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Secrets to long term marrage please- Couple in 40s

Community Member

Hi everyone,

we are all in strange times, leaves us questioning a lot about life. I have been married for 13 years now, together for 14, we are in our 40s now. we run a business together and have two kids 11,10 who we adore.

I am the one in the relationship keeping the spark going etc or at least try. A few years ago my wife pulled me aside and told me that I needed to put more effort in, which I do every day now. I am a gentleman, I wake up in the mornings with a smile on my face, I make an effort to look good etc. I buy her flowers treat her really well , tell her how beautiful she is , take her out for dinner when we can.

Ever since this happened my wife has done the opposite. She never tries, never makes a effort to dress up , never wants me in bed. I try to encourage her to wear lingerie , but she never does, it gets frustrating.

she is in her 40s I'm not sure if its just life doing the wind down of her hormones/sex drive. but she is not getting turned on. She wont talk about it, if I do bring it up and say anything she rolls her eyes or shuts me down.

On top of all this her mood swings are nasty at times. I have to remind myself that its not me its her and secretly tell the kids to just to give her space for a few days. I never argue or nit pick her wrong doings I forgive and forget. however I am the king target for her arguments over the smallest issues and always forced to be the fault of the issues for no reason.

i vowed to never give up and keep trying, however lately I fell like giving up all together. I started looking for a exit options for the future , even threw a few cloths in a bag in case things got too bad- god I hope I never get to that stage.

I lay there in tears late at night some nights (very manly of me) - I know a lot of what I said is classified as normal in relationships

what I want to know is what is the secret to keeping your marriage going long term?

12 Replies 12

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Boy I feel for you. My experience with my ex wife came back reading your post.

You dont day if you’ve asked her for her reasons for being contemptuous and intimidating. Yes, from what you’ve written you are not doing anything wrong but this treatment from her will, if it continues, will result in more despair for you and likely a separation.

I won’t promote separation however good mental health is required so your children don’t suffer from a toxic home. As my dad once said “better for your kids to have a devoted living part time dad...than no dad at all.” So taking care of yourself is a priority.

FYI my ex wife would ceasectalking to me for up to 6 weeks at a time. For her it was my punishment. In fact it is a form of narcissism. Control was her goal.

So, there is the regular avenues for seeking help. Family counseling I’d recommend but if she does not want to go, go by yourself. If she asks what happened at counseling don’t reveal- she has opportunity to attend. If she asks why you are going you can tell her you are going to learn how to cope with her treatment of you. Leave it at that.

In terms of your kids, a school principle once told me “kids are more resilient than adults,” they would be hurt but they adapt.

I wish you well. Reply anytime


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Tonyl

It's definitely tough when things are so out of balance in a relationship. By the way, you're a legend for putting effort in and trying to make a positive difference.

From the perspective of a 49yo female who's been married for 18 years, I'm trying to imagine what might be the issue for your wife. Is it possible she's frustrated with herself? Is it possible she's also a little confused in the way of understanding what it is she really wants, because not much really does it for her these days? If she's given flowers and appreciates them but doesn't feel excitement, the result is disappointment. If she's given a smile and it doesn't lift her spirits, she feels nothing. You're actually not doing anything wrong. Perhaps she's not feeling excitement she's desperate to feel. By the way, if she's dealing with the mindset of clinical depression, the chemistry for excitement may be a little low. Low levels of dopamine mean we just can't feel a payoff. Low levels of oxytocin (the love/bonding hormone) can lead us to feel pretty disconnected.

Another possibility is an identity crisis: We get to a point in life where we're fed up with who we see our self as. Problem is, who do we become when we've got little idea who we actually want to be? Some may look to the person closest to them; they might expect their spouse to help raise them to a new identity. If their spouse isn't raising them...cue the disappointment and resentment. I know, how the heck do we raise our partner when we've got no idea what they really want? What identity are we meant to be raising them to?

Personally, I find the most fulfilling identity is 'She/he who feels life'. I try to live a sensational life. I am someone who looks for ways to feel alive (get my cells vibing). A few examples: A massage is great but even greater is a massage with aromatherapy oils by candle light with calm music. With touch, smell, sound and sight being factors, the combination naturally slows breathing and relaxes the whole body. I really feel the sensation of each massage stroke and how my body reacts to it. Also, I love having my hair brushed. Who doesn't?! It's sensational and really is a bonding experience that connects you to the person brushing your hair.

Has your wife forgotten how to feel life? Is she looking for you to bring her to life?

It's also important you are served in sensational ways too! Experimenting with sensory and sensation based exercises could make for an interesting new routine.


Community Member


Married 36 years, through the toughest times to the most loving and supportive times.

TheRising made some really great points.

I remember my late 40s and 50s as a time of mood swings, although to be honest, I had one hell of a lot going on in my life of a deeply traumatic nature.

Can I just say this ....even though I would have been thought of as very attractive, great skin, hair and figure (back then!) - I was not in love with myself deep down.

I just remember that floating feeling, that even if my husband did nice things, he was going through the motions to make me happy, rather than because I ‘bewitched’ him with the gorgeousness of me!!

I didn’t ‘feel’ confidently gorgeous, no matter how the attractive the outside of me looked or was acknowledged - I think a woman needs to feel a certain glory within, to be fully desiring of intimate contact.

Your wife may just be very tired and weary of herself - passing through stages of life.

I mean looking back, a lot of unhealthy and confused emotion on my part ( and his) - but we can be complex creatures when life stages and hormones kick in.

Hope you can find a way through.

Just wanted to acknowledge the valuable comments from female members, quite a different perspective there.

Perhaps counseling can unravel her inner demons to bring out her love that is behind the barriers


Hi Tony
I totally understand where you are coming from but unfortunately I don't have the answers.....yet.
I am going through a very similar situation with our marriage of 17years. It's like I am putting in 110% to try and keep things together and she just doesn't care. I particularly relate to the hurtful remarks that she ssays and then moves on as if nothing had happened.
All I can say is that you can't control someone's feelings and it's a fine line sometimes as to how long you ride it out. Definitely seek counselling but at some point you have to look after yourself. Because if you are like me you will fall apart it you don't.
Another thing to remember that if you get a counselor don't like find another. I know theyre not easy to come by but it's a waste of time if you don't agree with their suggestions.
Take care.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Tex,

yes it can be like that.

My first wife was contemptuous and used silence as a weapon. For 11 long years I struggled working 3 jobs and changing nappies more often than her- a stay at home mum.

But I had to endure her smirks, ignoring me if she felt like it and not talking for up to 6 weeks - my crime? Raising my voice because I was overworked from her laziness.

Rventually a suicide attempt woke me up, I left one week later, it broke the family. Eventually I remarried and am so happy.

You are right, some spouses give up trying, the reasons could be very unique to each relationship


Community Member

thanks guys for the response.

it is refreshing to hear from a female prospective too.

she seems soo distracted these days, she says she did not sleep at night some times. I really cant put a finger on what is going on anymore. some days are good , some are bad. she spends a lot of time on her phone as well these days chatting to her friends, to the extent that the kids are asking her questions and she blocks it out.

when I get home I am always present, I switch off from work and the world and focus on what is in front of me. my wife seems like she cant do that - I do as much as I can around the home with out her knowing.

I will keep going, I am not giving up yet .

Community Member

Hello Tonyl

You sound like a good man. Your persistence in this situation is admirable. I’m sure thousands of women would love to have a husband doing all the thoughtful activities you bring into the marriage.

Unfortunately I can’t help seeing a couple of red flags in your latest post.

she seems soo distracted these days,

spends a lot of time on her phone as well these days

the kids are asking her questions and she blocks it out.

I really cant put a finger on what is going on

If she can find the energy and enthusiasm for her “friends” why can’t she find the energy for her husband and children?

Tonyl, is there a possibility that your wife could be putting her emotional energy into someone else outside the marriage? At least rule out the possibility, before you wear yourself out trying to be Australia’s best husband.

If this possibility can rules out

Sorry ignore the “if this possibility can rules out” phrase. My mistake.