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Discussion Starter #1
Please bear with me. I am not good at these types of things. My wife and I have been married for just shy of 38 years. I am 66 and she is 62. We met in Japan while we were both in the Navy.

It has been a life of bliss, love and just a whole lot of fun. We retired when I was 37 and she was 33. We really, really retired. Was able to with my Navy retirement and rewards from my real estate purchases. We, then, travelled the world both inside and outside the United States. What a perfect time it has been.

We have two daughters that are presently 31. One gave birth to our first grandchild in 2016. Second grandchild two years later. I think I may have blown my relationship with my wife by concentrating so heavily on the first grandchild. I became addicted to the little girl and had her with me for 35-40 hours a week while her Mom worked.

Looking back, I believe that my attention and time spent with the grandchildren caused my wife to pursue other avenues of entertainment as I was taking care of the babies. Had I known, I would have put her first in every manner.

I was so blind with my grandchild that I did not become aware of my wife’s alcohol problem until a year ago. She, bravely, signed up for and completed an inpatient alcohol program. It has worked and she is alcohol free for the last year. But I believe that the damage was done.

Her days are spent working out, doing art, reading, listening to music and a whole bunch of things that are more solo. Her time for me is minimal now. Prior to this, we would spend 24/7 together. We are living in a big house and are now, basically, “together but separate.”

Life should be perfect but I miss my best friend, my soul mate and our talks. Now, we are mainly together when the grandchildren come visiting.

What can I do?

Please understand that I put this in this section because I trust women and would appreciate responses from a female’s view.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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My first question to you is why do you think you were ok with diverting so much attention from your wife.

You claim that prior to this you did everything together, so I would think you would've missed her early on if you guys were really that close. But according to you the loss wasn't felt on your end for several years and even then only after you realized she had an alcohol problem.

So how is it that she was your best friend that you did everything with and yet it was apparently not very hard for you to go without that connection?

It doesn't add up. I'll wait for your answer before I address anything else.
 

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The above post makes sense but also check your phone bill. See if she is calling or texting any numbers you are not familiar with.
 
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for questions. Will try my best to answer them as they are insightful.

It wasn’t okay to divert time away from her. It was stupid of me. We moved closer to the grandchildren so we could be involved but she was not interested in them as much as me.

I love children and was the main caretaker of our kids in most things as they were growing. I went crazy with our granddaughter and just did not see it. I would watch the first one from 8-4 most weekdays. My wife was involved very little and she busied herself with her pursuits. I cannot blame her.

As I look back, it is obvious to me that I had an addiction to my grandchildren. Granddaughter was born in 2016. Over the next three years, my wife never expressed any concern and would be with me 24/7 less the time that I was with the grandchildren. We travelled around the country four times and travelled to Thailand twice. It was only after she got admitted to the hospital for alcohol intoxication that it occurred to me that I was doing a total disservice to our relationship.

Now, we are only together WHEN we have the grandchildren over which is three to four days a week for about four hours. They are wonderful times and we talk lovingly together after they leave. Then, she heads to her room down the hall. We sleep separately until about 3:00 in the morning due to hot flashes. We wake up every morning together.

I guess that I did not miss her because, unlike now, she continued to be with me after the grandchildren left and we continued our great life. She never approached me about the time away and believed I was doing a good thing. As I look back, she hid her alcohol use well as she was the same loving person throughout.

I feel confused. Please ask more questions.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The above post makes sense but also check your phone bill. See if she is calling or texting any numbers you are not familiar with.
She rarely uses her phone and it is normally downstairs. She does not seem to hide it to keep me from finding anything. I cannot fathom anything like that as our sex life is absolutely great with her wanting two times a week and her indulging me almost daily.

But, I have read the shock many have written on this website about finding out about cheating.

I have also read on here that it would be a breach of privacy and lack of trust if I snooped. Not sure what to do in this area.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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So your wife developed her own interests, and she got treatment and is now sober.

What is it you want? For her to be there while you have the children and also when you don't? It seems unfair that you get to pursue your interests (the grandkids) but she can't pursue hers.

I'd bet she was lonely but didn't want to take away from the grandkids. What do you think your response would have been if she'd expressed that you were spending too much time with them?

Have you made any attempt to be part of her interests or expressed a desire to know more about them?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So your wife developed her own interests, and she got treatment and is now sober.

Yes.

What is it you want? For her to be there while you have the children and also when you don't? It seems unfair that you get to pursue your interests (the grandkids) but she can't pursue hers.

I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I want to feel good about her pursuits. I am scared because I have many hours a day alone and will need to seek out new pursuits. She gets jealous if I seek pursuits. I cannot comfortably leave the house as she gets concerned about what I am doing. Seems I can only be separate but together in the house


I'd bet she was lonely but didn't want to take away from the grandkids. What do you think your response would have been if she'd expressed that you were spending too much time with them?

I would have reversed course and paid for daycare for the kids. My wife is the only one that matters to me.

Have you made any attempt to be part of her interests or expressed a desire to know more about them?

Her pursuits are reading, listening to music, whirlpool bath, exercise and crochet. Recently, she added doing art. We walk together and went to the zoo recently. We used to love to watch tv together but now she falls asleep while watching.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I tried to answer the questions within the quote. Not sure that I did it right. Thanks again.
 

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No worries.

So have you talked with her about your alone time? Pointed out that while you'd prefer to spend that time with her, it seems reasonable that if she's going to do her thing you should be able to do yours?

If you were to pursue your own interests what would they be?

Have you brought up putting the kids in day care. If so what was her response? If not have you considered initiating that conversation? It's unfair to put that all on her so she's the bad guy, which is how that's going to be received.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No worries.

So have you talked with her about your alone time? Pointed out that while you'd prefer to spend that time with her, it seems reasonable that if she's going to do her thing you should be able to do yours?

Yes to both questions.

If you were to pursue your own interests what would they be?

No idea. Honestly, my wife has been my life.

Have you brought up putting the kids in day care. If so what was her response? If not have you considered initiating that conversation? It's unfair to put that all on her so she's the bad guy, which is how that's going to be received.

She loves being with me and the kids the little time we spend with them. We discussed how much time we would spend with them and I went with the 2-3 times a week that she recommended.

I guess other pursuits would be more time with the grandchildren. I cannot do that as it would put us back to where we were before.
I want my wife to be happy and will do anything to make that happened. I just do not know what to do
 

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You've mentioned a couple of times that you were "addicted" to your grandchild(ren). That's not a word many people use to describe their relationship with their kids or their grandkids. Can you tell more about that? Have you explored WHY you reacted that way to having grandchildren? Wanting to be their childcare for 35 to 40 hours a week is huge.
 

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What does your wife do to support her sobriety? Is she doing things to show you that she isn’t drinking anymore? If she hid it before how can you be sure she isn’t drinking now?

have you had a serious conversation with her telling her you need to prioritize being connected together? Have you planned outings in the past year together? Why not do that two times a week together?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You've mentioned a couple of times that you were "addicted" to your grandchild(ren). That's not a word many people use to describe their relationship with their kids or their grandkids. Can you tell more about that? Have you explored WHY you reacted that way to having grandchildren? Wanting to be their childcare for 35 to 40 hours a week is huge.
Thanks for your questions. Addicted is probably the wrong word. Just wanted to be with them as much as possible. The “WHY” is a very good question. We retired when our kids were two. My last year in the Navy was pretty easy and I was able to spend much more time with our kids than my wife. It was wonderful. I got out of the Navy a year before my wife so I had the kids while she finished her service. After we were both got out of the Navy, we had a live in Nanny as we lived life large. I spent more time and effort with the kids than my wife. Looking back not sure why.

Wow, that is a difficult question about WHY.
 

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I dont think at all that you were addicted to your grandchildren, I think you just loved them. Usually it would be both husband and wife who would look after grandchildren, but as you say you largely bought up your children as well, so clearly she isnt so interested in them.
It seems that you need to find some hobbies and interests for youself, but also to have a heart to heart talk about the time you spend together and apart. Hopefully you can come to a compromise. We have some friends who both have different things they do, but they always make sure that all weekends and one set day in the week is for them to do things together and I think that is a good plan.
I honestly dont think you were to blame for her drinking, it seems rather exteme tor someone to drink that much just because their spouse cares for the grandchildren while their parents work, many grandparents do this. Maybe if she had done it with you things would have been better.

I think that with you having retired so early(and the navy must give amazingly high pensions where you live!)you just felt lost and a bit useless needing something to do, hense your desire to have the grandchildren full time.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What does your wife do to support her sobriety? Is she doing things to show you that she isn’t drinking anymore? If she hid it before how can you be sure she isn’t drinking now?

have you had a serious conversation with her telling her you need to prioritize being connected together? Have you planned outings in the past year together? Why not do that two times a week together?
She does meetings and online stuff. We agreed to have a breathalyzer in the house to be used any time she leaves the house. She wanted to do this for her safety. Normally, she would just blow in my face to see if I could smell alcohol. Her vice was straight vodka and beer.

We have had many conversations about us. She says that she enjoys her private time. The other day she mentioned that four hours a day seems about right for us to be together. We do drives and other day trips routinely.

When we are together, it is wonderful. When I say that my wife is my life, I meant it to the extreme. That is probably not good.

Do I step back and support 100% her pursuits to my detriment? Do I demand that she prioritize us to her detriment? I just cannot say no to her and what she wants. Never have been able to say no.

In the Navy, I was an ego driven, type a personality. My wife changed me to serve her. I do not regret that and would like to do so for the rest of my life. I just do not know how.

This is really helping and my wife and I just discussed this thread. She wants to hear what you all have to say also.

Thanks so much.
 

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I'd explore the WHY of needing to be with your grandchild 40 hours a week. Until you figure that out, it might be hard to move forward. I'd think you need to figure it out so you can let your wife know something like that won't happen again, such a diversion from the couple that you were.
 

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She rarely uses her phone and it is normally downstairs. She does not seem to hide it to keep me from finding anything. I cannot fathom anything like that as our sex life is absolutely great with her wanting two times a week and her indulging me almost daily.

But, I have read the shock many have written on this website about finding out about cheating.

I have also read on here that it would be a breach of privacy and lack of trust if I snooped. Not sure what to do in this area.

Thanks for your thoughts.
I didn't say snoop I said check your phone bill which presumably have access too.

Besides all that why can you just talk to her, and tell her you miss her. Woo her like you did when you were dating? That should tell you very quickly if she is open to it.

I don't understand why this is so hard. Send her flowers that says you miss her. See what she says.
 
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I'd explore the WHY of needing to be with your grandchild 40 hours a week. Until you figure that out, it might be hard to move forward. I'd think you need to figure it out so you can let your wife know something like that won't happen again, such a diversion from the couple that you were.
I agree this is a lot of time with the grand kids. Where are the parents? I would be like, Mom or Dad, time to go home now these are my kids remember?

How much time do you want to spend with your wife? 4 hours a day seems reasonable to me.

When we are together, it is wonderful. When I say that my wife is my life, I meant it to the extreme. That is probably not good.
No it's not good and it may be a turn off. Ever hear the quote "absence makes the heart go fonder" there is truth in that. Women really don't like clingy men. It makes them seem weak, and women really really don't like weak men. It's very unattractive to them.


Maybe you need to get some friends and hobbies.
 
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She does meetings and online stuff.

......We have had many conversations about us. She says that she enjoys her private time. The other day she mentioned that four hours a day seems about right for us to be together. We do drives and other day trips routinely.

When we are together, it is wonderful. When I say that my wife is my life, I meant it to the extreme. That is probably not good.

Do I step back and support 100% her pursuits to my detriment? Do I demand that she prioritize us to her detriment? I just cannot say no to her and what she wants. Never have been able to say no........
A few thoughts.

Your wife struggled with and cured an addiction. That is huge. To accomplish this she had to emotionally grow, get focused and become stronger. Part of her process was to discover who she was and what she wanted to do with her life. She had to rely upon herself to do this. She is now a new and different woman.

Dr. David Schnarch would point out that in marriage we all grow and marure a different rates and this results in a constant push/pull and renegotiation of roles as the marriage matures. You need to accept this, forgive her and embrace the new dynamic in your relationship. I would suggest you read his book Intimacy and Desire and focus on the part where he discusses how some require their spouse to define themself.

I would also recommend that you read Glover's book, No More Mr. Nice Guy. Being a Nice Guy is his code words for being a man who is dependent on his wife for his happiness. One of Glovers recommendations is for you to get a life, or GAL. Again his code words for reinventing yourself to become a new and better you that is more confident and proud of who you are. Most men and women find confident non-clingy people sexy and interesting.

I was a nice guy for a while. I decided to change. Part of my GAL was to loose weight, get in shape, take up sports I gave up early in my marriage, dress better and communicate more clearly with my wife. I did some endurance running, took a first place in my age group, took up mountain climbing and hunting. It certainly changed the way my wife viewed me and forced us both to renegotiate roles in the push/pull of marriage. She has things she does, I have things I do, we have things we do together.

Now as to your grand daughter. I have to grandchildren. I understand your love. However avoid being used as free babysitting. Young working parents have a hard time finding and affording someone they can trust with their children. With Covid 19 home or on-line schooling this is a real thing right now. One of the thing my wife and I do is have special time with our grandchildren. i have volunteered too help teach certain subjects in their classes. My wife picks them up certain days a week and does things with them bringing them home by dinner and we also take them out for hikes to parks, etc. You can always include a child in an exercise routine (get a jogging stroller, a child carrier backpack, a bicycle with a child seat on the back, etc.).

Good luck

PS Ask her if there is a new hobby or old hobby the two of you might do together. My wife and I did 5K charity walks with an other couple for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Sokillme,

Appreciate all you thoughts and will definitely be thinking about them overnight. Not sure about “absence makes the heart grow fonder” as I met my present wife in Japan way back in 1982 while I was married to my first wife of five years. Basically, I went to sea onboard my ship home ported in Japan and my first wife played with my best friend. But, I do understand the quote.

Both parents were working at the time but my daughter now stays home. We take the kids because we love them and want to see them but to also give Mom and Dad a break from them. 24/7 with a four and two year old can be challenging. Especially with Covid and so much closed in California

“How much time do you want to spend with your wife? 4 hours a day seems reasonable to me.”

I am surprised that four hours would seem reasonable in these circumstances. My desire would be to be with her for twice that amount. We get up at 6:00 a.m. 14 hours until she heads down the hall where she would have until 3:00 a.m. of her own time. Seems reasonable to me that four hours with the kids, eight hours with me and two hours of her personal time. On days with no kids, she has an extra four hours. Plus she has from 8-3:00 a.m. to herself.

What do you all think?

Trying to find friends or outside interest in Southern California during the pandemic and fires is very difficult. Outside hobbies are also few.

Thanks.
 
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