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For years, I've been debating divorce. I keep wondering if there is something terribly wrong with me or if what I am feeling is not so rare. I feel guilty, terrible, self-loathing. l


Today, I happened to be reading Time magazine and came accross an article posing the question: How Married Are you? The article goes on to summarize five new kinds of marriages, as presented in Pamela Haag's book, "Marriage Confidential." I read the first description, "The Semihappy Marriage", and burst into tears.


It's a marriage that is chronically ambivalent, neither miserable or happy. It's about not being able to decide whether to honor the commitment and deal with the negatives. It's like a partnership for me, with no romantic feelings at all.


It was this sentence that got to me, because it finally put to words what I've been feeling for so many years, "...spouses wonder if their expectations are too high and worry that they're being selfish, but they also can't shake the feeling that they might be in the wrong marriage."


This is me. I've been married for 21 years and I knew I was settling and marrying someone I loved, but was not in love with, from the beginning. We have four children ranging from 19 to 8. I have not a doubt in my mind that had we not had children so quickly (and unexpectedly), I would not still be married. But here I am.


My husband is a wonderful man. He is good to me, he works hard, has a good job, is a good father, is nice looking, stays in shape. He is a Catholic deacon on top of his professional career, coaches basketball and soccer. He's affectionate and loves me very much.


I don't hate him. I love him as a friend. I am not at all attracted to him in a romantic way. I get through sex by pretending he is someone else - a celebrity, an old boyfriend, an acquaintance.


I have cheated. The first was an emotional affair. The next was an online affair. I had an opportunity for a physical affair stemming from an online affair. We met in person a few times and wanted each other. The passion we had online had definitely translated to physical, but we did not take that step and walked away. A few months later, an old college friend I'd been helping through a bad time slipped a drug into my drink and raped me. He said awful things to me about me being sexually inadequate. After getting over the trauma, his words haunted me. Months later, when faced with an opportunity for one-night-stand, I took it. The positive thing was that I gained my self-confidence, the negative was the total disgust I felt over what I'd done. That was more than two years ago.


I try very hard to be in love with my husband. I try to appreciate the gifts I have. But when it comes down to it, I don't like the life I have and most of that is because of him. His values and life choices don't really match mine. I hate many aspects of my life that are what they are because of him.


I know what I want. I want to be married. I want a friend and life partner. I want a solid family unit. I have that now. I want passion. I want to look at my spouse and feel good. I want to travel more and live in a better place, not the frugal lifestyle that he insists upon. For once in my life, I want to be in love. I've had glimpses of romantic love and I know I CAN live without it. But should I?


I feel like a martyr for my marriage. Is this healthy? No. But is the alternative better? I don't know. I look at people who are happy in their second chance at love, after divorce. That could be me. Or I could end up alone and unhappy.


I am very successful in work. I am the breadwinner of the family, despite the fact that he has a law degree, is brilliant and has had the opportunity for law partnerships. I am active in my community and volunteer much of my free time. I am a person you can always count on for help.


My friends and relatives sometimes talk about their marriages and how much they love their spouses. It makes me cry every time. Is it so bad to want that?


How do you cope?

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I really hope that you seek counseling to help you get through the rape and your feelings. I do think that many couples struggle with loving their spouse but not "being in love" after 20 years or so. You are not unique. I think that if you want passion, what about working on it? There are people who have arranged marriages that fall in love with their spouse and there are people who fall in love again after 10, 20, years in a marriage of choice. You CAN travel - what about expressing this desire to your husband and working a part time job to save to do it - either with him, or do it with a girlfriend or sister? BTW, you sound resentful that he didn't take the partnership in the law firm - like maybe that he robbed you of the lush life. Being a partner in a firm is not all roses - its demanding and you might complain that he's never ever home. And sometimes it also has to be the right match - you don't want to partner in a law firm where you don't mesh with the other partners.


Anyways - if you checked out, you checked out, but please don't throw in the towel just yet. if you have treated your husband like "everything is fine dear" then you can't blame him. Have you talked to your husband about your desire for passion at all? You can choose to suffer silently or you can bring him in on it. He may have overscheduled himself thinking you are happy and everything is fine. In fact, if you volunteer a million hours maybe you BOTH are overscheduled and need to take a little time to slow down and 'date' eachother again.

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Thank you for that post. First, I need to clarify that I've never been in love with him. Never. It is not a situation where we've fallen out of love over time, it's that I married a good friend who I thought would make a good husband, hoping that some day I'd fall in love with him. I never did.


You are absolutely right that I resent the fact that he chose to leave a lucrative job - with or without partnership. I make a good salary, but he insists on Catholic schooling for our children, which eats up his entire salary. I live in a house I hate. It's falling apart and he refuses to do anything about it or let me do something about it. It is so horrible that I am embarrassed to invite anyone to my home.


I am a shy person when it comes to making real friends. The fact that I won't let anyone come to my house makes it even harder for me to establish relationships. The fact that he prefers to stay home, is not at all social except sometimes with his siblings or childhood friend, makes it hard for me to establish relationships. So I am incredibly lonely.


Now, many people would advise me to join groups to make friends. I have. But the house is an obstacle. The non-social husband is an obstacle. In the 18 years I have lived in this house, I have not been able to get through that. He is my only real friend, but I resent him, too.


The first 13 years of our marriage, we hardly saw each other. I was okay with that. I was used to having a husband who was never home. It helped me avoid the hurt that comes from lack of love and passion. So now I cope by volunteering and staying away in that manner.


I've tried the dating. It is uncomfortable. I literally cannot kiss him or touch him romantically without pretending he is someone else. I just don't have any romantic feelings for him. He wants passion as much as I do, but what I give him satisfies him. He loves me. He's in love with me.


He knows I am not in love with him. He knows that I am not happy, but he really doesn't know how much I struggle with this. He caught me in online flirting once and told me that it hurts him that he is not enough, but that if I need to do that, he accepts it. I immediately stopped. I hated hurting him.


I suppose that is my problem. I am a coward. I think about divorce and know how much it would hurt him. I know I will be responsible for that. I know that I will be the bad guy. I find myself wishing he'd beat me or cheat on me just once so that I could deal with the guilt. I just don't want to hurt him.


I am a coward. I am bad. I need to suck it up or take the punches.

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My ex husband always thought our house was an obstacle. But then finally I got some friends to come over and you know what, they said to me "honey, we came to see YOU, not your house." As long as the house doesn't have french toast and spaghetti sliding against the wall, the home that you are embarrassed about because its a bit too modest or needs repairs is something that true friends aren't going to have trouble with. My ex had a very defeatest atitude. Anyway, you CAN make friends without having them constantly over. meeting for lunch or shopping, or meeting at the park to walk dogs or watch the youngest kid works too. My mom has a good friend and she has been at her house a total of once in all these years.


Your social anxiety is not his fault - that is something for you to tackle. And if he is not social - well, he has to be social if he is a deacon, but you probably mean that you don't have couples over ever night. If you want to, but he is a homebody, then you take initiiative and get yourself invited to other people's houses or invite a few couples out to dinner with you. It is really hard to fault someone for not being a social butterfly if you have trouble making friends also.


You mentioned that you hoped you would fall in love with him. You wanted a man who would be a good husband so you cannot fault or blame him for not being at least on paper. Sometimes the "falling in love" is a choice whether you are the person who fell out of love or was never in. The truth is, you were in love, but just didn't have that romantic spark and butterflies. Anyhow, that being said - you have a choice to make. Do you just up and leave and tell him you married under false pretenses or do you work on yourself to love yourself and then also make an attempt - not just waiting for a feeling to overcome you like a bump on a log but really actively attempting to appreciate him for who he is. Spouses that fall out of love start to date or even pick a little thing about the other person that they love at a time. Try confiding in him what you'd confide with an online love. It sounds crazy, I know.


Anyway, I am sure you will do what you want, but those are my two cents. It sounds like you are not happy with yourself and your choices versus that he is a horrible person. He is living up to exactly what you wanted him to be, afterall. Beleieve me, those mystery men and affairs seem exciting but if you don't work on your personal demons they too will become humdrum or you may find yourself swinging the opposite way into the arms of an unsafe person. Your husband deserves to be with someone who loves him, and if that is not you, that's one thing, but I would at least make some sort of an attempt to sort things out. I don't advocate staying together just for the children, but you have an obligation to them to to really think things through and get yourself straight before upsetting their world.


have you told your husband about the affairs??

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I don't blame him for anything. I knew who I was marrying. I know that my social shyness is my own problem, but I also know that when I am with social people, I manage it much better. I feel that I should have chosen a partner who balances me in that way. I didn't and that is on me.


The problem with the house is not its modesty, it's the fact that the ceiling in the bathroom has a gaping hole, the toilets don't look clean no matter how hard I try to clean them, the kids and my husband are complete slobs, so when I've spent hours cleaning, I get home to a mess. My house is a chronic disaster area. It has no style. I blame myself for pretty much giving up on the idea of a home I can feel comfortable with, and I do realize that it just a crutch. I don't blame him for my social issues, I blame myself. But I also recognize that his behavior is another obstacle, rather than a stepping stone.


I try to look at him as if he were a guy I just met. I block out the little things that bother me about him and try to see the good man that he is. It has been 24 years and I still don't feel any spark and butterflies and I never have. He was a friend with a crush on me who developed into a friend who was in love with me. Before we were married, I used to break up with him, but he could not handle being just friends. I'd find myself taking him back because I didn't want to hurt him and I loved having him in my life. But never, ever did I want him romantically.


My parents had a horrible marriage. My mother was in love with my father, but my father cheated and was committed to the marriage only in title. They married because my mother was pregnant with me, and my mother had to give up her dream to go to college. From as far back as I could remember, my mother drove into me the idea that I needed to focus on myself and my education and career first, and marry someone who loves me more than I love him. I did exactly that. I am not blaming my mother, I am just seeking to understand how I came to the decisions I made more than 20 years ago.


I do realize that most of this is up to me. I need to love and accept myself. I have complete confidence in myself on many levels, but I've dug myself a hole. I've done a lot to make myself feel unattractive, look unattractive, in order to prevent myself from pursuing affairs. But the joke was on me, because I only hurt myself. Men still come onto me, opportunities present themselves, because a man willing to pursue a married woman for an affair or one night stand really doesn't care what she looks like.


No, I have not told my husband about the affairs or the rape. There are very sound reasons for not telling him about the rape. I can't deal with the idea of hurting him. That is why I changed that course and have not and will not go back. I don't want to hurt him with that until I am truly ready to be completely honest with him about my feelings.


I am writing here because I need to sort things out before I can have that talk with him. This is not the right time in our lives to make any sort of change. THere is never a right time, but there are too many family issues to deal with first. We need to be a united front for a while longer.


Thank you for helping me come to grips with myself and MY problem. He is not the problem. I know that.

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Hi TankGirl, I'm sorry you have been so unhappy. You seem to have "green grass" envy.


You said, “My friends and relatives sometimes talk about their marriages and how much they love their spouses. It makes me cry every time. Is it so bad to want that?”


That’s a typical GG thought. Your friends and relatives have plenty of troubles.


To be happy you must start with you… which of course will mean counseling, facing your demons and telling your husband about the affairs.

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Hi TankGirl,


I just want you to know that I do understand how you are feeling. I have felt the same way about my own marriage from the beginning and I know the guilt that comes with feeling you are responsible for the way things are and yet feeling powerless to do anything about it. I don't have any advice really, just want you to know that you are not alone in the way you are feeling.


Also, I am so sorry about the rape you experienced and hope that you do find someone impartial such as a therapist or doctor to talk to about it. I understand why you feel you can't talk to your husband about it yet (though I feel you should at some point) but this is definitely not something you should go through alone.


Hope there are happier days ahead for you...

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I think Lester makes a good point. People don't often see the weeds in the other persons greener grass.

As for me and my perspective on this, I have to ask why after 21 years is this finally tearing you up inside? You said if you hadnt had children so quickly you wouldn't still be married. Is this because you didnt want to cause any problems for your children by divorcing your husband? I would submit that you still have an 8 year old to consider.

I can sympathize with your struggle and I am truly sorry for the rape you suffered. I just cant understand how its taken you this long to decide you cant find it in you to work through the issue and maintain your marriage. No one would ask you to play the martyr and just suck it up and take the punches as you put it, but I would say that you and he have invested alot in this marriage and should strive to preserve it. Like the saying goes " It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got"

I think the idea that you feel as if you "settled" has bothered you all this time and affected your ability to be "in love" with your husband. I feel that by, your description, you have made it impossible for him to be enough because of the fact that you didn't get the storybook romance that leads to marriage that is so prevalent in movies and books and thereby feel cheated by the choices you've made.

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Thank you very much for your post. Honestly, this has been hurting me for many years now. I first came here and wrote about it four years ago. You've probably heard the phrase "seven year itch" used to explain that many married couples begin really questioning their commitment to the marriage after 7 years, perhaps considering an affair or divorce. The more modern version of this suggests that once your youngest child is 4, the same thing happens. My youngest was 4 at the time.


I heeded the advice of so many on here and was on a good track until I met someone who seriously tempted me. I turned away and recommitted myself shortly before the rape rocked my world.


Last September, my oldest started college. It had me rethinking everything. I found myself looking for trouble and I've been on an emotional rollercoaster ever since. Now my second is graduating high school, getting ready to move out and it's driving a lot of this questioning. I decided that rather than the path I know will lead to regret, I'd pour myself out here.


I would not be married if I didn't have children so quickly because just before I was unexpectedly pregnant, I'd come to grips with my own feelings about my marriage. I would have divorced within another year. I was unhappy with the marriage, questioning everything and I sought counseling. My husband was very unsupportive of me seeking counseling - it's been a touchy thing between us. He feels I should be able to unload on him and let him counsel me. My counseling was a serious thorn for him and I gave it up after just a few very helpful sessions. I really wish I hadn't. The pregnancy changed everything. I had to quit a job I loved, move out of a city I loved, and worst of all, leave a graduate program I'd dream of. It's a long story, but on our first anniversary, I moved 3 hours away to be a part-time graduate student and full-time employee at prestigious school. I gave it all up to live in the same state after he could not find a job anywhere near the school. We'd been seeing each other only on weekends. The distance helped me realize that I didn't want the marriage.


You are right, I have made it impossible for him to give me the storybook romance that I so deeply desire. There is honestly nothing he could do to make it better. I have blocked him from that. I see him as the man I chose with my head rather than my heart. I just can't see him any other way. I've tried.


I want what SOME others have. No marriage is perfect, not even the ones that I would love to emulate. But I've spoken candidly with so many people who tell me that they love their spouse, their spouse is the love of their life, they would not want to be with anyone else. This is after they complain about that spouse and point out some pretty hefty problems. I don't feel that way at all. He's a man I can be proud of because of who he is, but never once in our lives together have I desired to kiss him, touch him, be with him. Never. I am always responding, often pretending he is someone else.


Is it so wrong to wish to want someone?


I am in this marriage because I made a commitment and because I want my children to be in a stable home. My marriage does not in any way make me happy. It never has.


What I have realized over the past couple of days since I've started writing here is that I need to seek counseling, even if I have to hide it from my husband. I need help. I need to improve myself.


Thanks for reading.

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I have read in many places on this forum people who suggest counseling with or without the spouse or their approval and would agree it would be helpful.

No its not wrong to want someone and I really hate that you find yourself in the predicament you are in. You are to be commended for providing your children a stable home and for making the necessary sacrifices to do so.

I admit this thread hit home for me as I have found myself in your husbands shoes for the past 3 years. I dont mention that to in anyway hijack your thread, I only mention it to say I have an understanding of the situation as a whole. Limited though it may be. So in saying all of that, I feel it necessary to let you know I didnt mean to sound harsh, just that I am still ( like I'm sure your husband is ) trying to wrap my brain around the train of thought.

I am sorry for your problem and will pray for direction for you. God Bless

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You did were not harsh at all and you're not hijacking your thread. I want to know your story. Thank you very much for responding to mine. I do appreciate your comments, because I am so very worried about my husband if do decide to leave. He doesn't know the depth of my unhappiness. Not even close. The added complication is that since my husband is a Catholic deacon, if I do leave him, he will either have to take a vow of celibacy or give up being a deacon. I just can't bring myself to do that to him. None of this is his fault.


Are you okay? How are you feeling? The one thought that sustains me is that I believe my husband deserves a loving wife, just as I deserve to BE a loving wife. You deserve no less. You seem like a wonderful man and I have no doubt that you deserve that for yourself.


Are you familiar with the Walkaway Wife idea? It is a very common way that women manage their unhappy relationships. When she is unhappy with the marriage, she will at first tell you in many ways - nagging, giving hints without being direct. But you ignore them or don't get the hints. After a while, she gives up on the idea that things will be different. She talks herself into the idea that it's over, but will take her time getting herself ready to leave. But the plan to leave has been there for a long time. By the time she tells you, you have no idea. She's stopped nagging, stopped complaining, just goes with the flow, waiting. There is no way for you to change her mind, because she has brainwashed herself, talked herself into it for so long that it is really over.


I think I've brainwashed myself into thinking there is no way I can be in love with my husband. I am hoping that counseling will help me get over that, so I can be the loving wife he deserves and find what I am missing.


If you'd ever like to talk more, I'd love to listen. Thank you for your attention and your prayers.

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Yeah I'm ok some days are better than others. If your that interested you can feel free to follow my profile back to my started threads since I'm not tech savvy enough to put a link here for you.

Your story struck a chord with me in that this is quite possibly the closest I have gotten to understanding my wife's train of thought. I have chalked it up to a form of depression or even stress for a long time now. My pastor offered me some advice that has given me some peace of mind. He said (of course) to bring my problems to the Lord and leave them. Pray for some direction and then go to my wife after a day or two to collect my thoughts and lay my side out before her. So I did and I told her that I'm not sure what's going on or if I have done anything to bring this about but if I have then I'm sorry and I want to make it right. I told her that it's ok to tell me what I did (if anything) so that we can work through it. If it's not me then I want to help in any way possible. My pastor also told me to look out for people who seem to be in a place I want to be and then follow their example. Which I have been. I know that sounds odd considering no two relationships are alike but if I can glean any kind of example to follow I'll do it.

This site has also given me lots of good advice which I've applied. Thing is I dont seem to be getting very far. two steps forward two steps back on most days. All I know is that from my end short of dragging her into counseling and holding a gun to her head to resolve this, I feel I'm doing all I can from my side and that gives me some peace of mind.


Reading your story almost galvanizes a thought I've had for some time that says maybe I should tell her that if she really wants out then I'll agree to it. I wont like it but if thats what will make her happy then I guess thats what I need to do. Just cant bring myself to do it. I think she would feel like I'm abandoning her if shes just going through a tough patch personally.


I think you should go back to counseling, it makes sense. Heck I might even go back just to try and get a better grip on things.

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I don't blame him for anything. I knew who I was marrying.


No, you do blame him for everything. The fact that you don't have friends, that you don't have a home you feel at home in, that you don't travel... You blame him for everything.


I don't like the life I have and most of that is because of him.


Wrong - you don't like the life you have because you have failed to make it happen. End of story. Nobody else is responsible for your life and your fulfillment. If you're unable to stand up for yourself within your marriage, then that is your fault. It's not his.


You really do blame him for everything:


His values and life choices don't really match mine. I hate many aspects of my life that are what they are because of him.

I want to travel more and live in a better place, not the frugal lifestyle that he insists upon.


I am a shy person when it comes to making real friends. The fact that I won't let anyone come to my house makes it even harder for me to establish relationships. The fact that he prefers to stay home, is not at all social except sometimes with his siblings or childhood friend, makes it hard for me to establish relationships. So I am incredibly lonely.


Now, many people would advise me to join groups to make friends. I have. But the house is an obstacle. The non-social husband is an obstacle. In the 18 years I have lived in this house, I have not been able to get through that. He is my only real friend, but I resent him, too.


I know that my social shyness is my own problem, but I also know that when I am with social people, I manage it much better. I feel that I should have chosen a partner who balances me in that way. I didn't and that is on me.


The problem with the house is not its modesty, it's the fact that the ceiling in the bathroom has a gaping hole, the toilets don't look clean no matter how hard I try to clean them, the kids and my husband are complete slobs, so when I've spent hours cleaning, I get home to a mess. My house is a chronic disaster area. It has no style. I blame myself for pretty much giving up on the idea of a home I can feel comfortable with, and I do realize that it just a crutch. I don't blame him for my social issues, I blame myself. But I also recognize that his behavior is another obstacle, rather than a stepping stone.


You have to stop pretending to be a martyr and take responsibility. You want to travel? So save up for 6 months and travel. Go by yourself, go with a sister, go with one of your children... Just go. Will it upset him? So what? NOT travelling is upsetting you.


You say he won't "let" you fix the house or find a new one? What are you - his prisoner? If the house isn't working for you, then you need to find a home that will work for you.


And if you don't have friends, that is 100% your fault. You need to shake this mentality that he is responsible for that. It's not his job to make friends for you.


...Or you could just go on pretending that he's the big villian in your life. Divorce him, and then finally realise that you were the problem all along.

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I seriously doubt you did anything to make her feel the way she's feeling. The only thing you can do is to be there, as you have. If my husband told me that he'd just let me go if I wanted to go, I'm not sure I would. At least not right now. I'm not ready to give up. I have made an appointment with a counselor.


I read your past posts and I am convinced that your wife is probably going through the same thing I am. It is not about whatever shortfalls you might have, it's about how she is feeling about where she is in her life right now.


If you do decide to let her go and she takes that option, I really have no doubt you'll find someone who will love you and be excited about you the way you deserve.

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I agree with this.


Why in the world are you living in a home in such bad condition--when you are the breadwinner of the home? You need to take a stand and find a new home that is more desirable condition. You should start putting aside a little money each paycheck so that you can go on a vacation--either by yourself or with you children. All of the things you are complaining about you could potentially "make" go away.

You CAN make friends.

You CAN plan to get another home.

You CAN go on a vacation and travel.


And you two CAN work out your marriage if you are still interested in it. Your husband CAN compromise with you--especially if the situation is as dire as your painting it. The kids don't have to go to an expensive catholic school--they can go to a good public school. I mean these are things you two can come together and work out. It shouldn't be a marriage where it's his way or the highway. And he needs to know that just as much as you--no one is keeping you hostage in such a marriage, but YOU.

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I don't blame him for my problems. I mentioned many of those things just to point out some of our incompatibilities. I have travelled without him and made home improvements myself, but I have always believed that if either of us is going to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on something, we should both agree that it makes sense for our family and our finances. That is why I say that he has held me back from traveling and home improvements - he will not agree to spend the money. We had the opportunity to buy a house more appropriate for a family of six a while back and he absolutely refused. I can't just go ahead and buy the house myself. That is not how the whole family thing works. We don't have a lot of disposable income.


But that is not why I'm unhappy. I thought I made it pretty clear that my problems are my problems. They are not caused by him, but they are also not HELPED by him. My lack of friends is because of my own shyness. All I was saying was that if I had a partner who was more social, it would help me. I did not and am not saying that his antisocial behavior hurts me.


I appreciate your attention and your input. You've said some very valid things that hit home.

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Thank you for what you wrote. With respect to the house, at some point I just gave up. A few years ago, I found a house for us, but he absolutely refused to buy it. I kick myself now because it was affordable and has increased in value.


For our current house, at first I didn't try to make many improvements because I had no intention of staying here. We bought the house with the stated intention of living here for 5 years and then finding a better house. Five years went by, then 10 years... I kept finding houses, but he absolutely didn't want to move. There was always some excuse. I live in a house with a husband and four sons, every one of them a complete slob who just does not see the mess. I tried and tried, but finally gave up. It just didn't seem worth it any more. That was MY choice and I own it.


For now, I have to be satisfied with what I have. I have two sons in college, one in a relatively expensive high school and one in a moderately expensive elementary school. There is no extra money for anything. I am okay with that.


You're right. I could do all those things, but it seems so selfish of me. I struggle with the guilt. I say it here, among the anonymouse, but not to my family. They all think I'm a happy person. But I'm dying inside. So I need to get help and I will. I am. This was a step toward that end.

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I think you summed it up with: "at first I didn't try to make many improvements because I had no intention of staying here." You have to be "all in" if you want to fix this - no wandering eye, and actually decide that this is your home. It may not be the one you want, but it is yours, and you should fix it up to make you feel comfortable whether it is as simple as cheery curtains or a cheap can of paint or repairs. If I would live in a house 10 years I may not want to move either. Also, you don't mention why he wanted those particular houses. It makes it seem like he just said no to say no. There are a myriad of reasons why someone says no to a house, it could be about price, it could be because the foundation is kind of shifty, it could be about commute or a horrible floor plan It could be timing. It could be ist a split level and it reminds someone of a house that people that they didn't get along with lived in. It could be a million things.


You say you want what some people have - do they really have it? You are fortunate that you have a guy who wants to be the one you confide in, that is honest with you and trustworthy. So many women have men that run around on them. lie, or could care less what their wife feels. I am not saying that makes it any better - but you are more fortunate than a lot of folks.

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He doesn't really care what our house looks like. For a few years, the couch and chair in our living room, where we'd spend most of our time, were stained, ripped, and absolutely disgusting. He just thought it was comfortable. I'd buy slipcovers for them, throws, pillows, anything to cover up the disgusting mess of that couch and chair. We have four sons and the place where we would be together as a family had one oversized chair and a couch - not enough space for everyone to sit. One day, I dragged the whole family to a furniture store after doing a lot of research and showed them the sectional sofa and loveseat I planned to buy. I made them sit down. My husband and oldest son thought it was ridiculous to spend money on this. I handed over the cash and bought it. Just before it was delivered, I painted an accent wall in the living room and rearranged the rest of the furniture. The room looked beautiful and I felt proud. Two months later, the microfiber sectional was already stained and had a small tear.


As for the houses I would find, he was never interested because he likes our neighborhood and because he didn't want to make a commitment to a bigger mortgage than what we have. Our mortgage is very low and there is no doubt we could have afforded any of the houses I'd found. Now, of course, with the housing market what it is, moving makes no sense.


I hired an architect a few years ago to get some ideas of what we could do to our house. I've drawn up my own plans. I've gotten quotes on many improvements. I've fixed things myself. I've painted every room, hung my own artwork. He always finds a reason not to go ahead with things. He doesn't like change.


But really, the problems I am experiencing are not about him, they are about me. I do have some resentment towards him, just as I have no doubt he has resentment against me.


I know I am fortunate and I know that even people in happy marriages are not always happy. I have four sisters-in-law and we talk pretty openly. They complain about their husbands all the time, talk about problems and stresses on their family and on their marriage, but they all tear up talking about how much they love their husbands, how attracted they are to them, how proud. And I tear up because I don't feel that way about my husband at all.


@jaywalk, if you are reading this, there is a big difference between your wife and me. You say that your wife did feel passionate about you at one time. I never have. I married my friend, and that was okay when we were partnering to raise our family, but as our boys becomes less dependent on us and as my husband is home more, I feel like I'm missing out. I want to be in love.


@abitbroken, you are putting me in the box for women who don't appreciate how lucky they are that they have a loving husband. I know I am lucky that he doesn't cheat on me or beat me and that he loves me. That is the source of my horrible guilt. I want to love him the way he loves me. I really am trying, but after 24 years, it still has not clicked. I now have fewer distractions and I notice it more.


I'm sucking it up and trying hard to appreciate it. Whenever I wish for more, I feel guilty. I've never cried so much as I have in the last year.

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Tank, I'm really sorry for what you've gone through. It seems your first shovel full of dirt was when you married a man you weren't in love with, and you've been digging a hole ever since. I can relate to most all of what you've gone through as I did much the same in my past marriage. Looking back, there were feelings there, but not enough. I also know a few women who've gone down the same path. It never ends well. One left via suicide. I would really suggest counseling. It helps. It helps with your mood, attitude and outlook. It will give you clarity. I would also suggest talking to an attorney. The bottom line is you both deserve better from life. And you can make a more informed decision when you know what you're up against. Important decisions should not be made in a vacuum. I've been free for six years and have never been happier. I understand commitment and standing by your mistakes. But, as with me, there will come a point where you just don't care anymore. For years, I would tell myself that one day, I would just walk out the driveway and throw my keys over my shoulder - she could have it all, and I would start over. It didn't happen exactly that way, and the divorce was ugly. But now I'm living the life I want, with someone I love and shares my vision. I have the house I want and I have my kids full time. Life is great! I wish that for you.

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You are the first person ever to give me hope that if I do chose divorce, there is hope for me. I see it in real life - friends and family who divorced and found the loves of their life, including my own parents. My parents had an awful marriage. They remained married for 23 years, until I'd graduated college. Within two yyears, they both found someone special and both have been with that person for more than 22 years. There are many other examples of second chances that worked out. There are also people experiencing just the opposite.


My issue has always been about the guilt I feel about wanting that second chance. It's not like he cheated or physically hurt me. What is the threshold? Isn't it very selfish of me to break up my family just to see if there is someone else out there?


I have an appointment with a counselor next month. I will see where this brings me. Thank you VERY much for sharing your story.

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Relationships that start out on the right foot are hard enough. People change, and often long after the first year or two in the honeymoon stage. Their dreams and goals change, etc. Divorce is not always about cheating and beating. Your relationship, like mine, didn't even get that chance. There is no foundation of love. There are no memories of previous intimate moments when you looked into his eyes and saw your glorious future in front of you. You're living in your own personal hell. Sure, you may make it until your youngest goes to college. And, you may not. Standing by your commitment is a noble task, but martyrs usually die unappreciated, debilitated and resentful. A marriage shouldn't be a prison sentence.

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If you want a nicer house, either fix up your home or buy another property. If you want friends, go out and socialize. If you want to travel, then go somewhere! Your husband is not your keeper...stop living a sad existence and do something to change your situation. If you aren't proactive, nothing will get better and you will keep wasting your days on feeling depressed and lonely. Your husband does not sound like a bad man, so I do think you can try to work it out even still, but it's time to start communicating. Tell him how you feel. If you keep pretending like he's an acceptable husband, he won't change. Give him a chance to show you that he can and wants to try, after you are honest with him. I think you need to open up about the lack of passion and your affairs before you start trying to rebuild your marriage. Otherwise all your work will be in vain if he one day finds out and loses trust and love for you. If you cannot make these changes and try for your marriage, you need to stop wasting your time and your husband's and file for a divorce. I cannot make sense of why you would marry someone who you do not feel passionate about, but that is a point far lost now. I hope you can find happiness...and that your family can stay solid during this time.

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