Thursday, 11 March 2010

Mr Right ??

I have been trying to formulate what I want to say to the therapist later today.

I know he wants me to recognise that my marriage to Ewan is flawed. He thinks I should seriously consider our relationship and I can see why he thinks that. I can’t believe how hard that has been to do though. If I acknowledge my marriage is a failure then what am I left with? And besides, I don’t think it is a failure. I think there have been problems. I think I may be the problem. I think he has made mistakes that have affected me deeply but I still don’t want the marriage to end.

So. Does that mean I didn't find Mr Right?

After Lee (the big love of my life), I didn’t believe Mr Right existed. I wasn’t interested in falling in love again but I did want a partner to share my life with.

I was attracted to Ewan’s kind face and his personality but more to the fact that he seemed clearly smitten with me and wanted to marry me and he had everything I knew a good husband should have.

It didn’t matter that “something” wasn’t there. I liked him and he wasn’t Lee and he couldn’t break my heart and that was all that mattered. I knew by then that happy ever after doesn’t exist. Being satisfied and not unhappy was the best you could hope for.

Friendship, shared ideas and being able to laugh with each other was more important than that heady, slightly out of control feeling of being IN love as that doesn’t last forever anyway and then you’re left with resentment and the bitterness of broken, unrealised dreams. Better to do without it in the first place if you are going to commit to a lifelong relationship. Anyway, he loved me so it wasn’t as if it was absent from the partnership and in turn I treated him with great respect and tried to always make him feel special.

By marrying someone everyone approved of I felt like I was a good, dutiful daughter with the added bonus of having found a partner I actually liked while I was still relatively young. This was no act of desperation but an acceptance that it was probably the best offer I was likely to get. I had a big, expensive, lavish wedding that made my dad proud and my mum cry. Since then, it has been a conventional marriage.

He may not have been Mr Perfect but he has never been Mr Wrong.

We may not talk as much as we used to but at least our silences are companionable, not sullen. We may not share as many jokes as before but I still get a thrill of pleasure when he laughs at one of my anecdotes and I love that funny look on his face when I giggle at something he says. We may not entertain as much as we used to but when we do we’re still as good as we always were and the fact that friends are still with us late into the night means they enjoy our company and like being with us.

He has given me two beautiful children who I adore. My son is so like him and such a decent young man that it is no wonder all the girls love him. And my daughter has his gentleness which takes the sharp edges off her similarity to me.

The bottom line is, I was lucky to find someone who asked and maybe that’s why I said yes. He may not love me like he used to and maybe when he talks to me my thoughts and attention are sometimes elsewhere but whatever might be missing, I want to grow old with him. I don’t like the thought of being without him. And I think he feels the same.

He’s as right for me as I could ever be lucky enough to find. If I hadn’t said yes to him, I probably would be like many of my friends now - single, in their forties and desperate for a husband and family. I would have lurched from one disastrous relationship to another.

So I settled. But I think I settled well. I don’t think I could have found anyone better suited to me, someone who would put up with me the way he does.

Whatever it is that is making me so fundamentally unhappy, I don’t think it’s my marriage.
Or is it?? Oh! I’m not capable of thinking straight. The therapist will be fed up with me - I don’t know the answer.

This is so hard !


  1. I don't think your therapist is at all dealing in absolutes. Marriage is not about success of failure but compromise, love, mutual respect and support and above all happiness / contentment. There are lots of Mr Wrongs (and Mrs Wrongs) out there in the world. But a perfect Mr/Mrs Right? No such thing. People are just not made that way. We need to be flexible, to compromise, to accept each other. If you can do that then your marriage is a success.

  2. I rarely read posts that I wish I'd written. Yours has become one of the very few. Much of what you write has uncomfortable echoes in my own life. I can't say more, but I found what you said very moving and painful. Beneficial, but painful.

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  4. aawww... this post makes my throat feel tight.
    Steve up there on the comment above, nailed it. It's hard. I almost married the guy that was a wonderful man and everyone around me loved him! (except me)

  5. Oh you're such a brave gal doing all that...I couldn't do that. I'm stuck at just 'being'...

  6. Thanks for your comment on my blog today. So interesting to read your latest post - I'm just formulating in my head my next post on the importance of a companion.....from my perspective as a divorced mother in my 40's with 3 kids I recommend you hang on in there. He could so be your Mr Right - you just need to get a bit of spark back. Why not insist on going away somewhere together for the weekend so that you can just be and talk without other influences or kids.

    I think us women in our 40's must be a nightmare. We want it all. In a way. I divorced my husband because he had an affair. I simply couldn't deal with it but now after 5 years, I really do wonder sometimes if I shouldn't have stuck with it. Because starting again is hard. OK there is initial passion and excitement but that is always going to calm down and then it's time to look at whether you are really compatible. Mixing kids, new families etc - I really had no idea how complex it was all going to be. You have to really really want to be on your own to make a move and it sounds to me just like your marriage is great - just needs a bit of passion and a few treats!! Lx

  7. It's hard, this relationship thing, and it comes and goes, and our feelings are mutable and we must deal with that. Yet, I cannot imagine not being with somebody, since I have tried it both ways, and I find that I must be in a relationship.

  8. It is not possible to assess what the state of a relationship really is from a snapshot, however sincerely given. But I must say, reading your post, that it sounds as though you might be resigning yourself to a life of comfortable, rational stability. And maybe you are or want more than that?

    Being on your own is awful - I've been there more than once. It is not a decision to be made lightly - or just as relief from transient boredom. But it is not death, as once I imagined.

    I do hope you can "re-imagine" your life with your husband. But you may perhaps regret it if you just passively let your life slip by in mediocrity.

  9. I sometimes think we expect too much from our relationships in general - perhaps a consequence of having too much time on our hands and living for longer than natural selection necessarily designed us for.

    And then I wonder why on earth we shouldn't try and have our cake and eat it?

    But more to the point, Vic is overstating things in dismissing life with your husband as 'mediocrity' - there's more to life than relationships. They're a context, not a be all and end all.

    But then again (always but, but, but...) is there a spark to be had? Or is it that there might be a spark to be had for the first time? Why does your relationship now have to recreate what you might have never had between each other in the first place? There could be an opportunity there.

  10. The one thing that really bothered me about this post was your idea that you were lucky anyone would have you, or that he was the best who would ever deal with your flaws.

    The fact of the matter is that no one is perfect and no one without fault. He was as lucky to have you as you were to have him.

    With regard to feeling that you settled: I think it's very mature and honest of you to analyze things as they are and not try to portray your marriage as a fairytale.

    This is definitely something you need to work out, though, with yourself and your husband.

    I would discuss this extensively with the therapist to try and figure out what all of it means.