Am I stuck in this marriage?

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I've been married for 19 years. When I met my husband, he was different than other men I'd been with. He's very driven, smart, and just an all around good guy. I really liked that a guy like him was interested in me. I thought he was marriage material. We dated for a little over a year and got engaged and married pretty fast.

On our wedding day, I remember feeling unsure whether I was marrying the right man for me, but at that point I just thought I was nervous about the wedding. I ignored that feeling and went ahead with it. My family LOVES him and I couldn't imagine telling anybody I had my doubts.

For the first couple years, I was happy. It was an exciting time, we were trying to have a baby, and we bought a nice house. Everything was going as it should, except I was never truly in love with my husband. We are very much alike in some ways and very different in others. We both are kind of high strung, so we don’t balance each other out very well.

I am much more social and enjoy hanging out with friends, and although he does like to be social at times, he doesn't have friends to call and go out with. At this point in life, I feel stuck. I have two kids – 16 and 12 – and on paper, a perfect husband. My husband ignores the fact that our marriage is not that great. The idea of divorce is not even in his head. I've tried to bring up the fact that I'm not happy but he doesn't accept it and thinks it's other things in my life that are stressing me out. My biggest fear is turning my kids' life upside down and crushing my husband's heart. I'm truly stuck. Is this common? I feel very alone.

– Stuck


"The idea of divorce is not even in his head."

Well, what is? It would be nice to know. Maybe he has wishes for the marriage. It's very possible he's not happy with the status quo either.

My advice is to seek counseling together, not because I believe it will save you from divorce, but because it could push you in a direction – and a professional third party could ask the uncomfortable questions and guide you through some answers. You've told your husband you're not happy, but it sounds like there were no specific requests for change. Therapy is a very specific ask – getting help so you can let this go, in one way or another.

You ask if this is a common feeling, the nagging thought that a marriage has never been right. It's too big of a question, really. I'm not sure other people's feelings matter here anyway. This kind of consistent "I wish I were elsewhere" feeling isn’t healthy for you, your husband, or your kids. At the very least, you want to do tangible things to work on what you have to change that day-to-day tension. He has to be pretty sick of it, too. It takes a lot of energy to do that much dismissing/compartmentalizing of what's right in front of you.

– Meredith

Readers? Any thoughts beyond counseling? I will say it's different to read a letter like this without the person throwing an "and also, I have a crush" in the last paragraph ...