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Thread: Trapped and unhappy in marriage

  1. #1

    Trapped and unhappy in marriage

    I have been with my wife for 9 years, married for 5, and we have two small children, aged 5 and 3. However I have been unhappy in the marriage for a long time and I feel like I want to end it with her. We get on well and in some ways I really enjoy our time together. But romantically there has been nothing there from my perspective for a long time - while I think she is very attractive, I don't feel at all attracted to her (if that makes sense) - I dread us being intimate, and when we are I can't wait for it to be over. I feel that I want and need to be single, meet other people and have new experiences.

    We actually separated for 2 months last year because I wanted to enter a relationship with someone else - that didn't work out and in the end we reconciled in November last year, but from my perspective it was more for the kids benefit and hers than my own because I felt so awful about it. I promised myself that I would give things a good try for at least a year, and it's been 9 months and I feel like every day is harder and harder, I have knots in my stomach because I feel awful about things but I just can't help but feel this way. I feel completely trapped by my situation - I want to minimise any pain but I don't know how that's possible given what I feel like I need to do. I'm also worried about things from a practical point of view - money, mortgage etc.

    I will always be prominent in my kids' lives - I had them stay with me 3-4 nights a week when we separated before and would want the same again - but the impact on them is perhaps what worries me most of all (especially my 3-year-old, as he is on the autism spectrum and not communicating very well as it is) and adds significantly to my guilt.

    Any advice on how I might proceed would be so welcome. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Ok move out, get an attorney and be prepared to live in a small apt, see your kids according to custody agreements, pay lots of child support and possibly alimony, lose at least half of all your assets, etc. Talk to a lawyer. Separated is a whole lot different than divorced.
    Originally Posted by jackhammer84
    I feel that I want and need to be single, meet other people and have new experiences.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    You were attracted to her when you met her 9 years ago and up to at least until 5 years ago when you chose her to be your wife. So what caused the attraction to end? Does she focus all her attention on the kids and none on you? Have you allowed yourself to emotionally cross boundaries, entering emotional affairs for the excitement? (Obviously you have, hence your 2 month break to be with the woman willing to cheat with you.) Have you both gotten lazy about keeping the spark alive, therefore losing an emotional connection?

    We have no idea what your issues are. What I would say is that since you have children, you two should at least try marital counseling to see if things could improve. You owe that much to your family. If, after giving that a minimum of a year's try, and putting full effort into your behavior and homework, if you're still not feeling it, then at least you can say you gave it your best shot before throwing in the towel.

  4. #4
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    I'm going to leave this here. This is by Cheryl Strayed, author and former advice columnist.

    “Go, even though you love him.
    Go, even though he is kind and faithful and dear to you.
    Go, even though he's your best friend and you're his.
    Go, even though you can't imagine your life without him.
    Go, even though he adores you and your leaving will devastate him.
    Go, even though your friends will be disappointed or surprised or pissed off or all three.
    Go, even though you once said you would stay.
    Go, even though you're afraid of being alone.
    Go, even though you're sure no one will ever love you as well as he does.
    Go, even though there is nowhere to go.
    Go, even though you don't know exactly why you can't stay.
    Go, because you want to.
    Because wanting to leave is enough.”

    ― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

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  6. #5
    Originally Posted by Andrina
    We have no idea what your issues are.
    Thank you for your reply. I get that I was brief and detail was lacking - apologies, I was trying to summarise for readability purposes. To answer your questions, I previously allowed myself to cross emotional boundaries, leading to the new (albeit brief) relationship. When we reconciled I made a promise to myself that I would not do that again so that I could focus on making things work without outside influences or distractions. Re the spark, we both agreed, when we reconciled, that we had both been complacent in terms of the spark and agreed that we would work on it together. We did to a point but before long I started to feel as described above - that deep down I didn't have that romantic/physical spark for her any more. I feel like I've really tried but I can't get it back and can't force it.

  7. #6
    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Ok move out, get an attorney and be prepared to live in a small apt, see your kids according to custody agreements, pay lots of child support and possibly alimony, lose at least half of all your assets, etc. Talk to a lawyer. Separated is a whole lot different than divorced.
    Thank you - I appreciate your reply. I would be willing to accept the legal and financial ramifications if it came to it, as I certainly wouldn't want her or the kids to be detrimented in that sense, based on my feelings and actions.

  8. #7
    Thank you sarahjay. It's poignant and to some extent reflects how I feel. I get that I am potentially giving up so much and that is what makes me not want to do it in so many ways. Though I feel like I will be living a lie unless I do. Hence my confusion. Thank you again :)

  9. #8
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    I would encourage you to speak to a family therapist who has experience dealing with separations. It will be pertinent to keep communication open and as healthy as possible with your wife as you two navigate this new phase - particularly as it relates to your child with special needs.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by jackhammer84
    Thank you sarahjay. It's poignant and to some extent reflects how I feel. I get that I am potentially giving up so much and that is what makes me not want to do it in so many ways. Though I feel like I will be living a lie unless I do. Hence my confusion. Thank you again :)
    You're welcome. I wish you the best! Glad it resonated with you.

  11. #10
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    I'm curious. If you've been unhappy with her for years- Why did you choose to have ANOTHER child with her??

    I want to give you a little dose of reality here as someone who has been there- You will struggle to have time to date as a single father with two little kids, one of whom is special needs, especially if as you claim, you want to still have them with you most of the time. This only gets harder as a single parent, not easier. Your time will get eaten up on things that weren't there before, like transporting them back and forth to their mother's place. Divorce makes parenting MUCH more complicated AND time consuming.

    Not to mention that a lot of single women will not dig dating a man with two little kids. Most women are going to wonder why you split from your wife when you basically have 2 little babies together. And that's just with casual dating. IMVHO, it will be even harder to find a woman who is willing to get serious with a man who is getting divorced with 2 little kids. Aside from the aforementioned wondering, it is asking a LOT of woman to take care of two little babies (one of whom is special needs) that are not her own. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is challenging. I can tell you as a stepmom that struggled with taking on OLDER children (one of whom has special needs) and loving my husband enormously. To be 100% honest, even with as much as I loved him, if the kids had been younger, I don't think I could have done it. Most women want to have a say in raising little kids and if they feel like they can't, it's incredibly challenging when dealing with divorced parents- often a jealous mother who doesn't want anyone else "mothering" her babies (that I frankly understand to a degree) and having no rights of your own.

    I mean- do what you gotta do. But I can tell you from my own experience- that dating is NOT going to be what you seem to imagine it will be. Take it form a divorcee- dating will NOT be the same as it was pre-marriage and you can't expect it to be. Even saying the D-word to potential dates is scary and that's before even mentioning kids, much less LITTLE kids. And parenting after divorce is VERY hard, even if the BEST of circumstances. Being separated is not the same. It's a whole other ball of wax. Trust me on this. Even if you aren't married to your current wife- she will always be your children's mother. It's not like you will EVER be 100% free from her. She is still going to be an ongoing presence in your daily life. In some ways, in order to co-parent, you will have to talk to her MORE and spend MORE time with her than you currently do. Then you have the issues of: co-parenting, getting along, opinions and conflicts, jealousy and the list goes on and on.

    I don't condone staying in unhappy marriages. I just think you should know the reality that awaits you has it's own set of challenges that you should be prepared for. It will not be a "freeing" and "carefree" as you imagine. And that's BEFORE even considering going back to dating, which is enormously complicated post divorce, especially post divorce with little kids.

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