Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about this sad and frustrating reality you have been facing for this long.
You're very welcome, thank you for joining the chat.
What you describe is a very sad history, and unhappily not an uncommon one, many people, specially women do strongly attach to boyfriends, or to look for a person who could play such role and make things works, as a way to escape from pain experienced at their families of origin. many times it is about neglect, abuse, any form of dysfunction, but deeply affecting them as children, fuelling their longings for stability, love, protection and real fulfilment.
Reality shows that compatibility are core levels is essential, at this must include the sexual, romantic and intimate areas. There is much people could develop, but without spontaneous real affection, passion and good connection at a physical-sexual-emotional levels,no matter how hard a person may try, it would not turn into a wonderful mutually fulfilling long term relatiosnhip.
Right, and it makes perfect sense, since repressing a core aspect of yourself would never help you to take good care of yourself, nor of your relationships. Reality cannot be just number. Attaching to hopes and expectations without facing reality, acknowledging it and working on it, would never lead to something truly stable, fulfilling and healthy.
You have realized that what you feared was not there within you, was always there but repressed, numb, that you can be more whole, and finding out that is very powerful for sure.
You could develop great friendships with a person like your husband, but for a long life adult, romantic relationship, for healthy and fulfilling marriage, much more than that is necessary, and now you know that from experience.
It is not easy but tough, only you know how challenging it could feel, but when I agree that stability and health are parts of your family life, they are not complete, they lack core ingredients to make them really stable, healthy and fulfilling, and not only for you as an individual, but for you as a couple and even for your children, since they are literally shaped by the way you experience and live your lives day by day.
I see what you mean, but reality is that a healthy and fulfilling marriage does not develop nor grow from what other people think about it, nor from how good friends spouses could be with each other, or how much love one spouse may experience. Healthy and fulfilling marriages require "mutual" love, passion, a real deep connection that cannot be pushed or just created if it's not been there. People could fool themselves in their minds, but their bodies and hearts cannot be fooled that easily, they show what's really going on.
I can tell you as a professional, that most of those "perfect marriages" people see, use to be far away from really healthy and fulfilling at their core, because there are unresolved issues and missing pieces that cannot be left apart, no matter how hard you may try; if it's not there it would not work/ Obviously most people in such situation would do anything but admit reality, since they are unwilling to afford reality and its consequences. it's too tough, too much work and challenges to take,a nd most people do not want that at all.
This should not be about what his family, friends or anybody else but you feel and experience, need and expect. Nobody should distortedly self-sacrifice in order to please anybody, even when it would be a very painful process, otherwise sooner or later, you would end doing things you could not repress that you would regret, consequence of denial, avoidance, repression and pleasing people but taking good care of yourself and life with full honesty, truthfulness and accountability with yourself and towards other people present in your life.
Real, professional, competent and ethical marriage counseling should be able to explore, identify and address every core issue, promoting insight, accountability and a proactive action, without pushing people into perpetuating marriage when it is not truly the best option, healthy and fulfilling for both spouses. It would help both to acknowledge reality and to be respectful and accountable, to come to term with reality and work on yourselves and personal issues, many times showing the need for individual counselign to work at that level, then marriage counseling could be more beneficial. Unhappily it is not easy to find a good, competent and ethical psychotherapist, even more if it is about marriage counseling.
If it is good therapy, it would be helpful and lead to work on reality, on taking good care of yourselves without denial, pushing, pleasing, nor any codependent trait.
This is tough reality, not easy solution for sure,and that's why you need to assess the pros and cons of each main option you have, but please be totally truthful with yourself, and serious about what you really feel you want and can afford now and in the long run, so you would not end self-sabotaging and undermining your personal life and the one of those you care about.
What I can tell you is this: if you do not do something about your reality now, and just adjust to things, "sacrificing" yourself , thinking it is selfish to also take good care of yourself, you would end finding yourself having to afford more pain and further suffering from unavoidable situations you will have to face sooner or later, around feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, repressed, self-neglected and pushed. The most painful discovery, could be that you find that your decisions could create a temporary peacefulness in your lives now, but leads to a bigger nightmare in the future, where not only you and your husband would suffer more, but your daughter, her personality, relationships and life get shaped by your choices and actions, getting into a similar or worse dilemma in her own personal life, since learned from you that she is not important too, that she is not a priority in her own life, but a partner, husband, child but not herself. Just remember how your parents' marriage ended, the affair, the other child, how it pushed you into this long term dramatic dilemma.
I agree, going carefully step by step would allow you to take the best possible care of yourselves and your responsibilities, without sabotage, and any form of manipulation. Counseling and psychotherapy help promoting insight, assertiveness, developing and improving skills around communication, empathy and more, but it cannot create passion, love, core connections between people-spouses if they do not happen to share them already.
You're very welcome. Thank you for being this open here and for trusting me. Please take gentle care and consistent action with the right support.
I do never suggest to use denial, avoidance or repression as tools to build reality or cope with difficulties or pain, even more when it is so important, essential to face reality in order to take full accountability for the past and the present. Unhealthy, codependent approaches lead to externally nice and apparent , conflict free harmony, but sooner or later, people have to afford the consequences from creating such illusions, and the bigger they get, the bigger their consequences and the extra pain too.
If a person truly respects, cares and loves you, such person would never push you to stay, to love him back or to sacrifice yourself for him, that is just the opposite of healthy - assertive love.
Respecting, loving and taking good care of yourself is never selfish, but it is your number one need, right and responsibility, from there you could truly take good care of other people who deserve and need you love and presence, not in codependent but in healthy and fulfilling ways.
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