Posted by: kato | 2009-09-22

My life seems to be falling apart...

Dear doc,

Apologies in advance for the long letter, but there is a lot of history. I was adopted as a two-week old baby into a wealthy home with parents who have been (to the onlooker) nothing short of wonderful. They have been very involved in my life, and i have never wanted for anything material. However, I have never really bonded with my adoptive mother as we have to extremely different personalities - I am artistic, introverted and enjoy lots of quiet time by myself, whereas my mother is extroverted, overly involved with my life (and everyone elses...) and has never understood my personal boundaries. I had a very frustrating childhood where she was so involved with my life that she ended up taking over every project I attempted, all under the guise of ' wanting to help' . Talking to her never made a difference, and I guess at some point i switched off and became passive in my life. I have done a lot of reading and have found out that she possesses a lot of narcisistic character traits - I guess she needed a child to make her feel like she was a worthwhile human being and mother, but somehow my own personal requirements were never that important to her (i.e. personal space, the chance to do things independently, etc.).

I met a man when i was 19 and he seemed like everything I ever wanted - strong, intellegent and interested in me as a person. I married him and have had two children with him, and for the first five years of marriage everything went OK. However, then I met my biological parents and after a whirlwind time of getting to know them (and my two biological siblings who I didn' t know existed) I started changing as a person. I guess I found out for the first time who I really was and that I was allowed to live my life the way I wanted to, since I had found a role model who is a lot like me personality-wise and who i really identify with. My problem is that I am not becoming more and more dissatisfied with my life. I am realizing at a late stage in life what my true personality is, my real dreams and aspirations, and my husband is not making me happy as a person. We don' t share many interests, and although he loves me very much I don' t feel intellectually or emotionally stimulated by him at all. He can' t understand what the problem is, and I feel like I' ve woken up and smelled the coffee too late. Our marriage is not bad enough to end it in divorce, and for the sake of our two children i would really like for it to continue, but somehow I am terrified that I am going to be living a so-so existence for the rest of my life and what if I were to meet someone who really made the sparks fly?

I have spoken to my parents (in a superficial way), to friends, and everyone is shocked that I could even consider leaving him. He doesn' t beat me up, he doesn' t drink until the early morning hours with his buddies, and he doesn' t cheat on me. Yet, he also doesn' t take an active interest in his children, he is not really interested in my emotional stuff and I just feel if I had the chance to change my past I would have definitely not married him.

Do I stay in a mediocre marriage and tell myself that he is probably the best I could have found, or do I uproot my whole family and disappoint everyone close to me and leave him seemingly without reason??

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Our expert says:
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As you've realized, parenting is an awesomely complex task, and many parents, thopugh they do their best, don't understand most of what is happening. They may give their kids what they assume the kid needs, without necessarily understanding what indeed is actually needed.
Your message isn't always clear, for instance, about who was the role-model you fel you discovered --- was it your biological mom ? I was puzled, too, to read that " My problem is that I am not becoming more and more dissatisfied with my life. " Did you mean the problem is that you ARE becoming increasingly dissatisfied ?
You have decided that your husband doesn't make you happy as a person --- do YOu make him happy as a person ?
Wouldn't in be very wise to minvest time and effort in marriage counselling, as well as in personal counselling, to make sure that it is real coffee you are smelling ? And actual cofee beans, rather than granules of Instant ? I strongly suspect that the sense of disatisfaction that is troubling you is deep-seated and complex, and may have little to do with your husband or marriage. And if you don't clarify that, and work it through, you are likely to walk out of this marriage, causing unhappiness to your husband and children --- and have very similar problems with any future relationships or marriage. Maybe the mediocre marriage can be tranformed into a satisfying one. But at the very least you owe it to both of you to explore this posibility, and to work through and understand the issues involved, rather than walking out hastily, with the same recipe for dissatisfaction the firstn thing that got packed in your bag.
Excellent responses from Jason and Susie.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Really | 2009-09-23

Question, had your adoptive parents never told you that you were adopted, would you have still believed that your personalities are different because they are not you biological parents? Had you not met your biological parents, would you have felt any different from the way you feel now?

You adoptive mother might have seemed to have taken over your life, but I think she was just trying to be the best parent in the best way she thought she could be. Sometimes, we all have parents and siblings that we don' t even get along with. I have sister that I sometimes wonder if we spring from the same mother and father! We are so different, as day and night are and I will do things for her just because she is my sister and she will do the same for me. We do love each other alot though.

There is nothing wrong with finding yourself and realising you are different, that' s why we are called individuals! And it is great when each person begins to find their true self. Congrats :-)

You have to believe that it is true that sometimes with an exception of a few couples, marrying at a young and tender age is not always the ideal thing to do. At the age I assume you got married, you had not really discovered yourself, you seem to have been in the period of still trying to understand yourself and what your wanted. Often as we get older and wiser (sometimes not), we become different individuals, and the people we thought we loved, become so different that we love them differently! It' s true..... I don' t think I will love my high school sweet heart now the same way I did 15 years ago.. we both grew..... and our idea of relationships, love and marriage may have changed altogether.

Your man sounds like a wonderful man and you sound reasonable enough to deal with any situation.... why not try. Sit and talk to him, ask he to get involved with yours and the kids activities.... If you feel you can' t work with him, then you need to get some individual councilling and findout what it is that you really want and need...... Just remember, we will never have that 100% in life... that' s why it is called LIFE!

All the best!

Reply to Really
Posted by: Susie | 2009-09-23

It sounds like you need someone to blame for your life not being the way you want it to be, so its your hubby' s fault. Your hubby sounds like a great person, there are not many men like him out there. It is not to say that you will find someone better, so do you want to spend the rest of your life alone. Men never meet womens emotional needs, that is why we have girlfriends who understand us.

I had a controlling and abusive husband and I have been married to an alcoholic as well. After 2 divorces I now live alone and it is a lonely lonely life. Thnink long and hard before leaving a hubby like yours. You are the one who must work on making your life work for you and perhaps change your expectations just a little. Most of all put the past behind you and move forward by excepting people the way they are including yourself, your family and your husband.

Reply to Susie
Posted by: Jason | 2009-09-23

Hey Kato,

I can relate to your story - had a similar upbringing.

To get straight to the point, I think due to your mother' s interference, you were never allowed to make up your mind on your own. Your decisions were constantly undermined, and you have grown up to doubt yourself, never having the confidence to make a decision.

I don' t thinkyou have married the wrong person, but I would seriously get some counselling from a psychologist, to see where you can make changes.

You feel that your husband needs to take a more active role in the kids'  lives. Maybe he sees it as not trying to interfere with them and let them make their own decisions? Remember, your mother was intrusive and we tend to act like our parents when we' re older.

Your husband sounds like a great guy. Try and save what you already have - especially for your kids'  sake.

Good luck!


Reply to Jason

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