Have Relationship Questions? Ask a Counselor for Answers ASAP
Hello, what conflicting emotions you must be experiencing! Thank you for sharing the details of your situation. It sounds like it must be difficult to find common ground with your husband since you seem to be appreciative of life and fulfilled whereas he must be out of touch with the fact that life itself is a blessing/miracle/gift. First and foremost, you won't be able to do the work that he needs to do to grow. He would likely benefit from counseling but until he decides to take the step, you won't be able to make him. This is a difficult thing to do in a marriage, to refrain from focusing on trying to help your spouse when you can see clearly that they need the help but they are less inclined to help themselves. Encouragement is one thing but be mindful if you start to "nag" him about the need to get help because it could have the opposite effect. You should not feel guilty for wanting to attend the events and opportunities related to your work. If you avoid them, you will risk growing increasingly resentful and conflicts in the marriage could result. Communicate how you feel but don't let his reaction draw you into a situation where you feel guilty. That could potentially border on emotional manipulation. You two have a lot of years together and if he truly loves you and wants the marriage to work, he will want you happy and fulfilled despite how he feels. You two sound as if your personalities are different yet you've been able to make the marriage work for almost twenty years. That most certainly means you both have been doing something right! I suggest open, respectful communication regarding how you feel. You can at least let him know how you feel (such as "this is important to me") and can invite him to express his feelings as well while working to refrain from letting them control your actions. If there are any common interests/activities you both have in common, perhaps making time for those can give you two time to connect. I would agree that forcing him to go to work-related events would not be overly wise but choosing to go yourself would be if you desire to do so since it is important to you and your work and is not harmful or negative. Sometimes, when someone is unhappy or unenthused with life they have a difficult time dealing with the fact that their spouse/significant other is happier/more fulfilled. You deserve to be happy, especially considering that you've beaten the odds by overcoming cancer. Hopefully since you cannot discuss your feelings about cancer survival openly with your husband, you have other people, such as friends and/or family, to do so with. It's okay to set boundaries in a relationship if they are healthy. Letting your husband know what you are okay and not okay with, for example" "I'm okay with you choosing not to go but I am not okay with staying home." Also be mindful to refrain from blame statements when communicating your feelings, such as by stating only how you feel with use of "I" statements, as this can be helpful in avoiding an argument. You probably have changed considering what you've experienced. Life and people are always changing. Marriage takes work and your husband will need to respect that you are choosing to live life rather than avoid living it. You both have at least 2 very important reasons to keep working at it, your children. I wish you all the best! Thank you.