Relazioni e amore

Possibly ending my marriage of 22 years

Crosswired2 ci racconta la sua esperienza:

I’m 46M, my wife is 46F. We started dating when we were 18, and married since we were 24. We have two amazing kids, 12 and 10. On paper our life is amazing. We’re both effectively retired now, having been lucky and successful in our careers, and squirreling away our money and living well beneath our means. We have a big comfortable house in a great neighborhood.

We take nice family vacations several times a year. At least we did before the current public health crisis. And we get along fine at home. We rarely fight. We generally agree on how we raise the kids. We’re civil to each other. We make each other’s coffee, and the four of us have a nice family dinner every night.

But for many years now, there’s no love between my wife and me. I feel like we’re roommates and partners in the business of raising children and maintaining a house. But I don’t love her and she doesn’t love me. We don’t communicate. I used to attempt to initiate sex a couple times a week, and succeed maybe once a week, but something snapped in me two years ago. It was obvious she wasn’t into it and hadn’t been for years, so I don’t initiate ever any more, and now we maybe have sex once a month, when she initiates. I think she does it out of a sense of obligation and maybe fear of what would happen if we stopped completely. We never talk about our relationship anymore. I used to initiate discussions about our relationship, how it was unsatisfactory and what we should do to improve it. She generally tried to sidestep or avoid these conversations, and now we just don’t have them anymore.

I just don’t feel like there’s enough left to salvage, and I don’t have the motivation to try to salvage it. I think about splitting up obsessively. When I wake up in the middle of the night, that’s what I think about. When I’m running or riding a bike, that’s what I think about. It dominates my thoughts and has for years now.

It pains me to think about what I’ll lose. I’ll lose half the time with my kids (assuming I can get equal custody). I’ll lose many friends. I’ll lose my identity as a family man. But all this feels small compared to contemplating the rest of my life with her. I really like doing things with the kids, but I’m terrified to contemplate the time after my kids have left for college, and then it’s just my wife and me alone.

I’d like to believe that we can split up amicably, dividing our assets and responsibility for the children 50/50. I hope that we can remain friends and partners in the raising of our children, even sharing the occasional family meal together, and never disparaging the other to the children or friends. Is that naïve? I don’t blame her for this. I just think maybe 28 years together is an awfully long time for love to last. And if I’m honest with myself, there’s never been a time in those 28 years when I didn’t have at least a little doubt about us.

Another part of me feels like I’m being selfish, and we should stay married at least until the kids have left the house. As I said, our household is very functional, and I don’t think our marital problems are obvious to them.

This is such a big decision, and I’d like to talk it over with close friends and family, but I feel like I can’t do that as they are also her friends and family. So I’m reaching out to strangers to help clarify my thinking.

I know I need to talk about this with my wife, but starting the conversation feels like such a big, irrevocable step. What should I do? I’d love to hear from people who have been through what I’m going through.

TL;DR I think I need to split up with my wife and mother of our children, but I’m paralyzed with fear and uncertainty.

I think you owe it your wife, your kids, and your marriage to at least have a serious conversation with her. It’s going to be hard, but it’s necessary. You need to be really clear that this is where your head is at. Don’t try and beat around the bush, you need to say.. “I am no longer happy in this relationship and I don’t think you are either. I think about leaving all the time.” See where she is at. Maybe she is having these exact same thoughts. But you guys might find that both of you are hesitant to actually pull the trigger. And sometimes if there is just a little ember left, it can be nurtured back into a fire. If so, you guys can pursue couples counseling, working to date each other again, and trying to rekindle the spark in the bedroom.

I think that you guys have found yourself in kind of a boring season of life.. it sounds like you accomplish career goals earlier than most so now you’re just really focused on the kids. Which is great.. but they’re closing in on becoming teens and will be leaving the nest soon enough. And you lost each other. So IF you guys do decide to fight for things, you need to work on finding new hobbies just the two of you. Have you taken holidays without the kids? It’s ok to do so. You are absolutely right that if your relationship is centered on the kids, it’s going to fall apart when they leave.

I hope for everybody’s sake you guys can find your way back. My husband and I hit a rough patch 5 years ago. But I’m happier now than I ever was.

But I also hope that if you guys both want to split, that you find a way to do so on friendly terms. Good luck.

Before you give up read this:

And try marriage counseling!

Love can be rekindled even for you two, but you both need to want that or at least give it an honest try. Truth is love is a choice, a choice that you must make every day. Start by choosing to remember the good times. Why did you fall in love with her? Find those litte quirks again. Recreate your first dates etc.

Btw are you sure your wife isn’t having an affair or something? Because if she is, then there is no saving this.

I’m sorry to hear about the state of your marriage. I, don’t have experience in this area but my parents do and they’ve talked about their marriage struggles with my brother and I in the hope that we learn from them. I can share their advice with you and I hope it helps even a little bit.

My parents found themselves in a bad marriage, my dad would go to work early and stay late while my mother struggled to work and take care of my brother and I. They had lost interest in each other and talked about splitting up. Instead, they both mutually decided to fight for their marriage, and over the course of five years were able to work through their biggest issues.

Their biggest points were always 1) after a while love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. Both partners have to decide to love each other every day. 2) it takes two to make it work. If only one is willing to put in the effort, it will surely fall apart. 3) with devotion and prayer a marriage can be strengthened (the last point is only applicable if you’re religious, I recognize that not everyone is!)

It seems that you have tried to fix your marriage but your wife isn’t willing to put in the work. You mentioned that you don’t think you have it in you to fight for the relationship anymore and that’s fair 22 years is a long time. I’ve heard from many kids that had parents stay together for their sake that they would have rather had divorced parents than parents who did not love each other. Take that with a grain of salt as it’s only what I’ve heard.

It’s not fair to you, your wife, or your kids that you stay in a loveless marriage. It’s scary to think about divorce because it’s a huge world changing event for you, but in a few years when the dust has settled, you can still have a functioning, loving family separated from your wife.

I’m sorry to hear you’re in this situation, I hope it works out for you.

If you don’t end up seeing a counselor and try to actively work things out, please don’t stay together for the sake of your children. They will see through that and it will end up being an unhappy/tense household for them.

What sort of affection are you and your wife giving one another that isn’t sex? A lot of marriages fail not because sex stops, but because courting one’s partner stopped long ago and no sex is just a symptom of that.

As a woman, I’ve never been sexually attracted to somebody who just treats me like a roommate.

Not saying everything is your fault, but there’s just no mention in your post of really doing any sort of romantic courtship of one another. And because I’m a woman I can only comment on women’s sex drives: generally, it’s not a switch you just flip on and off. The expression “foreplay begins after the orgasm” applies here. You have to treat women so they feel attractive, secure and sexy. If you’re only doing it when you try to initiate sex, then it’s too little too late.