I’m worried my husband resents our life. We met in our twenties, when we both had jobs and exciting social lives. Fifteen years on, I feel happy and settled with our children, but I’m not sure he feels the same way. He jumps at any opportunity to go away with work, or see his friends. He never wants to talk about the house or the mortgage. He loves the kids, and I’m fairly certain he still loves me, but he just doesn’t love the way we live. Should I do more to make sure that he’s happy?
Lucy Beresford replies: I had to read your letter several times to work out what might really be going on. Your phrases ‘our life’ and ‘the way we live’ felt very abstract and made me wonder whether you have become detached from your deepest feelings. Instead, I think you project them onto your husband, and then you can spend lots of time trying to problem-solve him, while coming across as reasonable and considerate. But in reality, even though you enjoy your children, you are clearly not happy in your marriage. You don’t like the way your husband is behaving, you’re not even sure if he still loves you, and yet your letter is focused on his possible feelings.
Communication is going to be crucial here, and I don’t just mean talking to your husband about the house or the mortgage. You need to ask yourself what you want from your life and marriage, and you need to find out what he wants, too. Home, both literally and metaphorically, would appear to be important for you, but how does he feel about it? You may not like what you hear, or you may be pleasantly surprised, I can’t predict. But only with fuller disclosure can you then decide what to do next to make you, and maybe your husband, more fulfilled.
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