I am really supposed to LIKE being married?

Before I get started, let me clear up a few things. I love my wife. We have been married for 3 years and we went out for 7 years before that. She is 28 years old, stunningly beautiful (really), comes from a wealthy family, has a great job where she travels the world, and is a great cook. I really like her.

However, I have found that I don’t really LIKE being married. It is Ok and rather mundane but a lot of the time I feel that I am just going along with an institution that society has created to crush the life out of men (and women too for all I know). I don’t really care for the family obligations every holiday (my family lives 1800+ miles away) and hers live in the same city as we do. I also don’t care for the constant togetherness. By constant, I mean being together most every day. It is not like we work together or anything. I am usually glad when she has to work late so that I can get some time home alone to myself. I also don’t really like having to take my wife into account for every nit picking decision that I have to make. If I want to by something for the house, I just want to be able to do it, rather than debate on whether it will fit in with the decor and then “compromise” on something that is not really what either of us wants. I could go on but I think you get the gist of it. I don’t think marriage is bad but I wife that I could magically turn it off a lot of the time. I don’t want a divorce because I am sure it would be much the same way if I found someone else and I do want kids in the near future.

The problem is that I think a lot of people (especially men) are in this same boat. TV shows make jokes to this effect much of the time. Do other people feel that most other married people slowly get smothered by the sheer mundaneness of the institution and the impossibility of the situation. If so, is there anything that can be done to help us lead the life of ecstacy portrayed in romance novels.

HEY NOW! I’m getting married in a week! HAPPY THOUGHTS HAPPY THOUGHTS!!!

huh.

you know, I’m not married yet. I’m still looking forward to spending my life with my fiance. I hope he doesn’t end up feeling this way.

You may hate this suggestion, BUT, have you talked this over with your wife? Maybe you don’t HAVE to talk over every little nitpicking thing with her. Maybe you should go out some nights without doing the ‘couple’ thing so you do feel like you have more space. If she goes out, then, as well, you have that time to yourself. You two have been together long enough that you likely only have mutual friends, but it sounds like your social life amounts to ‘attached at the hip’ right now. Either that or non-existant. Have any hobbies?

It likely only feels mundane because you two are in a routine. A rut, even. And not the good, fun and body-fluid type! But this isn’t a thread about sex anyhow. :wink:

The romance novel stuff? Remember the anticipation and great sex when you two started dating? You already HAD that part. Kinda hard to get that again. Go read the Kama Sutra or something. Research :wink:

(congrats, pezpunk!)

The crushing mundanity of having kids will make the crushing mundanity of marriage look like sweet freedom

Seriously, sit down with your wife and carve out some personal time. You don’t have to join a bowling league, just decide that, for example, that Saturday afternoon (or whatever) is YOUR time. You could also pick a part of the house that is your domain. Mine is the kitchen–I get to decide what to buy, what to eat, what tools to get, etc.

I do know what you mean. I had to live apart from my husband for a year, in a studio apartment in a strange town, and there are actually times I look back on it with nostalgia. But those times don’t last. Being alone is not fun.

I get what you’re saying, Shagnasty. Mr. Athena is completely wonderful. I wouldn’t want to be with any other guy. But… sometimes the whole “living together” thing gets old. You don’t always have to be interacting with your spouse, and not every decision has to be a joint one, but when you’re with your spouse, you do have to always consider their feelings & point of view. Sometimes I want a break from this.

I’m not talking about BIG things. I’m talking about all the little stuff. Let’s say I come home from work and I’m tired & want to relax. When I was single, that usually meant plopping on the couch, switching the channels on the TV. Watching half a show, then turning it off and reading some. 30 minutes later, turn TV back on, turn it up loud, go play on the computer for a while. Scrounge in fridge, leave dirty dishes on the counter.

With spouse around, none of the above could happen. Can’t watch half a show on TV - what if he wants to watch the whole thing? Can’t read in quiet & solitude on the couch if he’s watching the TV. Can’t turn TV up LOUD and go in a different part of the house - he probably doesn’t want to hear it. Can’t scrounge for food and leave a trail of dirty dishes behind me.

This is just one thing. I’m not saying it’s a BIG deal, but sometimes I miss living alone.

'course, when I lived alone, I wished Mr. Athena was around all the time. My mother always told me the best solution would be to live next door to your spouse. Hmmm… maybe we should try it.

Ummm… not to be overly negative or depressing here, but in my experience (married 20 years… I know, I know, I’m old) the little irritating annoying things just become more irritating and more annoying over time, and the mundane becomes even more mundane.

I dunno I just got married over the weekend (Oct 27,2001 - thank you, thank you, cash presents only please :wink: ) but I’ll let you know how it works out.

Why does getting a divorce mean you have to go find somebody else?

When exactly do you like spending time with her? You list five specific features about your wife, none of which tells us much about her:

She young (28)
She’s pretty
She’s wealthy
She’s gone a lot
She cooks

Sounds to me like you feel good having an attractive young woman on your arm when others are around, spending money, and having someone cook when at home. Fortunately she’s gone on business a lot since you don’t seem to enjoy HER much.

If I were you, I’d sit down with her, have a talk, and let her know how you feel so she can kick your butt to the curb.

I don’t feel suffocated in my marriage. There is nothing I want to do more at then end of the day than go home sit on the couch and tell my wife about it (and vice versa). Why would I resent having to ask her about a change to the home? It is our home; if she isn’t happy I’m not happy with it – even if I would be happy with it on my own. Maybe most marriages are like you describe, but then maybe most marriages aren’t good ones.

I would encourage you not to have kids until you work these feelings out. Quite frankly it simply sounds like you need some personal space. Some people are not cut out for marriage and possibly you are in that cohort. It sounds like you are somewhat self-centered but you are realistic about this.

You need to realize that your desire for kids does not correlate logically with a desire for “more” autonomy and personal space as having children typically constricts both. It would be best to resolve this issue before it curdles the relationship entirely. Getting out now without kids is a lot simpler than deciding that you are oppressed by marriage after the fact of parenthood.

Bear in mind also, just from a fairness perspective, that her bio-clock is ticking more quickly than yours. If this is a serious feeling and you aren’t just kidding around you need to let her know sooner rather than later so she can move on if necessary.

My bona fides: Met my wife at 19. Dated through college. Lived together for 2 years after college. Now married for 8 years. Years together: 15.

Buddy, with all respect, it doesn’t sound like you should be married.

If you find yourself thinking often and long about how much you’d like to not to be married, and if this has continued for a long time, I’d have to say your looking at a failed relationship. There’s no blame to assign there…God knows it happens where it will.

But if you’re actually interested in staying married the best advice I can give you is that marriage isn’t two people becoming one (other than legally, I suppose). Marriage is two people trying to forge parallel lives. If you enjoy each others company but feel cramped you should try to establish some identity away from your wife. Take a class, go out with some friends, work out, anything at all. Odds are your wife feels the same as you do and would benefit from it as well.

Lady Chance and I spent a great deal of time as practically twins for the first several years we were married. Now, after 8 years, we acknowledge that, although we’re married, we have different interests. There are things that each of us enjoy that the other can’t stand. And we give each other space to enjoy those things.

And that’s what you should be thinking. Your wife isn’t an extension of your self nor are you an extension of her. You’re both different yet find the interest in each other to want to be together.

Or you don’t.

Wow. Thats pretty depressing.

That said, living with just my SO is like autonomy heaven compared to last year when we lived in an apartment with eight people in it.

I hate to say it hon, but life isn’t all thrills. Life, in general is pretty mundane in content. If your looking for constant excitement and stimulation, you’re not ever going to get it. TV and movies have convinced us that the good life is all dazzle and glitter, but in reality the best thing for us is contentment. If your life was as exciting as you want it to be, chances are you would end up as suicidal stress-monster using various drugs to delay the inevitable crash that happens when you realize that not only is excitment not all it’s cracked up to be, but that in your quest for it you missed out on contentment.

But there are a few things that can help you out. Seems like you and your wife need to work out space issues. The best thing that my SO and I ever did was to learn to say things like “I am not really feeling social tonight, and I’ll probably spend most of the night typeing on the computer.” without offending each other. Find some time and space to call your own. Even little things like a daily solitary walk can give you the space you need for yourself without offending your spouse. If you have room in your house appropriate a room as your “den” where you are free to be alone. Short of that, buy yourselves each a small desk for your own exclusive personal use.

Also, try streamlining your decision making process. Do you guys have an amount of personal money that can be spent without consultation? That helps. Try looking at the ways that non-romantic roommates handle household decisions. I’ve never heard of people having to consult each other for every single decision, just ones that involve jointly held money or ones that are pretty major (for example, you could buy a chair for the house on your own but you’d consult if you bought a couch with joint funds). Also, not everything in the household has to be mutual. My SO and I actually have a sibling style his-half-of-the-room/her-half-of-the-room setup in our bedroom. Sure, it isn’t all that romantic, but it gives us a little bit of personal space that we can control.

Really, you don’t have any problems that good honest communication can’t solve. Living together with anyone has it’s drawbacks. Getting married doesn’t automatically change that. I think it would do you well to look up and utilize some of the techniques that non-romantic roommates use to keep from getting on each others cases. I think that that really is a better model for harmonious living then the two-people-in-to-one viewpoint that we currently assign to marriage.

Dude – I fully understand the cost-benefit analysis you outlined in your OP, and the fact that some people are going to conclude that the costs of marriage outweigh the benefits. That’s just their comfort zone, and I’ll bet there’s a lot of people like that. (but not too many admit it, you’re right about that).

But astro is right. Don’t have kids as long as you feel this way. Believe me, all other things equal, kids want a mom and a dad both who like being married.

I think the key is that you have to have some “self space”, either a physical location where you can putz around on your own, or some time/date where you can do your own thing without problems.

If you’re spending all your time worried about how your actions will affect your spouse, then it feels like a prison sentence. Having some “self” moments gives you the emotional freedom to cut loose, and makes a big difference.

Im not married but Ive been in a few relationships. One lasted for 6 years and we lived together so I know what its like living with another person for a long period.

Currently Im single and I have to admit, overall, I like being single.

Being single means you can be selfish and not feel bad about it. No one can accuse you of not being caring enough towards some other person because there is no other person.

Ive found that other people always have an opinion. They always “take a view” on the things you think or do.

This view may be favourable or unfavourable but what I sometimes think is - why bother getting involved with a “view-taker” at all?

Why cart a “view-taker” around with you your whole life?

If you’re single you can do whatever you want, buy whatever you want, think whatever you want without having a “view-taker” constantly there in the background.

Ive been thinking of starting a thread about this very topic entitled “Other People and Their Opinions”.

Other people always have opinions. Sometimes their opinions may agree with your own, sometimes they may differ.

If you are single you can take on board the opinions of others or you can reject them.

But if you are in a relationship then you suddenly have to take on board the opinion of this other person, you have no choice.

Even if you are in a happy marriage where your opinions tend to coincide, you still have to take two opinions into account. When single you only have to take your own opinion into account which is always going to be a more efficient way of operating.

The only problem with being single is that, what you gain in terms of independence, you lose in terms of companionship and, of course, regular sex.

Although Im single, and happy being single, I suspect that if I met a girl who really blew me away Id probably go along with the relationship thing again despite my better judgement. I don’t really know why because (intellectually) I don’t really want to.

I get sad when I hear that people aren’t as thrilled with their marriage as i am. I think the key is, I honestly married my best friend in the world. He was my friend before I dated him and he’s my friend now.

BUT, we do make sure to have alone time (more than I’d like lately…stupid working actor :frowning: ), and we’re very honest with each other. I mean, I’ll look at him and say,

“you’re driving me batty today. Shut up.”

and he’ll say,

“you’re on my list”

and we’ll just a) wrestle for it or b) go away from each other for a while.

The answer to the question is: Yes, you are supposed to like being married.

I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything…

unless rammstein needs a roadie.

I am so happily married I wake up wondering when the other shoe is gonna drop. No one deserves this less than me. BUT – I will say that one of the things that helps is that we spend time apart. It’s especially important now that we have a kid. Sometimes the best gift in the world is to hand the spouse the keys and say “Go to the bookstore” or “Take in a movie, we’ll see you in a couple of hours.” We have separate interests and before we started on the parenting gig, he spent lots of hours in his woodshop. I shopped or read or crafted or cooked–whatever I wanted.

My parents, happily married for 40 years, have the same gig going: they hate to be away from each other (as in, different towns), but on any given day my mom spends hours in her sewing room and my dad spends hours in his shop and studio. They’ve got their own physical spaces in the house, and spent lots of personal time in them.

I’d do as others have suggested–start carving out some more personal time, and see if that improves stuff. And can you get your own room/study/office at home? You can do it up how you want, no “compromises” on decor.

already covered, but get this worked out before you have kids. You think your time and space are constricted now – you ain’t seen nothing yet. your kids and everyone else will suffer if you don’t figure it out.

i personally like going on business trips. usually the most wild thing i get up too is sucking down too many beers with the tv blasting and sit in the tub reading while waiting for room service to bring up a big order of french fries. I would hate to do this every night, or ever very often, but it’s nice to do once in a while.

My wife and I are coming up on our one-year anniversary this month, and we have a five-week old baby added to the mix.

AND my mother-in-law is staying with us!

I couldn’t be happier.

There are times when it seems overwhelming – that we’re together and jointly responsible for a mortgage, living expenses, and a tiny pooping baby - but it never seems BAD. In fact, I think the weight of responsibility would be scary if it weren’t for the fact that she’s here to shaqre it with me.

Maybe it’s just the fact that we’re still newlyweds… but frankly, this doesn’t seem like a crushing prision to me at all. Yes, true, I can’t leave… but it’s like being at Disneyland. You can’t leave, but look at all the great rides! Who’d WANT to leave?

  • Rick

I agree with a lot of the advice on this thread and see no reason to repeat any of it (the good parts have been reinforced enough).

What I can add is to say that after 38 years of marriage it has not only been worth it, but I am looking forward to many more years. After raising 5 kids my wife decided to become a flight attendant. That gives us lots of time apart, but even before that I traveled and we could find ways to have our own space. Some couples want just the opposite and that is fine too.

At my age I would hate to think of spending the rest of my life alone. Right now we have both collected so much over the years that it isn’t a question of what can we add, but what can we get rid of without regrets. Each stage in life has its good points, but there is also a price to pay, no matter what choice you make.

Perhaps the best point was made by jarbabyj and not repeated so I’ll close with saying it helps a lot if you are married to your best friend.

Your marriage (as well as your parents’) sounds like mine. I love my husband, but would go NUTS if I didn’t have time to myself. Especially since I’m home with small children all day.

I am incredibly lucky - my husband doesn’t mind me going to the horror conventions I love so much. I went to Seattle this past April, and he took off work to stay with the kids while I went and a blast (it’s just not his scene). He knows I have a strong need to connect with like kind, and does his best to accommodate that need. As for him, he’s happiest when he’s geeking (a term we use fondly and it refers to both of us at various times!) on the computer all evening, or meeting his friends for Chinese food and a movie. Some Saturdays I’ll just take the kids out for the day so he has the house to himself to laze around and do whatever he wants.

We’ve been married 8-1/2 years. We didn’t get to this point right away. We had to work and compromise a lot to get to this level of trust and freedom, not to mention understanding. Communication is the key. If you don’t talk about how you’re feeling and try to reach some kind of solution, you’ll end up miserable.

Sheri