I am an intelligent professional with a highly stimulating job. My husband has a great job too. We have delightful children who have never caused us trouble or grief and we always agreed on parenting.
We never fought over money or even household chores. Sure, there were niggles between us, but I thought it was all in good humour.
We work a lot – too much – and forgot to concentrate on our life together. All my spare time was focused on the children, as surely that was a reasonable priority.
Not a perfect life, but I believed he was my greatest friend and ally and knew we would grow old together.
It turns out I was living a lie. My husband was miserable, and by the time he told me, he had already decided to leave. There is no-one specific he was fleeing to, just a vision that I do not make him happy anymore – he cannot be himself as I am so negative.
The vision is that there will be someone else to fill this void. Apparently, I cannot fill it, despite 22 years of marriage, 4 children between primary and high school, an amazing history of achievement as a couple with study and work and financial success to make us finally comfortable. He is just not “in love” and wants me to accept this immediately.
Our friends and family are shocked and say it is his problem, it is not me. But I choose to take responsibility for where I stopped telling him he was special and I loved him and wanted to touch him and hold him and listen to him.
I know that he was doing the same to me, but it is a partnership and we let each other down.
I cannot take responsibility for him leaving and giving up – he must wear that. And so I know that in the end, it is up to him, to decide that he wants me. I am sure he knows I am still here.
The self-help books say to work on myself; give him a slightly cold shoulder; neediness is very unattractive. Unfortunately, this is so much easier said than done.
It is not that I cannot do rediscover a more independent me, but it is hollow compared to my love for him. The two are not mutually exclusive. Why can’t I not be this charming and enlightened person and be with him?
I love him more than ever. I miss him and I suddenly realise there is no-one I want to share anything special with if I cannot have that special bond with him.
Perhaps I have actually been missing him from a while ago, from before he left a month ago, I just didn’t understand it. The other type of books tell me to move on, but I am not there yet either. I have no anger, just sadness.
I desperately want us to be together and I know I have already learned how to understand his pain and mine and make our relationship better in future.
So, I continue to have hope. While it is interspersed with complete distress that this single existence might be my ongoing life, I choose to hope for us – that I am worth it, that he is worth it and that our family is worth it.
I can sacrifice and suffer the pain of not moving on, to give my children a chance of a two-parent family and to give myself a chance at being loved by a beautiful man who I embarked on a journey with so long ago and we just lost our way.
I want to hear that my hope is not in vain. But most importantly, to all the women who are busy and tired and thinking everything is okay because your children are happy: talk to your husband. Tell him you love him and listen to what he does each day. Touch him and hold him and make love to him and make sure he is happy. I am sure he will reciprocate.
The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous.
Do you have any advice for this reader?