Unhappy Marriage

 

Unhappy Marriage

QUESTION:

your avatar   LittleRed, 34-year-old woman

I have been married to my husband for 10 years after having met in a chat room. We had a 1-year, long, long distance relationship before been legally married by our parents. My husband has Azoospermia due to a genetic condition and we have a daughter born through IVF from sperm extracted through surgery.

When we first met in a chat room I was lonely in this country as an international student. When our parents decided to legally marry us I had no reason to object. But very soon I realized we are very different people. We never have any conversations, and he does not like to hang out with me even when we were first married. He will spend all his time surfing the net or watching TV. I do 100% of the house work as well. He manages the finances though.

I thought having a child will fix our marriage. So I went through many cycles of IVF to finally have our daughter. Even though he loves her he does not spend any time with her either. We tried marriage counseling 3 times already over the course of 10 years. Nothing has changed or improved from it. We have been intimate less than once a year for the last 4 years. My husband wouldn't even hold my hand let alone hug or kiss me. But lately he has tried to hug me but my problem is I can't seem to reciprocate. He has broken my heart and damaged my soul so much I don't think I can ever love him again. But I don't think I will ever break the marriage unless he does so - for my daughter's sake.

My question is, am I doing something wrong? Should I reciprocate? I have done that a couple of times before and I know by experience he wants me because I don't want him. The moment I start reciprocating he does not want me anymore. Also, over the years I have realized he's the total opposite of the man I wanted in my life. He can't do anything by himself and he even asks my help for his stuff at work. He's not even physically capable either. He loves acting weak and childish which is such a turnoff for me. I just don't know what I should do since I feel so depressed and lonely.

ANSWER:

    Lena Washburn, Marriage and Family Therapist

Dear LittleRed,

Statistics show that relational difficulty is one of the biggest causes of depression in the US, and it seems that your misery mainly stems from your continuing disappointment in your marriage. I normally encourage people to think carefully before considering a divorce, but in your case, I would guess that a divorce is long overdue. Perhaps cultural influences and a sense of duty kept the two of you together all this time; perhaps it was the hope that your child may change your dynamic. Whatever the case, you've described a marriage that seems to be more of a roommate arrangement than a loving partnership. Ask yourself if this is an example of a relationship that you want your daughter to learn and later recreate. You say you stay for your daughter - but I will suggest to you that staying in a miserable relationship for the sake of a child does more harm than good in the long term, to all parties involved. I think you deserve better.

If you're struggling to make a decision, consider getting some professional help to provide support while you deliberate your options.

Best of luck!

Lena

Lena Washburn is a licensed marriage and family therapist from San Diego. In her private practice, she works with individuals and couples to create a more joyful and meaningful life; at home, she parents her rambunctious 4-year-old boy and writes her blog. She particularly enjoys advising about relationships, parenting, anxiety, self-esteem, career, and how to deal with difficult people. For more information visit: http://www.livewithcourage.org/

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