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Can't cope after 23 years married

Community Member
I've been married for 23yrs and we have 2 healthy children. We are financially stable and have a successful company. I know I should be happy but I feel depressed and stuck. I no longer want to be married to my husband.
I care deeply about my husband, and he is a good man, but he has always been totally closed off to his emotions and also very determined in his viewpoints. Since the beginning I felt rejected and alone when he wouldn't talk to me after any kind of debate or disagreement. After we had our first child, we moved to Perth for a 4 month post, I asked him to come to marriage counselling, but he refused, saying I was blaming him and I was emotional because I had a newborn. After every holiday there is always a disagreement, it's like he stresses out because the holiday is over, it is just unreasonable and extremely uncomfortable. I hate holidays. I have shut him out the way I had always felt shut out by him.
Intimacy is also a problem. For years I was having sex in order to keep the peace and now I just feel used up, like I’m not even capable of enjoying it anymore. The idea of having sex with him makes me so anxious, I know my husband wouldn't handle a sexless marriage. Sex is very important to him, but the real problem is the lack of connection. I don't know how to feel connected to him anymore. I don't think I want to. I know he looks to porn and sites like Mewe, I don't have any proof that he has been unfaithful in our marriage, but he has travelled extensively over the years, so I wouldn't know.
I dream of asking him for a separation, but how? I am a Director with 50% share in our company, there are so many elements to consider - our kids, the business, our employees, our large rural property and animals; and I don’t want to move the kids even if I could afford to. And it seems too cruel to ask my husband to move out, and I doubt he would ever agree. My teenage children are now questioning their father, which is heartening to me because I feel like I am not the only one, but I also feel it's so hard to support them because he feels I am not supporting him as a parent - he won't give me an opportunity to disagree with him and make an alternative plan for the kids. Should I stay until the kids are adults and waste another 5yrs of both of our lives? But staying is just adding to my resentment. I need to take some action, I can't stay in limbo. I'm not living just existing.
2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Dear Delma, you sound really sad about your situation. First of all allow me to say that children are more resilient and adaptive to separation than us adults. As individuals they will feel their way with their dad and make their own conclusions and future with him, as teens they are old enough to do this now.

So relocating for sanity reasons on your part is your priority, to make your decision either way.

The decision-

—to stay- his refusal not to go to counseling is his right but that is cold comfort for you. I suggest going to counseling alone on the premise you are doing so to cope with him as your husband.

The one wise thing to do is not reveal details of your counseling meetings. Simply reply “I’m going to learn to cope with your behaviour, if you’d like to join me you’re welcome”

-to leave- postponing leaving could be torturous if you feel there is no hope of saving your marriage. Before announcing separation I’d have a rough plan eg 1/ that he is amicable and will help you shift, divide furniture, sort out business and financial details 2/ reject assistance and wants to make amends including counseling 3/ makes life hell for all of you

Whatever his reaction I would have alternative accommodation ready but not paid for.

It is difficult for anyone to give you advice one way or the other- it is your life, but the situation must be resolved one way or the other. If you must leave then expression of desiring an amicable split can be made by you to give him every opportunity to respond maturely for a calm outcome.

I did find however with my first marriage split it doesn’t matter if you try for a friendly split if the other party decides to make life hard- they’ll do so anyway.

Finally, if you stay even for a while the following thread might help.


beyondble topic relationship strife- the peace pipe

reply anytime


Community Member

Hi Delma

To stay or to go is ultimately a decision that only you can make. That being said, you really need to ask yourself a few of questions:

  • Will my life improve by leaving?
  • Will I change one set of problems for a new set of unknown problems if I go?
  • Can the marriage salvaged?

In your post, you said, "I care deeply about my husband", and, "he is a good man". These are not good grounds for a divorce.

If your husband is like most men, (me included) he probable doesn't have a clue what is going on. At the very least, you might want to ask him what he wants. Give him the opportunity to save the marriage; you might be surprised. If he is not willing to see a marriage counselor, then at least you will leave with a clear conscience; you will know that you tried.

Only you know what is best for you!