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When you know what you "should" do, but can't get beyond the fear
September 8, 2005
10:47 am
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gofigure
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I’m at work and I probably shouldn’t be writing this here, but I am so consumed by my life right now I’m going to anyway. I am so puzzled by what I’m doing or not doing I want to understand and try to make myself make the changes I feel are necessary to give me a life I can live with. I spend my days anymore feeling sick to my stomach nearly all the time. I am losing weight despite myself and doing anything is such a colossal effort I generally do just enough to get by. My husband knows something is wrong, but I think he doesn’t really want to know even though he probably knows exactly what it is. I want to know how I can feel as though I am dying in this situation, but so far am unable to do anything to change it. I don’t want to be in this marriage—I am quite sure of that, but I don’t know how to make myself say the words and then follow through with extricating myself from it. I know I am scared—financially, of my children’s anger/pain, the reaction of my husband (his hurt and ranting and telling me I am killing him etc), fear of where to live (we are renting from my in-laws and I would prefer me moving instead of him) and the cost, finding childcare while I’m at school and work, fear of him fighting me for the kids, fear of “causing” him to start drinking again—all the logistics. God, I feel as though all I am made of is fear and it has frozen me. I can’t seem to make myself say anything to him about this and I know I HAVE to, for everyone’s good. I guess what I want is to say what I need to say and have it be O.K. That is wishful thinking though and I know it—it will blow up in my face and if I do what I have done in the past I will say I will try again, I will try harder, no, it’s all me, yes my expectations for happiness are selfish and my happiness doesn’t deserve to see the light of day if it means dismantling the family. The simple fact though is that I’m not in love with him anymore—haven’t been for a long time and what a terrible thing to tell someone. The responsibility of doing this to someone (who you love, even if not in love) is overwhelming. I know what I should do, but don’t seem able to actually do it. What the heck is my problem? Have I bought into this idea that I have no right to happiness so thoroughly that I would rather live in a way that I really think will incapacitate me eventually rather than be true to myself? What the Hell is up with that???

I guess I just need to get this out somehow and maybe get some sort of insight in how to overcome this paralyzing fear and calmly state my case. I don’t want to be accusatory, but I also want him to know what got me to this point. Maybe that’s unrealistic and not possible. Maybe it’s too cruel to sit there and “list” all my reasons, all the sh*t that has been done over the years, how he managed over time to kill this intense love I used to feel, how I allowed it all to happen for far too long (I’m sure my unwillingness/inability to say what I felt contributed HUGELY to this), how I am far from perfect myself, but I generally managed to treat him humanely while I allowed myself to be subjected to a myriad of abuses with no (or very little) sense of regret from him, how he can tell me from here to eternity how much he loves me, but actions speak louder than word, and if I was that precious to him how could he do these things.
There, I said it to you, maybe now I don’t have to say it to him. Reckon that’s all for now. Thanks for the opportunity to let me get it out.

Love,
~go

September 8, 2005
11:14 am
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CAMER
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HI, i think alot of the part of what we KNOW what we should do, but don't do it has alot to do with the fear of the unknown, and what will happen in our lives, how much our lives will change without that person in our lives....but knowing that we are unhappy with what is now, seems like
we would rather remain unhappy in a bad relationship, than go out and challenge our fears and face whatever may happen once we let that person go.

September 8, 2005
11:14 am
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HOLLY BERRY
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Precious go: I got to that point also, over 20 years ago and initiated a divorce. I realize now, and always tell my friends, "When you divorce you trade one set of problems for another set." If you don't love him you won't be happy. How old are your children? Could it be that he realizes he has pushed you to this point and realizes he may loose you, so therefore may be willing to change? Or has he changed at all? He has to realize that marriage takes both of you being unselfish. He can't expect you to be unselfish if he continues to be so. I wish I could tell you what to do. What hurts me for you is that you feel paralyzed. You need to have a time for yourself. Maybe a weekend when you can noursih your soul. Would that be possible? I want to tell you to try to work this out with him by effective communication and/or counseling, but he probably would not agree....would he? Most importantly, you can not be an affective mother if you are miserable. Hold on and let's see what input we get from others. We are here for you. Are you feeling symptoms of depression? Love ya! HB

September 8, 2005
12:45 pm
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taj64
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YOu have a lot of emotions going on...depression, fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, am I hitting anything on the nail? The fear of making it final is preventing you and causing you all this mental anguish. You don't love this person anymore, you aren't able to give this person what he needs and it a situation like this, he deserves to be happy too. It is better for the children to have two separated parents that are happy than two parents that are miserable together. You certainly do have a right to be happy and staying out of guilt is doing more harm than good. Guilt is useless emotion.

September 8, 2005
1:02 pm
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codatoo
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I most often experience way too much fear to do anything about what is making me unhappy. I stayed in a relationship for eight years hoping that he would change; that he would be someone I wanted him to be. I was engaged to him for most of those years, but never married him because as much as I did love him, I was hopeful that he would change and be what I wanted him to be. Boy, am I sorry that I let sooo much time go by before I got out. But I did. It was easy for me, because as soon as I told him that I did not want to be in this relationship and that I was staying overnight at my sisters, he worked ardously at packing up my belongins and putting them on the porch for me to come and get. He called me at six a.m. the next moring and told me that it would all be in the dumpster by the end of the day. He was hoping that I would come crawling back begging for forgiveness, etc. like I had over arguments in the past. (He was very manipulative, etc.) Little did he realize how easy he made it for me to walk out of his life.
Life is way too short to be living unhappy. Once you start with the first step, you will see how easy everything falls into place. Trust in yourself and your higher power.

September 8, 2005
1:44 pm
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gayle
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(((GO))) I was in your shoes a couple of years ago and I am finally free. We dated from high school and had 2 children and were married for 10 years. I realized one day that I truly was not happy and would never be satisfied in my life. We would fight all of the time and he would call me names in front of the kids. When my then 8 year old asked me what a Whore was, I just snapped. You are worth more than you are getting, think of what you are teaching your chldren about realtionships. Only you can speak for you. Therapy helped me to find my voice and I finally let myself be angry. It was really hard and I felt guilty about breaking up my family but I knew I was slowly dying a little each day and one day I would be 50 years old and wonder what happened to my life. When you are ready you can do this, be brave, find your voice, come here to talk. The kids love you and they need peace in their lives too. Learn how to say no, try therapy if you can, it helps more than anything else. You made a huge step by coming here and getting this out. read what you wrote! You can do it!

September 8, 2005
2:25 pm
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July1209
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When I made my choice to divorce it was because being together was just to painful and the only sense of peace I felt was when I moved on. I still love him and from an ex standpoint I always will. If I had stayed longer then I did I would have both died inside and hated him for it. I didn't want to hate him, and couldn't stop crying for days trying to work on it alone.

I quess for me it was that that I became more afriad of the unknown of what would happen if I stayed then the unknown of leaving.

Good luck and love to you.

September 8, 2005
3:32 pm
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gofigure
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Thank you all so much. Yes, the fear of the unknown is frightening Camer. It seems so crazy to me that I continue to stay in something bad albeit familiar then venture off into the unknown. But I'm working on becoming stronger than my fear. I hope it doesn't take another 12 years!

July, I never thought of the unknown of staying-that's something I'll have to explore.

Taj-you certanly hit the nail on the head. I am feeling all of those things. And you're right, guilt *is* a useless emotion--I've actually said that to people before!! Now if i could only ake my own advice:-)

Holly, Yeah, I realize separating is not going to be all roses, but I'm hoping it will allow me to breathe a bit. The only people who will be standing outside the bathroom door will be my daughters. My husband has been known to stand there asking if I'm o.k., or just kind of waiting there for me to come out which I find rather disturbing--like I'm being timed and consistantly exceed my limit) for some reason if I'm in there for more than 5 minutes. Strange and maybe beside the point. Anyway--my girls are 9 & 10 (almost 10 & 11). About a year ago H and I were in counseling because I told him I wasn't sure I wanted to be married (HUGE step for me) I explained that I felt my love for him was being eaten away from the years of neglect and abuse (nothing major abuse-wise, and only when he was drunk would he get a bit physical. He no longer drinks). He told me he would change if only I would try to make this marriage work. I told him I would try. He insisted I say "we WILL make this work". I did that too, because my *trying* wasn't good enough. But see, I did try as hard as I was able--though I think my capacity to try wasn't very high. And he did the dishes a few times. He "let" me go out with friends a couple of times though going on a two day retreat (women only) for work was asking too much. He let me take our daughters (again) to NH (across the country) to visit my elderly mother--though he was pretty mad that I went for 2 weeks and 3 days, instead of the 2 weeks he thought should be the limit.

Lordy--stop me now. I swear I could go on and on to everybody but him. One of these days (soon!!!) I will get the gumption to be completely honest and straightforward with him. because I deserve to be able to look myself in the eye. Thank you to everyone--you are so very kind and understanding and caring. It is more than I could have hoped for.

Love, ~go

September 8, 2005
3:38 pm
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gofigure
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Gayle and codatoo--it means so much to me that you both understand so well what I'm going through. It's difficult not to beat myself up for being such a wuss, but your support and understanding help me more than I can say.

Thank you!!!

Love, ~go

September 8, 2005
3:38 pm
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Anonymous
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just be careful - if you go to him with a laundry list of why things didn't work - he is liable to project the anger back at you and BLAME you for not coming to him sooner - or he may try the manipulation game of saying he is sorry, he didn't know you felt this way and ask how to fix it, which will put you in the same spot you were in last time - fixing something you don't want to fix.

I think that it's great to come up with the laundry list - so you have something to refer to to fuel your deicision and remind you why you are leaving - but in the end, airing it to him will only make him want to "fix it all" again.

good luck, sounds like you are on the right track.

September 8, 2005
3:52 pm
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gofigure
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Ali,
You're right. Besides the fact that it will put him on the defensive, in a way it is a pointless effort (the laundry list)--I've told him in the past different things I didn't want to live with, so I suspect he has a pretty good idea as to why I am desperately unhappy. As to being on the right track-I hope so. At this point any action is better than inaction, even if the action (so far) is only in my head. guess it needs to start somewhere.

September 8, 2005
3:57 pm
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Anonymous
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the laundry list will put him on the defensive - it will with anyone - but more importantly - you don't WANT it fixed - so the "why" you want to leave him is all relative. He can't fix it, so why bring it up? If you wanted it fixed, then perhaps discussing his inadequecies is critical to getting beyond it and fixing your marriage - but because you want out - the list is only important to you.

you don't want him to argue you out of leaving - and he may very well do that from the sounds of it.

and yeah, planning is important - do what you need to do - and yeah, it all starts in your head - your head has to catch up with your heart and visa versa (sp?) - just be careful and be prepared to leave suddenly if things look like they are going sour quickly...have a backup/emergency plan.

September 8, 2005
3:58 pm
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codatoo
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go:

I too would not start a list of "whys" with him. I would state that you are unhappy and that this is what you want ... (a separation).
You've made up your mind.
Find a place to live, etc. If he does not handle this well, then suggest therapy thru a marriage counselor and there you can state your lists of why. But I would not give a second chance, you know what your heart feels. And believe me, they simply do not change!

September 8, 2005
3:59 pm
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gayle
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Go- you are right and the first step is you realizing what you want. It took me forever to finally put my foot down and say no more! It was hard and I questioned myself every step along the way but you sound alot like I did before I did anything, I was afraid of everything, where am I going to live, how will I pay the bills, what if he gives me a hard time with the kids and on and on. It all worked out, it hasn't been easy but I have found ways to make things work out. And I found strength in that and i have been able to let go of the fear! you can do what ever you put your mind to, be aware of those old patterns and let those be red flags to you that something is wrong! Everything will be ok! Keep us posted and come here anytime you need to vent! We are always here!:)

September 8, 2005
4:39 pm
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staying hopeful
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Go,

I feel I could have almost written your post myself ( the feelings, at least). I too, am struggling daily with wanting out of my 30 yr. marriage. I love my husband but am not "in love". He is a really good person but he was neglectful and unappreciative and I felt that I meant very little to him up until 6 yrs ago. I tried leaving then but he promised he'd work on the marriage. He has. He does nothing wrong. But the feelings just don't come back for me. It's almost like 'too much, too late'. I want to leave so desperately but I am also staying out of fear. My children are grown but still in college, so they are still financially dependent on us. I feel completely responsible for him financially because I have the job with all the benefits. He works soley on commission. He has no health insurance other than mine and he is diabetic. We pretty much live like roommates instead of partners. He does his thing, I do mine. And I want so much more than that.

I know exactly how you are feeling, Go. I hope that you can find strength through this board to find the happiness you deserve.

I am reading all the advice also in hopes that I can finally find some peace within.

SH

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