Red Responds: Is He Holding Her Back?

Natasha in Johannesburg writes:

I am a 20-year-old female who is married to a 37-year-old man. He has five kids from different women – including our son. Will it last? I love this man but sometimes I feel like he may be holding me back. I need some advice desperately!

Dear Natasha,

Your life choices have led you to this place in life, but you need to figure out what it is you really want. Being a wife, a mother and a stepmother at the tender age of 20, is quite a lot to deal with. It is perfectly normal to feel as if you are being held back. Even though you seem to be pretty mentally and emotionally mature, you have a whole lot of responsibility on your plate.

I understand that you love the man, but not necessarily the life. Unfortunately, you really can’t have one without the other.

Your husband can be a bit overbearing at times, but his intentions aren’t necessarily meant to hold you back or keep you in your place. He loves you, and wants to be with you, but this does not negate that he has years of life experience that you do not. Sometimes older is wiser, and other times it is a manipulation because he has certain ideas about your role and your level of responsibility in this marriage. There are things he doesn’t want the mother of his child, his current wife, out there doing. He is, after all, a man… and your chosen husband.

If you stick it out, the next couple of years are going to be challenging for you, but not to the point of misery. The two of you do have some problems and issues that need to be worked through, but they can be worked through, if you work together to strengthen your marriage. I would strongly suggest counseling. If he won’t go with you, then go alone.

Your husband tends to forget how young you are. Sometimes you do, too. In many ways you chose to sacrifice many of the freedoms and carefree moments that most people have in their late teens and early twenties. Kids as well as husbands, require time, attention, responsibility and sacrifice. It’s just part of the deal.

Because you are married and a mom, there are things you can’t do, unless you choose to be completely selfish and irresponsible. While your husband may forgive you and your son may never know, you would have to live with your guilt. I just don’t see you as that kind of person.

Your marriage doesn’t have to end, but that is a choice you are free to make at any time. The problem is, I don’t think you will be any happier if you were on your own, because you do love this man. Work on improving the marriage and changing the way you look at things. The stronger the marriage and more free-flowing the communication, the more supportive this man will be of you fulfilling your wants and needs.

Good luck,
Ext. 9226

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