I am a 36-year-old primary school teacher. I have been married to my husband for 11 years. He is a marketing manager in a college. I had an arranged marriage and knew my husband a year before our wedding.
At the time, I realised that he was financially struggling to make the wedding happen. He barely had money and borrowed from his brother. I tried to tell this to my aunt who introduced us but she refused to listen to me, as she was afraid I would stop the wedding.
After our wedding, on the same day, I saw his aunt take away the chain my husband was wearing as it was hers, and his brother took his money on that night.
During our married life, he did not even have money to buy a gas cylinder for cooking. He did not pay his house and car instalments for months and I had to take out my EPF money. His father used his car and made us use public transport.
This went on until he changed his job. Our life also improved after my daughter was born. However, he spent money on his staff like nobody’s business and that irritated me a bit. We also had some supernatural disturbance at our home and it affected me deeply, so we moved to a rented house for two years.
My husband started to suffer business losses at that time. I backed up our family (financially) since my husband had no income. This went on for two years and I struggled to make ends meet. He had no intention to try and look for other jobs and was very adamant about it.
This made me consult a psychiatrist and I was diagnosed with major depression. Since then, he hasn’t cared much about us and we have a son now. He thinks I can manage everything and does not make any effort to improve our life. He does not care about my medical needs either.
We hardly have sex since I do not want him to touch me. He only wants sex but doesn’t show love. He would ignore me completely at other times. I began to feel irritated and burdened by all this. I developed insomnia by this time.
I am thinking of moving to my hometown to live with my parents. We have zero savings and I am scared to think about my children’s future. But I am not sure whether to go or not. I am not leaving him as I don’t want my children to grow up in a broken family.
What do I do? I do not have any feelings for him and I have stopped doing anything for him. I am confused and depressed. I don’t know who to talk to. Please help.
It’s difficult to make decisions when you’re depressed, because that condition affects your thinking. Mostly, it casts a negative light on everything. That is a problem because you may miss out on positives and also view some positives as negative. Not sleeping makes it a lot worse.
In short, be aware that your current condition may affect your viewpoint. But let’s talk about your marriage.
A good marriage is about partnership and shared responsibility. You have a husband who appears to have a lot of wants but who isn’t willing to contribute.
I can see why you are angry with him, and I understand why you feel it may be easier to walk out and take care of just three people than four.
However, I think you have to pause because it is possible your husband may also have mental health issues.
You and your husband were pushed into a marriage when you really could not afford to do so. I very much blame your family for this. They should have held back and let the two of you be stable financially before committing.
This is the important point: your husband fought against some really bad circumstances, and he made it through. Back then, he had drive, initiative and courage. Then, it fell to pieces.
I think this blow might have pushed him into depression. This may be why he is feeling hopeless and withdrawn. He sounds like a man who is in a lot of pain.
Take him to your psychiatrist and have him assessed. See what’s what and take it from there.
If I am right, I suggest you access free counselling from an NGO. Remember, depression is serious business. You need professional help from a trained person. Look for a therapist who has at least a Masters degree in psychology or counselling.
Get one therapist for you and one for your husband, and just focus on getting over the depression. Make sure that while you heal yourself, your kids are okay. They need you!
When you start to recover from the depression, tend to your relationship with your husband. Talk to him openly and honestly but be sure to be kind to each other. If you find this difficult, look for help from a third therapist – one who specialises in relationship counselling.
If you can stand together, you may be able to rebuild your marriage. But if you decide that you’ve both burned out, step away from each other. Make an agreement that protects your children’s needs. Then give each other time, say six months or one year, and then talk again.
As I said, it’s not good to take decisions when you are depressed, so don’t be in a rush. And remember, life is very hard, so please be very kind to each other.