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What to do when it is too late to leave

I married my husband in 1971.  I spent a lot of that year, and others, silently crying in the bathroom. He is helpful at home and willing to do anything to help that involves physical work.  He has gone out of his way to help in some situations.  What is totally lacking is an emotional relationship and a sharing of emotions.  He just can't do it.  He will look uncomfortable and not say a word.  I have always been very insecure, but I do know that he hasn't cheated on me.  but he has always constantly stared at other women, and not indescretely either.  He is home all weekend and during the evenings after work. He has an uncle who does the same thing (I met them years ago when we were first married) and his wife just laughs it off.  She even described one incident.  I don't know, she must be very self-assured, but I was hurt beyond belief.  I realize now that I should have left him in the first year of our marriage, but it just didn't occur to me.  I thought things would improve.   Our sex life got worse and worse.  I thought if he really loved me and was satisfied with me, he wouldn't do this.  We finally went to marriage counseling in 2000, and he agreed, saying "OK, if you need it."  He didn't see any problems.  The marriage counselor finally told me that I would have to leave him or take him as is, because he would never change, will never become a sensitive, caring person with whom I can talk to about our relationship.  I am now heading for retirement age and plan to work some after I retire, but it has been too many years, and I missed my time to leave.  At this point, I couldn't manage financially without his income and eventual retirement IRA, and I am also afraid of leaving and going out on my own.  I don't hurt as much as I used to, have closed of a part of myself that used to be so important.  I've made friends, and become involved with other things, but still have some deep resentment.  I guess my question is:  how do I handle the rest of my life with him?  He is somewhat better now about the staring.  I have told him I will totally embarrass him in public if he does it again in a restaurant, etc, when I am with him.  
3 Responses
Avatar universal
I really feel for you, if you have children, it might make things easier, if not, then i guess you will have to make the choice, as your therapist says,you can stay, or leave, and after being married that long it will be hard for you, wish that i could be more help. wish you the best,also i have been there, and money wise, you really have to figure out the best way to go,I am just glad that he is a person that will help you, and not abuse you    lots of luck  jo
Avatar universal
I have to say I also feel your pain. I left my now x-husband in1993, took 3 little girls without a job. I could not take the emotional and fear of physical abuse. My situation is a little different, he has an assault charge on his record. But I knew even before that incident, that I could not be a healthy role model/mother or just plain healthy as a women if I stayed. We tried everything. Meds, counseling, there was just to much of everything to find something stable to hold on to.  There has to be trust and you have to be comfortable to lay your sole out for this man. If he is that incentitive and just crushes your self esteem. Then he has no respect for your vulnerablities. And we all have them.
I had to do a lot of sole searching, praying, and listen to my inner voice and gut feelings to guide me.  Stay in therapy, he/she is right, you can only fix yourself. As you grow and become the best person you can be,  husband will either grow to accept you and the changes. Or the chasim will just get wider and wider.  You are in a good place. But don't become to complacent.  Depending on what state you are in will determine the maximum amount of division of martial assets. You have  time now to gather the documents, unless you have financial equality in this marriage already.  

Hang in there, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I have found that your life can change in a minute, we all fear it, but it is a fact of life. Change happens all the time. We just have to have the right emotional tools to deal with it.  A good book I can recommend is "Who moved my cheese" by Spencer Johnson. Stay in the present, the past is gone. And you only have today, don't waste any time. Life is not a dress rehersal. I hope that this comment is not to harsh. One of our life's motto's in my house, is "feel the fear, do it anyway".  
Take care,
Avatar universal
Well, I disagree with your therapist.  To tell you that you can take it or leave it because he will never change?  People can change... your husband can make the choice to change or not change, but its not a matter of that he cannot its that he will not.  I agree with the above poster when they say that you need to look forward and live in today, not yesterday.  It will only make you more resentful and sad about the situation.  It is an obvious question I guess, but have you and your husband had a heart to heart about how you need to be opened up to emotionally?  Also, do you have a sex life together?  I understand what you are saying about the financial pickle that leaving would leave you in.  
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