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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How do I get over feeling like I settled for my husband and

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How do I get over feeling like I settled for my husband and allow myself to love him?
I know that he is a wonderful father and would do anything for me. He is even okay with knowing how I feel about him and our marriage. I told him all of this recently after holding it in for many years. We had some major problems at the beginning of our marriage probably because we were so young and we married due to an unplanned pregnancy. He was very angry for the first ten years of our marriage and seemed to always be grumpy if things didn’t go his way. I really wanted to make things work though for the sake of our daughter and because I believed he was a good person at heart. I love my daughter and I love the idea of having a nice stable family. In addition, I know I can trust my husband to be faithful to me and we enjoy many of the same things. He can be a difficult person to deal with at times and he hasn’t been entirely financially or emotionally dependable, but I know marriage is not supposed to be easy. I sometimes feel as if I stay with him out of guilt and convenience rather than out of love. Things were getting better between us during the last two years of our marriage because he pursuing his dream of becoming a professor. However, I caused major problems when I renewed a friendship with an old boyfriend whom I had unresolved feelings about. I’ve since ended that friendship/emotional affair and reunited with my husband because I thought that was the right thing to do, but now I still can’t let go of my feelings of resentment.
I’ve been following all of the suggested steps to improve our marriage. I’ve read a lot of books, met with a counselor, and tried spending more time with him. I still keep wavering about how I feel. Sometimes it is because he continues to behave in ways that make me feel like I’ve settled – i.e. he acts like a victim, won’t stand-up for himself, lashes out, behavior inappropriately, etc. He typically does everything I ask him to do, but until recently he always acted very grouchy about being asked to do something. For instance, he thought it was pointless to get married in the first place even though I told him how important it was to me. Eventually I asked him to marry me even though I knew he would stay with me even if we didn’t get married. He suffered from a very traumatic childhood. His mother went to prison for six years when he was a third grader and his father has had no contact with him since he was three years old. He has mentioned that he doesn’t understand other people’s feelings and suspects he might have Asperger’s syndrome. I’ve asked him to go to a counselor, but he’s scared and will only go with me.
What is wrong with me and what can I do to improve my marriage to make it more satisfying for me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

There is nothing wrong with you. There is, however, a conflict between you and your husband about how to get your needs met with each other.

Let's take your husband first. He has unresolved issues from his childhood. He was abandoned by parents who both had issues that took them away. So he has needs he never had met. His anger, not standing up for himself and lashing out are all signs that he feels empty somewhere inside. Being a victim is what he understands. He doesn't know how to meet his own needs.

Counseling would help him. But he may be afraid to confront what is really bothering him, which is most likely the pain of being abandoned and maybe abused. So he carries it around with him taking it out where he can (anger) and trying most of the time to be what he really is inside, a good husband and father but not overcoming the pain from his past.

On your part, you are coping with someone who feels incomplete inside. You want the same things your husband does, a good stable home and happiness together. But coping with his issues have left you feeling unfulfilled and looking for a way to get what you need. Trying to get what you need from him has not worked so you looked elsewhere for a while. But you returned to your marriage, I believe, because you felt what you needed is still there. You may also have some unmet needs from your past that cause you to feel this way.

You are trying to work on your marriage, but at this point it sounds like you are doing this alone. You both need to come together on this. Go with your husband to counseling. Along with dealing with your marriage issues, your husband also needs screened for Aspbergers. If he does have Aspberger's, that opens up a whole new way of dealing with your situation.

But if he does not have Aspberger's, marriage counseling will help you both learn better ways to communicate so you can resolve issues and you can get what you need from each other. It will also help your husband address his past so he can heal and move on. This will help your marriage improve as well.

Also, share the materials you have been studying to improve your marriage with your husband. You both need to discuss what you learn and share better ways to help your marriage. Try a marriage retreat as well. It can help you bond so you can get a better start to repairing your marriage. Here is a link to help you:

I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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