Marriages Don't End Over Just 'One' Thing Even When It Seems Like It

Love & Sex 22

What's the straw that's breaking your marriage's back?As you might be able to read from my past "Staying Married With Kids" columns, I'm really trying quite hard to fix my past wrongs and work on moving forward in my marriage, not just for the sake of my kids' happiness, but my own as well. 

But I have to be honest and say that my husband isn't pulling his weight, which wouldn't be such a huge issue if he was apologetic or even warm toward me.

That's not the case, however, and so I'm sitting here wondering how long you keep trying before you give up hope.

Let me be clear: Neither one of us is perfect and we've made our fair share of mistakes. But I'm really doing what I can to make things work, which for me means no crazy fights in front of the kids, talking about what's bothering me without attacking him, and doing my best to be thankful for everything he does.

I'm not going to lie. It's exhausting to have to think about this all the time, especially when you don't feel like you're really getting very much in return.

But I'm really dedicated to making positive change. Or, at least I was.

And while there's no real major fights and we both sort of just do our thing and everything is copacetic, it's not necessarily better or happier. It's just not what it was before.

And then just last night, he did something that showed he really hasn't changed his ways. Nothing that might be seen as a deal breaker for most people, but in our relationship it absolutely is, because it's something that he keeps doing over and over again, something I've told him he just can't do because it dramatically affects my already stressful daily existence as a sometimes solo full-time working parent of four kids.

The worst part is that instead of understanding why it's a problem, he has no idea why it would be such a problem. So I end up looking like a lunatic or, in this case, a really mean parent, for putting my foot down.

Well trust me. I've let a lot of stuff slide. I've compromised more than I wish I had. But at what point do you get to say, "If this happens, I'm done"?

I'm coming to learn that the straw that breaks the camel's back isn't necessarily the biggest or the worst. It's the one that keeps coming back time and after time with no realization of its potential damage.

What are the deal breakers in your relationship?


Image via xikita/Flickr

marriage, divorce


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tbruc... tbrucemom

Kristen-I've read your article before and I don't know your whole story since I've only heard your side but you have a tremendous amount of resentment towards your husband. I was married 28 years and have two children from that marriage and I came to resent my husband as well. It effected everything in our marriage including our sex life which my husband decided was not acceptable but wouldn't do anything to ease my resentment either, so we divorced. So to answer your question, resentment seems to be not only your dealbreaker, but mine. Unfortunately if your spouse isn't able to or won't do anything about it there's probably not a lot you can do on your own. In my case my oldest was of age and my youngest was 13. I'm not sure how old your four children are, but depending on their ages you may just have to make the best of it for now. Even the little he does help is more than you'd have if you were a single parent.

Jennifer Hauser

I know writing about these kinds of things, helps not only the author, but also the people reading; in not feeling alone, etc. BUT, how does your Husband feel about your airing you private marital problems? This may cause some resentment of his own leading him to not want to try in the marriage.

I truly wish you the best.

abmz72 abmz72

Talking with a woman I really admire this past year, we were discussing a mutual friend's failed relationship.  Moral of the story or relationship was nothing our friend ever did was ever good enough to make his girlfriend happy.  She had a lot of insecurities, and he had to continuously "prove" his love to her.  It went on for two years, and the relationship went up in a fiery blaze.  After talking about this relationship, my friend who has been married for 20 something years and has two kids says "Dating and marriage should be easy otherwise what's the point."  She is so right.  I believe if you are having problems you need to work on them, but when problems become habits and everyday occurences, you need to re-evaluate your situation.

junecat junecat

Statistics show that children do better when parents stay together - happy or not.  Have you tried marriage counseling?  Sometimes it takes an outside party to help.  Splitting a family in two is very hard on the children and the wallet.   Hold on as long as you can. 

Flori... Floridamom96

Abmz72, what terrible advice you were given, "marriage should be easy otherwise what's the point". Making a lifelong partnership between two individuals is absolutely hard work. Are you naturally always selfless? No. No one is. We each grow, mature, and learn at different rates. Walking away from marriage because its hard right now is denying yourself and your spouse the joy that comes from getting through that hardship together not to mention the deepening of your love and marital bond. It also denies your children the stable home environment you owe to them. I know how hard it can be to struggle to overcome a single issue that for one partner is a very important thing while being seemingly irrelevant to the other. The hurt, frustration, and resent that can result from such circumstances can be alleviated even if your spouse hasn't changed. You control your emotions, they do not control you.

nonmember avatar Michelle

@junecat....statistics dictate your life's decisions? That is the most insane thing I have ever heard. I still pray my parents will wise up, ER a divorce, and find a life. You honesty believe staying together is better for kids even if you are miserable? Kids aren't stupid....obviously you either aren't married or don't have children.

And to the author: how on earth did you have FOUR children with this man who has apparently never helped you out? Yikes. Best of luck to you.

nonmember avatar Sarah

Does your husband read this? Do your friends/family? It really doesn't seem fair for things to publicly come across so one-sided.

nonmember avatar Mara

I am committed to only speaking POSITIVELY about my husband to others. Try it... it might help your perspective.

Flori... Floridamom96

Ditto, Sarah, Mara, and Jennifer.

Jenni... Jennie-Claire

Here's a thought...if you want your marriage to have a chance of working out, stop complaining publicly about your husband. I doubt he appreciates it. Here's hoping you're at least writing under a pseudonym.

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