Husband looking for advice

Crow13October 10, 2011

My wife and I have been married for 9 years, all of which I thought were what marriage was supposed to be like. Sure, it settled a little in the last 3 years or so, with both of us working full time. Any way, a year and a half ago, i took a job in Iraq, so we could afford for my wife not to have to work in a factory anymore. Everything went great, all things considered, until about 3 months ago. I went home on my RnR, we vacationed, and had what I thought was a great time. She was constantly posting on facebook all the cool stuff we were doing and how we were having fun. So

, I get back to the fire department here in Iraq, and 2 weeks later I get an email out of the blue, saying we need to talk. Of course, this is never the words any one wants to hear. So, I manage to get a hold of her via email, and she explains she is not happy in our marriage, and hasnt been for 3 years now. She says she loves me, but is not in love with me, and the reason is that, I don't help out around the house like I should, and I dont show interest in new things in the bedroom. Okay, so yes, Iv'e done a lot of soul searching (what else is there to do in Iraq) and have found I have been lazy when it comes to house chores, and yes, we have lost a bit of spark in our love making. Both of these things which I believe can be changed incredibly easily. However, no matter how much I try to convince her I am working my butt off to ensure these changes will be made, she still ignores most of my calls/messages, and says she doesn't know if she can believe my claims, that we will just have to wait until I get home and take it from there. She once even told me if it doesn't work out, she would still like to be friends!? Summary; I have been given a one time "trial" to prove to her I can be better when I get home. So my question is, am I chasing a dream, has she already made up her mind and is now leading me on because I am nothing more than a nice paycheck, or is there hope?

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The only thing I can tell you for certain is that there's no hope for it if she's in the US and you're in Iraq. Stuff like this isn't repaired via e-mail and I doubt a few weeks of face-time via R&R will cover it either.

The part that is most telling in my mind is the bit about her offering you a "one time trial". A "trial" after nine years? Don't like the sound of that at all. No trouble with the "friends" part except it seems to me that's an indication she's likely already built up entire mental construct.

I think what you're getting is woman-speak for "you're toast". I think you're already gone to her and what you're seeing now is her laying her own the mental ground-work for being gentle with you and making her own mental adjustment to a decision she's actually already made. I think the thing is already a lot further down the road than you're thinking.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 9:50AM
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"She says she loves me, but is not in love with me"

LOL - they must teach that line to women "how to get out of your marriage so your husband won't hate you" ex pulled that one on me too.

Sorry to say this, and I hope I am incorrect, but from the things she is saying, I'm pretty sure she at bare minimum has an interest in someone, if she's not already cheating on you...but that's where it's leading....the things she is saying are all too familiar to me.

I agree with have probably lost her. I've heard this line around here too "once a woman checks out of a relationship....she's gone."

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 10:28AM
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So....down to it....are there children involved or just the two of you? If she's no longer working, how does she spend her time these days?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Yes, we have a seven year old son. Also ( a few more details) I have been trying to work on our situation as much as possible from over here, without being to overbearing. I have asked her several times in the past few months "Is your mind already made up?" to which she has replied with #1, "I've thought about it and I don't want to throw our marriage away", this statement had the trial thing attached to it. And #2, " I just don't want to get my hopes up, we have a lot to work on". I personally don't think she is the type to cheat, she really is a great woman, but I guess you can never rule that out completely. Also, I've never considered myself to be that big of a $h!t bag. Everyone I know says I'm a great guy and don't deserve this. That is why I am here, to get an unbiased opinion of the matter. I've done my share to cause problems I guess, nothing that I believe warrants a divorce though. So I was lazy on the weekends, I worked my butt off in a factory; I didnt go to bed at the same time as her sometimes; I'm a night owl! Those are my crimes. Easily fixed, right. Anyway, I'm rambling. She does skype me more often now, but really hasn't anything to say. Is it the thought that counts though? Just the fact she does call, even without something to say, tends to give me hope. Am I wrong to think this way?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:21PM
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Well then, you do have some openness going on and a child you're both interested in. These are good, hopeful things. If the thing needs saving and you're both actually wanting to save it then, yes, I am hopeful.

However, if it's going to be done, the first thing you're going to need is face-time. Can you get any?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:51PM
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I have somehow managed to get an early rnr, i will be home in 2 1/2 weeks;I pray it isn't to late Oh, and yes she does work now, at the local yamaha dealer. She is the finance girl. keeps her busy 5 to 6 days a week. Also, her grandparents live next door to us, so it would make it hard to do anything outside the marriage, as they usually watch our boy during the week till she gets home. Another thing, we both have tattoos here and there, nothing extreme, but as with any marriage, we've always consulted the other for their opinion before getting another. Lately, she and her girlfriend have gotten 2, I only found out because it was posted on facebook, and now I see shes getting a 3rd. We just "talked" this morning, and never once was this brought up. Should I think anything of it, or just let it be till after I get home?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I think anything you're really going to be interested in will happen when you get home. Your task for the next 2 1/2 weeks will be to keep an even keel and maybe to lay an encouraging groundwork for what you both know will be coming. The idea would be to create an atmosphere so pleasant that both of will be looking forward to the reunion. Can you make yourself irresistible at cyber-distance?

Don't know from tats but among those I've known they have been usually considered a pretty individual thing. Asserting one's individuality while ostensibly hoping for reconnection is suspect but could be just a little rebellion or nothing at all. In any event, don't worry about it now. If you get home and find one of them says "My Husband's a Jerk" in gothic letters, maybe that's a problem. Otherwise probably let it ride.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 1:33PM
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I wish you the best of luck, honestly, especially for your child. But I will be honest with you, this sounds sooooo familiar.

I too (even wrote this in a letter to her when I first started getting suspicious about her) told my ex I thought she was "too good a person" to do such a thing (boy was I wrong). Also, my wife was a stay at home for years, she had her first affair when my kids were 6 and 3....I thought no, impossible, when could she make the time? Believe me, she somehow find the time.

Also, I first realized my marriage was in trouble (months before becoming suspicious she might have something going on), because I called her from an airport on a business trip, and literally, like you said, she had nothing to say, it was like I was keeping her from something. That was my "wake up call", so to speak.

Not sure about the relevance of the tatoo thing, could mean nothing...but in terms of what to do now, if you love her and want the marriage to work, your only chance is to be up front about it and tell her that you need couples counseling, and need her to seriously "buy in" to putting the effort into reconnecting. If she is non-committal, or takes a half-ass approach...well, you have your answer. I wish I knew this after my ex had her first affair, it would have saved me three years of being in limbo, thinking we were gonna be ok, before she did it again.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 2:17PM
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Yes Mkroopy, I read that earlier, which is why I posted my story. In my case, I really do have to take the blame for it all, as she really is a good woman. On the flip side, all women need attention, and if not gotten, they will find it. I just pray I am not to late. Thank you all for the advice, I will keep my fingers crossed, and hopefully I might get lucky enough to give anyone else in this situation some hope. Pray I don't screw up 9 years into what could be the best thing in my life.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 2:29PM
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Good luck, I truly hope it works out for you....don't give up hope, just don't bury your head in the sand if things get "a little better" for a while....the relationship needs serious work at this point. Neglecting to address this now will only postpone things, and the same issues will come up again in the future.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 3:03PM
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Keep smiling. It makes the pessimists nuts.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 3:19PM
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You said you got a job in Iraq so she wouldn't have to work in a factory. But she is working now, anyway. Can't you give up the job in Iraq and come home? I simply can't imagine a marriage surviving with the living situation you describe.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 4:25PM
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Suzieque, no I cannot give up this job until all extra bills are paid off, like the vehicles and credit card. After that, yes, we could afford regular jobs again. Also, she insists on working, so as not to get bored; she just couldn't take the stress of a factory.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 4:46PM
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You seem like a decent chap. You are working hard in a dangerous spot for the betterment of your family. This won't go on forever, as you say. You have given thought about how you could improve your behaviour. You have a lot of positive attributes.

I wish you well. Making your reunion a special time. Let her know how you feel about her. How important she is in your life. How difficult it is when you are in Iraq.

You being away is bound to add stress to the marriage. She has probably felt lonely and is looking for reasons.

I wish you well hope it all turns out well for you all.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Hi again, Crow. I'm sorry for what's going on with you and your wife. It does sound as though she's already pretty much checked out, unfortunately. I just don't know how you're going to get another chance when you're working in Iraq. When you come home, it must be more like a visit than a life together.

I'm still on the "do you have to stay in Iraq" thing. You mentioned that you have to keep the job to pay off bills and "vehicles". How many vehicles do you need if you're not here? Do you mean that she has one and you have one in Iraq? If no, and you have more than one at "home" (where she lives), can you sell one?

To me, it just wouldn't be worth it to have my husband live so far away from me and just come home for "R & R". I would gladly have less in order to have my husband live with me.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 9:46PM
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As I said earlier, I am pretty well stuck here until all
'extra" bills are paid off. We've discussed it before, and Iv'e told her I would gladly give this up and live in poverty if it meant keeping us together; to which she replied, putting us in a financial bind will only make things worse. Sometimes, I feel like I am nothing more than a paycheck, allowing her to live at the house without a bill to pay. To her credit, she does pay for her own vehicle, I on the other hand take care of my vehicle, light bill, water bill, cell phone bill, credit card, internet, pretty much everything else. Oh, and to answer your question, we have two wranglers, both of which are at home in the states.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 5:43AM
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Where I live there are many married couples separated by one or the other partner working at a remote location and flying home every two weeks (generally) for a week then going back to work. Sadly it is common for many of these marriages to break down.
A friend who went through this process told me that it was just too disruptive having a husband who would come home periodically and essentially disturb the routine she and her children were in. It sounds heartless but I can appreciate what she meant. She and the kids would have their routine, then Dad would come home and it would be all different for a few days (with some tension because they wanted to keep to the routine, and Dad wanted things his way) then he would go away and they'd be back in their preferred rut. And they had got used to being without Dad. Eventually the tension wasn't worth staying together and they split up.
My daughter was in a relationship which lasted some years before her partner took one of the fly in-fly out jobs. They kept it going for another couple of years but eventually split up. I suspect long-distance relationships just get too hard, whatever the motivation for making them long-distance.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 10:25AM
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I really do think that you are stuck in a tough spot where, you cannot be physically together to mend things.

I'm just going to offer you the wife's possible perspective here:

From your description it does not look like 3 years back your wife was dying to get into a workforce. Else, why would you take up Iraq assignment to help her stay at home? Either that, or she was happy but wanted help at home and your counter offer was to make more money so she could revert to her original homemaker role.

So -- here's what happened:
First, she took a job to help finances, which meant a change in the lifestyle, and from your own admission, you were not helpful around the house, thus, she now had a job, a full house, a kid all for her to manage. I may also add that this is similar to families where both work and have a baby: marriage crumbles rapidly due to more stress, less time and more work.

Secondly, you decided to take the assignment in Iraq to help her quit her job. Although you took one element (stress) out of her life, you added the challenge of having a remote(if I may say so, non-existent) marriage. Not to mention that, when you left, she was in a single parent mode, with all household+kid responsibilities by herself.

As a culture, we're not kind to remote marriages and we're even less of a role model, since cheating is so common. So what's a wife in that situation to do? I'm sure you heard enough hinting from others that *she* might be cheating; and it's great that you have a confidence in her, but then again, as a culture, we always think of men as "straying" -- so, what I'm saying here is, for a woman in that situation, life is hard at several levels.

I suppose that might have caused resentment and bitterness in her mind and from her perspective, things have been going downhill for past 3 years or so.

To me it looks like "what's in it for me?" type of issue, where one party begins to think that he/she is giving too much and not getting anything much in return. And you have tried to provide a solution but essentially given a new problem to your wife to deal with. You need to discuss each other's expectations and decide how to best reach the goals.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 12:50PM
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Railparail, nice deduction. Pretty well fits the whole situation. Yes as the "man/provider" I did assume that my main responsibility was to make the cash that paid the bills. (I realize how wrong I was now) She has always wanted to work, ever since we married. I was in the army at age 18 and made more than enough for us at the time. She was able to stay home if she wanted to, however, she became bored and would always find a small job. A few years back, she was hopping from one small job to another, looking for something she would like. I, being one who loves to work with his hands, talked highly about, and offered to get her a position in the factory I was in. This went well for a while, then after a year or so, she realized the B.S. that comes with a factory job was not for her. Unfortunetly, as time went by, we were both making so much, that we had acquired bills that matched our income. This lead to her being stuck in a job, she was not happy with. I, thinking the way I used to, thought I could fix everything, by taking this job now, which would afford for her to be able to quit the factory and find something she enjoyed. Which she has, now, selling motorcycles.

This arrangement was agreed on by both of us, and it was decided that it was the best option at the time, but like you said, there is too much time ,when one is alone, to think about things that normally would not be a big issue otherwise.

Anyhow, I did address what was on my mind just a few minutes ago, and how I was, to be honest, scared I would not get the chance to show her I can change my stagnant ways. To which she replied "WTF, I will be here whenever it will be that you'll get to come home". Now, because she started that with "WTF" tells me, she pretty serious. lol. So, am I wrong to assume this is actual truth, and maybe just maybe I do have a chance to fix things now? I mean, a month ago, she didnt call, and would ignore my calls. Now, even though she usually hasn't much to say, she does skype 5 times a week for at least 5 minutes each time, sometimes up to 30 minutes; or am I still chasing a dream?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 4:23PM
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"...or am I still chasing a dream?"

Not trying to be a jerk or anything, honestly, I feel for you, having been thru this myself. But if I had to guess, I would say the chances of reconnecting with her are not great.

I think I can offer some advice, since I really did go thru a lot of what you describe with my ex (only real difference is by the time I realized there were issues and started trying to reconnect with her, the affair had been going on for 6 months, you only have mild suspicions at this point). Don't look at this ordeal, as many guys do, as a "challenge", "something to conquer", "something to fix". Love does not work like that for women. It is fairly obvious she has fallen out of love with you, same as my ex did with me.

I did love my ex...before I found out about the affair, she was not a perfect match for me in many many ways but I was happy and desperately wanted to "fix" the marriage. I went about it completely in the wrong way. I'm a "logical" person by nature (engineer, computer programmer, etc), who thinks rationally and not emotionally. I looked at the problems we were having as just things on a checklist that I could change and all the problems would go away.

What I didn't realize is that she didn't want me to "fix" things, she wanted attention, romance, to be wooed, to feel special....all that stuff that seems silly to lots of guys (still does, sorry ladies) but women live for, whether they admit it or not.

If you do make the decision to do whatever it takes to save this marriage (and don't do it JUST for the child, yes it plays a big part of it, but be honest with yourself and figure out whether this is really the person you love and want to spend your life with), the first thing you need to do is get home. You have ZERO chance if you are across the planet....none. You sound relatively young, money issues will usually take care of themselves in the long run if you are hard working and not stupid in your lifestyle, you have only ONE shot at winning her back, and more time apart from you is just more time for her to lose her feelings for you. Once home, you essentially will be starting from ground zero with her, you will essentially have to wooo her all over again, like you were just starting out. I didn't do this, I took the approach of "let's talk about what's wrong so I can fix it" and "what am I doing wrong?" This had no effect on her, I realize now. Sure, couples therapy should eventually be part of it I think, but the main focus should be in trying to reconnect with HER, not identifying and fixing problems. Take her on dates, go for walks, send her silly emails with pix of kittens, whatever makes her smile. Spend TIME with her...not just with your child there too. Again, not sure if it's possible at this point, but taking this approach might be your best shot.

Again, take my advice with a grain of salt as it is from some stranger online...don't quit your job unless you convince yourself it is the right thing to do. But as someone who's been thru this, and didn't make the right choices, I wish I had the ability to go back in time and change the way I approached things.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 6:16PM
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Unfortunately, I think you're done for. Sorry to say it, but to me it sounds like she is already checked out.

And, frankly, I still don't get what you're trying to say - perhaps I'm dense. I asked if you have 2 cars where she lives, and if so could you sell one. You answered that you have 2 Wranglers. Well, why do you need a vehicle at a place you don't live? Why not sell it and recoup some of that money? How often do you get home and for how long at a time? I don't think you've said. Do you really need 2 vehicles?

You said that you and she made a good amount of money before and acquired the bills to match it. Ok, fine, but it sounds like you didn't pay them off with the good salary. You got yourselves into a bind and quit the well-paying jobs (or she did, anyway), and you took off to live a world away. Is the money you're making there so much greater that it'll pay off the "extra" bills you mention? What's extra? Charge cards that you/she ran up? How much could you get if you sell one of the Wranglers? Would that make a dent? Then - gee - on the occasions when you're home perhaps you could share her car. Drop her off at work if you need the car for the day.

I'm not trying to be harsh - but I think you've (and I mean you AND her) made repeated poor decisions (living up to your means but not paying off your bills, quitting a job (her) because you aren't happy with the BS but you still have big "extra" bills, separating physically and becoming "visitors", etc.).

Perhaps she even was checking out before you moved to Iraq and saw it as an opportunity to be physically independent, have someone pay the bills, and do a job she likes. Who knows.

Unless you're ready to move back home and make some concessions, from what you write and how you write it, I'm sorry to say that it's probably time for you to get your ducks in a row.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 9:06PM
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Crow13, I disagree with others that she has checked out etc. It may be so, and it may not be so.

If she is making enough money to be financially independent and raise the kid, then it's a whole lot easier for her to want to leave you -- that's the truth. The bright side to this is that if she tells you she wants to work out things with you, she really indeed does!

Here's how I would handle it (and may be I'm too naive) -- I'd just ask her plainly if she thinks she wants to give your marriage a chance -- remind her of all the good times and assure that there are more to come, and that you are willing to give your 100% to start over. Then ask, is she done with YOU or the SITUATION? Sometimes you do confuse between the two - especially when you're overwhelmed with negativity.

If you are going to be meeting in person (and you should try to) -- then I'd ask her, face-to-face, if she has anyone else in mind whom she is attracted to.

What could be her issues? loneliness for one, lack of support, and the loneliness leads to a plethora of problems like lack of emotional support, lack of romance, lack of social life etc. If you cannot count on stepping out to get a drink with the special one on a Friday night, week after week after week, it can be a big deal.

If you can work through these and if you can come up with a solution, then of course you have a chance. Hope this helps, and have hope!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 11:45PM
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"..then I'd ask her, face-to-face, if she has anyone else in mind whom she is attracted to"

The odds on her answering this question honestly, if she is in fact seeing or interested in someone, are slim-to-none. I think once a spouse decides to cheat, the truth becomes something to be avoided at all costs. Or at least that's the way it went with my Ex....

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 12:55PM
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I feel like I have to put in my 2 cents worth (and that's probably all it's worth),but here goes...
Whenever there is trouble in a marriage it is not all one person's fault. Crow - you may have a few shortcomings, nothing insurmountable, but it sounds like your wife has you ready to jump through hoops. Anybody who is committed to a relationship is not going to give their spouse "just one chance to get it right". Sounds like she is waiting for you to fail so she can give you your walking papers.

I understand that long distance relationships put a strain on even the most solid of marriages, but how can someone complain that you don't help around the house when you aren't there most of the time. It is physically impossible for you to help around the house. Seems like an odd thing to pick out to be upset about.

Having said that, her problems with you seem like excuses. And I am sorry to say that she seems to be living her own life(didn't mention new tattoos), she is not including you in on her news.

and yes mkroopy - it may be sappy but women are complex and appreciate romantic gestures (email pictures of kittens not withstanding). So, if you are gearing up for said romantic gesture, choose something that will mean the most to your wife. That you thought of her, not a generic - "any woman" gift.

I do hope things work out the way you want them to.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 5:44PM
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From what I've read in Crow13's follow-up posts, I see ample cause for optimism. Seems work-outable to me. Hoping he comes back with good news later on.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 12:28PM
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Yes you can go home and stay home. That is the problem. Does it take a outsider to say it then I will. You can get by cut down on your bills and get home to live with your wife where your belong! before it really is to late to save your marriage...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 10:04PM
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I've been married 11 years and if my husband suddenly told me that he was going to take a job overseas and just see me every few months so that I could stay home alone I think I would tell him that makes no sense at all. The rate of divorce among military personnel goes up with long periods of overseas deployment, and many military wives at least have some friends in the same boat. You had a choice, since it sounds as though you are non-military. I wonder if she thought this was a good idea. What I am getting at is this--maybe you have a pattern of not really looking at consequences of choices you make. If that's true, she needs to feel you will make choices with her in mind in the future.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 9:52PM
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I agree with the last two posters,if my man went to work away I wouldnt be happy and it probably would mean the end of us .Whats the point in a relationship if its barely there.The bills would get paid somehow.this realtionship would only have a chance to work if he went home,but she might of already moved on and I beleive thats your fault for putting money before your family

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 2:43AM
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