Annie Lane: Is marriage worth the fight?

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for almost 29 years. We have three grown children, two granddaughters and a third grandchild on the way. My dilemma is that although we have been married so long, we have had more downs than ups, especially this past year.

We just have nothing in common. He likes to sit at home, and I like to go out and be around people. I have tried to stay home and change, and I have suggested different things for us to do, such as go out to dinner, go to the movies or go out with friends. But he will do dinner only, and then we are home right afterward.

During the first 18 years of our marriage, he worked either the second or third shift. He did what he wanted, such as playing golf, going out with his friends and going away for weekends, and I stayed home and raised the kids. I went to their events at school and participated in after—school activities as a leader or coach.

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As time has gone by, my husband and I have grown apart. I just don’t know how to rekindle our romance or even if I want to get it back. Until last fall, he went out with his friends. Now he is claiming that he gets anxiety around groups of people, yet he can go to concerts and bike rallies. I love him, but I’m not sure if I’m in love anymore. I love the family time with the kids and grandkids. Is that enough to suck it up and just live the rest of my life at home? Or do I move on?

There isn’t anyone else, nor do I want anyone else. The last time we separated, I was looking forward to living with my dogs, decorating the house the way I wanted and not having to answer to anyone.

We have been together since I was 18, and I’m 51. Is there a point when a person just sees the light and says, “I’m done”?

— Unsure in Love

Dear Unsure in Love: Both of you have to choose whether you will work on your marriage and make each other, and your relationship, a priority. Your destiny is determined by those choices. If your husband says that he gets social anxiety, don’t just dismiss that as not real because he can go to a concert or a bike rally. Those two events are much less intimate than a social dinner with friends. Maybe he needs help with that.

You ask, “Is there a point when a person just sees the light and says, ‘I’m done’?” I’m not sure it works like that. It’s more that the series of dark moments might be lived over and over until you finally say, “I’m going to turn on the light.” When you truly turn on the light, you don’t find all the faults in the other person; rather, you realize that you want more out of your marriage and yourself. The real light gets turned on when you do the work. You look at your faults and his faults together, and come up with compromises.

Interestingly, you signed your letter, “Unsure in Love,” not “Unsure About Love.” I think you really want to be in love again. My advice is that you give this marriage a chance. After 29 years of being together, with children and grandchildren, you have something to fight for. Find a professional marriage counselor, and make an appointment for both of you. Continue to express your concerns to your husband in a loving manner.

All the best to both of you.

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