In a comment left by a reader, the question was asked, how did you do this for twenty-five years?
You know the story about the frog being slowly boiled? I guess it’s kinda like that.
To begin with, when we were first married, I would tell myself, well, he’s just young (21), he’ll mature. I just need to be patient with him and let him grow into the role of husband. And, in the mean time, I would fill in whatever gaps he left, doing what he didn’t. That excuse worked for me for a few years. .
Then, as I got more and more frustrated, I started reading all the marriage books I could get my hands on. After all, if he’s not being a good, loving husband, it must be my fault, I must not be a good enough wife, I must be doing something wrong. So, that kept me occupied for a few more years.
Also, I had my daughters. I loved being a mom. I liked my daughters, as well as loving them. I enjoyed homeschooling – mostly. I cooked. I cleaned. I gardened. I sewed. I decorated. I had a couple of home businesses at different times (seamstress and day-care). I had a lot to fill my time. But I still longed for a deeper relationship with my husband. All the time, I longed for a deeper relationship for my husband. And sexual fulfillment.
Sometimes I would try to get him to go to counseling as a couple. Mostly he wouldn’t. Only a handful of times over all the years. And nothing ever changed.
So, then after I got weary of trying to be a better wife, I tried to convince myself that I just expected too much. “Happily ever after” was just a fantasy. It’s too much to ask that he would give more to me, I wanted too much, my dreams were too big.
Gradually over these years, the marriage went down and down and down, becoming more and more empty each year.
Then, in 2004, we sold our house and moved across the country to buy a house on property that adjoined his parents’ property.
And the marriage crashed. He “left” me for his dad. He still slept in our house, but he spent ALL of his time, money, and energy with his dad. He essentially abandoned me.
This is hard to explain, but anytime he was around his parents after we were married, he would ignore me. It was as if I wasn’t there. Since we lived on the other side of the country, we would only see them every couple of years and I would just endure it. He would call them every week-end, though, and every time he got off of the phone with them, I couldn’t stand him. For the longest time, I wouldn’t make the move back to his home state because I felt that if we did, it would end the marriage. Finally, I thought, maybe I am being unfair. And we moved. And he basically deserted me for his dad.
After the move, things I had been able to find excuses for before, I couldn’t find excuse for anymore.
And I began to think I was going crazy.
Then I discovered the book, “His Needs, Her Needs.” (see link at right) The book outlined the NEEDS, not wants, in marriage. I really did have these needs! (intimate conversation, sexual fulfillment [this is usually a guy one], honesty and openness, financial commitment, family commitment.) My needs truly were not being met! And here was a book backing me up! So that was a profound moment for me.
Not long after that, my brother brought me some information on passive aggressive behavior because the man my mom married after my dad died is passive aggressive. So I was reading these things with that other man in mind, but I kept thinking, this sounds like my husband, this sounds like my husband. But I convinced myself that I was stretching it. Then, a few months later, one night when I was crying insanely over something that happened (I don’t remember what), I remembered about P.A. and googled it. And every single point about passive aggressive behavior fit my husband to a T. Finally, after so many long years, I had an answer!
I realized that he was passive aggressive a little over two and half years ago, but about four years ago, I started thinking, when my daughters are grown, I’m leaving. At first I would only think that occasionally, but as time went by, I had that thought more and more often. So, that’s pretty much where I am now.
That’s my long answer.
The short answer would be: I’m co-dependent.