Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,
I’m a 32-year-old woman whom has been married for almost ten years. While I love my husband, I haven’t been in love for a very long time. In fact, if it wasn’t for our 3-year-old son, I would’ve already left. Through the years, I feel as if I have grown and evolved, and my husband has basically stayed the same guy. That was fine at twenty-two, but not anymore. I’m the vice-president of a bank while he’s been working at the same local rock club since he graduated high school. He has a lot of free time, yet I’m the one doing all the grocery shopping, cooking, and most of the cleaning. He’s good with our son, but more as an oversized playmate than a real parenting partner. He has also put on at least forty pounds throughout the years of our marriage, which doesn’t exactly turn me on. We’ve tried counseling, but he just ends up shutting down and not really participating in the process. No matter what approach I try, he’ll nod his head, says he’ll work on it, then basically do nothing. I know he loves me very much, and I wasn’t raised to break up a family, but I’m really starting to hate my life.
Plus, there’s a man I’ve met through work (he’s one of our biggest clients) whom has really come after me. Nothing physical has happened – just a lot of lingering lunches and phone calls. He’s divorced with teenage children and wants me to leave my husband so we can make a life together. I know that may be affecting the views of my marriage too.
Try not to be too harsh on me, Ms. Mix. The reason why I’m writing to you is because I know you’re married, and have weathered some storms yourself. Thanks. Signed – Wanting an Upgrade
I never pretend to know it all, but one thing I’ve learned is that there are two sides to every story. One of the only redeemable features of 50s-throwback magazine, Ladies Home Journal, is a section called, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Each couple writes out their version and then the counselor chimes in at the end with her view – and some helpful suggestions. I obviously can’t do that here, so I’m just going to be my usual sassy, smart-ass self.
Ms. Upgrade, I think you’ve already made up your mind and are writing to me to give you permission to leave. And of course from what you wrote, it certainly would sound justified. Your husband sounds more like an insolent teenager than a real man.
I know ladies, I know…take a number…
It’s a fallacy what they say…that couples grow together. What actually happens more often than not is that one partner has an emotional growth spurt and then the other one races to catch up. Those who do this dance usually stay together over the long haul and those who don’t either break up or live like roomates in loveless marriages. Not appealing.
Add to the mix the allure of someone new. I personally think it’s impossible to be clear-headed about the one you’re with when you’re fantasizing about the one you want. Just know this: every partner comes with their trunkful of baggage. Your “top client” may seem like all that on paper and over the phone (interesting that you never mentioned anything else about him, except for his status, hmm?), but I promise he has his own problems. Instead of being an overgrown teenager with lackluster ambition, I suspect he may not be able to keep his dick in his pants (hence coming after a married woman, hint, hint) – or he’s more interested in the hunt than the hearth.
That doesn’t mean you should be resigned to a milquetoast marriage…and you’re right…my husband and I have been through a lot in our time together. You need to give your man one last shot.
I don’t think what I’m about to say is something to use often, but in a case where you’ve got a partner closed off to counseling, it’s really your only choice: tell him you love him, but are not in love with him anymore. Then ask for a trial separation. Because what I think is that your husband has worn himself a too-comfortable groove and he’s tuned out to your pleading and proding. Tell him during that time, you hope he can work on himself – and that you will do the same. Then hopefully during that time, he’ll take that cue, get his shit together, and try to win you back. Then, find the best therapist in town – perhaps a male counselor would be someone he’s more open to (instead of feeling “ganged up on” by the women – sexist? True. But for many men, a reality). I think it’s important to enlist a therapist during this time, otherwise it’ll be too easy to cast adrift during this time. I also suggest you get some books on how you and the hubby can handle this crisis time in the best way for your son. Because this will rock his world beyond anything you can imagine.
Never forget that.
10. “Stronger Than Me,” [Amy Winehouse] Frank.
9. “A Break, A Pause,” [As Tall as Lions] As Tall as Lions.
8. “I’ve Given Enough,” [Blue Six] Aquarian Angel.
7. “Last Day of Our Love,” [The Bird and the Bee] One Too Many Hearts.
6. “Lonelinest Girl in the World,” [Cary Brothers] Waiting for Your Letter.
5. “Your New Twin-Sized Bed,” [Death Cab for Cutie] Narrow Stairs.
4. “Road to Home,” [Girl in a Coma] Both Before I’m Gone.
3. “Lions Roar,” [The Hush Sound] Like Vines.
2. “Break of Day,” [Tina Dico] In the Red.
1. “I Miss You,” [Kimya Dawson] Remember I Love You.