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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My marriage is over. My husband does not love me, yet we are

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My marriage is over. My husband does not love me, yet we are together for the kids. I cannot imagine being with anyone else than my husband. Yet I am lonely, though this is what I want for my two sons. What can I do to make peace with the situation and how do I learn to be happy?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
I believe I can be of help in answering your question. Could you please respond to a few questions before we continue?

You've talked to your husband about your situation, obviously. However, do you have any sort of longer term understanding or informal agreement, e.g., we will stay together until the last child graduates high school and then divorce and go our separate ways? Or, it is likely we will divorce but we will stay together as long as we can both stand it (i.e., me, not loving you anymore and you, being very, very lonely?

How old are your kids?

What is your main role in life i.e., full-time, part time out of home job/career, full-time mom, etc.?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for responding so quickly. I am a software professional who works from home. Our sons are 10 and 5 years old. We both love them very much and will do anything for them. We both come from very traditional background. We both have never dated anyone else, cannot imagine being with anyone else. We have not talked about divorce, neither is it in our minds. We will probably stay married and never divorce.

 

But at the same time we have no relationship. In the past 12 years of marriage, we argue over small things. Then my husband decides he does not want to talk to me or eat what I cook or have sex and the time period that he does that has been increasing over the years. To him his ego is the most important, he has to be right. He has never once said sorry. But he is a great Dad.

 

I am tired of this and cannot be walking on egg-shells as to when the next thing that I will do will anger him. So now we do not talk just communicate what is neccessary and mainly through emails to keep the house running. We pretend everything is ok in front of our friends and family. But the stress and loniliness of all this is getting to me. I find myself shying away from friends and family as it is becoming increasingly difficult to pretend everything is ok. That is what is making me so so lonely as I have no one to talk to.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
I suspect you have the feeling that though the two of you are committed to staying together, for you personally, the stress and loneliness is gradually dragging you into increasing feelings of helplessness and depression. If this situation continues, it is a good bet that you could well start suffering significant symptoms of clinical depression and experience health problems e.g., gastrointestinal difficulties, high blood pressure, etc.

Is there anyone the two of you have spoken to together about your marital problems e.g., clergyman, counselor, etc.? If so, what was the outcome of that meeting or sessions?

Let me ask you a really difficult question. Please take moment and imagine yourself five years from now, having lived the way things are right now, but perhaps worse in terms of the quality of your marital relationships. What do you fantasize will happen to you physically and emotionally, if this continues?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That is exactly what I need help with. I do not want to get depressed and have the ill-effects on my health. I want to be able to reach an acceptance stage, where I accept this is the state of my marriage, i.e. we are not lovers or friends but just partners working together to give our sons the best we can.

 

We have not talked to anyone, nor have we really talked to each other. I would like to go to marriage counseling, but my husband does not want to.

 

In 5 years I want to makeself stronger - but don't know how to do that emotionally. Excercising only make me physically strong (maybe?? don't seem to be making much progress right now). I want to make peace and accept that my husband does not really love me and wants to have nothing to do with me. Be able to find happiness in the happiness and well being of my sons.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
O.K., very good, I'm glad you clarified what you want to achieve.

My main ideas and suggestions:

1. Your husband will only join you in marital therapy if he either feels personally threatened enough, or sees a strong enough incentive for him to engage in it. Often, it takes a crisis to get people into treatment who flat out, will not go. You may want to ask yourself, what sort of crisis might it have to take to get us into therapy; the status quo will never make it happen? Alternatively, what might make it worth his while to join me in marital therapy (incentive)? I cannot venture to guess what the answer to either of these two questions might be for you, but I can pretty much assure you that finding the key to either might well work, so it is worth your time thinking, reflecting, perhaps asking a close friend/confidant what might "work". If you have a clergyman you trust for example, it may be enough to talk to him and coach him into asking the two of you to come in and see him; and have him share "his perception" that the two of you are living an ingenuine, phony existence, being married, acting like a contented couple, but living in a deeply troubled marriage, and that he would like to give you a referral to do something about it. This is the sort of thing that I'm talking about above----this will take some creative thinking on your part, to be sure.

You may want to think about writing him a long letter, explaining to him that your marital situation is obviously miserable for both of you; and, is there ANY chance at all he would like to change the nature of of the relationship he has with you? Or, should you indeed, simply plan your life in a way that allows you to stop hoping it will get better and find another way to be in the relationship that is tolerable for you.

We coach people that one thing that allows them to accept the current circumstance they are is compensation. You are giving up your lifelong dream of being in love and having a deep sense of intimacy in your marriage. You deserve some compensation if you must give that up. You can accept the marital situation perhaps better IF.........if what? You deserve the opportunity to take more time for yourself to have diversions that help you obtain some respite from the stress of your marital situation. Maybe it is working toward a degree program you've fantasized doing or being in a position in which you travel more---maybe just take your kids and get away from home more often. But you need and deserve compensation if you want to better accept the current circumstance.

You may want to quietly plan for your future as a single person and parent, even though it may never occur; this man could drop dead someday without warning or even though the two of you have full certainty that you'll stay together, quite honestly, he may decide to have an affair someday or out-of-the-blue, tell you he wants a divorce. You cannot believe it would, but frankly, it MIGHT. You appear to be financially prepared to take care of yourself if necessary but are there any other arenas you need to prepare in? Keeping yourself in tip-top physical shape, perhaps, or keeping your professional network fresh and active?

Think about going into counseling/therapy yourself. You have a right to have the opportunity to sort out your worries, feelings of helplessness etc., because this marriage has taken a toll on you. You may benefit from having a safe, trusted and objective environment in which to simply think out loud and sort out your next steps in life. Give this serious consideration. You cannot fix this man nor this marriage perhaps, but as you suggested, you may be able to manage the situation you are in so it is more tolerable---and counseling may help you better figure out how to do this.

Hope this information is helpful to you. If I have missed the point on anything or overlooked your question, please let me know. If there is a follow-up, I likely will not be in a position to respond until tomorrow.

Best regards...............

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Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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