Is this what it is supposed to be like?

I've been married for almost twenty-five years to the same man. We have two college age children and now have the house alone. We've almost divorced three times, but I just can't seem to leave. My husband and I say that we love each other, but we seldom express any forms of affection. When we do,it's not meaningful. He is nonemotional and does not assure me that I am valuable to him.

He is currently overseas and has been for six months. We've had no emotional or meaningful communications at all. We exchange information. There's no feuding going on, however. He's been isolated with a married female of similar age for sixteen hours a day, six days a week. The seventh day, he has off half a day in which he often goes to the movies with her. They have every meal together, drive everywhere together, and live in the same building. I cannot imagine not developing an emotional bond with someone in this situation.

I trust him, but I can't help but to wonder....especially when he is neutral/cold to me. He does not seem excited about seeing me soon. I express my love for him and desire for him to be home. He says he's ready to return, but his actions don't support his words. He went overseas against my wishes, which broke my heart. As I said before, we are getting along right now that we are apart. However, when we are together, we are more like roommates.

Is this normal? Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? I want for this relationship to be happy, but I'm tired of feeling unimportant to my spouse. I'm disposable.

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Nov 30, 2009
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Thanks Everyone
by: Anonymous

It is so awakening to read others' points of view. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being objective or if I'm just being overly sensitive. My marriage has certainly gone through different seasons. I'm hoping to go through a joyous one soon when my husband returns in a couple of weeks. I'm very excited to see him, but I know now that I will not stand living a life with a man who does not emotionally give me what I need anymore. Being alone for the past six months has taught me that I am capable of living alone.

Thanks again for the feedback and encouragement.


Nov 30, 2009
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To: Mom for life
by: Angie Carter

What a GREAT post! I enjoyed reading what you had to say...especially the part about that the leaving may not be the hard part - that's only the beginning. How true that is!! Many, many times I ended up getting back into the same kind of relationship, different people, different looks, different personalities, but the same DYNAMICS!!

I like what you wrote about the different seasons that relationships go through. My mom used to say something similar. We (Don and I) have went through different phases in our relationship. It has matured over time, but we have had to definitely work at it. But it is VERY much worth it. It also takes two people working at a relationship to make it healthy and productive, not just one person wanting to work at it. Thanks for writing!!

Nov 30, 2009
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Inner Strength
by: momforlife

I've read all the comments and stories... and I feel very moved by what you are going through with your husband. I grew up with you playing the part of my mother and your husband as my father. My mother was miserable in the marriage and I'm pretty sure my father was too.

My father died when I was 19 years old, but my mother went on to marry another man similar to him - in some ways worse, in some ways better... but similar. My mother tells me now that she would've never married him if she had dated him longer... so basically, she's miserable again!

I guess that shows how we are hardwired to look for that specific person. So what I'm saying is: leaving the relationship may not be the hardest part. That's just when all the work begins to find the real you. But I think that's a rewarding challenge. At least you're working toward something great and not trying to sustain something mediocre.

I feel ALL marriages go through seasons - passionate seasons, drought seasons, boring seasons, adventurous seasons, etc. In my own marriage, I sometimes look at my husband and think "What did I see in you that made me fall so hard in the beginning?!" After 14 years of marriage, I know now that we were attracted to each other by how our childhoods complemented one another.

I learned to be wary of my surroundings and try to control every facet of life. My husband learned to give in to conflict quickly so as not to prolong or worsen the consequences. So we meshed beautifully! I controlled and he relented. Fourteen years later we can seem quite a mess at times, but we're learning how the mess started and what to do with it now. We are a work in CONSTANT progress.

Nov 24, 2009
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My children
by: Anonymous

The funny thing is, even after 25 years of dysfuntional family life, my children are highly successful....top of their class, full scholarships, etc. I am as well. Thank goodness! It's a cultural situation, a mixed racial marriage of Asian and Caucasian. I would never advise that to anyone, not because of the color of the skin, but because of the differences in world views. I was lucky I suppose to have his influence over education. I celebrate diversity.

However, I am concerned about the amount of distrust my girls have for men. They are not willing to put up with anything due to what they have witnessed....and experience first hand. He has been degrading and we feel like we are not up to his expectations.

Nov 24, 2009
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Thanks for Mr. Fixit.
by: Anonymous

He does remind me of my father, and that's probably why I married him at he age of 19. I'm a different person now. Thanks for your response.

Nov 24, 2009
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Dance
by: Mr. Fix-it

I have come to know that in every dysfunctional situation in my life, I have a part. I call it 'the dance'. I have also learned that I recreate situations from the past, especially childhood, so that I can live them again.

I know that makes no logical sense, but this thing does not respond to logic. Below my level of awareness is a pattern that I broadcast. The broadcast is received by people who resonate with it. We get together. Usually I feel as if I have met my soul mate. This lasts a few weeks, usually. Then one day I wake up and say, "My God! How did I do this again?"

I don't want to give advice either, but, having said that, ask yourself who your husband reminds you of. Five will get you ten its your father. Was he remote? Non affirming, emotionally unavailable? Then ask your husband who you remind him of. ( He will say he doesn't know)

I would love to know how this works out for you. It has been hard to see my part in things, but recognizing my part and taking responsibility for it has, oddly enough, set me free. Peace and light to you.

Nov 24, 2009
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Thanks for the feedback.
by: Anonymous

Thank you Angie. I guess I've never looked at it that way before. I just don't want to be 70 years old and look back and regret my life.

I'm a 43 year old professional and am in good physical condition and am still attractive, so I've been told. I haven't had the strength to get on. I don't understand why he doesn't give me the affirmation that I need. I'm tired of begging for it. I would never want my daughters to be in my situation, but I've stayed in it mostly for them to provide them with a nice home, etc.

Nov 24, 2009
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To: Is this what it's supposed to be like
by: Angie Carter

Hi,
I can certainly understand you dilemma, maybe not entirely...but you paint a pretty good picture of what's going on. I never try to give someone in a relationship advice about whether to stay in or get out, BUT ...with that being said, I do frequently have them try this very brief exercise in "putting things into a healthy perspective" It is in the form of a question.

First, you have to pretend this exact situation is actually happening to a very best friend, or maybe a daughter, or very close family relative of yours. If that gal was in the EXACTLY the same situation you are in, been married the same amount of time and ALL the dynamics were the same and that particular female came to you (and you by the way, have only HER best interest in your heart and nothing else) and she asked you for ADVICE about what to do, what would you tell her. In other words, if the same situation was on someone you cared deeply about and she came and point blank asked you for advice about what to do, what would you say???

Another way to also look at it is - If this situation were something your daughter was in, would want it for her? would you be happy for her in this marriage, would you have joy for her and want it for her?

Sometimes it is very easy to see what is good for someone we love and we can VERY clearly see what needs to be done, but when it comes to ourselves it is a different answer. And that is where we need to do the work. I can honestly say that if my daugther were to be married to a man who is exactly like my husband, I would be VERY happy for her and I would want it for her.

As far as some of my past relationships.......NO WAY! I certainly would not want those kinds of relationships for someone I cared about deeply. They were dysfunctional and painful.

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