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Am I Married or Not?

From the U.S.: My husband, an Iraq War Veteran, and I met in 1999 and married in 2002 (we are still legally married; not legally separated), long after his military tour had ended.

In early 2010 we were making plans to move out-of-state, a significant distance, with him moving first and me following two months or so later. After his initial move, he returned to pick up a second load of household items and our plan, at that time, was still in tact.

After he returned to the new house, suddenly, and without warning, he closed every avenue of our robust communication network. Poof.

There is so much more to explain about the time in between and up to the present. While communications have improved, still infrequent at best, he still refuses to offer an explanation as to why. Just “why?” If I ask his reply is, “I don’t want to talk about it” and usually said with a tinge of hostility and/or anger.

Less than a year ago he did provide a tidbit of information that touches on answering my question of why did you leave, however he does not elaborate. One day he said to me, “I never really believed you when you were having flashbacks and remembering horrible things from your childhood. I do now. Because I am”.

When I gather up all the tiny bits of information he shared with me during our marriage and add them to the even smaller pieces of information he has revealed the past 7+ years, things that I had been suspicious of – have been (sort of) confirmed. Since not long before he moved away, PTSD from the war caught up with him as well as memories of having been abused by someone – who was not only deeply respected by my husband, by outward appearances anyway, but his family too. (The abuser is not a family member.)

As much as I offer to help him, he declines. I honestly want this man in my life, not because I need him – because I love him. If he is hurting, I will do whatever I can to help him. I truly want us to somehow find our way back to each other. Short of packing up and moving my stuff to the same zip code he lives in, I have no idea what to do. Neither of us has filed for divorce, our bills and bank accounts are completely separate, we don’t own any property, etc. We essentially live completely separate lives. The only difference is, and this is only because he hasn’t said otherwise, I am still right here waiting for him. And I ain’t moving. (Unless he calls and tells me to. To where he is, of course.)

Am I Married or Not?

A.

You asked if you are married. I guess that depends on your definition of “married”. In my opinion, you are married in name only. Usually people marry to have intimacy, companionship, mutual support, and someone to be a partner in managing the daily stuff of life. Your husband isn’t joining you in any of that and, from what you said, isn’t taking any initiative to move in that direction.

I’m completely in sympathy with someone who has a history of abusive experiences. But it is your husband’s choice whether he wants the past to dominate his life. It doesn’t have to. Unless and until he does his therapeutic work and the two of you get into committed, regular couple counseling, I see little hope that this situation will change.

Only you can decide whether to stay in this kind of “marriage” or to divorce and make yourself available for a loving relationship with someone who will want to be more of a partner to you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Am I Married or Not?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I Married or Not?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/02/28/am-i-married-or-not/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 22 Feb 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Feb 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.