My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We have two sons, ages 9 and 5, and a daughter on the way. We dated for 2 years prior to marriage and during that time, our relationship was wonderful.
After we married, our relationship declined, and has yet to reach a point that I am happy with. We both had careers in the military but decided that when we began a family, one of us should leave the service.
We agreed that I would leave, and he would stay. At the time I was very comfortable with our decision. As much as I loved my job, I was looking forward to spending my days with our new bundle of joy.
What I didn't realize was that my husband did not share the same drive as myself. I had always heard his co-workers speak highly of him and never envisioned him as someone who would not succeed.
However, he struggled greatly to progress in his career. During the 10 years that we have been married, he only progressed 1 rank, barely giving him the ability to retire at 20 years of service.
While retirment in itself is a huge accomplishment, he earned it by the skin of his teeth. This clearly had an impact on him, especially as he watched co-workers, who had enlisted around the same time as him or earlier, advance several ranks and positions above him. But yet he chose to do nothing in helping himself progess.
The reasons that he did not progress were, in my opinon, very much preventable. He consistently made decisions that kept him from completing the necessary requirements for advancement (college, board appearances, military education, etc.). He would work late, volunteer for field time, anything to keep busy with work tasks. And would always say that he didn't have time to go to college or study for a board appearance.
Additionally, he volunteered for multiple duty station changes and deployments. In 10 years, our family has never lived in one place longer than a year and a half. This has had a significant impact on us financially and emotionally.
He decided that he would attend college after retirement, but has been retired for 6 months now, and has yet to enroll in college. He had several very good job offers prior to retiring, but declined all of them, because he was so insistent that he would be attending college.
Currently, our only income in his retirement pension that is less than $1500 per month, and not enough to cover our expenses. We have to withdraw $600-700 per month from our savings just to make it. But, if we keep withdrawing at this rate, our savings will be gone a month before the baby is due.
My husband feels as if he shouldn't have to work and this way of thinking is very frustrating to me. I feel as if he is putting his wants (to stay home and relax) above the needs of our family.
I have been applying for jobs for months with no success, and I believe the main reason I have yet to find work is because I haven't held a full time job in 10 years. I have volunteered as much as possible, but trying to work when you move so often is fairly difficult.
I have supported my husband 200% in his career for the past 10 years, barely making a complaint through all of the changes. But I am tired. I do not understand the reasons behind his decisions and why he would not want to do everything within his power to support his family.
I can't help but wander if there is some deeper issue that prevents him from taking the very basic steps necessary to reach the goals he says he wants.
To make matters worse, he has also been unfaitful to me. A few months ago, some friends of ours came to visit for the weekend, and some comments were made that just didn't seem right. I confronted him after they left and he confessed that he had had an affair with my friend for several months after our 2nd son was born.
I have no respect left for him at this point, and see no way of moving forward in our relationship. I feel that our commitments, priorities, and goals are not aligned, and I am ready for a divorce.
I feel that if I stay, I am allowing him to treat me however he wishes, and this is not acceptable to me. I want better for myself and our kids.
I truly appreciate your time and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
A very unhappy tale you've told.
I think it's a good idea that you are prepared to stand up for yourself and that
you are being so pro-active
It's hard for me to make a clear assessment of your husband based only on
your descriptions and stories. About as much as I can tell is something about
the relationship between you.
It sounds like a very long and drawn out power struggle.
A lot of what he's doing sounds like what used to be called 'passive aggression."
In passive aggression, you hurt others by not doing things.
A lot of divorces come though passive aggression. One partner will refuse to
take care of the other or the relationship. The other partner gets angry and
finally is pushed to take action. The first partner then gets to say, "It wasn't my idea."
He seems to dislike the marriage and to be unwilling to what it takes to take care of it.
He also seems to be unwilling to do what it takes to take care of himself.
This could be a reaction to how you've been handling stuff over the years. I don't know.
I've worked in situations where a spouse, in trying to be "helpful" and "positive" grew to hate the other spouse and the two of them never ever spoke. The hatred was in the air, though.
And then something happens that makes it all very obvious. People recognize the elephant in the living room. The news of the affair after your second son could have been one of those moments.
Usually news like that initiates a searching and fearless re-appraisal of the marriage. Or it doesn't and the whole thing goes back into the closet, an opportunity is lost,until the next crisis.
You are ready for divorce, you said.
Decide if you want to give him one last chance.
Get all the papers ready to serve him.
Let him know you're serious.
If he wants to save it, decide on what has to change.
I could help you set conditions.
Let me know if this is helpful. Feel free to follow up
Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D.