Editor’s note: The author has requested to remain confidential.
All I ever wanted was to be a good wife and mother. I had no idea it would leave me feeling resentful, lost and depressed.
I met and married my husband after a very short courtship. I was head over hills in love, and I knew I had found the one. He was kind, loving and he spoiled me rotten.
We had our first child 16 months after we married and 3 more would follow.
In my mind, I was living the dream. A two-parent household, (something I never had) a good husband and a home. My husband worked and I quit my job to stay home and raise our children. I was a textbook stay-at-home wife and mother.
I cooked and managed the finances and made sure my husband was happy and our children were well cared for. Things were going well until right after our 10th anniversary.
Our last child was only a few months old when I discovered that my husband had been casually sleeping with strange women on his lunch breaks.
He had even started a relationship with one, that I later found out, had lasted several years.
When he tried to break things off with her, she became very irate and dangerous. It took the police to make sure she left me alone.
Now, I had to deal with the crushing news that out of my 10-year marriage, my husband had been unfaithful for 7 of those years. To say I was floored was an understatement.
I became severely depressed and suicidal.
My world had been turned upside down and inside out. My first thought was to leave immediately.
But I had no income, four children and nowhere to go. So, I stayed.
I know most people think they know what they would do in this type of situation, but it is totally different when you find yourself in it. I do however wonder how my life would have turned had I left.
My husband and I went to counseling together and alone. It took a lot of work, but we managed to save our marriage.
We have had many wonderful years since then, but one matter has never been resolved: In my quest to be a good wife and mother, I forgot about myself.
Throughout the course of my marriage, I lost my identity. I had given up moving out of state so that he could stay and have his dream job.
I had put my entire life on the back burner and I was just about totally burnt out.
My children were older now, but I still couldn’t chase my dreams because the encompassing responsibilities of motherhood still didn’t allow me the opportunity. I started to feel stifled, smothered and angry, mostly at myself for allowing this to happen.
I felt guilty everyday because a big part of me wanted to leave my husband.
He had become a very good husband and father, but all I could think about was leaving and finally going after all those things that I pushed aside for so long. The depression was returning and I fantasized daily of going to the airport and just leaving.
It is very difficult when only one person makes all the sacrifices in a marriage.
I was often confused when I read stories of couples divorcing after decades of marriage. Now, I understood. The questions kept coming. “Could I really leave him?” I mean, not divorce him; just spend some time away to work on me.
What would my family think? Would they call me a selfish fool and turn their backs on me? What about our children? This family is everything to them. What kind of mother would jeopardize that?
All I know is I feel like I am dying on the inside. It is my own fault, I suppose.
I love my husband and even writing this makes me sad because of all the obstacles we have overcome. I feel so ungrateful even having these thoughts.
All I ever wanted was to be a good wife and mother. And I believe I am.
But, I am also miserable because I feel like I gave away so much of myself, that I can never reclaim.
Open to any advice you may have.
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