Dear Ms. Vicki,
My military husband told me today that he doesn’t want to be with me anymore. I asked him why and he told me that he had been feeling this way for about a couple of months. This really shocked me. When I think something is going wrong in our relationship, I always ask him if we are okay or if there any issues we need to talk about, and he always tells me that we’re fine.
He told me that it wasn’t me, it was him. He said he just woke up one morning and didn’t want to do this anymore, there was no hope for us and he wasn’t going to change his mind. But he had already agreed to go to marriage counseling! I made an appointment and everything. Now he says he only agreed just so I would stop asking.
We have been married for one year and together for three years. Lately he has been going out every weekend and most nights he does not come home at all. He has started buying new clothes to go hang out with his friends. He never bought new clothes the whole three years we have been together. I asked him if he was seeing another woman or talking to another woman. He said "no" and that he does not believe in cheating during marriage, but I caught him a couple of times taking his ring off in the car when he was on the way out to go hang out with friends.
I love him, I really do. I've explained to him that he may not feel like he wants to be with me, but I am going to fight for us until the ink is dry on the divorce papers. He hasn’t filed for divorce yet and I told him a lot can change in a few months. We broke up once before we got married but two months later he asked me to marry him. Does that mean there is hope for us now?
Should I just say forget it and move on? Or should I try my hardest to get my marriage back on track? All I’m asking him for is to show me the love that he used to show me, spend some time with my son and me and talk to me about what’s going on with him. Nothing seems to work. It’s like it’s his way or the highway. I really think there is another woman involved but I have no proof.
What do I do? Please help. Any advice is good advice.
Sincerely, A Fighting Wife
I can tell from reading your letter that you love your husband and that you want your marriage to work. However, please allow me to be very candid about what my experience tells me about the warning signs in your short marriage: anger and escalation, consistent talk of wanting to leave the marriage (before and after the marriage), isolation from each other, poor communication, spending more time with friends, not coming home at night and speculations of cheating. These are not good signs, and I think you know that.
I think you should go with your gut. These are all signs of someone who is distancing himself from his wife, and also of someone who is cheating or who wants to cheat. So much has happened in your marriage in a very short period of time. Honestly, your husband is acting like he is already gone, like his heart is not in the marriage and maybe it never was. Moreover, he does sound like a man who is wishy-washy and quite immature. One day he wants to be married, the next day he doesn’t.
Now, I can’t tell you when to throw in the towel or when to leave your marriage. That’s not my call. You can stay and fight for your marriage for the next 20 years. That’s your choice. But here’s the deal: the behavior you are experiencing from your husband now is the behavior you will continue to get. So you have to ask yourself if you can continue to fight for someone who treats you like this.
I have witnessed marriages emerge greater even after experiencing terrible ugliness. While I may not perceive your marriage to be paramount in ugliness, you have to understand that fixing your marriage will take two people who are committed to making the marriage work and reviving a relationship that has flatlined.
Your husband sounds like someone who feels like he has been let out of a cage, like for once he has some freedom and he is going to enjoy this freedom for as long as possible. You said that he is purchasing new clothes for the first time in three years - I’m wondering what stopped him from buying new clothes before? The problem with this kind of behavior is that it indicates he wants to be Mr. Sexy, look good and be confident and happy, to someone else and not to you. When that happens you become the stress zone and away from you is stress free.
Perhaps he will reconsider marriage therapy, if not I do recommend that you seek therapy for yourself so that you will have some support and insight. I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me and to read the column. Please keep in touch.
-- Ms. Vicki