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How do you know if your marriage is over

Community Member

Hi guys, first post.

my husband and I have been together for 22 years, turning 40 this year.

we had children young ( 20&22) and we are financially stable thanks to his fifo and my job.

a little about us- I am a ‘People pleaser’ and he is ‘selfish’. I’m happy if those around me are happy and in genuinely happy to put others first. Husband is very driven, potential ADHD? and always on the go. Setting goals and achieving them.

our relationship has been steadily declining over past 2 years and longer.
He has brought up open relationships several times and he has a tinder account., says he is either hurting me or himself, saying he needs to be true to himself...

says he needs to experience other people and experiences because he missed out on his 20’s- we were having children.

says he is missing something- jigsaw puzzle. He is worried to give up what we have to chase the part he is unhappy with. We do have sex but in my opinion it is limited in emotional connection - I’m panicking I’m not going to be able to please him.

my weight has been an issue (I’m not that large) and this has frustrated and angered him over the years as he says that I don’t do this thing he has asked etc etc so he is feeling that I dont sacrifice for him.

i also think he may be a slight narcissist.

how do you know when enough is enough? This is all I have known, but I feel super unloved and miserable. I don’t think I can make him happy anymore. And I’m trying to work out what my deal breakers are rather than be submissive to keep him happy- this is a struggle.

i have suggested counseling but he is not keen.

any advice appreciated.

3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Kayleanne80~

Welcome here, I think you are going to find there are others in your exact position.

OK so your husband says he has 'missed out'. I'm not sure of what. A loving 22 year marriage is a huge gain, and yes there will be accommodations, though in a good relationship they will be inspired by trying to cherish the other person.

Franky you husband sounds unfeeling and selfish, using a Tinder account, telling you that you are at fault and expecting you to sacrifice for him.

No, you probably don't know what your deal breakers are, after so long being the pleaser your own wants get blurred or forgotten, given less importance than they should.

So another perspective might be very handy, at least to let you have some idea of the standards of a proper equal marriage.

May I suggest you give 1800Respect - 1800 737 732 a ring and explain exactly what has been happening, and do not hold back out of embarrassment or shame, you deserve neither, you are the one being used and that happens to start with out of your love, and then because there seems little choice.

I'd also ask if you are on your own facing all of this? Do you have family or a friend to share your burden, speak frankly to and feel their care? Isolation plays into his hands and makes things much harder.

I hpe you talk with us some more


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

It is a good question. I’ve had 4 long term relationships- 7,11,10 and my second marriage of 8 years of which we a very happy.

As a rough guide I have the view that once the relationship has soured I put in place a plan that includes 3-4 steps before making a final decision. That is so I don’t have guilt issues later and it gives her a chance to choose to also make effort.

Such final steps can include things like - joining me in counseling, reducing addictions like gambling or alcohol, eliminating abuse etc Failure to meet at a mutual point solidifies my decision.

In your case he is not keen on counseling. If he refuses I would attend alone but don’t share the details of the meetings (he had his chance to join you). I would use the sessions to learn how to, if you can, cope with him and a marriage that has changed in structure.

Counseling can also help you cement you own standards, limits and future goals and whether he is suitable to be a part of that.

His possible narcissism and selfishness is a major concern. Him Blaming his current situation on him having a family at a young age is odd as he had a hand in that decision making, accountability seems to be wanting.

I can’t help thinking you deserve better but I hesitate to advise you beyond the steps I’ve recommended. You need clarity and an injection of self confidence so you can move forward with or without him.

Fortunately, you don’t have young children in the mix.


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Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Kayleanne80

My heart goes out to you as you struggle with the challenges of your relationship and those that come with self questioning.

Sounds like your husband is a little addicted to the feeling of excitement, often looking for the next 'hit'. I'm also assuming this is what makes him feel alive. Of course, it's important we seek excitement but it's also important we seek balance in grounding, otherwise we resemble out of control hyperactive kids oblivious to consequences and the feelings of others.

Sometimes with lack of grounding there can also be a lack of filter. Comments about an open relationship and weight issues definitely reflect a lack of thoughtful filtering. How do you think he would feel if you announced 'Okay buddy, if you're looking for a little more excitement in the way of sex, bring it on (without bringing anyone else in). Use your imagination, step up your game and serve me in more enticing ways. Have you ever considered you're not exciting me enough! If you were a little less self focused perhaps you'd be feeling the connection more!' BAMM! Is it possible that the reason for the lack of emotion in this area could be due to him not experimenting with the energy in motion that can come with working a partner up? For some, experimenting with the feelings of deep intimacy is something they may do over a period of hours, not minutes. For them, this is part of the excitement (the work up or build up). Don't go beating yourself up if he's looking for 'a quick fix' that suits him. You're more than enough for him if he's able to understand what seriously and playfully sharing excitement means.

This leads me to ask 'Does he work on sharing excitement with you in life, in general?' Does he ask what excites you in life so that he can work on participating in these moments with you? Does he inspire more than he does criticise? One of the things I discovered about being a people pleaser is - you can feel like your along for the ride in other people's lives. Whilst they set the rules, you follow them. Not such a good practice in the way of maintaining healthy self-esteem. I can relate. It's definitely hard to say 'ENOUGH!' when you really need to. It can be hard to challenge the words, beliefs and 'rules' of others. It takes courage at times. There can be a lot to lose but also a lot to gain.

I believe enough is enough when our partner is more focused on self serving and bringing us down rather than raising us.