I am married to an army man. I realise I was attracted to his uniform and did not pay heed to the fact that he was so flirtatious with the women even back then. He has had multiple affairs with single and married women after our marriage. We have a baby and he chooses not to have sex and not to relate romantically with me. I am depressed and frustrated. While I enjoy the perks of being an army officer’s wife I am deeply unfulfilled in my marriage. I hate that I have become an angry and bitter nag and may become a frustrated old woman if I don’t change my life. Please advise.
A uniform is a piece of cloth and you now know that much lies below such cosmetics. Now, while all human beings seek out excitement and variety in their life – be it what we eat, who we meet, what we wear, where we travel to and even our changing sexual preferences, marriages in most cultures are based on the monogamous relationships underpinned by the all-encompassing concept of ‘faithfulness’.
A man cheating on his wife may be the fodder for many an old wife’s tale about how ‘these men need to be controlled’ or how ‘all men are selfish pigs’ but let’s steer away from such over-simplications and try to go beyond the common frowns and whispers that surround the topic of infidelity.
Generalisations help nobody and we are going to get specific if we are to understand what’s happening here. Understandably, the knowledge that one’s husband has been ‘with’ other woman can make one feel alone and humiliated – so don’t judge yourself too harshly.
The time has come to make certain clear cut and sometimes hard decisions for yourself. The first decision you need to make is whether to talk to your husband about what you are going through (knowing that he’s been having affairs) or to directly walk away from his marriage without giving him a chance to redeem himself.
What do you want? The second decision you need to make is what your options are, if you wish to stay and if you leave. This is called a risk assessment based on your own life’s plans. If he shows remorse versus if he shows no remorse, your responses are likely to alter accordingly as well. Some men find ways to blame their partners for their boredom with the relationship.
However, all relationships reach a point of stasis at some stage or the other and have to be infused with vigour and new ideas for the couple to rediscover what got them together in the first place. Meeting a relationship counsellor will help you with personal clarity and goal setting.
What you expect from your husband needs to be communicated with your husband in as firm and direct a way as possible. An army man based on his training would surely understand the concept of urgency and first responses when a situation gets ‘out of hand’. Situational awareness is required both on the battlefield and even while sipping a cup of tea on a quiet evening.
Our understanding of our surroundings and what’s happening around us evolves in keeping with our ‘situational awareness’. This awareness helps us integrate better in all significant social, psychological and familial situations where ‘much needs to be always done’. Apprise him of the situation and the options available to both of you as a couple.
Talk about how it’s difficult for you to accept his extra-marital affairs. Express to him how it’s important that both of you need to take stock of how your deeds and choices will affect the relationship and both of you as individuals. At the outset, let facts be presented as facts.
If you are now worried about the baby’s eventual witnessing of the problems you will have, then that needs to be communicated too. Get him to accompany you to a relationship counsellor if you are unable to get through to him.
It’s important that he be made to understand where the relationship currently stands. Even the most heart-warming romances come with an expiry date when a couple loses track with what they seek from other and the relationship.
This roadblock won’t be permanent unless you let it fester. You have nobody to be afraid of. It is your right to address these things with your husband and for you to feel all the emotions you are currently feeling. Start with getting a fair gauge on who is contributing what to this ‘stale-mate’ that you will find yourselves in and then a win-win situation can be negotiated.
You get to decide how things turn out for both of you. Speak with clear and honest intent and stick to the topic. The only way you will end up as a ‘frustrated old woman’ is if you stick to your ‘old ways’ by focusing on the ‘frustrations’ and not on the ‘solutions’ that lie before you.