feeling sad

cucumber_2007October 22, 2007

My husband and I have meen married for 24 years, and have four kids in college. I have been a stay at home wife for all these years. We have had problems financially, culminating in this year our having to file for bankruptcy.

We have had a sexless marriage for a few years, mainly because of so many kids under foot, and financial pressures. My husband is 15 years older than me. Just recently he told me (out of the blue) that he didn't love me any more, and didn't want to be a married person anymore. I have devoted my life to my family, and thought he did too. We rarely ever fight, we have great kids. I never thought this could happen to me. He seems to be willing to stay in the marriage, but not because he wants to, or loves me. I guess he's willing to say because he has no means to do otherwise. I keep thinking that he'll come back to his senses if I can wait it out, but it's tearing me up. When we spend time together we laugh and enjoy each other's company, it's just that he doesn't love me. I am in my late forties and am not sure how I would reenter the work force after all these yeas, plus I love him and love our family. Any advice?

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Cucumber, keep your cool! You have rights, and you need to know what they are, in case you do split. I hear this same heartbreaking tale about five times a week- it's called the Displaced Homemaker Syndrome. Ladies out there, no matter how much you love your husband, have an ideal marriage and love staying home, learn a job skill because it can all turn around in an hour.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 8:58PM
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My sister was dumped by her husband of 30 some years. Right up front I will tell you I blame my sister and blame my BIL for not treating her fairly in the divorce, he hid the money. I advised my sister to borrow a friends car and follow him home from work to see where he goes. I suspected another woman. She must have been afraid to, but she hired a detective and he followed him to his girl friends home, which they figured he bought with the money. She only ended up with $5,000, the home and her car. The judge said the courts don't have time to hunt money, but there are other ways. She got most of his military retirement and two small insurance policies. Men usually don't divorce their wives unless there is another woman involved. I know a lot of divorced people, but none where the men left to live alone.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 9:44PM
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I have asked my husband if there is anyone else and he says no. I know he could be lying, but I believe him. I think he's just tired of all the hassles that go along with a wife, four kids, four dogs, two cats, a mortgage, bills, college tuitions, etc. He says he just wants to go live in some quiet little place by the sea. Reverse time, I think, to when he was single and had little responsibility. He has always been very committed to the family, and very helpful as a husband and father. Is it complete burn out? We both have college degrees, he has further schooling. I got married before I really got an kind of career going. I think my husband is a honorable man, but what I really wonder is this- how can people change so much that they can stop loving someone they've built their life together with? How can they want to give up the family they've created?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 10:21PM
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Advice: I'd hire a PI to see if he is having an affair. I tend to agree with jonesy; men don't usually want out unless there is another woman.

I'm not sure what simply telling you he doesn't love you is suppose to accomplish. I think he wants you to leave him. Is there a chance he is just severly depressed?

I think your lack of sex life is probably playing a bigger role than you may think. Sex may go down with kids and financial problems, but it shouldn't stop. Who mainly doesn't want the sex? You sound like friends, not husband and wife; maybe that needs to be changed. Have you thought about counseling?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 10:40PM
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It's true, we've functioned as very good friends and caretakers of the family chores and responsibilities. He's has been the one not interested in sex for some time, I think it's a withdrawl of intimacy (duh). Also he is on drugs for depression and it has caused problems for him sexually. He has tried Viagra but even that doesn't work very well. There are a lot of responsibilities on him, and he has had some depression through out his life, the only time it was debilitating was when he was in college. I think since then it has been of the garden variety type.I wonder if the bankrupcty has pushed him over the edge.( we still have our house and cars,etc.)As far as him telling me he doesn't love me, I'm afraid that after the initial time, it's been my fault. I (stupidly ) keep thinking that perhaps his feeling have changed and keep checking in with him on that. His reply is don't ask questions you don't want to hear the answers to. It's really bizarre though- we just went on a trip with all four kids and had a great time. That's why I keep cheecking in with him. ( Well, I've done it twice since August, when he let the bomb fall on me.)I said something about this thing with feeling you don't love me is really hard on me, and I kind of halfway expected him to hug me and say he did love me, but instead he said he was sorry.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 11:23PM
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cucumber hi -

Hm, seems that there are a lot of things going on that are very stressful in your life together right now.

I don't know if I would jump to the conclusion that another "woman" is involved. Anti-depressants can cause the symptoms you mention. He is also in his mid to late 50's.

This guy has spent a lifetime of working and everything must seem like it is falling apart in his mind.

I think that you guys should try, at least, to go see someone and get some help with this.

He was a good husband and father all along. It might take some time for him to get over all this trouble you've been having lately with finances.

I wish you both the Best of Luck.

Try to be patient and find some help from the outside. Hopefully it will all blow over.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 1:28AM
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"Says he just wants to go live in some quiet little place by the sea. "

I can understand this feeling, he is under stress, and you are too I can imagine. When things are getting overbearing, in our lives, we do feel like we want to walk away to a happy place.

You both have many responsibilities, its tough, at times, let face it !

Perhaps you could reduce the stress, somehow. Perhaps you could find a life, for yourself outside of the house. Its from this vantage point, you might see things differently and come up with some new perspective.

A health check, for you DH might be a good idea.

Sometimes it is nice to get off on your own for a while.

Sorry I can't be much more help.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 3:30AM
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Think back to when your first met each other. Do you remember how you felt, then ? It was all so simple, just the two of you. Try to rekindle this time, the feelings, the joy. Its still inside of you both.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 4:01AM
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Thank you all for your wonderful thoughts and support. He did just turn 60, and it probably is a time of self evaluation for him. I'm forty-five and still feel like there's lots of time to for my life turn however I want it to be. (Though I never thought this way!) I know he believes that you are given one life and then- poof...I also don't believe he's having an affair, he comes home directly from work, takes a nap, I wake him for the news,and we have the rest of the evening together. His work doesn't call for him to be out of town. Plus, he just seems too tired to have an affair! The idea of counseling is a good one, but I'm not sure he would want to, and we probably are both afraid of opening a can of worms. Anyway, thank you so much- last night I was in tears and didn't know who to talk to about this. I've been on the Garden Web a lot because I love gardening, and saw this forum.
Thank you sister gardeners!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 10:48AM
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He's my age. Statistically, we've got a couple decade to go. Too much fun remaining to be sad. Suspect depression. Banruptcy's no fun, but it's not the end, either.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 11:58AM
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Cucumber, I am sorry for your situation, but if we were going through bankruptcy I would consider finding out what jobs I would be qulified for and/or getting the training to help that poor husband of yours out...my gosh, the world has changed my dear....sitting alone at home wondering about him is not the solution to your problems...if you enjoy gardening how about looking for work at a garden center for a starter.
It would show him you are concered about his well being also...I can't beleive no one has mentioned this!!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:45AM
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I don't think it's you (or another woman), it just sounds like a simple case of total burnout on his part. Too much responsibility for too long, with no end in sight. Too many bills with no possibility of paying them all. He's 60, and he sees that there's never going to an escape for him from the crushing burden of trying to support his family. No wonder he wants to run away.

It make sense that he doesn't feel in love with you, because he's probably just numb inside from all the inescapable pressure of his life. So day to day he can have a laugh, or enjoy an outing, but when he looks deeper, there's just despair.

IMHO, the only way that he can rediscover his feelings is to reduce the pressure on him. If the kids are all at college, perhaps it's time for you to step up to the plate and help with the finances by getting a job. And I love animals, but do you really need 4 dogs and 2 cats? And you haven't said anything about your house, but can you refinance to a lower payment longer term fixed loan, or since the kids are away, move to something smaller?

It seems like this is a case where counseling won't solve the problem, you have to attack the causes.

Just my .02!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 12:26PM
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Youch, I didn't know some of you gardeners can be such testy types! As far as our animals, they are all rescues, and we know now we have too many, and wouldn't do it again, but the whole family loves them as members of the family (DH too). They are all mostly seniors citizens, the dogs 12, 11, 10 and 3. and the cats are about middle aged. Our oldest dog only has one eye, and a cataract beginning in the other. I'm not sure what you are suggesting we do with them. We have refinanced the house a couple of times and do not live in a fancy neghborhood. Your suggestion that I help take some of them financial burden off my husband is a good one, though we have to report any increase in earning to the bankrupcty court, so I'm afraid it would just go towards increasing our payment to them. I'm also rather frightened after being out of the work force for 24 years, and think I have more than a touch of social anxiety.And yes, I do see a Dr. about that. I quess all this is to say don't jump to judgements too quickly. I think most of us who post here are probably at a very tough time in their lives and reaching out for some understanding and compassion.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 6:29PM
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Not to be too "testy", but you DID ask for "advice", and I think folks on this thread (including myself) have tried to provide some.

I love my pets as well, but you need to ask yourself, do you have the finances to provide the kind of care that 3 old dogs and 2 aging cats will need? I don't have any good suggestions, but maybe you should look into finding a good home for the younger dog so you have the resources available to take care of the older ones.

And are the kids taking full advantage of college scholorships and loans? Are they going to state schools so the tuition is lower? Yeah, it would be nice if every kid could go to the college of their choice, but it does not sound like you make enough to make that happen.

I'm sorry if this sounds "testy", but it still sounds like you have your head in the sand about your situation. You want want things to get better, but you aren't willing to make hard choices in order to actually make things better.

Just my .02!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 10:28PM
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Being bankrupt is a pretty hard load to carry. This one single event, could be making your DH feel aweful. He may feel like a failure. He probably is just keeping all those feelings inside, and falling apart.

I would be really concerned about his mental welfare.

Having pets is a responsibility and expense. I think when the family is in trouble, like your DH is, then you must refine your daily tasks and expenses down to the bare minimum.

You have one objective, to get your DH out of the doldrums.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 10:42PM
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Threedoghouse, I have found a wonderful vet that could be retired, but is still working because he loves animals, and offers his services at cost so that people who don't have the money can still take get the care they need for their animals. My animals are all up to date on vaccinations and live mainly indoors, with a fenced yard available to them.
My state offers free tuition to students with a B average or above, and all the children go to in state colleges. They also have student loans and we have parent loans. As for whether or not your advice seems "testy" or not, I quess to me it sounds not so much like helpful advice as judgemental advice, and I quess that's why I'm feeling defensive. I posted in a time of real pain, and I wanted to share it with someone. I did feel very supported by all the responses, they were great. I think when somone is feeling very low and vulnerable, we should all try foremost to show them compassion, and give them the beneft of the doubt.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 11:30PM
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I had a response prepared, but to heck with it..... it's obvious you just want hand holding, rather than facing the reality of your past so you can make better decisions in the future.

For what it's worth, I do wish you the best.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 5:23AM
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cucumber - while I feel for you, I do think you are being short sighted with regard to the cause of your husband's depression. He's holding the bag. You aren't contributing a dime. If you have a college education, I cannot understand why you can't at the minimum, get a part time job. Social anxiety, yes, I think all of us have that from time to time. I do realize it will be an adjustment for you to go into the workforce. I also feel that it would help you immensely. You will feel better about yourself, you will be contributing to help with the bills and perhaps your husband will not feel as if the whole mess is on his shoulders. I am not trying to be condescending, but you really need to work. Free vet help is nice, but it sounds to me like you have gotten too comfortable staying at home. You seem depressed as well. Getting out of the house and being a productive member of your "team" may be a very sound answer.

I too wish you the best.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 7:40AM
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Due respect and compassion for your "real pain" and "feeling low and vulnerable", you actually must do something, wouldn't you agree? These problems won't solve themselves. Regardless of how bad you feel, the problems remain. They're yours. Wishing/hoping/lamenting will not mitigate any of them. Not meaning to be "testy". Just stating the obvious.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 2:12PM
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Cucumber, not sure about the age of your youngest kids, but if they are in school during the day, what about easing into part-time work at something like the kids' school, vet office, or a local nursery-- all areas where you have ample experience. I do agree with the others that taking on part time work might be very helpful. If you can face your demons (fear of reentering the workforce), maybe your DH can too.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 1:09PM
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When it all boils down to it...we can all be apprehensive about doing new things, its especially difficult for a woman who have been at home raising a family for 20 years.

Its a really hard step to get out there, and sell yourself.You probably have minimal skills that other people just take for granted.

I would urge you, Cucumber, to google "women returning to the workforce", or something like that, and see what help there is out there for people like you.

Perhaps you could ease into it by doing some volunteer work. This is a good way to build up your confidence.

I wish you well. Take a deep breath, put on your best skirt, and step out the door. The world is waiting for you.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 6:19PM
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Thank you for all the words of encouragement. When I first wrote I was trying to save some of my anonymity by saying I had four cildren in college, when actually I have three, and a daughter at home who is thirteen. We haven't told anyone about our financial situation, and was afraid someone would recognize us. I do have a sister that reads the garden web. Since I have written I have been thinking of part time work of some kind, or possibly substitute teaching. I really don't want my thirteen year old alone during the smmer. Something with the school system seems like the best option so I could have a similar schedule as her. And yes, it is very scary to think about. But I do appreciate your continued thoughts and concerns. I told my daughter my thoughts about substitute teaching,and she said "Do you think you have a strong enough voice for it?" I said "Maybe I could get a strong enough voice for it" (But then again, she knows the kids!)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 8:16PM
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Do everything possible to get your husband help, if he's depressed. If he's depressed, it's treatable, and you can rediscover the reasons you came together.

It's hard to get back to work - took me two years to actually go from 'deciding' to do it and 'actually' doing it - scary, but it can be done.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 12:08AM
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