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Dead-End Marriage

Question:

Anne, I stumbled upon your site while looking for some kind of something to help me figure out what to do. I have been married for 23 years of which started on shaky grounds. 6 months into our marriage my husband rejected having sex in any form! He promised me things would change and I took him back. Now over the years, things have came to a head in our marriage, no sex, emotions of love, as well as being put down in front of friends, drifting apart (big time), not doing anything together as a husband and wife, things has really gotten out of control! I have major depression and have been in therapy for the last 3 years because of this, I feel that I am loosing big time! He sits in front of the TV almost 24 hours 7 days a week! Not wanting to admit things are on the rocks! I have asked him if he was satisfied with things the way they are, the response was, “Oh is there something wrong with our marriage?” He won’t admit anything being wrong, and sometimes he says it is just me! This really is hurting the love that I once had for him, turning it into a monster is not what I want, he refuses to even go to council with me in any shape or form. Dead set against it. Being in your 40’s life isn’t over, I personally have life left within. What do you suggest I do? I am so desperate, I am thinking of leaving! HELP! I am so tired of trying things to get this back on track.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
  • Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
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  • No correspondence takes place.
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  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

Honey, you have more strength and tenacity and/or fear than many women, who would not have lasted this long in such a seemingly dead-end marriage. It is not at all odd that you are depressed given the situation you describe. Living for years in a sexless, non-intimate and verbally abusive relationship like you describe would do that to just about anyone. It is normal to want sex and intimacy and respect in a marriage. Marriages that don’t have these things are ill, in crisis. Bluntly, if he will not go to counseling with you and give an honest effort to change his ways, than your marriage has already died. You’re just living out your days in the dead husk of it. As you have written, “I personally have life left within”. You are not dead, even if you marriage seems to be. No one (except maybe your husband and other ‘formal’ people) would blame you if you took steps to leave. There is life after divorce, as scary as the idea divorce may sound. Only you, however, will be able to decide if that is really what you need to do to make a life worth living for yourself. If you do decide to leave, do it slowly and carefully if possible and practical. Make sure you have a place to go, and a way to earn money to support yourself. Make sure that you have as much support for your depression as you can have (medication and social support) so that you can minimize the impact of leaving on your depression. Leaving will be stressful for a time, but, then, staying doesn’t seem to be less stressful for you. Good luck.

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