Daily Share – Am I Being Selfish?

This is a first “share” for me, even though I have been a Daily Lover for about 2 years now. I want to start by thanking Mastin for his wonderful advise and inspirational quotes. Sometimes I feel like you are speaking directly to me and that you totally GET me even though we have obviously never met. I start my day with meditation, listen to inspirational cd’s from Louise Hay or Wayne Dyer and I get great advice.

My home life is a daily challenge. I have been married to a faithful husband who is a handy man, good dad & he can even cook! He has a good heart and is a very honest man. He has other good qualities too. On the down side, he is an emotional vampire. He holds on to his past pain and it has made him a very bitter, sarcastic and angry man. I always tell him that forgiveness is the best healer for that brick he carries around on his heart. He sometimes sits and watches tv from the moment he wakes up until bed time…and it can be the most beautiful, sunny perfect day outside. He will get a few things done throughout the day, but for the most part he attaches himself to the sofa & remote control.

I am the type of person that loves the outdoors, beach, sunny days, changes of seasons (except winter) LOL, and learning anything new. I make jewelry, teach yoga & fitness classes, cook, meditate, and pray everyday for my feelings of love for him to come back. Right now it feels like we are just roommates & we have absolutely nothing in common. I go about my day of work or socializing with friends, and he never wants to come. When we do go out together on rare occasions, it has become very uncomfortable. We may eat dinner out and have nothing to talk about…..except the only thing we have left in common….our daughters. They are both teenagers 16 & 18. The 16 year old is having a very hard time socially and cannot wait to graduate from HS in June…we cant wait either. The older one is away in college and really enjoying her independence. The younger daughter’s unhappiness causes pain and suffering for my husband and I as we both love her so much and would do anything to make it better. That is our common denominator. Otherwise, we seem to be living on separate planets. We have been living in separate bedrooms for almost 2 years now and the only time we really spend together is during tv time – which for me is always after 9 pm. So there is no conversation there. We do try to eat dinner together most of the time, though it usually ends up in some kind of disagreement about the girls & how we should be raising them.

I told him that I am so lonely even though I am not alone. I try to find a way to be attracted to him again, but it just is not there. His negativity makes me very resentful and I feel like all of my energy is sucked right out of me the moment I come home, just because he is here. I know there is going to be some kind of complaint and another problem to discuss. When I go through my day, I try to find time to walk on the beach, listen to the ocean, meditate there, and I have even wrote a poem the other day based on the beauty of the moment. I have been unfulfilled in my marriage for over 10 years now, and I will be “celebrating” my 20th anniversary in Oct. I have such anxiety about it, because it just doesn’t feel right. I constantly reevaluate my emotions. I know that I am scared to death of the unknown, I worry about being able to make it on my own, worry about hurting his feelings (and my daughters too) and that he will hate me for leaving, if I ever get up the courage to do so. I think about the quote “Unto thine own self be true”. For me that means that I would have to be very selfish, and that is not really one of my stronger characteristics. I am a person of kindness and giving. I carry a lot of guilt when I think I may have hurt someone’s feelings or done something bad. I even have guilt about my feelings. I try so hard to turn my resentment and judgemental feelings into love, but that feeling is just not within my reach right now. Again, my husband is not a bad guy, he is just not what I see on my path. I stay because of fear and to be in my comfort zone, living the familiar life, and knowing pretty much what I have to look forward to when I get home. I am bored & very lonely. I go to my friends to fulfill my entertainment needs and that is one of my many blessings.

I don’t know what to do as far as my marriage. Do you think there is a chance we can survive? I don’t want to waste anymore of my life. I am 45 now, still have time and energy for great adventures. I worry about how we will afford to send 2 girls to college, & pay for another rent if one of us leaves. I worry if I am making the right decision. I am only looking for peace and a home that I look forward to coming to. Am I being selfish?

A TDL Reader

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  • C Lo

    Well let’s just say that first……….no, this isn’t selfish. You are probably being selfish by staying, actually, because you are catering to your fears and allowing a situation to continue that makes you less of a person….just to stay comfortable and safe. 

    The one red flag I see in your letter is that it’s very one sided. You talk about being alone and isolated from your husband and sleeping in different rooms….but have you honestly tried to work on this WITH him? Have you sat down and said “Look, we need to go to therapy and if we can’t, I don’t think I can stay in this marriage”??? Have you given therapy an HONEST and truthful try?

    If you have or if your husband has flat out refused to go………..I think that’s your answer. And I think the selfishness lies in staying out of wanting to feel safe and making all sorts of excuses to  justify that. Letting your husband and kids believe this marriage will last when you have checked out is more selfish than telling the truth and allowing everyone to move on and heal. 

    I was in a similar position 3 years ago and I can see now that stepping into the unknown and leaving the bad marriage was so scary that it kept me in it longer than I should have been. But, having some distance, I realize that it was really the best thing for ALL of us.

    Good luck.

  • anon

    You are not being selfish, you are simply addressing the reality of your situation which is no longer meeting your needs. It may be a good idea to stay until your youngest leaves home, just because if she is already having problems at school, having problems erupting at home is going to be something she may not have the maturity or support to cope with right now. But that’s two more years of you being in this situation, which is too long for you to be so unhappy. I suggest you go to see a marriage cousellor with the plan of making things bearable at home between you for the next two years. Knowing that you are going to give it a chance to get resolved during that time may be enough to help you sustain this difficult situation, knowing that in two years time, if you are still unhappy, you can leave. That would be my advice. I would not necessarily tell your husband that you are thinking of leaving in two years time though, because he may react as if you are leaving now, which would make things at home worse. I would have a chat to him, say you feel you want things to improve between you both so you are both happier and that you see going to see a marriage counsellor as a good option for you both to begin to fix things. Listen to what he says without interruption even if you disagree, because he may begin to start expressing himself and that way you have a chance to get to the root of the problem. It seems that your communication is not that great as a couple right now. You cannot be responsible for the entire relationship, it is up to the two of you as equals to find a way through this, so don’t be hard on yourself. Look for solutions rather than blame if you want to get anywhere… and don’t accept blame either, even if your husband expresses any blame towards you. If he does this, just listen to begin with, even if what he says isn’t fair on you. He has a right to his opinion about what has gone wrong, but it’s important that you don’t internalize whatever he says, because it’s never one person’s fault. Be mindful of your own tendency to feel guilty and start thinking about looking into assertiveness training and boundaries. You may be responding in a co-dependent unhealthy way to people if you are struggling with disproportionate guilt. The best of luck with it. In time I am sure the solution will become clear.

  • Ellesanchez1

    I don’t think your line of thinking is selfish, I do think that your husband has a lot going on that he isn’t verbalizing. You can’t work on whatever issues he is having for him though, I’d just let him know that you are worried about him and leave it at that, if he asks why, compare and contrast what he does to what you do and try to start a constructive, caring conversation.

    Also, have you ever thought about what kind of climate due to the type of relating between you and your husband that brings to your home and your 16 year old has to live in? That could be one of the reasons she’s having troubles, it may help to see if she’d want to sit down with you and him and talk it all out. Maybe hearing how she feels, then how you feel will help give way to your husband sharing how he feels? Something is going to happen, better it be a proactive attempt at something positive than something negative happening “out of nowhere.”

  • Karen

    Your relationship is over and now you are just putting in time.  And time will go by, that’s inevitable.
    You could possibly spend another 40 to 50 years in this situation so next time you are meditating,  I would suggest you do this:  remove your ‘self’ from the picture and view it from the third person point of view. 
    When you do this, think of what you would want for the woman you see who seems emotionally stuck, what advice would you give her, what happiness do you see for her and how would she take steps to get there?
    Does she deserve it?