SO the bliss of your marriage has long dissipated, and you are almost out of duct tape trying to keep together what is left of your union. In fact, it is quite scary coming face to face with the reality that your “happily ever after” seems unlikely to end happily after all.
The above is the reality of the readers All Woman spoke with, who are watching their relationships crash and burn, but are still holding on. Why are they doing it?
Michelle, 46, business owner:
Well, it's been a while since I knew things wouldn't work out — about three years or maybe more. Things are definitely shaky and we both do our thing, but we built something good together and we are just concentrating on that. In time, if things can be fixed, then they will be fixed.
Andrew, 40, contractor:
I fell out of love with my wife a long time ago. I was wild before I met her and I never settled down, so all we do is fuss and fight all the time. I will never change until the day I die, and I have asked my wife to find a better person for herself. But she still does everything for me even though we are just occupying the same house. We are definitely done, but I don't want to be the one to get up and leave. That is a piece of dignity that I want her to have.
Sheila, 39, public health worker:
I have been married close to three years, and for at least two and a half years of that time, my life has been hell. My husband has a mental health problem which I wasn't made aware of until after our marriage. He became abusive, embarrassing, and even violent when he didn't have his way, and he was so convincing that I started questioning my own self-worth. I have regained my self-respect, but he refuses to accept help, repeatedly falls back on his promises, and his hostile treatment has alienated any love that I had for him. I want to try one last time because I don't want to hear that I divorced him because he is sick, but I know there is no future for us.
Shannon 38, accountant:
These days we don't repair anything, and things keep piling up. Every time I make an effort to fix something it causes an argument. If I want us to go somewhere, it causes an argument, sometimes even if I walk a certain way or talk a certain way, it's an argument. I am convinced that my husband doesn't love me. I know this because there is no longer any emotion in the sex. But the fact is, I'm staying for the sake of my son. I want him to have his father in his life full-time, and I try my best not to make my unhappiness obvious to him.
Beverley 54, entrepreneur:
When I met the man he came off as a smooth, gentle soul and I wanted somebody to spend the rest of my life with who would treat me right, had made something of himself, and was ready to settle down. And like a wolf in sheep's clothing, this man came into my life. He is an element of destruction, and now I know he is jealous and 'bad mind' because of what I have. He has stopped contributing because I have more; he is disrespectful, and he has no morals. If someone really 'bad mind' me after how many times I slept on station step, and after when I started hustling ticks catch me in gully with my cows, I don't even want to remember how I met him, much less call him my husband. And God knows that I don't know why I am still here, but every time I decide to leave I come right back as if I am spiritually tied.