I have been married for 23 years to a wonderful guy but I am miserable. I feel like I just started to learn how to love myself which has made me re-examine why I even married my husband in the first place. I think I was searching for another person to make me feel whole and he was in the right place at the right time.
I can’t stress enough that there is no abuse or addiction, just that I can’t be in this marriage anymore pretending that I am happy. I feel like I need to break free or I am going to wallow in darkness for the rest of my life.
The problem is he really is a good guy and my family would be devastated. I don’t even feel like I would date because really there probably isn’t someone who would be as good to me as he is. I just don’t love him. What do I do?
Sincerely, Marital Prisoner
Please. Go to counseling. We are begging you.
You keep saying what a great guy your husband is and that no one would probably measure up to him. This leads us to believe that YOU are the problem. But we suspect you already realized that.
It’s wonderful that you are changing, including learning to love yourself. MidLife can be a challenging time full of struggle that forces beautiful growth. But does your growth have to eclipse your relationship?
Maybe it will, but before you toss Mr. Good Guy, get a grip on yourself: how are you changing, why are you changing, what makes you happy? That last part is key. Please understand that when we say “find what makes you happy”, we mean outside of what another human is or is not giving you. Otherwise you’re just repeating your original sin of expecting him to provide your happiness.
It certainly doesn’t sound like your husband is actually doing something specific to detract from your wellbeing. Your darkness and struggle is all internal.
Before you make any hasty decisions, commit to 6 months minimum of therapy to unpack and process the true source of your discontent.
Know that you are not alone. We have heard this story many, many times. It’s just part of the tumultuous time of MidLife. Some women we know left. Some of those women are sorry they didn’t do it sooner and of course, some desperately regret it. Others we know stuck it out and reaped the rewards of a stronger relationship.
Look, he may ultimately be the problem. But you owe it to yourself, your husband, your family and your long-term well being to do the hard work.
xo, Your Sages