I (31F) feel stuck because husband (31M) doesn't want to put in effort. Is it time to leave?
Sept. 08, 2019
My husband and I have been together for 10 years, 5 of them married. When we got married, I knew I was going to be the trailing spouse. My husband has to go where the job is and doesn't have much choice. I signed up for that 5 years ago. Okay.
I am optimistic, positive, and try to find the good things about new places. Each place is unique and has its own things to offer.
In July, we moved cross-country to a new location after being in a place that I deeply loved for 3 years. If I'm honest with myself, I dislike this new place after trying to think of the positives. It's isolated (3 hours from nearest medium city), is one giant strip mall, zero walkability, no green spaces, too hot to enjoy a day outdoors for about half the year, few medical resources, food scene is not up my alley, insular community that I don’t identify with, low-quality services (internet, massage, therapist, car insurance, etc.) due to being isolated and not having to improve to be more competitive, etc.
With the move, I also took a pay cut in a new job I'm not excited about. There is a near-zero chance to get a better job and grow my career (important to me) because there are very few professional jobs here in my field. In slightly bigger cities, I’d have lots of job opportunities.
On to the actual relationship...Our communication has been awful for at least the past year. I've tried being as articulate as possible and telling him how I feel. Here are my issues with the marriage:
-I feel taken for granted and unappreciated. He hasn't taken steps to make the last 2 cross-country moves any easier. I've dealt with 90% of the logistical stress from each move because he "can't take time off work to help" and "hasn't thought about planning." Other than 1 time, he's never done anything special for our anniversary (dating or wedding) or my birthday other than "oops, I didn't plan anything. Let's go to our favorite restaurant." This is despite me explicitly saying to him that I would enjoy it a lot if he were to plan something to make it a special occasion (not expensive or lavish). I'd planned stuff for our anniversary and his birthday for years but recently stopped doing that because I didn't feel like the effort was returned or appreciated.
-Related to above, I manage all finances and paperwork (investing, retirement, taxes, insurance, etc.). When I need his cooperation (like getting me a certain document), it usually takes him ages, if ever. He’s not interested in managing his money “as long as he has enough to eat and live.”
-He’s the youngest of 5 kids, and I clearly see that he got used to having other people (mom, older siblings) handle stuff for him and for themselves without effort on his part. This translates to him being very laissez faire and hands-off. For a while, I confused this behavior with him being supportive/giving me the freedom to do what I want. Now, I see that it’s prevented him from looking at our relationship as a team effort and more like 2 individuals driving side-by-side. He would also rather walk away from a conversation or make jokes to insert humor than to actually talk through issues and take action.
-I’ve suggested marriage counseling. Since I’m always the one who plans things, I explicitly asked him to be the one to find a counselor. That would be him showing that he’s making an effort and not just letting me do all the work. It’s been months since I’ve brought this up. We’ve talked about it several times since, but he still hasn’t scheduled anything. (We’ve had plenty of time after the move.)
-We haven’t had sex in 5 years. I understand I’ve gained weight and might not be as attractive. Turn all the lights off. Stop bringing home trash food. Exercise with me. I’m only 31 and can’t see myself abstaining from sex forever. (I'm just giving examples of how he could be supportive. I'm not blaming him for the weight gain.)
SOOOO Do you have any suggestions to save my marriage? How bad is it that I’ve been thinking about an exit plan? With a roommate-level marriage, disliking the living location, and not having career prospects, should I make more effort to stay? Am I being selfish? There are many things I love about him, but I’m not sure right now that they outweigh the unhappiness.
TL;DR Together for 10, married for 5. I’m the trailing spouse. Recently moved to new location that I don’t like, with no career mobility for me. Marriage has issues that non-team-player husband doesn’t want to make effort towards resolving. No sex for 5 years. Should I move on?
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