The Fantasy of Marriage
By: Christy Aloisio
May 21, 2011

“My knight in shining armour is going to come and take me away from my family that doesn’t care for me.” “My wife will listen to me and meet my needs the way my family never did.” “My husband will respect me sexually, and I will not have to feel like I did when I was sexually molested as a child.”

Many of us have said something similar to ourselves at some point about our spouse. Think about before you got married and how you thought your spouse was “different” and would “take care of you” the way that no one else ever had. Marriage feels like this to us, usually for several years. Then one day you wake up, roll over in bed and are staring face to face at someone whom you hardly recognize anymore. The fantasy of marriage is gone, and replaced with something that seems more like a nightmare.

When we first meet our spouse it feels like a fantasy. They seem loving, caring, attentive, connected, and genuine. They seem just right. When we are in this “honeymoon” phase or enmeshment as it is called we do not see the real person that stands before us. Our spouse is screaming who they really are to us, but we refuse to listen. Then one day when we do find out who our partner is, we are shocked an appauled. They have always been who they have been, we have just refused to listen!

For example, a client Mary (not her real name) recently found out her husband has a sexual addiction and has had two emotional affairs with co workers. At first she sat on my couch and cried, “how could he do this to me? This is not him.” But the more we dove into their history she started to see the red flags all over the map. Her husband was dating someone else when they first met. He left her for Mary. Also, shortly after they first started dating, Mary found out he kissed another woman. The red flags were practically smaking her in the face the whole time. She just refused to see them.

Another client Jane was discussing her abusive and raging husband. She was in so much pain because all of the sudden she viewed this man whom she had loved for so many years as a monster. She was discussing this with another family member one day. Jane said to the family member, “Man, do you remember when John (her husband) was so nice? Do you remember when he was calm and loving.” The family member looked at her and said, ” Jane, John has never been that way.” It was like she had been hit by a ton of bricks. The family member was right, she could not admit that John had always been a rager.

When we first fall in the love, the fantasy of marriage is such a beautiful, fun, and exciting entity. But the keyword to this is FANTASY. Real marriage hurts, is traumatic, and work. If you grew up in a family that did not hear you, you will marry someone that does not hear you. If you were not respected sexually, you will be with a partner that does not have seuxal boundaries. If you parents were mean and ragey, the woman you pick to be in charge of loving you will be mean and ragey.

Okay so where do I go from here. Get in to therapy and get out of the fantasy! The fantasy is not real. It will hurt, it will scar, and it will be a lot of work to repair. If you are not in a relationship, run, do not walk to therapy to understand who you are attracted too. If you are in a relationship and married get to therapy and find out who your spouse really is. The reality hurts, but reality is also the only way to a real connected marriage!