Is it weird that I feel guilty for being happily married? #TiWiWf

On April 27, 2012 by Aimee

When I asked my husband this, he laughed at me. Rightly so when you think about it. How in the world can I feel guilty for being happy? Did I want to be unhappy? Of course not! He offered to make my life miserable (in his own special way) but I declined.

Still, there’s this twinge of guilt that seems to come whenever I hear of a friend who’s getting divorced or separated. Moreso when I know there are children involved. It makes my inner guilt-o-meter spring up.

Why is this?

What is it about me?

I feel bad for my friends, for their children, for those involved. I wish, without even knowing a bit of the details, that I could have done something. That’s a stupid feeling because I know there’s nothing I could ever do to ‘fix’ someone’s relationship especially, when I don’t even know there’s something wrong.

It’s just that when I find out two people are no longer happy with each other it makes me wonder:

– why?
– what happened?
– why can’t they work it out?
– did he do something? did she?
– why get married in the first place?
– why have kids?

And then I start to think:

– what am I doing right? Is it simply luck? Is it my faith?
– what do I need to do to keep going on the right path?
– where we destined to be together? (this one comes up because of our youthful ages when we met)

Sure, these are all rational questions, but in context, they almost seem out of the ordinary. Why do I even worry or feel this way at all?

I am happily married. More than happily in fact. I should be ridiculously proud of making it through the tough years, of having the strength in our relationship to want to keep working through things.

You know?

I should say those things.

But it feels like gloating. And therein comes the guilt.

My friends are hurting and nothing I will say can help. I can’t say ‘been there done that’ and empathize. I can’t commiserate. I can barely sympathize because in my heart of hearts, I’m thinking “What did you do wrong?” when I know (in the logical side of me) that sometimes, there’s nothing ‘done wrong’. Otherwise, 50% of marriages wouldn’t end in divorce.

And so, I just feel guilty for saying only “I’m so sorry.” and leaving it at that.

Because there’s nothing more I can do except wish for a solution. Hope for the best. Say a prayer on their behalf and hug and kiss my husband because even just last night, he said, “You know, in another 40 years, we’re going to be in this drive through, ordering these sandwiches at the senior citizen discount for $8 instead of $30 to feed our 5 right now.”

And just the thought of another 40 years stirs my heart, makes me smile and almost brings a tear to my eye. Yeah … that’s how much I love him and could never, ever, ever dream of a life without him.

So to my friends who are struggling … if I sound unsympathetic or don’t say the right thing … it’s simply because I don’t know how. This is an area I can’t even explore and for that, for you, I’m sorry.

Am I crazy?

Share in the comments!

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12 Responses to “Is it weird that I feel guilty for being happily married? #TiWiWf”

  • Completely understand. I hear the problems from my family members (siblings) and others. I just don’t know what to say. Hubby and I have been married for 10 years and we are perfectly happy. Can’t imagine a day without him. So, you aren’t alone.

  • I tend to feel a bit guilty too! Especially when people start telling me aobut their boyfriend woes!

  • I totally understand your guilt. I have a friend who was happily married for 10 years (while I was single) and then got divorced right when I started dating my husband. She had a really hard time with it and I felt so bad. I told her that I felt guilty for being so happy with my relationship when I knew how bad she was hurting. She said that she was very sad but happy for me. She is still in the dating scene unfortunately, but still happy for me.
    So, just know that you are not alone in your feelings. :)

  • You should never, ever feel guilty about being in love. Remember, you are not responsible for the way others feel. They are. Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If others are jealous or upset or angry because you have a ‘perfect’ life, that is their issue, not yours. It is ok to be sympathetic, sad, heart-broken for your friends, and sometimes no one did anything. The couple simply grew in different directions. Be proud of your life, of your man and of your marriage. You are one of the few. You are lucky; you are blessed. While I am not in the same happy place as you, that doesn’t make me any less happy for you. I”m thrilled you have found such bliss. It gives me hope. May you both grow old and gray together. Cheers to you and hubby. Live long and prosper.

  • I think it’s normal for us to want everyone we are close to, friends with, to be as happy as we are. When they aren’t, we feel sad for them. I think your “guilt” may be more the sadness that they don’t have what you have. You are so happy with your life, it’s hard to watch others in pain.

    But, at the same time, you are the shining example of what CAN be, how it can work, and how to do it. Your friend has someone who they can look to for help with ideas to deal with their sadness, get back into their life, and, when they do meet someone, how to work together for a strong relationship. They may have to kiss a few frogs but someday that prince will be there for them and you’ll be there to share.

    Keep your own life/love strong. You are the example for those who are searching, the GPS to the golden relationship at the end of their rainbow.

  • Some people are empathic. They feel for others not because they can relate to a particular situation but they can relate to the impact that situation has on others, particularily children. More often than not, it is parents that are empathic.
    I have to admit, since we had children, a child in peril or sad, hits me harder than before. In fact, before I didn’t particularily like children.
    Also, as a writer, you are quite often playing in the deep end of the emotional pool. You are putting yourself in those shoes and feeling that pain in order to lend weight to your words. I feel that can almost be as traumatic, for good writers like yourself. So, you are hit with both the parent guilt and a writer’s sense not to mention just having a big heart.