I met my husband when I was in school, when I was 22 and he 23. We’ve always gotten along. We’re polite, nice people and are kind and considerate towards each other. We don’t bicker or argue, or silent treat each other either. We married when I was 26 and he 27. I’m about to turn 30. For about a year now, I have been fantasizing about a separation. At first just in passing, but then always telling myself we’ve got it good, and we’ll get better. He’s a sweet man! But now a separation is just basically a thing I want to happen, and I feel terrible about this.
I’ve read some of your previous posts about other people in similar situations. I love this man, but I can’t remember ever falling in love with him, and certainly don’t feel that way anymore. I think we just always got along… but I think we’re growing into different adults, and we’re not making each other happy. I just picture myself happily living alone. But I do not want to hurt him. I don’t even know how to broach the subject of my unhappiness in our marriage. We rarely talk about anything of substance. We just politely and kindly pass each day saying ‘Good morning’, ‘I love you’ and ‘Good night’. What do you recommend? Fidelity
After reading letters like yours, I often think the person writing in has pretty much made up his or her mind about what they want to do and is simply seeking validation on that decision. After all, you’ve fed this fantasy of leaving for a year which is a long time to think and plan. And maybe you have grown into different people; getting married in your 20s can be perilous because you change so much. But many couples weather those changes, too. Maybe somewhere along the line you guys stopped flirting, stopped having fun together and let the emotional connection wane – and now you can’t remember it ever being there. It happens. That’s long-term relationships for you; they’re constant work.
You married this guy for a reason. You were together four years before tying the knot. You have a kind, considerate relationship, you rarely fight and there’s still love there. I get letters from people in far worse situations than yours so I have to point out – which I’m sure you know – that many out there would kill for what you’ve got. Bailing out of an intrinsically bad relationship is one thing. But bailing out because of an extended bad patch – if that’s what this is – is quite another.
It’s time you talked. Really talked. Which will mean cracking open this polite little facade you guys have got going on and digging right into those dark, uncomfortable and unspoken places. It’s the hardest thing when you do it. You don’t know where the conversation will go. You have no idea what the other person will say. But often afterwards, the relief at giving your feelings a voice and the ensuing intimacy that comes from sharing what’s deep inside you is so incredible you wonder why you put it off for so damn long.
How to broach it? Go to dinner, or just open a bottle of wine at home and dive right in, saying something like: ‘Jack, can we talk? I need to get something off my chest. I don’t know if this’ll come as a surprise to you, but I’m not in a good place right now, and much as I love you, our marriage isn’t making me happy and hasn’t for a while. I’m not sure what to do but I don’t feel it’s fair to keep these feelings from you’. That’s a conversation starter if ever there was one.
Maybe you’ll have that conversation and both agree that it’s not working and the best thing to do is to go your separate ways. Or maybe your admission of unhappiness will come as a total shock to your husband and he’ll tell you he’ll do anything to save your marriage. Maybe this chat – if you fear it – would be better conducted in a counsellor’s office where he or she can steer the discussion and help you come to whatever conclusions lie ahead. But please, just talk to the guy. That’s your first step.
Love, reality chick