Calling all 2peas Shrinks: Marriage+Ultimatums=Resentment
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 11/15/2012 by needashrink in NSBR Board


PeaNut 572,387
November 2012
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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:26:12 PM
Obviously 20+ years of marriage is a long story but I'll try to keep it to the point. I know I need a counselor IRL but would love some thoughts to help me start processing this & figuring out if I'm a crazy, selfish, bitch or if I have an inkling of justification.

Looking back I'm sure dh & I married the wrong person at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. But we've tried to make it work for 20+ years.

1 year into our marriage dh gave me an ultimatum to move 2,000 miles away to his home state. If I wanted to stay married, I had to move. I left my very close, loving, accepting family who also loves dh, to live near his family who I didn't know at all (was hopeful as I thought his family was like mine) but are cruel, unaccepting, self-righteous, judgmental & they don't even like dh, much less me.

A year after moving here dh gave me another ultimatum to join his religion or our marriage was over, which I did. I was very young, in love & desperate to have a happy marriage. It was a major religious change but I did it & I've tried to live it although it has been difficult.

Any and all marital issues throughout the past 20+ years have been related to living here, his family & this religion. It's been challenging to say the least.

Although I've always tried to "bloom where I'm planted" I woke up recently & realized I have a TON of very unhealthy resentment over these two ultimatums. I've missed out on SO much, my siblings, nieces & nephews, my parents' & their health issues, which are only getting worse, cousins & family for my child who has been raised with NO extended family support, holidays, weddings, births, funerals, etc. The religion & life circumstances have practically beaten any faith in God that I ever had out of me.

I feel like dh put having HIS way over our marriage by telling me, "do this or I'm out." X 2. I'm to the point of hating him for all of the shit that we've been through because of these 2 major life decisions, made because of ultimatums that have had a huge overall negative impact on me. Or maybe I hate myself for doing what he demanded so many years ago.

I'm finally trying to deal with this emotionally & dh says, "I didn't hold a gun to your head. and "that was SO long ago, get over it."

So diagnose me: pity party? midlife crisis? holiday blues? shrink worthy? selfish bitch? it's in the past? forget about it & get on with my marriage?

ETA: I do fly home & see my family about once a year but it's not enough, IMO. The stuff we've missed out on by living here is irreplaceable.

AND ETA: Dh wants to go to counseling. I don't particularly want to. I'm a problem solver & I'm trying to figure out what the "fix" is. I'm afraid there isn't one. Our child is almost out of the house. AND, as much as I want to live near my family I won't move away from my child who will likely go to college here.

Ms. GreenGenes

PeaNut 140,500
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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:34:50 PM
20 years of missed opportunities cannot be regained. I'm sorry for all you've missed. That must really hurt.

The question now is, where do you want to go from here?

Do you want out? That might be justified.
Do you want to stay, but want him to apologize and try to make it up to you? How likely is that?
Do you want him to move back to your hometown with you? How likely is that?

You need to identify what you want from here on out, and decide how you can make that happen.

~ Tracey

PEA-vil Genius

PeaNut 54,808
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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:35:46 PM
Only you can decide what your marriage is worth. I don't want you to feel as though I'm judging you when I saw this, so please don't take it with me. Those ultimatums would NOT have been acceptable to me. I understand that, in marriage, you sometimes have to do hard things for the best of your family. I've done hard things because it what was best for us as a unit, even if it wasn't what *I* wanted. The difference, of course, is that my husband is willing to do and has done those hard things too.

I think it's important to realize that both you and your husband were 20 years younger when you were making these decisions. Does he still treat you this way? Does he still threaten you like this?

No one can tell you if it's worth it or not. You have to decided that on your own. I wouldn't make ANY decisions about that if you feel that any of the factors at the end of your post (holiday blues, mid-life crisis) could be actually factoring into your unhappiness. Take some time, get some counseling. For yourself first. And then with him. Hopefully some time and professional clarity will make your choices more obvious.

Good luck!

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Mom to the Divine Miss Em, sweet Cadiebug and baby Annie (6/09)

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PeaNut 308,186
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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:47:57 PM
If it were me, I'd BEG him to go into marital counseling. Either way, I'd get individual counseling for myself.

I admire your commitment to the marriage. That is so lacking in today's society. But you're not going to get over your resentment so you gotta' address it. I'm sure you can't picture living the rest of your life this way.

My biggest concern would be my child, not myself. I can take whatever I have to take, but my bad choices should not be shouldered in any way by my child. If it would honestly be in DC's best interest for you to split, live in separate states, with an obviously resentful (at you) ex-husband, so that your child could be near your family 1/2 time, then investigate that route. (Do you sense my doubt? LOL)

But I would really truly give it all I have and even continue to shoulder the brunt of this situation myself at least until my child was out on their own and happy. Martyr? Maybe. But also the child of upheaval and parents who - while great parents - kinda' did what they emotionally needed and I now pay that price. I don't buy that parents should split "cuz we'll be happier apart." Not that you've suggested splitting ... but I would want to enter your counseling with a clear directive to the clinician that "I want to save my marriage" not "help me be happy."

I'll be praying for you. I hope DH can acknowledge the same problems you do and join you in counseling. If not, perhaps you can work through your feelings in a healthy way and then make the best decisions for all involved.

What if everything is an illusion & nothing exists

PeaNut 82,319
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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:48:33 PM
Shrink worthy for sure. Don't feel bad about that though! There is nothing wrong with seeking outside advice in helping you cope with decisions you made long ago, as well as making positive changes to your life in the here and now!

If I were you, and this were my reality, I would be leaving. This would be my breaking point. I would not stand for having no contact with *my* family and only doing what my *husband* wanted to do family and religion wise. You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to be around your family.

Pretty In PeaNK

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Posted: 11/15/2012 1:58:24 PM
Therapy is definitely warranted IMO. Ask yourself, if he had just strongly suggested his hometown and religion, and over time you agreed to the change, would you still be this resentful? If you had refused, but stayed married, he would be the one saying "she completely refused to move, and because of it, I've missed 20 years of family stuff."

I just think it's a little one-sided to only think of what you missed when he would have missed things too had you stayed. As far as religion, that's in your heart. My relationship with God would not change just because the walls of a church and its doctrine did. Yeah, it would suck not being around like-minded believers, but to me being forced into a religion is impossible. You either believe or you don't. As a Christian, I could go to a Jewish temple every week for a years and still believe in Jesus.

Just curious, what was your religion before you were married, and what is it now?


PeaNut 393,905
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:02:14 PM
I don't blame you for feeling the way youre feeling at all. I think most everyone would harbor resentment.

I also think that counseling would be a good thing for you.
The counselor can help you realize what it is that you want and help steer you down that path and make peace with it.

Thrift Ninja

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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:02:51 PM
Marriage counseling. But not a church counselor. Pick someone unrelated to the religious aspect.


PeaNut 287,845
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:06:20 PM
Hugs to you! I can relate to your post in so many ways. I was married for almost 15 years and decided one day that I had enough of doing everything I could to keep my marriage alive. I realized that I was the only person in the marriage that was working towards keeping things together.

I had struggles in making that decision, but I'm so much better off now. I no longer resent every waking hour.

I divorced and have now remarried. I won't sit here and tell you that once you walk away, that things will be easy. Only you can make the decision on what you need to do. There were MANY conversations that my now DH and I had prior to getting married that should have happened with my previous marriage. If I had, I don't believe I would have married my first husband. After our divorce, he showed me who he truly was. ( I still see it today.) I realized that I made the right decision to divorce him.

If you do decide to move towards divorce, there will be days that you will be angry over lost time and opportunity. I still struggle with it from time to time. Although I haven't built a history with my DH, we are well on our way to building a new history together.

I hope that you find peace in whatever decision you make. I don't believe that you are being selfish in questioning what you should do.

Have you asked your DH to place himself in your position? How would he have felt if it were you that had asked him to uproot and move to a new location away from your family only to be greeted with hostility? He could at least show some bit of gratitude for putting yourself out there.

Pretty In PeaNK

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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:07:10 PM

You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to be around your family.
Pierkiss, I'm honestly surprised you'd throw 20+ years away because you woke up one day and thought, that wasn't fair! I want it my way!

It's not like he's locking her up, preventing her from contact. There is nothing keeping them from visiting her, or keeping her from visiting them.

Honestly OP, if you're considering leaving your husband because you want to be around your side of the family, your priorities are off, and you need a counselor. Home is where your spouse is.

Monica D
You're either in, or you're out

PeaNut 20,988
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:10:42 PM
I would definitely suggest the counseling, especially if he is willing to go.

And don't be so hard on yourself or let your dh tell you to "get over it." We all do things that we think are right at the time, but hindsight can give us a clearer view. Just because you made a couple of decisions 20 years ago doesn't mean it has to stay that way forever. I hope you can find some peace.



PeaNut 180,283
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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:12:34 PM
I agree with PP- what do you want to do now? You say you won't move home because of your child (even if your DH was willing to), you won't go to counseling, and obviously neither of you can go back in time and change the past. It sounds like you want your DH to make this right, but I don't see any options for him to do so.

It really sucks to feel unhappy and frustrated and not know what to do about it- I think we've all been there at some point or another! It sounds like you've been in that place for 20 years, which is far, far too long- it's time to figure out a solution so you can finally get some peace.

I don't think counseling is a fix-all, but it certainly could give you both a place to start. If your DH doesn't behave this way any longer, a counselor might be able to help him understand why he needs to apologize for the past and help you get to a place where you can accept that apology and move forward with your lives.



PeaNut 572,387
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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:49:59 PM
Thanks for the advice & insight! I really appreciate it! I haven't refused to go to counseling I just don't see how this can be fixed except a. me sucking it up for another 40 years or b. getting a divorce, which also isn't going to solve it.

I wish I were a better person & could accept all of this. I know it's self-pity that causes me to be heartbroken that all of my loving, beautiful grandparents have died since I moved here & my child doesn't have best friend cousins & extended family memories of growing up like I did because of the ultimatums I accepted in my marriage.

And thanks for making me really think about what I want to happen next about this. Strangely, I hadn't even figured out that I could ask myself that question. Now I will be able to think in that direction & focus on answering that question.


PeaNut 18,334
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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:55:13 PM
Dh wants to go to counseling. I don't particularly want to. I'm a problem solver & I'm trying to figure out what the "fix" is.

A good counselor should be able to help you see how to solve the problem.
Sometimes it is by reframing the problem in a way you hadn't before. Or showing options you hadn't considered.

We get blinded by our own boxes of thinking that sometimes we can't see a solution. A good counselor will help get the box off your head so you can see a way.

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PeaNut 270,444
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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:09:26 PM
If you feel like you want to give it a chance, try the counseling. No one can make you go if you are hard set against it but I think it's worth a *try*.
I wasn't to this point but I was in a bad place in our relationship about a year and a half ago. We saw a marriage counselor and it really did help. DW isn't a talker so there as a lot of communication break down that lead to resentment and anger. Therapy wasn't what I expected and I dind't expect it to make a big difference but it really did help.

That said, you're the only person who can tell you what is right for you. I wish you well and I hope you make a decision that will lead you to happiness.

- - - The glass isn't half full or half empty. It's just twice as big as it needs to be. Downsize your life. <3 - - -

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PeaNut 109,127
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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:15:30 PM

I haven't refused to go to counseling I just don't see how this can be fixed except a. me sucking it up for another 40 years or b. getting a divorce, which also isn't going to solve it.

But it won't hurt it either, so isn't it worth a shot in case it does help?

It sounds like you feel trapped. And right now, there isn't anything any one of us could say to make you feel better.

Maybe MC won't help with this particular issue, but maybe it makes other things better???

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PeaNut 7,143
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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:35:47 PM
Wow...I can totally relate, so I'll join your pity party. My husband never gave me ultimatums, but he has always gotten his way and I have *always* compromised on every major decision we've ever made.

Good luck, whatever you decide. I think there are no "winners" in this situation, so you have to choose what you ultimately want and make the absolute best of it.


PeaNut 321,764
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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:45:51 PM
Definitely see a counselor. I actually wonder if you would benefit from individual counseling at this point.

How long have you been feeling this degree of upset over the choices you made 20 years ago? It sounds like you are suddenly realizing the depth of your resentment. Has anything happened in particular lately to cause this to surface so strongly? How are you feeling otherwise? Any physical issues that are new?

I think what is standing out for me is the level of upset you are feeling 20 years down the road - and I'm wondering if more could be going on than you are aware of - either emotionally or physically?

Whatever the case, I wish you the best. Please don't make any rash decisions at this point. See your doctor. Talk to a counselor. Take your time and be SURE about what you really want to do at this point.
Keep in mind that you won't get those years back - and the fantasy of going home may be very different than what the actual reality of it would be now, 20 years later.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:51:56 AM
I don't have any advice of what you should do. I think your dh was unfair 20 years ago but that time is over now.

I understand you feelings about all the wasted years without your family. We moved away from all of my family.

Both of my Grandmothers passed away all to quickly. I used to see them at least once a month. After we moved we saw them once a year at most.

Our kids grew up without their aunts, uncles or grandparents around. It seemed okay when they were younger but when they hit the teens I really believe they needed more than just mom and dad.

We saw the relatives a few times a year. I adored my little brother and his family. He and his son were killed right before Christmas 2 years ago. We hadn't seen them since August...he was coming to visit in a couple days.

My sister passed away last week. I am realizing what I missed and can never get back.

My kids will never realize it because they never had it. They are totally unaffected by my sister's passing and she was younger than me.

After 20 years its too late for your child to build memories of growing up surrounded by your family. Thats really sad. No matter what you decide, that won't change.

Its interesting how the choices we make when we are young can come back to bless or bite us. I hope you dh has become less selfish and will empathize with you.

(I relate to the in-laws too. My family adores my dh and children. The in-laws have made it clear that I am not good enough for their brother.

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PeaNut 292,577
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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:01:43 AM
If you are going to try to remain married, you NEED counseling. If you decide to divorce, you NEED counseling. It never hurts, and either way you have a lot of resentment to get past. If you stay, I think you should look into both couples counseling and counseling just for you.

Having spent years in a very unhappy marriage with a man who didn't respect me, I have been nothing but delighted to be divorced now. Oldest DD stayed in our old town to attend college. She is 19, and even she said I should not have stayed there just for her. She's a little busy right now, and doesn't have time to babysit her mom anyway!

Happiness looks good on everyone!

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 289,166
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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:57:43 AM
You may not have missed out on all that you think. My kids live near their cousins (and used to live even closer). 5 families total and only one was out of state until recently (now there are 2 of state).

Even when we all lived within the same geographical area, get togethers didn't happen that often. If they did happen, it was me that got them rolling, rarely were they reciprocated.

I would take the cousins apple picking, to the beach, parks, etc. They still get together for holidays, but those are usually relatively quick get togethers.

I'm saying all this because you think you've missed out on so much, but reality has a way of changing things. Each family is busy with their own lives making getting together challenging.

I wish you peace as you try to figure out how to move forward.


PeaNut 138,670
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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:04:31 AM
Is there a college near where your family lives that your child would consider attending? ... I know that's not the main thing you've posted about, but if you orchestrated a reason to move back home, would that make you happier? If so, do it!


PeaNut 21,146
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Posted: 11/16/2012 4:39:28 AM
I think the thing that strikes me in your post is the all or nothing thinking. If only your DH hadn't moved you 2000 miles away, your family life would be peachy and peaceful? Not necessarily true. Geographical closeness does not equal emotional closeness.

Whatever you decide in your future, you cannot erase those past 20 years. Nothing will change that fact and if you can't change it, you need to find a way to accept it.

Your DH is willing to go to counseling. Thank your lucky stars and make an appointment ASAP! Whatever it is that you decide to do, let it be a well-thought out decision and not a spur-of-the-moment funk (even if that funk has lasted awhile).

I think your unhappiness might be making you see your DH in a worse light and your family in a rosier light. You are speculating the "what-ifs" and imagining a best-case scenario, which may or may not have been the way real life would have gone. If you don't believe me, just check back after Thanksgiving next week when peas will be posting about dreadful in-laws, cousins, and family strife they forgot they had until all under the same roof for a few days.

Counseling will help you balance your expectations and realities, define your priorities, and perhaps make an informed decision. Good luck. Marriage is harder than anyone ever expects it to be.


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