Troubled Marriage and feeling of never getting it back
W and I met when at school, got married young and so have lived our whole adult life as “us”. We have 2 children 13 & 10. We have been married for 20 years, I realised last year that we had drifted apart and just became 2 house mates and parents to our kids.
I know I have been a major part of our marriage dwindling due to my lack of communication (I know I had always been very lacking in the ability to communicate, no good at small talk or being able to engage in great conversation).
I believe that W had some form of post natal depression after our second child, however she would never share what she was going through with me and Looking back, I didn’t really offer much support. We have had some Major family issues arise through the last 7-8 years, W’s sister going through a divorce (H cheated) Which W support her and took a toll, later we had the biggest shockwave of a close family member being charged with abuse of other young family members, this has being going through the. Courts on and off for 5 years with multiple court appearances which we have been dragged into
Courts on and off for 5 years with multiple court appearances which we have been dragged into, therefore we are constantly bringing up old hurts and pain, resentment etc.
I have been blamed for not supporting W during this time, however I didn’t realise I was failing as much as she feels as I was trying to process it for myself during the same time. I did try and shut it out and I cut the person off completely and I was scared of the shame and felt that if the news got out that it would impact what people thought of me and could impact the relationship I have with my kids and their friends parents thoughts of me which was very scary for me.
Due to the length of time things have been going on there is so much built up anger and resentment which has never been discussed or resolved. The last couple of years our lives have turned into dealing with the day to day and any words spoken were mainly derogatory snipey and short. We both have busy and stressful work lives and W struggles to be able to leave work at the door and is usually always grumpy and angry when she walks in the door. The kids notice this and don’t like being yelled at to do minor tasks that W takes issue with.
So last year I noticed that W was getting attention from a mutual friend. Her demeaned changed, she turned to constantly checking her phone, hiding what she was doing, taking it to every room of the house with her etc. I checked up to see what messages were being shared with the other guy, there wasn’t anything ridiculous, however she had shared photos of her dressed up for the races, and fun and flirty chat. She was going to a burlesque dress up party and he messaged “make sure you send photos”, which I found very inappropriate. It kept ongoing and then she started Disappearing for longer times when she was doing tasks, shopping, errands etc.
i found out that she had caught up with him during work time, I got very anxious and ended up following her one day that she had off and caught her in his car in a quiet beach car park. When I approached them they denied anything was going on and they were just talking.
i know she enjoyed the attention and began dressing better and wearing her sexy underwear all the time (she never wore anything like that for many many years, and I would know because I bought it all for her and she wouldn’t wear it). I got so anxious and was always thinking the worst was happening when she was away or on her phone.
Welcome to your own thread on Beyond Blue.
From what you have posted, things aren't looking that good.
Have you and your wife had a serious talk about your future together? Do you know what it is that she wants from you, other than someone to blame? Do you know what you want into the future? You guys really need to have a serious discussion, free of the baggage you are both carrying.
Unfortunately, there are no simple answers. I have no idea why some long marriage self-destruct and die for no apparent reason other than boredom. Your wife's behavior might have something to do with a mid-life crises. She may very well think that the grass is greener elsewhere; it's more common than you might think.
All I can say is that the current situation cannot continue. You need to sit down with your wife and have the talk. If it's over, then it's over. If not, counselling would be the logical next step.
Someone once said, "Life is like a box of chocolates ..."; take the plunge and see what you get!
I wish I could have been more helpful.
Thanks Mr Paul,
yes W has definitely shown all the traits of a mid-life crisis, she has become very selfish and is only showing interest in her self, she has said she feels that she has missed out on having a life because we got together so you and she missed out on so many things because we were together. She has blamed me for all our problems and sees me as the continuing problem. She has told me numerous time she doesn’t no what she wants and that she has no feelings for me any more, which is why I get to the point of saying it is over because we will never be able to work things out. But she has never gone to the point of saying she wants to leave (I think it is only because she will feel like a failure, will lose her financial security and what we have built up over the years and will have to share the kids. I don’t feel her inability to make her decision to leave has anything to do with a desire to work on our marriage. He family live in another state and so there is resentment there because my family is close by and she doesn’t get to see hers, although she doesn’t have much respect for her family either and never tries to catch up with them very regularly, but always uses her family as an argument that she never gets to see them. Obviously the lack of local family support would be very trying during a separation/divorce. I see it very much that the only reason she is still here is because she is too scared of the reality of leaving (as I said, she never handles change very well).
I have become much better at communicating over the last couple of years and I always keep a level voice and try and listen well also, but W’s approach when things get heated is to raise her voice, accuse and blame everyone else, then stonewall and leave. She has always been one to stonewall and finds it very had (impossible) to let down those walls again. She admits this, however that doesn’t really solve the issue.
My wife did a similar thing to me. She was quick to point out my faults, but she was completely blind to her own faults.
I was blamed for every little thing that went wrong. If I said something the wrong way, or just said something, she would turn it into a major drama. If I tried to talk to her about a problem that I was having, the talk quickly turn back to her and the problem she was having. In general, she would not listening because she was too busy talking.
Enough about me!
"But she has never gone to the point of saying she wants to leave"
This is very confusing. Perhaps your wife is waiting for something better to come along. I'm not joking, an old work colleague of mine once said that his wife threatened to leave him as soon as "someone better came along". This same woman has an open relationship with another man. The sad thing is, my friend is stuck in a marriage that he cannot escape from. If he walks out of the marriage, his wife will take him to the cleaners.
"She has told me numerous time she doesn’t no what she wants..."
I would think that a counsellor would be able to help here. If she does not want to go to a couples session, would your wife go to counselling on her own? Clearly, she has a few issues to work through.
Thanks for the reply Mr Paul,
“Perhaps your wife is waiting for something better to come along.”
I feel that it is more that she is scared of losing the comfortable life she has, car, nice house, investment property, full access to kids etc. Which is what continues to scare me, because of the goings on of what I know (last year) I am worried that she might go down the same path again to seek excitement or to find happiness elsewhere, but still have a foot in the door so she doesn’t become “worse off.”
She has always been frugal with money and I could never say that she is wasteful or spends money unwisely and that has been the case through these times as well, but for some reason she feels that she won’t be able to live if we split, she thinks the cost of living would be too much for her to be able to stay and she would likely move to a different city to be with family (even though she is on a 6 figure salary....... (always the pessimist).
W has come to a few couples sessions, but doesn’t really open up and never follows through with suggestions the counsellor gives for exercises/activity between sessions.
I seem to go through ups and downs regularly and come to the conclusion that we need to separate and I have told her this about 3 times this year. I think separating will be the best thing for both of us. But when I tell her this, she gets upset or on the last occasion completely lost her sh#@ screaming and yelling at me. (This was more due to the fact that I told her that I had transferred half our savings into an account in my name. (All our money has always been in joint accounts or accounts in her name), I have never had a separate account in my name (until now), she really didn’t like hearing that. She let her true colours out that night though, telling me what she thought of me and my family etc etc etc. the took off. She came back to pack some clothes then was going to leave, but I eventually calmed her down and we had a bit of a talk. I get worried and want to make sure she is ok, but then I feel disappointed because we just continue to drag on in this unhappy, unhealthy relationship.
The kids have come to me recently saying “mum is always angry and takes it out on us”. so they have obviously seen changes also (they are talking about yelling at them and having a very short temper (so no violence or anything). I just tell them that mum loves them, but is just a bit grumpy, so just try and do what you think she wants before she has to ask 3 times
I think you are on the money! (excuse the pun)
If you put the the marriage problems to one side, things become a little clearer. You made the following comments in your previous post:
- "She has always been frugal with money"
- ".. she is on a 6 figure salary"
- "This was more due to the fact that I told her that I had transferred half our savings into an account in my name."
I would have to agree with your assessment of the situation; she won't leave because she knows that she will loose half of everything. In addition, she will have to share custody of the children.
Depending on how you feel, you may be able to use that fear to get her back to counselling. I would be upfront with her, and ask what she wants.
To me, the choice is clear; counselling or separation. The only other alternative is more of the same.
Do you know what you want? If yes, then go from there.
Hi Mr Paul,
yes I agree, I have been stuck in the “more of the same” predicament for soo long.
”do you know what you want?” That has now become a harder thing to answer. Due to the actions, words and hurt of the last 12 months I have lost feeling/connection and desire for W (just like she had already done prior to her engaging elsewhere). So I feel that if neither of us have a connection or have full respect of each other, then I have got to thinking what is the point in trying, we are at a cross road, why not just walk away now.
The last 12 months have caused more pain on both sides, she says that me saying I want to separate every few months hurts her and puts her back even further, but she doesn’t see her lack of input to the relationship as hurting me. On top of that, there is sooooo much pent up resentment from long term issues (family issues, how I have handled issues in the past, my inability to communicate and express my feelings in the past). I also believe she has always been a negative, pessimistic person and I don’t want a future of continually being dragged down, or needing to continually prop someone up. I want mutual happiness.
As much as I used to want everything to work out, I am now struggling to see what I am trying to hold onto.
We have counselling tomorrow, most of my thoughts have remained in my head and I have come up with what I think I need to do from there. Is it a good idea to try and document all my reasonings to coming to my conclusions and raise them in counselling to try and get some dialog with W and the counsellor to try and get some engagement?
"That has now become a harder thing to answer"
It sounds like there may be some hope.
"..why not just walk away now."
That is an option; but is it the best option?
"I want mutual happiness."
You may not find happiness after separations. In effect, the grass may not be greener outside of the marriage. Something to think about.
"We have counselling tomorrow"
This is good, it means your wife is trying. That has to mean something.
If you and your wife approach counselling with open minds, there may be some hope. Don't use counselling as a forum to blame and finger point. You can do that at home, free of charge.
Thanks Mr Paul,
W says that I have caused her to feel that we are going further backwards rather than forwards. (This is because every couple of months I have gotten to the point in thinking that we aren’t getting anywhere so it must be over, so I say that we should separate). I don’t say this as a threat, but it seems that she hasn’t really taken my calls that I am struggling with it seriously. I always fall back on my sword and try again because I can’t stand to see her hurting.
i really do want us to work things out, but I struggle to see how we can move forward with how I have handled situations throughout the year and her lack of wanting to try to work on us. She is still in the position that she doesn’t know what she wants and just wants us to be able to find some status quo so she can then figure out what we have and decide if we have a future after that.
That hurts me. We are both dealing with things completely differently. I seem to be more of all-in or all-out. We need to both be committed to trying to make it work and if we aren’t then there is no hope. Where as she wants us to become ourselves and then decide if she wants to work on us, or if there is any point in trying.
W doesn’t see that this attitude hurts me. When we try and talk she says that I am constantly doing things behind her back that show her that I want to leave (yes I am doing research to see where I stand if we do separate, but I am sure she is doing the same, or at least taking advice from friends.) She doesn’t see that her attitude and lack of working on “us” has an impact on me.
i mentioned she lost it when I said I transferred some half our savings. She showed her emotion on that one. She takes it that I don’t trust her with money (which she has always been proud of). Even that response has hurt me, she is so passionate on the money situation and is emotional that I have done something to protect my position, if only she could be so passionate on either working on our relationship or not, she doesn’t see the indecision hurts.