A New Beginning Up North
Dear Annie: Please help me. I am in my mid-40s and have been with a man for seven and a half years. He has four children who I absolutely adore. His youngest is 12. We started dating when she turned 5. We have had them full time for the past seven years. I have gotten pregnant five times with this man. There were three miscarriages and two other babies who passed away due to complications at birth. My son had no lungs; he was born at 20 weeks. My daughter passed away in 2017 at eight days old.
This man has never had a single conversation with me about any of the babies that passed away. But he will talk to family members and co-workers freely about it.
He cheated on me at least two times that I know of, though he denies it to this day.
This past October, I moved six hours away from our home in Massachusetts up to the Canadian border. He and the kids were supposed to come, but he pulled out at the last minute and has left me in limbo with where we stand.
I cry a lot over missing the older kids back home.
Please help me to understand why I'm holding onto something that is a lost cause.
In addition to being untrustworthy, untruthful and uncommunicative, he is not very kind, appreciative or affectionate toward me. He would often diminish my feelings and make me second-guess my own feelings. He has never stuck up for me or backed me up, ever.
When I try to communicate with him, I'll say something like, "Hey, can we talk?" and he says, "We are talking."
Not only did I take care of him and his kids for the past seven years. I also drove him to work and picked him up everyday with not so much as a thank you.
My main question is, what in the world is wrong with me? Why am I more concerned with what he wants than what I want? Why am I holding on to a loveless, unhappy relationship?
I love living up North. It's beautiful. I have no intention of ever going back to Massachusetts. I truly feel like I lived in a foreign land my whole life and I'm finally home.
Please give it to me straight. I have been through a lot. I can handle it. -- Feeling Sad in Northern Maine
Dear Feeling Sad in Northern Maine: You have already had to handle a great deal of neglect and abuse in your relationship, and now it is time to exit stage left as soon as possible. I'm almost positive you know the answer to your question, but you have to say to yourself, "Enough is enough." You are holding onto this loveless and unhappy marriage because it has become a habit.
It is difficult to change even if we know that changing is the best thing for ourselves. The very fact you wrote me this letter signals that you are ready for a new beginning. Leaving him will take courage and might be very uncomfortable, but like most worthwhile endeavors, if you put in the commitment and hard work, the payoff will be immense. You will no longer have to suffer.
Seeking the help of a trained professional therapist will help you move forward powerfully, learn more about setting boundaries and discover how worthy you are of love and respect.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.