Question: Dear Luise: I have been in a loveless relationship for a very long time. I think about leaving but I am unsure about whether it isn’t way too late to find happiness. I’m not in it for the kids or the security. I’m just in it. The very best I can say about my marriage is that it’s a habit. The rest is best left unsaid. I’m not being abused but I’m not loved or loving. Maude
Answer: Dear Maude: Yes, it’s time to get on the stick and address this situation. I think it easier than most of us realize to fall into such a pattern. Partly because it’s not that bad…it’s just dead. There were probably years when you thought it might improve and years when you thought your life could be a lot worse and staying wasn’t all that bad.
I’m wondering what your definition of “finding happiness” is. If it’s the love of your life, then roll the dice. Who knows? If it’s about independently creating your own peace of mind and full experience of living then why not see what you can come up with? You don’t have romance now and you may or may not find it if you leave. No guarantees. Yet life can be pretty wonderful without it from a different perspective. Hopelessness can be displaced by hopefulness.
Marriages fail. I don’t seriously believe that it’s ever too late to take a stand and opt for the best you can give yourself. A lot has been written about “growing where you’re planted” and the shallowness of the “geographical cure”…that said, we can all get stuck.
To get a fresh approach I would suggest that you see a counselor. Look at your situation with the help of someone that’s not mired in it and stuck there. Therapy can be a wonderful sounding board. Explore the idea of leaving with someone who can listen and advise. If things have been barren for a long time, you need to be heard and given serious consideration. Those are qualities we would hope to find in a relationship. That’s not been your experience.
The bottom line, as I see it, is that you are responsible for your own happiness. That may be easier said than done. But why not go for it? Blessings, Luise