Question: Dear Luise: I have a doozy for you. I really would like some honest advice, though. I fell in love with my husband when I was 14. He for good reason left me when I was 16 and we were separated but still seeing each other for 4 years. I got pregnant when I was 16 and had his child. I married someone else at 19 because he didn’t take care of the child and it seemed hopeless that we would get back together. That marriage ended in divorce over domestic violence, and I returned to my first love. We moved in together and for 8 years have been back together but on a rocky path. I had a daughter by my first husband who he used to adore, but now as she is growing older and we have 2 more boys it seems he is less interested in his relationship with the two older ones. Every day is filled with arguments, between them and him, him and I. I try so hard to make him happy but nothing I do is right. He says he feels the same way. I have been a mom and a wife nearly half my life, I am sick of being unstable. He has a sexual addiction and through my insecurities, I let myself get involved. To make a long story short we left our community, church, friends and family to move to a small town away from everything to start a new life. Well, his business is suffering because of the drive, and he wont let go of the old life in the community we were in. He is drawing us down further and further and will not talk to me, things are just returning to what they once were him playing video games and me trying to hold things together overwhelmed by all the balls in the air. My question is…will I ever be able to move past our past? How do I get him to understand how I feel? When is it OK to stop thinking about your spouse’s feelings and what he wants, and give yourself what you need and want? I don’t want to leave him, mainly because I don’t have anything else. I have four kids and a half built life with this person. But I don’t think any of our dreams will ever come true because we are cursed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. He is not motivated, and I am now becoming depressed because of everything I have lost that I built for myself. I surrounded myself with church and non-profit organization work, and school. Now it is all gone, because he moved us. A lot of this doesn’t make any sense I am sure, I gave you a lot of bits and pieces of info. I don’t know writing back and forth may help you understand and give me better advice. Believe it or not I am educate. I almost have my bachelors in Psych. Unfortunately I had a stroke and had to quit school. Now, I don’t think I will ever be able to go back. No one can figure out why I had the episode I had and how to make it never happen again. It’s happened 3 more times since then. It doesn’t leave huge residual effects but partial memory loss and some numbness on one side. My health and all its chaos has been another factor in my unhappiness. But that is another long story. L.
Answer: Dear L. I get a strong sense of solidarity when I read about the partnership you and your husband have. It has so much that is “life” in it. For example; kids are often hard to live with and as they get older they can get even more difficult, illness is often pretty overwhelming to cope with and work through…and moving can be the pits. On top of all of that, neither of you is perfect and both of you feel misunderstood and weary. Why wouldn’t you? You’ve been hit from all directions.
Hang in there, better days are ahead…count on it. Believe it or not kids grow up and move away. In the meantime, move back if you need to and go to a new church if that would work best. Talk to each other. It doesn’t help to blame each other. Blame “life.” Hopes and dreams have a way of dissolving into thin air…as life’s challenges appear in their places. It just seems like too much. However, there is still a lot in the context of “loving, best friends” that you and your guy can fall back on. Blessings, Luise