After almost 14 years of marriage, I can honestly and wholeheartedly announce that I have a wonderful husband and chose a perfect partner for me.
I’m not sure that I could say this a year and a half ago.
Over the years, I had let my dreams go – my dream was to be a jet-setting international attorney. First, I had my son. He was not in my grand plan, and my then-boyfriend (now-husband) knew that. It was a conscious choice to create a family with our little one, but my adjustment period was… long.
Then, work became a necessity to improve our financial situation, and since our careers both required a commute, I chose a more administrative position to be closer to home for our son.
Next, he wanted more children. Just figuring out the schedule for a newborn and third grader made my head hurt. Ultimately, I stepped out of the workforce altogether.
With the birth of our fourth child, we picked up and moved across the country to have additional family support. I left all I knew to make a happy home for our family.
Let me be clear – I made these choices and was happy to make them. However, when I looked around, I realized that I stopped living for myself. I was living my life to be his wife, the mother to his children, the ying to his yang. I loved a peaceful household, and that’s what I had. I had gloriously merry children, who would only complain that they didn’t have the latest, greatest electronic toy.
For my husband, he had a dutiful wife who cooked and cleaned, maintained an orderly house, and put the kids before all. He was the breadwinner. And sex? I don’t think there were any complaints in that department.
Then I had an awakening moment. I wasn’t living for my best self. I was doing just enough to make everyone else happy but me.
I had let all of my dreams go. As I fell deeper and deeper into a depression, my husband stood by and watched.
He didn’t do it on purpose, but every time he sat comfortably living his life, I felt more and more displaced from mine. I didn’t want to die “just” someone’s mother and someone’s wife, I wanted to live a complete life. I wanted more, and I wasn’t sure that he wanted me to want more.
I wasn’t even sure how to approach him because he thought everything was going well. Why was I so afraid to approach the subject? Because from his point of view, we lived a good life, and I wanted to change it and, for once, be selfish.
The first conversation came as a surprise. As someone who expressed no displeasure in our overall life, the suggestion that we were living less than a perfect life flabbergasted him.
Getting it off my chest felt good, but not much changed. I didn’t have any action items for him, so things stayed the same.
After sitting in my thoughts and feelings for a while, I came back for round two. This time, I could address things that needed to change – the first of which was I needed alone time. I needed space to not be a mother, wife, or even friend. I just needed space away from everyone. I needed to think about my own needs without interruption from others expressing theirs.
At that point, he purposely took the children out – somewhere, anywhere – for hours at a time. Then he started suggesting that I leave – to a coffee shop or the library for peace and quiet and he would “handle everything else”.
Next, I let him know how much cooking was just a chore to me. I did it, typically five times a week, but it brought me no joy. Between the two of us, he is a much better cook, but even more so, he LOVES it. He will dive in, cooking the same dish repeatedly to get it to perfection. Even though we had several conversations along this line in the past, this time he took it to heart. He picked up on cooking more times a week. I’m sure working remotely from Covid helped, and I appreciated the effort.
Our most recent conversation was the ability to explore, to dive in, and most of all, invest in my dreams. We are not a rich family, but I would feel guilty spending anything more than a few dollars on myself. By this time, he understood the direction I am headed and jumped at the opportunity to support financing the education I needed to get started.
We are not done changing the dynamics of our relationship, but he is open and willing to see what comes next.
We are hot, sexy, accomplished and… HAPPY! The purpose of The Other Side of 40 is to let you know that you are not alone AND it will get better. We are here to love, encourage and lift up our fellow women who may be experiencing a change, not THE change, but a change in your thought process, the way you look at your life and ultimately, what you want out of life.
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We are a group of women who would like to share their stories with other women. You are not alone. Find out more about us!
Mrs. Jill, JD of all trades, proud mother to rambunctious children and lover of
all most people.
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