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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To keep a long story short, I'll provide some key points in summary:
- I'm male.
- Had a brief affair that was discovered about a year ago.
- Affair ended immediately after discovery.
- I attended individual counseling before discovery of the affair, and it continues today.
- We attended marriage counseling, and the guy was awful, we left.
- I lost the passion for my wife, even though I tried to regain it.

Marriage counseling didn't work because the guy was awful. So we tried on our own due to my wife's restrictive time schedule. It's not working for me. She wants to act as if everything is as it was. I lost the passion for my wife long before the affair, but accepted my situation and continued with life. Ended being attracted to an old friend, and had an affair.

My wife loves me, and does not want to see me go. We haven't talked about separation or anything along those lines for several months due to a severe health issue on my part that lasted a few weeks. Oddly, I got real sick the day I was supposed to move out. She cared for me the entire time. My wife is a perfect wife. I'm not a perfect husband, especially since I'm no longer in love with her and I had an affair. Other than that, I've done everything good that a good husband should do.

I want to move on, and discover more about me (I have lots of mental baggage after 50+ years - I do not love myself and never have). I also want her to be happy. The two desires are in conflict. I've called myself selfish for wanting to focus upon me truly being happy, and no longer having the fake smile painted on the face of a constantly depressed person.

Knowing that I would cause my wife pain again to discuss separation/divorce drives me back into depression. When I think about being on my own, facing my fears, and learning to love myself, I get excited. Can I do all of what I mentioned (less the being on my own) with her? Honestly, no. I would divide my focus, and put the needs of others first no matter how long the list of those who need was. I refuse to do that.

I'm not young, and I'd like to truly smile inside before I die.

Any advice on how to speak with my wife about my needs?

Please don't call me selfish since I've always put the needs of everyone else before mine. I like helping, and always will. But now I have to give to me for once while I have a little time left.
 

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I assume kids -- if any -- are out of the house?

Will leaving your wife put her in a financially devastating position? Will it put you in a financially devastating position? For example, suppose you were to go and find a place to rent for 3 months -- would you be able to swing that financially?

If no kids in house and you can swing the $$, I guess I would advise you to:
Line up a place to live for a 3 month stint. Take the next few weeks (through Xmax) and spend that time making sure that the household bills, etc will get payed.
Then tell your wife that you need to physically separate from her in order to get to know yourself. Tell her that you have allowed yourself 3 months and at the end of that time you will either recommit to going to MC with her (with a new counselor) or file for divorce. Tell her that you realize that if she needs to move forward and not wait for you to try to sort things out, you will accept that.

I'm coming at this from the perspective of wanting you to be fair both to your wife and to yourself. You will devastate your wife by leaving and, if you adopt my plan, you may be stringing her along with false hope. But, she has shown herself willing to try to work on your marriage and very reasonable (took you back after affair) so she is likely to agree. I think right now you may be pinning a lot of your unhappiness on your wife -- and I say that even with the fact that you seem aware of your baggage and you are in IC. But when you say that you feel no passion for you wife, what it really sounds like to me is that you feel no passion for LIFE and for YOURSELF. Yes, you can get a short lived sense of that passion by having an affair - but that's not a good long term solution. You can also get that passion back by figuring out who you really are. The new you may be compatible with your wife, or may not. But what you're doing right now isn't working.

As far as conversation -- there isn't a good way to have this talk. But your wife MUST be aware that you are still thinking of leaving. She is probably still acting like a perfect wife through a combination of 1) trying to make you happy so you don't walk out the door and 2) genuine affection (& love) for you accumulated through years of marriage. Be up front with her in the conversation and tell her that you know that this isn't what she wants. Tell her that you know that you are treating her abominably. Tell her though that the only chance you see to make both of you happy is to have her let go of you, and you of her, and see if you can do the self searching necessary to either recommit or not.

Finally, be prepared to answer her questions about mechanics -- where will you live, how long, will you be dating anyone else, will you be dating her, etc.

It'll be awful for you and much much worse for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your sound advice and comments.

All kids are adults and out of the house. Both of us will be fine financially, that's the way I planned it regardless of which one of should happen to die, get sick, or other. So that should carry over to this situation, I would think.

I'm not pinning my unhappiness on her. But I can see how I gave that perspective. It's on having obligations when I need me exclusively. Perhaps I need to review this view in my mind.

The last plan we had to separate included us having a regular date together. That never happened due to my illness, and as a result I never left. We had an agreement not to date others at the same time. The time was 2 months, and then re-evaluate where we are at. I was to live with a sibling nearby.

There is no win/win and I know it. But I have to do something, or I will come up with some reason to blame her for my unhappiness since I never discussed it with her. Then we could end up in a real ugly divorce for sure. I don't want that to happen to either of us.

Thanks again!
 

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2o2l: I think Couleur outlined a pretty good plan.
 

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Is the lack of passion the only (or main) reason you want to leave? If so, it's possible to get that back.....
If you decide that you really don't want to be in the marriage then you can do everything you can to help your wife get through the separation - but you can't take responsibility for her.
Unfortunately, the weaker the person, the more they rely on a stronger person to deal with their issues - issues they should really deal with themselves. You are not going to be helping your wife by allowing her to control you by making you feel bad. It is her life and her responsibility. She may resent you for it, but by refusing to take responsibility for the way she feels you are doing her a favour. Besides it's your life and you have your first responsibility to yourself.
 

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2o2l:
I think a separation is in order. You may just decide you want to stay with her. Always the chance she could find someone else, too. Life takes some strange turns.
 

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I think its a bit harsh to say the wife is responsible for her life. I am younger than the poster but I believe people of a certain age having been together for so long are effectively each others lives. Advising him that she is the weaker one is a bit much. He is her life and removing him from her is like removing a kidney. Survivable but extreemly traumatic. Noone is weak for being devestated by loosing someone they love. Also there is a distinct difference between using guit and telling the truth about the devestation the breakup or possible breakup causes you.
 

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What are the major problems in your marriage? Your post makes it sound like the only issue is that you are not happy.

How many hours a week do you and your wife spend doing date-like things, just the two of you? I don't mean just dates like a dinner date, but also things are are just the two of you focusing on each other.. maybe a walk and holding hands; talking about things that interest the two of you?
 
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