Life of Her Own
Q: This week I will be married 42 years to a man whom I married at 17. Of course I loved him when I married him but I mostly tended to our six wonderful children who are all adults now. He never went anywhere or took interest in the sports the kids were involved in. He did hurtful things during the marriage but I stood by his side. I awoke from my sleep one day and realized all through these years I had nothing in common with this man. Now I feel it is my turn to live my life. My kids can't understand this. My question is Am I wrong to feel that I have ended this chapter in my life and want to start a new one on my own? I respect my husband but I don't love him and we don't even communicate. I try but I get nothing from him. Sex? What is that? Nothing in about a year so why stick around? He is a negative person and insists he's always right. -- Elizabeth, 59
Dr. Susan: You may not be able to get your kids to understand how important it is for you to have a shot at a better life after so many years tending to the needs of others. Of course, I would suggest you let your husband know that you're fed up and want to make some serious changes in the way you live your lives. If he refuses to see a counselor or join with you to do any of the things you have been missing, then at least you and I would understand why you're leaving. What you most likely did have in common was your kids and everyday world, even if he didn't go to their sports and such. Now you need to find something to share and take joy in together, but if he's not willing, and you've already tried all you're willing to, then go for it. Try to talk first though. He may not really get how unhappy you are.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.