Married But Unhapy Seeking My Future
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Please contact [ protected]. In over thirty years of practicing law, I have seen many surprising things.


I swing between feeling confused, enraged, ambivalent, distressed, sad, angry, frustrated, upset, embarrassed and depressed.

We are both near retirement age, have been married for fourteen years — estranged for about ten. He claims he does, but then talks to me with contempt and I feel confused. I care about him, but I am confused as to why we are still together. I think he feels more or less the same as I do.

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One minute I feel, with absolute certainty, that my desire to divorce him is the right one, but when I catch sight of the man I used to love, I cling to this glimmer of hope. I have lived with this hope for most of our marriage. My husband is not a bad person.

Mostly, my angst is caused by his inability to relate to me, to empathise, to listen, to see me, to understand me, to know me — these are the things I hope for. Following a recent row, he revealed that he sees me as someone who is judgmental of others, that I take unwarranted umbrage to all and sundry, that I am self-sabotaging my relationships with people and now with him - that if only I would stop being like this, then we would be happy.

Over the years, I have examined myself and in particular, whether his view of me is accurate. While I have come home and moaned to him on occasion as most people dohe has blown up these few instances disproportionately and I feel judged. I feel humiliated by him. He wants me to change.

I feel he wants to whitewash me with a big paintbrush and blank out the complexity and richness of sharing emotions, thoughts, desires, hopes, fears and dreams. I feel devastated frankly. Yes, I receive many s just like yours. Like lots of people, you know what the problem is and have ideas about the solution — but actually making the changes needed is the tricky bit.

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However, the short answer is, you have to stop waiting for the other one to make the first move. Most of us want to feel supported, loved, cared for and important to our other half, but we usually need to experience it in a way that we can recognise. Well, I have news for your husband. If that is indeed his approach, then he needs to accept that this approach rarely works.

Likewise, you also have a very long list of the things you want to change in him. But you too, have to remember that he is only human and having all of what you seek from him would be a very tall order for anyone to meet. Waiting for a partner to become perfect usually entails quite some time and I think you and your husband are now essentially waiting for the other to make the first move.

That means that you each need to step forward and meet each other half way — even a tenth of the way would be a start. So, how do you do this? The first thing to do is to recognise that this is about both of you.

The second thing to do is re-engage with couple counselling. For me, one of the most striking features of your letter is the underlying hope, despite everything, that you could have a future together.

Couple counselling can be very helpful in getting new dialogues going. It can also help with ending relationships with the least trauma and maybe this would actually be the best route.

So get some more professional help, but make sure the person you see is actually trained in couple work. So, whatever happens for you, make sure you move in one direction or another.

If you have a relationship worry you would like some help with, please send it to askammanda relate. Ammanda says… Yes, I receive many s just like yours.

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Posted May 13, Reviewed by Matt Huston.