had some reservations about getting married but went ahead and did it. Now having questions again. We have no children and at this point don’t see ourselves having any. I have been struggling for years to find a job that I want to be doing. I just have never found a job that feels like my “calling”, and feel like I wasted a lot of time and money on college and grad school. Over the last 3 or 4 years I’ve become involved in a theater group and have been taking dance classes and doing other activities that give me much more satisfaction than my job and so have been devoting a lot of my energy to this. Also, for the last few months I’ve been having an affair with someone that I’ve known for a few years and have been attracted to for a while. I never dreamed this would happen, but suddenly, here I am.
So, now the slightly longer version:
I met my husband when I was 19. He is a wonderful person. He is the guy that makes everyone say “oh, you got that last good one.” He loves me. He’s devoted. He respects me and is supportive. Sometimes I still feel that I love him, but mostly I think I feel loyalty and affection. I have questioned my love for him for a long time – since before we got married. I could go into details, here, but that could go on forever. In some ways we’re not that compatible – different interests, different styles of communicating, etc. Even before we were married I didn’t really feel sexually attracted to him anymore, in fact, for the last 6-7 years, sex has left me feeling sad, confused, and slightly repulsed, despite the fact that he’s a very attentive, caring lover.
I think a lot of it has to do with spending my youth with him and feeling like I never had a life of my own. In college I had a boyfriend instead of close female friends. (I’ve always had friends, but you know how it’s different if you’re part of a couple). There were things (like traveling and living abroad) that I put off and didn’t do because I was always thinking of “our�� plans instead of mine. About 6 years ago I saw a therapist for problems with anxiety and depression. She advised me to think seriously about breaking up then and said “either you break up now, or get divorced somewhere down the road”. Maybe she was right. However, I decided to get married.
I won’t go into the job situation a lot, but will leave it at saying that many of us wish we could go back and do things differently on that front. In my case I always thought of myself as a more creative person – was always interested in writing, theater, dance, etc. But didn’t have the confidence to pursue those things. Only in the last few years have I taken steps to pursue those things and I’m loving it. Problem it that now I’m 32, have student loans to pay off and the other trappings/debt, etc. of an adult, and it’s not as easy to live the artistic life as someone who is 19 or 20. Especially when you have a spouse and feel a certain responsibility to maintaining financial stability. My husband has been supportive of my endeavors, but is also concerned about finances. So while I’m not making as much money as I could if I were willing to focus on my career more, I’m also not really doing the things I love because I feel a certain responsibility to “us”.
Affair – well, what can I say about that? It’s wrong. I know that. I feel terrible because I know my husband would be devastated if he found out. I also know the other guy isn’t the man for me. But for now – it’s amazing. The sex is fantastic. I feel young and exciting. I am infatuated with him and I know it will probably hurt me when it ends but I’m not willing to end it yet. And I know it’s all about trying to recapture my youth.
And I think that’s what this all comes down to. I keep waking up in the middle of the night, after having some dream about college roommates or something like that and I feel this sense of panic, like my life is passing me by. I feel like it took me so long to develop any sense of self, and a sense of self-confidence – that I’ve wasted a lot of time. I know 32 isn’t old, but it feels old when you are contemplating divorce (vs. marriage) and wondering if that means that you’ll spend the rest of your life alone. I think about children – right now I don’t think I want them, but sometimes I not sure if I don’t want kids, or if I don’t want them with my husband. I get excited about the idea of finally having the life I’ve always wanted – of moving somewhere else and pursuing the other things I want. And then I think of my husband and the thought of hurting him breaks my heart. If I leave I'll feel terrible for hurting him (and I'm sure it won't be easy, I'know I'll miss him). But I'm scared to stay too. What if I wake up 10 years from now and still feel like I'm not living the life I want, and the 2 of us are just drifting along together when we could be really LIVING in a different situation for both of us?
I’m not sure what I’m really looking for. But I just wonder if there’s anyone else out there who’s gone through something similar. Some who’s around the same age? (or someone who went through something similar in their 30s who can offer sage words of advice)?
Thanks in advance for any help. Sorry for the long post.