I had been divorced for a very long time from my first husband. We married when I was 21 and he was 24. After our divorce, he remarried and was married for 30 years until his wife died. He lives in a rural countryside in the Caribbean.
He called me nearly three years ago, two weeks after his wife died, to offer me marriage. During that time I was going through some turmoil in my life; my elderly mom was ill and in an assisted living facility. My youngest daughter had a lesbian relationship which at that time I could not come to terms with. In all, I was going through a stressful period in my life and had myself emergency-committed to a psychiatric hospital.
When my ex-husband asked me to marry him, I did not give it a second thought. I plunged myself into this marriage seeing it as an escape from my woes. The three children we have together were surprised, but they gave me their blessing because this man is their father.
So, I retired, did my rounds, got all my documents signed, and was on a flight to the Caribbean that afternoon.
My husband is a strong, healthy 70-year-old person who is still employed, but he is far from what I expected. He does not like to go out — not even to lunch, to the park, or anywhere. He just works and comes home. In the meantime, I sit in the house all day, with no car, no friends, not being able to walk to a store since we live in a rural area where, in order to go anywhere, you need a car. He loves his life, his chickens and his roosters, and he is completely satisfied with his lifestyle. I am in the small house seven days a week, 24 hours a day. He does the shopping, so I hardly get a chance to do that, either.
So, I am depressed and, at this point, having suicidal ideations. Today I locked myself in, turned off my cell phone, and am wondering how much longer will I survive this ordeal. I want to die. I know it’s a sin, but I am slowly losing my mind.
He is a really nice person, but I can’t live here anymore. I am contemplating going back home, but without divorcing him — just living where I can be happy and surrounded by my family. He understands my frustration and is fine with me going over there several times a year, but I don’t want to fly that often.
I was taking antidepressants and am on sleeping pills. I cry sometimes, and I am very sad. Why did I make this huge mistake? — Regretting the Remarriage
You made the mistake because, as you said, you were in turmoil and saw the marriage as an escape from your woes. You were wrong. It was not an escape. And now you’re unhappier than you were before. But you are far from stuck, and this situation is certainly not irreversible. The good news is that you can get on a plane and go home and rebuild your life. You can seek counseling from professionals and emotional support from your three children, your friends, and your church community.
The woes you were initially trying to escape may still be there, or there may be new ones for you to deal with, but now you have some perspective that perhaps you didn’t have before. And you know there’s no such thing as permanently escaping your problems. You have to face them and deal with them, and, if you can’t deal with them on your own, you have to get help.
It sounds like you have a lot to live for and that you left a good life behind back home. That life is still there. Please don’t avoid it because you feel like you have to pay the price of a mistake made in haste. Please don’t punish yourself. Go home. Reconnect with your support system. Consider joining a group like PFLAG if you need some support accepting your daughter’s sexuality. Get some psychological help. Get some legal help if you need it in separating from your husband. Just . . . get help. You don’t need to shoulder your burdens alone. And you certainly don’t need to sacrifice your happiness for a man who doesn’t seem to care about you. You don’t need to martyr yourself to commit to a decision you regret making in the first place. Life is all about learning from our mistakes and doing the best we can moving forward. So learn and do better for yourself.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].