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Troubled Marriage and feeling of never getting it back

Community Member

Hi there,

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

27 Replies 27

Community Member

Hi Janus

Sorry about the late response; I've been preoccupied with legal matters.

"W says that I have caused her to feel that we are going further backwards rather than forwards"

She may be right. There is only one person talking about separation.

"I always fall back on my sword and try again because I can’t stand to see her hurting."

"really do want us to work things out"

I get the feeling that you don't want a separation either.

"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."

This sounds perfectly sensible to me. At least she is trying. That has to be a good sign.

"I seem to be more of all-in or all-out"

I think that this might be a part of the problem. Sometimes the answers you are looking for are not black and white. This is especially the case when the marriage is strained.

"W doesn’t see that this attitude hurts me."

I know exactly what you mean. Whenever I tried to talk to my wife about issues I was having, the discussion quickly turned back to her and the problems she was having. For whatever reason, I could not get through to her. Have you talked about this at counselling.

"i mentioned she lost it when I said I transferred some half our savings"

My wife did exactly the same thing. Throughout the marriage all of my saving and investments were in my wife's name. When the marriage started showing signs of strain, I opened up a bank account in my name for the first time in 30 years. I got the same response that you did. I can only put it down to paranoia; all sorts of weird things happen when a relationship is strained. Try not to read too much into this.

Try not to overthink things, sit back and continue with counselling. See where you go from there!

Hi Janus

I have been following your thread with Mr Paul and I thought I’d chime in with a couple of observations. I have experienced the ups and downs of a long marriage and adultery and a terrible divorce in a short marriage, so I’m well aware of the emotional assault we can inflict on ourselves and each other.

When I read your descriptions of the interaction between you and your wife, I’m reminded of those scenes you see in old war films where the horses are stuck in mud and trying to drag the artillery forward. Every movement feels painful and the ongoing strain of the effort grinds down both horse and soldier.

This “resentment affect” can be worked through successfully but it needs both parties fully engaged to achieve the goal. If one spouse only puts in half an effort, the relationship just keeps going around in circles with the same old arguments.

Here is a couple of things I have learnt (the hard way).

Never mention divorce or separation unless you are going to carry through immediately. It can never be a threat. Threatening separation is just adding more lead to the saddle.

Is it possible for both you and your wife to write you a letter and then you respond in kind.. Don’t email. It needs to be an old fashioned letter properly posted to your home address so it adds to the mystery and excitement. In the letter your wife needs to set out her feelings and thoughts. The golden rule is there is no blame or criticism.

After you read the letter you must NOT respond to your wife verbally. No matter how much your wife wants an immediate response, she has to wait for your return letter. This method allows calmer dialogue and can awaken warm forgotten feelings.

Can you both get away together for four or five days, away from kids and jobs?

You may both benefit from a trial separation if there is no progress. It doesn’t necessarily mean divorce.

Community Member

Hi Mr Paul,

Thanks for your continued feedback, it has been helpful.

I am the one bringing up separating lately but she has mentioned it once or twice previously (not recently, it she hasn’t said there is any change in her thoughts/feelings).

I have never “wanted to separate, but get to feeling that that is our only option, because W hasn’t been able to put any effort into working on “us”. We have been in this pattern for 12 months.

i get what you are saying it’s not all black and white, however I definitely expected that we would both need to commit to work on our relationship (or if both of us aren’t willing, then we look at separating), this continual not knowing and not making a decision to try or not is what is killing me.

I feel W has been acting very selfish and not caring about “us” and only interested in “I”, also I am worried that if she does start to try, it may only be because she feels she will be much worse off if she left the relationship. (Definitely not the reasons I would want her to stay).


Hi Betternow,

Thankyou for taking the time to provide your point of view and experience, it is appreciated.

Sorry, I don’t really like old war movies 😉

This “resentment affect” can be worked through successfully but it needs both parties fully engaged to achieve the goal.

That is what I have felt for so long, we are both constantly setting each other off and then retaliating, rather than trying to work together. W has never engaged on working on us, it’s all about making her feel better with herself, making more friendships outside of our relationships (anyone she talks to are all single and I just worry that forming all new friendships with them will push her further away).

I have never mentioned separating without meaning it (at the time, I get to the point that I don’t see any other option for me to be able to find happiness, however I can’t stand seeing my wife hurt (even when she says majorly hurtful things after my revelation, which I fully understand due to me throwing the need to separate on her). Once again the last time I said it, I definitely meant it, I only want to work on “us”, if W is interested and can work on “us” as well.

I probably won’t go down the letter writing path at the moment and W is definitely not interested in getting away for a day together (let alone a week), we are definitely not in that place at the moment.

Community Member

We had a counselling session yesterday, a lot of resentment, hurt and anger in the room. It was an emotional time but I feel it was VERY worthwhile, even though I brought up separating again and W feeling very hurt both due to the separating statement and me transferring money, we both turned up to counselling, so I take that as a positive from the start.

We were both able to air some grievances (there is a very long and varied list still to have to work through, but there was definitely issues raised. By the end we were a bit more amicable than the start and during, and we were able to walk out together.

We chatted for awhile after (just sitting in one of ours car) and for the first time I heard her say she was sorry what she had done and didn’t mean for it. She also said “I am here and am willing to work on us”.
All I have been asking for the last year is for her to be able to commit to trying to work on us and finally I have heard something that at least gives me hope. I also apologies for how I have been reacting and treating her. I feel we both may finally be at a place where we can show respect and care for each other. It has only been 24 hrs since our session, but it has been the best 24hrs in the last 12 months. I know it won’t be all smooth sailing, but I am far more confident that we are both going to put in the required effort to see if we can make this work.

Unfortunately we had been dragged down to a new low last week, so we are working from a very low base, but I guess sometimes you have to reach the bottom before you see the way up.

I know I will do my best and will be communicating as best and as regularly as I can to make sure we are not assuming wrong things of each other, to give us the best possible chance in reconciling. It’s a long road ahead, but for the first time in a long time, I am feeling hopeful.


Community Member

That is good news.

Can I make one suggestion. Do not try and continue the discussion outside of counselling. You and yours need a trained counsellor/mediator to guide you through the problems. If you get into a discussion outside of your counselling sessions, things will almost certainly take another nose dive. Talk about anything you like, but do not talk about your relationship. Leave that for counselling.

Fingers crossed!

Community Member

Well, things have generally been ok of late. I believe I have been open and honest in discussions, helped out around the house and just generally trying to help W and keep the peace.

W is still very up and down, she can’t get out of her head that I transferred money without talking to her. (During our counselling session the other week, it was put that if I didn’t transfer the money back that we would be over, that was a deal breaker for her, the counsellor said I needed to do this if I expected to get anywhere, I didn’t agree with this however I complied and transferred the money back).

W says she is struggling to come back from this (totally worried about the money), if only she was 1/10th as worried about our relationship it would be amazing. Whenever I see she is struggling I ask what she is thinking and if I am doing anything to trigger her, but she always says no, it just the “past” issues and how I could have transferred the money without her knowledge and that I keep threatening to separate.

We had a bit of a chat yesterday which I felt was good. She advised some things she was feeling and I did the same. I mentioned that I haven’t been just threatening to separate whenever I have said it. I have said it because I have gotten to the point that I felt the only answer for us is to separate because of how we both feel, the lack of connection, the lack of being willing to work on us, the bast wounds that haven’t been dealt with etc. I think this finally sort of got through to her, W always seems to think that because she isn’t feeling it then she doesn’t know what she wants, I said that what I have dealt with from her and the lack of attention or any signs on working on us has meant I now don’t feel the love or connection for her that I used to have.

It is still a case that W just wants to spend time with me around other people, rather than dealing with just us.

Over the past 12 months I have been reflecting on us and I believe Ina e always been the positive one, trying to do things, arrange holidays, trying to make new friends etc, while she is always negative and everything is too hard so doesn’t bother trying (but the. Whinges that we don’t do anything anymore). I am worried that I have come to understand that I don’t think I appreciate the person that she is.

Are there any books that might help me work through the thoughts in my head to figure out what I want in life? I want to be happy again.



Community Member

Hi Janus

I don't think you need a book to help you work out what you want. From the outside looking in, I think you want to save the marriage, if possible. Your actions tell me what you really want; this is why you transferred the money back into her name. If you had any intention of leaving, you would not have done that.

That being said, it won't be easy. Your wife has a few control/trust issues to work through. Give the counsellor some time to sort through these issues. Nothing is going to happen overnight; baby steps.

If you want to test the water, tell your wife that you want to transfer half of the money back into your account; her response will define her. It will also give you something to discuss at the next counselling session.

One day at a time. You have the rest of your life to walk away should you change your mind.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi all, I'm new to this so I do apologise if I rabble on. My name is Con and I'm in trouble.

Besides being an anxious person I'm a compulsive liar and I feel that I've ruined my marriage. I don't know why I do the things I do (I hate it) and I hate I cant be open to my wife of 13 years. I know I've burnt her trust on more than one occasion and it kills me inside seeing her like this. We agreed that my wife and my 2 young boys would go to Sydney to see her parents and get away from COVID lockdown in Melbourne but also to give my wife space from me.

I don't want my boys to think that lying is the right thing to do but I don't know how to show them when I can't do it myself.

I'm currently seeing a Psychologist every 2 weeks, I've given my wife access to everything I have, phone, bank accounts, email everything.

She is going to be speaking with her parents about everything and I don't blame her but concerned that her parents are going to tell her to leave. Whilst I have no control over this I want to put in place measures to show her I'm serious about change, but am stuck how to.

I've been told she loves me and wants to work through it but after speaking with her during the past 2 weeks I don't get that feeling. I love my family and miss them so much I want to fix me but I don't know how to or what to do to show my wife I'm serious about doing what is right.

Hi Con

Welcome to Beyond Blue (BB).

In order to the the best outcome from this forum, can I suggest that you "copy and paste" your post to a new thread (topic) in your name. Not all BB members follow this particular thread (topic). Don't feel bad, it is a common mistake for newcomers.

The more exposure you get, the better the advice, and the better your experience.