I welcome your comments, criticisms, concerns.
My biased and very long story: I am 35 years old. My husband is 32. I have been married for 1 year and 8 months. I have known my husband for 3 years and 3 months. I met him while working in France. He is Dutch – I am an American. My job in France was very strained - a long and unimportant story - and was essentially fired after six grueling months. It was a good experience to have, but not a good experience. I was left feeling very depressed and didn’t know what to do. My husband immediately came to pick me up and brought me back to the Netherlands. He tried to show me the wonderful sides of the Netherlands – in attempts to keep me there. I really enjoyed his family and some facets of living in NL, but I really wanted to return to the US because it is my home and socialism annoys me! He decided that he would be willing to move to the US. I felt very in love with him (after only knowing him for 6 months and living a country away and being depressed …) and agreed to do a fiancé visa. He arrived in the US 1 year and 8 months ago and it has been extremely difficult. He OFTEN complains about life in the US – food, people, politics, employment, the city we live in, the places (apartment and now purchased home) we’ve lived. It may have improved slightly since he arrived – but not measurably. He throws temper tantrums – it can be for a variety of reasons, not all of which can actually be identified. After much observation between he and his family, I now believe that his parents have babied him significantly and partly contributes to his feeling that tantrums are OK and just showing his emotion. His job as a consultant leaves him working alone for many hours at the house – and therefore not assimilating in ways that I believe would help him to feel more at home here. When he works on-site, it is always a flight away – which he hates and then makes me feel constantly uncomfortable because of the phone calls and his getting drunk at the bar. Buying a house helped, but we have neighbors who fight often and loudly, and now THAT is the main annoyance with the house. If it’s not one thing, it is another. He had to take a drug test for a client, which sent him off the deep end as requiring drug testing in NL is illegal except for certain professions. So … clearly he also uses drugs recreationally which has come to be an annoyance. In addition, he drinks what I consider to be too much – whisky. He also has become a “stick-in-the-mud” and doesn’t want to really do much of anything – his main source of entertainment is gaming – probably a good 30 hours a week. Sex – very different needs in that department. Financially – I am the major breadwinner and pay the bills. He is not an excessive spender and I don’t think I am either. However, we have different ideas of how to best spend the money. Before I was married I would go on vacations (if only for a weekend) about once every 2 months. The score since I’ve been married is once a year. I do his books for him and his taxes because he doesn’t like to do those things. Oh and I have a management position that requires 60+ hours of work a week. Those are some of the bad things. On the flip side, he takes care of the yard, cooks, cleans if he has to, is supportive of me and my job, can be interesting to talk to - and others which I have a hard time remembering now because the irritation is greater than the caring. Really, there is so much that I would like to convey so that you all have a very clear understanding of the details – however, I don’t know that the details are important. Of importance is that I spent the last year and a half being very patient and trying to help, listen to him, counsel him – but as I’ve told him several times, he can’t expect me to make him happy, he needs to find it within himself. Lately, I’ve gotten fed up with counseling and resorted to “figure it out” which I know is not supportive, but I’m exasperated. I guess I’m feeling that I don’t feel like I love him in a way that a wife should love her husband. And that makes me feel bad – and feel bad for him. I feel like the cultural differences are too great to overcome – and if we’ve had more hard times together than good, maybe this relationship was made too hastily and should just be ended. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having children with him. And some of me is worried that if I try to stick it out in this relationship and it doesn’t work out – which doesn’t seem like it will really get better unless the US were to become a completely different country – time will pass and I may miss my opportunity to find a better mate and have a family of my own (as I am 35). Not that I have any interest in another man at the moment – although I am afraid that someday I will if we continue at this rate. He claims that we had a “deal” – that if he didn’t like it in the US, we would move somewhere – and that I lied to him because now I am telling him I don’t want to live anywhere else but the US. How could I feel comfortable leaving the country when our relationship has been so strained? I have suggested counseling, but he is not interested in that. I am clearly 50% to blame for the failure of this marriage as I am the other 50%, but I don’t believe in living life unhappily. I am very pragmatic – he is very emotionally volatile – and I believe that life is very short and certainly too short to be in a relationship which isn’t positive. I really do know that marriage is work and believe me the little things are not irritating me – he can fart, leave dirty dishes everywhere, and see his friends all he wants! If it’s not positive for me, it will eventually not be positive for him either, right? I don’t think it’s positive for him now – how could he complain incessantly and think he’s in a positive relationship? I’ve tried to have very pointed, direct conversations to get him to look at it objectively – but he says his problem is that he loves me and because I won’t move he has no other choices. I know that eventually – I believe he is now but won’t admit it – he will be very resentful. Communication is obviously a problem – he says things that I don’t know how to process, let alone respond to: e.g. You aren’t free, you Americans think you’re free and you aren’t – you’re being bugged, you can’t smoke what you want, Americans are hypocritical and shallow, how can you be comfortable when you’re country is at war? Just some examples of the outbursts from time to time. I think I need to admit I was very irresponsible to agree to marriage after such a short time of knowing someone. I’ve never been married before and was really trying to make the right decisions regarding marriage. And now, he suffers because of my mistake. Clearly I need counseling myself – which I will pursue. Does anyone have any other advice?