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Stunned! Husband of 38 years said he wants out

Erin1
Community Member

I’ve been married 38 years and about a year ago my husband told me that he doesn’t have feelings for me anymore - says he doesn’t love me. No explanation. I was stunned. Absolutely blind-sided.

He has never been one to talk about emotions. He is very formal - even with me. He’s very polite - most of the time but if he gets annoyed with me (over minor things) then I get the silent treatment and the frowns.

He mostly won’t talk about why he wants to end our marriage. He said he’s been unhappy for a while - though he has never said anything to me. When I ask him ‘why’, he usually says he don’t want to talk about it or he talks vaguely, saying “our paths have diverged” but won’t elaborate when I ask for details. We have done everything together so his comment makes no sense. He has never indicated that anything was wrong. He insists there is no one else. He said I’m not loving enough (he hasn’t said that before). I told him that I didn’t want to separate and suggested counselling so we can work things through. He (very reluctantly) agreed to go but didn’t get involved or open up much or follow any advice. He’s now said that he tried to make it work. He says that he doesn’t know why he wants out. If that’s true, then I don’t understand. If that’s not true then I don’t understand why he won’t tell me.

I don’t see any indications of depression and I’ve tried talking about to him about that but he says he’s not depressed.

Our grown-up children are shocked too. They have tried to talk to him but he won’t open up to them either. He has accused me of turning them against him - which isn’t true as I have encouraged them to stay in contact. They are adults and form their own opinion. They’ve told him that although they are upset, sad and hurt, they still love him - so don’t know why I’m being accused of turning them against him.

Our very close friends have tried to talk to him but he won’t discuss anything.

He has always done things his way and regularly criticised me for minor things and was a controlling person generally and whilst I won’t miss that, it’s hard being on my own after so long together. I miss what we had.

I’ve had to accept the situation and we’ve now sold our house and separated.

I don’t understand how I got to be in this situation without any warning.

I’ve struggled a lot over the past year but am mostly okay now but still on a roller-coaster of emotions. Just wondering if this is what others have experienced and how you’ve coped.

12 Replies 12

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Well I've had 4 long term relationships 7,11,10 and now 11 years. Each if the 3 separations I found hard to cope esp my first marriage of 11 years as we had 2 kids so the grief if losing my full time fatherhood was massive.

Google: beyondblue topic the best praise you'll ever get

Beyondblue topic variety and distraction

Essentially you need to create a new life and eventually you'll find some happiness.

TonyWK

That Other Guy
Community Member

My wife and i started living apart when she studied and a year ago she announced she hates living with me and wanted a divorce. It came out of nowhere, a month before i felt we'd "made it", our kids had grown and we were in love. So i understand these things being a shock and unexpected.

In our case i fought hard, i accepted seeing each other less rather than lose her. The details are unimportant but i saw a counselor and got her to come to marriage counseling. Things are far from perfect, we still don't see each other terribly much, but we seem to be together

you say that you've sold the house and separated. I'm assuming you still have contact through the kids and want some closure and also to help him. As far as he is concerned, I'd definitely recommend counseling. I'm kind of the opposite of your husband, I'm very open emotionally, i cried most weeks last year, usually in front of people. But i think for him to make such a sudden life change, he needs to examine it with someone, even if it's just to move on

For you, if the marriage is over, perhaps you could also work through your feelings about that with a therapist? I guess the big question is, do you want to stay alone, or find love again. My marriage was open for six months last year, not my choice, and most women i became friendly with talked to me about how awful most men in the dating world are. I had several women tell me they were thrilled to find a man not demanding sex on the second date. So that's pretty brutal as well, and perhaps you need to work through how you're feeling first. I was dating because i was desperately sad and lonely but my first instinct after such a long marriage is you need to process what you've had and lost, first, to be in a good place to move on

Thanks white knight. I know I will find happiness again but it will come from within me. I don’t want another man and rely on him for my happiness.
Although we’ve lived separated under the same roof for nearly a year, now that the house is sold, we’re actually living apart with little contact. So, more time to think and process it all! We had to meet up recently to sign documents and I again asked him ‘why’ and he said he doesn’t know.
I’ll get there!

Hi That Other Guy

Sorry you’re going through it too. Your situation sounds complicated

I am seeing a therapist and have been for months now. It definitely helps.
We were both seeing a couples counsellor - at my request when the bombshell was dropped last year - but my husband wouldn’t engage in the sessions. To start with he said to the counsellor that he wanted out of the marriage. She suggested giving it 6 months as it was such a long marriage - especially given that he’d said that he was happy until recently but couldn’t or wouldn’t say what changed. At the end of 6 months he said he still wanted out. In the intervening months, he didn’t talk at all about ‘us’ or follow any of the advice she gave us. She advised him to continue counselling as he would take his problems with him into another relationship. He said he was fine and didn’t need counselling. He said he was comfortable with himself.
My plan - at this stage anyhow - is to stay by myself.
I work and am very active. I have several close friends and am close to my sons. The evenings are quiet but I’ll get used to that. Life is very different but it will be good.

I hope you find contentment.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Erin, a marriage off 38 years is totally different than being married for a few weeks, we change over time, our ideas begin to be different and what we used to do together doesn't happen any more and we can't expect it to, so couples who can accept this are those who live together for 50 or more years.

We need to alter our thinking because what we once loved to do doesn't happen as we get older, and people need to realise that to love someone has to change completely, it goes in another direction, but we can love them in another way.

I'm sorry this has happened.

Geoff.

Lychee11
Community Member

Hey Rein1

Been married 34years got kicked out New Years Eve and he moved cousins wife in 5 days later. Started July with secret calls and texts which I found. She is married also with 4 kids. Myself and son are so devastated. He told me he wanted to be alone, I made him sad and sick, wouldn't let him see or do things which are all lies as friends can vouch for. So while he has moved on I am in quicksand.

Lychee

welcome to the forum and I am sorry for what has happened. Have you a support person like a counsellor to talk to.

It is all raw and emotional now and you need support as you are in shock.

if you like you could start your own thread so more people can see your topic and can answer it. It is up to you. You are most welcome to keep posting here.

Erin I think maybe your husband dies not what he is feeling so it is hard for him to tell others.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Lychee, you can't be sure whether he was seeing his cousin's wife well before this happened, I'm sorry to say.

The reason he has said this could just be an excuse, and being in a long term marriage could mean that the two people get on with their life the same way and just a little bit of attention from someone else, who may be feeling the same, suddenly sparks them wanting to start a new direction.

My wife divorced me after 25 years, but I still love her and we talk regularly on the phone and see each other for specific reasons, is this something you may consider, I know that may be difficult to say at the moment, but can I also suggest you have a talk with your doctor.

I feel deeply sorry for you but hope we can har back from you.

My best.

Geoff.

Lychee11
Community Member
Thank you for kind words. It's been difficult and I feel so empty. She has taken over his life and dictating what he needs to do a lot of texts proved this. I knew when he talked to her because he blew up at me .We never fought in our marriage but he has turned mean and nasty even his son says he has changed for the worst and seems unbalanced. Son had asked about her but he denied it all until she got out of car week ago. Been lots of lying for months. I am talking to someone atm but the hurt will never go away. How do I start my thread. This is all so new to me.