A Reader Writes…
I have a huge problem and wondered if you could give me some advice. My husband of 16 years just left me 6 weeks ago.
I’m sure he is going through some kind of crisis because he has become someone I don’t recognize any more. HE has said that he has been unhappy for over a year. We moved to a new city and built our dream home. When he tried to get his Reno business going over here it didn’t really take off so he became troubled. He has a job now that he doesn’t really like, but he knows that he cant quit.
His mother died a year ago and so many other things too many to mentioned bothered him as well.I thought our marriage was pretty good but he says that we are not compatible any more. He bought a sail boat over a year ago and ever since then I can see the change in him.
He asked me to sell the house and go sail across the ocean to somewhere hot. We have an adult child living at home that still needs tending to .He has some issues and he’s not ready to live by himself.
My husband doesn’t get along with my son and hasn’t been very kind to him. Which has made it hard on me because I always felt that I have to pick sides. My son is from my first marriage. My husband has been married twice before and he left them as well.
He had a lot of pain growing up as a child with an emotionally abusive father. He just told me he’s unhappy. He really doesn’t like himself and keeps running away. I just wish I could reach him in some way. He says he’s attracted to me and he cares for me but that’s it.
I wish he could see what he is doing and try and figure his emotional well-being out.
I wish your husband could see what he’s doing. I wish the polar caps weren’t melting. I wish that chocolate wouldn’t make us fat.
It’s easy to wish but it’s much better to face what’s going on. So let’s roll up our sleeves: Your husband does not know how to deal with his unhappiness – at best he comes up with a magic solution (running away to sea). Like a lot of men, he outsources his emotion life to women and expects for them to come up with something better. He’s tried two women before you and my fear is he is probably lining up number four as I type.
I know you’ll just want to throw your hands up in despair but I believe you’re made of sterner stuff. You need to look at what the REAL problem is in your marriage, explain how it could be different, go into counselling together (where hopefully the therapist can also deal with some of his childhood issues too).
Start by reading I Love You but I’m Not in Love With You which will explain why men fall out of love (and how his bereavement is possibly at the core of this problem) and My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Any More for your fight-back plan. (The version for women is My Husband Doesn’t Love Me and He’s Texting Someone Else).
You also need to understand how protecting your son – to the extend that he’s an adult but needs you to manage his day-to-day life – is not only bad for him but has made your husband feel second best. I explain more in ‘I love you but you always put me last’.
When you’ve understood the full impact of his mother’s death on your husband and how this has brought smaller problems into sharp relief, you will be able to apologise for what you regret and explain what could be different if he came back. At the moment, you’re just failing about waving your hands in the air saying “my husband has left me”.
I do understand your wishful thinking as I wish men would take responsibility for their own stuff rather than expect their wives to sort it out. But we both have to accept where we are and make the best of it. The good news is that you’re going to learn a lot about men and yourself and that’s never a bad thing.