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What Is Wrong?

Question:

I have been married for a long time. My husband works out of town, and I am not working due to my health problems in the last few years. I have had several surgeries in the last 3 years and last year was the worst. I was very ill but now I am better. My problem is I am so unhappy and sad all of the time. I feel a lot of resentment toward my husband and I feel like our marriage is doomed. I am not happy when he comes home, and we are both very distant toward each other. He does not want to do anything when he is here, we argue all of the time, and I don’t know what to do. I am so unhappy… I love him but I am miserable. We can’t have a normal conversation without it ending in a fight. I have been through so much and I don’t know what to do. Do I want a divorce? I don’t know. I know I don’t want to live like this any longer. We have been married for 20 yrs.

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Answer:

Your sadness and depression come across very clearly. The question is what is the source of so much of this unhappiness? There are several important things that you mention:

1. Your husband works out of town. It is very possible that you feel abandoned by him. You seem to imply that he is not home very often. The fact that he works out of town points to his being away for months at a time. Whether he is away weekly, monthly or more, I would not be surprised to hear you report fears that he is having an extra marital affair. This may be the source of your resentment.

2. Evidently, you experienced some serious health problems during the last few years. If your husband was away during this time, you may have felt resentful that he wasn’t present to assist and emotionally support you.

3. The combination of illness and geographical distance suggests that you and your husband are not having a sexual relationship and have not had one for a long time. Or, if the two of you are, it is few and far between. Most marriages cannot and do not survive the lack of warmth, affection and love that sexuality encompasses.

4. Twenty years is a long time to be married. You do not mention the presence of children. If you have them, they may be out of the house or about to launch into adulthood. Many troubled marriages end once the children are on their own. This may be happening with the two of you, if you have children. If you do not have children, that may be an additional source of tension. I do not know.

5. The fact that you have been too ill to be able to work can be a significant contributing factor to your feelings of depression.

All in all, I urge you and your husband to seek marriage psychotherapy. In addition, its a good idea for you to enter psychotherapy for yourself because there seems to be a lot that is troubling you at this point in your life.

Best of Luck

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