My husband and I spent our 20s working short-term contracts all over the country. For me every day was an adventure, but it turned out the itinerant life made my husband miserable, so we settled down. But now I’m miserable. On paper we’re doing everything right: we’ve got retirement savings, dental insurance, and a fucking KitchenAid stand mixer. But I also have a plastic storage tote full of tools and equipment from my old life, and I feel like it holds my corpse. My husband is happier than ever.
The thing is, I still love my husband. We still make each other laugh until neither of us can move. We still have sex. But the quiet life isn’t for me.
So what do we do? Is it possible to be happily married to someone who doesn’t share your life goals? Or do I divorce my best friend?
There’s definitely nobody that can answer the divorce question but you and your husband, but this is certainly a relatable thing for SO many couples. You love each other, but your lives don’t mesh in some way. We put it to our Facebook readers for some advice, and the answer from everyone was clear: it’s probably not the end of the marriage, but something has to give.
Many readers suggested getting out more alone, scheduling your own adventures, and letting him have his time at home. If you’re willing to try getting out more and adventuring alone (and your husband is also amenable), this post about weekend relationships may help with any separation that could happen. Here’s an excerpt:
When you do get to spend time together, really spend it together. And when you’re apart make an effort to speak to each other. In our 7 1/2 years of dating, we’ve talked every night when we’re apart (save for international trips) and we always say ‘Goodnight, sweet dreams, I love you.’ Sometimes it’s in a text because they’re rolling, but he always tells me goodnight.
We’ve also talked about the need for personal space in a relationship which may be relevant when it comes to lifestyle, travel, and time apart. For instance:
I’m finding out that maybe living separately isn’t a bad thing. Less tension between the two people. It’s far from easy. But if the love is strong enough, it works. – Tifa
Now let’s hear from the readers who seem to be really rooting for you to stick with it if you can:
I would suggest frequent adventures either with or without your husband. Or maybe taking turns seasonally to hit the road or stay closer to home? – Elizabeth
I can relate, though it was the opposite for me, I wanted to be in the city instead of gallivanting around the country side. I ended up taking a job for six months in the city which was only two days a week. It helped my mental health a lot to be able to be with my people and not somewhere I hated. Also, Offbeat Home does have quite a few stories about long distance relationships and living apart (including with the context of marriage) that are worth reading. – Lisa
I don’t know what your job situation is but maybe you could go into a consulting agency or something that would let you travel during the week but be home on weekends. – Sara
Lots of compromise
My partner is a touring musician. It’s what gets him out of bed each day. (I know I’m the reason he sleeps in). I’m much happier staying home and gardening, caring for the animals, etc. When he goes on long tours, I go with him. The shorter ones I stay home for. We have plans for an RV, so I can still feel like I’m nesting while he gets to be on the road. Talk to your husband. See if he’s willing to find some sort of middle ground. That’s where you’ll find your answer — in his willingness to compromise. It’s important that you’re both happy. I don’t know what you did in the past, but look into jobs with state parks close to home, usajobs.com, etc. I’m guessing you know how to find shorter assignments.
It comes down to getting creative and working together to find a life that works for you both. Also, maybe seek out a counselor/therapist. Not because your relationship is in trouble or anything, but they can help immensely with helping you figure out what it is you’re both REALLY desiring in your lives and they can help with communicating that more effectively. There are also folks on the internet living lives to inspire, you just have to search (maybe a lot). I wish you the best of luck. Where there’s a will, there is a way. – Amy
This has been my conundrum for the past two years. I care for my husband but we just don’t want the same life. We have found some common goals after I broke down and wanted to divorce. We’re trying to reach financial independence so we can travel more. I still need some “rest time” but mainly, I just want to be on the road. He’s the opposite: doesn’t mind some adventure time, but mainly wants to stay at home.
Compromise for now is me traveling more and him joining me for shorter periods, and me learning to appreciate whatever time at home when I don’t feel like traveling — instead of mulling over how I could be somewhere else. On good days I call this compromise, on bad days I see it as stalling the inevitable. This might not be helpful but you’re not alone in your predicament. What’s more important to you: your husband or the life you want to live? I have no answer — for you or for me, but it does take some soul-searching here. – Dora
Figuring out what you like about the adventure
You mentioned your tote full of tools. Were you working construction? Is so have you considered Habitat for Humanity? I don’t know if it’s the travel you miss or the work you were doing, but if it was construction, this might be something for you to look at. Plus you would be doing some people a whole lot of good. You can travel to different parts of the country satisfying your love of travel if that’s what it is but you could also be helping somebody out who could really use a hand. – Diane
You need to isolate which part(s) made you, you. For me, I love crafts, all kinds, but keeping supplies for them all was too much space (couldn’t afford rent on an extra bedroom just to hold it all). So I spent all weekends of a month on one type for several months until I figured out I liked making things, not the craft itself. So we narrowed it down to 2: something for us and something we could gift. Sewing and painting. – Andrell
Can you volunteer somewhere, that gets the novelty juices flowing? Maybe with animals, or building houses or something? – Heather
Best of luck in this challenge!
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