I [31M] am worried that I shouldn’t have married my wife [32F] of 1 year
Theophilus C. Bowah
Nov. 08, 2019
TL;DR my wife of 1 year and I are not getting along, and I’m getting the increasing sense that we have wasted the past six years together.
Repost to add in some more detail.
I could really use some advice as I’m feeling incredibly and increasingly lost. Apologies if this all seems a bit disjointed; I’m trying to put it in some rational order but there’s a lot of facets.
My wife and I have been together in total for six years, and married for just over 1. She is a talented singer and illustrator, and just a generally all-round creative spirit. We met online and over many months slowly built up into a relationship. We both wanted to take it slow as didn’t want to rush into anything.
She is an introverted soul, as am I. She would say she is a worrier and anxious which I totally understand. We both enjoying tinkering on our hobbies - music making for me and mostly illustration and design for her. Generally quite introverted together like two peas in a pod, but we do see friends as well.
A few months ago she was having quite bad anxiety due to a course she had signed up for and as a result got prescribed an anti-depressant which has helped her a lot. It sounds selfish but it comes from a place of love - over the past few months I genuinely think her overall mood and mindset towards issues and setbacks has improved so much. It makes me so happy she is able to cope better as I saw how upset it made her when she wasn’t able to deal.
Two recent situations but the same common themes. First one was when we went to stay with my parents for a night. I know it’s a cliche but I know deep down that my mother doesn’t really like my wife. I think this is mostly because my wife only has a part time job (more on that below) and can come across as a bit self-centred when nervous. From my perspective I always feel a bit tense when we visit as I am much more similar to my mother personality-wise than I am to my wife, so it feel like this ‘side’ of me comes out more which in turn seems to put my wife on edge. Basically both of us are on edge and this often results in mini arguments when we are there. My parents don’t really argue whereas my wife’s parents will have lots of mini-arguments. My wife thinks this is healthier. Anyway at this specific night away, we were getting ready to leave so I went into our room and said ‘we’re thinking of leaving soon, are you ready?’ Or something to that effect - just a legit question. She seemed to take this in a bad way, like I was accusing her of being late. So instead of risking another argument I just walked away (I have been trying to do this more when I think her reactions are completely randomly out of order to an innocuous question).
The second situation was when we went to view a house to buy together (currently renting). We had a meeting with the mortgage advisor who asked us for our payslips. My wife couldn’t get them until she went into work the next day, and until we could provide them we wouldn’t be able to make a formal offer. We both loved the house so this was a priority. Later that evening she said she was going to call in sick the next day because she didn’t want to do a rehearsal for a band as the rehearsals seem to be pissing off her manager (she isn’t sure why). I said to her I would strongly advise going in to get the payslips because someone else might make an offer and we would need to move fast, and said could she let the band know she couldn’t rehearse tomorrow but maybe next week. Apparently this was a selfish uncaring response. I sort of understand but the whole reason I suggested going in was so that we could buy the house we both loved! This culminated in her saying ‘forget it, I don’t know if I want to buy a house with you, or even be married to you anymore if you’re going to be like this’.
I feel like whenever I try to stand up for myself it’s perceived as being ‘uncaring’ and that the route to a simple life would be to agree to everything. But I can’t live like that, I feel like part of me has been eroded already.
The backdrop to the above is that I’m starting a new job next week and took this week as holiday to just chill out. It’s not that I don’t like her being around, but she has called in sick the past two days to avoid rehearsing with this band and I feel a bit annoyed that I haven’t had my ‘me time’ to recharge a bit. I am genuinely confused as to whether this is really selfish on my part. I wouldn’t dream of saying that to my wife as she would say I’m putting my wants above hers but I would love to hear an outside perspective. Being completely honest, i was hoping for at least one day this week just to be by myself in our place, but as she has been calling in sick there no time left and I feel much worse now rather than relaxed and ready for a new job.
Over the past few months, if we have arguments she has started to just outright say things like ‘why did we get married’ and ‘I’m not sure this marriage was a good idea if that’s how you’re going to be’.
I feel like she is a very sensitive person at time which I think also explains why she is so brilliantly creative, but it feels like she can ‘misfire’ and perceive social cues that just aren’t there. I am not a psychologist and don’t want to diagnose my wife but from time to time I have wondered if she may be on the autistic spectrum. Then again, it feels like a lot of people might be to some degree.
There’s also an underlying current of money. She works part time and so in terms of cash contributions to our joint account I put in 3x as much. The reason she works part time is that she was previously studying but gave it up as part of the course was causing her a lot of anxiety. I like to think I was supportive through this period and never brought up the cash contributions, but it’s starting to feel like she is getting used to working part time. She has two extra days off a week and I really have to stop myself being resentful when I hear that she has had a lie-in and not done much with her day. I realise as I write this that I might not be sounding very fair. We have talked about it as a couple and not got very far. I just feel like she is on a very privileged position and doesn’t really appreciate it.
But there’s always been this gnawing sense that maybe she isn’t the one for me. I like to think I’m caring and have really tried to work on being better a truly listening and show compassion instead of trying to ‘fix’ situations as I am aware this is my default approach to complaints. But I feel like I am hitting a brick wall - a single reassuring sentence not said exactly how she wants it to be said to her can cause a blow-up (though not as bad as pre-anxiety medication). I feel like she perceives the way I say things in the most negative way and it’s an uphill climb to get back to a point where she understands what I meant. I feel like she is very sensitive to criticism and it’s a very tricky subject to broach (even if i said to her ‘I feel like you are very sensitive to criticism’ she would get annoyed). But then maybe I am as well - it’s just got to a point where I have lost a sense of my self and who I am.
Before the start of the relationship we both had other small things with other people - no sex, just a kiss and very brief. I am well aware that it’s very silly thinking to start imagining an alternate life, what could have been, the one that got away etc. But I get confused about why I still think about the person I had a small thing with - is it indicative of something bigger or just my brain being a fool?
Again apologies for the disjointed nature of the above. I’m just feeling quite lost and confused as to whether both of our lives would be better apart or together. I feel like we are so good together 90% of the time - but I’m not sure how much of that is because I’ve shaped myself into being happy. In the past before we were married I would put her outbursts and (from my perspective) irrational arguments down to her anxiety, and that I knew the ‘real’ person underneath it all, but now I’m not so sure. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. I’m typing this in a coffee shop having just read a long email she has sent me. The gist of the email is that she feels like I’m not as caring as I used to be and that she feels every now and again my resentment seems to come out. Maybe she’s right.
UPDATE: We spoke again this morning and I’ve said that I am going to start counselling. She is happy for me but reiterated that she deserves to be happy so we are seeing how it goes. Far from feeling better, I feel much worse. This is because she brought up an earlier argument which happened the day my grandma died. I was telling my wife how I’d spoken to my mum on the phone to hear the news and my wife asked had she died peacefully. I said I hadn’t asked as assumed she had (she’d been in the hospital for weeks, heavily on morphine, dementia, 94 years old), and she said ‘you didn’t think to ask?!’ in the tone that someone uses when they are shocked and disappointed. I said no and explained why, but this led to a big fight. Anyway, she referenced this this morning but she restated the story to imply that I had got annoyed at her when she asked is my grandma had died peacefully. It’s things like this that are slowly driving me mad, when all of her agency seems to be removed from any arguments we have so it’s simply me getting annoyed for no reason.
Hopefully the counselling will help, but thank you for any advice you have.
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