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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I have been married for 10 years, together for 17. I am 44 wife 39. 2 kids, 5 and 4. Great children, much loved. I feel my marriage is not going well, there have recently been discussions and one big argument about us splitting up, although neither one of us seems to want to follow through on that. My wife seems to put everything else before me. I totally expect that with the kids and to be honest I put my children before anything myself. However, we both have serious careers - lots of stress and for her fairly regular demands for evening work. In addition to that she has taken up with a sports club and does 2 evening sessions per week at that 6pm till 11pm. When she's not there she'll either be watching rubbish on telly like the X factor or texting people, face in phone. As for me I spend quite a few evenings on my own and am quite an insular person anyway, but evenings looking after the kids on my own are several per week.

No evidence of an affair on her part

Because we work in good jobs we have a reasonable level of financial well being thank goodness.

I don't drink, she drinks glasses of wine a few evenings per week on her own. I find myself irrationally resenting this, but I have a history of serious alcohol abuse in my immediate family and there have been a few incidents over the years where my wife has gone out for evenings and has come home in an awful state, sick and needing care all night.

Also our sex life is virtually non existent. I have kept in shape and I think at least some women still find me attractive. I have never been unfaithful or violent in the marriage, but I can be very awkward and a bit anti social with people when I cannot be bothered. That's a failing of mine.

When I try and discuss things with her it just gets immediately defensive, there is a wall of resistance and we get nowhere fast. She will become very angry and has on occasion acted very aggressively, but doesn't think her behaviour amounts to abuse. I'm not afraid of her physically.

I do some voluntary work for a few hours once a week and once a fortnight I go to a sports match for a few hours. I don't really have friends and regard my wife and family as my main focus, but I don't feel that the other half of the equation is present. I'm very lonely.

She accuses me of not doing as much as she does with the kids and it is true that she has more if the kids during the day and in the early evening before I get in from work, but I adore my children and I'm very participative as a dad. My children adore me.

I am not bone idle about the house, but we have a cleaner and we get the ironing done externally which I organise. I also deal with all the finances for the family. My wife talks in negatives about my contribution most times, and can be very nasty and unexpectedly confrontational / niggling with me.

So I feel very alone. I am worried that I am being unreasonable. I often express my dissatisfaction and that must be a pain for her, she has had very low self confidence since childhood.

I don't want to divorce as I love her, but my marriage really stinks just now. I know that if we parted I wouldn't be living with my children and that feels like something I could never opt to do.
 

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Sounds like both of you need to recommit to your marriage and prioritize it over the children. There is no scorecard in marriage - you don't contribute equally, but you *do* contribute differently.

If you cannot recommit to making your marriage the central part of your lives, what effect will there be on those children five, ten years from now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Recommitting would mean her giving up stuff in my opinion, making being home with me a priority and us doing stuff together. If I suggest this I am accused of being a resentful and unrealistic person who is making unreasonable demands. She is texting ladies in the club constantly and that spells out that her investment is a whole lot more than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Something doesn't seem to add up..Did anything happen to begin the discussions about splitting up; or has it been gradually building?
It's come up from time to time over the years in the guise of the "nuclear option". Neither of us has done anything serious to actually do it.

On the most recent occasion it was when she asked me why I appeared nervous with her behind me during an argument I said it was because I was half expecting her to hit me or something, and that I felt this way because she had done so before. She flew into a rage saying she wouldn't be called a domestic abuser etc. she said in the past when she has got physical in arguments it's because I drove her to it, I said where have we heard that excuse before in relation to domestic violence, which made things worse. Don't misinterpret, I know her anger problems are wrong but I am not vulnerable or in fear and I reluctantly accept that part of her nature, she's a fiery woman with fairly deep issues that predate me and probably relate to her parents who had a poor marriage.

I admit I was winding her up because at the time she was needling and getting at me for nothing and unjustly but I didn't expect the scale of reaction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No the sports thing is real as I know casually the women that she goes with and she wears a uniform to go emblazoned with the club name, often getting picked up by a female teammate.

Face in phone thing, texting sister, mother, sports friends.

You never can say 100% no affair, but I am 90% sure.
 

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Sounds like your frustration is mostly from the fact that you both (but her especially) have hardly any free time for each other. Maybe she's the type of person who enjoys keeping busy. It's also possible she could be spending so much time outside the house because she's trying to avoid more arguments. It is difficult to swallow for a woman to think that her man is afraid of her. I'm not condoning violence--she should not have hit you. However, if you choose to accept the violent or passionate streak , I'd suggest--not necessarily making light of it--but take the fact that it happened in stride. Maintain your confidence, if you get what I mean. If you start to act flinchy, she will be, for one, disgusted with herself and want to avoid you. And/or she may get even angrier, feeling like it's all your fault for not standing up for yourself. (So, the more you do for her, in her mind you may be doing it out of fear, or to make her out to be a battle-ax.) It's a no-win situation. Needless to say you don't want to escalate anything but my advice would be, if it genuinely doesn't intimidate you, keep your head up no matter what. Again I'm not condoning it..and not sure that really qualifies as advice..but just trying to give another perspective.
 

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I think she enjoys her busy life the way it is. Career, children, sports, friends, activities & when you try to bring up your unhappiness, it irritates her to the point of rage & talk of divorce.

You know she will not listen to your frustrations.

So what do you do? Suggest marriage counseling & if she refuses, go by yourself (I did) as a way to try something different.

Read books, read the threads here, keep trying.....
 

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She flew into a rage saying she wouldn't be called a domestic abuser etc. she said in the past when she has got physical in arguments it's because I drove her to it, ...

I admit I was winding her up because at the time she was needling and getting at me for nothing and unjustly but I didn't expect the scale of reaction.
I'm sorry, but if the roles were reversed and the MAN claimed he was "driven to it" and the WOMAN accepted blame for "winding him up" everybody would jump on that as classic "abuse".

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but it sounds to me as though you have gotten yourselves into a pattern in which she behaves without any regard to your feelings and you make excuses for it.

And for your wife, there is absolutely no logical reason to change this because things are working for her. She does what she wants, when she wants...everything else is taken care of.

Your wife does what she wants. Maybe it is time to figure out what YOU want...? And whether you wife is willing to want it with you?
 

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When she's not there she'll either be watching rubbish on telly like the X factor or texting people, face in phone.
This is more important than you, get it? She fell out of love with you. Happens all of the time. Start reading the General section. You'll understand. 180 for you. Read up on it. Ignore the part about them seeing a better you and coming along. It RARELY happens.

When are we going to start dealing with this problem in a controlled manner?
 

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Recommitting would mean her giving up stuff in my opinion, making being home with me a priority and us doing stuff together. If I suggest this I am accused of being a resentful and unrealistic person who is making unreasonable demands. She is texting ladies in the club constantly and that spells out that her investment is a whole lot more than that.
Well... YEAH!

And of course she will respond in a way that protects what she wants, which is what you don't want - the way things are right now.

Don't fall for it. But instead of using words to try persuading someone who won't listen, use your behaviors. Read the 180 as a good starting point for handling conflicts. You can search this site for a link to it.

It's important not to get sucked into criticism - don't take it and don't dish it, either. Blame will never improve a situation. One thing I've found helpful is learning to recognize blame and stop it from entering discussions. It's natural for people to turn to "but you did XYZ" when they feel defensive. By recognizing blame, it's easier to strip that defensiveness out of the relationship.

When I find it entering into a discussion, I usually will say something like, "Instead of blaming, let's focus on a solution" or "We clearly can't get to a solution because there's so much blame going on. It's not productive. I need time to figure out how to approach this without feeling blameful, so I'll talk more about it in the next day or two."
 
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