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Personal growth hindered by marriage

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I think I married too young, before I had a chance to blossom as an individual and develop a career. Has anyone else felt this way?


I married soon after I graduated from college. I wasn't particularly interested in my major or pursuing a career in that field; I just needed to go to college and graduate (it was required of me by my parents). Ideally, I think it would have been best if after graduating I moved out on my own and had the opportunity to be alone and figure my life out... to determine a life path. However, I think marriage provided me with an "out". It was an opportunity to have someone to take care of me so I wouldn't have to figure things out for myself.


At the end of March, I am going on a solo cross country trip to see new things and maybe learn more about myself. My trip has been blessed by my husband who understands that I need to get this out of my system. He has told me to take all of the time I need. I appreciate this of him.


I enjoy my husband and do not want to leave him. I feel that a career is very important and I may be able to do great things. However, my husband is very dedicated to his job and must remain here. I love that he loves his career. This makes me want a career that I love. Seeing him with a career he loves, seeing him change peoples' lives... this makes me want to seek a meaningful path for myself.


Please share any advice and personal experiences.


*edited some things for clarity. (It's a tough situation and people saying I'm selfish for having these feelings and wanting to make something out of my life is ridiculous and totally unhelpful.)

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There's nothing wrong with being selfish. If someone is unable to care for and love themselves first and foremost, not only will they be unhappy, but so will the people closest to them. Read some Ayn Rand.


Future posters, please do not be so rude. This message board exists precisely to ask advice from a bunch of "faceless strangers".

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I've spent thousands of dollars over the last 15 plus years on travel expenses, wedding gifts, shower gifts and bachelorette parties. Obviously divorce happens - everyone makes mistakes - but, I don't know - when I invest all that time and money on gifts, travel and hours at the showers and wedding I kind of expect that the person getting married won't bolt because she is "bored" or "should have pursued a career" - I know this is a strange perspective to take, but I don't think it's entirely invalid.


Did you have a big party when you got married - maybe more than one? Do you think it's fair to walk away without putting 100% into marriage counseling and self-counseling so that you can figure out how to balance your desire to have a career and experience life with marriage - might take some compromise, but that is part of what you promised to do when you took those vows, right?


I should add - for most of the weddings I have gone to I am happy for the bride and groom, most of the time I have fun at the wedding - it's certainly not one sided - and I suppose for some of them I didn't "have to" go but in general I wonder if newlyweds consider this at all -the sacrifices people made to give them a wedding, if they had one - when they have the doldrums.


Putting aside the wedding issue - no, you don't have to stay if you've made a mistake - but expecting your husband to follow you because "you" decided you want these new experiences is not fair.

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I think you can still blossom as an individual in a marriage. Talk to your husband about how you are feeling - especially about your trip if you haven't already! Either way, this does seem a little selfish of you to place all this upon him when it was both of you who got married. Talking to him about how you are feeling may be the best thing you can do for your marriage.


I know these type of feelings can make you become rather selfish. I went through a similar starting my junior year of college. I just became so lost and I wanted nothing more than to get away, regardless of any responsibilities I had. Last summer I was ready to leave without telling anyone. I'm my mother's guardian, so it would have been very irresponsible of me to leave but all I could focus on was "finding myself." My brother had called me while I was leaving town and I broke down and told him everything (poor thing just wanted his math book back!) He made me start therapy that day and it really has helped. Well, that was my experience. All that I can really offer from that is maybe try looking into seeing a therapist...they might be able to help?

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There's nothing wrong with being selfish to a point. Your feelings mirrored my ex's, she felt I was holding her back because she wanted to figure out who she was. We got married young, and we did it because we loved each other and it seemed like that's what we should do. You either get married, or you break up.


She spent years trying to make me happy, and eventually she blamed me for her unhappiness because of her sacrificing. Only she never told me she was unhappy, not until close to the end. You're blaming your husband for your unhappiness because you don't know who you are whereas he seems to be happy.


Like it or not, you made a committment to this man. You may find out he's not as happy as you might think, and you may also find out he very much wants to help you on your path.


But to just go off for a month with the intention of finding yourself so that you can give him an ultimatum when you return? That's cruel and unfair to him.

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Hi Vagabond...I also got married right out college to my college sweetheart. For a while, I did question all those things you mentioned, but it was a phase. I was never unhappy, as I love my husband very much, hes always been there for me, is a good man, and loves me unconditionally.

But I did wonder "what could have been" you know. I think its normal to feel that way.

But...we did take vows, and we stuck it out. These days (I'm 29 now) I realize that maybe we did get married too young, but if I had to do it all over again....I'd wait a couple of years. Not that I regret marrying him at all, its just that maybe looking back, we werent ready.

Just hang in there...make time to go out with your friends....but always remember that you took vows, and that you love him!

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You're blaming your husband for your unhappiness because you don't know who you are whereas he seems to be happy


Actually I don't think she is at all. In fact she is quite openly accepting responsibility for maybe not getting married for the right reason.


I don't think this is being selfish. I think Vagabond is just acknowledging some feelings and emotions she has and wants some perspective on it.

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Sorry for the confusion. In my original post, I guess it seemed like I was secretly plotting to leave my husband and travel around the country and then say "you better come to me or you'll never see me again!!!" This is totally not the case and not what I meant, so I did a rewrite. Hope it's clear now that my husband and I have discussed my trip fully and he wants me to go because he understands my frustrations here. Indeed, if I ended up in a town and had an amazing opportunity, I would ask my husband to come be with me.

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I think you can still blossom as an individual in a marriage.

This is more along the lines of what I was hoping for. Some ways to approach the situation, others' experiences, friendly advice... That's what I need. Most of the other posts seem to say "you're screwed, too late, deal with it, suck it up, don't do anything with your life."


So come on people, move beyond the "you're selfish" and give me some positive advice on how to grow as a person, be successful in a meaningful career, and make a difference while keeping a healthy marriage. It must be possible, I just feel very hindered. Maybe I shouldn't even feel hindered... maybe there are techniques and ways to feel totally free to expand and explore oneself while married to a happy man who is totally content with his life, job, home (and wife!).

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I have worked at a cabinet store for a little over a year and a half now. I enjoy my job for the most part (designing kitchen cabinet layouts and selling furniture) and my co-workers are all great people who are delightful to work with and my boss is amazing.


My problem is that I do not want to make this a career. I want to become involved in an environmental field, perhaps wind energy. (I don't want to get too much into how as a child my parents discouraged my interests that were in a field that didn't provide enough job growth or income potential (art), but that contributed to my inability to choose and pursue a career until now). I'm finally maturing enough to realize that I do want to do something more. I have always been passionate about environmental issues and now that that's the big thing now, it seems like I could make a great career out of it. Unfortunately I'm not in a good location geographically for the type of environmental work I want to do, especially wind energy (there's not really any wind here). Hope that gives you a little more information to help you understand why I may need to go elsewhere for an education and career. I was probably incorrectly naming my husband and marriage as the stifling factor, but maybe it's my geographical location. Dunno!!!

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I think the fact that at 26 you're blaming your parents for your decision not to pursue a career is kind of sad. I would suggest first taking ownership of your choices - including marriage - before deciding what to do so that you don't end up blaming yet someone else for the next choices you make.


No, you don't have to give up a career just because you're married but the for better or for worse vow you took means that you might not get to pursue your dream career if your husband doesn't want to relocate or can't relocate so that you can do that, or if the finances won't allow for it. You don't always get to eat your wedding cake and have it too. .. . .

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Before you go traveling the country in search of a career that may be thousands of miles away from your life with your husband.. Isn't there something you can do to grow a little bit closer to home? I'm sure there are oppertunities in your area if you look for them. Maybe you could even go back to school and persue a degree you are interested in?

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Are you sure that going cross country will help you figure things out? It sounds more as if you're doing it just because it's something that you've always wanted to do (which is fine).


I think I kinda know how you feel about your situation. But I'm not sure about what the problem is: Is your marriage preventing you from doing things that you want to do? Or are you just unsure of what you really want out of life? Either way-- if what you do doesn't put your marriage at risk, then do it. If it does put your marriage at risk, then, well, you have to decide for yourself which is more important to you.


I've read Ayn Rand's Virtue of Selfishness. Great book. In fact, I just recommended her to another ENA-er.


Anyway-- I say go for it. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled, because you know what-- there's not always going to be someone around to make sure that you are happy and fulfilled with your life. Again, as long as it doesn't wreck your marriage (or if you don't mind if it does, then that's another story).


And ur lucky that your husband is letting you go cross country alone. My boyfriend would never allow me to do that by myself for safety reasons LOL OK now I feel held back!


Good luck, tho, in whatever you do.


As someone else suggested, I'd take up a hobby. I have 2 hobbies that I've developed within the past 2 years, and let me say, they really help me express myself, and thus make me feel more fulfilled.

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no, I'm travelling because I love to. (hence my username) I've always wanted to see the rocky mountains. My family is a bunch of travellers, it's in our blood. I'm not travelling to find a job. The point of my trip is to see new places, meet people along the way, be alone to listen to my inner voices. Maybe the trip will help me find a definite path (it's true, I'm not sure what my calling is yet). Maybe the trip will lead to opportunity and a job. But that's not why I'm going.


First off, I'm not blaming my parents for me not having a career right now. If you had read the words correctly, you would have noticed that I said that their attitudes during my childhood _contributed_ to my situation. Nobody can deny that parents strongly influence their child's life, whether you admit it or not. Mine did. I'm not placing blame; I'm simply stating that their putting down my interests because they weren't practical led me away from my passions and only now am I discovering them again.


Mrs. Elliott Smith, your responses have been very helpful. I appreciate you trying to understand what I've written rather than being judgmental. After reading what you wrote, I think it's sort of that I feel hindered by not being able to leave this town (because of my husband's job... just stating a fact here, mkay?), but more so that I can't quite figure out how to jump start my life. [To all those who are reading way more into my posts than necessary: please note that I know that my life is where it is because of my choices, but this isn't the point. Blaming my own situation on myself still doesn't help anything, it's just stating the obvious]. I have a direction I'd like to take (mentioned in a previous post), but who really knows ever if they're doing the right thing?


I don't know if anyone has read the book Passages about life stages. Well, I just read it and everything I'm going through is totally normal for my age. I may not even figure out what to do until I'm in my 30's or 40's. That's fine. I'd just rather learn who I am and what I should do sooner rather than later, ya know? And right now this feels like a huge hurdle because I'm living in an area I can't stand anymore (I've lived here my whole life, all 26 years, so I know exactly what's available in this area for me) and I'm married to a [wonderful] husband who happens to have a career he loves that cannot move anywhere else.


Again, I'd really appreciate responses from people who are going to be helpful and considerate, rather than judgmental and accusatory. Perhaps this is too much to ask, but it would be appreciated. I am a human being who is not perfect and is trying to figure things out during a confusing time, just like most other people on this message board.

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Again, I'd really appreciate responses from people who are going to be helpful and considerate, rather than judgmental and accusatory. Perhaps this is too much to ask, but it would be appreciated. I am a human being who is not perfect and is trying to figure things out during a confusing time, just like most other people on this message board.


I hear where you're coming from.


But 99% of the time, you really gotta try to take the things that SOME people say on ENA with a grain of salt

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There's nothing wrong with being selfish.
There's everything wrong with being selfish when it comes to marriage. It's a partnership. You have to find compromise....Sounds to me as if you've all ready made up your mind and looking for someone else to tell you it's OK. ....good luck to you, in whatever you do.....
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