Can I say it again? I am so, so, SO glad we have this thread.
I think establishing when to call it quits, when it's realistic (and not just trivializing) to call it quits, and when we SHOULD HAVE called it quits is one of the most difficult questions those of us in a marriage will ever face.. female or not, medical or not. I'm sure even the most happily married couples have had their trials where one or both have asked, "is this...it?"
Given how helpful and supportive this thread has been, I'm going to admit something that I think may play a very important role in my questioning. I have a tendency to go through "phases" with my taste in guys. It sounds ridiculous, and of course I have outgrown it to a degree. But when I met my husband (at age 18, so please do cut me SOME slack, lol) I just had this inexplicable 'thing' for guys in the military. Not to say this is what made me fall for him, but it certainly played in important role in piquing my interest. Because we were married after having been together only 2 yrs, I often wonder how much this, coupled with my own immaturity, had to do with it all? Surely if we'd been dating, and he'd done/said some of the things he has since we've been married, I'd have shown him the door. Is this par for the course, I wonder?
On that same note, I find myself asking, OK, what's next.. let's say we do split up at some point. Am I going to inadvertently "get it in my head" that it "makes more sense" to be with a doctor, and follow accordingly without really meaning to? Sorry if this sounds ridiculous, just thinking *out loud*
Totally agree with sisriver's description of the difference between a babysitter and a sahd. SAHDs have their own agenda--often different from the kind mom's have. Has anyone read "Should You Leave?" Same guy that wrote "Listening to Prozac." Also very good. Anyway, makes a lot of great points. Doesn't help with making a decision though. i too wonder about seeing the forest for the trees-and/or vice versa. My parents had a lot of problems, my mother once said she had whole years she didn't like my father, yet they were married almost 45 years before they died. I think they still loved each other (they still would hold hands and go for long walks and each was devastated when the other became seriously ill.) I think it was beneficial to me that they stayed together-that I had a relatively stable household. I think it was....Soemtimes I think we have too many choices.....
Ok I feel guilty only leaving the negatives up there. Although he does not seem capable of showing affection, being intimate, etc.,he does: most of the housework, lots of fixer-uper type stuff; whenhe knows I'm at my breaking point with his lack of attention he will try to buy and make my favorite food, clean my car, change the oil,or do some other practical chore he thinks I will appreciate. Sometimes he even buys flowers. I just wish he could do any of this with a smile and a hug or kiss.
but francescamom, that is the cycle of abuse, to offer a relief or holiday when they see you are breaking. It is the pairing of abuse with loving-type acts that makes it so confusing and keeps you hooked.
also, I shouldn't have implied that an intellectual connection has anything to do with being a doctor or not - mostly wanted to point out that an intellectual (and emotional) connection is critical, but it can come in all forms.
I do not think that changing the oil is any kind of substitute for a hug or kiss. I am learning how to do these things myself now.
francesca'smom, have you read the book, "The Five Love Languages?" It talks about how people express their love and commitment for each other. You may want him to express these things with physical affection, and he may think he is expressing these things by doing helpful things for you. If this is the case, he would have no clue why you are unhappy because he thinks he is being a good husband. I don't know much about your situation, but that book might help you see if that is what is going on and, if so, it might help you figure out what to do. I hope it all works out.
One thing of which we must be aware, as Sisriver has underscored in her last message, is the danger of misinterpreting actions. In other words, we must be careful in distinguishing loving acts of selflessness from helpful acts of selfishness. Many people who are in health care are naturally highly empathetic and sympathetic towards others, and women, who generally tend to be more emotionally attuned to those around them, are doubly sensitive (we tend to try to rationalize, understand, placate, forgive, etc.).
So I think of myself 5 years ago, and I remember saying to myself: "but that is his way of showing his love", "not everyone loves in the same way", "he can't be a clone of me and show love the way I think it should be shown", "he comes from a different background and he does not know how to be affectionate in [this or that] way", etc. etc. Then, when I finally woke up and smelled the vacuum of my marriage, I realized that loving me was not about what HE thought was the proper way of showing love - loving me was finding out how I needed to be treated and treating me THAT way. For all the years of our relationship I had loved him in precisely THAT way - I had lovingly and carefully studied him and learned what made HIM happy and how to show him my love in a way that was needed by HIM. Why should he not do the same for me? That was a true moment of enlightenment for me - love is not about what YOU want to give, it is about what the OTHER person needs to receive!
(As I mentioned before, since my husband had not really focused on what it meant to create and maintain a relationship and had never spent much time practicing relationship skills, this definition of love had never orbited his planet, which is why it took him 2 years of serious soul searching and growth to finally start putting the puzzle together.)