Facing a problem with your life, your sexuality, relationship, family et cetera? Write in to our advice columnist, Ling, with your problem. All emails are confidential and your anonymity will be preserved.
I’m a married woman in my 30s, with two kids and a wonderful husband. Wonderful as he is, I know I am not in love with him, and never can be… I knew I was a lesbian even before I got married… but my parents were pressuring me to find a husband before my time was up, and so I did. He is a great husband and a father, and I’m fairly fond of him. Our sex life, however, is practically non-existent… every time he tries to initiate sex, I make up an excuse and decline, because every time we do, I feel like crying, and I often do, after he has fallen asleep.
I love my kids, and I want what’s best for them. I don’t want to put them through a divorce, and it is not like my husband is a bad man. But the longer I stay in this relationship, the longer I feel I am lying to myself, and the more depressed I get. I don’t know what to do.
Dear Married Mom,
It looks like the main problem you are facing is depression. The act of self deception can be quite harmful and even more so when you are living a lie that involves loved ones. What you need to do is to stop this charade.
First of all, consider what a divorce means. Your husband sounds like a good person and I would assume your children are quite young. I understand why you do not wish to afflict upon them the pain of a broken home at this age. In this case, it is important to find ways to liberate yourself without causing too much harm to your family.
While you may not be in love with your husband, I am sure you are fond of him and do lov e him in a non-romantic way. As for your children every mother will always want the best for their child. Therefore, consider concentrating on your children while developing your personal life.
Bringing up children is a full time job and it is fortunate that your husband is a good father. While you may not feel for him romantically, do remember that he has not done anything to deliberately hurt you and is probably very much in love with you. Therefore, you may want to come clean with your husband and explain to him how you feel. Be aware that his reaction may be very extreme and it may lead to many questions which you have no answers for. However, in any relationship, it is important to be honest. Explain how you feel and how important the family is to you. However, ensure that he understands how the current situation is clearly plunging you into depression and how it is essential for your mental wellbeing that you stop hiding who you truly are.
You can still be a family without being romantically involved with each other. Nothing will change the fact that you are parents of two children. Work out a plan that may involve focusing on parenting as partners instead of lovers. Since you no longer wish to have sex with your husband, explain to him that it does not make you feel good and you would prefer not to have sexual relations in future. Should you decide to get a divorce, keep in mind that just because you don't love your husband anymore, does not mean he is no longer father of your children. Maintaining an amicable relationship with your husband will go a long way in ensuring your children are well adjusted during and after the divorce. You may also want to consider how to handle the external pressures from your family and friends. Always remember that this is between yourself and your husband. Do not allow other people to pressure you into thinking otherwise.
In addition, you might want to seek counselling. A professional counsellor could help you overcome the issues of living life as a lesbian woman in a marriage and the process of getting a divorce. Marriage is a commitment and when you have children, it becomes a very serious commitment. You made the choice so you need to take responsibility for your actions. It is up to you to ensure that all parties involved walk away from this as unharmed as possible. Counselling for both yourself and your husband would be essential in this process.
As for personal development, consider taking up some classes that you might enjoy, such as yoga, dancing or even creative writing. Allow yourself to open up and meet people outside of your current life. Perhaps you may even consider venturing into some lesbian settings if that makes you more comfortable. It may be liberating to be 'yourself' for a however brief period of time. Slowly coming out of the closet will enable you to feel more comfortable and happier and cumulate in a more fulfilling life.
Good luck in finding your true self!