I’m a longtime reader, first time submitter, writing because of concerns about my marriage. My wife and I have been married for four years. We have a child together at this point, we own a house together, and I thought things were going pretty well.
That was until my wife recently came forward to me, saying she was at a breaking point with my collecting, and that I needed to “stop acquiring more stuff” because she couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve always been a pretty hardcore collector, whether it’s toys, movies, video games, comics, specialty drinkware… pretty much if it is collectible I may have some interest in it. This has never been a secret and she was well aware of this aspect of who I am since before we even started dating, let alone being married. It’s just part of who I am.
Mind you, I’m not a hoarder. I do go through my collections once or twice a year to do a “purge” of items that I no longer feel a connection with or that I feel no longer serve their purpose to me. If I’ve upgraded movie to a new format or a toy of a character to a newer version I like better, I usually sell the old one to both make space and to keep costs down when it comes to my collecting. My bills are always paid and it has never caused a financial problem.
My wife recently had a breakdown and one of the key talking points was that I need to stop bringing stuff into the house. Obviously in the larger picture, my marriage is more important than my stuff, but I’m not sure if I could ever just STOP collecting entirely or quit cold turkey even if I wanted to. This hobby is just such a big part of who I am and what I do.
When I suggested that I could get rid of a lot of stuff and downsize, she shot that down saying that she knows these things make me happy and that it’d just cause me to resent her (which I can’t even argue against entirely, because I previously downsized my collection in a relationship and tried to stop buying new stuff, and it did cause resentment later).
I want to try and meet in the middle to accommodate her because I don’t want her to feel like I’m just disregarding her feelings, but I’m not sure how to go about doing this. Just stopping collecting entirely feels impossible.
She said “I still love you, but I don’t know if I can do this anymore” and implied divorce was on the table. After some talking and things calmed down, she asked me to go to marriage counseling, which I happily agreed to because I don’t want to lose her.
Here is where the second part of my problem kicks in. I have rarely been sure of anything in life. I’m super indecisive a lot of the time. But with my wife, I knew right away when I met her that she was the person I wanted to be with. She’s the only thing I’ve ever felt 100% confident about. But now that she has come forward and put the possibility of divorce out there, it’s got me in a weird new headspace filled with doubts about our future for the first time.
While things have calmed down for now and seem to be hopefully on a good path with counseling in the plans, it has me panicking and thinking about “well what are my backup plans if this goes south” for the first time in this relationship. It has me scared for the future of our marriage for the first time in my life, and now everything I was “certain” about for my future is a lot of “well hopefully, but on the off chance it isn’t I should have a backup plan”. What can I do to settle these feelings? Should I even be trying to settle them? Because in my mind, feeling like I need to have a backup plan means I feel like I’m one foot out the door already, and I don’t want to live like that.
I love my wife, I want her to be happy in our marriage too, but now that she cast potential doubt on our future I’m worried about continuing to be “all in” on our marriage like I always have been, and being anything less feels disingenuous.
Help me Doctor NerdLove, you’re my only hope!