Fear of ending a bad relationship
By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50
When marriages crumble, there are always two sides to the story. In today’s column, we hear of only the wife’s side about being stuck in an unhappy second marriage.
Before men blast off emails of protest for not giving equal time to her husband, let me say we are not passing judgment on the husband. He could be a wonderful guy and he'd likely have a far different version of this story.
What’s important today is the message at the end of the column that applies to all women in relationships, whether married or otherwise. Ending a relationship or ending a bad marriage is difficult, but is often the best thing.
Trapped by fear in a second marriage
A wife, in her late 40s, emailed: “I’ve been in a marriage for 15 years: we haven’t had sex for four years. I am so alone and ready to end this relationship. I am ready to have love in my life and to live again. I am tired of living in a dead and buried marriage.” Then, she elaborated on four things that are wrong, focusing mainly on her husband:
- “When he is home, he is glued to the TV and purposely seems to ignore me. He is unaffectionate and has always seemed uncomfortable with affection, and has lacked confidence in his sexual abilities
-His mother is extremely controlling and has always hated me and never permitted me or my children to come to her house
-I have gone through years of pain and loneliness living with a depressed passive- aggressive workaholic who shows one face in public and another in private
-The man who married us told me after counseling with us that my husband had never truly made a commitment in the whole thing and that I was the one who was committed. I should have given up then but I had invested so much in my dreams. Here I am five years later.”
I asked why she has such trouble ending a bad marriage.
Her reply: “I have never had financial security and it has always been a source of fear in my life and in this relationship. Because we have no common goals and have had no common financial goals, I have always been in fear."
What’s she going to do about her situation?
“I am investing in school and a way to give myself a financial floor to stand on. I would just like a chance to find out what I want and build a life that I picture for myself. That doesn't necessarily mean a relationship with anyone. I need a relationship with myself and to explore my new career. I would like to make some new friends as well.
“I love him but you can't change another person. If someone wants to cut their own nose off to spite their own face and you are married to them, they are cutting your nose off too. It is impossible to deal with a stubborn, passive-aggressive man."
There’s a lesson in today’s column
It applies to all women in marriages and relationships. Easier said than done, but women should not allow themselves to become completely dependent on men for financial security. They should never become so paralyzed by or locked into a situation that fear forces them to stay--fear of not being to make it on their own, fear of not finding another mate, fear of any kind-- when they’d be better off leaving.
I respect and admire wives and women in relationships who prepare themselves to be on their own should something negative happen to the relationship they’re in. Some go back to school, others back to work, and others attend educational seminars. It's important for women to have a life outside of their relationship, with women friends and involvement in activities and hobbies they enjoy. Doing so likely makes their marriage or relationship even stronger. It is, in effect, preparing one’s self to be single, if, God forbid, that ever happens.
I hear from single moms who are financially strapped, trying to raise kids without any financial help from the man or men who fathered their children. It is a huge problem. I know it is easier said than done, but somehow women need to ensure they have financial security especially as they look to their later years. At the least, they need social security and must earn the credits for that in their younger years.
Had this woman been better prepared, she would have said “adios” to a stifling marriage years ago, instead of it now being, “five years later.”
And as I stated upfront, there are two sides to every story. I wasn’t picking on the husband. Very few men act the way he allegedly did.