An Advice Series for Women of All Ages
I am so excited to bring you another installment of Dear Mrs. R. I truly value all of my readers and your support has been amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
In an effort to protect my readers privacy, I will refer to only a First Name and Last Initial when posting to Dear Mrs. R. So, please do not worry about your confidentiality as it will be protected. That’s my promise to you! Also, I will not publish any question without the express permission of my readers.
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This week I have chosen a question from Marcy P. Marcy asks:
Dear Mrs. R, I hope this email finds you well! I email you today after having a rather disturbing argument with my husband last night. I really don’t know what to do or how to feel anymore. I hope you can help me find some help as to how to solve my marriage problems. I’m 56 and my husband is 49 and we have been married for 22 years. Last night, I went to my husband to tell him I was lonely and didn’t know how to handle that. I know he works long hours and I’m retired so now I stay at home most days by myself. But, when he comes home from work he usually closes up in his office and doesn’t want to discuss his day or mine for that matter. We have had a lot of arguments in the recent past and I have moved into another room. Because I can’t handle this distance between us. He’s basically married to his work and when he’s home he’s doing the things that make him happy, mostly working, watching TV and playing pool with his buddies. Last night I just wanted to relay to him that I miss him and would like a little attention occasionally. His response was if you’re so lonely get a dog that should help. I threw my hands up and went to my room crying. I don’t know if I can live with this man anymore! I feel invisible in his eyes and basically a burden to him. I can’t live in this lonely state anymore. I need more than that. Please anything you can say will certainly be more positive than get a dog. I’m lost and alone.
Before I tackle this very sensitive question I do have to say I am not a marriage counselor nor am I psychologist. However, I am a woman who has been in a long term relationship that has suffered its fair share of marital turbulence. I can only answer based on my own experience while educating myself why such situations seem to crop up during this time of midlife. With that being said, let’s move on. Hopefully, my words offer some form of hope during Marcy’s dilemma.
I want to start by saying I’m so sorry you are having marital issues. Based on my own experience, I just want to sit here and cry for you. However, crying only helps us release the pressure but doesn’t really solve the problem, don’t you agree? While I don’t know the complexity of the issues you and your Husband have faced. I do understand feeling alone in a long term marriage.
You indicated that you are retired and stay at home most of the time. My first response to that would be it’s time for you to stop staying at home all the time and start getting out to do the things that make you happy. Here are a few suggestions:
- Make a lunch date with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. Use it as a chance to catch up. However, do not use it as a pity session. You are getting out for you and you alone. Forget About Him!
- Volunteer at one of your favorite non-profits. Here’s a funny little story, hopefully it makes you smile a little … when I was going through a similar situation I volunteered to be a Goat Hugger. I know right? Of all things?! On that day, I saw on the news a call for volunteers, I felt it was a subliminal message calling me, I called the number and the following weekend I was snuggling baby goats! Moral of the story, I was very comfortable with the babies, there was no social stigmas to be endured and giving love, compassion and companionship to these beautiful babies was so fulfilling to me. I received unconditional love and most of all I didn’t feel as lonely. I left the ranch feeling empowered, per say. I was filled with joy and love. Something I desperately needed in my life. Marcy, you are at a point in your life that you can now focus on you! Remember the person you envisioned yourself to be before a career, kids and marriage entered the picture? This is your time to be that person, your time to shine!
- Girl, go have a spa day, an expensive lunch or take a day trip if that’s what will put a smile on your face. Just make sure you don’t
usehis credit card.
Marcy, getting out is your first step!
Your happiness lies within yourself. You are the only one that can change that. We are in control of every circumstance that is placed before us. It’s up to us to take the steps to remedy the situation. Take this precious time to rediscover yourself … get to know who you are again … the rest will fall in to place. What place will it take I cannot tell you but what I can say is it will be exactly where you need to be.
This last suggestion will be one that you probably will not like … but if I have anything to say in your Husband’s defense, I agree maybe you should get a dog or cat but don’t
geta goat! I want you to take a look at an article I wrote on my incredibly adorable, if I may say so myself, Delila maybe after reading this you’ll truly understand what I mean.
I don’t have the answers, Marcy, they reside in you, after all the research on the subject I still come to the very same conclusion as I did when researching for myself … the answer resides in you … it’s pretty much that simple … as much as I want to be angry or sad or alone … give you all kinds of conflicting links to psychology publications … the answer is just a heart felt reach inside to find your happiness.
If you feel that counseling would be a good fit for you then do it even if you do it for yourself without the participation of your Husband. If you think he will be amenable to couples counseling then do it. You have wrapped 22 years of your life into this marriage. This is something that is not easy to just walk away from.
When I was going through a similar problem I found the books Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson to be extremely helpful. These two resources put quite a few things in perspective for me. I urge you to do some reading on the subject. Hopefully you will pull some very positive things from these resources. They made a big difference in my life.
But, you have to start somewhere … and that somewhere should be in finding yourself before making any real decisions as to the fate of your marriage. Once you reacquaint with yourself you will be in a much better place to make those decisions.
I’m sorry if I don’t have the answers, I leave that for the professionals. However, I hope that my words have touched something in you to get you to see the world from a different view. It really is all up to you.
I will always be here for you. I’m just an email away and will be a friend for life. So, please don’t hesitate to come to me if you need to. Marcy, I wish you the best and please keep me updated on your progress to find your new self! xxoo
If you have a question you would like me to address, please send an email to email@example.com. I will do my very best to give you a well researched answer and hopefully together we can come up with a solution. There are no questions too big or too small!
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See you in the comments,