Is my marriage over

Have a good holiday weekend.

Tell us a problem.

Hi Meredith,

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. I'm 24 now and we have two kids under three. I feel as if I've emotionally checked out of our marriage. I sometimes regret marrying him. He's never really shown me that he loves me by doing anything to wow me or go the extra mile. I had a dysfunctional upbringing and always craved attention. I was crazy in love with him but never really sure if he was with me. He would just go along with everything; even our marriage was my idea. I pushed for it because I liked the idea of having that security and making it official.

We had lots of problems while dating. We cheated on each other. Our first year was hard, and I ended up crying myself to sleep from stress the night before the wedding. There were so many red flags.

He's changed, though. When we had our first child, he matured. He focused on providing for our family. He took care of me, but because of financial troubles we didn't go out much. But now we have more money and we still don't go out on dates. He's a great father. He adores the kids, gives them attention and teaches them. But when it comes to me, it's like I'm not worth it. He's always doing his thing and I do mine.

We fight every day over stupid things. I’ve also suppressed a lot of who I am for him. I loved going out and socializing – it’s my oxygen – and for last seven years I've felt like I've been caged in. I've told him all of this before – how I'm losing love for him, how I feel voiceless and not heard. He promises change and nothing happens. I feel like I'm done but I'm scared to leave. I can imagine a life without him, even though it hurts. I'm scared for my financial security, as I quit school to take care of the kids.

I also met up with an old flame. He's the only other person I've had sex with. I actually cheated on my husband with this guy eight years ago when we were dating. This man always gave me the world and I walked away from him for my husband. We met up as just friends and kept it that way, just talking about life and his relationship and mine. He was telling me about his crazy life and all of these cool things, and it's made me so sad to see how I missed out. He was trying to date someone new, and I encouraged him. He encouraged me to get help with my marriage. I know that I have nothing with that guy, and if I leave, it'll be me starting a new life on my own. I'm just scared I guess. I want to ask for couples therapy but then he'll ask why, and I'll have to explain everything all over again. I don't want to hurt him.

- Helpppppp

"I want to ask for couples therapy but then he'll ask why and I'll have to explain everything all over again."

Well, sorry. You're going to have to repeat yourself. You'll have to make these points to your husband and others. You might as well start the process and ask him to go with you to get help. Something tells me he won't be shocked by your request. Maybe he'll feel some relief that you want to address the problems in a healthy way.

You mention your single ex's cool life. I want to remind you that you can live a very cool life with a partner. As your financial situation changes and your kids have different needs, you might be able to take more trips, see the world ... maybe. Your husband might never turn into a party guy, but there are probably a lot of things you would want to do and see together. It's tough for a couple to pursue their passions when they have with two kids under three, but that might be the kind of thing to talk about with a professional. What do you both aspire to be able to do? Do your goals match at all?

It might help to talk to someone about why you pushed for this commitment even though you were crying about it at the same time. Processing that might help you trust yourself as you make plans for the future.

I'm not advising you to stay, but it's important you understand what you're giving up. You say he's matured into a different kind of person. Both of you are going to continue to change. Find out if you can evolve together.

– Meredith

Readers? Time for help?