Do All Marriages Have Major Issues?

Venting?Venting? Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
My husband and I have been married for 2.5 years (together for a total of six years). We've had quite a few rough spots in the past (my husband said he almost divorced me the first year we were married, I almost broke up with him a year into our engagement, etc.). We hit another rough patch recently because I fucked up and I'm having trouble getting through it. A few weeks ago I got drunk and was flirty with a dude my husband knows I am attracted to (obviously shitty on my part). I was out the next day and when I came back my husband had called his parents and told them we were probably getting a divorce and he told me that he "used to love me so much, but just doesn't feel that way anymore". Things have been somewhat better over the past few weeks, but I keep having the feeling of "Holy shit I should just leave and move someplace new". I have wanted to live in another state my entire life and it's something I gave up to be with my husband; whenever we have issues it's one of the first things I think of (it's not something I bring up to my husband because I know I was responsible for the decision to stay with him and live here). I think things will probably work themselves out but I also know neither of us are super happy right now.

On top of that my support system is either on the side of "get a divorce", "you should be totally happy", "you're making decisions based on fear of the unknown." or are people I don't really feel I can talk to about it. My husband and I had one session of marriage counseling a year ago and we both agreed it was a complete waste of time, so I don't really think that would be a route to take.

My general view of relationships is that they can last indefinitely as long as each person is willing to sacrifice enough to make it work. However I get concerned about sacrificing so much just for things to end later on. I know this course of thinking is selfish on my part but I'm just wondering if this is something everyone goes through and makes it out of or if it a sign of something bigger?

I know H/A can't offer solutions, but I'm just looking to crowd-source personal anecdotes.

tl:dr; Do all marriages go through "we might get divorced" phases and come out on the other side?

Venting? on
«1

Posts

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Well, to answer the overall question easily and succinctly: Yes, all marriages (normal marriages, not the romcom BS) go through periods of rough that can be that bad. I don't want to say everyone thinks of divorce, because everyone has different values and such, but I would say all marriages have that level of dysfunction once and a while. That's the simple answer.

    I am sort of loathe to really give much opinion beyond that, because I recently was divorced, and I got out of a marriage where I felt I was sacrificing too much of myself for the good of the relationship....so my opinion on this is going to be super bias. For now, I think I'll just watch some of the other responses...but I hope my simple answer to the overall question helps you realize that yes, it's normal.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    It is normal I believe(not married, but been in a long relationship)

    HOWEVER at the very least, some of the things you have described should be taken as warning signs, as I think they're a step above the usual argument/fights. Probably the best thing anyone is going to tell you here is that if you're serious about making it work, you guys you should probably see a marriage counselor.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    As someone who has never been married.

    No, no it doesn't work that way. If, between the two of you, there have almost been 3 divorces, that should be a giant fucking red flag.

    Yeah, on a long enough time line, everybody fights. Everybody has disagreements. Everybody goes through difficulties that can potentially change the nature of their relationship. But, and it is very possible this is just my naivety, if you have already been seriously thinking about getting a divorce before, and he's thinking about cashing in the chips already, you guys are probably smarter to just get out before you each have too much invested in it. Kids, well developed careers, these are the sorts of things that a shitty marriage can utterly destroy, and if you're talking about divorce...ever...you're not fully committed to the marriage. And if you're not fully committed, you're making a mistake.

    This has been my outsider opinion.

    Wishlists! General | Gaming | Comics | Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Everyone has issues, it's how you communicate and resolve them that forges a long-term relationship. The huge issues is a red flag, the talking with the parents and not you is a red flag, basically there's a lot of them. It is salvageable, but you BOTH have to want to salvage it. From your comments, it sounds like you both just want to move on, but that could just be conjecture.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Unfortunately, for most people, that's not how it works in the real world. Being married to, and living with, another free thinking adult human being for years and decades at a time can have surprising effects on your mindset. You would be hard pressed to find a marriage of any significant length (though I do wonder about two and a half years, which isn't a lot) where one partner or the other hasn't gotten to a fed up state where they did a mental "What if?", and that what if is essentially divorce. What if I could go do what I wanted, rather than life by committee. What if I could chase that crazy career path I never followed for the sake of stability. Most people leave it at that, a mental thought experiment to make themselves feel temporarily better. It's when you find yourself having that mental thought experiment too often, that you need to start seriously questioning things.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    A mental what-if is one thing, that's normal, because our brains are assholes. Calling your parents and saying "We're probably getting a divorce" is not speculation, it's action.

    Wishlists! General | Gaming | Comics | Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Tox wrote: »
    A mental what-if is one thing, that's normal, because our brains are assholes. Calling your parents and saying "We're probably getting a divorce" is not speculation, it's action.

    Agree, I was speaking more in the general question she had. The fact that her husband called someone else and said that is quite a different thing, and I wouldn't say that's normal. Especially over something that is, in the grand scheme of things, not life altering. She drunk flirted. While not particularly classy, it's not worth more than a cursory discussion and apology (provided it's not a pattern, which of course we don't know).

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • Venting?Venting? Registered User regular
    Even though I said I considered breaking up prior to our engagement I definitely made the choice to marry him and with that decision the decision to never cheat and to deal with issues that come up as much as they might suck. He's brought up the divorce issue twice, but I think of it more in a "I'm not happy" way. He told his parents last week that it was "tentatively on hold"; which doesn't make me feel much better. I know I could artificially try to be the perfect wife for a while, but I don't know that that does any good in the long run. There is a part of me that thinks things might be better for us in new situations and another that knows I married an amazing guy and I need to do more to focus on that and make him feel better. We've also talked recently about how we feel more like roommates than spouses.

    I appreciate the responses, as the screen name suggests I feel like it's something I just need to vent about outside of friends who primarily fall on one side and thus can't give objective advice.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Being able to keep a commitment is important, but... if neither of you are really happy.. I don't think there's any point.

    Do you love him? Do you want to make it work? It sounds like you really aren't in that place emotionally.

    It also sounds like you two communicate really terribly or not at all. The communication is so important to making any relationship work, and from the sound of things when one of you has a problem you talk to everyone but your partner first. That's no way to approach an adult relationship, much less a committed one.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    The roommates instead of spouses part is telling. That's exactly how my ex-wife and I felt when we were separating. If I had to guess, you probably don't feel very emotionally connected right now. Perhaps you're noticing some long term life goals that aren't lining up particularly well. The "grow old" scenario isn't look terribly promising right now?

    Any situation can be salvaged with enough honest work from both people, but the things you are saying are certainly huge red flags. I would say at the very least, you have a marriage in crisis. I know you guys said counseling didn't work, but you might want to give it another try and stick with it a little longer this time.

    e: That said, I do agree with ceres. If you've reached a point where you just don't want to try anymore...life is too short to stay in a bad relationship forever, married or not. None of us can tell you what "enough" is...only you can make that determination. It would be bad form for any of us to try, really.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    To answer your final question:

    My wife and I have been married 7 years, together for 5 years before that. Never had a rough patch, never a big fight, we never raise our voices to each other. We bicker once in a while over minor things, but never anything that would cause either of us to consider either calling it quits or taking a break.

    Why stick together if you're both so miserable?

    edit: Thought about it a little more. You're saying "come out the other side"? Why spend all this time being unhappy just waiting and hoping that maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel? You've been incompatible since before you were married, there's no magic switch that going to flip and make things suddenly "okay".

    Noisymunk on
    brDe918.jpg
  • Venting?Venting? Registered User regular
    Part of the reason we only did one session of marriage counseling last year is because the counselor said "I'm mostly just going to teach you how to communicate better and that seems to be something you are already really strong in." She also told us to read a book and then we would discuss it; it didn't seem like a good investment to pay someone to discuss a book.

    My grandparents were married for 68 years and I get the feeling sometimes they just "stuck it out"; I feel like I have an obligation to make things work even if they're not working in the best way. I know posting to an internet forum about this is odd, but I need some insight considering most people don't openly talk about divorce or problems in marriage during casual convesations.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Well, take in to account that cultural norms have shifted greatly since your grandparents were married. While divorce is rarely a "good" thing, it's a socially acceptable thing to end a failing marriage. So outside of your own values, no, you are not obligated to "stick it out" if you're really that unhappy.

    And it sounds to me like you aren't strong in communication at all, and that your counselor wasn't very good. Talking is not communication. Everyone can put on a nice smiley front and talk a bit in front of a counselor. Can you actually communicate, about thorny subjects. Can one give the other constructive criticism without it becoming a "yeah but" argument. Can both of you give deference to each other when it's appropriate. Being able to communicate well can't possibly be observed in one counseling session.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    Venting? wrote: »
    Part of the reason we only did one session of marriage counseling last year is because the counselor said "I'm mostly just going to teach you how to communicate better and that seems to be something you are already really strong in." She also told us to read a book and then we would discuss it; it didn't seem like a good investment to pay someone to discuss a book.

    I would strongly recommend you re-try the counseling. This exercise she tried to get you to do, the reading of the book wasn't the point, even the discussing it with her wasn't the point--she was trying to get you two to understand that you probably interpret things and communicate things very differently by using a plain text medium. Hard to debate the contents of a written page? Not if your understanding of it is completely different than your partner.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Gnometank, aren't you divorced? Why are you giving marriage advice?

    What is this I don't even.
  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Gnometank, aren't you divorced? Why are you giving marriage advice?

    People can learn from their experiences? I can't believe this is actually a question (a pretty rude one :/ ).

    SkyGheNe on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Gnometank, aren't you divorced? Why are you giving marriage advice?

    Don't be a dick.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • PelPel Registered User regular
    I find that most relationships that start in good faith, where both parties have more or less the same goals, end up in trouble because of external circumstances as much as internal ones. If your life is out of control, so will be your marriage. If you are under stress because of work, finances, family, health, your marriage will suffer. If you are unhappy with the course of your career or bank account or social life, your spouse is often the easiest and most convenient outlet for your frustrations. On the other hand, If your life is easy street, without a lot of external sources of stress, your marriage will often seem easy as well. I'm not saying that this is the case for you, and of course, there are plenty of couples who weather the bad times together, and others whose marriage asplodes despite a great life... but really, even couples very much in love can fight if they don't handle the stress gracefully (and this attribute has nothing to do with your partner! Some people just handle these things with greater aplomb than others!).

    So, perhaps your SO and you don't get along. Or, perhaps, you should look at other factors at well. Get control of your life (if you aren't!), and make making that relationship work the only thing you have to worry about. Maybe this will make a difference. Or maybe you are just incompatible after all. Be cautious, though, maybe the problem isn't your partner or even yourself, but the situation you find yourself in. Many people stumble through life, making the same mistakes over and over, blaming it on their love interests, or worse, themselves, without realizing that the problem isn't actually the relationship but the circumstances under which they live.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Marriage #1: Often very heated arguments relating to very different ways of seeing the world and we could almost never agree on anything in the later years. I refused to have children until we sorted out our problems, which in a way, only exacerbated the problem, but I am glad I stuck to my guns on that one. Problems and arguments were there from the beginning. The total sum of the relationship was seven years, two dating and five married.

    Marriage #2: Never anything more than occasional disagreements about things, and when we do disagree, they never become heated or argumentative, and we resolve them in about fifteen minutes. I also had no doubts about having children together and we're welcoming our first in October. Total relationship time will be three years in August, two dating and one married.

    In short, sometimes some things don't work out while others do, and it is often obvious when something isn't going to work out. As mentioned above by another poster, Marriage #1 was full of "good faith intentions" that things would work out, only they never did.

    DoctorArch on
    Switch Friend Code: SW-6732-9515-9697
  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    Agreeing with everyone on both points that there's some big red flags and also that something this big is *probably* only salvageable if both parties are committed to making it work. And it is by no means a small undertaking.

    Me and my ex were married not even 2 years, having been together for 6. Why it went down is a separate issue from yours (if you want details or more info about the steps we took, PM me), but the big cincher to it was that when I first approached the idea of our marriage not working out, verbatim "I love you, but we've been so angry at each other for so long, that if we can't find a way to improve things I don't want to be married anymore". I offered counseling, was always shot down. I offered more personal time for either of us, she tried to control my time. Eventually she finally agreed to joint counseling (I also offered separate, she refused because she thought I'd lie to the counselor) which was after getting into an argument, telling her "If this is how our marriage is going to be then I want a divorce", she told me "Good then fuck off". I go into the bathroom, breaking down, and she pounds on the door asking 'what the hell' I was crying about. She also accused that whole incident as a way of me tricking her into loving me again ... yeah)

    When we walked out of the first visit, immediately she went on a tirade about how the counselor took my side, ignored her, had an attitude, etc. Even though my ex agreed to another visit (and there was only ever one more), I knew then it was done.

    9UsHUfk.jpgSteam
    3DS FC: 4699-5714-8940 Playing Pokemon, add me! Ho, SATAN!
  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    While all this is true, not every disagreement or crisis stems from incompatibility; external factors matter just as much than personalities and chemistry. Are there any constants in circumstances, be it work or home, finance or free-time, you can think of that might exacerbate the especially nasty fights you two have?

    Money, for example, is a big one. It's stressful, no one likes thinking about it, talking about it even less so and it's something many MANY couples find to be an extremely sensitive and personal topic to share about, even when they share expenses.

    Sacrifice is important in a relationship, sure, compromise and communication even moreso. My girlfriend is an extremely extroverted social butterfly, I'm not. Sometimes I agree to go out when I'd rather stay in. Sometimes we'll stay in when I'm sure she'd rather be out. But you can't be willing to sacrifice everything, because then you'll only end up resenting them over something only you ever had full control over.

    It's something people go through, yes, and it's something I don't think enough couples properly prepare for when they become engaged/married/roommates. But, just because you might be able to whittle down the standards of your relationship enough to avoid ending it, not every relationship is meant to endure.

    Javen on
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    As someone who is married and has seen/talked over many divorces in my immediate family and friend group, I can say with some certainty that jumping to "we're gonna get a divorce" isn't something that should pop up as a first go-to for problems and is probably an indicator of much deeper problems. It's natural to worry about the future, but it isn't to give up on things because you fear they will end soon anyway. That is not a good sign at all.

    Not to sound sappy, but the person you are marrying/married to should be your most favorite person in the world almost all the time (it wont be all the time because people fight). If your first go to person at any time to talk about your problems isn't your wife or husband, why are you married to them? The fact that contemplating divorce has come up as much as it has is probably a good indicator that things are not working out and you and your husband should probably sit down and have a long, sober talk about the relationship and if you can work things out for the long term.

    Relationships and marriages are not easy, but at the very same time they are not something you should bind yourself to if one or more parties are unhappy. It isn't fair to either person, and life is too short to live miserably because of a promise neither party is willing to keep.

    You need to talk to your husband about everything you said in this post, be honest with each other, and honestly determine if either of you want to be in this relationship now and in the future.

    Enc on
  • Lindsay LohanLindsay Lohan Registered User regular
    We've been married nearly 12 years, together 16ish and I don't think we've ever even considered divorce, let along so early in the relationship. If you don't mind sharing, are there any other factors right now - job stress, money woes, etc. that might be adding to things? Also, are you two fairly young - like were you high school sweethearts?

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I'm guessing there's some trust issues there, LL, which is compounded by the flirting while drunk. Being drunk doesn't make you do something you didn't want to do already, it just makes it easier to justify it to yourself, "Oh I'm only drunk..." sort of stuff.

    OP should have some introspection and figure out just why they were flirting with some dude at a party. There's obviously other issues here that are compounded by this, and the husband knowing about her being attracted to this guy obviously tore at the open wound some more, I'm guessing.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    I've been married 11.5 years. Every (healthy) relationship is going to have arguments. The severity and regularity of them is what separates healthy from not. If you both don't take something away from the argument, then nothing is going to get better. I can't say whether your marriage is over or has hope, but I will recommend the two of you try counseling again if you're both serious about saving it. Just because you throw around the word divorce doesn't mean much. Some people are just more dramatic or like to go for the nuclear option in arguments.

  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    It sounds like a communication thing to me: both of you need to learn how to communicate with each other and be able to accept constructive criticism. You say that you can try harder to be the perfect wife, but you don't know that you want to invest that much if it'll just fall apart later: what if he's thinking the same thing? A friend and I were talking about relationships a long time ago and he said something to me that changed how I thought about relationships and marriage...he's a computer programmer and was really into game theory at the time, but he said something like "relationships are one of the only places where it is the logical thing to do is to make it worse for you if you back out." or something like that. What he was talking about was how if people notice that you're so invested that it'll be really crappy for you if you leave, then they know you're going to genuinely try.

    So...if he knows you're not genuinely trying, and he sees that you're pulling away and "not wanting to invest so much if it'll end anyway" (and he's noticed, as have you, probably) then what's to stop him from not wanting to try to make it work, either?

    Another thing I noticed that may be an issue involves basic human psychology. When we say something or talk about something, it becomes more concrete in our minds. If before we were favoring a course of action, but it could go either way: if we tell someone we're favoring that course of action, we will feel responsible to fulfill our word. *Both* of you need to stop talking to these friends of yours (or family) before trying to resolve issues with each other. It's fine if sometimes you need to vent to friends, but going to them before your spouse, or letting them make decisions (or even just comment and influence your decisions) about *your* marriage needs to stop. This is between him and you.

    RadicalTurnip on
  • Brainiac 8Brainiac 8 Don't call me Shirley... Registered User regular
    All marriages have problems. I've been married for ten years and we have had problems over the course of it. But I still love my wife as much as I did when we first got married, and I'm sure she feels the same.

    Marriages only work if both parties are willing to put in the work necessary to keep it strong. It required open communication, humility, and dedication on both the husband's and wife's part. If you two are having a hard time right now, sit down and lay everything on the table. Talk it through, and if necessary, see a counselor to help you with that. Your marriage can be a success, it just requires work.

    3DS Friend Code - 1032-1293-2997
    Nintendo Network ID - Brainiac_8
    PSN - Brainiac_8
    Steam - http://steamcommunity.com/id/BRAINIAC8/
    Add me!
  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    I have been married almost 5 years, and we were together for 4 years before that. We have had rough patches, and some decent fights. Even considered divorce. but ere are a couple important things that have helped us.

    1. We feel better and are better together the apart. There is always a grass is greener mentality, and we both freely admit that there are other attractive people in the world. but nothing that i would trade all that we have for.

    2. Be honest and open with each other about what you want in life. You 2 are a team, and you should support each others goals. If you have "always wanted to live in another state" then you should make that happen. You know, plan it out and do it intelligently, but don;t give it up because you are married.

    3. Understand that you are human, and given to irrational expressions of your feelings. I told my wife a long time ago, "I am not perfect, some times, i will do or say things that will hurt your feelings. Please, call me out on that and i will apologize."

    So, Communicate. So long as you both are honest and interested in making it work you have good shot.

  • darqnessdarqness Registered User regular
    Seeing marriage counseling as a "waste of time" throws up a flag for me. If you both wanted to work it out then you would actually want to put the effort into counseling. This should be something that you're both scratching to hold onto and make work, and if it isn't, then divorce should be considered. But you've really got to think how you would actually feel if you were no longer married to him. Thinking about that in regards makes me miserable.

    Just as a rule, when my wife and I got married we told each other that we would never bring up divorce (also known as the "D" word to us). If one party brings it up in an argument, then that gets the other thinking about it.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    My marriage was an 11 year relationship. Met and dated for 6 years, married for 5, including a house purchase, two major moves, and cats. No kids, thankfully. My marriage followed an arc, with some very happy times in the middle of the relationship and a gradual realization as the end approached that both of us were inherently unhappy in the relationship. We had become fundamentally different people, and there were key parts of each other's personalities that simply didn't mesh. Despite having good communication during our relationship, it became clear that when we'd have an issue, I would try to work towards the betterment of the relationship and it excited me to make it better, whereas my wife was more distressed and began to resent me. That resentment then turned towards me feeling like I was taken advantage of, and when I brought that up we basically both admitted that we were both right, and that we were simply working towards hurting each other at this point. We realized that even though we both liked the other, the relationship itself was becoming impossible, and would not improve.

    Marriage, and relationships, are not about sacrifice. They're about compromise, which involves work. One of the red flags for my own relationship was that I realized I was simply making sacrifices, rather than compromises. What's a sacrifice? It's when you give something up with no expectation of return -- you just give it up on blind faith. That may work if you're talking about gods and deities, but not in human relationships. Before you make a dramatic adjustment in behavior, you need to understand why the adjustment is necessary. For example, if your husband is incredibly OCD and the toilet paper MUST always go "over the top," that's such a minor thing that it's not a sacrifice to adjust your behavior -- it's simply a compromise to pay attention to something that's important to him. You're not giving anything up because arguably you don't care about it -- you don't have any real feelings either way. For things you DO have feelings about -- such as cleaning, perhaps -- then it's worth discussing. Maybe your husband hates to clean the bathroom. It's a sacrifice if you just do it to make him happy, without any regard to your own time or happiness. A compromise is where you say "OK, I understand, and I hate vacuuming because of my allergies, so how about we divide it up?" Compromise is about listening and working together. Sacrifice is about just changing behavior to placate someone, without really understanding the situation.

    For the OP, you state that you were "flirty" with a guy that you like. What was your intent? And based on your intent, do you feel it's justified for you to put on the appearance of a perfect wife? This is getting into therapy territory, but what do you see as the "perfect wife?" And what does your husband see as the "perfect wife?" Is your husband being the "perfect husband?" Similarly, for whatever you guys believe is "perfect," is that who you really are? Let's say that a "perfect wife" is one that is 100% involved in all food prep. Is that even what the wife wants or likes? In other words, I think you're looking at things the wrong way if you're trying to achieve perfection. I don't believe it exists in a relationship. What does exist is happiness, and I think that's attainable. Are you happy? If you're unhappy, what do you need to do or change to be happy?

    Further, you can't just "make someone happy." You can make steps to help them be happy, but your life is not about perpetually pleasing someone. If he is unhappy, the source may be related to you -- but you can't just randomly take shots in the dark expecting it to suddenly make your husband a happy person. He has to want to improve the relationship too, and if his first step is to tell his parents that he's considering divorce, that sounds like he's already made the first steps. For comparison, my wife and I made the decision entirely on our own, and then made the phone calls -- because, again, what was his intent with telling his parents? Preparing them for the situation, or getting advice? Arguably, if he discussed divorce rather than his unhappiness, it makes it seem like he's already made the decision. He may now simply be making big deals over small things to justify it to himself.


    As a silver lining, going through the separation and divorce (papers filed this morning! damn residency requirements!) distilled the essence of what I wanted and needed in a relationship. My ex-wife and I talked extensively before and during the decision to have the divorce, and it helped us both come to agreement on the situation, and I believe it helped both of us understand what we'd have to do in the future to be happier. But, you can only determine that if you TALK ABOUT IT. Your first order of business is to determine why you were flirting with this guy. Your second order of business is why your husband was so offended by it, and why he's been unhappy.

    EggyToast on
    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Marriage, and relationships, are not about sacrifice. They're about compromise, which involves work. For the OP, you state that you were "flirty" with a guy that you like. What was your intent? And based on your intent, do you feel it's justified for you to put on the appearance of a perfect wife?

    If nothing else is learned in this thread, I hope it is this. Marriage should be a fun, positive thing. Not a burden.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Spot on stuff there EggyToast. That's exactly the arc my marriage took, and we came to exactly the same realizations. We were both sacrificing, but not compromising, and in the end, our goals turned towards one upping each other, not having a successful relationship.

    Your comments about the realization that you were just very different people, with different goals, and clashing personalities, resonates with me...that was our big epiphany moment, when we both realized how unhappy we really were.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    I also agree with EggyToast's statement, as that perfectly sums up my first marriage. It was nothing but demanding sacrifice on both sides because neither side was willing to compromise.

    Switch Friend Code: SW-6732-9515-9697
  • PandionPandion Registered User
    Wife and I have been together for 13 years, 10 of those married. Both people need to help the other grow and develop. Active support, not a bunch of yeah yeahs while watching TV. If a spouse isn't interested in helping their partner realize their dreams then why are they married? This becomes even more difficult when kids come into the picture. Everyone has their own opinions on what makes for a successful marriage but this is my main one.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    Pandion wrote: »
    Wife and I have been together for 13 years, 10 of those married. Both people need to help the other grow and develop. Active support, not a bunch of yeah yeahs while watching TV. If a spouse isn't interested in helping their partner realize their dreams then why are they married? This becomes even more difficult when kids come into the picture. Everyone has their own opinions on what makes for a successful marriage but this is my main one.

    It helps if both partners have complementary dreams. If you want to be a doctor, and she wants to go do volunteer work in Africa, one of you wants kids, the other doesn't, etc. it becomes much harder to simply support your spouses dreams, because you are directly crippling your own by doing so. That goes back in to sacrifice v. compromise.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    All marriages go through tough times; not all marriages are up against divorce three times in 5 years. You've had some really thoughtful replies in this thread. No one can tell you whether or not your marriage is worth saving, but I'd also look really hard at that 'compromise' vs 'sacrifice' distinction if I were you.

  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Venting?, you talk a lot about whether you should get divorced, but that's the wrong question; it's whether you want to stay married vs. ending the marriage. From what you've said, it sounds like neither of you really wants to stay in the marriage, but neither of you really feels like you have a good enough "reason" to quit.

    You talk repeatedly about how you think relationships can last indefinitely, there should be "sacrifice", your grandparents were married for 68 years and so on. That sounds as if you feel that you can't ever just decide the marriage was a mistake or is beyond help. Look at the flirting with the guy you're attracted to; doesn't that sound like trying to create an excuse to break up?

    Re marriage counseling, again, counselors are different, and neither of you said "let's try a different therapist" or "let's give it a couple of sessions, see if this goes anywhere." You both immediately decided that it couldn't possibly help and never tried again. That sounds very much as if the two of you want out, but need to reassure yourselves that you tried everything first, didn't just quit without trying counseling, etc. You went through the motions, but you didn't actually try to get counseling.

    I hope the above doesn't sound lecturing, as it's not meant to. But it seems as though both you and your husband know what you want - divorce - but you don't feel as though you've yet earned the right to divorce.

    Also, everything EggyToast said.

    mythago on
    Three lines of plaintext:
    obsolete signature form
    replaced by JPEGs.
  • Venting?Venting? Registered User regular
    Thanks for all the responses. They were insightful and helpful.

    In response to the "outside stressor" issue, the first year of our marriage outside stressors were an issue (I hated my job with a passion, was regularly getting only 5 hours of sleep and wasn't happy). However I now love my job, we have a nice house and comfortable finances; he gets stressed out by his job but doesn't believe in loving work.

    I think it may be true that the flirting was an excuse or some manifestation of being unhappy with things. Throughout our relationship I've been a lot more interested in sex and I'm usually only present for 10% of his orgasms. It leads me to sometimes do things that negatively effect the relationship because I want to feel desired/sexy. It's a vicious cycle because if we're not happy sex becomes less natural and then unhappiness builds because we're not having sex as often, etc.

    My husband had his heart broken twice prior to us getting married and he once said that he would never love anyone as much as his ex-girlfriend because he no longer had the same heart; that what we have is a more pragmatic kind of love. The flirting brought up his feelings of being betrayed in the past which is why he jumped to the divorce word; it was protective for him I think.

    I do love him, but I also feel bored/stuck. I can't imagine that any other relationship would be better, but I do have a fantasy of living somewhere new, traveling more, etc.

    I don't know where all of this will lead because I don't feel strongly about getting a divorce right now. The perfect wife issue was about focusing more on him and trying to improve the status quo. I don't feel that I have been devoting as much time to making the relationship work as I should.

    On the whole sacrifice/compromise issue, it is something we have always struggled with. For example, there really isn't a compromise when each partner wants to live in a different state, someone has to give something up. Likewise last year when I wanted to go to PAX and he didn't (that was what we went to counseling about) he let me go by myself. I do think sacrifice is important and it's something I feel gets lost in the current culture, even though I've got strong urges to do what's best for me I don't want to lose sight of doing things that I don't enjoy the most for the good of the relationship.

  • PelPel Registered User regular
    TBH I think that the way you both rejected counseling is kinda neat. You would expect couples in trouble to poo-poo a session if it doesn't affirm their own preconceptions of what's wrong with your marriage. I, at least, don't expect couples going through a rocky time to come together and say, "why pay for this when we could do this for free by ourselves!" It gives me the vibe that perhaps your relationship is stronger than you realize.

    Of course I also believe that counseling probably holds more answers for you, if you persist. Maybe try a different counselor. Every marriage, like every person, has its own foibles, and while the path that counselor leads you down may lead to reconciliation for many couples, it obviously was not working for you guys. That doesn't mean that no councilor has answers for you, just that you should probably dig a bit deeper.

  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    Venting? wrote: »
    I do think sacrifice is important and it's something I feel gets lost in the current culture, even though I've got strong urges to do what's best for me I don't want to lose sight of doing things that I don't enjoy the most for the good of the relationship.

    What "culture"?

    The culture of marrying someone whose life goals, attitude, and libido are compatible with your own, so you can cohabitate peacefully and build upon your relationship? Because let me tell ya, it's a pretty great culture.

    brDe918.jpg
Sign In or Register to comment.