After 27 years, am I selfish to want to be alone?

Dear Suzie, I have been married for 27 years i have felt for some time about 10 years off and on that i would like to live on my own.At first i blamed things on financial,as we have had a number of business over the years we have had a lot of money probelems and my husband as changed a lot in apperance and he drinks more but financialy we are ok now then i put it down to beening married at a young age i was 18.but i think i have realised that i have changed a lot, i love my husband but not in the way i should i have,nt for a long time.And its all going over in my head what i should do.I know it all must seem very selfish of me because he is not a bad man and i have 3 brillient chidren and a grandchild i would be hurting all of them if i left but i don,t know what to do.I am sorry if this does,t make a lot of sence but it has taken a lot for me to send this to you.

It makes a lot of sense to me and I do appreciate how hard it is to say it. But I do think you need to listen to that part of you that is saying “I want out!”

I’m entirely unsurprised to see you first felt dissatisfied at 35 and now you’re 45. There’s something about significant birthdays – those with a 5 or 0 at the end – that make us sit up and ask “Is this all there is?”

 Your husband may not be a bad man. But that doesn’t mean you were put on this earth to be his carer or servant and put your self second for him. It’s NOT being ‘selfish’ to look after yourself and to have a respect for your own needs, wishes and wants, especially when a small, suppressed part of you is practically screaming with misery.

 Sometimes, these crises are entirely to do with the ‘crunch point’ we’re going through at that time. Life is full of transitions. Turning 35, 40, 45 or 50 or having children pass from home to school, primary school to secondary school, from being children to teenagers and then on to adults can make you reassess your life and your relationships. Yours have grown up and left home and one of them has had a child of their own. All those events have changed you and made you move on, grow, alter. Sometimes partners travel that road together, changing alongside each other and even when they may become different people to the ones who first met and married, they remain in tune. Other couples grow apart – one going on and the other perhaps either branching off in a different direction or even staying still. The younger they were when first getting together, the greater the chance of a separation occurring.

 It might be worth at least giving him a chance. Of telling him how unhappy and dissatisfied you are and how much you’d like to pursue your own path. Maybe he feels something similar and in fact the two of you could shake up your marriage and find a new beginning. Or, maybe you’ve already got a clear idea that being with him is not for you. In which case perhaps you need some support on exploring what you could do, perhaps in setting up your own business using your own skills and knowledge. Maybe you need some extra training or education, some new skills and employment, to boost your self esteem and self worth.

 As for your children, they may be appalled. Or, they may ask you why on earth you hung on so long. Loving children can often react against a change but ultimately strongly support a parent who has been unhappy to become settled and fulfilled. You’ve spent 27 years giving your all to other people. Spend some of the next 27 years putting your needs first. You may well find that doing so actually helps the others in your life, too.


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