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November 21, 2017 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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For the sake of the children

Question:

I am in, what I consider to be a toxic marriage. I have been married for 7 years and have know my husband for about 11 years altogether. Before we got married we constantly argued and there was physical and mental abuse as well. I think that out of the need for security, I wanted to get married. I knew on my wedding day that I had made a grave mistake but did not want to disappoint 150 people. So I went through with it. Somehow I never took into consideration how I felt about this man. Somehow my feelings were never an issue. Also, I guess I figured that marriage in general would fix things between us--WRONG!! It has only made it worse. I am not attracted to him physically or emotionally. I have been in a catatonic state for the duration of this relationship until this year. I woke up one day and the reality of what has been going on had smacked me right across the face--HARD! I said to myself, I am so unhappy with my life. Is this what my whole life is going to be like? Just settling for the mediocre? So many questions have arisen in my head lately. My husband has been controlling, abusive mentally and physically, flirtatious, and disrespectful. When I awoke from my catatonic state this year, my husband also got a wake up call or at least I had thought he did. I confessed to him that I didn't love him nor did I know if I ever did. I told him I wanted out of the marriage because I was so unhappy. He cried and showed me a sensitive side that I had never seen but this did not sway my heart back to him. He begged and pleaded with me to stay and try to work this out. I just really wanted to leave and had no desire to work things out, but because we have a small child. I thought I should for the sake of the child, at least try.

We have been to counseling but I still have not one desire to stay with him. I am so miserable in this marriage. Everyone thinks I have flipped my wig! My husband keeps asking me, how can you just fall out of love. Well I am not sure if there was ever love. In fact, I know there wasn't. My biggest dilemma out of all of this is my child. He said that I am not taking the child from him and that he refuses to be a part time father. Also he says that I may not work or put my child into full-time daycare. He asked me why I had a child in the first place if I didn't care about him. I don't have any money or anywhere to go. My health is failing and I am losing weight. My depression has left me tired all the time and restless. I care about nothing now. I do nothing for myself as far as something for myself that I would enjoy. My husband doesn't care for my friends. I have no social life and am really just wondering what it is I can do to change this situation.

Can you help offer some expert advice? I am worried about the effect this will have on my child's life. Both if I stay here and if we should divorce. He says I am selfish and that I think only of myself and not of my child's life and how it will effect him. The counselor doesn't think I should think of myself either. Everyone seems to think that it is wrong for me to divorce when a child is involved. Is this true? Should I just stay for the sake of my child's well-being? I just don't love this man. I know that I can't change that. Is it unfair of me to think of myself? Please help.

Kathy (31)

Answer:

Dear Kathy,

If you are this miserable in your marriage, then you are doing more harm to your child by staying with your husband. I am not saying that divorce will be easy on your child. It never is, but if it is a toss-up between having your child see the two of you in misery, never expressing any outward affections to each other, then it is better to be apart. It would be great if you two could work out your relationship; but that is very difficult to do if there was no love present in the first place. So I suggest you consider making some changes for your child's, and your own, sake. Your child can be guided into the understanding that even though mom and dad do not love each other, that does not mean you do not love him/her! Make sure your child knows that the divorce was no fault of his/hers; and that both you and your husband will still get to spend time with him/her. The environment that you are now living in is not conducive to you or your child's emotional well being. Divorce is hard on children; but it is better than living with the daily stress of seeing parents "not in love," and whatever may follow that. Your child can be helped to cope with the divorce in a healthy way. You, too, should consider personal counseling to help yourself deal with the feelings that have developed out of this relationship. Good luck to you and your family.

This question was answered by Tina Reed, MA, LPC. Tina is a licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, and is also certified by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice.

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