Dear Dr. Love,I will be moving to Florida in 5 months, I have been married for 13 years, my husband will not move. He wants to stay in Illinois. I hate it here. I was born and raised in California. I have been here three years. Now I ‘m ready to move on. He presently is not working so that is not a factor in keeping him here. So I will go without him.My question is should I stay married. Long distant. We did that once already. For two years. He moved here and I stayed in California. Wow!!! I ‘m ready to move on in a relationship as well, I do not feel my husband is. Thank you for any advice you can give.
You ask if you should carry on a long distance marriage. The only person who can answer this question is you, yourself. All I can do is, hopefully, ask you the right questions in order to help you clarify your own thoughts and feelings. Then, when the issues are clear, you will be in a better position to arrive at a decision that is right for you.First, I ‘d like to start with an observation: It seems as though your marital conflicts are not being discussed in words; instead, they seem to be expressed in the form of actions (moving away, staying behind. ) Periodically, he picks up and moves or you pick up and move, but I am not hearing about the feelings and thoughts that motivate these moves.It sounds like you both feel disconnected from each other and very conflicted about whether or not you want to be together. Why are you both feeling this way? There are so many possibilities. I’ll suggest a few. If you were both raised by distant or abandoning parents, there will be fear of becoming close to another person. And, as a result, there will be periods of closeness, followed by fear of that closeness, and then a moving away emotionally or physically.Another possibility: If your parents were very cut off from feelings and never showed love and tenderness or demonstrated how to contructively express angry feelings, you and your husband will feel cut off from each other because you lack models for how to express your loving and angry feelings. And, over time, as you become more and more disappointed in the relationship, instead of talking with each other (which you may not know how to do) you, simply express your anger by pulling away.The third possibility is that you both grew up with verbally or physically abusive parents, in which case, it would be common for you both to: become abusive or to swing the opposite way and distance from each other and avoid anger like the plague. Without knowing more about your histories, I can only guess what is happening for you both in this marriage.One thing is clear: There are a lot of resentments that aren’t being dealt with directly and a tremendous fear of being close. The net result is: a cold, cut-off feeling and periods of pulling away from each other (the urge to move on. ) So, as you can see, the simple question’should I divorce or not, ‘is the tip of the iceburg here.Before even considering divorce, you need to do a lot of soul searching and ask yourself and each other a lot of questions. Such as: Are we pulling away from each other because we are angry and don’t know how to handle these feelings?; Are we terrified of becoming too close? If you or your husband say yes to either of these questions, then it would be good to find a therapist who can work with you both, as individuals and help you resolve these issues.One other thing to keep in mind. You said you are ready to move on in a relationship and that your husband isn’t . What does ‘move on ‘in a relationship mean? If this is the phrase you are using with your husband, he will be as clueless as I am. Being clueless, he may appear to you as not caring to ‘move on.’ Before you assume that he doesn’t wish to ‘move on’ in the relationship, you need to be specific about what would make you feel that you are moving on in this relationship: more time together, more intimate talks?Clarify what you want and then tell your husband. If he appears unable to understand what you need, then, find a good marriage counsellor who can help you put into words what you need and help him understand what you desire. If he still seems unwilling or unable to give you what you need, then, and only then, is it time to consider divorce. I hope you realize now that divorcing doesn’t solve relationship issues, it just buries them temporarily. Fears of intimacy or inability to express one’s needs or communicate negative feelings are all problems that will resurrect in your next relationship. I promise you that. So, try taking care of business at home and see what develops. Good luck.