Dear Luise: I have been married almost 3 years. My husband and I have a one-year-old daughter. Before we got married we had been separated many times. We are currently separated and living 500 miles away from each other. My husband is a GREAT daddy to his little girl. All we do is fight. And we are fighting in front of our daughter. I am so confused and growing farther away from him everyday. Even being 500 miles away we still continue to fight on the phone. I honestly don’t know if I want to be with him anymore. I have suggested marriage and personal counseling but he refuses personal counseling. He said he would try marriage counseling. I am starting to become happy where I am. And without him I feel better about myself and my about direction in life. Should I go back to him and try marriage counseling? Or should we stay separated and talk about divorce? Nickie
Answer: Dear Nickie: It sounds like you pretty much know the way you want to go. Isn’t that true? If you follow through with marriage counseling, you may feel better about leaving but it sounds to me like your heart’s not in it.
Your history is one of conflict. Before you ever married, you were constantly at each other’s throats and had called it quits more than once. If that’s what you based your marriage on, a very strong and obvious incompatibility, what chance do you have? I doubt that you are confused. You just may not like having to face the consequences of poor choices.
Now, distance is offering you peace and a sense that you do not want to continue to feel put down and unloved. At least your remarks about feeling better about yourself when you’re alone indicate that’s probably the case.
Kids learn from their parents. You are their role models regarding love and marriage. If you stay, you are both going to teach your daughter what she doesn’t need to learn…that fighting is normal and is an expected component of marriage.
I would suggest that you put your marriage behind you and go for your own personal counseling. Work out the best plan possible for sharing your daughter with her dad and then put your efforts toward rebuilding your self-esteem and creating redirection in your life. Blessings, Luise