Dear Barb – Lifelong Regrets

Dear Barb:

I got married three years ago and I am so unhappy! I had been single for a while and all my friends were getting married, so I met this guy and we hit it off and had lots of fun. He asked me to marry him, so I thought why not. We are both in our early twenties and John wants to start a family. I know I’m not going to stay with him; therefore I don’t want to bring children into this situation. I really wish we had just stayed friends. I don’t know how to get out of this without hurting his feelings, as I really like him, but definitely do not love him. I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks April.

Hi April:

If you are in your early twenties now, you must have been quite young when you entered this marriage, and perhaps a bit immature. Usually It’s not a good idea to enter into a lifetime commitment with the attitude of “why not.” Marriage is a big step that needs to be entered into with thought and foresight. Perhaps you need to get some counseling before you end this marriage as casually as you entered it. Then again I must commend you for making a mature decision in not bringing children into this marriage.

Dear Barb:

My mother recently passed away quite suddenly. We have always had a difficult relationship and, at the time of her death, we weren’t even speaking. I feel so horrible and racked with guilt. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, and nothing seems to matter anymore. I am enrolled in two courses at university and I know I’m going to fail both of them, and I really don’t even care. My dad says that mom knew I loved her and that she had forgiven me for how I treated her, but his words do not make me feel any better. How am I going to get through this and carry on with my life? Thanks Mary

Hello Mary:

So sorry for your loss. Losing a mother is very traumatic as they gave us life. Grief is a personal journey, there are no time limits on when you will “get over it”, and it becomes more complex when feelings of guilt are involved. You have taken a big step in admitting you feel guilty. Often people try to push their guilt down or deny it and that doesn’t work, as it will keep resurfacing until you deal with it. You need to forgive yourself as your mother has forgiven you. It may be helpful to write a letter to your mom. Share your feelings and thoughts, ask for her forgiveness and if you are a religious person, ask for God’s forgiveness. There is nothing you or anyone can do to change this situation. Give yourself a bit of time, and if you are not improving, I would suggest a grief counselor or bereavement group. As well, you may find it beneficial to help others by volunteering, perhaps with children, the elderly or even pets. Helping others gives meaning and purpose to our lives, hence beneficial to all involved. It is important to be patient with yourself and take the time you need to heel. Thanks for your letter Mary.

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