Husband wondering what marriage is like after 25 years?

mark2468September 24, 2010

I'm a husband who wants to know what marriage is like after 25 years. Is there still love, spark and intimacy, or is it boring and robotic. Do you become strangers or best friends.

I am really interested in hearing about how my marriage compares to everyone elses?

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Hell, Mark...they've been writing books about this for more than fifty years. Go to Borders or Amazon. Then spend six months coming up to speed with what's come before.....then come back and ask.

Hint: There's no answer. It's different for everyone. Was that a surprise?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 8:20PM
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Well Asolo, Sorry to waste your time. No need to reply if you're going to be so negative and judgmental. geez.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:07PM
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Oh, I'm wounded. But you are, indeed, wasting everyone's time.

You've described precisely zero about your own marriage and you're requesting that EVERYBODY else puke-up so you can compare yours with theirs.

Oh...was that negative and judgmental? Geez yourself, fool.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Well, can anybody BUT Asolo offer an insightful opinion/perspective lest they be afraid of being judged as a "waste of time fool". ;o)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:45PM
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I'm going to agree with Aslo on this one Mark.

Who would I be "afraid" of being "judged" by? Or is that the reason you haven't posted what your concerns about your own relationship are?

The way you've posed your question (if that's what it would be considered)makes me wonder if you are in a long term relationship that is as dull as dirt. Or that you're gathering information for another purpose?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Man, you guys are tough....
Married almost 27 years, three great kids, great job. My relationship with my wife is getting intimacy for over a year, we never fight but have no interest in doing things together alone. I was only asking to see if this is just how it is for most people or what.....There you have it..

Have guys been burned by people posting bogus posts or something. I belong to many online communities and this one is really guarded..

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:49PM
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Well here we go, then.

The no intimacy for a year part is certainly tell-tale. Is that her idea or yours or both? If you're both winding down, who cares? However, typically it's one spouse that loses interest and the other becomes resentful. Can you say how it is for you?

From your post, I'm thinking your saying things have become "boring and robotic" but there seems to be several degrees of satisfaction in it. Maybe different from what you had before but not at all bad. Trying to get a handle on whether you're actually satisfied or not. And, if dissatisfied, is that how you really feel or are you thinking you should feel different than you actually do......just because.

Any new, money, kids, inequalities or perceived inequalities?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:32AM
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It's kind of like this...
Our marriage started out great, then the kids came. My wife obsessed over them as a good mother should but pushed me out a little. I get that....she only has so much time and needs some time for her self.

Then the kids got older and we never got close again. We have money to travel, go on dates and do fun "date" stuff. We just never pursue it.

We just drone day by day. As far as intimacy, stopping was never my idea. She never initiated and then one day she said she could live with our with out it.

I guess when I consider a good marriage, I think about respect, love, friendship and that little spark, you know the one I'm talking about? I jsut figured that at this point in our lives we would have been enjoying life an little more and having a great relationship....right now I feel like we're good friends that had kids. I know that there is no possibility for infidelity because that would be deal breaker for both of us...Its just a like we wouldn't cross. And yes, I am starting to feel resentment that I'm on the outside again. no hugs, kisses or I love yous...

But like I keep saying....maybe this is just how its supposed to be....

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:37AM
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"....supposed to be..."

This may be a departure-point for me. Some people have belief systems that incorporate the phrase. I never have thought it particularly applied to personal relationships.

I encourage you to abandon the idea. If you had people show up here and tell you they thought your current relationship was, indeed, "just how its supposed to be".....would that satisfy you? It certainly wouldn't me.

Seems to me you've got the security thing down....something lot's of folks never manage and are constantly struggling with. You've mentioned nothing about the more typical stress-factors. Are we really down to two people that are just tired of each other? Unless there's some serious nastiness going on, I have to believe that's fixable.

" day she said she could live with our with out it."

Maybe just me, but hearing this spoken by a spouse or girlfriend would be very upsetting to me.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:30AM
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I'm thinking when your wife shared " day she said she could live with our with out it." that she is/was going thru some hormonal issues.
More women than will admit have those exact feelings that have nothing to do with love or even attraction towards their mate yet the hormone levels are waning. Men can also have the same issues. There are hormone therapies easily available.
And rather than have her "go get it checked"...offer to have your levels checked too, just as a support for her. Make it easy for her, be a team in this.
And what certainly doesn't help would be one or the other playing the "blame" game.
I think the longer the issue continues, the harder it is to perhaps even mention it without hard feelings. The longer the issue continues the more difficult it is to approach the partner in a physical way, especially sexual.

If you want change YOU must be the one to initiate and continue it. By this I mean you wouldn't be looking for a certain outcome each time you try. Sort of like "looky ma! I'm being the good boy and I want a reward NOW"!

You say you have the means to date, take holidays etc. Well, what the heck are you waiting for? Or more to the point who the heck are you waiting to make the plans? Her? Get in there and take control, make the reservations without asking her if that's what you should do.
Treat your marriage as though you're still in the dating phase of your life with'll most likely be surprised with her willingness to participate in ways you haven't seen for ages.
Change things up a bit, because I'm here to tell you that we gals LOVE the unknown from our men from time to time.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:02PM
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So far after 21 years my husband is still my best friend and we have no intimacy issues aside from wishing the darn kids would go out more often and give us some alone time! However, I know people in your situation, where marriage has become a sort of convenient arrangement between friends. The stresses of day-day living and parenting consume them and the marriage gets short shrift, taken for granted. You have to work at marriage just as you work at being a good parent.

I don't know how old your wife is but there are physical changes that come with age that make women less interested in sex (in addition to exhaustion from dealing with the kids, or worry that they're going to walk in on you!) and there are ways to deal with those issues, if the lines of communication are open. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:05PM
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My DH and I have a date once a week. We go out, treat each other as we would a new person (i.e. be on our good behavior) and have some fun. Topics like finances, kids and work problems are not up for discusion on our date. I really think it helps. Even a giant bonfire can go out if you don't keep feeding it.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 3:42PM
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if you have means then I suggest you book a trip for two of you and surprise her.

My parents are married for 45 years and always take vacations together, go on short trips, concerts, outings. They pretty much are doing everything together.

I don't know about intimacy (obviously don't want to know LOL), they are older, but they do enjoy each other company. I could see losing physical intimacy as people get older but not wanting to do things together is alarming.

If you are unhappy, then take charge buying tickets to concerts, book a trip, reserve a fancy dinner etc see if that would change things, maybe intimacy will follow or maybe not but at least you might enjoy each other more.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 3:48PM
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"Married almost 27 years, three great kids, great job. My relationship with my wife is getting intimacy for over a year, we never fight but have no interest in doing things together alone. I was only asking to see if this is just how it is for most people or what.....There you have it.. "

Not our experience at all!
Married 30 years, two great kids who are also married, great financial shape.
Now that the kids are gone, we are closer than ever and enjoy doing activities as a couple. Active sex life too...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:15PM
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"we never fight but have no interest in doing things together alone"

both of you? or just you? or just her?

For me, personally, I want to be intimate when I feel connected to my DH.

"no hugs, kisses or I love yous..."

1. Check personal hygiene.

I don't see how this could be normal or expected. My grandparents hugged and kissed and said I love you up until the day my grandpa died. 65 years of marriage.

I personally am a very hands-on person. I like to be touched, even by friends. I will squeeze a friend's arm or pat their leg or back or mock-snuggle them (sit down too close and squeeze them before moving back to a more decorous personal space area ;)

Some people don't like to be touched or touch. So is this a personal preference for your wife, or does she just display this trait with you?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:47PM
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Mark, I read your post a few days ago and have found myself thinking about it. And what I am thinking is that I don't have any feel for where your wife is at. Do you? Because if you don't, you need to find out.

I've got a picture of you as a fairly passive person.Maybe I am way off but I get that vibe even the way you approached this forum initially. And then as you open up a little you write "pushed me out a little. I get that...", "we just never got close again," "we just drone on," "she never initiated", "maybe this is just how it is supposed to be."

And then when she says she can live with it or without it, did you sit down and really talk to her and ask her why? Did you tell her that you don't want to live without "it"? Did this open up a way to talking about the rest of your relationship and the difference between what it is and what you thought it would be?

Was your wife a stay at home mom? Because it can be really tough when that last kid leaves the nest. It is like you have been fired from the best, most fun, most rewarding, and most time consuming job you've ever had. And it can be bewildering for some women as they look to a future that doesn't have a clear road, and try to please a spouse that wants her to change from mom back to girlfriend, never mind that she has been cooking, cleaning, wiping noses, and maybe gaining a few pounds and not feeling so very sexy anymore. And yes, throw in the hormones.

It can also do a real job on her self esteem, making her wonder what exactly she is good for now? And perhaps she only see more years of cooking, cleaning, keeping house.......

But you can make a successful transition, and I think it requires an active, as opposed to a passive, spouse. It is unrealistic I think to expect her to suddenly switch gears and become your girlfriend again. But you can help her start to think of herself as a person in her own right, sexy in her own way, and with attribues that you think are unique and wonderful and why you love her.

Some suggestions: if conversation is difficult, start by taking her out to the movies, a play, or a concert, something you don't have to talk through but can enjoy together. Then take her out for a drink, or walk a ways looking at the stars. Hold her hand.

Ask about where she would like to travel. Tell her you will look into it and then do it! Don't make planning a trip just one more chore she has to do for someone else to please them. Plan it together and then you do the necessary stuff to make it a reality.

Ask about her intersts and encourage her to pursue them in the way she would like. How about joining a gym together? A hiking club? Just get out of the house and moving!

I've been married 20+ years, 2 kids. And yes, our relationship has changed. We've evolved from starry eyed, horny young marrieds, to having to practise "delay of gratification" as we put kids and their needs above ours, and now back to being alone together and sorting out a relationship where we know each other so well, warts and all.

And finding out that there is still that spark, buried under layers of time and responsibility and sometimes hurt. Finding that spark in enexpected ways: as he kisses me in the morning as he hands me a hot cup of coffee, as we hike together again now that we have weekends to ourselves, as he cleans out the kitty litter box because "you've had to do it all these years, and now it is my turn," as he cooks dinner with me, as he dances with me in the LR, as he tells me stupid jokes, as he asks about what is happening on the forums!

Reconnecting, not necessarily as you were when you first married before kids, but as mature marrieds with a deep and profound friendship, trust, love, and affection. And it begins with understanding each other, and then shaking it up a little. Changing in good ways. Don't wait passively for it to happen, begin actively to make it happen.

Best wishes to you and your DW.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:32AM
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Thank you for taking so much time to share your perspective. I really appreciated it..

Let me give you more perspective....This might help..
She had a terrible childhood, mine was awesome and I had a loving family.

Her father cheated, there was some other drama and she has a bit of a confidence issue because of it. I am a go getter and very passionate.

I like to talk about things that are bothering me. She never does. I have to sit her down and ask to talk..she would go on forever and never talk.

She is a good mother but has little patience. I am the one the kids came to when something bad happened and they needed a compassionate ear.

She has a dysfunctional relationship with her family. She resented the one that I had with my family. I lost both my parents in the last two years and really needed her support...she wasn't there to support me and that made the situation worse.

I just feel empty.

She just had surgery and I was expected to be supportive to her and help her...which I would do without a thought because I love her with all my heart.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not a lump and I really do want to be loved and have a relationship. I REALLY need a support system and I don't have one.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 6:47PM
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Mark, yes that fills out the picture a bit. And explains some stuff.

If what we experienced emotionally as children growing up was very painful, we may well learn to supress emotions later on. Opening up to another emotionally also takes trust, and if trusting was a dangerous thing to do as a child, it becomes a very difficult thing to learn to do as an adult.

Do you think the loss of your parents is contributing to your feeling of emptiness? And your wife's lack of support during that time making you take a much closer look at your marriage? Perhaps comparing it to your parent's marriage? I'm asking because I'm suspecting that what is going on with your DW isn't new, rather it seems that you have reached a point where you can't tolerate the emotional distance any more.

Your DW doesn't sound very happy either. Would she be open to therapy? And are you open to counseling, even if your wife is not?

And I just want to say that nothing that you have written here about what you want in a marriage is out of line. It may be time for professional help.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:17PM
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Whoa...whole different picture. Considerable depth here.

Thinking along the lines of barb5, now. Serious stuff going down. Best part of both your lives ahead. How do you want to live yours?

Now thinking break through or break out.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:58PM
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"Do you think the loss of your parents is contributing to your feeling of emptiness? And your wife's lack of support during that time making you take a much closer look at your marriage? Perhaps comparing it to your parent's marriage? I'm asking because I'm suspecting that what is going on with your DW isn't new, rather it seems that you have reached a point where you can't tolerate the emotional distance any more."

I think this is all true. The loss of my parents gave me clarity on so many levels....they saved and saved for retirement, had ample means and died in their early 70's. They had us kids when they were young like my wife and I did and I guess I really want to be happy at this point in my life.

I have awesome kids, an awesome life, I just wish I still had an emotional spark with my wife. I should add that her father was an alcholic and her parents divorced after their 25th wedding anniversary. Her mom lives with a loser guy but her father is now happily unfair is that...right.

I'm thinking that now that the kids are grown that this should be "our time". The thing is I'm just too exhausted to take this on too with what I've had to deal with over the last two years. I even thought that a vacation would be a good way to refresh. I love my wife with all my heart, but I really think we'd run out of things to talk about. Our best times are always with our friends and with others. I was thinking about taking her to a movie this weekend and then I thought....why?

I don't want to sound like a loser or a martyr here, but I think if I had some support...I might be able to put some effort in here. Does that sound crazy... When I read it I think I come off sappy. It's really hard keep up the front sometimes.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:23PM
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How much of what you've just written do you think your wife knows about? Have these things been topics between you? How delicate is this ground?

Do you think her previous enthusiasm is dormant -- as in possibility of resurrection -- or actually dead? Hope can be exciting. Dead is dead. What's the reality of it as nearly as you can discern?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:38PM
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What is to lose about going to a movie? Even if you don't say a word to each other, at least you can go out and enjoy a movie?

And you haven't said a word about going to counseling. Even if your wife does not go, you may find it very helpful to talk to an objective professional to try to sort all this stuff out. And a good therapist will be supportive, even while pointing out any fallacies in your thinking, if there are any.

One more thing. You describe your kids as "awesome." It is my observation that awesome kids usually have awesome parents. There must have been something good in your marriage to produce such good kids.

I wouldn't just give up on your marriage without trying to really understand why it isn't giving you the happiness you want. Find a good therapist. Really.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 11:33PM
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I've suggested counseling to her before and she said yes she would go if I thought it was worth it. It just seems to me that I'm the only one that wants to fix it. That is always on my mind..

I feel like she has a better relationship with her work colleages and friends than she does with me.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 5:07AM
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So you're the only dissatisfied one? She's OK with things as they are?

You haven't described hostility so I'm sort of assuming "marital drift" which is typically fixable assuming desire on both sides. However, disappointed to learn that she seems unconcerned/indifferent.

If things don't change, do you regard this as a deal-breaker? How dissatisfied are you?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:25PM
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I think Asolo has gotten to the gist of it: do you think your wife feels a deficit in your marriage too, and do you think she would be willing to do the work to improve it?

Her agreeing to counseling implies that she is emotionally invested in the marriage, otherwise what is the point of her agreeing to it, but your failure to follow through with it implies that you don't believe that she is.

After rereading your posts and your other thread, it seems that your feeling emotionally abandonned by your wife during the painful time of your parent's deaths really impacted how you see your DW and your marriage. Your anger and resentment about it is very evident. Again, counseling may be helpful, especially if you can come to arrive at an understanding and forgiveness of her. Until then, it is going to be difficult to move forward.

As I see it you have 3 choices:
1. Do nothing. The plus of this is it requires the least effort. The minus is that it offers almost no chance of anything improving.
2. Try to improve your marriage. The plus is that you may end up with everything you want in a marriage, you will have an intact family, you will probaby experience some personal growth and insight as well. The minus is that it is going to require emotional work on both your parts, you risk failure, and you are going to have to look at what you "own" in terms of where your marriage is. There are two sides to every story.
3. You bail. The plus is that you don't have to do the work of introspection, communication, understanding, and forgiveness. The minus is that you destroy your family, your kids may not understand, you may find the grass is not greener on the other side, and financially it will probably impact everyone negatively.

I know which choice I would make but I am not you. Only you can decide for you.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 1:49PM
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Thank you all for your introspection. I have to say that being able to vent it does feel good. This really isn't a happy life so I guess I know what I need to to do. I HATE carrying all this around with me...its consuming me.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:19PM
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Mark, I just reread my last post and I really come off as a "know it all", when I am anything but. I apologize. As I said, I don't often post on this forum but your thread struck a chord with me because I have been in a long term marriage that did get a bit stale. We did some work and talked and listened a lot. My marriage is much improved.

I hope that things get better for you and your wife too. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:37PM
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Mark, you still haven't said whether YOU have sought sounselling. It doesn't matter what your wife does, it's clear you need some counselling to deal with the loss of your parents. As for marriage counselling, if your wife says she'll go "if you think it's necessary", then the answer is, "Yes, I do, our first appointment is next Tuesday."
Your wife may be passive but it seems to me you are, too. If you have to sit her down to talk, then do it. You say you are the only one who wants to "fix it", but this is possibly more a function of you being the only one who perceives a problem. If your wife's experience of her parent's marriage was dysfunctional, perhaps she feels that what she has is pretty good. So don't wait around until your wife thinks there is a problem, by that point you may well be past the point of fixing anything. Make a move now, organise a counsellor, plan a trip to somewhere exotic you've never been before (at least you can talk about what you've seen and done), tell her you are unhappy and need things to be different.
When you say you needed her support and didn't get it, what exactly did you want that she didn't do? As someone who is damaged by her childhood and who isn't one to initiate talks about how she is feeling, it probably does not occur to her that you might want to unless you tell her. I wouldn't be surprised also if she doesn't feel the same depth of relationship with her parents that you did with yours, and so does not realise how much you are hurting from their loss. A grief counsellor is probably a better person to help you in this respect.
From what you say it looks like you are the one who is unhappy, so you need to be the one who makes the first move. You haven't said your wife is averse to improvement, so maybe since she doesn't seeem to see a problem, you have to take her along on the improvement ride, she may well enjoy it once you get going.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 5:51AM
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Married 20 years, together 24. My heartrate slows down when I smell my husband's skin. Touching him makes me feel calm and safe. It sounds like he is a habit-forming drug, doesn't it, but that's kind of the way I experience him at this point. It means I have a long way to fall and I worry about sickness and infidelity and his getting bored in the sack, so nothing's perfect.

I would be curious to know how your wife responds when you tell her how you feel about your marriage. When you talk about things, are you able to reach a useful end point? Or is just, "Well, you didn't--" with everything?

It does sound like you are depressed and grieving from a double whammy and a spot of therapy with someone good (not everybody is) would be very timely. I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 9:10PM
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ok, after losing an entire night of sleep, I told my wife we needed to talk... I unloaded...entirely.

I told her about being feeling dejected by her sexually, distant in our relatioship, that due to her poor relationships with her family, that she resented the strong relationship I had with my parents, that I am definetly depressed from a grieving state...not suicidal and I think that is exacerbated by a lack of support from her.

I also talked to her about what I believe to be an inappropriate relationship with a coworker where she worries more about him than flag. Others have noted this as well so I am not paranoid.

She said she needed a few days to think about it before she responds....yup..another red flag. At this point I feel better that she knows how I feel. I saw one of you mention that in an earlier post. I am not a passive person....I am just exhausted from stress and from grieving. In case anyone is wondering...I still like to have fun and have a sense of humor. As I read this I could appear to be someone sitting in a corner and mourning. ;o)

If you're wondering what I'm looking isn't a pipedream..

I just want a wife that wants to love me, for me to feel loved and someone to spend the rest of my life with that wants to have some adventures and travel. We've raised three great kids and I think we've earned it.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 6:15PM
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Happy to learn you've spilled your guts. From your various posts I've long thought it time. I especially liked to learn you "unloaded...entirely."

This may be news to her. I don't regard her "few days" comment as a red flag. First thought is that this is likely her recognition that something important just happened and it deserves a well-considered response.

I think something important did just happen.

I hope it works out the way you'd like.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 7:49PM
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Wishing the best for you Mark.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 4:36PM
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hope things work out for you, your conversations with your wife will either improve your marriage or end it, either way it is an improvement. let us know.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Well, we finally talked for about an hour last night. I really don't know where we are. She says she loves our kids but she doesn't feel that I love her. I told her that I love her, and our kids, but don't like her right now.

I told her that I resented her for not being there for me when I needed her most yet I was supposed to be there for her when she had her surgery. I told her that I was there for her because that's what a spouse should do. I asked her why she wasn't there for me when my Dad died and she told me that she didn't know what I needed so she left me alone...for 11 months until I got the call my Mom died!

She wanted to know why I wouldn't let her help me when my mom died and I was like "really"! Why so you could reject me again?

We left it that we love each other and that's all we have right now. There is no I love you's, no intimacy....just a business partnership. I asked her what she wanted to do and she said that she wanted to stay married. I asked why....she said because she didn't know how to fix this.

I have to confess I was hoping that I was just depressed over my recent losses and was just going a little crazy with grief. It's almost worse now that it's out in the open and she validated it.

I am really thinking that after all this time she has become a cold heartless person. As I think back and when the kids came to me for support when bad things happened and they needed nurturing..they never went to her. That should have been an eye opener. I'm really not a bad person. I believe that it's my responsibility to do everything I can to support my family and take care of them. I've never had an affair or done anything bad. I just needs some support and want to feel loved. I HATE that I have to go to a therapist to get it.

My youngest son graduates in 18 months..maybe we'll make some changes then...I hope I can make it. Our 26th wedding anniverary is this week. How ironic is that. I ordered her a dozen pastel roses, her I don't even care if I give them to her. I really resent her for letting me down. There's s thin line between love and hate and if we lose our frienship, which is all we have left at this point...then we have nothing.

Thanks for being my support system everyone..I couldn't get through this nightmare without you all.

Take care,

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 8:55PM
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I can't imagine being in your shoes. You've been married almost as long as I've been alive :) So I don't know how I could have any applicable advice for you (maybe I should just stop myself here?), but here's one thing that stuck out for me.

You say it's worse now, that it would be easier if you could just blame this on your depression, etc. Right? My DH lost his father and it took him nearly 3 years to come out of his funk. And by that I don't mean he was pouting around but he was not the same person. I did not know what to do. Things often get worse before they can get better, right?

So where you are is this: You have resentment. She feels shut out.

What would make you able to forgive her? How do you think you can change in order to make her feel comfortable and included again? Because this seems like a viscious cycle. She feels shut out, so she doesn't participate. You feel resentful, so you don't participate. And you begin doing solitary orbits around one another. Strangers in the same house.

Then again, you said that you've noticed her coldness before but didn't admit it to yourself, or acknowledge it. When I divorced my first husband I realized with a sudden, sickening wave of horror that I had overlooked so much. I was so foolish. I hope you do not have the same feelings. I hope you can find a way to fix this, for the sake of you and for the sake of your children.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 11:17PM
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Mental exercise for both of you:

Imagine that ALL of that stuff in the past that either confused you, disappointed you, or pissed you off didn't happen. Take it all of the table. Put it out of your mind. Leave it gone.

Now look at your spouse and consider the rest of your life with that person. Is that what you want?

If it is, you can have it. But NOT if either of you hold on to those memories you just put aside. If you do that, they'll all come back as weapons sooner or later. This is hard. Few people can actually do it, just as few people can really forgive or really apologize. Saying and doing are entirely different things.

From what you've written to date, assuming it's an accurate representation, I don't think anyone would fault you for making plans that didn't include her.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 11:27PM
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Mark, I think a lot of your resentment is...vague. And it seems to me to be somewhat unfair to your wife, who is clearly floundering in the face of this vagueness.
When you say, "I wanted her to be there for me?" what exactly do you mean by "there for me"? Follow you around everywhere? I can't work it out, and it seems your wife couldn't either, so at least she left you alone and didn't go the opposite way and hassle you. Did you want lots of hugs? Sex? Your favourite dinner cooked every night for a month? Notes to say "I'm thinking of you"? Little gifts in your lunchbox? What?
Not everyone is socialised enough to pick up on what their partner is thinking at any given time. A classic line for women is "If he really loved me, he would _know_ what I want." But you know, he probably does love her but his upbringing hasn't equipped him to pick up on the subtle clues. So she has to articulate it, "Honey, I want to do something together this weekend." "Honey, I really need a hug right now." Sometimes she has to get really specific, "Honey, I would like a porch swing for Christmas." And he runs to do it all, happy that he knows just what it is that will please her.
Sounds like this is the case with your wife. She's tuned in enough to feel your resentment but doesn't know what to do about it. She does want to stay married, but she doesn't know how to fix "this". I'm guessing her childhood experiences have trained her to keep to herself, avoid too much introspection and to be passive. So if you want to stay together you need to be more explicit and to articulate what it is you want. "Honey, I need to not to give me a hard time about work for the next while." "Honey, I need a hug." "Honey, I need another hug." "Honey, I need you to [take over one of your household roles] for a while because I'm overstretched." If you persist with luck she will learn to pick up on your non-verbal cues and you will have to spell it our less and less.
I also think both of you need counselling. Tell your wife that, if you want to fix your relationship. "I want to fix our relationship and it sounds like you do, too, but neither of us knows how to. I believe a counsellor can help us to work through this. I have made an appointment for next Thursday. I would like you to come. Will you, please?" If she says "no", _then_ you know she's not serious about fixing things and can plan accordingly. But I think until you give her a chance to change and give her some explicit information about what it is you want from her, you're not being entirely fair.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 4:02AM
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To Colleenoz

The resentment is not vague at all. She wasn't there to support me through this crisis. Let me tell you how things go in my family...I'm the person people go to for support. When my daughter was robbed at gunpoint and needed therapy, she came to me...not my wife. My wife did nothing to support her and didn't spend the hours talking to her like I did. When my son was assaulted at school, I took him to court to press charges against the monster that assaulted him, my wife didn't go.

I've just learned to accept that this is how she rolls. But I've also been lucky to dodge crisis up to this point in my life and I am grateful for that. I know that this isn't the case for most people in the world, but I haven't been the one NEEDING support before. I guess I expected more for her. I can't go to my kids for support because I really don't think that's what a parent should do. I just remember when my parents lost their parents that they were very supportive of each other, asked "do you need anything" and were very affectionate to each other. How i WISH I could just get a hug. WHY would I ask for one...kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

Anyway I guess I'm the only one that's going through this crap and as I write this I sound kind of selfish. I guess I'm more disappointed that friends and my kids have been more supportive to me than she has. In case you all think she's this morose angry thing...she isn't. She is the life of the party, hugs and kisses our friends when we socialize, is well respected at work and gets along well with her co-workers. I just don't get the same treatment. This is why I say that maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is to just end the marriage. I could then enjoy my kids, not have to watch her interactions with family and friends and maybe find someone out there that wants to love me. This isn't depression as I've recently learned...its clarity from mourning and I think my eyes have been opened.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:50AM
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good luck Mark, whatever you decide do not stay in marriage for the sake of the kids, they don't need parents to be miserable.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:02AM
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I can see Colleen's point in that a person does need to be able to ask for what they want.


A partner should also be able to anticipate those needs and be giving of themselves, especially in crisis.

Mark, it can take a crisis to find out who people really are. My divorce showed me who my friends were. Many of them did not support me, did not want to get involved. I felt that if I had to ask them for support they weren't really good friends. And some would ask, and I would answer, and they would not come through. Little requests, like if they could meet me for a play date for our kids. Not big requests.

For your clarity though, I would do as Colleen said, and be VERY CLEAR with your wife. Tell her EXACTLY what you want. That way you will have no second guessing later when you look back on the situation.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:56PM
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I can see Colleen's point too. I, too, have found that you really have to specify what you want in simple language.

I have been married for 28 years and my last child is doing his final exams at school, as we speak. I am in Australia and the school year ends in November.

This should be a really special time for a married couple, to have those strains, of raising children loosened is wonderful. And there is no doubt about it, those long years of working hard and raising a family do take a toll on a marriage. I find that for so many years your focus, as a parent is doing the absolute best you can for the children, and unfortunately that can mean letting your relationship with your other half crumble.

So Mark I would say to you, to give your marriage one last go. Work on being very specific about what you want. As Asolo suggested, put the grievances behind you look to the future. Your future could really blossom now.

I wish you all the best, you sound like a decent chap, who just wants the simple glorious things out of life.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 8:34PM
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"We left it that we love each other and that's all we have right now." That's a helluva lot! You have made a good first step in coming clean, but now you really need a trained counselor to guide both of you.

I also think that she has had no parental role models to show her how to be supportive to you. She probably has to learn what comes naturally to you, with your warmer mother and father. Not all women are naturally nurturing, some have to be kind of trained. Remember the cloth monkey?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 2:58AM
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Sounds like you two have become more or less brothers & sisters who live together vs a couple...... You stay together because that is all that you know but at the same time you are not even remotely satisfied in the relationship...

No you are not the only one that goes thru this and based on the divorce rate, it happens more than any one really wants to believe.........

Depending on the age of your kids I would suggest looking to end the relationship but of course thats a call only you can make.

The best way to see how you really feel about your wife would be to meet some one new. You will either 1. feel guilty about it and really focus and work to re-build your current situation or 2. find out that your current situation is pretty much dead and move forward and move on with your life.

Either way, good luck and I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 6:04AM
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I feel compelled to give you all an update. We talked some more today and she told me that part of the reason that she married me was to get out of her bad situation at home.

She also told me that she would do anything for the kids but maybe not for me. The cincher she told me that we have nothing in common and the she thinks she may just want to live alone. She doesn't have a great relationship with her family, but what I noticed today is that we weren't sad talking about ending the marriage or anything like that. It was like planning a trip or something. It was very weird. As crazy as this sounds, I have always had to take care of her as well as the kids so I keep thinking that I need to fix this as well. Until today. I told her to make a decision and tell me how she feels and what she wants to do. I think it will probably end I just need to see a divorce lawyer and start to learn more about what I need to do. It's time for me....I'm tired of taking care of everyone else....may sound arrogant...but I'm exhausted and not going to stay with someone that doesn't want me around. I told her that there are times that I see her looking at me in disgust...she said sometimes she does.

Being alone and enjoing my kids is better than wasting my time taking care of someone that doesn't want me around. I hope I meet someone too that wants to laugh, travel and enjoy life. Life isn't very enjoying to me right now and all the counseling in the world won't make me forget what she said to me.

Take care everyone and thanks for all your advice.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Well that's sad but at least now you've both been totally honest with each other and have a clearer idea of where to go from here. I'm sorry for you though that you have been strung along for so long. I do hope you find someone who wants to be with you.
I suspect the lack of sadness on both sides is most likely due to your both subconsciously realising you've come to the end of this particular road, and in your case at least having already halfway decided to wind things up.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 12:26PM
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Well, then, there it is. Acknowledging a new reality doesn't always have to be accompanied by fireworks.

"...not going to stay with someone that doesn't want me around."

You've got plenty of life left. Agree this is not how to spend it.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 1:05PM
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good luck! i hope you have amicable divorce, as sad as it is, it is better than staying in unhappy marriage. hope you both stay on good terms and I hope your kids handle it well. Hugs

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 7:29PM
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I am sorry to hear this. While it may feel right now that you can part relatively without emotion, I think I can pretty much guarantee you're going to feel it down the line. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't ultimately divorce. But it sounds like you were on autopilot for years, it's time for a course correction, and rather than do the painful work required, both of you have decided to part ways. Which means if you don't do the work now, you will have to do it later, and so will your children when they form their own relationships and marriages. Is that the message you and your wife want to hand down? If your partner disappoints you, don't fight for your relationship, just let go? You sound (understandably) angry and sad in relation to your wife. You would like more from her. But "support me better" is not very concrete or useful. What kind of support do you want? How good are you at accepting it? Is it hard for you, having been the giver for years, to learn to accept gracefully? Will the next relationship be miraculously free of this dynamic you've developed with your current wife, or will you be fighting these battles over again, only to quit without counseling or any real attempt to understand because you're hurt and tired and don't feel like it?

I hope whether you go or stay, you come out wiser and stronger. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 11:16PM
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It really depends on both your attitudes towards it. My first marriage was almost 20 years and was bad from the beginning.

My second is six years, we've been together almost 10 years and it gets better and better.

Unless you don't like each other and don't get along at all, it's all choice. You can choose to be happy together, or not. Sounds simplistic, but true.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 2:17AM
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