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After 27 years of marriage she’s left and I’m gutted

Community Member

My wife and I were married for 27 years, 2 beautiful daughters in their 20’s. My wife works in hospitality, myself construction, both in our 50’s, the relationship has always been a work in progress. She is not a very romantic person, never has been, I guess some of it stems from her upbringing, my upbringing the complete opposite. Sometime ago I was a fly in fly out worker, it lasted 6 months. I was getting home every Friday night and her being out with one of her of her friends at the local watering hole or out with work friend. She would then get up Saturday and go to work, not leaving much time for US time. I should have said something but didn’t and I spiralled downhill feeling worthless, empty, gutted and no self esteem. She gets very into socialising with her work friends, occasionally I was invited sometimes I’d go, sometimes not, when they all get together they talk work, fair enough but I don’t want to hear because that’s all she’s talking at home. She’s been to Bali twice with work people, I haven’t gone, my choice, didn’t want to hear about their work all the time.

I was diagnosed with Depression at start of this year, which I’m on medication for and have spoken to Professionals about. I’ve told all my family and friends and received 100% support. She left me because she said we needed time to breathe, I hadn’t been the easiest person to live with I’ll admit that, I did tell her my depression stemmed back to when I was working away and coming home to an empty house and that she ranked well down on her list of priorities, she doesn’t seemed that concerned that her actions bought it on, she says she’s sorry but never made any attempt to rectify it, I think it’s lip service

She said she needs her own space, in 8 months that we’ve been separated I’ve had her over to the family home and cooked her dinner, she did say she didn’t want to lead me on, I understand that. I thought we were making some progress.

She told me recently that she’s going away in the new year with friends, I said that it hurt because to me that said she wasn’t figuring I’d be in the picture. She then said she doesn’t see us ever getting back together.

I feel worthless, gutted, emotionally and physically destroyed, thankfully I’m close and very grateful for the love and support of my daughters, family and friends, they give me reason to get up, it’s a challenge.

I just struggle as to why after 27 years she walks away from me

37 Replies 37

Community Member

Welcome to Beyond Blue.

Your story is a familiar one. My wife of 30 years did the same thing to me. The only real point of difference is that we had no children. With the benefit of hindsight, I think this is because children would have interfered with busy social life.

Without getting into too much detail, throughout the marriage, I would go off to work, leaving my wife free to pursue her social activities. This arrangement worked for 22 years. I would come home from work, and she would tell my about her busy day.

Around the time I retired, alarm bells started to ring. It all started when I was informed that she was "building a strong network of friends, because she would need their support as she got older". At that point, I realised that I had passes my use-by date. I realised, that my retirement was an inconvenience and her social network of friends came first.

After eight years of playing second fiddle, I was then informed that "I contributed nothing to the relationship". Evidently a life-time of shift work, a roof over our heads and financial security equated to "nothing" in her world. We separated soon after.

I wish I had the answers. Some women stick around for good times, but lack depth and commitment. Ironically, these are the qualities they look for in a man.

Welcome to the struggle!

Community Member

Hello Dumbdom.

I just want to stat off by saying how brave you are for coming for support and that you are not alone in your experiences. You seem to be a caring, loving and compassionate person who is very concerned about your health and your Wife's change in behavior. It's strikes me when you mentioned that she has asked for time and doesn't want to lead you on, even though she had all the space in the world and she should be happy and eager to see you.

Look. I don't want to suggest anything, however, healthy people don't treat their relationship or their partner like a dust-bin. Healthy partners value the other's needs, wants and support them where possible.

And this brings me to personality.

If her personality is quite restrictive (i.e black and white) she will have a hard time loving herself which means she cannot love others. She maybe trying to fill a void within herself and is either needing space to think about improving herself or is looking for someone else to fill her own issues that she cannot resolve on her own or with you.

Please focus on you and make yourself the most happiest person. Just focus on making you the best you can be because you deserve love and happiness.


Community Member

Mr Paul,

I very much appreciate your thoughts and the time you took to reply. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone about this.

As I’ve mentioned I’m very lucky to have the support of my daughters (I wish you had had something similar) and family & friends.

It just leaves you feeling used, empty and useless.

If I had treated her in the same manor I doubt if any of my family or friends would have supported me and I wouldn’t have blamed them. I do know that my family & friends check on her, I’ve told them she’s been part of their life for 30 years, so they need to keep communication open.

Thanks again Mr Paul appreciate your thoughts

Power to you brother

Dear Jsua

Thankyou very much for taking the time to read my post, consider it and reply, it’s very much appreciated, truly.

I take on board all your thoughts and must say that it struck a cord when you talked about the healthy relationship and not treating them as a dust bin, that is exactly how I’ve felt for a long long time.

I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to continue to use your post as a regular reminder to myself.

Again my many many thanks for your time and thoughts it really does mean a lot to me


Hey Buddy.

By all means. Reflect back to it as much as you need too. I am usually floating around her on the daily while doing my usual job- top secret stuff lol.

Anyway, just to recap, focus on you (and the kids of cause), find anything that you can to improve yourself, exercise as much as you can, adjust your diet if required (both help to increase serotonin = happiness), connect with others if you start to become socially isolated and just try to be you and learn more about who you are.

I ended my relationship (m+m) over a month ago (not because I though I could do better) due to being emotionally and physically abused. That is the rough stuff but I have been trying to really learn from this.

The key is h a p p i n e s s which comes from......drum roll...….Self-Compassion. Look up Kristen Neff on Self compassion if you need some motivation - you will be amazed how much you can improve yourself.

Take care buddy.


Community Member

The best thing you can do, is to stop blaming yourself.

For some inexplicable reason, it is the trusting spouse that feels used, empty and useless after separation. These feeling are amplified when there is no apparent reason for the separation.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dom I feel uncomfortable with your name but I know where it comes from.

I am sorry you are feeling very low. Just from reading your posts I can see you are loyal, determined, strong and loving person.

I have not had much luck in relationships and I know when one relationship breaks down one starts looking inward.

Sometimes we can not understand why people do what they do, when we think everything is ok.

Thanks for sharing your story honestly as many people who read but dont post will be able to relate to you and not feel so alone.

Community Member
My story is similar, married for over 20 years , two estranged children in their twenties. My wife spent most of her time socialising and flirting with anybody but me. I cannot stress how harmful this behaviour is to your self esteem.It is emotional abuse ,it gradually wears you down and your confidence disappears .In hindsight I became very angry that I tolerated this behaviour .I have no interest in pursuing another relationship, I am lonely but feel glad I am not tolerating this abuse .Its better to be alone than wish you were alone.Its very hard to accept the rejection .Stay strong man.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Dom

I'm very sorry for the down on yourself feelings you have. I'm sorry for all the heartache too, for you and everyone else here feeling the same.

Sometimes break ups say a whole lot more about the other person than ourselves.
Reflecting on our own part is healthy though too.

You sound like a lovely man who would have liked romance in his life, who works hard and cares very much for his partner.

IDK why you'd put yourself on the shelf tbh!
Short term that's completely understandable and we DO need time to heal.
Please don't do this long term.

There are really lovely women who would like to know a good person like you!

After a long, horrid marriage I also thought "I'm done".
I AM SO GLAD a wonderful man found me. We were just friends for a long time and we did grow to love each other very much.

Not all relationships are drama and mismatched. Some are really beautiful and I'd love for you to hold hope there are people who'd like to know you too.

My "leg ups" during separation were the following: have a look if you like and let me know what you think! They reallllllllyyyyyyy helped me lol. ALOT.
* the 180 - works a treat
* the gray rock strategy

and ofcourse Chumplady.com - full of humour and a brilliant group of people sharing and supporting each other.

Please let us know how you're getting on Dom and other members.