I've been married for two years now. In my first year of marriage, I was hurt a lot by my husband. We were staying with my mother then. He would find girls to chat with or hang out with friends until 2-3am. I endured months of pain and suffering.
My parents sold the house we were staying in, and they moved to their own apartment. My father bought a house for my husband and I, and we moved to our new house. That’s when life became more difficult for me. My husband never helps with housework, and I have to clean up after him.
He likes to smoke inside the house, something he didn’t do when we were living with my mother. We argue almost everyday. During our arguments, he would throw tantrums, kick the chair or slam the door.
Sometimes I feel like giving up on him. His lack of interest in sex makes me wonder if he has a mistress outside.
I feel irritated everytime I see him. Maybe I do not love him anymore. I deleted our pictures together. After thinking it over, I decided to divorce him. I went to see a lawyer to clarify a few things. When I told my husband that I wanted to divorce him, he got angry with me.
After he cooled down, he promised to help with the housework, and said he would smoke outside. He told me he still loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.
I feel torn. Half of me wants to leave this marriage and start anew. The other half wants to give him a last chance.
The first year of marriage left many scars in my heart. Sometimes I think he does not want to let me go because he will lose everything – a house to live in and a car to drive.
I feel so confused and stressed out. Should I stay on in this marriage when I do not love him like before, or should I divorce him? – Stressed out
Dear Stressed out,
It is common to find, after years of marriage, that you no longer love your partner the way you once did. Relationships change. And people often change along the way.
So in your case, it is not a big issue if you no longer love your husband the way you used to.
What is an issue, is the fact that your husband seems to have very little respect and regard for you. The problems that you are now facing – him smoking in the house, not helping with chores – are symptoms of that bigger problem.
He was not like that when you were living with your mother. Did he pick up after himself out of respect for her? Or was he pretending to paint a nice picture of himself in front of her?
If he did it out of respect for his mother-in-law, it is understandable. But why can’t he understand that the respect extends also to his wife?
These are not petty issues, by the way. You are absolutely right in thinking that you cannot do everything. This is a joint responsibility in a marriage. You have a full-time job, too. Your role is not to clean up after your husband.
Smoking in the house is also a serious matter. Aside from leaving an unpleasant odour that lingers over everything, it exposes you to secondary smoke that endangers your health.
Perhaps your husband expects a more traditional marriage where the wife looks after household matters. Obviously, this is not what you expect, otherwise it won’t be an issue for you.
It could also be that your husband expects to be waited on hand and foot. Now, many people have this expectation of marriage. It is not a healthy one.
People who have this kind of expectation think that love is the unconditional one that they received from their parents when they were young. This is not an adult kind of love where there is an understanding that what one does affects other people, and relationships come with responsibilities.
One cannot do whatever they want in a marriage and expect their spouse to just accept it. It is selfish and inappropriate.
You say that in your first year of marriage, your husband used to chat up other women. This aspect of his behaviour and his lack of sexual interest in you has led you to suspect that he has a mistress. Does this not count in your consideration of your future together? He only agreed to compromise on housework and where he should smoke.
You have stated a very strong case to leave your marriage. No one can argue with you about this. You have plenty of reason to seek a divorce.
What reasons do you have for staying? You have outlined how he has hurt and disrespected you. You doubt you still love him. Why did you change your mind, then?
There is nothing wrong in you wanting to give him a second change. However, you have to be very clear about what you want and the kind of changes you want. Is it enough that he does these things for a week or two? Or do you expect a more long-term change in behaviour?
It is important that you set yourself a timeline. How long are you going to wait for him to change?
Obviously, love is important but love alone is not enough. Things like respect, understanding, compassion, and a strong commitment to each other and the relationship are just as important. Do you think your husband has what it takes to keep this marriage going?
You may never feel for your husband what you used to feel before. That is just the nature of love and relationships. That is not a bad thing. Also, you can continue to love him and want the best for him even if you are not married to him anymore.
No one can decide for you if you should stay in this marriage. Only you can make the decision based on the facts. Also, you have to speak to the people closest to you. Your parents and friends are more likely to have a better insight. Do not keep things to yourself. You have to build your social support now.
Surround yourself with people who love and care for you. That will give you the strength for whatever decision you make. You will need this support whether you choose to leave or stay in this marriage. – Thelma
Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help.
Write to: Dear Thelma, c/o Star2, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Or e-mail: email@example.com
Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.