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Is my marriage over?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 22, 2011 08:00 AM

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Update: Letter writer has two updates on Pg. 11.


Q: Meredith,

Here's the overview: I met my husband right after high school. I was 18 he was in his late 20s. I already had plans to move away for college but of course that all changed after I met him. We got married after one year of knowing each other. We were both blown away, madly in love, the whole nine.

At first things were good. We had our days but managed to make things work. Well, here we are yeas later with two young kids, living with my parents. He's got an unstable job situation, he's dealing with depression, and we're both disappointed/unhappy with our lives. I have feelings for him, I love him, but it doesn’t feel the same as I did years ago. I feel unhappy most of the time. When I'm alone with the kids I feel free and I can be myself -- fun, spunky, and easy going. At times I feel like he's holding me back.

My question is: Is it worth it to try to make things work or are things over between us? Should I continue to be unhappy? Should I be more sympathetic to his emotional instability? Am I just being selfish?

There are a few things I should throw out there:
1. I've managed our household and been responsible for the finances for most of our relationship.
2. I recently confirmed that he cheated early on in the relationship (I always had my suspicions).
3. He came out of an ugly divorce and has another child he doesn't see. That's always bothered me).
4. I briefly started talking (over the phone) to an ex of mine. My husband found out and was understandably very upset. I have since completely cut that relationship off.

The past 5 months our relationship have been very rocky. I don't want to hurt my kids. I just want to be happy whether it's with or without him. What do you think I should do?

– I've Hit My Breaking Point, Boston


A: I think you should go to therapy, IHMBP. Obviously. Maybe you've already thought about that, but you didn't mention it so I'm going to.

Your situation sounds pretty terrible. But you didn't answer two questions that I think are relevant.

1. How have finances affected his depression? Was it like this when you had more independence (and cash) as a couple?

2. Does he want to fix this relationship? Just curious. It seems to me that you haven't had an honest discussion about what's making you both unhappy and whether he wants to make this better. If he doesn't, there's your answer. But if he does and is willing to prioritize your feelings for the right reasons -- and talk about the kid he doesn't visit -- there's hope. He might have no idea that you've hit your breaking point even though it's obvious to the rest of us.

I always say that therapy will get to the heart of whether you want to break up or stay together. That's where you start. But you should also spend some time talking to your husband about how your relationship would be if you were in your own place with some more money. Because most couples would be miserable living with parents and feeling strapped for cash.

And a question worth asking yourself during this process: If you had all the money in the world, would you want your husband by your side? If so, that says a lot. If not, that says a lot, too.

You're not selfish for wanting to be happy. You're allowed to ask questions and tell him what you need.

Readers? Is there something worth saving here? Are their problems about the money? Is his cheat relevant? Is the unknown kid relevant? Is the age difference relevant? Is she being selfish? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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