Uncoupling a marriage
I think you have a good attitude at least as remaining a large part of your childrens life is important and doing so with, hopefully, a good working relationship with your wife is preferable. However, to achieve this and not risk a full blown poor reaction is another thing.
I think by slowly bringing up the subject and having a concept plan in place is the better way. To suggest that you both love your children and she is an amazing mother but..."well you know for some time I haven't been happy, I'd like to explore the possibility of a separation with 50/50 time with our children, what are your feelings"?
If she is in a rage, upset, postpone it and say that "I think we need time out to consider this concept". Revisit the topic at a better time once she has settled. When she is ok, tell her of your plan, housing sort nearby and you would have the kids 50% of the time roughly and flexibility and teamwork will be the key to happy children....as happy as you both can make them.
Be gentle, allow for anger and give her time.
My heart goes out to you as you contemplate such a life-changing situation. Of course, it's a tough situation if you're not on the same page to begin with. Finding that page and reading the relationship the same way becomes the goal. In carefully getting your wife to understand your interpretation of the relationship, she may gradually become more accepting of the split. Example:
- Partner 1 - 'I'm happy spending time just sitting in front of the TV together.' Partner 2 - 'We do nothing together other than sit in the same room in a semi-conscious state. I don't believe this is enough to maintain a healthy and happy relationship.'
- Partner 1 - 'I'm content just living in the moment. Why do we have to make plans for the future?' Partner 2 - 'It causes me sadness, never discussing what we have to look forward to.'
- In contemplation, partner 1 may eventually reach the same conclusion as 2 - 'As long as we're living together we're not maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with each other or ourselves. Besides the kids' lives, we have nothing to look forward to together.'
Perhaps planting few seeds in her head may help change her perception in the way of officially accepting the end of the relationship.
Empowering her when it comes to accepting her abilities beyond the relationship would be another consideration. Initially you might be met with a fear based reaction from your wife, if she's not feeling confident in going it alone and navigating a whole new life. Fear based reactions can occasionally come across as anger. As you suggested, your wife will eventually be okay, once she's come to terms with the separation. This will come once she begins to make solid plans in the way of confidently moving forward.
lifepurpose, with you having given the end of the relationship a lot of thought, I imagine you've already completed much of the grieving process in regard to the 'death' of the relationship. This may be a process she's yet to fully complete, before reaching the stage of acceptance. Patience and understanding may be required.
I wish you and your wife well as you navigate the challenges of separation both together and individually. I hope I've helped a little, giving you a female perspective.
All the best
Thanks for your reply. I've been keeping in mind that the kids are the #1 priority. I have worked FIFO for 10 years so the wife and kids are use to me being away for long periods and I believe that they are pretty resilient. We are not a lovey-dovey family but I think there will be less drama and aggravation for them if they live with me half the time which will give me more quality time with them. I keep trying to find solutions to stay together but un-coupling seems the mature thing to do rather than live in a loveless, angry, negative marriage.