Need advice to sort out my marriage after a very stressful time - very extended explanation inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I met my husband in Wales and we moved to Brazil, where I am from, 3 years ago, soon after we got married. We have some big issues in our marriage at the moment that we are trying to deal with and I need some help from the hivemind to try and sort this out.
1. Language: We were both very enthusiastic about the move, but when we got here, all the stresses of the everyday life kicked in - sorting out his visa, a place to live, bank accounts, company set-up and so many other things - and since he doesn't speak the language, I had to do all of that.
During the first year, it was all about getting settled. And making things happen work-wise, that was the priority (we work from home). But even though he is a very "international" person that has lived in many countries before where English wasn't the first language and even speaks Mandarin, he seems to have major issues learning the language.
Now, it has been nearly three years and he barely speaks a few words in Portuguese, even though he has tried in the last few months to take lessons with a friend online. Even so, he never seems to take it seriously enough and blames it all on his work focus, on being too busy etc etc. And that is limiting us in many ways - from him being able to share the load with me on the everyday stuff to actually getting more work here. I also said I refuse to have children until he can speak the language. If it is hard as it is right now, I can even begin to think how it would be like with kids around.
2. Not being able to get close: because we have been so stressed out, we simply haven't been able to have sex in the last two years or so. To be honest, I don't even remember when I last got laid. And to me, a 36 year-old woman who has always had a very active sexual life, it is enormously frustrating. I can't even find a lover (even if adultery was an option for me) because my self-esteem is so low. I feel like I am not being looked after or desired, I feel like that I am my husband's PA/servant/translator.
Initially, I thought that had to do with my problems dealing with life back home and putting on weight considerably. But now that I have undergone a medical treatment to lose all of my excess weight and am back in shape and feeling/looking much better, still my libido is inexistent. I look at him and feel absolutely nothing sexual. But at the same time, he is a good friend, fun, interesting, intelligent. I love him and enjoy being with him, but because of all these issues, the attraction I once had is nearly gone.
On that note, I caught him twice in the last year talking to women online. Both had dated with him in the past. He exchanged messages with them (it was online sex really) and even got to the point of almost setting something up in person for when he travelled back to Glasgow. In both occasions, I found that on his screen on Facebook and on his phone, when I went to look at the weather forecast and some message from one of these women came up on Whatsapp. he claimed to have started both these conversations when he was drunk and feeling depressed and needing to feel loved (since my sex drive has been zero). This made me feel hugely rejected and I have not been able to quote recover from that or trust him ever since. He has apologised since, and got really upset when saying that he just desperately wants us to work our issues out and just wants us to get close again. But it is very hard for me.
3. Drinking: ever since we moved, he has been drinking a lot. Not in the sense that he will wake up and reach out for his whisky, but whenever we were going out, he would drink until he collapsed. Literally. To the point I would have to drag him to bed and he would argue with me and whoever was around. He would say he would have "a few drinks to relax" and then end up totally hammered.
He now admits he is possibly depressed. It also has to do with all the problems we have been facing, the fact he doesnt have friends of his own (all of his friends are my friends). the fact that his family or friends have been to visit. He feels isolated. And the adaptation process for him has been harder than he had anticipated, even though he really likes living here.
About four months ago, I gave him an ultimatum to sort out his drinking and he has considerably reduced his alcohol intake. But whenever he drinks, alcohol just affects him in a huge way, even if it is just a little. Like the day before yesterday, two rum and cokes and he was already slurring his words. It is very frustrating. It is also connected (in addition to me being currently frigid, the daily tension of work and life in general in a foreign country) with him ultimately looking for online sex.
4. Moving: We have been living in a big city (Belo Horizonte) since we arrived and now we are moving to a smaller town on the coast, where we bought an apartment. We see this as our big chance of gettng our marriage sorted out. People there are much more friendly and some neighbors have already invited him to take part in an English club where he will be able to do some language exchange. He is planning to get a teacher and get a lot more serious about learning Portuguese.
In addition, he wants to get back into sport, he is a keen runner and wants to join the local club to do some boxing as well, which he used to do back in Glasgow but hasn't been able to do it here. Meet more people and make friends. And the place is a lot calmer and would help us both relax a bit more. This more of a solution rather than a problem, but I am just concerned that he might get even more frustrated/isolated even though we are moving to a paradise and he is extremely excited about it all.
Yesterday - after we had a big row over him drinking the two rum and cokes and getting smashed the day before - we had a long talk about the relationship and discussed whether it would be worth continuing, or even moving to the coast together. About what it is that upsets him. He talked for a long time about how he feels useless for not being able to help me, frustrated about the language, rejected as a partner and a man. I openly talked about my fears and insecurities, about my low self-esteem, feeling unattractive and unwanted and how I feel stuck, since we now bought a house and have a massive commitment. How we are constantly short-tempered with each other and I feel like I have to walk on eggshells all the time.
We agreed to try and make things work and, if by the middle of this year we are still having the same problems, we will just agree to part ways.
So we are in the situation that we need to at least try to make it work for the reasons I just described. He is, after all, my husband and I wanted to be with him in the first place. And he has changed all his life to be with me, so he also deserves a chance. We have so many prospects and ideas of things we want to do together. We don't struggle with cash. We are a good team and could potentially have a lasting marriage, but it is very hard for me to muster up the courage and strength to continue. I know I could just give up on everything as I am still young and have an entire world of possibilities waiting for me out there, but I want to give this a last shot.
Can the hivemind suggest ways to get my life back on track? Thank you so much for reading all of this.