Relationship thread - sorry but need advice

I don’t know who else to turn to.

My husband and I just had our 13th wedding anniversary last Tuesday. For the past year or two, it’s been obvious that he’s unhappy. I wasn’t sure if he was cheating, seemed to be gone a lot. He has a hunt camp in the next state and spent most of the fall there. Very cranky when he was around.

He sold his business and retired about 2 ½ years ago. He was the president of a 100-person firm and had lots of minions to do his bidding. Once he retired, he was home full time on our horse ranch with all the distractions. He’s recently started consulting again from an office downtown.

I have been self employed for 13 years now. For the last year or so, my business has been almost non-existent. We’ve been living on the proceeds from the sale of his business which was sort of okay until the stock market took a dive. I would take a job with another company if I could but there have been massive layoffs at most firms.

I came home one day in early January to find a note, telling me (in short) that he was unhappy and was moving to a hotel to try to sort things out. He’s been back and forth since then, staying about half the time here. In that time, he’s been diagnosed with some medical issues and is taking meds for diabetes and high blood pressure. He seems less cranky now.

We really have trouble communicating. I try (clumsily) but he just can’t seem to get it out. We mainly ignore issues until they blow up. He indicated that he was moving back home on our anniversary (also some sort of deadline for him, he never said what type). I feel stupid but we didn’t discuss it. This afternoon, he emails that he is staying at the hotel - without his stuff - because he has to be at the opposite end of town early and is still uncomfortable being home for long periods. He has maybe “crossed a line in the sand.”

He’s supposed to call me later. I know I’m suffering depression and need to do something about that. He may or may not agree to counseling. He’s about to turn 59 and admits he’s having a hard time with that as well as facing an uncertain economic future, having to go back to work. He’s always been prone to 180 degree changes in his life. I feel like he’ll just walk away and I’ll be stuck trying to deal with horses, dogs and 22 acres.

Thoughts appreciated.

I’m afraid I’m too young and clueless to offer much advice, but I wanted to extend my best wishes for a happy resolution. I would be inclined to say also that you really need to find a good means of communicating with him - even in writing or by email would count. I really do think he owes you some explanation and hint of the future.

Good luck.

Obviously communicating directly isn’t working (if it can be said to be happening at all) – the two of you should see a therapist who can help you sort things out.

I’m 59, so I’ll jump in (I’m not facing any of the other issues he is, I’m still employed and my spouse is not depressed).

It sounds to me like each of you have your own individual issues - you are depressed, not bringing in any income, and have a horse ranch to take care of, he may not be happy being retired, may be worried about money, may be going through some age crisis, and has apparently unnamed problems with you - plus you have problems communicating to each other.

I would tackle the communication problems first. I really recommend couples counseling, and if you can’t persuade him to go, then go by yourself.

You and your husband may not be able to fix your other problems, but communication can almost always be fixed, and once you are communicating and supporting each other, the other problems can seem smaller.

If you have any way to do so, I would also be seeing a doctor about your depression. Depression is often medically treatable. You will feel better and so will he. If you are dealing with that, even if it takes time, he may be more willing to participate in counseling with you.

Reading back over this, it seems a little glib and “that’s easy for me to say”. I have not suffered from depression myself, so I only know what I have read about it. I just want to acknowledge that you and your husband both have a lot of issues going on that would be challenging to anyone.

Good luck,

Well, clearly it is difficult for an untrained professional to diagnose your relationship issues from a single message board post, but I am going to go ahead and try anyway.

“Depression” or “more communication” always seem to get tossed around a lot. Sort of as if there are no real issues there, just perceptions and misunderstandings.

It sounds like he’s a very driven professional. Some kind of attorney or consultant maybe? Speaking as one of those kinds of people (albiet much younger) we tend to be very results and goal oriented and a bit self-centered. So it is entirely possible that he doesn’t know what to do with himself now that he is semi-retired and 59.

Or, a lot of those types of people tend to put their career or other interests first. They work long hours and travel extensively and their family is forced to adapt. If it comes down to taking a job with a more reasonable work life balance or getting divorced, a lot of them tend to get divorced.

Another posibility, which sucks to hear, is he might just not be that into you anymore. Maybe he got married because that was the next item on his life checklist and he was working so much he didn’t realize that it wasn’t the ideal relationship. But now that you have more time together, it’s glaringly obvious.

Or, he may feel a desire to trade in for a younger model.
Most of this is his bullshit anyway and it’s not up to you to solve it. But you do have a right to encourage him to make up his fucking mind and not keep you in some sort of angry limbo state.