Is divorce the answer (very long)....

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Is divorce the answer (very long)....
Fri, 10-10-2003 - 11:40am
For the last few weeks, I have been reading this codependency book, and it has given me a lot to think about. I have been trying to figure out whether or not I want to work for this marriage anymore. I don't know if the things that I want are unreasonable, codependent-like needy qualities, or if I am a disillusioned romantic, or if I am a normal, healthy woman who ended up married to the least romantic conservative man who happens to also have emotional issues.

Mike and I will celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary on 10-19-03, if we make it that long. We have been unhappy together for 8 months,

and we've been seeing a marriage counselor for the last three months. Our basic difference lies in what we expected our marriage to be, and

what we think it still should be.

My husband's parents...where to begin? His mom is bi-polar, and refuses to stay on her medications. His dad, tried for years to be the superhero, sacrificing his needs to stay with her for the children, even though he had fallen out of love with her years before. My husband's parents rarely did anything together - he had his social life and she had hers. His dad would go out with his friends, by himself, and his mom would go out with her friends by herself. I asked my husband what his parents did together for fun, and his answer was that they would take him and his sister out to dinner. They would be a family unit. When they finally did get divorded, my father-in-law moved in with a woman who had been in a controlling, abusive relationship years before. These two became a perfect couple, who both enjoyed their space and individuality - probably in part due to their histories with controlling spouses. My husband grew up in a household where affection was obsolete, and any emotional exchange was a direct result of his mother's illness. He detests emotions and believes that decisions should never be based on how one feels, but instead on how one thinks. Logic is his answer to everything.

My parents are almost a direct opposite to his. My dad is an alcoholic, and has been my whole life. My mom, a bible-thumping

die-hard passionate Protestant has always believed that her marriage was until death-do-they-part, and that God would take care of everything.

She used to be the poster-child for codependency, when I was a little girl. She went to college and got a good job, and since then has been

growing into an independent and strong woman. My parents would do almost everything together. They had many different sets of mutual

friends that they would go out with, and they would often spend time with their families. Once a year, mom would go on a camping trip with

all of the women in her family, and a few months later, dad would go on a camping trip with all of the men in his family. Dad was on a softball league for a few years and a bowling league for a few years, and although mom wasn't on the league, she would go to the games to watch (and probably to drive him home because he was usually too drunk).

Mike and I met in high school, where we dated for two years. He was the guy that girls wanted to be friends with, because he was sensitive and emotional and caring. If you had a problem, he was there to listen and to let you cry on his shoulder. Our friendship developed into a relationship - and I treated him badly. I would make-out with my ex-boyfriends and he would forgive me. We had a bitter break-up, and a few years later, he contacted me, and we became friends. A few years after that, my mom was in a bad car accident, which left her in the hospital for three weeks. Mike worked at her hospital, and while she was there, we started going out when he got off work or he would take me to lunch with him. We instantly began dating, and a few months later, we were married.

During our short marriage, I have felt threatened by his social life, which he naturally wants to keep separate - after seeing his parents behave that way for years. I want us to do things together for fun, with friends. I want us to build new memories with our friends, so that we can look back and laugh together. Mike wants to be able to go do what he wants with his friends, by himself so that he can be himself. He says that he can't be himself around me - he makes sexual jokes to his female friends or sexual jokes about a waittress that I find very unnerving. He has two female friends who are ex-girlfriends. The first (ex-girl)friend, lives in another state, and their communication is all via cell phones. I have never met her, and the only time I talked to her was a disaster. He and her were together for three years, and he asked her to marry him but she turned him down. He wanted to move to that state to be with her. Since our marriage, he is gradually talking to her less, and she doesn't seem to be a primary person in his life. The second (ex-girl)friend is someone that he only dated for a very short time, and their relationship was never sexual. She called him in February, and they have talked on the phone a lot since then. He has seen her a few times, and lied to me about seeing her. He has been extremely defensive about their friendship, stating that she's a lesbian and that if I trusted him, their friendship shouldn't bother me (remember that he doesn't make decisions because of emotions, and logic is the only factor in his mind). He has apologized for lying to me, and said that he did it because he felt like I treated him like a child and he was rebelling. I had told him that I didn't want him to see her again until I met her, and the next day, he met her in a park to go jogging (I know this because they ran into my father-in-law's girlfriend). They met in that same park two more times before I found out. I trust that he hasn't physically cheated on me, but I don't trust that he loves me the way that I love him. I don't trust that he hasn't been emotionally closer to her than he has been to me.

We started seeing the counselor at this point, and he seems to want our marriage to work. Our counselor told him that he needed to cut out the female friendships, and go find some guy friends to hang out with. She told him that even though he may be doing nothing wrong, it invites problems into our marriage. She told me that I am codependent, mildly depressed, suffering from anxiety, and that I needed to attend Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. I tried to take an anti-depressant, but had an allergic reaction and since then have lost my health insurance. I am going to try that again, as soon as I get insurance. I have been reading a book on codependency for awhile, and that brings me to where I am right now.

I used to think that I was healthy, and normal, and that Mike was healthy and normal, and that we just had to adjust to our differences in this marriage. I started thinking that maybe she was right, and that I was depressed, which is why I have such low self-esteem. Maybe Mike was right, and I should trust him. Maybe I am codependent and controlling. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that Mike isn't so healthy either, and that he needs to get in touch with his emotions and quit using logic as something to hide behind. I don't know. I am to the point where I don't know if this marriage is worth saving. Nothing has yet happened that can't be worked through (such as an affair), but I don't know if it's worth giving up my dream of finding someone to love me the way that I deserve to be loved, the way that I love others.

I really need some help, from someone who is unbiased. Everyone that I can talk to is biased in one way or another. Any feedback would be much appreciated. I apologize for the length. Thanks.


p.s. I looked for a codependency board here at ivillage...perhaps that would be a good idea...

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-1999
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 1:06pm
Wow, you have a number of issues to deal with here and I'm not sure which one to start with. First off, please keep seeing the marriage counselor. If it doesn't save your marriage at least it might help both of you understand why you think the way you think. It might also help you seek out the types of therapies you both need. It's funny how most of us grow up thinking we are normal only to find out that we might not be that normal after all. I feel the same way about my upbringing.

With both of you growing up with an alcoholic parent I wouldn't expect either of you to be pefectly healthy. Anytime a parent is dysfunctional it has to have some effect on the rest of the family. You've both been conditioned in different ways, very different ways. I can only imagine there might be some anger inside both of you towards your alcholic parent. You need to work through this aspect of your lives.

Not being married or in a relationship myself I may not be that much help to you. I don't think it is unreasonable to want to do things together. Isn't that why most people get married? Some people are never apart from each other but that's not good either. Everyone needs some 'alone' time but to have totally different activities from each other, and the way you described it, it sounds like you never spend time together, that sounds wrong to me. While I was reading your post I wondered, why did he marry you if not to spend some time together? Did you discuss these types of things before you were married? If so, were you led to believe that you would do activities together? Did you do separate things before you were married? I'm curious about your courtship. Sometimes people do change almost overnight after they are married. I don't know why but it does happen.

Hang in there and keep seeing the marriage counselor. If your husband doesn't want to go then just go for yourself. You need to understand where you are coming from, why you want the things you want, who you want to be with, etc., and you need someone to help you sort ti all out.

I hope I've comforted you in some way. check back with us and let us know how you are doing from time to time.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Tue, 10-14-2003 - 9:44am

Our 1st courtship, in high school, lasted for two years. In the beginning of that relationship, we were inseperable. We spent all of our time with each other. As time passed, we began to grow apart, because of different things going on in our lives. When we were 14, our second year of dating, my older sis's boyfriend committed suicide in my house. I was kinda close to him, and after his death, I began spending more and more time with my sis and her friends, because we were all grieving. We would all go to the park together and barbecue or whatever and I wouldn't take Mike with me. During this exact same time, Mike was going through his confirmation and first communion. He began lectering at his church, and became a devout catholic overnight. I couldn't relate to him at all (having been raised protestant), and he'd never experienced anyone close to him dying (to this day he still has all 4 grandparents). We gradually had less and less to talk about, our lives had changed, taken different paths.

Years later, when we became friends again, our friendship felt so good. It felt like our friendship did before we dated the first time. We could get together and laugh with each other or talk about serious things in our lives. We went to a 24 hour diner, and we sat there for 4 or 5 hours catching up - just filling each other in on what had been going on in our lives. I told him about my new boyfriend. He told me about his new girlfriend, he told me that his parents had divorced, etc. And we had chemistry...I wanted him every time I saw him, and he felt the same way (I later found out).

Our 2nd courtship probably didn't technically start until after mom's accident - and it was brief. We went out to dinner the night before he was leaving for a vacation (we'd been dating about a month and a half or so), and I fell in love with him. It was a very wierd experience - all at once every sense I had, was acutely aware of him (I could smell him and I could feel his arm around me and I could hear him talking...) and it felt like the last 8 years had melted away. I was that 15 year old girl who still loved him when we broke up and it felt like we'd been together for 2 years. It felt like not a day had gone by. It was a very wierd experience - and it must sound even worse when I am typing it and you can't hear my voice. Nevertheless, he left for vacation, and when he came back, we started talking about marriage. I wanted to be with him right then, and he wanted to wait another year before getting married. (This was all taking place while my mom was recovering from her accident - she had broken both knees and both heels. She was in a wheelchair, she couldn't take care of herself, and I was taking care of her for about 14 hours a day. I was working full-time. I was also taking care of my sister who had just had a baby but there were complications so she couldn't take care of her 2 year old.)

A few weeks later, we found out that I was pregnant - and decided to get married quickly. We talked about "what if...", we talked about "what if I miscarry?" and we both decided that we had wanted to get married anyway, if we were going to have a baby, why put the wedding off? I miscarried before the wedding, and we sat down and talked about it again. Do you want to call the wedding off? Post-pone it? No, we agreed, neither of us wanted that. We got married 6 weeks after the miscarriage.

During our short 2nd courtship, we were again inseparable. We spent time with my friends and time with his friends, and it seemed like we were both happy with our relationship. He didn't tell me that he wanted time by himself and I didn't tell him that I liked it the way it was. I thought we were both happy with it...Later, my husband told me that we rushed into this marriage and that he thought we should have waited. I asked why he didn't tell me that when we talked about postponing the wedding and his words were "How do you bow out gracefully after a miscarriage?" He told me that he married me out of obligation. That was a few months ago, before we started counseling, and he has seemed like he wants this marriage to work. He attends counseling and usually does what the counselor tells him to do.

I don't know if this answered your question (it probably gave you more questions...), but I hope so. I just feel confused about my life and my marriage and where to go from here.

I am applying for a full-time job (the one I have right now is part-time with no benefits), and can't go back to see our marriage counselor again until I get some insurance or something. My husband works for a hospital and his insurance won't pay for us to see her.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Wed, 10-22-2003 - 2:47pm
We had a big fight this weekend. We went out for a nice dinner, all dressed up and stuff, and by the time we left the restaraunt, we were barely speaking. During our dinner, we were talking about two friends of ours, and how one of them has an overbearing mother-in-law. My husband began talking out his ex-gf's mom (the ex that he asked to marry him), and how he could've ended up with a MIL like that. As we started talking about the ex (whom he continues a friendship with), he told me that they talk to each other about "things that they can't share with anyone else" and I was extremely upset by this. I feel that I am the one that he should be able to talk to about everything, but he thinks it's perfectly normal. He explained that different friends serve different purposes or needs (which I agree with, I am more silly with some friends, and I am more serious with others), and that there is no problem with him talking to her about stuff that he doesn't talk to me about. I feel so mad and jealous of this friendship, but don't know what to do. I have told him that I don't want him talking to her, and he told me that if I gave him an ultimatum, I would lose. Later, I realized that I don't want to be the reason that he quits talking to her anyway, because I don't want him to resent me for it. I am hoping that someday he will realize that whatever role she played in his life is now filled by me, and that he will gradually let go of their friendship. In the meantime, I am extremely jealous that he confides in her instead of me, and I am hurt that he would protect their friendship before our marriage. Any help?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 10-22-2003 - 3:55pm

Hi Heather - I was finally able to catch up & read your posts today.

Well, I can;t tell you what is right or wrong, but I can give my opinion ;)