My life has turned into a soap opera
I apologize in advance for a long post ahead.
I got married to my husband just under two years ago after dating for about 6 years and a two year engagement. Within the two years before we got married, we had gotten a bit lazy in our relationship: drifting apart a bit and communicating less effectively and a lot more little fights (I'm very type A and my husband is not). Of course the love was still there. When we got married my husband was completing a post graduate degree and I had already been working in my career for a few years. I was the main breadwinner though my husband still contributed to day to day expenses. After having a hard time finding a job that he liked, my husband decided to start the process to join the military and even though that wasn't a life I ever thought I'd live I tried to be supportive and think of all the positive things that could be in that life. My husband did ask my opinion at the beginning of the application if he should do it and since it was still a "plan b" and also since he seemed finally interested in something of course I told him to do it. Well plan B turned into plan a and he was off to a different province for 4 months.
We talked very rarely and I felt really disconnected from him and his life there and he told me very little about what he was going through. Time alone gave me a lot of time to think: think of the career I would be giving up, the likliehood of moving to small towns I may not want to live... leaving family and really good friends (in the last two years I've become very connected in the community we live in). I am pretty career oriented with goals of moving up or at least gaining more success in my field: although I can work in my field other places I woudl be started at square one each time. My husband has always wanted kids more than me, and though I can see my life with kids I can also see my living a happy life without them. And a life in the military brought me more doubt that its something I would want: since I would spend a lot of time all alone taking care of children leaving me little time for a life outside of this (trying to push my career forward, travel, etc.).
And now for the added complication that makes this a soap opera: My husband and I talked while he was gone about how hard of a time I was having and the doubts I was having (I'd say communication-wise we were finally being more open!). He suggested perhaps I should look at even seeing someone else while he was gone just to see if I could connect with someone else and could live happier staying in town (on my own or with someone else) with my career, etc. rather than following him. THough I said no and thought no it would never happen, fast forward and yes I can blame being emotionally unstable and other things but I dont want to make excuses - I kissed another man (or rather he kissed me). A friend of mine and his who was an emotional support. I told my husband who was supportive (well supportive in a way of him wanting me to be happy and not blindly just follow him or regret going) in dating this friend. And I enjoyed spending time with him: he is very different from my husband, more sensitive and gives me emotional support in a way that my husband never seems to be able to. He also is established in a good job making good money in the town I'm from. Fairly quickly this friend fell for me.
And now my husband is back in town for a few months before he travels for more training for up to two years. WE are having very open conversations. Talking about the options: should I follow him this winter once he finishes the first few stages of his training?, would we take a break/separate during his training and see if our lives work better apart?. THis other man has stepped back to let my husband and I figure things out, but he does want to be with me and to be honest if my husband and I decide we won't work out I would like to see where that goes.
So now I am left with a tough decision: should I give up my career as I see it now to follow my husband? Should I stay here and try living a life without him but with my family/ career/ community?
Making observations paragraph by paragraph...
1. Why did it take eight whole years to get married?
2. How come your husband felt he could take his sweet time in holding out for his perfect job, despite his being aware that you'd already spent ages bearing the financial lion's share burden, meaning ANY paid job whilst continuing his search would have helped majorly? I mean, as a student, compared to you he can't have been contributing all that much to warrant that term, surely? Where as his pride or senses of appreciation and ever-mounting responsibility? We'd all like the luxury in that situation of holding out, wouldn't we? But it's called, BILLS TO PAY and NEEDS MUST.
3. Did your husband give you proper, equal say in his decision to join the forces?... especially given the fact that the kind of marital set-up it demanded hadn't been something you could have foreseen, let alone signed up for back when agreeing to marry him? It doesn't sound like it, does it, not if at the point of your agreeing it had been purely a hypothetical or vague back-up plan?
(Actually, I'll stop there, re your (er) marriage: ) Sorry, did you say 'husband' or 'grown-up kid'?
It seems to me that you envisaged a certain, more normal outcome in mind when you invested overly in terms of time, effort and a significant chunk of what could or should have been disposable or savings income, but that since then, rather than 'pay you back' as promised or even heavily indicated or allowed to remain as an assumption on your part, he - taking advantage of your over-generosity - instead has felt at liberty to suddenly and drastically move the goalposts and, 'scr*w you!', basically.
From start to 'finish', it's not exactly been a FAIR relationship, has it?
Anyway, the upshot is, opinions-wise... It's clear that you and your husband have huge incompatibilities, not just in terms of attitudes towards what it means to be a spouse but also in how you each respond to kindness: you repay and even pre-pay, he takes and exploits and *doesn't* reciprocate in any comparitive way, treating you as if you're more his parent and he the star of this relationship.
This is the thing: some women are practically born wanting kids; others, like a pan of milk on a hob, require the man to do the manly thing of wooing her to boiling point (pre-marriage and beyond), whereat, suddenly her wanting a child, as a 'tangible product' and testmony of the health and closeness of their relationship, starts to strike as the most natural and logical thing in the world to want, whereupon the urge correspondingly kicks in, either in drip-drip fashion or one fell swoop. That you could 'one day' see yourself having kids is a direct reflection of the fact you can 'one day' imagine a relationship that does something FOR YOU, rather than predominantly just the other person.
But WILL it? Ever? Not going by past indications, no. And the LAST thing you want to add to the long list of all you've 'paid out' and sacrificed, is the progress you've so far made on the career ladder.
"And now for the added complication that makes this a soap opera: My husband and I talked while he was gone about how hard of a time I was having and the doubts I was having (I'd say communication-wise we were finally being more open!). He suggested perhaps I should look at even seeing someone else while he was gone just to see if I could connect with someone else and could live happier staying in town (on my own or with someone else) with my career, etc. rather than following him. "
What the uck?!?! Okay - now I know what's been happening...the rotten cherry on the whole rotten cake: Mr Long-Term User-Exploiter-Take-Take-Taker has been having a new relationship on the side, which is going quite well, thank-you very much, meaning, he doesn't feel he has much to lose by losing you and your (er) relationship together. HOWEVER... Is that any justification for you to have started your own despite still married? NO. So - way to go in lowering yourself to his level, the very level that's left you increasingly feeling like shite on his shoe!
Not saying this new man *isn't* your perfect match at last. But the WAY you're going about it - with this guy's full support and collusion - is all wrong and wholly indicative of the fact of NEITHER of you being in an optimum emotional-mental position for starting a new relationship. Not if you want it to last, I mean. The bar has to start HIGH. In order that any relaxing down from it a couple of notches doesn't render it hitting the floor. So unless you do things the correct way round and in the right order this time, you're seriously hobbling and time-curbing this promising new relationship before it's even properly begun.
The right thing to do is get a divorce, stay just friends duringtime (which will be a good test of his character), and - when you're truthfully free and more fully recovered - THEN start the romantic aspect. Furthermore, by that time you'll have a FAIR comparison to draw in terms of what your husband was like at Month 3 then 9 then ...and so on. Any conclusion prior to that one will be wholly false. Because *everyone* puts their best foot forward during the first year or so...which is how you got too hooked into marrying this so-called husband of yours whom right now is saying, 'Cheers, luv, for completely funding my lifestyle and career and giving me all the perks of a relationship without barely any of the work whilst you saw practically zero dividend for all your hard investments - SEE YA!'.
'Mistress' has *not* stepped back. Because he exists as part of this new equation and everyone knows he does, meaning, it can affect and muddy any judgement, as well as encourage you to lower yourself to your 'husband's' level. He has simply withdrawn his 'input'. But that makes HIM a bit of a doormat, too, doesn't it, considering if you loved him enough to make a firm, lasting, possibly lifelong relationship with, there wouldn't BE any need for doubts, considerations and talks; you'd KNOW. Which means, you're treating him as a safetynet and he's letting you. WHY is he letting you? Would that be because he senses this *isn't* his chance for a definitive romance, and really just a 'right now' affair (which right now suits him fine)?
Edit: "So now I am left with a tough decision:
[a] should I give up my career as I see it now to follow my husband?
[b] Should I stay here and try living a life without him but with my family/ career/ community / AND THIS OTHER MAN?"
[c] Should I end my marriage-not-marriage and refuse to lower my morals and standards in making myself and Mr Wonderful Solution *wait a bit* (not least in order to suck and see)?
My vote is obviously C (not least because you don't *have* a husband or a marriage (and never really did, actually) and (thankfully) have no kids to traumatise by splitting). You'd be surprised the humongous difference it makes to how smoothly and positively everything proceeds from there. I.e. *all* the difference.
Basically, if you want special and upstanding then you have to first endeavour to BE special and upstanding. Because that's how it works. You have that opportunity. So neither tarnish nor waste it.
Hope that helps?