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Hello all,

I've been struggling with the question of the survival of my marriage for a while now, and have been reading the posts from this site and trying to correlate what happens with others to what I should do in my case. As usual, no two situations are identical, so I'd enjoy hearing from others about this one.

I'm 39, have been married for 16 years, three children (22 yr old in college from her previous relationship, a 16 and 12 year old), and up to this year have had a relatively stable life. Many ups and downs like most people, but stable. She's been a stay at home mother for the last 12 years, and I've been doing analyst-type work for the same company for about the same amount of time.

About 6 months ago, we moved from our home in the midwest to the west coast, and since then things have gone steadily downhill (although issues have existed since the beginning).

My wife has never been a 'good' communicator, but I've always been someone good enough to interpret her without the need for a lot of deep level discussions. She is immature on the practical, financial, emotional and responsibility side of things, and really always has been. When we were young, I chalked it up to her just being a free spirit and figured things would change as the children grew and life happened. As a mother, I used to internally consider her outstanding, which for better or worse made me overlook any other thing that might be wrong about us.

Now, the children are getting older, and she is still the same person (but with far less to do). She has few interests besides being an animal lover (and the love of spending time with our youngest child). She is not a person who takes accountability for her future or present, and I really don't know what do with her, or for her.

Where love is concerned, I do love her. I can't qualify or quantify that any better except to say that as the mother of my children, she's always going to have a place in my heart. That being said, there's no passion (mutually), or any desire to spend time together anymore. It's been gradually sliding that way for years now, and I can literally spend an entire day in the same house with her without speaking, as she wouldn't say a thing to me.

She and I have always been an odd couple where interests and hobbies go, but now our only common ground is our children, which I don't feel constitutes enough of a reason to be married. There's no infidelity on either side, just a gulf of distance between our perspectives, our hopes and our views of life.

We had an argument some weeks ago, and the next day I found her gone for the day, with a note left behind that said I should return to the midwest with our 16 year old son, and she'd stay out west with our 12 year old daughter. She's lost closeness with both of our older children as they've gotten older, and they usually look to me when they want to talk or need advice (or anything else). To me, it was just a flare up and I took it in stride as such. However, time has passed and thoughts linger. And one that I can't shake is: I care about this woman, definitely, but I don't feel capable of compensating or masking our differences anymore.

So the more I think about this marriage, the more I ask myself "What am I holding onto?". Aside from the kids, I don't have an answer anymore.

Counseling isn't an option for both of us as she won't discuss it. I've gone and discussed the issues deeply with a counselor, and they felt I was doing the right things, but without her participating couldn't offer a complete answer on what to do.

I apologize if any of this has come across as disjointed, or incomplete. I'm happy to answer any questions or cover any ground I might have missed, if anyone wants to know. If anyone has thoughts or opinions, I'd appreciate reading them.

Thanks,
J
 

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There was obviously a time where the two of you must have had things in common and emotionally connected. So what has changed?

I hope you don't take offense, but I think you could be facing a mid-life crisis beginning to surface. When my estranged husband was your age, he began to question our life together. Instead of turning to me, he turned to others. The distance grew. If you feel this way, remember to include your wife in you life. It's really a horrible experience watching a husband destroy and distance himself from a loving wife. I would have been there for my estranged husband no matter what. However, he excluded me from his life.
 

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The kids are grown, we haven't connected as a couple during that period and what do we do now syndrome. Or "The Empty Nest Syndrome." Google it.

Like Aug said, how about trying to connect again like you did once before. You might actually find out who she really is this time. You know this isn't all on her, it took two to get where you are. Drop the resentment and be the man she knew once. When was the last time you just tried to date her. It's a lot easier then divorce.
 
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