My husband wanted an open marriage but I couldn’t cope. Now I’ve found a note he wrote to his coworker about me. What should I do? Our elder says there are no easy answers, but it might just turn out to be a lifesaver.

Dear EWC

Last year, my husband of ten years had asked me if we could open our marriage. He wanted to figure out what it was he wanted. I wanted to give it a try but after him going to hang out with this coworker of his, I couldn’t. I would get jealous and upset. Scared he would leave me. He didn’t even like going on dates with me but he was telling me he wanted to go out to the movies with her. It broke me. So we talked and stopped that whole open marriage because he said I wasn’t for it. He was depressed for a while. He says he’s been depressed but all he cares about is me being happy? Then a few weeks ago, while I was cleaning I found a note and it read, “I love my wife, always have 100%, no doubt about it. Her anxiety, depression, and insecurity have had me trapped for years. I’ve given everything up for her. I don’t know who I am anymore. When I think of myself, I don’t see a man, I see a shell that’s molded to appease her.”

I haven’t told him I read it. I feel bad. I have given up on so many things myself but never have I felt like it was his fault. We got married really young. After he had given up on the open marriage, he hasn’t texted the other woman until recently to just tell her happy birthday. He tells me I’m over controlling. I know I have my issue but my depression didn’t kick in until May. Whenever I do get depressed, it’s because he wants to open our relationship or because his mother didn’t want to accept me even after we had two kids. I have had to make the mature or at least the best choices for my kids and my family. He’s always telling me that I used to be sweet and I used to be outgoing but that was before I became a mother. When I was a teenager. The coworker he was into is in her early 20s. I’m in my late 20s. He said she was like him. Enjoy sex. Just as that. That I didn’t make him feel like a man. Because there was a time that I just was too tired. Now, we do it every day even if I am tired or sick. I push myself. Am I in wrong? What am I to do? He tells me he is happy… should I just believe him? The last ten years he told me he was happy but I came to find out he’s been depressed because it’s what he told me.

Roxie replies

You are certainly receiving mixed messages from your husband, and it is not surprising that you are feeling confused and hurt. I don’t know if there is an easy answer, but I will try to do what I can to help. Although finding the note was understandably very painful for you, it has given you a window into his thinking which may end up being a lifesaver for both of you.

You ask if you should believe him when he says he is happy. I don’t think that a person who is happy in his or her marriage proposes an open relationship and starts dating a coworker. However, the note tells you that he loves you. Take this information and use it to start to engage him in an honest conversation. Do you think it is possible that your husband deliberately left the note for you to find? It doesn’t sound like a note he would have written to another woman. If I were you, I would tell him that you found it and ask him how you can both start to make things better.

Having young children often puts a strain on a marriage, and on a sex life. Being tired is totally normal; we love our children but they are exhausting. However, having children also puts an obligation on us to try as hard as we can to save our marriage. The answer isn’t to have sex when you don’t want it, but to establish open, honest and loving ways to tell each other how you are feeling and to listen carefully to what the other person is saying.

I would urge you and your husband to see a marriage counselor. If he is unwilling, then you should consider seeing a therapist by yourself. An independent third party can help you sort through your feelings and come up with strategies to make you and your husband happier. You both will benefit, as will your children.

Letter #: 433127
Category: Marriage

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