Not in love with my husband
I recently discovered this site and have been reading lots of great (and not so great!) advice! Here is my situation, and I'm really looking for some clarification and/or advice from other members.
My husband and I have been married for almost 15 years and have 4 children and are both in our mid-40's. We were dating for 4 months when we got engaged, although we had known each other for about 10 years before that. To condense a very long story, we were never really "in sync" with each other. I was an active alcoholic when we were dating and during our first year of marriage. We partied together and that was the basis of our relationship. I've been sober for the past 14 years with not a lot of support from him, once I actually stopped drinking. The real issue is - and this has been very hard for me to admit - that I don't think I was ever in love with my husband. I've compared my feelings to those I've had for 2 previous boyfriends and I know in my heart that the "real true love" part of our relationship was never there for me. It truly does sicken me to think that I made such a huge life decision while being in the throes of active alcholism.
For the past many years, my husband and I have gotten by operating our marriage almost like a business deal. I wanted the children, the house and all the "stuff". He wanted to be able to drink nightly with nobody to answer to. There was never any real affection between us at all. I took care of the house and kids, along with working part-time, and also doing the officework for his business. He is an extremely hard worker and wonderful provider, financially.
After much research and counseling, I told him I wanted to divorce last spring. His reaction was one of total devastation. He completely fell apart, to the point where he was hospitalized for a few days. We've gone to counseling, but that only works if both people want the relationship to work, and I can't seem to put my heart into something that was never there in the first place. He has made every change imaginable and I am so grateful to him for that. He stopped drinking, showers me with affection and shows that he really does love me and wants to make a life with me.
I'm at the point now where I need to decide whether it is in everyone's best interest (his and the kids') for us to stay together. I will never love him in the way a wife should love a husband (and I don't mean the "head over heels" infatuation that comes at the beginning of a relationship). Financially, we are very, very lucky to be able to maintain our current lifestyle even living in two households. I would want everything to be done fairly, including joint physical custody of our children - I don't believe that if a man is a great father he should be relegated to seeing his children on a strict schedule of every other weekend and Wednesdays. He is a great father NOW, and I'm pretty certain that this change is permanent.
I am scared to death of losing this "new" caring, compassionate, patient person - and, no doubt about it, he has made tremendous changes, both physically and mentally. If I proceed with the divorce, he may very well turn on me and treat me as he has during most of the marriage; as someone he can control and ridicule.
So, do I stay and try to make a life for ourselves or leave (he wants the house) with my children? I feel I should be grateful for what I have and try to make it work. I'm so confused and upset and I apologize for this long, long post. I'm in counseling, but nobody can really make this decision for me, and I realize that. I guess I'm just looking for some advice from others who have gone through this, and I can't ask friends - it's a small town and I feel like I'd be betraying him by talking to too many people who have gone through a divorce, but, that know us both.
Thanks for reading - sorry for the long post!