Today we are going to hear from Steffy who is going through a tough time.  Sometimes I encourage women to write down their story because it can help heal their heart and soul.

In some cases, these brave women are willing to share their story (i.e. with a few name changes) if they believe it will help other women.  Such is the case with this young woman.

So in this post, Steffy will tell us about her present situation.  Essentially she says she is stuck in a bad and loveless marriage and regretfully, it appears to be showing some signs of being a toxic marriage, meaning that it is getting worse over time.

It is never easy for anyone when they feel compelled to leave a bad marriage.  How to get out of a bad marriage with a child is even more challenging.  Fortunately in Steffy’s case, they have no children.  But the issue of having children did play a central role in the decline of her marriage.

There are many women in situations similar to what Steffy experienced. Most want to know if there is some way to know for sure if their marriage is doomed.

stuck in a bad relationship

Truth be told, there is really no reliable bad marriage test that you can take which will tell you whether you should keep soldiering ahead.

I realize that when you feel like you are stuck, the sense of futility can be overwhelming.  It doesn’t make matters any easier if you are struggling with how to get out of a bad marriage and you have little money in your bank account.  This was yet another issue Steffy was dealing with.

For some women,  there comes a point in which the realities of an unhealthy relationship will overtake any remaining desire to make it work.

Such was the case with my client, Steffy.

My Marriage Is Not Working Out

So if you are like Steffy, feeling trapped in a marriage because you feel like your options are closed, just know that the road ahead does not have to be bleak.

It may feel like you cannot survive another day longer.  But it always seems darkest before the dawn. If you are facing such a dilemma, then you want to listen up and see what you can learn from this woman’s plight and what she did to turn her attitude and situation around.

Trapped in a Loveless Marriage

feeling trapped and boxed in

Here is Steffy story…

I never thought my marriage  would take me to a place where it felt like my back was up against the wall.  I realize now there are several things I needed to face up to.  That there are a lot of things I have been in denial over.

I have decided that I will be leaving a bad marriage. It took me awhile to find the courage. To say that I am in stuck in a bad marriage really does not capture what has happened.  It is much more complicated.

The truth is it has not been all bad.  But right now, neither I or my husband are happy.   I knew I wasn’t getting what I needed from my marriage. When I started seeing signs of an unhappily married man a few months ago, I sensed the end was near because I had already reached that point long before that.

When I first started having doubts about whether this marriage would work, I thought it was just me.  My husband was always so gun ho about getting married and do all the things couples do.  He wanted kids right away.  I didn’t. I wanted to wait.   Later I realized we were not that compatible on a lot of other issues.  I should have figured all this out before I agreed to marry him.

I have to confess, I did a lot of wrong things.  I could have handled my problems a whole lot better.  When I got to a point where I was often feeling trapped, all I could think about was how to get out of this bad marriage as fast as possible.

I know now that not being able to control some of my immature and impulsive thoughts made things worse between us.  I made bad decisions, before and during our relationship.  So it wasn’t all him.

Struggling With a Loveless Relationship

I guess I need to give you some details of what went wrong with us and why I am so unhappy in my marriage.

We have been having problems for over a year.  I was young, just 19 when we met and we were married a year later.  My husband is a few years older.  So I guess we were younger than most when we got married.

We dated off and on for about a year and I confess that I was hesitant about getting married in the first place.  He wanted us to get married and I guess I wanted to please him.  He pursued me aggressively. I liked the attention.  But it wasn’t just that.

chasing after his woman

Admittedly, I was a little jealous of some of my older girlfriends who were planning weddings.  I didn’t have a lot of experience with boys and really only had one other serious relationship.

So I guess my background for being ready for a marriage wasn’t so good.  But we had a long run (for us) of dating without breaking things off and I guess all the wedding talk from my girlfriends went to my head.  I didn’t want to be left behind.

So  I did it.  Looking back now,  I know it was a mistake.  Neither of were really ready.  I was my husband first serious girlfriend and one of his faults is he can be stubborn, even obsessive.  I guess that had a lot to do with it.  He kept pursuing me and building me up and I thought “what could go wrong”. He seemed so determined to make me happy, so I thought.

For men, I think they like to chase.  I fell for it and soaked up all the attention. I saw all of the good and didn’t bother looking at where we didn’t match up so well.  I know now to make sure that if I am going to settle down with someone it is best to have similar values and plans on starting a family.

Getting Married For All The Wrong Reasons

rushing into marriage

I know what I did was so stupid.  Getting married for all the wrong reasons was a bad mistake.  But we did it and the problems began pretty quickly. The marriage buzz wore off in no time.

We had not lived together for any significant period of time.  I was still with my parents prior to the marriage.  He had his own apartment and I would stay over some nights.  But it wasn’t like for any extended time. Maybe if we had lived together for a while it would be a different story.  A better one.

So we knew each other, but we didn’t really know each other like we should have.  I knew he was stubborn about things.  He has a lot of conservative views.  I am the opposite.  He knew I was independent.  But I never imagined he would be controlling to the extent he was.  I soon realize I wasn’t ready to settle down.

He wanted to start having kids and I wanted nothing to do with that.  There would be fights about stupid things and we both dug in our heels and that just made things more contentious.

He kept criticizing and harping on about different things I didn’t agree with (politics, starting a family, my friends).  So it got rocky early on.  It was like he finally got me to agree to marry him, then expected I would lay down to all his views.  I am not that way and when I resisted doing things his way he would get angry with me.

just get me away from him

We had some dust ups where I walked out on him for a day or two.  But I came back after I cooled off.  We would make up and say stuff about trying again, but neither of us changed much.  So the feeling of being trapped and restricted really never went away for me.

I hate to say this, but I am not sure I love him like a wife should.  If there are some loveless marriage signs, I guess the first one was when I would catch myself fantasizing about being with someone else.

I am kind of a flirt and have always been one, but not really overt.  I just like to have fun and I guess I like the attention from other men. So that part of my personality created problems.

So I would be flirting in whatever situation it might be and my husband would catch me in the act and would get upset and we would have a big blow up.  I now know it was probably something inside me trying to get out.  I think secretly, I wanted out of my marriage.  Deep down, I knew I married to soon and didn’t love my husband.  I mean, I do love him in some ways.  But it’s not complete and I know that is not enough.

Early on in our marriage, I was a student in college and my husband was working.  While at college I met someone else.  As problems with my husband mounted, I began having feelings for this other man.

It started innocently.  I can really say that.  He was a good friend and helped me cope with some of my personal problems.  So I guess it went from an emotional affair to real one.  It went on for about 9 months.  It ended because he wanted me to leave my husband and I wasn’t ready for that yet.

During this time, things got kind of messy and while my husband never found out, I know the emotional baggage from the affair affected my marriage.

Later I decided to drop out of college, partly to get away from this other man, but also I wanted some financial independence.   I figured getting a job would solve that.  I felt so trapped between two men.  If there is such a thing as loveless relationship signs, I was experiencing them.  All I could think about was getting out of the marriage.  I would start fights.  I did things to drive him away.

I was doubting if I loved either of the two men I had a relationship with.  I was unhappy much of the time.  I was making impulsive decisions.  I can see that now as I look back at what unfolded.

Eventually I found some work in digital advertizing and it actually seemed to help my marriage.  I liked what I was doing.  I could work from the office and at home and make sales calls.   I wasn’t around the house as much moping around and my husband seemed to start to accept that I was going to have my own life.

Stuck in a Sexless Marriage

no more sex in our marriage

We decided to move out of the apartment and rent a house which I think also kinda helped because I could have my work space and it just give us more room.  When you are cooped up in a small apartment, living with someone you are not sure you want to be with,  it just magnifies the problems.

But after a six months I was laid off.   I think that was the beginning of the end.  I started feeling trapped again and he started blaming me for some of the new financial issues we were experiencing.  I think he was really still upset with me about all of the things we don’t agree on.  He was always trying to debate me, trying to change my mind about all sorts of things.  I don’t like being told what to think. So I believe I was carrying a lot of resentment and so was he.

Things just got cold between us from there.  I started withholding sex not because I wanted to hurt him, but because I just wasn’t attracted to him anymore and didn’t feel close.

He would make me feel uncomfortable because almost every time he would start talking about starting up a family and introduce that whole line of discussion.  It was a turn off and I resented him trying to wedge that topic into our sex life.

When I was finally sure I wanted to end the marriage, my focus turned to how I should do it.  I felt my life had taken an awful turn to how to survive a loveless sexless marriage and I didn’t want to live that life.

I also knew things were not going so well in my husband’s mind at this point.  He knew I was pulling away and the more he felt it, the more he tried to pull me back in.

The emotional effects of a sexless marriage were getting to him.  Maybe I should feel ashamed, but I was glad for it.  Because I wanted him to arrive at the same place I was.  I didn’t want the marriage to rock along for years with neither of us happy.

When I lost my job, it brought more financial pressure to bear on us both, but particularly for me because I was already fixed on getting out.

But how could I if I did not have any financial independence.  Staying in a loveless marriage for financial reasons was so much against everything I stood for.  So I think these two forces collided.  Me wanting out of the marriage and feeling trapped by my lack of money.  I didn’t want to go back to my parents and ask for help.

Thinking about all of this was just making me crazy and as you can imagine, it made life with my husband unbearable.  Not because he was so mean to me, but I was in a bad place in my head.

The volatile side of my personality would emerge and I would say insensitive things and act out to the extent that my husband would fight back.  After living like this for months, it left us sometimes hating each other.

There Is No Room For Hate In a Relationship

carve the hate out of your marriage

I know it’s not right to hate your husband.  He doesn’t deserve that and I know now that while we have serious compatibility issues, he is not a hateful person himself and doesn’t deserve to be hated.

I decided it was time to be open with my feelings.  I knew it would be painful, but it was my truth and I had held it in for far too long.

I told him I didn’t feel for him as I use to, that I didn’t love him like I once did.  I asked him why would a man stay in a loveless marriage.  He agreed that is how we have been living for many months.  Showing and giving little love.

But true to form, he would argue about how we can find each other again and just needed more time.  It just made me sick to hear that because it showed me he wasn’t listening.  So our conversation ended up being a big stalemate.

I was hoping we could discuss separation in a serious way, but he just wasn’t listening. He acted like I wasn’t even there and the only thing that mattered was what he thought.

What should a husband do in a sexless marriage, I would ask myself.  You would think he would be unhappy and agree that a sexless marriage can lead to divorce.

But my husband would cling to fanatical notions that it all happened for a reason.  He would argue that a little depression in our lives was a small price to pay and we would learn to love again.

He is real religious.  I told him he was wrong.  That the dangers of a sexless, loveless marriage is that the couple comes to hate each other.

I told him I didn’t want that. I told him again I didn’t want to be with him and that a sexless relationship causing depression was far from the worst of our problems.

I could see that getting him to agree to a breakup wasn’t going to happen in any way that was mutually acceptable. I guess it never does.

The feeling of being stuck in a loveless marriage was just too much for me.  So a few weeks later after that last heart to heart with my husband, I sought some counsel on what to do.

I knew I wanted out.  I was desperate to leave but I didn’t want to return to living with my parents.  For some reason I thought I needed his permission to seek a separation and divorce.

Of course I was wrong about that and Chris told me that I was free to break off things with my husband if I so wished.  He talked about how I may want to consider a trial separation.  That would allow me and my husband time to get use to the idea of living apart and potentially seeking a legal divorce.  He explained I was over thinking it all, trying to solve everything at one time and that I should take things on in smaller chunks.

So he advised that if I felt so strongly about leaving my husband, then I should not rule out staying with my parents or a close friend for a while.  He told me if I was talented enough to get a job in digital advertising and if I have a solid job history (which I do), then I would land on my feet and find something suitable.

Chris kept taking about doing things in small steps.  The first step was moving out and telling my husband that I needed time to heal and get in touch with what I really wanted in my life.

He explained that putting distance between me and my husband would benefit us both, allowing us to see things more clearly.  He thought my husband would resist the idea, but would adapt and accept what I was doing.

Chris told me that if there was a special bond between me and my husband, it would become apparent while we were apart.  But since he was advising me, he said he was more concerned with my welfare and that he believed me wholeheartedly when I told him at was at my wit’s end and needed to escape.

So it’s been about six weeks that I have been living apart from my husband.  The first few weeks were a bit confusing, but I found myself.  I know I am feeling happier now.

My confidence and sanity is much better since I  have been on my own.  I am living with a girlfriend and she has been wonderful. We don’t see each other much during the week, so it feels like I have the place to myself much of the time.

She is girl of course, but just living with someone other than my husband helped showed me the difference in what it’s like with being with different people.  She is one of these really super positive people, filled with enthusiasm for life. So it has been a nice counterpoint to what I have been living through.

I have renewed hope that everything is going to turn out fine.  My husband called me way too much and texted me way too much in the first few weeks of us being separated.

But Chris warned me of that and I was better prepared emotionally.  He told me I should practice a limited contact approach when it came to communications with him and that is what I have been doing.  My husband is starting to cool off now and accept that things did not work out and may never work out.

I am just glad to be where I am emotionally and location wise.  Chris encouraged me to keep my focus on me and my healing and make it a goal to get multiple interviews for work.   He convinced me early on that it was all going to work out.  That lifted my spirits. He doesn’t have to do that anymore because it is working out.  I am still young and will learn from my mistakes.



How likely is your marriage to succeed?

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