(Unedited) Question submitted via Formspring:
“Female married 20 yrs-no kids, 55. Marriage went bad 10 yrs ago when finances went bad. Stayed bc couldn’t afford not to, tried to work it out. No love. Met someone, but he will not physically meet unless divorced. Scared to leave, but want to be happy”
So, let’s break this down into pieces:
- You’ve been married for 20 years, 10 of which have been ‘bad’.
- You tried to work it out, but apparently couldn’t.
- Now there is ‘no love’ in the relationship, but
- You stay because you can’t afford to leave.
- You “met” someone, (apparently online, since you haven’t met face to face).
- He WON’T meet you until you are divorced (rightly so).
- You ‘want to be happy’, but
- You are ‘scared to leave’.
My question to you is: scared of what?
What could be worse than having wasted TEN YEARS of your life being unhappy in an unfulfilling relationship? More importantly, what is it in you that makes you think you don’t deserve any better?
It looks like you are thinking of this as one question, but the truth is there are TWO questions you need to answer:
- Do I want to stay with my husband, yes or no?
- Do I want to pursue a relationship with this new man, or anyone else; yes or no?
It is a mistake to think in terms of leaving your husband for this other man, since if it doesn’t work out you’ll inevitably feel like you made a mistake, or God forbid try to go back to him.
So let us look at the first question. We have talked before about how to know whether or not you should stay and fight or move on from a bad relationship; and there are a couple questions you need to ask yourself:
Do you even want this person back? Is this relationship really worth your time?
Here is a test that I’ve used hundreds of times to determine if a relationship is worth staying in. If you’re honest with yourself, it is 100% accurate:
Do you spend more time being happy with this person, enjoying one another, and thinking wonderful loving thoughts;
Do you spend more time fighting, arguing, being unhappy, or wondering if you’re happy. Because if you have to ask if you’re happy: you aren’t.
Whichever one of these you decide is your answer: if you spend more time happy, stay and fight to make it work; if you spend more time unhappy, it’s time to go.
If what you say is true, and there really is ‘no love’ left, then this question answers itself.
‘Not being able to afford to leave’ is an excuse; you’ve had ten years to work something out, and instead chose to stay unhappy. You could have gotten PHD’s in two different things in that time; the Civil War and World War 2 combined took 10 years!
Chances are high that once you leave you’ll qualify for some sort of alimony payment from your soon-to-be ex-husband, but even if you don’t: what’s the worst case scenario? You have to downsize your life for a short time…but you get peace and your freedom, which are worth WAY more than whatever creature comforts you currently have.
Since those things apparently aren’t making you happy, anyway!
So, on to the second question:
This man is absolutely right for not wanting to get involved until you are free and clear of your current relationship; otherwise it’s nothing short of adultery. And no matter what your husband has done or not done, he doesn’t deserve to get cheated on; no one does.
But, as I said before: don’t think of this as leaving FOR this new guy; it may or may not work out. Online relationships can be notoriously fickle; since his best self is interacting with your best self. You are taking everything positive about him and comparing it against everything your husband does or doesn’t do, and that isn’t fair.
That is why my advice is to leave your current relationship, first. You aren’t leaving for the new guy, you are leaving for you, and the fact that you deserve to be happy; and quite frankly so does your husband.
What is the point of spending 50 or 60 more years just STUCK together?
Don’t be afraid of what might happen after you leave, but you should be very afraid of what happens if you stay: and that’s nothing.
Just remember to take things SLOWLY with this new guy, or whoever else you choose to date. You’ve been off the market since Clinton was in office, and 10 of those years have been difficult and emotionally draining; don’t be in too big of a hurry to jump back into another intense committed relationship. Just enjoy one another and let things grow as they will.
And, if for some reason it doesn’t work out with the new guy, and you feel like you want to go back: another loveless, unfulfilling, messed up relationship won’t be hard to find!
What do you think ? Feel free to comment down below!
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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