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18 Jan 2004

I am 48 years old and have been married for 23 years to a man 8 years my senior. I immigrated to Zim in 1978 where I took on my husband's 3 young children after their mother abandoned them. Their ages were, 23 months( daughter), 4 yrs (son) and 7 years (son). I was a mere 23 year old, madly in love and was prepared to accept the package. Needless to say, my life and marriage has not been a sweet one. After 3 years of being together, I knew I had to have a child of our own, so in 1981 our beloved daughter was born. Sadly though, in 1986 she was diagnosed with leukaemia and passed away at the age of 5. No sooner had we lost our daughter, my step-son Darryn, who was 12 at the time, was diagnosed with an incurable hereditary illness called FA (Friedreich's Ataxia). We could not believe it when the doctors told us that he would be confined to a wheelchair one day. We knew there was nothing known about FA in Zim, so we immigrated to S.A. in 1989. Darryn has been in a wheelchair for 12 years now, with his illness taking its toll in more ways than one.
I am at a point where I feel "trapped" and exhausted with the responsibilities of caring for Darryn (now 30 years old) and at the same time I am very bored with my marriage. I am very grateful that I am fit and young for my 48 years and this is why I feel I need a change in my life and need to achieve all the things I have yearned to do, before I get too old. I have fantasies about a whole new life, meeting a new person and doing all the fun things I have never been able to do... like being spoiled and pampered and told how great I look, surprises for my birthday or anniversary and just getting excited about planning holidays. I have thought of leaving the country and going to the UK to work as I have a British Passport but will have to wait until my daugher (16 now) has finished her schooling.
With hindsight, I feel I was far too young and green to take on 3 young children and married a man who has not been the most responsible and stable in his various jobs. I must mention that his own children have always had a far better relationship we me than with him. At this juncture, security is what I want. There just never seems to be spare cash to take a break away. When I broach the subject, my husband flies off the handle and says I had better go and find someone who will give me what I have always wanted! I am the social one and love to have my friends around, but my husband is very anti-social. We receive many invites, but when I wish to reciprocate he puts me off. All social outings and suggestions are normally arranged by myself. I have to admit that I do get very envious when my brothers take their wives away for holidays. I seem to be the sister that never does anything with her life, just stuck in a boring groove of a very unstimulating and empty marriage.

I have tried to do a self-analysis of the situation and perhaps feel have outgrown my husband. The passion certainly isn't there anymore although I do care for him and treat him as my best friend. He is a kind man, but is unable to give me what I I am looking for in life. Am I asking for too much? Your input will be much appreciated.
Answer 628 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Evie,
Lets see what our other readers have to say here. You're not asking for too much, in terms of aspirations, though we can't always easily achieve what we aspire to. And of course we're all awfully clever backwards -- with hindsight it mecomes clear what we SHOULD have done. But that's not merely a backwards-gazing exercise, as it can also provide useful guidance as to where and how we should proceed in the future.
You may very well have underestimated the size, scale and duration of the committment you were getting yourself into. How could you have known the degree of tragedy and difficulty that would lie ahead ? And your husband surely didn't realize how much he would be asking of you, at that time. And although it's the sort of act of continuing love that deserves medals far, far more than the tiny deeds that usually win them, caring for a chronic and deterioratingly ill person like your son, is a noble but exhausting and dispiriting task.
Explore further the extent to which somone, from church, family, voluntary agencies, whatever, can share part of the burden, to enable you to set aside at least some time within each week which is for YOU, to enjoy and use as you please, including self-improvement classes, relaxation, whatever suits you. At least it can be a mini-holiday each week.
It may well be that your husband has set less bold aims for his life, or perhaps he became more discouraged, earlier on, and stopped looking for something more than he already has.
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