Imagine what your life will be like after the kids are gone and nothing has changed between your spouse and you. And the only thing that has impacted your relationship is that you have "taught" your spouse that it is OK to ignore you, "do his own thing", spend his own time and money as he wishes without discussion with you. I am the voice from the other side of your future telling you that this is how you will have to accept your life.
You will have to accept that:
• you were not loved even though you loved and sacrificed for the marriage partnership.
• you are not only not loved but you are hated and blamed for all his failures...cognitive dissonance. He does not take responsibility (or even remember) ANY of the history of your marriage except what he did good.
• you will have to face the sorry fact that you were not good to yourself. You gave so much of yourself that you don't even know what you want or who you are. Because you believed that if you loved enough and worked hard enough that things would work out OK.
• you may, at the end, give yourself the adjectives of "weak", "voiceless", "sad" and you may be financially stuck.
• you will then have to accept WHO YOU ARE NOT and WHO YOU COULD HAVE BEEN in your own right.
I have been looking up the word "gaslighting" lately and realize that while I was loving and working, H was doing a dance/playing games of trying to get away with things. He was just limping along trying to not work too hard, amusing himself and exploiting the fact that I was willing to try and try some more and not leave. In his own world, things were going fine. I, on the other hand, did not want to disappoint or annoy or manipulate my H. I was afraid of his mean words....taking them to heart on to myself. Now I am standing up for myself and H does not like it so he shuns me completely and slams things because I am treating him like he has treated me all these years. It is educating to me to watch how he reacts when I do that. And to think that I lived like that with him most of my adult life trying to appease and connect with him.
My advice, to anyone young enough or financially well off enough is to learn about gaslighting and what to do about it. What I have found out is that I should have left when I first felt disrespected and unloved. Then not take him back unless he actively shows that he cares and is willing to act like a husband who cares and communicates like someone who cares. As it is for me, we are two roommates who don't particularly like one another.
At this point there is no use in trying to make things any different than they are. I have been married but my husband has not been married. I accept that and move on with things that are healthy and connected.