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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

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Jacquie | After Words

I'm sorry you're feeling all this right now. Have you thought about marriage counseling as a place to delve into your feelings and maybe make a decision?

Wishing you peace.

Erin

Thank you for sharing this. I echo a lot more of this than I wish I did.

Orodemniades

I'm with Erin. My husband is a good man, but, quite frankly, a terrible spouse. It's not that he doesn't love me, but...there are rules to the care and feeding of one's spouse, and he has never even heard of them, never mind read them.

It's not divorce-worthy, and honestly, I don't believe there's anyone else out there who would be interested in me. Not that I'm looking, mind.

On the other hand, I'm so stressed right now, with no let up in the future, that every little thing just becomes more and more magnified.

I, too, thank you for sharing...I can't really vent on my own blog any more, since he can read it, too.

electriclady

I totally identify too, with nearly everything you wrote. I always wonder how much of it is par for the course, mid-marriage malaise, and how much is situation- (couple-) specific.

Summer

It seems to me you would like to do something about the place you are in and that is why you took this step to blog about it, difficult as it is to put your feelings out here like this. Of course, only you can figure out what the best thing to do would be. But, in reading your post and re-reading your earlier post about H not being the man of your dreams, I think there are questions you want to ask yourself to help yourself get clearer on what you want. How important is it to you that you are in love with H? Is it something that you would like to have or need to have? If you had married the man of your dreams, do you think you would be happier at this point in time? How does H feel about the lack of passion in your relationship? Seems to me that if there is a lack of passion, you shouldn't bear the sole responsibility of rekindling it.

May

I wish marriage came with an instruction manual. Mid-marriage malaise- so true!! If it helps at all, we've been going through a real slow section of our marriage until recently, when things took a significant turn for the better. My thoughts are that marriage, like so many things in science, has a sort of homeostasis- a set of check points that keep it in a certain pattern. We're going to wander up and down, but the key is the middle ground. Is the average of all your married days enough for you? Indeed, for any of us? I think that's the basic question we all need to ask ourselves.

Nico

I too feel very similarly to you. I often wonder, though, if anyone is still passionately in love with their spouse after 5 or 10 or more years? I often think that this is another myth that the media foists upon us. We must be thin, beautiful, and madly, passionately in love with our partner, forever. I think that maybe we have to let go of the ideal of passion, and enjoy a lifetime of companionship, rather than steamy hot love. I recently started feeling like we weren't connecting at all - at night, after the kids are in bed, he'd watch television and I'd play on the internet and we'd barely speak a word to each other. So we had a long talk, and agreed that we'd try to at least share a glass of wine a few nights a week. Definitely better. He's a great guy, but I've never been particularly physically attracted to him; I think sometimes about finding someone "hot" - but I have a feeling that even in that case the passion wouldn't be around forever. Perhaps I'm just fooling myself, but I tend to think not.

Claudia

Very much in the same boat as you, but have pretty much resolved that this is my life, and how it's gonna be, grass is always greener and such. Hope you find a solution that works for you and for your family.

Angela

Thanks for sharing.

I don't think the perfect marriage exisits, but the goal is to be happy (most of the time) within the imperfection of it all.
You ask: "Why don't I invest properly to see if it can work rather than just letting it tick along?" At this point in life, when you have 2 little kids, most couples are just dealing with the immediate crises of each and every day...putting out the fires...there is very little time and energy left for the rekindling of marital passions. I'm encouraged by the older couples I know, who now that their children are a little older, have more time and energy to reinvest in their relationship. I often think of my relationship with my husband as a bank account....for the first 8 years we were investing and investing, and now we are just living off of the interest...we make small deposits here and there, but hopefully in a few years we will be able to invest again....I'm not sure if any of that makes sense, but I hope you find a way to work it out.

Sami

Wow... first *HUGS* it takes a lot of courage to put this out there... Now on to my thoughts.

Communication is a big way to start... maybe you two need to do some counseling. I have also found my marriage the first 2 years after baby was a struggle. It's not that I didn't love my husband, just that all I could think about was the million things I needed to do. We quit doing couple things, activities in the bedroom were at a minimum... I really had to make a conscious effort in that regard... because while I missed it... I could take it or leave it kind of thing and sleep ALWAYS won out - my drive was just that incredibly low. Since that's picked up and we've started taking time for just the two of us and have those couple conversations things have gotten better.

Marriage is hard work.. keeping the spark alive is even harder. I'd try the counseling route. It can't hurt right? Or start doing things as a couple. I think marriages go through seasons... the season of firey passionate stuff and then the season of not... and cycle back and forth. I could be wrong though. Hang in there and always feel free to tell us what you're thinking.

Bea

I like Angela's comment. Although I don't think it's an excuse to just let it all slide (I'm sure Angela agrees)! But I'm sure (and others have said, too) that some ebb and flow is normal, and with small children often more ebb. I'm not sure what you should actually do about it, but no doubt working through it in writing here is one way to resolve the issue. Best of luck.

Bea

susan

I understand--completely--what you are saying. That H is good, loving, supportive and kind to you is about as good as it gets. At least this is what I have arrived at in my own life. I married at 35 as well and there were sooo many jerks before DH. Men that were smart, intellectual, very sophisticated-- but unkind, committement phobic, arrogant, cruel, distant. I don't think the grass is greener.

Have you seen the movie Fargo? The relationship between the main female detective and her husband -- a constant, simple, loving companion. It can be a wonderful thing.

Sending you a hug that things become more settled for you. :)

katie

I thought I wanted someone who was the life and soul of the party and who had as many degrees as me and who made me go weak at the knees.

Instead I ended up with someone 12 years older than me without any degrees at all (though he's working on it) and who is quietly hilarious, but not great in a crowd.

We still have some passion, it's not fabulous but it's good, and it certainly isn't what it was.

But we have made it work, he is *highly* caring and it's really clear how protective he is of me, which makes me really motivated to be good to him too. I do think that joint "thinking about marriage" as well as individual thinking is pretty helpful - we have occasional marriage tune-ups from the minister who married us - probably due one soon I think.

juliet

I think from the above comments I'm the only one who opted out. You are a goal-oriented person; you met H at a time when your priority was kids so he fitted; when infertility dealt you a low punch you thought you fell in love because he kind of 'saved you'. But now you are strong again - and you are (there is nothing insurmountable like infertility) he doesn't quite fit the bill because he has lost his qulaity of 'saviour'. If it sounds like a criticism it's not. I just think your story is a rational, predictable turn of events. In your situation I would want out, because I would always want the chance of 'what if' and Mr Right finally arriving, but's let's face it, he rarely does, and so I'm probably just going to be Ms lonesome. It depends how brave you are. I think it takes courage to face the world alone... but probably everyone will now start telling you it takes courage to battle through the low spots of a marriage so what do I know... This comment probably isn't helping, but I've just never been able to live with a passionless relationship and I've never found a way of putting passion back either. I do wish I knew the trick though!

geohde

I think half of us could have written this exact post. Myself included.

g

Betty m

I'd like to see a marriage with small children which isn't under some kind of strain. Time is eaten up by work, paid or unpaid in the home, drudgery and the things you have to rather than necessarily want to do. And all whilst barely keeping any vestige of pre-children life alive. The difficult thing is to think about whether it is that whole state of affairs that is affecting the relationship or whether the relationship itself is fading so much that it is making life unsettled and (unlimited love for children aside) unsatisfactory. In a rather British way I tend to deal by not dealing, other than by doing outdoorsy things like long walks or digging in the garden which always work miracles on mood, and things have always improved in the end.

I'm also not sure that those fantasy men we dream of are always the right ones for real life. I always saw myself with a different sort of person too but I'm not sure that those men would have wanted me. The mere idea of an English ex engineer who works in IT would have filled me with horror. I would have been wrong. In any event in my experience it takes a particular kind of man who is prepared to have a partner who may be more intelligent, professionally successful and witty than them.

I hope that you can find a way through this and out the other side happier and more content.

May

I am sending you a (useless, but heartfelt) internet hug.

stuck too

delurking to say, I'm in the same boat...my dh is a good father, not a great husband, but he is a good guy...I would like to opt out but can't financially-

I've tried suggesting family counselling to my dh, but he "doesn't believe in that stuff" so....I am waiting until my son is 18 yrs old and then we'll see...it's sad but it's the truth

Erin

It's really hard when they're not exactly what you pictured, but I feel like there isn't actually someone perfect. When you've been with someone for so many years, a lot of marriage seems to be just putting one foot in front of the other and continuing on. For J and I, there are times when that's all we do. There are times when we argue and fight quite a lot. And then there are a few times, not many but some, that remind me why I married him in the first place. Those few times seem to be just enough to get me through until we get to another one. But it's hard, especially when we're completely on different pages about things. J's not the guy I pictured but really, I'm not sure I'd be happier with someone else. It seems like there would certainly be other tradeoffs in those cases. We've had some counseling when those times weren't enough and it's helped.

I think what you've written highlights something that is surprisingly widespread. I hope you and H get a chance to talk some more about things.

PiquantMolly

You are a brave, brave woman to post this. This sounds a lot like something I could have written five years ago when I was still married to Hal. I, of course, did the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life and left my marriage. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not insanely glad that I made that decision. I'll have dreams where I'm still married to Hal and wake up so relieved that I can feel the weight lift off of me.

Of course, that's not to say that you should choose the same path. I think things with Hal were more shaky than they are in your marriage, but many things were problematic -- the lack of sexual attraction, the social awkwardness, the fact that he never fit what I thought my husband would be. It turned out he didn't fit, and the one who did fit fell into my life so suddenly it took my breath away.

Shannon

When you're in a position of wondering if this is enough, then often that question is enough to continue further questions. There is passion out there, but there is also complication - can we find that passion with that person? Will they have kids with someone else, and will they embrace our kids, too? Will we go from a single family with x friends and y traditions to a blended family with x/2 friends and no traditions. Will knowing that I can have passion make up for the loss of trust I had in someone so unbelievably stable (that is the painful trade-off, I have learned - you can have passion or you can have trust, but for some reason they almost never dwell together in the same person.) I'm not advocating staying and not advocating going, I know that the Pandora's Box of questions is only just opening.

Last year we separated, and actually it's what turned things around. We both realized we can live life without each other, we just didn't want to. The habits we'd made over the years had to change from both sides. It's different if it's just niggling things that bother you - you hate that he won't pick up his towel, or you can't stand the type of pants he wears. Reading your brutally honest post, it reads more of a fundamental issue, particularly when you mention the bedroom. I had a husband like that - one I was embarrassed over, one who wasn't my match intellectually, one who I could take or leave in bed. I left him and have a husband that I worked with. We have better discussions, we are better matched. It doesn't mean it isn't without its "I wish you were different in this way" moments. Trade-offs. They're always there. Maybe (and this sounds dumb) it's worth writing up a list of pros and cons. Simple, but sometimes in black and white...

Oh hell, think I've made this all about me and haven't helped a jot.

serenity

I, too, like Angela's comment. Because when I find myself in the same place (and I have been there, too, more than I'd like to be), I realize that I haven't invested more time in figuring out what I WANT in a partner, and therefore he's not meeting my sort of vague, nebulous expectations.

But that's MY marriage, not yours.

I am hoping that you find a way to the other side, where you have some sort of resolution.

xoxo

Anna H.

Oh, Thalia, it is brave of you to post so honestly and openly about how you feel right now.

I don't have any advice, but am thinking of you.

(another) karen

Wow - I read your post and thought "Man, I could have written 90% of that." Then, I read the comments and went - "yeah, what she said." "Oh and 'her too'" and her....

My last serious relationship before marrying my husband was with the guy who fit the whole "man of my dreams" picture. Drop dead gorgeous, life of the party, AMAZIZNG in the bedroom, great around the house. He couldn't hold a steady job to save his life and, in hindsight, was probably running around on me while I worked my bum off the entire time we were together. But, oh, the PASSION! So, I'm inclined to agree with the poster who said you can have trust or you can have passion but they rarely (in my experience, like hers) seem to go hand in hand.

In the end, of course, it's a decision only you can make. But, like so many others here, I appreciate your courage in sharing.

Thinking of you,
karen

Bee

Yeah same here. Thanks for writing this. There is a book called 'Imperfect Harmony' which I found quite useful.

dee

Thank you for sharing. I'm in a similar place with regard to many of the issues you mentioned. Alas, I'm too distracted by life and the children to do much about it right now.

Caro

sorry to "hear" this.

Hairy Farmer Family

Ehhhh.

Read this a few days ago, and my hand hovered over the keyboard to comment... and dropped. And now I've come back. And I think I'm going to go away again without saying much, because I'm still not really sure what I want to say, or if I want to say it here.

God, get me. Waste of comment space!

But I wanted you to know I was listening.

M

Like so many before me, I could have written a great chunk of this post... x

Heather

I'm listening too and I'm not sure if what I would say is a$$vice. I think you should try to find time for date night. I think you should discuss wanting a better sex life with you husband.

I know my DH and I have gone through some ups and downs. Having children has taken a toll on the marriage, but I think seeing with him with the kids is sexy. We've learned to tease each other and not be so serious lately. That helps. We've been trying these things lately and I think it helps. I'm starting to get that look in my eye again while I check him out as we wait in line with 3 kids to see Santa.

Hang in there. I think keeping communication open is a good thing. And just because you two are different doesn't mean you aren't perfect for each other. My DH and I are very very different people and we use that to our advantage. Don't compare your marriage to other people you work with. I work with a lot of people that have SAHMs for wives.

filmgal30

Oh my gosh, thank you so much for sharing! It is such a relief to know that I am not the only infertile wife out there who has these feelings. I have wanted so long to post to my infertility blog, but feel ashamed about what I might write about my feelings about my marriage and worry about how I would sound if I started writing and all my feelings that I have buried deep down started pouring out. I'm still not ready to write yet and the fact that I am surrounded by fertile mommy's to be (five women, one pregnant with twins) makes me sad for me at the same time I am happy for them. Everytime I read you blog, I come away feeling like someone out there understands what it is like to be infertile, a mom, a wife. Thank you so much for your honesty!

Meg

Hi Thalia, I just came across your blog via a link from Stirrup Queen. I now read mostly just a small number of blogs - from those that have moved beyond TTC as things didn't work out as we had hoped with the infertility/parenting aspect of our lives.

So I wanted to echo the sentiments of others in saying I feel for you and good on you for the level of courage you've shown with this post.

I have a friend who was in a similar situation to you, she now has 2 adorable children following years of infertility. Things were not going well with her husband and they recently separated.

My relationship is strong, but we're getting used to being a family of two. She tells me how lucky I am with my relationship. The point is we each have something that we know the other of us would desperately love to have, and in a way while it doesn't stop us lamenting what we don't have, it does help each of us appreciate what we do.

Having said that, in my case, even though I thought (and most of the time think) I have married the man of my dreams - there are certainly plenty of moments.

If it's okay, I work in the family/counselling sector and would like to offer a couple of suggestions if you are interested in trying to strengthen your relationship with H
* As others have said all relationships have their ups and downs. It can be powerful to focus on the positive - focus on what's good rather than the opposite (not always easy I know, but changing your mindset is something practical you can do - and can help you feel better too. And you've listed a number of positive qualities)
* A book we recommend to clients and receive positive feedback on is John Gottman's "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work". As well as theory, it's quite practical and contains exercises you can work through together to improve your relationship - and even increase passion.

Have you heard the saying, the biggest sexual organ is the brain? Changing the way you think about things can have an enormous impact.

Wishing you all the best and that you'll find the energy to make the most of your life in the now.

T

Oh no - I'm so sorry I'm late to this post! G and I have been married a long time and you might remember that we separated briefly. Since you've met him you might also realize that he's not exactly - hmmm - who you might envision me with. We grew apart over the years and one thing that did help was counseling. Things are still sometimes difficult, but manageable.

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