My husband said he didn’t want to marry me. How do I accept and move forward?

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My husband said he didnt want to marry me. How do I accept and move forward jpg

I honestly don’t even know where to start. I ultimately need advice on how to get past this or can a person be happy in a marriage where the other person has no interest in their love languages?

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Known each other since high school. Been “together” 15 ish years. In the beginning he would make comments about marriage and wanting to marry me really often. At one point he said he didn’t believe that we should get married until gay marriage was legal because everyone should be able to marry who they love (obviously this was over a decade ago). We got thrown into living together due to a natural disaster. We had 2 surprise babies. I pushed for us to buy a house together. All of these things basically happened and he still hadn’t proposed after years of being together. Finally he said he had just changed his mind and marriage didn’t mean anything to him because he’s not religious. I felt so hurt and like I had been lead on for years just waiting on a proposal. I took it so personally. It still hurts years and years later. He says he wasn’t trying to lead me on and that his mind just gradually changed but I felt so blindsided that I had been waiting for something we discussed many times and the rug was just pulled out from under me.

Finally after about 8 years together I convinced him that if he didn’t care one way or the other about marriage that we should just do it as an easy way to protect our assets and children. (In hindsight there were other ways to do that but I wanted a husband and not just a boyfriend after everything we had built together) I thought it would make me feel better. In the end I think it has left me feeling even more rejected after all of these years. I know we’re together and he’s faithful and trustworthy but in my heart he never picked me. The weather made us live together, the surprise children made it hard for him to leave. He didn’t propose. He cared nothing about our spur of the moment small wedding. He doesn’t wear a ring.

I think I could maybe get past some of this but we additionally don’t align in love languages. He hates holidays. It’s been 15 years of no acknowledgment on birthdays, anniversary, Mother’s Day, etc. It’s one of those cliches where I sit and watch him and the kids open Christmas stockings while my empty one hangs there. When I talk to him about my needs he basically says these things aren’t important to him and faking it would be stupid. Basically it’s an inconvenience he’s not interested in. If I really push, he will occasionally do it begrudgingly and complain to the point of ruining the whole experience.

About a year ago he said (I didn’t ask for this) that he was going to plan a real proposal and vow renewal for us. He made it clear that he still didn’t give a damn about it and it was stupid but that he finally understood how it would make me feel and he wanted me to feel that way. Of course there was no timeline. When I finally asked him this week if that was still something that was on his radar he basically said we can’t afford it and he doesn’t want to talk about it. It has just resurfaced every bit of hurt.

I don’t want to continue letting this ruin my marriage but I feel so empty and unimportant in this relationship. He’s different from me. I know that I can’t make what’s important to me be important to him but it hurts me and I don’t know how to stop that or if I’m truly just being ridiculous. We ARE married. I don’t need flowers and Christmas stockings. I just need a partner I guess and there are definitely things I love about him but I just feel like I’ll never feel special or wanted.

John M. Kaman’s Answer: In your narrative, you’ve detailed a series of events and decisions that have left you feeling undervalued and questioning the very foundation of your marriage. It’s a situation fraught with complex emotions and unmet needs, and it’s clear you’re seeking a path to reconciliation, not just with your husband, but within yourself.

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge the validity of your feelings. The sensation of being “chosen” or “wanted” is fundamental to the emotional bond of a marriage. It seems that, for you, certain actions or symbols (like proposals, celebrations, and acknowledgments of special days) carry significant emotional weight, serving as affirmations of love and commitment. Conversely, your husband appears to have a more pragmatic view of love and partnership, focusing on fidelity and cohabitation as demonstrations of commitment.

The divergence in love languages and values concerning marriage and celebrations has created a rift between you, exacerbated by the unfulfilled promise of a more traditional proposal and vow renewal. This situation has understandably led to feelings of rejection and invisibility.

Moving forward involves navigating a few critical paths:

  1. Communication: It’s evident that there have been attempts at communication, but it may be beneficial to approach these conversations differently. Instead of focusing solely on what is lacking, try to express how specific actions make you feel loved and valued. Use “I feel” statements to communicate your needs without placing blame.
  2. Counseling: Engaging in couples therapy can provide a structured environment to explore these issues further. A skilled therapist can help bridge the gap in your communication styles, enabling you both to understand each other’s love languages more deeply.
  3. Compromise: While it’s true that you can’t impose your values on your partner, there is room for compromise. Finding middle ground where both of you feel your needs are being met is crucial. This might mean agreeing on minimal but meaningful celebrations or finding alternative ways to express love and appreciation that are comfortable for both parties.
  4. Self-Reflection: Consider exploring your own needs and expectations independently, perhaps with the guidance of a personal therapist. Understanding the root of why certain actions are so important to you can provide clarity and help in negotiating your needs with your husband.
  5. Reconciliation with Reality: There comes a point where you may need to reconcile the reality of your husband’s personality and values with your own. This doesn’t mean giving up on your needs but rather assessing whether the love and commitment you share can outweigh the areas where you feel neglected. It’s about finding joy and fulfillment in what you do have, without dismissing your desire to feel special and wanted.

In essence, the path to feeling valued and important in your relationship may require both internal work and external adjustments in how you and your husband communicate and compromise. Whether the relationship is salvageable hinges on both partners’ willingness to engage in this process sincerely and empathetically.

Remember, you deserve to feel loved and cherished in a manner that resonates with you. Seeking a balanced approach that honors both your needs and your husband’s perspective can potentially lead to a deeper, more fulfilling connection.

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