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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UPDATE May 4th: Wife has all but said she wants a divorce. I think the actual words are hard for her to say, but "I think this is what I need to do for myself." and "I think splitting up would be best for everyone." says enough. Since my original wording below, I have overcome the pure shock reaction and come to terms with what the future might look like. I am becoming less concerned with "why" and have turned my attention more toward "how", as in how can I best move forward. I appreciate everyone's discussion with me. You've all helped keep me grounded with your thoughts and experiences.

My spouse of 11 years dropped a huge bomb on me today with 4 words: "I'm not happy anymore."

After getting over the initial shock, we began to discuss.

First a little background. Married 11 years, together for about 15 in total. We share a home, two dogs, and two wonderful children. We have no money worries, lots of friends, and a great family support system.

Naturally the activity level in our lives has shifted from going whenever, and doing whatever WE wanted to going wherever, and doing whatever the KIDS want. We, as a family, have definitely become less spontaneous over the last few years.

While discussing specifics of my wife's unhappiness, she revealed this has been true for a little more than a year. She is happy to come home and see the kids, but just not happy to see me. She doesn't hate to see me, but just doesn't get any emotional rise about the thought of coming home to me.

We quickly discovered she really does not know why she is unhappy as of late. She admitted I am a great father, caring husband, and all around thoughtful provider but still does not know why she is unhappy with our marriage. Having known her for so long, I truly believe she is confused about her current feelings. She can't explain with any level of detail, but she just feels unhappy with our marriage. I asked if she feels generally unhappy or depressed, and her answer was "no".

She described how she was always hesitant to tell me for the kids' sake, and her fear that she cannot support herself financially (I make a little more than double what she does). While the former is admirable, the latter hurt very much as it made me feel used.

We ended our conversation with her saying she just needs time to think about it. Now here is where my concern comes in.

I still lover her very much, and care deeply for her. However, if she decides she wants to "stick it out", I'm not sure I can. I believe I will constantly be on guard for the next time she decides she is unhappy. Also, how can I ever be sure she's "actively involved" in the marriage again and not just sticking it out to avoid trouble supporting herself, financially? Even worse, how long until she finds someone else that can support her, and gives her the financial freedom to leave me?

I hate to have these dubious thoughts about her because she really is a kind, caring, and loving woman. I'm just not sure I can move forward without a constant guard up at all times.

So, I wonder. Is it possible to recover from a spouse telling you they are unhappy with your marriage? How does someone move on without constant nagging concern that the future will reveal the eventual fate of divorce?
 

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Well being honest in a marriage is a good thing. She is telling you, that's good. How old are both of you and have either of you seen an individual counselor?

Have either of you read any marriage books? Do you too still date? Find time to spend with each other and not just as mom and dad?

I don't know what's going on with her but she may feel like she has lost herself in this mommy / wife mode. She may feel like you are more like roommates than lovers or just parents. IN the past is there anything she has stated or asked that doesn't get done? Do you know what her love language is?
 

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Some people would stay in this marriage, others would not.

She admitted she's staying for the money, your money, basically. I would probably consider ending the marriage unless she showed initiative to show me she had solved her problem and she was excited to be married to me, for me.
 

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Well being honest in a marriage is a good thing. She is telling you, that's good. How old are both of you and have either of you seen an individual counselor?

Have either of you read any marriage books? Do you too still date? Find time to spend with each other and not just as mom and dad?

I don't know what's going on with her but she may feel like she has lost herself in this mommy / wife mode. She may feel like you are more like roommates than lovers or just parents. IN the past is there anything she has stated or asked that doesn't get done? Do you know what her love language is?
Thanks for your reply.

We are both 38 years old, and neither of us have seen a counselor. She dropped this surprise news on me just yesterday, so up until then I haven't felt the need for any counseling or book reading. There are no "typical" marriage stressors like money trouble, children with disability, and so on. I am completely blind sided by this, and thought we had a great thing going until about 24 hours ago.

Before the whole pandemic situation, my parents would take the kids 1-2 weekends per month (they love to spoil the kids lol). So, we've always had alone time but here is the twist on that... I would always have the attitude of "Let's get out and do something. We don't have the kids!" with her response typically being "But this is the perfect time to catch up on rest and relaxation!"

When she isn't at work, she's at home in the bed reading books. Combine that with anti-anxiety medication (the both of us) and the lack of motivation to take advantage of "no kid weekends" and that's where I get the idea she is generally unhappy/depressed.
 

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Some people would stay in this marriage, others would not.

She admitted she's staying for the money, your money, basically. I would probably consider ending the marriage unless she showed initiative to show me she had solved her problem and she was excited to be married to me, for me.
On face value yes.
But she is also right at the age 38 to 45 when women and men start to have a general malaise. They often times feel like something is wrong and direct that feeling at their spouse. It's called a mid-life crisis. Some spend tons of money and have affairs. She is expressing that she is unhappy. While you could say oh she is only staying for the money or even kids. Chances are more is going on. If you do love her and want to see if you two can work through this I'd suggest some of those marriage books. His needs her needs. 5 love languages. And most likely IC or MC. If you've been this happy for so long then isn't it worth trying to figure out what is going on? Of course the heavy lifting is on her side. Only she can figure out why she is unhappy and only she can fix that. But encouragement is always good.

But I can understand if you take it as some huge insult or whatever. In that case you should get out because you won't get over the resentment and even if she get over her current state you won't. On the face right now I don't think it is a marriage ending event yet. But resentment sure is a marriage ending feeling.

Balls in your court either commit to working with her and trying to understand where she is and why. Or just start over, there are always more women.
 

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Have you askedwhat would make you happy? we can't find happiness in others, we need to seek it in ourselves...so for her to tell you that she is unhappy to see you when you come home, she is telling you that she likes her kids,home and everything else but you...so what does she want? because she may find that seeing her kids 50% of the time, a smaller house or apartment will not make her happy either.
 

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Ouch. But yeah sad and true for us men.
Decide if you're committed to her or not.
If you are..... Make sure that you are happy and know exactly what you want.
And get her juices flowing. Listen and listen to her. Get her to talk and talk and talk. Tell me more about that. Is there anything else? How does that make you feel?
Plan some fun things.....and show her that you are happy and just fine.

'The 180' comes to mind. Take a look at it . Hmmm...I need to again as well.



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Have you askedwhat would make you happy? we can't find happiness in others, we need to seek it in ourselves...so for her to tell you that she is unhappy to see you when you come home, she is telling you that she likes her kids,home and everything else but you...so what does she want? because she may find that seeing her kids 50% of the time, a smaller house or apartment will not make her happy either.
That's the thing. She doesn't know. I've asked what would make her happy, even from the post-divorce perspective: "What happens after we are divorced? What steps do you take to find happiness?"

Her reply, just like replies to most other questions is "I don't know. I will have to figure that out. I just need to go with what my heart and head are telling me to do."
 

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Ouch. But yeah sad and true for us men.
Decide if you're committed to her or not.
If you are..... Make sure that you are happy and know exactly what you want.
And get her juices flowing. Listen and listen to her. Get her to talk and talk and talk. Tell me more about that. Is there anything else? How does that make you feel?
Plan some fun things.....and show her that you are happy and just fine.

'The 180' comes to mind. Take a look at it . Hmmm...I need to again as well.



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I wish I had the notice to do any of those things. As of yesterday things went from fine to "I'm not happy, and want a divorce." From my perspective it was literally the snap of a finger. She even admits she kept her feelings from me for a whole year while she tried to work on it. In my mind, leaving your spouse in the dark is not doing everything you can to work on it...
 

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Tell us something... Does she spend a lot of time on the phone?

How is your sex life?

Have you checked your phone bill, and see who she is calling.

She describes you are a really great friend, and not anything to do with romantic love? Did you even notice that?

I think you need to do some looking around...
 

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That's the thing. She doesn't know. I've asked what would make her happy, even from the post-divorce perspective: "What happens after we are divorced? What steps do you take to find happiness?"

Her reply, just like replies to most other questions is "I don't know. I will have to figure that out. I just need to go with what my heart and head are telling me to do."
I think that some of us are not wired to be "happy". I don't experience all that much happiness in life either, at least by the classic definition. Part of the challenge of being like that is to understand that constantly searching for happiness is just greener pasture thinking. The belief that there is happiness out there, if only I could find it, when the real "problem" is the expectation of some ethereal happiness that is not there for the finding, and a failure to recognize that contentment can be good enough.

Not being depressed, and not being unhappy, is a perfectly reasonable place to land most of the time. Happiness might just come in fleeting doses for some. That's OK, if that's how you're wired. It can take some time and introspection to realize this about yourself.
 

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So sorry man.

180 time.

Your demeanor now should be TOTALLY FINE. totally calm. Not one hint of neediness at all. You're a rock.

this is the best path I believe , for if you want her back or not.

No begging. You are totally fine. It'll be hard

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Tell us something... Does she spend a lot of time on the phone?

How is your sex life?

Have you checked your phone bill, and see who she is calling.

She describes you are a really great friend, and not anything to do with romantic love? Did you even notice that?

I think you need to do some looking around...
She spends a lot of time reading book, coincidentally on her phone. Sex has dwindled as we've gotten older and had children, but definitely still active.

I see now that she described me as a really great friend. But, remember until yesterday there was zero indication any of this was swirling in her head.

It seems like she has spent the last year making up her mind. So now I'm scrambling to figure out what steps I need to take next.
 

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I just looked back at that line that you said that she said...

I'll just go with what my heart and my head are telling me.

She's falling for the big lie of feminism. It's destroying nuclear families. It's so sad.

I don't think vows have anything that says I'll love you forever unless I'm not happy anymore....but that's what they believe and are told in every direction.

So sorry man. This is our world now Protect yourself!

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I think that some of us are not wired to be "happy". I don't experience all that much happiness in life either, at least by the classic definition. Part of the challenge of being like that is to understand that constantly searching for happiness is just greener pasture thinking. The belief that there is happiness out there, if only I could find it, when the real "problem" is the expectation of some ethereal happiness that is not there for the finding, and a failure to recognize that contentment can be good enough.

Not being depressed, and not being unhappy, is a perfectly reasonable place to land most of the time. Happiness might just come in fleeting doses for some. That's OK, if that's how you're wired. It can take some time and introspection to realize this about yourself.
We talked a lot about exactly that. I told her she can't compare our relationship/family to Facebook posts of perfection. I even used the "grass is greener on the other side" cliche.
 

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Been thru this - married 17 years and assumed everything was fine, then about a year and a half ago my wife hit me with the "I feel like we are roommates, not lovers." My first thought was to care to her needs and to seek counseling. We did that and it seemed as if things would / could be good again. Unfortunately, it popped back up in the fall, then again a few months ago. Bottom line - THERE IS NOTHING that you can do to change an unhappy person. Ultimately, they have to take steps (and stay committed) to finding and then helping themselves. Often times, the "mid life" crisis is disguised as depression - there is something that she is struggling with in her life (Different roles, reflection on dreams that haven't come true, etc) that she needs to deal with. If she understands this and wants to invest in working through these issues, you have a chance. If not, separation / divorce is inevitable. Even more, your life will likely become a roller coaster as she bounces back and forth between being happy and then miserable with her life.
 

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Been thru this - married 17 years and assumed everything was fine, then about a year and a half ago my wife hit me with the "I feel like we are roommates, not lovers." My first thought was to care to her needs and to seek counseling. We did that and it seemed as if things would / could be good again. Unfortunately, it popped back up in the fall, then again a few months ago. Bottom line - THERE IS NOTHING that you can do to change an unhappy person. Ultimately, they have to take steps (and stay committed) to finding and then helping themselves. Often times, the "mid life" crisis is disguised as depression - there is something that she is struggling with in her life (Different roles, reflection on dreams that haven't come true, etc) that she needs to deal with. If she understands this and wants to invest in working through these issues, you have a chance. If not, separation / divorce is inevitable. Even more, your life will likely become a roller coaster as she bounces back and forth between being happy and then miserable with her life.
Thanks for sharing your experience. What you describe is exactly what I want to avoid. I'm not sure I can ever truly trust that she won't become unhappy with the marriage again...even if she did move mountains to work on it. I think that is coming from the straight up shock and awe approach she took with this whole thing. No indication, then BAM a huge punch to the gut.
 

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You mention the medication.... They do have their purposes and help for a time until your brain is able to process some things.

Xanax is a soul destroyer.

Why are you on it and what do you need to work on? What would give you peace?

From many things I've read.....you have to go THROUGH the uncomfortable things. You gotta FEEL the FEELS.

With the caveat that they are some bad counselors out there,.... Look around and find a really good one that challenges you and feels safe . It's time to deal with it.

You cannot fight anxiety. You can't. The is difficult for men to realize because we 'fight' against threats and wild bears and lions .....this threat you have to sit beside it. Even hold it's hand. Fear is false evidence appearing real.

You got this!



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You mention the medication.... They do have their purposes and help for a time until your brain is able to process some things.

Xanax is a soul destroyer.

Why are you on it and what do you need to work on? What would give you peace?

From many things I've read.....you have to go THROUGH the uncomfortable things. You gotta FEEL the FEELS.

With the caveat that they are some bad counselors out there,.... Look around and find a really good one that challenges you and feels safe . It's time to deal with it.

You cannot fight anxiety. You can't. The is difficult for men to realize because we 'fight' against threats and wild bears and lions .....this threat you have to sit beside it. Even hold it's hand. Fear is false evidence appearing real.

You got this!



Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk
Thanks for the words of encouragement.

I'm on it because of sudden, unpredictable panic attacks. The condition runs in my Father's side of the family, and is obviously very dangerous in certain circumstances.

She's on a different one due to general anxiety disorder that was leading to outbursts at the kids.

We've both been on the lowest dose for 2 and half years or so and both agree they take care of our primary symptoms.
 
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