‘I feel abandoned, frustrated, taken for granted …’

Chat at 1.

I've been married for 17 yrs. I've never been one to tell my husband he can’t go out with friends. During the course of our marriage, he has taken two to three trips a year without me, and goes fishing and snowmobiling multiple weekends during the year as well.

I switched jobs about three years ago and now I have more regular daytime hours. I started noticing that since I was home every night, he was gone more. I have told him many times that I need his help; we have two children and I do most of the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc., plus I work almost full time. I have told him he is never home, but he disagrees. I actually started keeping track, thinking maybe I was exaggerating. Looking back on my tracking, he is either out in the garage or gone at least half the nights of the month.

I am afraid that our marriage is headed toward divorce. He is not great at communicating and would rather ignore issues hoping they go away. I'm also afraid that I've become so disconnected that I don't care if we separate. At this point, I get anxious, tense, and feel angry whenever he is around, which is probably not helping. I've tried counseling; he came to one couples session and said he would rather just go out to dinner (that never happened). I feel like we have nothing in common except the kids. It scares me that I feel happier and more relaxed when he is not around. I feel abandoned, frustrated, taken for granted, neglected, fed up, and depressed. I don't even know if I want to try and salvage whatever is left.

– Alone


Readers, please know that this letter was submitted this month, about 10 days ago. I'm sure people will wonder how stay-at-home rules have affected this relationship.

I mean, I'm wondering. Something tells me, letter writer, that your spouse has figured out a way to spend most of his time in that wonderful garage, outside on walks, or maybe in a backyard.

My advice is to use this time of stay-at-home quarantine to imagine a new kind of life. Many of us are thinking about the light at the end of the tunnel – what we want when there's a "normal" again. What can you dream up for yourself? Does the fantasy include your husband? Does it involve separation, which would better define the time you both spend with your kids? If you don't want to salvage what's left – especially without his help – think about what you want to build for yourself. You can create something new.

Also, you can ask for counseling one more time. It is available, even now. There are a list of options in this story, and I'll also put them in the comments section.

– Meredith

Readers? Divorce? How can you save a relationship if a partner doesn't acknowledge the problems?