What happened to me

I found a site that is helpful to me to figure out why I let this happen to our marriage and what my part in it is.  This is what happened to me and may be happening to you if you try too hard at a difficult relationship. 

"Your instincts will be dulled and confused if you suppress your needs, expectations, wishes, feelings, and opinions, and you put those of others before your own in an attempt to gain validation, approval, attention, love etc. Your instincts will most definitely be off if you do all of the former as a means of avoiding disappointment, criticism, conflict, rejection and even abandonment. You won't know which way is up. If you've had various experiences and at the time, you've looked around for an explanation that would help you 'make sense' of what happened, and that reasoning pretty much boiled down to taking ownership of other people's feelings and behaviour and basically telling you that you weren't "good enough" or "loveable enough", your instincts are skewed because by accepting that version of events to be true and then adjusting your subsequent thinking and behaviour to 'fit in' and to also protect you from further pain, you've suppressed your true self as well as the truth."

In the process, I became less of a person, dull and serious.  Trying to get our basic needs met...safety, sleep, financial security, family needs, property....before I can ENJOY friendship, intimacy, self-esteem, confidence, respect, creativity, I have become someone I don't like much anymore.  Dh and I both don't like ourselves or each other any more.  

I had been living in a fantasy relationship that didn't exist.  It existed in my hopes and in my imagination but it was not REALLY happening in real life.  Dh did not change into the person I was hoping he was inside his walls.  I thought I could help him grow and love and be successful and especially I thought he would love me for my sacrifices and compromising I was willing to do.  It turns out after 40 years of marriage that he hates me for witnessing (and now I think he even blames me) his failures.  I blame me too for letting myself witness his failures and now I count it as my failure.

I permitted myself to be confused and try HARDER.  This does not work.  It is not up to me the change him.  I thought enabling him to be successful and prop up his ego would be good.  It worked for a while but 20 years ago he just stopped trying all together. He is who he is.  He wants to be let alone and do what he wants, when he wants and with whom he wants.  That is not a partnership but that is who he is.  Now I am accepting that and I get to work on myself.