Jump to content

Any hope? Or time to give up?


Recommended Posts

My wife and I have been married for 18 years; have two kids, one 6 and one 9. Over the past 6 months our relationship has gotten rocky; back in March we were arguing a fair amount, and she told me she thought she was done with our marriage. We talked, and I told her I would do whatever she wanted to win her back. We talked about what I did that irritated her; her perception that I acted like I thought I was smarter; that sarcasm irritated her, and other things. I was surprised because I certainly don't think I'm smarter than her - I agreed I'd try and make sure I didn't sound that way. We talked about seeing a therapist, but she then changed her mind and said our problems were my behaviour, so she didn't see a reason for her to talk to someone.


For a few months, things seemed to improve, then we had a family vacation when everything went wrong - from the process of packing the car, to my mother getting sick during the trip - you name it.


We came home, and a week later, said she didn't want to be a couple. She liked doing family things with the kids -but was done with me, because she didn't feel attached to me any more. I told her I wanted to try and fix things; but if she needed to go, that was her decision. I planned to try and keep the house if we split, and buy her half out with my half of the 401k or something. (This was all about a month ago...)


She came back later, and asked if I still wanted to try a therapist; I said "sure". She gave me the name of one a friend had referred (coincidentally - I think the fried is a family lawyer - my wife's an attorney herself) ; we made an appointment for an initial visit together. She didn't participate much with the therapist when we went, but we agreed to go back; we'd go together once a week, and I'd go a second time on my own, to work on the behaviors that were bothering her.


When we got home, she said that once a week would take too much time from the kids, and we agreed she'd only go every other week. We're due to go back together tomorrow night.


Since then, she doesn't talk about our relationship, therapy, or anything like that. I bought her flowers Saturday night and asked her to dinner next weekend; she said she'd have to check her calendar, and hasn't gotten back to me.


We get along fine when it comes to the kids, managing their schedule, and household housekeeping stuff. There's a little polite chitchat about the day, but that's it. There's no "there" there, when it comes to us, and she doesn't seem to be bothered by that.


It feels like she's getting what she wants out of things right now; doesn't have to act like a couple; doesn't have to concern herself much about me, but gets to keep the parts of our life she liked - the family, the kids, the house. It's like I'm a house mate / live in nanny, groundskeeper, and sometime cook.


I can live with this if it's part of a long road back to my marriage - but I don't think I can live with this permanently. As much as it would hurt to see her leave - walking through my life like a ghost of marriage past is even worse.


I'm trying to take a positive approach and stay upbeat (who the heck would want to stay with a bitter, lonely guy anyway). I'm not pushing anything; I haven't asked again about the dinner thing, tried to organise evenings together, but been there when she wandered into my study to watch a movie.


Is there any hope here? Is it worth going to the therapist with her, if she doesn't seem at all interested in working on things? I'm going to go for myself whether she goes or not - but as the day of our "couple" visit to the therapist is getting closer, I can see her discomfort at the notion of going growing. The therapist gave us some books to read - she hasn't gone within 20 ft of them so far... But I've found talking to the therapist to be helpful for me so far.


I can't figure out if I should be trying to work on being a couple - or leave her a lot of space and see if she wanders back? It seems like pushing things could be bad - but acting like an indifferent roommate also seems bad - I need to give her some positive reason to change the current status quo, don't i?


Or should I just give up on this, and tell her I want to work with her to plan our separation? I'd really want to be with her, and fix our marriage - but if she's not willing to show any interest, I don't know what to do...

Link to comment

Hi, firstly I've never been married so my advice is somewhat limted to one or two long term relationships I've been in.


From reading your post, I get the impression theres a lot more going on here than simply your behaviour, have these traits being bothering your wife for a while or have they come up recently?


It just seems to me that your wife may be considering to leave the marriage for her own reasons and is justifying her decision by shifting the blame onto you.


Of course I could be wrong, but a lot of what is happening to you at the moment reminds me of someone I was with 10+ years.


I think going to a therapist for yourself is a good thing, may give you some perspective, also giving your wife space is good aswell, but at some point you need to talk to your wife and ask her if she wants to work on the marriage or not, living with the ambiguity is no way to live.

Link to comment

It sounds like your wife is cheating on you or has already, mentally, left the relationship. And I know how difficult it is to walk away, but, it will be more difficult to try and hold onto something that the other person has already let go of. It's good that you are talking with a therapist, BUT maybe you should be going to one that she does NOT go to - so, you can do what's best for you. As it stands, you are only able to react and you need to get yourself to a place where you can be proactive. You deserve someone to WANT to be with you, not to make you feel like a piece of sh-t!

Link to comment

I know exactly what your going through. Your story sounds very similar to the way my marriage ended. She always told me I was a wonderful husband and our marriage seemed perfect, but at the end suddenly I wasn't a good husband. Nothing seemed real and I tried the counceling to, but she was lying, "rewriting our marital history", and blame shifting to cover her affair.


All I am saying is take care of yourself and don't rule out the possibility. I know how hard it is to love someone unconditionally and have them just emotionally disconnect from you and give up like it is nothing.

Link to comment

There is a ton of advice out there on how to procede in circumstances like the one you find yourself in. Remember that it is just advice. Opinions and information you need to gather and then utilize what is best for you and your situation. Unfortunately, there is more of this type of interaction going on than we imagined. You are not alone.


In analyzing marrige problems, with all of the complex interactions taken place between the couple, one issue seems to be common to all; the breakdown of communication. The connection that your wife and you have shared for most of your relationship is there because of the level of communication that you have with one another. There are many ways to communicate with someone. The varied ways of verbal and non-verbal discourse are too numerous to name now.


It appears to me in this type of dynamic, your wife feels that she has tried to communicate to you, in her own subtle ways, that the connection between the two of you is lacking and has been for a long time. She had probably never communicated this directly to you. She no longer feels that real communication is possible. Even your attempts to rectify this seem to her as futile. The lines of communication (and so the deep connection) breakdown took years to happen and to repair those lines takes just as long or longer. There is no quick fix. Trying to do so just pushes her away even more. The walls that she has built up to protect herself will not let anything in. Only if SHE wants to let the walls down will it happen. The walls also prevent her from showing you her vulnerable emotional side which is no doubt hurting. It is not that she does not feel the trauma of a relationship in trouble, she does. But she has build the walls in her own emotional defense and will not let the feelings in or out. Understanding this will bring on your compassion. Which is possibly lacking on both sides.


The blame she places on you for the troubled realtionship is a common thread to all those in her position. In my own situation, my wife blamed me to the point of abuse for all of the unhappiness in her life. You have to look past this

as an irrational response. It took me awhile in order to not take her attacks upon my character personally. I know, a good deal of the comments have no basis in fact. I realized, and conveyed to her, that if I took full responsibility for all of the unhappiness in her life, how would that change the situation? How would that make her feel better?


Everyone, on both sides, caught up in these circimstances want things to be different than they are right now. They refuse to accept the way things are. It has been heard in these situations, "I'm a good person. I deserve better than this. I deserve to be happy. You do not make me happy." thereforeeee they want out. Even the changes that you make are not enough to convince them that things will get better. They are right! Unilateral changes will never do it. Those wanting out will also have to change. A change in the way they view the circumstances, their interactions, and the level in which they communicate. Accept where you both are now and work together (I know it is difficult) to change the relationship for the better.


Most good therapists or marriage counselors agree that backing off the person that wants out so vehemently is the only way to procede. Any attempt to have her see it your way will strengthen the walls she has built up over time. The professionals are always advising to give your partner his/her space. Michelle Weiner-Davis has many insights into this situation in her book, "The Divorce Remedy" and a website called divorcebusting.


Couples who work through these problems with compassion, patience, and a willingness to communicate at a higher level, can save the relationship. It takes a willingness to change on both sides. Those who sucessfully navigate this traumatic time will have a much stronger connection. It has been shown that they end up with a stronger bond and a much better marriage than ever before.

Link to comment

I too have travelled down your road here (was married 13 years with 3 kids) and there is no hope for your marriage to be saved with what you have said at this point. Under your radar, your wife has slowly been losing respect for you for longer than you know. It was subtle and mostly in her sub-conscience, but it built up over time and made her finally take action to end it. At the same time she built up a vision of life without you in it, one that she feels will be much better than staying with you.


You are competing to save your marriage against a loss of respect and another vision - both of which you cannot control for the most part. However, you can begin to regain her respect (and respect yourself) by being a man and stop pandering to her blame game. You must find yourself in this as an individual and let go of wanting things to work out. Its the biggest change you must make to heal and come out of this whole. You've done what you could before and now must continue to focus on changing you. The stakes are high as you dont want to fail at the most important relationship in your life again - and you must grow now for your kids sake as well.

Link to comment

What exactly does it mean when you say: "However, you can begin to regain her respect (and respect yourself) by being a man and stop pandering to her blame game. You must find yourself in this as an individual and let go of wanting things to work out. Its the biggest change you must make to heal and come out of this whole. You've done what you could before and now must continue to focus on changing you."???????

Link to comment
What exactly does it mean when you say: "However, you can begin to regain her respect (and respect yourself) by being a man and stop pandering to her blame game. You must find yourself in this as an individual and let go of wanting things to work out. Its the biggest change you must make to heal and come out of this whole. You've done what you could before and now must continue to focus on changing you."???????


It means what it says. The effect of growing and maturing as an individual produces results for you and the people around you will notice it - including the ex. Taking the blame for all things in the relationship and pursuing her will just hasten the demise of the relationship.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...