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My story--need advice badly

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I have been married almost 6 years and am contemplating divorce.


My relationship with her is more of friend/brother/parent than husband. I care about her deeply, but I am no longer in love with her and have not been for a long time. I am pretty sure that she feels the same way, but is satisfied (if not content) to let things continue as they are.


She is a good person, but really does not contribute anything to the marriage. I make all the money and do all housework, grocery shopping, handle all our finances etc.. She has been trying to get a job for the last 5 years in the one field she is interested in, but has been unsuccessful and won't consider any other career. One of the few times she did get a job in that field (about 3 years ago for 2 months) she started blowing me off for work friends and even had an affair with her boss (I found his emails, she says all they did was kiss a few times). I have tried to nudge her into looking for other things to do, but she refuses any discussion on the topic and gets mad at me for bringing it up.


She has been seeing a therapist for years, but simply can not or is not willing to change. Every day she has some new excuse for not doing anything. She had a headache, her allergies were bad, she wasn't feeling well, she was feeling depressed, etc... Our sex life is non-existent and there is no romance at all. I tried for a long time to rekindle any kind of spark, but there was no interest on her side. The few times we had sex, it felt like she ws doing me a favor. The closest we get to physical contact is cuddling in bed when its cold. She really does't do anything romatic at all and feels all my gestures are "corny", to the point that I was almost in tears that she got me a book I had been thinking of getting for my birthday or the one or two times she sincerely tells me that she appreciates something I did for her.


So why am I still married? I am confortable. We have a friendship. We watch TV together, we read together, play with our cats together, go out with friends together, but there is no romatic feeling at all from her. I stay because I am afraid of losing her companionship and that of her family. The thought of being alone after so long is frightening. She and her family have become my family and I am afraid to lose them. I am also worried about how she will take the news. She will be very very upset and scared.


Most importantly. I don't want to lose my friend. She has been in my life for 7 years and despite not being a good fit for me as a wife, she is my closest friend.


I don't know what to do. I am torn between being comfortable and risking being alone in order to find happiness. I know what the answer to that dilemma is. I just don't know how to get myself to the point where I can handle the mess a divorce will make of our lives and the pain we will both feel.


Despite all this I am hopefull. I know that whether I stay or go I can make a happy life for myself. If I stay however, there will be no chance for true love and true happiness.


Have I talked to her about how I feel? Yes and no. I have let her know over the years how much it hurts me that she shows no romantic interest in me and that she doesn't contribute me. Her response has been " this is who I am and I can't change." I have not had a sit down and talk aout everything at once talk with her.


Please help.

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It really sounds like your mind is made up. I feel sorry for both you and your wife. If you cannot rekindle the spark that kept you together and even caused you to be married then you know as much as everyone here that it won't last much longer.


I predict you'll become bitter, non-compliant, perhaps even cold. The only solution you can try at this point is either counseling, or finding a secure job that will support you and only you should you decide to go through with the divorce.


Remember, everything happens for a reason, I just hope that you will make the right choice.

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Personally, I believe marriage is a serious commitment (i'm divorced btw) and should be taken as such.


That said, it sounds like you've already checked out of the marriage. There doesn't seem like there is much of an upside to staying married.


For this type of question, you have to be honest with yourself. From what you've written, you're not doing anyone a favor by staying in the marriage.


Don't let the fear of being alone, stop you from following your heart. You deserve to be with someone who you love, and whom you are in love with.


As an aside, have you seen a therapist?

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Yikes. You've spent seven years digging the same hole, so even if nothing changes, it still keeps getting deeper.


My first and last straw would have been an affair. But, well, you need to make a choice. And your choice right now does not need to be final. However, you should realize that you are probably right in that neither of you loves each other, in the romantic sense.


If you choose to stay, the only way I would is by putting in some time and effort and trying to figure out how to transform your relationship, a large part of which will require you learning how to get her to try and do the same. I simply would not stay and live with the status quo. Life and love are too important to live with just comfort.

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Thanks Layward for taking the time to reply. I guess besides advice on deciding, I hoping for some help about the best way to go about it. How can I do this in a way that will hurt her the least? How can I deal with the fact that this will cause my best friend so much pain? How do I convince myself that divorce and being alone is better than being confortable and not alone.

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Thanks for the continuing advice! I have been seeing a therapist as well for a few years and have been talking about divorce for several months with her. She is doing her best to stay neutral and give me both sides, but it seems she thinks I should get divorces as well. I was thinking of asking my wife to go to marriage counseling to either fix what is wrong or make the transition easier for her and me so it is not a shock.


LostInMyThoughts, I wish my fear could be easily overcome. I am as afraid of hurting her as much as I am being alone.


Becc, thanks for your insightful comment

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I think you should tell her that you have filed for divorce and that unless she agrees to make a serious effort to address the issues in your marriage you will continue the divorce process. Don't bluff on this - actually file for divorce and have the papers to prove it.


Yes, this is an ultimatum but there are times when an ultimatum is the last resort to save a marriage.

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Thanks for the continuing advice! I have been seeing a therapist as well for a few years and have been talking about divorce for several months with her. She is doing her best to stay neutral and give me both sides, but it seems she thinks I should get divorces as well. I was thinking of asking my wife to go to marriage counseling to either fix what is wrong or make the transition easier for her and me so it is not a shock.


LostInMyThoughts, I wish my fear could be easily overcome. I am as afraid of hurting her as much as I am being alone.


Becc, thanks for your insightful comment


I think going to marriage counseling might not be a bad idea. Certainly if you tried your best to make things work and they didn't it would help make the decision to leave easier.

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Yeah, I'm surprised you've both been in therapy for years separately, but haven't had counseling together yet. Glad you're starting to consider doing so. You should probably pick a neutral therapist, i.e., not your therapist or her's.


Maybe, but might it also be useful for these therapists to talk? Not sure, just a question.

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onehopefullguy - I'm not really one to give marital advice (I'm here on these boards because my marriage is falling apart) but I think that its important not to discount the life you have. It sounds like your biggest doubt is your capacity to find romantic love again for your wife and for her to find that from you.


I believe without any doubt that you both have this capacity. I think that Beec is right though in that you'll have to fight for it. There is nothing wrong with working hard to get back to having romance and a happy marriage but it will take the commitment of both of you. If you can make that decision for yourself then your halfway there but she will have to make it as well. A good rule of thumb might be to make sure you are putting more work into your marriage than it would take to end it. It sounds though like you may be close to a happy life, just that there are some major roadblocks in your way like her career and possibly a justified lack of trust.

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By staying in the marriage, you are cheating YOURSELF of finding and having a mate how fully loves you and provides you everything you want and need to be in love.


You say she doesn't contribute to the marriage (money, shopping, etc). She's not contributing because you are letting her get away with it!!!! She's got quite a good life set up for herself right now, and she's got all the excuses she needs to ensure you will continue to support her:


1. she's seeing a therapist for years.. comE ON onehopeful guy!!!!! Unless she's got a serious behavioral disorder that's taking years of cognitive therapy to correct...the therapy is her excuse to continue her life of leisure and no responsiblity. You are sympathetic to it and she knows it. If it's not helping...then why is she still going???


2. She's been trying to find a job in her field for FIVE YEARS!?!?!?!? I commend her for having a passion to work in her field...but the bills have to be paid...and you are doing it for her. If I had a roommate or husband not contributing, he would be GONE. Gone years ago. Again...she knows where your soft spots are. She knows how to play you. She knows she can get away with this...so she does.


3. Her excuse of "this is who I am and I cannot change" is a huge red flag. You went to her to talk about what's going on in your relationship and she stuck to that story. That's ultimate disrespect for you and your marriage. You should have packed your bags on the spot. She's not willing to COMPROMISE anything to keep her position in the marriage...and she want's you to SACRIFCE everything to keep her position in the marriage.


I understand your feeling of comfort in your situation. However, if she's that good of a friend, she will always be your friend with or without a divorce. If you really think she's that good of a friend, she will understand she needs to step up in her role in sharing the household duties. If she's that good of a friend, she would not trample all over your feelings and take advantage of your responibility over her.


Get out now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

her saying "this is who I am, and I cannot change" is another way of saying "Im lazy, and if you will be my doormat, why should I change"

I would simply tell her that I was filing for divorce unless she changed. Period. you deserve to be happy, this isnt it. Im sure she will understand this, just lay it out for her like you did on this post. Maybe she will wake up, and change and you wont have to go through with it. Maybe you can end things, and still remain friends. Who knows.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are lots of people in this world who would be perfectly happy to stay in a childlike state where their partner (or parents) continue in a parenting role and take care of them financially, with no responsibility of their own, for their entire lives. they just do not want to grow up, and will look for any excuse their partner/parents will buy to continue to subsidize their continual state of childhood.


i was married to such a man, and after years of excuses for why he behaved the way he did (very similar to the way your wife behaves), i just sat up and realized i was wasting my own life 'babysitting' a grown adult, and i was not doing him any favors either because allowing this behavior in an adult just encourages them to stay stunted...


my ex-husband was content, but had what psychologists call 'arrested development', just stuck being a kid, and perfectly content to try to turn his wife into being a mother because he refused to be a true partner and take care of himself or me!


when a relationship becomes skewed like this because one partner wants to play the child, of course the sex goes out of the relationship... it probably feels too incestuous to the partner wanting to be a child and casting their spouse as the parent... so an adult relationship in a marriage, including sex and romance, is just counter to their agenda...


so the other scenario you have to prepare for is that it is very possible she WILL continue to have affairs when the opportunity presents itself, because she is like a teenaged kid, and 'dating' is ok with someone else, just not with her daddy figure: you! so that strange dynamic is probably in play, where she is content enough with you, like a kid is living in their parent's house, but she does NOT want you as a husband (and associated financial and sexual duties), just a father figure who is willing to support her and demand no more of her than a parent would a child.


so you need marriage counseling to address this, and if she won't cooperate, then you need to quit enabling her childishness and strike out and find a full, normal life for yourself... it is guaranteed that if she doesn't want to grow up and you divorce her, she will just very quickly find another man to play the role she is comfortable with, and be sponging off of him rather than you... she'll sqwauk and cry about it like a kid losing a favorite toy, but as soon as she realizes she has to take care of herself as an adult, she'll just quickly find another guy to slip into the daddy role... so don't feel too sorry for her, you will probably have more trouble adjusting to the breakup than she will...


the truth is if she really cared about you, she would care about your feelings and trying to make a marriage that makes you happy too, not just herself.

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