Should I stay or should I go?

Joey Garcia

My husband of three years is quite comfortable without handholding, warm embraces, compliments, spooning or even sex. When we were dating I was in a distant, guarded place, so I accepted his style. Now I yearn for a romantic relationship with someone who truly values me above all else. We broke up while dating because he wanted me to lose weight. I felt betrayed because I had previously told him that weight was my hot button. Plus, I was only 10 pounds over. To win me back, he proposed. I accepted because I wanted assurance that I was loveable. Now I’m 40 pounds overweight and don’t want him to see me naked. Lately in arguments, I have been cursing and name-calling. I even smacked him in the face with a pillow. I struggle with staying in the marriage, or leaving in the hope that there is a better fit for me out there. Are my needs unrealistic? Am I asking him to fill a void created by being the product of divorce, and a distant father/daughter relationship? Should I count my blessings and learn to self-soothe? The decision whether or not to have children is pending and I’m deeply afraid of making a mistake. Please help.

Ah, yes, what should you do with “your one wild and precious life?” (to quote the brilliant poet Mary Oliver). As you have generously noted, your husband has not changed. You presented a different version of yourself to him, one that matched his personality and eccentricities. Now you must admit, to yourself and to him, that the you he knew was simply snakeskin and ’tis the season for shedding. I advocate confession, instead of waxing eloquent about your perception of his shortcomings. Yes, confess with loving-kindness. It will soften the parts of you that would like to blame your husband for, well, being himself.

Does that mean your needs are unrealistic? Desiring a committed relationship that is truly intimate spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically is realistic, especially if you have already established such a relationship within yourself and with your God. But needing this man to change so you can be happy is unrealistic. That is unless he offers to transform himself after you confess and admit to your grief. You’ll have to pledge to develop a profound friendship and then roll up your sleeves (leaving your hearts visible) and get to work. Counseling is a good idea. If it’s done well, it reveals that being the “product of divorce” is a passing phase, not a lifetime playgroup.

I am the mother of two adult sons, ages 37 and 40. I have not heard from my boys in over 10 years. I assume that they are angry with me, but I don’t know why. Tell people that they should say why they are angry, not just cut off contact.

Are you telling the truth? It seems unlikely that you have no idea why your sons are not talking to you. Perhaps something occurred between the three of you 10 years ago that you dismissed as silly. Or, more commonly in such situations, alcohol or drug abuse is involved on your part or theirs. Examine your conscience. Then, with a counselor’s help, clean your own house before attempting to find your sons. Of course, it may be healthy to bring the relationships to closure. That way, if you see each other again, it will be like the first time. How lovely to think of falling in love with your sons as you may have done when you first held them.

Meditation of the week
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you aren’t afraid of dying, there is nothing you can’t achieve,” says the Tao Te Ching. Good news as I prepare to radically transform my life and heart. To release what you most desire, try this: imagine that desire as a dandelion gone to seed and let it ride your breath to freedom.

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