Wife wants to leave me.
I am lost, depressed and gutted, have no one to talk to and do not know where to turn or what to do. Please help.
8 years ago, my wife, after 14 years of happy marriage, shut me out of her life, physically, emotionally, intimately and affectionately, saying she still loved me but needed a break. She had her own physical and mental health problems and on counselling and anti depressants for anxiety related to her childhood. It broke my heart to see her struggle and lose her intimacy, but I have tried to accept her wishes and this loveless fate to respect her and give her the space that she sought.
She has coped with 'life on her own' by shutting down emotionally with the help of her anti- depressants, but I havesuffered gut wrenching years and night after sleepless night alongside her, needing to be close but receiving nothing but silence and rejection so she could sleep. We got along ok but distantly during the days to complete our daily roles at work and our children were our strength and our distraction. I suffered in silence over our lost love leading to resentment, depression and suicidal thoughts, and when I did try to talk to her about my pain, her issues or to try to win her back over, it ended in tears, fits and tempers flaring, with an even greater level of sadness and depression.
We managed to survive until now and complete raising our 2 beautiful children, but my wife rejected another one of my calls for help and to try to renew our love recently and she said it was time for her to go her own way to save me any more pain and to be in control of her own life, as she was not going to, or able to change and let me be close to her.
Our family home is sold pending settlement (to downsize) and my wife has offered to take a 6 month lease together somewhere to avoid sharing our trauma at this point when we currently need to concentrate on moving our daughter to Melbourne and settling her into Uni life.
I love her dearly and she says she loves me too, but not in any physical or emotional way as she is too scared of beinghurt again or losing control of her life.
I can't think of anything worse than separating and being alone in the world without my life partner, no friends andno reason to live, but is it worth continuing to stay together (in separate bedrooms now since last year) and continue to deny my feelings and needs of being close to her?
Where do I turn? Is there any hope for us?
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Hi there Without Love
Welcome to Beyond Blue and thank you for coming here and providing your post.
Oh wow, I honestly believe that what you’ve been able to go through is far more than a lot of us could ever do. I don’t think I could have done what you’ve done, so mega kudos to you for all of what you’ve had to endure.
Now reading through this it appears that your wife is over the marriage and doesn’t want it to continue, which is obviously very sad for you; and I would have thought that she would have wanted to move out separately, rather than to take up a 6-month lease “together”. I don’t understand that at all. So you’re still going to live together for another 6 months, but still have the separate bedroom arrangement, etc, etc.
I also don’t understand where she said she’s too scared of being hurt again. From all that I’ve read, you had a wonderful marriage for 14 years and then it was your wife who made the decision to shut you out of her life and to pretty much put an end to the marriage. So if anyone should be scared about the feelings of being hurt again, it is you – not your wife.
I’m gathering that you aren’t all that old either – and I believe you’ve got a whole hell of a lot to give and to explore and to enjoy; and while I know you would have loved for more than anything for all this to be with your wife; from my point of view, way back on the sidelines, it doesn’t sound like a future for you together. And to be honest, how many more years would you like to continue living how you’ve lived for the past 8?
I hope I haven’t stepped over the line and also hope that I have said something above that has been useful. Above all else, I do hope you can respond back.
I am so terribly sorry to hear of your situation and the pain you are in.
Having separated under difficult circumstances I can only tell you of my understandings which may or may not be appropriate for you.
I learn't you cannot:
* help anyone who does not ask and really want help
* fix or make things right that are out of your control
* change how someone thinks or feels
* take responsibility for the actions or feelings of another
I learn't you can:
* only control what you think, feel and do
* be proactive about your own mental health and physical wellbeing
* find your own happiness albeit there will be both good and bad days
It is possible that once your wife moves out on her own she may see things in a different light and be more open to trying to resolve her issues and your issues together.
It is possible that nothing will change. You have been together for 22 years?
As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression 8 years of drug therapy is neither here nor there and without hard, proactive work with counsellors be they psychiatrists, psychologists, spiritualists, friends, family and independent personal work the capacity to elicit change can be negligible.
I cannot say whether there is hope for your relationship but you never know what the future brings. I think it is important that you look after yourself, love yourself enough to give yourself what you deserve which is a life of health and happiness. You can only affect what is you and hope your wife's time on her own helps her to do what she needs.
Sometimes, as in my case you can love someone without question but it does not mean it is in our best interests and sometimes we have to let go with love even though it is the most painful thing we will ever do. But to survive, to heal, to be happy, to live life we have no choice. We do so out of respect and love for ourselves because if we don't love and respect ourselves why would anyone else want to either.
I am not sure your wife is giving you an alternative at this stage so rather than push her away further by trying to help it may be good of r the two of you for you to work on you, your future self, your healing , your happiness, your friendships because they are all achievable. There will be good days, not so good and the in between.
Today, for me it is not a good and all the work I have done in the last 5 years is being challenged and that happens.
You are not on your own. You can work towards healing and happiness.
Thank you so much Puska.
Your words make a lot of sense and are very comforting.
I am feeling a bit better today (we usually find a way to accept our differences and continue to carry on after my little break downs) but you are right and it will be up to me to stop hoping or trying to change my wife or myself, and start looking after myself.
I don't know how to do that yet, but at least I feel more control and can now try to find the courage to make some plans.
Hi Without love,
I know it is late and I am sorry if I have missed something, but do you know what happened after fourteen years to go from what you had to what you have? There must be more to this.
Now you wife says she wants out after eight years. I am guessing you now have an empty nest at home?
The rest, I couldn't have put better than Puska.
Do you not crave a chance at happiness in your life or are you prepared to stay like this?
Kind regards, John.
Our 14 year happy marriage I guess has been more my view than hers although we had great times together that I am sure she enjoyed. I am far from perfect and have been less than thoughtful on many occasions which has caused her traumas so she has had some other reasons to shut me out, although I have never been unfaithful.
The breaking point for her was when she needed to distance herself from her parents to address her anxiety (as she felt they contributed to her issues with a lack of love, affection and protection in her childhood) so she shut them out and I did not fully support that move, so she shut me out as well.
I think Puska's words are wise, and I need to do a little bit of what my wife Is doing to control her life. Ie stop worrying about trying to change things and do what I need to do to look after myself as number 1.
Thankyou both for caring.
I mentioned a few reasons for the change in our relationship to Neil above and could go on, but her withdrawal was also due to her own psychologist's advices to worry less about what others want or expect from her, be more selfish and look after her own needs.
She is accepting of never being truly happy and content to stay on her anti depressants which protects her from her anxiety and allows her to function, sleep and enjoy some basic level of control. Mental illness is so disabling. It is so sad. Her advice that she wants to leave has been raised before and is driven as much by her guilt of causing me any more grief, as it is to give herself a break and be free of expectation, to be in control of her own life.
I just wanted to help and make things better.
Life can be pretty reasonable for me and us on good days but it catches up with me at night when I am cold and alone.
We will be empty nesters in the next month or two and that will be a telling time no doubt if we stay together until then.
I have lots to consider.
Thanks for your thoughts.
dear Without love, I'm sorry I haven't picked up your post earlier, because this is exactly what happened to me.
My wife, now ex, told me that she couldn't help me any more, and was tired of my depression and that she needed to move out, this was a few months before she filed for divorce, but prior to this she slept in another room and wanted no physical contact, which I wasn't really interested in, what she still made the point.
We had been married for about 25 years, but it could never be revived, although we still love each other, it was impossible to even think that the chances of us living together under the same roof would ever happen, and if for some reason we tried again, it would only turn into disaster.
Her mind was made up and nothing could change it and personally it wasn't worth me trying.
We still talk and see each other, have a laugh, joke and the occasional little criticism.
It's unfortunate that this has happened, but now you have to move on, and as the house has been sold, your daughter will have to find out eventually, but she will still see the both of you, but perhaps not together.
Sorry if I am sounding rather blunt, I didn't mean to, but you and your wife can still communicate if you want to. Geoff.