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Is love and marriage, work?


Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

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Old 19th July 2018, 2:58 PM   #16
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I think she’s right about marriage being work — if you’re married to HER. Lol.

I hold to the same thing as you - that love and marriage should not be THAT much work. Are you going to disagree at times, etc? Of course. But if it’s a drudgery nearly every day, I say life is too short.

Now, if I were in your shoes, anyone threatening me with suicide if I leave them has just signed their death warrant. I simply won’t allow anyone to manipulate me in such a way. As I often say, “If you can’t live without me, how come you’re not dead yet?”

Ok, cold maybe, and a slight exaggeration but I think you get my drift. Your marriage is over because you’ve had enough. I say walk away and go live life the way you choose.
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Old 19th July 2018, 3:44 PM   #17
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You somewhat brushed over the suicide and in-patient time. That is pretty serious. Like another poster said, she may be capable of doing the things you want to do. She may be in a serious depressive funk which she can't get out of. Is she seeing a therapist, is she on meds?
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Old 19th July 2018, 4:09 PM   #18
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The grand question you're asking--about how much work a good marriage requires--is a diversion, not really relevant to your situation.

You apparently married a low-functioning, low-energy, distant, passive, seriously depressed person, who couldn't complete the minimal amount of daily activities and household chores, and who couldn't be a vital and present partner in a marriage.

And now after 19 years, you are frustrated and tired of being married to a ... low-functioning, seriously depressed person who can't perform the minimal amount of household chores and can't be a present and vital partner in the marriage.

Seriously, not meant sarcastically (depression and mental illness run in my family) did you grow up among depressed parents or siblings? How in the world did you blind yourself to your wife's inability to function--her basic withdrawal from life?

You still seem strangely passive to me and not very curious or insightful about your wife or about your circumstance. Instead of facing the very specific situation you're in (being married to someone who can't function) you're averting your eyes toward some grand question about how much sacrifice a marriage requires.

Marry someone who functions at the lowest level, and no surprise, marriage for the higher functioning partner is going to be all work, all the time.

If you were a friend, I would support your desire to get a divorce. But I would also hope that you came to terms with your own role here. You co-created this disaster with your wife. And if you don't learn from the situation, you will easily repeat it.

I highly recommend that you get some therapy to strengthen your own relationship skills and overcome that passivity. And there is another, more urgent, reason I recommend therapy for you. Your wife's suicide attempt is a devastating threat that hangs over you right now.

By attempting suicide in response to your statement that you want a divorce, she's basically saying: Leave me and I'll kill myself.

You will need to be at the top of your game to avoid being paralyzed by her threat ... and you need to be ready and clear that it's not your fault if you decide to leave and she indeed carries out the threat.

Last edited by Lotsgoingon; 19th July 2018 at 4:16 PM..
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Old 19th July 2018, 4:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mighty-nerd View Post
I'm jealous of people who have effortless marriages.
I've met one couple like that in my entire life.

I'm a weekend hacker on the tennis courts, that's like me saying "I'm jealous of the pros on the ATP tour". It totally misses the commitment, hard work and consistent effort needed to achieve the goal...

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Old 19th July 2018, 5:57 PM   #20
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I most definitely see marriage as a labour of love. It is work, but you should want to do the work... It's the old adage, everyday you should ask "what can I do today for my partner that will make his/her life a little easier, a little better."

Neither one of you are doing this. You are trying to solve the problems in your marriage by looking at the situation from your own perspective with little awareness or empathy for the other person. You are making demands, pointing the finger, and waiting expectedly for the other person to "do the work" (and then, criticizing the other as "not good enough"). You are asking - what's in it for me, not necessarily what can I give to my partner/my marriage.

I also think this is a perfect example of... when two healthy and happy people come together, they can grow a beautiful relationship where the needs of both partners are met. You don't seem to have this, and as a result neither of your needs are being met.

Your wife is clearly not a happy healthy partner. I agree, I would not stay with anyone who threatened me with suicide if I left the relationship - that kind of manipulation is unacceptable in my relationship and there is no coming back from that...

Finally, I hear you about the health concerns... If your relationship is causing you health concerns, then you need to think long and hard about whether it is worth staying with this person. Nobody wants to live that way.
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Last edited by BaileyB; 19th July 2018 at 6:10 PM..
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Old 19th July 2018, 7:14 PM   #21
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Mighty-nerd, the description of your wife screams that clinical depression must be considered as a potential cause. The lack of interest in life, always sleeping, not wanting to go out, snippy...not to mention the suicide attempt. It's textbook depression.

It's good that she's doing counselling, but is she taking meds? If she's not taking meds, would you be open to getting her depression sorted out before making a decision? Or is it all too late for you?
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Old 19th July 2018, 8:04 PM   #22
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Like anything worth having it needs to be maintained but it should never be a constant struggle with little to no joy.
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Old 20th July 2018, 1:50 AM   #23
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I most definitely see marriage as a labour of love. It is work, but you should want to do the work... It's the old adage, everyday you should ask "what can I do today for my partner that will make his/her life a little easier, a little better."

Neither one of you are doing this. You are trying to solve the problems in your marriage by looking at the situation from your own perspective with little awareness or empathy for the other person. You are making demands, pointing the finger, and waiting expectedly for the other person to "do the work" (and then, criticizing the other as "not good enough"). You are asking - what's in it for me, not necessarily what can I give to my partner/my marriage.
Boy mighty-nerd, you could pay a lot of money and not get advice this good or as specific to your situation. Hope you read it several times and take it to heart...

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Old 20th July 2018, 3:08 AM   #24
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In my experience with two marriages, my first felt like it was hard work, was difficult and short lived. While my current (2nd) marriage has felt like no work at all, has been happy and long lived.
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Old 20th July 2018, 9:35 AM   #25
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It sounds as if you tried for 18 years and never got anything in return. Now that you have had enough she is wanting to do her part.

Once you two got married it sounds like the dating stopped.

Canít blame you for wanting the divorce.

Over the years did you talk with her of what you wanted, about the growing distance between the two of you?
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Old 20th July 2018, 12:49 PM   #26
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Divorce her...

Married the wrong woman, probably at the wrong reason and time 'you were young right ?' And you did waste your life, you did miss out. It's only years later that most men realize that their wives never loved them, used them as providers for security, comfort, provision, raising kids, but never loved them...like the guys she had at college...

And she seems very manipulative, suicide attempt when you wanted a divorce...

Relationships are not work, only for those who don't understand them or men who just don't get it, who are not in control of their lives..

My relationships are paradise on earth, I take control...I am the man, I create what I want in my life, and if she can't be a part of that life I want to have she can leave..take charge of your life, you don't have forever...

Read the rationale male, understand the mistakes you made...
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Old 23rd July 2018, 8:19 AM   #27
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Mighty nerd,

I am so lucky that I have an amazing marriage and while it is work, I can honestly say it doesnít feel like it. All of the things you express - that the work is because you WANT to do it vs. HAVING to do it, that your partner attempts to address your needs, wants and desires - I have it and I do it. My husband and I are incredibly well-matched. So, I donít think youíre wrong here. I also think your wife has some behavioral health issues that likely prevent her from being a partner at all, rather than just being a good partner. Most importantly, I think you have fallen out of love with her. Maybe there is just too much lost over the years - from errors you both have made - to ever make a successful go at it.

I hate to see any marriage fail but I think you are likely doing the right thing for both of you. If you donít love her anymore, get out compassionately. Go to counseling to help her accept it. Donít start any new relationship before this one is truly over (.i.e. donít cheat). Help your children cope with the breakup of your family. Distribute shared assets equitably.

Itís okay to want more. I think sometimes this forum can challenge thread starters in both helpful and unhelpful ways. We donít know you. We donít know your wife. We havenít been observers of your marriage. So, we canít reflect back to you if your impressions/feelings are fair or not. In a lot of ways, thatís irrelevant anyway. If you donít love her, itís time to go.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 12:55 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by mighty-nerd View Post
Her negativity I view as an impediment to my ability to seek happiness. Not wanting to be exposed to her negativity (paraphrasing her words) means I'm not putting in the work.

Edit: The 11 days she was in detox / inpatient care, I had no headache, no anxiety attacks, and my blood pressure was 25 points lower. Seriously.

I'm just trying to understand her viewpoint that it takes work to love someone. I'm jealous of people who have effortless marriages. Who brag on each other. Not point out faults and accuse the other of not caring. I cared for 18 years of marriage and got tired of feeling unappreciated, and when I seek an out I get accused of not caring.
Your whole direction is just wrong and you are focusing on the wrong questions. You are asking if a relationship is work or if there is supose to be some element of happiness to it. Of course relationships are supposed to bring satisfaction in life! She has your head so controled that she made you doubt your own need for happiness. That my friend is called an abusive relationship, you have been the victim in this.

Does she have a diagnosed personality disorder? Perhaps borderline personality disorder or narccisistic personality disorder would be my first guesses.

If you feel really good and like yourself again just as a result of her not being in your company for a short while, watch out, that is a sign. You have lost yourself.

Your question right now needs to be "how am I going to survive this and get out with my sanity?"
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Old 23rd July 2018, 3:15 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by mighty-nerd View Post
Her therapist has insisted that we attend marriage counseling with him. I suppose I'm okay with this, but, here's my quandary.
Seeing your wife's therapist as a couple would be considered by many professionals as not only a bad idea, but unethical on the part of the therapist to do such a thing.

IF you decide to do couple's therapy, get another one who does not already have a therapeutic alliance with either one of you. Seeing her therapist for one or two visits might be helpful for her treatment, but not appropriate long term couple's therapy.

To your other points, I suggest you reframe the query. Instead of looking at marriage requiring 'work' how about looking at it as your marriage being a garden that both partners need to nurture to ensure its survival and ability to bear fruit.
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Last edited by SunnyWeather; 23rd July 2018 at 3:18 PM..
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