I think the end of my marriage is very near...Advice???

I think the end of my marriage is very near...Advice???

Postby Gypsytraveller » Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:29 pm

First time poster, but have been lurking for a while. Lots of good advice on here…hopefully I can get some feedback on my situation.

I’ve been married about 12 years to what I would call a “good woman” and mother. There was never any hot and heavy romance for us, we just accidentally met, and started hanging out with mutual friends. She had 2 daughters from a previous marriage, and I thought it was cool to be a father-figure to these 3 and 4 yr old girls. We got along good I suppose and I was spending a lot of time at her place, since she cooked good meals and it felt like a home to come home to.

We never had any hot and heavy romance, and in fact, never really dated or courted. I tried to end our relationship after a while, and she pursued me aggressively, and I remember one night when I didn’t want her company, and pretended I wasn’t home, she sobbed outside my house, and cried and cried about how she loved me so, and I relented, let her in and let the relationship go on, because she obviously loved me greatly, and I never had a woman cry over me before (that I knew of). After a while, one or the other of us suggested we move in together, since I was basically living with her but still paying for my place. This we did, and rented a home together, and life was pretty good. Still…no heavy romance, we just co-existed peacefully, and occasionally had a shag. Then, either out of a feeling that we should be married, since we were living like a family, or an idea that I owed it to her, I proposed. We had a simple but nice ceremony and reception at the house. She was and is the kindest, best-hearted person I’ve ever known, and although I don’t believe I was really “IN LOVE” with her at the time (I know, I know, what was I thinking) I thought she was good for me, and that my love for her would grow. 13 years later, and we’re still together, through some ups and downs as most, but it has been mostly pleasant. 9 years ago we had a child together, so now we have three.

Over the years, we rarely fight, it just seems that neither of us is passionate enough about anything enough to get angry about something. One of us or the other just usually gives in or compromises and we’re usually peaceful.

“A Peaceful Coexistence”…and that is a big part of the problem, it’s just a coexistence. Sometimes I’d love to have a good fight, but she won’t fight, she will only clam up and refuse to talk/argue about it.

In 2003, we almost split after I came back from being gone on business for 2 ½ months and having this “awakening” of sorts where I told myself that I was so much happier on my own. I worked myself up mentally about it to the point that when I got home I was cordial but cold with her, and when she confronted me, I spilled the beans that I believed we got married for the wrong reasons, and ours was a marriage of convenience. I hurt her greatly, and after I saw what I’d done to her, I felt so bad, I tried to take it all back, and I truly felt I’d made a horrible mistake. (This hurt her greatly, and has come up many times in conversation between us, how much I hurt her).

I did it again a few years later, again after being gone on business for a month. I didn’t intentionally do it this time, she could just tell when she picked me up at the airport that it wasn’t a “I missed you like crazy” greeting, more like she was just picking a buddy up at the airport. I couldn’t help it, we hugged, and it was simply awkward feeling, I think for both of us. I didn’t do it on purpose, but she sensed it and told me that she’d told herself if I ever came home again like I did the last time, that she’d made up her mind it was over for good. I begged, pleaded with her to convince her that I love her (I do, of course) don’t know what’s wrong with me etc… and we stayed together.

Several years later..we’re having problems again. She is distant and if not cold, just emotionless around the house with me, and when I ask her what’s wrong, she says “I’m tired, I don’t want to talk about it, we’ve had this discussion so many times and never get anywhere etc…” When I get angry and pin her in a corner about it, it goes back to her assumption (which I put in her head years earlier) that we married for convenience and were more like roommates, friends etc than a husband and wife. Women never forget!

During the last year or so, I noticed some changes in her, her wearing some sexier nightclothes to bed etc...and I could tell she was making an effort. I responded, tried to compliment her regularly and we had some pretty good sexual encounters (just doing the duty once a month or so was the norm for years), and for a month or two, it seemed like she was insatiable, and to be honest, she wanted it just about everyday, and I was actually getting tired of it a bit. I have to keep in mind though, that she usually seems unsatisfied in the end, and complains that I’m either too quick (if I’m really into it and don’t last long) or too long (if I’m not really into it and take a while to finish. She is so damn hard to please! Frankly the sex between us is usually infrequent and not spectacular, and getting our schedules in sync with kids etc.. is often not easy. One is tired and the other in the mood or vice versa. Shortly after the period above, we fell into the same routine again.

Another thing that bothers me is that I usually have to initiate all affection. I’m the one who takes the effort to kiss her goodbye in the morning and tell her I love her (all the time). I often don’t get a reply when I say it, or it’s an abbreviated “luv you”, kind of like a mandatory response. I’m the one who makes the move to kiss her goodnight, and roll over to her side of the bed and hold her etc.. Every great once in a while, she’ll roll across the king size bed to my side in the morning or at night, but it’s very rare. I can’t remember the last time she ever looked into my eyes and said she loves me like she really means it, the only time I hear it is a sympathetic response to my statement. I compliment her and tell her she’s beautiful all the time (several times a day, and I mean it), but she won’t ever accept the compliment, she’ll say something like “whatever, yeah-right, I don’t know why you say that when I’m so fat” (all 120 lbs of her) as if I’m lying or something.

I’m away on business again (no, it’s not routine for me, only about once a year) and have been gone for 2 weeks. I have tried so hard to stay in close, emotional touch with her, calling her every morning and at least once every evening. She seems short with me and doesn’t seem to want to talk, though she is cordial, alluding to being busy, stressed or tired. I close every conversation with an “I love you” and maybe 50% of the time I get a mandatory-style-response “Luv you”..and sometimes just a “bye”.

I think I would fall over dead out of shock if unprompted she just said: “I just want to tell you that I love you”.

I will be the first one to admit that I hurt her emotionally several times, and know what a dumbass I was to do it. I OWN IT! I’ve apologized to her, sometimes in tears because I felt so bad about it. I do love her, not in a lustful sort of way, but in a way that I can’t imagine her not being in my life, or imagine her living a life without me. Or imagine tearing our family apart and not spending the night in the house with my little one every night.

All that said, I really think we’re nearing the end of our marriage, and although I think it would be the right thing to do, I’m scared, sad and sorry that this marriage does seem to have been a marriage of convenience, and not a great one and I wasted so many years of her life. I’m worried about her, and feel bad that the she won’t be able to have the lifestyle we have together (and neither will I, but I don’t care about myself) You know, we have it all, the big house, on a big piece of land, nice vehicles, the picture-perfect American Dream on the outside, and shell of a marriage on the inside.

Talking to other divorcees (maybe not the best people to be talking to) they have hauntingly similar experiences to mine, and all claim that both they, their ex’s and the kids are even better off for it. I honestly don’t know how much of this to believe.

Divorce is something I thought I’d never do, and always thought it was for weak people. I’m embarrassed about the possibility of it, sad about the members of her family I’ve become close with and of my own family who will be so disappointed in me. And, saddest of all if this goes where I think it is going to have to tell my little daughter that mommy and daddy aren’t going to live together anymore.

If you hung out this long, listening to my boring, sad and pitiful story, I apologize for the length, but had a lot of details to put in the story.

This is what I think:

I never should have asked her to marry me if I wasn’t in love with her, even though my love for her in general has grown. I’ve hurt her way too many times and although I believe she was once in love with me, she has lost that love. She has emotionally checked out of the marriage and taken a defensive posture to keep from getting hurt again. In all probability, no matter what I do, I can’t ever take back the hurt I’ve inflicted upon her, and I probably can’t turn this around, no matter what I try.

I’d like your advice.

Is it time to move on and hopefully let her get on with her life and find someone who can give her what she needs?

Or, should I pull out all stops and try every trick in the playbook to make this work, for the sake of the kids, and/or because I owe it her for sticking by me all this time?

Counseling?, Therapy?, Trial Separation?, any other ideas?
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Postby ThunderHorse » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:34 am

Many marriages are close to divorce, yet many of those marriages continue. So the idea that your marriage is at a stage similar to some marriages that have ended in divorce, is not surprising to me.

The Hollywood ideal is that you meet someone, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Situations happen for many people where marriage happens as a result of other circumstances. My wife comes home every night, and I try to make the best of it, regardless of my intentions when I got married.

Initiating love making is generally done by the husband. So that idea that you have to intiate ideas of Love, and arousal, are not surprising

Love from a wife is something that can be increased, through acts of caring. So if you want more love from your wife, find ways to be more caring.

You are on an extended business trip, and your apprach to life now is turning to self-sufficiency, without your wife. It seems you have hurt your wife when you have returned from a trip away, in the past, so you might plan some strategy now, about how you will handle your feelings and habits of self-sufficiency, when you return home, so that you do not diminish her love for you, unnecessarily.

You have the love of a woman, and a woman who cares for your biological child, and two girls who think of you as their father. The girls are now teenagers, and that is a stress on any marriage. Just enjoy the blessings you have from your wife. That is my approach at this time with my wife. You have not mentioned any over-riding reasons to divorce.

Your wife complaining about your performance in bed can be considered as abuse. You probably respond to her criticism with emotion, maybe silence, but she can see your feelings. So practice the Boring Baroque Response described in Suzette Elgin's books, as blithering pleasantries in response to unkind criticism. The 8 steps to ending verbal abuse are discussed on other threads, so you can search this forum for further discussion.

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Postby Gypsytraveller » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:18 pm

Thank you so much for your kind reply...

For the last 2 days I've avoided calling her, to see if she would call me, since I'm the one that calls her to tell her goodmorning. Silly little game I know.. Well, she didn't call, but I had to talk to her today about our daughters broken down car, and she was cordial on the phone..

I like your idea about having a plan when I return and have decided to have the family out to visit me (bought tickets for them to fly out for a week) where I am, to minimize the time apart. So...I'm going to start planning for that as well.

Your right about the teenagers and stress, our oldest one especially has gotten in trouble and gotten arrested twice within the last year (drugs once, shoplifting another) and it seems as if she is almost beyond hope. We bailed her out the first time, but didn't bail her out the second time, and that was my wife's stance, that she'd only do it once. This daughter and her behavior has added a lot of stress, and she is very defensive about her.

Being in Law Enforcement myself, her behavior is especially troubling for me and I have to work real hard to be supportive and forgiving with her.

The home (too much home and property) we bought has been a big source of stress as well, and we have discussed selling it before and downsizing. This might be something to seriously revisit when I get home as well.

I'll try to keep you updated as things progress.

Thanks for listening..
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Postby elizacol » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:26 pm

I read your long message the other day, but did not have time to respond.
I am too tired to reread it, so hopefully, I remember enough of what I wanted to initially respond to. If not, forgive me.

There is something to be said for 'comfortableness' in a marriage. From what I remember reading, it sounds like you had/have what many couple wish for. An easiness to your togetherness. Not much fighting. (Can't remember what else...I just remember reading it and thinking....this couple doesn't realize that maybe, just maybe they have what everyone else wishes for. I don't live your life, so perhaps I am wrong.

You have a history together. To throw that away and start over with what?! Nothing? A broken family. A bunch of 'could have beens'. The grass is not always greener.

As for your wife's reactions to your being gone. I am sure your trips trigger emotions, memories, etc. I speak from experience, being the wife of an AF husband who went TDY a lot! I (we) still carry the scars from how we mishandled those TDYs. You live. You learn. You grow.

Take this time, before you end your marriage, to grow. Individually. Together.

My H and I went through a very rough patch a few years back. We are still recovering, but I wouldn't trade what we have (or went through) for anything in the world.

There is something to be said for making a marriage work. So many just give up when the going gets tough.

Be the change you wish to see in your marriage. Forget about YOU and YOUR feelings. Focus on your wife. Focus on your marriage, and what you want it to be. Live by the change quote above. You will be rewarded in spades. I truly believe that.
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Postby Gypsytraveller » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:29 pm

Thanks for the kind reply elizacol...

I shared some e-mails with her today, and confronted her with why she was being cold with me.

She said, through several e-mails:

"I have just been doing a lot of thinking"
"I do not like the person I've become"
"I'm not happy"

I asked for examples of what has changed about herself that she does not like..

She told me:"She doesn't care about the holidays anymore, or about going to school functions, and used to enjoy all those things, along with other examples".

I asked her why has she changed in that way, and she said:

"Honestly, you..."

Then said "this is not the place for this conversation, we should talk about it when you get home"..and clammed up..

So...now I have two months to dwell on it..

I will admit that I'm a grinch when it comes to holidays, and don't participate or get particularly interested in any holidays or school functions etc. Selfish? Probably.. But in all honesty, I'm just not into it.. Should I pretend to get excited about another "Hallmark Card Holiday", designed to make the greeting card companies and retailers more wealthy? I could pretend, but how honest is that?

She likes to go to the local high school football games (community support and all that), and I don't like to go to those either, so she usually goes with the kids, the teenager goes her own way and sits with her friends, and my wife usually sits with the little one. We don't have any kids in the high school playing sports, nor cheerleaders, and I don't know any of the boys on the team, because we're not originally from the town we live in, so why would I care about the football team?

I'm not even into mainstream sports at all, and could care less about what team is playing who, even in the Super-Bowl. All the obnoxious idiots in the stands and the overzealous parents getting upset about ref calls irritates me when I do go. I guess I could pretend to like going, but then where would that really get me? She already knows after many years, that I don't care about going..

After reading what I wrote, I'd wager a bet that she feels like she doesn't have a husband when she goes out in community-circles and is probably embarrassed that she's always alone in those settings...and that makes me sad..

Truthfully, I'm not very community-minded, and she is. She's also always volunteering to staff a booth at this or that function etc...and I've got enough work to do on our large property to be giving someone else my time.

In short, we're so different in that way, that I suppose the more I think about it, I don't blame her.. I haven't changed though, I've always been this way.

FWIW, I do have interests, and try to include her in them when I can get her interested enough to go...and these are recreational and whitewater kayaking, off-road motorcycling (even bought her, her own motorcycle, but I have to pull-teeth to get her to go, so I know she doesn't really enjoy it)

I asked her when she can remember herself happy, and she said when we were first together in our first house. In all honesty, that would be my same answer. We had nothing, no internet, no cable tv etc...everything was so simple, and I think we were both so happy..

Now we have everything, and are miserable and growing further apart..
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Postby elizacol » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:25 pm

Your early married life sounds similar to ours, in that we had nothing, yet were probably at our happiest. I'm thinking a lot of Americans right now are realizing this...that we don't need all the stuff. That's another topic for another forum, though...

I can't tell you whether to save your marriage of not. I just know that it took almost losing mine to make me realize just what I had in our marriage. That realization has resulted in such a deep sense of genuine joy and appreciation of which I have never before experienced.

Perhaps you and your wife will go through that, as well. I don't know.

While I don't think you and your wife need to do everything together...I do think it is important for married couples to have some common interests. If you decide to save your marriage, you will find those interests, no doubt. Because you'll know how important they are.

Wish I could be of more help. I guess you and your wife can use this 2? months apart to think about where you want to go from here.
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Postby ThunderHorse » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:33 am

Men appreciate companionship. Your expectatons that your wife is going to giveyou everything you want, needs to be changed to what can I give my wife, so hat she wil give me more of what I want? How does motorcycling or other companionship activities for you, add up, in total?

Chapter 7, The Fifth Way: Learn to Listen, in Dr. Haltzman's book THE SECRETS OF HAPPILY MARRIED MEN discusses many concepts in the art of a man listening to a woman. The benefits to the woman, and the relationship, of encouraging her to talk, and verbalize unsettled matters for her are also discussed.

The rule form Dr. Eggerich is to listen to his wife 15 uminuts per day, unconditionally, as part of his job as a husband.

Law enforcement is usually different from rehabilitation.

Criminal and Drug rehabiliation is enhanced if the family constellation is more supportive.

Courts also are unsupportive of criminal and drug rehabiltiation, and if your wife's daughter is in jail, then your wife is not happy.

You don't mention any plan to help your daughter.

There are dozens of programs that can be of help to her in gaining social skills, self-discipline and approaches to Love and Boys.

What teenage parenting courses have you taken recently? Books, DVD's etc?

Your job is to get your daughters adjusted to becoming adults. You need to take communication with your wife seriously, because without her 15 minutes per day of talking out her thought, she will go nuts. Maybe your wife is 10 minutes or 20 minutes, or diffedrent on different days.

Who calls who is irrelevant, but if she has not called, you should take the intitiative, to give her permission to talk, so she can get her her FIX of random talking, with your unconditonal listening.

You are worrid about YOU, and what you are receiving from yuour family. You will get more from them, if you give them more of what they need, listening.

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Postby Gypsytraveller » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:12 am

In reply, I will say that my wife does not try to talk to me for 15 minutes a day, let alone 5.

She doesn't ask how my day was, doesn't have anything to share with me, and if I ask her how hers was, she's just give a polite, but neutral response. "It was alright I guess" etc...

She's not the typical wife who wants to blab your ear off...so any suggestions about "listening more" are not going to fit my situation.
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Postby elizacol » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:22 am

Hi again, Gypsytraveller,

I totally get what you are saying about your wife not being one to 'need' communication. I am that way, too. I am not a talker. Most of what happens during my day (even though I am a teacher and should have plenty of funny stories to talk about), I really don't care to share. Perhaps it is because I am 'on' all day, bombarded with question after question, story after story, etc. Who knows. But, I get it. People like your wife and I don't need communication. Not just the surface level communication, but the deeper level communication, either. We are the rare ones, I'm sure.

Now, because my husband DOES need communication, I make the effort to communicate with him about what he needs to talk about. It is not easy for me, as he is a real, long drawn out talker, but I do it anyway, because I know how important it is to him. It is when I stopped communicating with him (1st year of teaching-all my effort went into that), that he turned to a gal at work to fulfill that need and what began as a friendship turned into an emotional affair. Boy did I learn that one's needs in a marriage, whatever they are, need to be met!!! Even if that need isn't our forte.

So....your wife doesn't need that. But, there are other things she needs. It is up to you to find out what those are (if you so desire). For me, it is touching and closeness. A hug here, a touch there. Snuggling in bed or just sitting next to each other on the couch. It also means doing things together. Not all of the time, but once in awhile. Give me those 2 things and I'm happy!

It sounds like you 2 are out of sync with each other. You will either get back into sync with each other, or you won't. Depends on how badly one or both of you want to.

I suppose we could go back and forth, back and forth. I don't know if coming to this forum is helping/has helped you or not. It sounds like you aren't even sure what you want. Nor does your wife. That makes it difficult.
With my H and I, I knew what I wanted (to save/keep our marriage), he was the one not sure. That made it a tad easier, I believe, than your situation.

Best of luck to you. I'm not even sure what steps you would need to take next. Wish I could be of more help.
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Bedtime reading

Postby Scott Haltzman » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:02 pm

I was wondering what book to read tonight before bedtime. Then I came across your story. I appreciate how you must be struggling, and how you are trying to seek an way of moving ahead with your life, as a man, and a husband and father.

I also am very moved by the responses by T-Horse and Elizacol.

I think the feedback of these two veterans of marriage are invaluable, and if you can't read between the lines, then I'll make it clear: Marriage goes in cycles, and there are ways to make marriage better (and ways to make it worse). You may not have had the passion other marriages have. Got that. Someone else may not have the stability "other marriages have." Another person my not have the sex "other marriages have." God knows, there are lots of men who don't have the 120 pound wife "other marriages have." You get the idea. This is your marriage. It's unique to you. Moreover, you have made a decision to give of yourself to another person and make a new family. If it were easy, I'd be out of business as a marriage therapist.

Therapy may or may not be of help; most time it's overrated (see the second chapter of my "Happily Married Men" book). You seem like a smart committed man who knows the value of honor and your word. The passion that you and your woman are likely to grow together as you work this out may not be the stuff of fireworks on the fourth of july; but the intensity and breadth of emotion that you experience when you have been through trials with the same person can't be replaced by divorce, independence, or remarriage. Something tells me you'll find a way to make this marriage something special.


N.B. Comments by Dr. Haltzman are not intended as medical advice or treatment, but simply reflect an effort to foster discussion among the participants of this forum.
Scott Haltzman
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Re: Bedtime reading

Postby elizacol » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:53 am

Scott Haltzman wrote: but the intensity and breadth of emotion that you experience when you have been through trials with the same person can't be replaced by divorce, independence, or remarriage.

THAT is what I was trying to say, but just couldn't find the words.

THAT is where my husband and I are right now...."thanks" to what we went through.

Wow! Now I have the words to describe it! Thanks, Dr. Haltzman!!
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Postby ThunderHorse » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:15 am

Gypsytraveller wrote:In reply, I will say that my wife does not try to talk to me for 15 minutes a day, let alone 5.

She doesn't ask how my day was, doesn't have anything to share with me, and if I ask her how hers was, she's just give a polite, but neutral response. "It was alright I guess" etc...

She's not the typical wife who wants to blab your ear off...so any suggestions about "listening more" are not going to fit my situation.

Th LOVE DIET recommends contacting your woman 3 times a day, with nothing particular in mind. If you wife were talking to you for 15 minutes, then you have a good idea that you are using good listening strategies.

You can still invite her to talk, even if she does not usually want to talk. Offerring to listen may increase Love, even if talking is not there.

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Re: I think the end of my marriage is very near...Advice???

Postby mmaceia » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:54 pm

Hi, so you and your husband have been married for two month, and recently had a new baby. Since the baby was born your husband hasn't wanted to have sex with you, maybe once a week. You weren’t too sure if he had lost interest or not until he told you he wasn't attracted to you. Also you stated that you husband is a personal trainer and is overly critical of you.

There is a term called physical attractiveness stereotype my professor Dr.Misiurski quoted. "The presumption that physically attractive people possess other socially desirable traits as well; what is beautiful is good."

"We have a bias-toward assuming that others share our attitudes. We also tend to see those we like as being like us (Castelli and others 2009).
Getting to know someone discovering that the person is actually dissimilar- tends to decrease liking (Norton and others 2007).
In your case, communication with your husband is very important. Talking about both of your likes and dislike as a couple.
Also getting back to the thing that attracted you two to one another such as more time together, date nights once a week, maybe even working out together.

Marriage is a serious commitment your husband needs to know how you feel so you can together fix what wrong.
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