Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paths Past and Future

So. We are now at that age when we have decided it is our turn, time for us to do what we want. Finished playing the second to spouse, family, job. 
The first task is to determine if we still remember how to put ourselves first, how to allow our desires to come to the forefront. Stop forever compromising for the benefit of others. And that is no easy task.

Then, if we are going to do what we want, we have to figure out what that is. Really. Not what someone else wants, not what we think we should want, not what we have always done. Then come the questions. Where, and with whom?

Is it just me, or is anyone else tired of living someplace because that is where the spouse is happy? Am I the only one who finds herself a completely different person, with different interests, than she was at the time she married that person? And is mine the only spouse who never changed? When you contemplate the next chapter in your life, can you think of wonderful things to do, but really really don’t want to do them with that person? Do others simply hibernate rather than force a situation that seems to have only solutions that make (keep) at least one person unhappy? 

So, first, the question of where we live. What if I push my wants and then even I end up not liking it? Then we are both unhappy. What if I love it, but he is miserable?  It is such a huge responsibility to have to prove that it is the right move. 

Then, how do we find NEW things to do that we both like? Is it just selfishness that makes me NOT want to share, or is it the fear that he will drag down my joy? Is it so wrong for me to want a partner that lights up over the same things as I do? Of course, the spouse would like nothing better than for me to light up over the things he loves ... so are we both chafing at the same bit? Or do men just get used to having their way and never feel regret if we are tired of the ride?

Finally, if there is a way to prevent this growing apart over the years, it is a moot point now. Great to share with the children so they can stay in step with their partners, but not helpful for us. And is it even possible, or is it a gender and societal issue? Relationships always require some compromise, but I wonder if there are couples out there who have traversed the child-raising years and are still HONESTLY walking together on the same path.

More importantly, are you out there, like me, finding yourselves with very little intersection, but discovering a way to come back together? I would love to hear your solutions.

                                                                                    Guest post


  1. You raise very important issues here that affect all long-term relationships. There are many women out there asking themselves the same questions and coming up with a wide variety of answers, I'm sure. I can speak from my own experience when my marriage of 20 years seemed on the brink of divorce. My husband agreed to try counseling, and that turned the tide for us. Our therapist helped us to focus on our important strengths -- the fact that we did love each other and we did want to make our marriage work as a partnership. Then she guided us toward more honest and open communication with each other. I'm not trying to tell you it's easy, but it is doable if both parties are willing to commit. The therapist made the biggest difference for us. She acted as an impartial, fair, objective, and empathetic mediator and facilitator. Our road forward still had some bumps, but we're now celebrating our 43rd anniversary in a relationship that grows stronger every day.

    That's my experience. Yours may very well be entirely different. I urge you to consider counseling, as a couple or as an individual, to figure out whether your relationship is salvageable and whether you want to commit to saving it. Then you'll be better prepared to make those important decisions and move forward in your life.

  2. Thank you for writing this. It's very brave and honest, and this is an issue that many women face, as we're taught to put everyone's needs ahead of ours.

    May you find a bright path ahead.