Question: Dear Luise: My husband and I have been married for 1.5 years and together for 7. We do not have any children. We’ve been struggling since almost the beginning of the marriage with many issues that he has but that affect me. He drinks and drives often after work, which he knows I hate. Then apologizes and does it again two weeks later. His job will always come before me. I appreciate that he works hard and helps to provide a great life for us but its unhealthy. He has let his health suffer, gained significant weight and is severely depressed. He talks about how he hopes that he dies young all of the time. This is not normal and it upsets me and makes me mad that he doesn’t want to change for our future together. I want to have a baby and move forward with my life. Before we got married, he said that he wanted children. Now I am not sure. I bring it up all of the time and he comments on “what a pain kids are” and “they just cost too much money”. I don’t think he would be happy if we even had a baby. Also, I’m not entirely sure that he would even be a good father. Based on what I have experienced with his treatment of me, and his priorities in life. I’m really stuck. I know I should probably move on but I do love him and I’m not sure what to do. He refuses to seek help and that is “showing weakness” in his mind. He lies, is dishonest and I don’t really trust him. He was NEVER like this the 5+ years we dated and lived together before our marriage. So I don’t know what is going on. Thanks for listening! K.
Answer: Dear K.: Something I learned the hard way is that we can love someone we can’t partner with. For some, there is a difference between living together and marriage. For others, marriage is the same only better and for yet others “just” living together is enough and works for a lifetime. On top of those variables, is the problem of one person having a different experience than the other. Then it becomes, “I would be happy if only you would (fill in the blank.”) Freely translated, that means, “Don’t be who you are or have become, be who I thought you were and need.”
We are all conditioned differently and the bulk of our conditioning is on an unconscious level. More often than not, our unconscious conditioning drives us and we think we’re choosing. We make up the “whys” even though we don’t have a clue.
You want a home with a trustworthy partner and you want kids that you can raise in a healthy environment. You already know it isn’t going to happen. You are seeing more and more of what doesn’t work as you face your unfulfilled expectations…(both conscious and unconscious.)
A failed marriage can involve healthy growth. Beliefs can crystalize and the consequences of assumptions can be faced. Your husband doesn’t want to be the bad guy for changing his mind about children or for stopping to drink after work and then driving. He may (again, perhaps unconsciously) not want to come home and then he uses impaired judgment and drives, to make things worse. You don’t want to be the bad guy, either, for being upset by both of those things. The truth, as I see it, is that there is no bad guy. It takes courage and maturity to see that and act on it. You both deserve better.
I stayed married to the wrong guy for 18 years…strongly believing there was nothing wrong with our marriage, we both just needed to do a lot of work. After almost two decades, I finally got there was nothing wrong with either of us…it was the combination that didn’t work (and we had known each other since we were three years old.) When I left, he was against it but he married again, to a compatible partner…and then he understood. Blessings, Luise