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Thread: I feel like my wife doesn't care - I need a reality check ..

  1. #1

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    I feel like my wife doesn't care - I need a reality check ..

    Cliff's notes: I believe I'm in a one-sided marriage in that I do alot for her and I get nothing in return in the relationship. I called her on it and things are, of course pretty bad now.
    Background:
    * We're both in our mid-50's, been married for 29 years, both children in their 20's and out of the house for 4 years now.
    * We live apart during the week because my job is in a different city 2.5 hour train ride away and she owns a business in our home city. I've been commuting like this for 8 years. Both kids live in the city where I work, so at least I see them often.

    My wife and I were having drinks and she made a comment to the effect of "You need to do more for this relationship" .. Now, I didn't ask her to elaborate, maybe I should have, but I was a bit disgusted at that point and I knew what she meant. We changed the subject and went on to other things. Fact is I had been a bit less affectionate the past few days, but I find it hard to do so.

    It really all started for me based on a small thing. I have an old, old dog. She's been with us for 19 years. She's in good enough shape to go for long walks and is in no pain, but she is deaf, a bit incontinent, and does have a few "senior moments" where she'll crouch down pee on her dog bed without warning. I have the dog with me in my studio because she claimed not to be able to "handle it" anymore. I'm able to bring the dog to work, so I'm able to walk her every 3 hours like she needs to. But despite that, she'll occasionally pee on the floor if I go out and it's been 2-4 hours. But it's ok - she's been with us for 19 years and she's part of the family as far as I'm concerned. So I'll take care of her as long as she can still enjoy life. So anyway, we went out to dinner the night before and when we got back, my dog really wanted to go out, so I took her while my wife changed into her PJ's. When I got back she was sitting out the couch angry and surly because she stepped in a puddle of urine in the kitchen that I hadn't seen. But she didn't clean it for me. I cleaned it at took the trash out with the wet paper towels. She was cold and sour faced until we went to bed.

    So as I lay there it bed it occurred to me that this is trend of behavior I've gotten so used to I treated it as normal up until then. I thought back over our marriage .. and realized that I did everything for her to make her life comfortable. I always treated her well and did many small things that normal loving couples do for each other. I'm talkiong about stupid little things: she ran out of lemon for her sparkling water one night I know how much she likes it, so I went out and got her some from the store right then. When she set up her business, I did alot of the admin work for her, got her the money, encouraged her, and even worked weekends at the front desk for her until she was up and running. When her mother died suddenly, I took care of everything . .the funeral arrangements, the ceremony, probate, and everything related to keeping the household going. Countless times, I have done things for her that I really didn't feel like doing and going places I didn't feel like going to for her sake. It's a long list, but I'll spare you the details. Bottom line, is that she could always count on me and I always had her back. She likes having me nearby and likes to have me next to her as she watches Netflix or whatever. After a few hours, I usually want to do something else, but she gets angry if I leave the couch. So in a weird way, she wants me with her emotionally, but now that I look back, it's more like a human plushie toy kind of way. I'm not trying to say I went over and beyond what other husbands probably do. I'm not saying that I'm in any way perfect, either. I'm pretty sure what I did was within the normal range of what couples do for each other.

    By contrast, as I was mulling over our marriage, I couldn't really think of anything like that she'd ever done just for me in the past 10 years. And very few before then. It seems that if I every asked for her to do something for me, she would either say no, or she would agree and then not do it. I ran over in my mind how over the years, she's been critical, scorning, and demanding on a regular, pretty much daily basis. When my father got terminal cancer, she at first agreed to have him stay with us in our spare bedroom (we had a huge house), but after a few days demanded that he leave. We went back to his one bed apartment and I slept on the floor. When he did die, it was during a planned vacation to see her brother. She took the kids and went with them and left me to bury my dad. The other day at Christmas dinner .. we were there with the kids and some friends. She makes a joke about those great apartments in the center of town, but then she motions towards me and says "Yeah, he can never get me that". Even my daughter snapped at her right then for saying that. I went through long stretches with very little sex and she tried to make it seem like I was really being a drag for trying to have more sex. Once I suggested we try a new thing .. a small kink of mine, a very easy and inoffensive one and she yelled "Go see a professional, if you want that". The list of things I remembered that fit this pattern went on for a long time until I got to sleep.

    I realize that I'm making this seem black and white - as though I'm Mr. Perfect and she's a harpie. It's not my intention. In fact, I realize I can't see myself objectively but I can state a few facts: I never verbally nor physically abused her. I don't drink or take drugs. I always made great money and nobody wanted of anything. The kids went to private schools and the universities of their choice. We had nice houses in nice neighborhoods and she always got herself the latest model car of her choice. I did have a brief affair 15 years ago, and that's on me. The affair didn't cause the issues we have now, our marriage was really already on the skids at the time. She has many great qualities. She's a real adventurer and is really good a motivating us to travel to places I may have thought was too much of an ordeal to get to - but looking back they were all incredible experiences. I also admire her business acumen and self-discipline. The business she runs is a great success and both her customers and employees love her. She's got great attention to the kind of detail you need to make her business successful and knows not to take the easy road nor cut corners. The quality of her business has set the bar so high that she's been putting her local competitors out of business. She's also a great mother. She and I both prioritized the kids and I never had to worry about her not doing the best for them that she could and she didn't have to worry about me not doing the same.

    So this is not about her being a bad person. It's really about her not caring about me. The thing with the dog was the last straw. It really looked to me like she really doesn't see me as anything more than a prop to make her life comfortable. If there's something I want or if there's something nice she could do for me, it just doesn't happen. Ever. In large part, that was my fault because I let it happen for years without making a big deal out of it. I myself got conditioned to also believe it was "fine". It was stupid on my part, but I avoided confrontation probably because I didn't feel like I would be willing to leave the house and the kids back in the day should things go wrong. But looking back, it was a mistake on my part. Now, the conditioning is wearing off. I feel like I'm getting nothing out of this relationship and therefore have nothing to lose, really. I already agree that half the stuff is hers, so it's not about the money.

    So this morning she complained that it seems like "we're going through the motions". So I had this discussion with my wife. Her response was to roll her eyes: "Oh .. I'm such a then. I can never do anything right. I'm always doing something wrong." While she did admit that the dog incident wasn't very nice on her part, she saw it as an isolated incident. She minimized or "couldn't remember" most any of other incidents. Her eventual response was that since I seem so angry we may as well separate and besides it's too stressful to keep worrying about what I want and don't want. I agreed. Truth is, she's right - I am angry. I've unbottled all the anger I think I may have accumulated over the years when I avoided the issue.

    What do you all think? Am I out of line?

  2. #2
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    Why isn't the dog wearing diapers? I don't understand! My mother's dog wears diapers and it alleviates any problems.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Suggest marital therapy. There seems be a growing resentment and burn out. It seems to manifest through this bickering and contempt. Therapy may help you both communicate better and improve things.

  4. #4
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    "By contrast, as I was mulling over our marriage, I couldn't really think of anything like that she'd ever done just for me in the past 10 years. And very few before then. It seems that if I every asked for her to do something for me, she would either say no, or she would agree and then not do it. I ran over in my mind how over the years, she's been critical, scorning, and demanding on a regular, pretty much daily basis. When my father got terminal cancer, she at first agreed to have him stay with us in our spare bedroom (we had a huge house), but after a few days demanded that he leave. We went back to his one bed apartment and I slept on the floor. When he did die, it was during a planned vacation to see her brother. She took the kids and went with them and left me to bury my dad. "

    Terrible.

    I think that your marriage is done. You should seek an attorney. This sounds like a miserable arrangement.

    I like how you minimized the "brief affair." Perhaps, she is not over your cheating. I also like how you keep count of the things you have done for her, these are things that any spouse would do in a relationship. Do you keep a list?

    I think you are both at fault!
    Last edited by Hollyj; 01-21-2019 at 01:55 PM.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Well...I was with you until....you admitted to having an affair and then dismissing your current marital issues as unrelated. Sorry, but they are all related. You can't sweep under the carpet what you did and the impact it had on your wife and your marriage even if it was years ago. With that in mind, you actually come across as selfish, oblivious, and your wife as still punishing you for your past.

    You can try marital counseling, but based on how she responded to you, sounds like she has been checked out of this marriage for years and rightfully so. Still, being married so long, try everything before pulling the plug. There is resentment on both side here.

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    Well...I was with you until....you admitted to having an affair and then dismissing your current marital issues as unrelated. Sorry, but they are all related. You can't sweep under the carpet what you did and the impact it had on your wife and your marriage even if it was years ago. With that in mind, you actually come across as selfish, oblivious, and your wife as still punishing you for your past.

    You can try marital counseling, but based on how she responded to you, sounds like she has been checked out of this marriage for years and rightfully so. Still, being married so long, try everything before pulling the plug. There is resentment on both side here.
    Yes. I would also want to know if you've talked about why it happened and what you planned to do so that it would never happen again.


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