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Separated from my wife

Community Member
I have been separated from my wife for 5 months. I am devastated. We have 2 teenage children together. We were married for 11.5 years but together for 23 years. We had the usual ups and downs an arguments to me that was a normal marriage. This weekend is our 12 wedding anniversary. I am not coping at all. I talked to her 3 weeks ago that I would love to try again and she said that all we could be was good friends. She explained to me that we just grew apart and our marriage become stagnant. I went to counselling and I believe I am a better person. My youngest (15) is not coping at all. Like me he wants it to be worked out. I see my kids every weekend and when me and her are together we get on fine like nothing has happened. This week has been hard as she told me that she has submitted the legal separation papers. I have had 2 break downs at work and my boss who is also a friend has had a talk with me and given me some time off just to relax and find myself. I love her with all my heart and always will. She is my world and my first love. I cannot imagine my life without her by my side. Only a few people know about our separation. Everyday I cry and think about what have could of been. I cannot get her out of my mind. I know I’m not in a good place but my feelings for her will never change. Both of us have no intention of meeting anyone to start dating. I know life must go on and I have to respect her decision but how can you when you know the marriage could have been fixed. She is my world my rock and my best friend. I just can’t let go.
22 Replies 22

Maybe it was like that but not from my side. I have read texts and messages from her from 10 months ago saying I’m her world and she loved me with her heart. Even when people come to the house(a mutal friend) and asks if I am home she always replies he is still at work. Her grandparents ask where I am when she goes to visit. And she says I have gone out for the day. She still tells me everything. She is still having our annual anniversary party on the weekend just I won’t be there just family and friends who know we are separated which is not many. I didn’t ask for this and there maybe no reasons behind her decision. But we were together for 23 years and gone through heaps together. I really can’t go on at the moment. Doesn’t matter what a try to do I constantly feel like shit. I am so sick of putting on a poker face everyday. It just hurts so much and I just don’t think she knows what I am going through on a daily basis.

Community Member

You said that your wife is having your "annual anniversary party" over the weekend, but you won't be there. How does any rational person have a one-sided anniversary party? The excuses explaining your absence, and the fact that very few people know of the separation is also a contradiction. It sounds like your wife is trying to have it both ways; separated but not separated. As you have said previously, "nothing has changed", and nothing will change if you are not careful. The "love bombing" in the old text messages would confirm this.

I know from my own experience that I was manipulated and used for 30 years; I just did not recognise the signs at the time. My wife was the master of manipulation, every issue was about her and her needs. What I wanted and needed was of no interest to her; in fact, she considered my needs to be selfish.

This married, but not married arrangement might work for your wife, but clearly, it does not work for you and your children.

Can you organise some sort of a child care arrangement where your children say with you for a few days a week?

Me Paul

An interesting post.


queen witch hermit waif

my mother had all 4 characters


Hi Tony

My wife's mother was the same. In fact, both of my wife's parents had significant mental health issues. With the benefit of hindsight, it's no real surprise that my wife turned out the way she did.

That being said, I was not aware of just how toxic my wife really was. I always knew that something was not right, but I put that down to her bad childhood; in short, I made excuses for her behaviour.

I did read that article about "queen witch hermit waif". It is certainly relevant to my wife's family and her childhood.

Community Member
I don’t think she calls it our anniversary party any more. What I meant was she is having a party with some mutual friends on our anniversary. These mutual friends know we are separated. With using excuses to what she tells people maybe she is trying to protect my feelings. I don’t know. She knows I am hurting but to what extend I don’t know. I will never tell her as there is that fear I will lose her completely. Unfortunately the kids can’t stay with me during the week as I live 30km from them and they have school and other things during the week. She is not a bad person but I have decided to accept that it is possible that she is going through a midlife crisis and unfortunately maybe I was holding her back from doing what she wants to do. Today has been a really hard day. I have gone through all these emotions today but at the end of the day I still love her dearly.

Hi Leigh

The pain of having a loved spouse leave you is horrible. I was in your shoes 38 years ago. The confusion and frustration of not being able to understand or process this sudden change in life circumstances challenges the strongest people.

There is a couple of things that I would ask you to consider.

Has she given a reason why she left you? Growing apart and having a stagnant marriage ( her words) aren’t specific enough. Did she complain about these issues to you before the separation ? The reason why I think this is important is because not having a clear understanding of the real underlying causes of the marriage breakdown is hindering your ability to heal.

Secondly, to have any hope of reuniting your family you have to do something that is counter intuitive and very difficult. Stop pleading with your wife. The more you beg her for another chance, the more she will drift away. Act confident, make a plan for your new life. Always model courageous and courteous behaviour for the sake of your children, if nothing else. You can’t “nice” or “persuade” your wife to return. You have to become a new, confident and happy man, ready to forge a new life without your wife. Tell your wife you accept her decision and look forward to a divorce and building a constructive partnership with her post divorce. You have nothing to lose. When your wife tells you it’s over, you must believe her.

If you love her and she sees you manfully accepting your new path, she may look at you with new eyes. If she doesn’t you will have to accept it. It’s very painful I know and probably seems unfair. But you will survive, like the millions before you.

I wish you well.

Hi Betternow

that was so well written and a very good idea of an approach that has a better chance of success.


Thank you for your reply. As far as I can remember no she has never bought that up. To me we just had a normal marriage. She has had a lot of weight on her shoulders of the years due to me not be able to work due to various medical conditions but we made it work. Roughly 1 month ago I asked her could we give it another go. She said no as she thinks we would be better off friends. I told her even though I don’t like her decision I will respect it. Which I have. We haven’t spoke of divorce as yet. I’m always nice to her and when I go see the kids I always give her space. If she sits down for a coffee with me that’s her decision. I don’t force her to do anything. See never goes out while I’m there. I always work in with her and we still make lots of decisions together. I would never beg as I got told from the start by a friend that begging is unattractive. I compliment on on everything she does with the kids and give her encouragement when she is having a bad day. I always act confident in front of her and she has already has said to me that I have changed. She still helps me like I help her. We treat each other with a huge amount of respect

Community Member

Just expanding on what Betternow has said; at some point you will have to do what is best for you and your children. The separation is not just about your wife and what she wants, it's also about what you want, and what you need.

The fact that your children are 30 km away is a good example of what I mean; that arrangement might be good for your wife, but not so convenient for you. Ultimately a compromise over a number of issues will have to be reached; just be conscious of the fact that you are a part of that compromise. Don't just go along with what she tells you; you have an equal say in your post separation life.

As Betternow said, an understanding of why the marriage failed might help you come to terms with what has happened. There is some comfort in knowledge.

At the moment you are still blaming yourself, simply because you don't understand what went wrong. We all do it.

As I said in my first post; "stop blaming yourself". Sometimes there is no rime of reason!

Hello Leigh45,

I can see you are already getting some useful replies, but I thought I could chime in & hopefully help a little.

There was nothing wrong with my ex-wife & our life. Everything was great. We have 3 beautiful kids, all young. About a month before our separation, I stumbled upon some messages to another man (she was logged into messenger on the family iPad).

Push come to shove, one day I told her I was feeling upset & insecure, worried that I would lose her. She told me she loves me, and she will always be there for me. 2 days later she left me. 1 week later she was with the man she was messaging. 1.5 years later now and she is 20 weeks pregnant with his child.

I was just like you. What went wrong? What could I have done differently? What did I do wrong? Surely this is temporary.

There are 2 huge pieces of advice I can give, choose to take them if you want, but it is your choice. These are the 2 things that helped me the most.

1. Separate yourself. Every time you see her. Talk to her. Check her profile. You get a emotions that you don't need, and a little bit of hope. Maybe there is hope, but look at it this way - if you act as though it is over, and it is never coming back, and it does? You will feel great. But if you hope & you pray that she comes back to you, and she doesn't? You will never heal. I recommend limiting your time with her, deleting her from social media, anything you can do to make distance. Trust me, I know it doesn't feel like it, but this will help.

2. WORK ON YOU. I know why I was so depressed. When someone is with you for such a long time, they are a huge part of you, of your identity. All of a sudden you have a huge piece of you missing. Your soul has a hole in it. What you need to do is become independent. It is the hardest thing you will ever do, but you need to work hard to rediscover yourself. As much as it feels like it, we don't need anyone. We are one whole, not one half. Rediscover your interests, find hobbies, fill your time with things that make you happy. Cry when you need to cry. Learn who you are.

You need to make yourself strong enough to be OK on your own, not only for you, but for your kids.

Your 15 yo will benefit most from seeing his father look after himself, and when he sees that you can be OK, he will learn to be OK too.

I hope this helps.