This is the front door to my big and beautiful former home where I lived for 18 years. I never imagined that my “dream house” would become my nightmare. The repairs and upkeep led to misery for my husband, which affected me deeply. But I simply plodded onward because I had so many issues to deal with related to my children and parents. I lived with grief and retreated into Zombieland for twenty-five years.
Link to more stories about this song: THE UNKNOWN
Message I received from a friend after my last post:
Thank you so much, Judy, for sharing this post with me. I read it all with great interest.
You’re welcome. Do you think I am sharing too much personal information on my blog? I do hope to inspire other people with my honesty.
NO, I truly do NOT think you are sharing too much info. I’m sure you have lots of personal info that you are NOT sharing–as it should be.
I certainly do. So many people stay in a miserable situation based on fear of being alone. It is far lonelier to be with someone who doesn’t understand you. I am much, much happier now.
Ps. Thank you for your feedback!!!
Below is a continuation of my discussion with Dr. Sam that started on the last post:
Sam, after 30 years, I do feel like I’ve given it my best shot. I’ve only known one man in my life and I think I’ve lived with him long enough to know if I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I can’t do it! I am actually terrified of the thought of being with anyone else. All I want is peace. That is what I have before he comes near me; I can’t see this being fixed. The stake in my heart started a long time ago.
Judy, I think that people are as we choose to view them…any of us who have been married a long time can come up with a long list of grievances, as well as a long list of positive attributes of our spouses…it’s up to us to decide what to focus on…all of us are so very different that it’s a wonder there are any long-term relationships! I’ve figured out that I can’t really change anyone other than me, so that is what I try to focus on.
One of my concerns is that every additional person that is exposed to the song, increases the chance that he will somehow find out about it…if you’re going to do this, then at least control the timing and do it your way…don’t let your emotions control the timing…Sam
Thanks for your message, Sam. I don’t think for either of us right now it would be financially viable for me to move out, but it would certainly be fairer for him to move forward with how he sees his future. We do live very separate lives and hardly speak.
I will not leave him in the lurch, because he depends on me to do so many things. For me, even if I have to financially struggle, I will do whatever is necessary in order to allow myself to be free. I can always get a secretarial job if I can’t support myself as an illustrator. I’ve devoted 30 years to him and you were right about how the only thing I can focus on is myself. That is what I’m doing.
Before that, it was my children. There is nothing he could possibly change that would allow me to want to grow old with him. Freedom for me is not to be with anyone else either. It’s to be free from constant criticism and requirements that everything in my house be “just so.”
Judy, I still don’t think you want to have the dialog until you’re ready for it…you can never know how someone else is going to react, and the situation would be too volatile to predict…I wouldn’t leave this particular situation up to chance. But, I’m sorry that you feel this way…it must be really hard to process those feelings and decide to act on them…even after such a long time…not easy…Sam
Sam, it is hard. I am struggling. I feel like a different person; I never had these feelings before and it is very hard to manage with them. I use whatever tools I can. Humor helps.
I was never any good at break ups; you were my last one! I am probably the classic example of a mid-life crisis. And I do feel like I’m betraying my husband by not sharing with him how I feel. I need to find a gentle way to do that; is there such a thing? Together we can decide how things will play out. I mean, I could wait another few years to tell him, but is that fair?
It’s interesting how I’m giving up all financial security. I’d rather struggle because my needs are small; all of my pressure was to please him. Sam, thank you for your thoughtful and caring advice.
Judy, I’m not sure what you are feeling guilty about…it doesn’t seem like things have changed that much in your relationship in ten years…if things don’t change much for another month, year, or ten years, then where is the deception? You have been faithful…who knows what he is even feeling about all of this?
There just doesn’t appear to be any reason to rush something that will greatly affect you, him and the kids. I still think you two should try some counseling…what is there to lose? At least you will know you did everything possible…and I think it would be very useful for both of you to understand how you got to this point in your relationship…understanding what happened might correct it, and will certainly help both of you from repeating similar behaviors in the future. Also important…lawyers: $400-$700 per hour, therapists $100-$200 per hour. I can refer a good one to you…Sam
Sam, I feel guilty about expressing these feelings (which include repulsion, disdain, and worse). I truly don’t think he believes I would ever do this and if it happens after I find success, he’ll attribute it to “leaving him behind” after all the support he’s given me. It was a revelation when I realized I didn’t have wait for possible success. Probably my biggest worry is to give up medical insurance.
On the good list, he was very supportive of my art career, even though he was unsupportive emotionally. He’s not a bad person; just very unhappy. Even if my husband is not “affectionate,” he does go to work every day and I have a lot of freedom.
But as far as counseling goes, it would be helpful to understand how it got to this point. I think for me it’s a no-brainer, since I could never address my feelings because I was so busy advocating for my childrens’ needs and then my parents.
I wish I could have inspired people by having persevered in my marriage through so much adversity, but it’s just not possible for me to do that. How I choose to handle ending it is very important, and your wisdom is helpful for me. I don’t like feeling guilty, emotional or unsure. I think when feelings are stuffed for so long, when they erupt it is scary.
You’re right that I need additional resources to prevent my feelings from erupting. I have a lot of inner strength since I’ve begun writing, and I will tap into that to help me. My music continues to save me and I’m certain this will all be behind me one day. Either way, it’s hard being the “bad one” in this; I’m the one betraying my faithful husband. Writing a song like I did wasn’t very nice.
I never did sing “You’re Not The One” to you when we broke up!
And why am I writing to you about all this – isn’t that weird? I feel like you’re my doctor/shrink! Actually, everything you have said is very caring and since you’ve read so much of my blog, you know me better than my own husband in many ways.
Judy, I’m glad that you didn’t sing, “You’re not the One” thirty years ago…I definitely would not have felt better, and probably wouldn’t have helped with the lyrics! 🙂 Please don’t erupt…not useful or productive…if I could give you a dose of “Doctor” logic, I would….men are generally more logical, and women more emotional…but emotion may not serve you well here!…Sam
Thanks for your message, Doctor. I feel less emotional because of my song “The Unknown.” My song represented an emotional eruption and releasing it gave me clarity. The hardest part is that the timing for all this isn’t good right now – I know that. I actually dreamed last night that he came to me tearful after finding out. We talked and things were better for me after that, so much relief! Unfortunately, it was a dream.
This morning I had another attack of colitis, which is something that plagues me under stress. Thanks for alleviating my guilt. It doesn’t matter for me that I haven’t cheated – I feel horrible knowing that I’m hurting him and turning his life upside down. But hopefully, we’ll both get through it!
Judy, sorry about the colitis…. not fun!
After reading your blog, and listening to your songs, it sounds to me like you were pretty much just in survival mode after Jason passed away, until maybe a year or two ago…you got through the day, raised your kids, took care of your parents, but probably had little ability to put much effort into your marital relationship…I mean, how could you? Where would the energy have come from? So it would have been easy to slip into any easy pattern that decreased your stress…if your relationship with him wasn’t great, so what?
It was probably too much energy to even deal with. And I would bet that over that long period of time that him kind of lost interest, as well…one person (and particularly a man) isn’t going to be able to carry on a relationship by themselves. So he too fell into an easy pattern…work, come home, deal with the kids a bit, and pay the bills. Dealing with your grief over many years may simply have been nearly impossible for him…and he had his own grief to deal with as well…probably without even a fraction of your insight…us guys just aren’t very good with this stuff anyway. So both of you fell away from the relationship…the horrible situation you both went through disrupted your lives far too much!
Yet, he continued to work and support his family, and stayed with you throughout! I bet that almost no one else would have done that over such a long period, and I find it admirable. Then, about a year ago, you came out of your cocoon, and radically changed (for the better)…and he had absolutely no idea what to do with that…it was probably puzzling, and frustrating, as well as strange to have to deal with a new person all of a sudden…how well do any of us react when the rules of the game suddenly change?
But, because of the support he has given you, and continues to give you, I really think you owe the guy a chance to get in counseling with you, and see if you can re-figure each other out. As far as I know, there has been no cheating, no physical abuse, or anything else that could totally prevent reconciliation. And I just don’t see what you have to lose?? You have three kids together, that remain a challenge (as all kids are), and they are better off having their parents together as a team, than seeing them fight each other through a divorce, and then having to deal with separate homes, visitation, etc., etc., and all the other nasty stuff that happens.
In my practice, I have a plethora of women in their 50’s and 60’s who have never remarried after their divorce, nor have they had any sort of suitable relationship in years. Guys our age go after much younger women (unfortunate, but true). You are going to end up having to support yourself in some fashion, and it can be a struggle. I root for the success of your book, but I have a noted author in my practice, whose last book got into Amazon’s top twenty (quite an achievement)…I don’t think she has cleared 100K out of it…there just isn’t so much money in writing and publishing.
You are financially way better off staying together if at all possible. I would bet that he doesn’t want to lose you and his family either, and would work to keep the two of you together…but it’s not possible that he will figure out how to do this on his own.
Well, I have totally overstepped my bounds…had a long meeting tonight, and when I’m tired I let my guard down…sorry…and I certainly have only the understanding gained from what you have written and sung about…I could be miles and miles off…but I bet I’m not. I hope I haven’t angered you…too much, anyway…and that you will consider some of what I have to say…but I see a really, really big stick of dynamite in your path, and I am trying to push you out of the way!!…Sam
I appreciate your honesty very much – it’s helpful for me.
All of what you wrote makes perfect sense – but only from the outside looking in. What you’re saying is absolutely true as far as my husband goes, and that is why this is especially hard for me. It sounds like he has been a great guy and consistent throughout. He has not cheated, and he goes to work. I have so much to lose – both financially and in the eyes of my children.
My husband is not forgiving. He has been cold to me for decades because one time I expressed doubt about our marriage working out twenty years ago. One reason why I haven’t wanted to go to counseling is that it didn’t help in the past and there is no repairing this for me. At best getting along would be a facade, not a loving relationship. I don’t care about being financially destitute or without another relationship. I really don’t. This might sound like a woman in her 50’s who simply “found herself” and is off gallivanting. But it’s not.
It’s about a girl who got married very young, stuck with it through thick and thin, and feels like she deserves more from life. There is no affection between us. He has never understood any of my feelings, and I cannot envision growing old with him. I can barely tolerate his company.
He is a very unhappy person. I think my true withdrawal became more pronounced as I became aware of how much of my energy it has taken for me to counter that. I know I could stay with him for our children’s sake – but I deserve a better life. Even if I am poor!
I feel a lot of self-worth now and will find a way. I hope my book and my music does well. And if I don’t make any money, I’ll find another way to support myself. I welcome that challenge. It will be a new life for me. My biggest challenge now is that I need to wait awhile longer and hope that this doesn’t blow up in my face with all those sticks of dynamite I threw out as the revelation exploded from me.
Judy, you’re right that no matter how much you share and I read, that I can only look from the outside, not the inside…I absolutely don’t minimize your perspective…you are living this day in and day out…if you can’t do it anymore, and feel that you have given it your best shot, then you do what you have to do…I’m just looking for any solution that won’t make your life harder (its been hard enough).
I still would recommend not sharing this stuff…particularly with your family…otherwise this will blow up quicker than I think you would like, and interfere with the other complicated issues you are dealing with…hang in there!…Sam
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It was interesting to read your friend’s response. Of course, a woman’s advice would have been very different. Following your heart is the key to peace and self-love. Staying in a loveless marriage is not a good idea. I am sure there are hurt feelings but it is better to be alone and happy. You are an incredibe woman with amazing strength.