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It's so strange how an emotional feeling can manifest into a physical feeling, meaning I now feel a very distinct hole inside my chest/stomach area now that my wife has dropped this bomb that she wants a trial separation. Even though I have family to lean on, it’s not the same. All I want is my wife. I feel so alone, so empty, so sad.


THE BACK STORY

Last week, on Wednesday, after we had a mini-argument (nothing major, just an argument) she came right out and said it. “I want a separation.”

I was floored.
Like she ripped my heart out.
Didn’t see it coming at all.

We had a long, calm, talk that night after the kids were in bed and she said she’s not in love with me any more. She loves me like a friend. Now, I know what you’re thinking. She insists there is nobody else, and I believe her 100% because she has no time to be with anyone else, as she is a busy SAHM, she actually homeschools our kids (well, our oldest just started school that very same day, coincidentally). And, although this sounds cliché, she wouldn’t do that to me and the kids - we have 2 amazing kids, ages 10 and 7, and they have no clue what it happening right now. She says we don’t talk and we pretty much live separate lives anyway. When I’m home she’s away or busy, and vice versa. Lately she’s been joining things to stay active, like paddling, exercise classes, and hockey. All of which I fully support and encourage. But she still doesn’t feel in love with me anymore. She says I’m attractive (I work out regularly, 6‘ 200 lbs.), but I guess not to her.

Ripped my heart out and stomped on it.

So I said I would leave for a few weeks to let us both think (although I really didn’t want to go, and my kids don’t understand why “work” needed me so suddenly and I need to miss their first Taekwondo tournament - I never miss their events) as it was clear she wanted time apart from me. It’s been very hard. I’ve only been gone for one week now and it’s tearing me up inside. I feel so alone, so empty, so sad. Sleeping is hard, as I lie in bed with my iphone reading this forum almost nightly now.

I know she doesn’t want to hurt me, she’s just being honest. And I can’t get mad or fault her for how she feels or doesn’t feel. It just hurts so bad, I love her so much despite us being distant lately.

We met in high school but didn’t date then. I went away to university and when I came back home to our small town of about 10,000 we started dating. We were serious quickly and moved in together. We lived together for 3 years. We married at 22 and 24. We bought a house. We had our daughter 2 years after marriage. Then our son 3 years after our daughter. I thought we were the perfect little family. People often tell us we have the perfect family. I work from home a lot, less now than before, so we are all around at lot since she home schools the kids. My income comes from online software sales and online marketing. We’ve been married for 12 years, we are now 36 (me) and 34 (her) and our 2 amazingly wonderful and smart, kind, caring children are 10 and 7.


MY TAKE ON IT

Now that I’ve had time to think and reflect, I guess it’s been coming for months and I was just too ignorant to see it. I definitely see it now. She has been cold with me for months, even rude and mean sometimes, and I didn’t know why. Just figured she was in a bad mood or whatever and moved on. But now that I think about it more, we were just coasting in our marriage and I wasn’t trying. I was comfortable. Complacent.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading here and, although it’s only been a week apart and we aren’t even really separated yet, I wanted to try the 180 steps. But they are SO HARD! How can I appear indifferent and ok with this decision when I am not? How can I appear happy and outgoing in front of her when I am so sad and broken without her? I know she doesn’t like to see men cry and she needs me to be firm and confident, but all I want is to hold her and tell her how much I love her and want her back and will do anything to get back to where we once were.

She loved me once, she can love me again (I think).

But this apparent neediness will only drive her away, I think. It’s just so damned hard! I’m trying to tell her I am ok, just hanging out with my cousins, or whatever, but the truth is that I am soo sad and feel all alone. I am hours away from her now so she can be alone with the kids, so my life is totally weird right now sleeping alone on an uncomfortably lumpy futon, when just last week I was in my bed with my wife oblivious to all of this.

Maybe I’m just an idiot to have been so blind.

We spoke a couple of days ago and she says she is fine. She sounds content. Seems to love the fact that I’m gone (and this hurts a lot, because I don’t know why she wants to be away from me so bad…I am not abusive, mean, unhealthy, rude…I don’t get it). She says she doesn’t want to talk to anyone, family, friends, whatever…she just wants to be alone. She is fine. HOW CAN SHE BE FINE WHEN I AM DEVASTATED!! But I don’t say this to her. I stay calm. Then I ask her again if she has ANY feelings for me, and she says it’s the same, I am her best friend (I shouldn’t expect much change after just a few days apart, I guess). So I ask her how she would feel if I was with another woman. She asked if I was trying to make her jealous, and I said no, but wanted to know if she would feel jealous to see if she feels anything towards me. She said of course she would be jealous…so does that mean there IS something there still?

After reading the 180 list I’ve been trying to do all the things it says, however difficult, but the one I couldn’t do was not talking to family. I have told my family and her sister (her sister is close with her and I wanted some answers). Her sister is “on my side” although there aren’t really sides as this isn’t a her-vs.-me thing, it’s just her being honest and nobody can fault her for that.

Then her dad calls me (her sister told him although I asked her not to) and says he is sorry and that he will try to “straighten her out”. He means well and obviously doesn’t want to lose me as a son-in-law. I get along great with all of her family. Her dad even offered for me to move in with him and his wife (her parents split when she was a teenager).

And when I spoke with my wife the other day, she also said that maybe I could live with her dad for a while during this separation. Isn’t that weird??? She wants me to live with her father while she has our house with the kids and all the comforts, while I “suffer”.

THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND

1 - If I’m her best friend why does she want to jeopardize that?
2 - If she wants me to live with her dad while we separate I am clearly still very much in the picture. What does this mean?
3- She said she would be jealous if I was with another woman (which I don’t want at all), doesn’t that mean she still has romantic feelings for me somewhere inside?
4 - If she doesn’t want a life with me, the alternative is a life with another guy, eventually, but she won’t ever find a guy that will love her the way I do, support her the way I do, and treat her like I do (obviously been neglecting her emotionally the past several months, but still, I treat her very well). I support her 100% financially and in every other way I can…I help with chores, I take the kids to their activities, etc. Her dad even told her she will never find anyone better (she says she doesn’t want anyone else, she just doesn’t want me).

There is so much more I can write here, as I want to open up and pour my heart out. But I’ll leave it as is for now. If anyone out there can relate or has some advice I would really appreciate it. I am going to the gym now and hope later today someone out in cyberspace has thrown me a lifeline.

Like I said, my family has been great and supportive but I feel they still don’t understand how devastated I really am (some of them anyway). I’d love to hear from people who can relate.

Thank you for reading,

Sad and Alone

P.S. I was going to send her the following email, but am not sure if I should since it may go against the 180 principles. Should I send this to her or will it make me seem needy and push her away?

“I've been thinking a lot about us. And I am sorry. Marriages need to be worked on and I haven't been working. I've been coasting. I needed this time to truly see that.

I'm sorry I ignored your signs.
I'm sorry I don't focus on you more.
I'm sorry you've been unhappy for so long.
I'm sorry that you feel trapped in a loveless marriage.
I'm sorry we don't talk, really talk.
I'm sorry it took this long for me to realize all of this.

Most of all...

I'm sorry I took you for granted.

I promise to try harder, work at it more, be a better person, and do whatever is necessary to try to salvage this relationship and see if there is a chance for us to find happiness together again. I am not ready to throw in the towel and want to make this work for us and for our kids. I hope you'll give me another chance.”
 

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Hi, it's from my mobile so I can't comment much but the email might not be good..? Too much "I'm sorry" and it might confuse her even more?
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holeinside

I am sorry for what you are going through. I went through this 6 months ago. I will tell you one thing. I did send an email very similar to the one you are thinking about sending. I will tell you it got me no where except to feel more empty and alone. She would probably send you an email back with no substance and still leave you wondering. It is hard to feel like you do and have her act the way she is. I finally had to tell myself to stop trying to figure her out and work on myself. I am still in the process though. Sorry you are hurting so bad man.
 

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Last week, on Wednesday, after we had a mini-argument (nothing major, just an argument) she came right out and said it. “I want a separation.”

she said she’s not in love with me any more. She loves me like a friend. Now, I know what you’re thinking. She insists there is nobody else, and I believe her 100% because she has no time to be with anyone else, as she is a busy SAHM, she actually homeschools our kids (well, our oldest just started school that very same day, coincidentally).

She says we don’t talk and we pretty much live separate lives anyway. Doesn't it make you wonder WHO she's been talking to? When I’m home she’s away or busy, and vice versa. Yeah, this isn't a good way to maintain a marriage

Lately she’s been joining things to stay active, like paddling, exercise classes, and hockey. All of which I fully support and encourage. TIME OUT! Previously you said she was too busy at home! Seems to be plenty of time here for some extra-marital activities!

So I said I would leave for a few weeks to let us both think HUGE mistake! If she wanted to seperate, she should leave the marital home, not YOU!

I know she doesn’t want to hurt me, she’s just being honest. And I can’t get mad or fault her for how she feels or doesn’t feel. It just hurts so bad, I love her so much despite us being distant lately.

I work from home a lot, less now than before, so we are all around at lot since she home schools the kids. But you said when you were gone she was home and when you were home she was gone? Please clarify!

MY TAKE ON IT

I was comfortable. Complacent. I'm sorry but isn't part of being in a stable, long term commitment about being comfortable with each other? While i can see the complanency issue, isn't that an off-shoot of being comfortable?

We spoke a couple of days ago and she says she is fine. She sounds content. Seems to love the fact that I’m gone Yes, because now if there is another guy, she's frre to explore this relationship and decide who she really wants[/B
OP, while I realize that I could be wrong, she may in fact be moving on without you. I would recommend the following:

1 - Move back into the marital. tell her that if she still wants seperation, she can go stay with her dad, not YOU
2 - Start investigating quietly. Get a VAR and a keylogger and get into the home and install them both
3 - Get your hands on the cell phone bill and research it. If you've been reading in the CWI section you know what to look for

Again, I may be wrong but there's a few too many inconsistencies here that indicate otherwise.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you very much for the feedback, I really appreciate it. And like I said, I am 100% convinced there is nobody else. She is with my kids almost 24/7, the only time would be when they are in bed and she doesn't have anyone to watch while she goes out, and the people that would watch would not approve of it.

And while she is in these other activities there is nobody else, she is home immediately after and can't "talk" while circuit training, you know?

She is not having an affair. I am not being naive, I simply know this. We live in a small town and there is no way it wouldn't get back to me, and she can't/doesn't drive to the city. Let's take that possibility off the table please. And no, I won't go spying on her or anything like that. If I can't trust her there is no relationship, and I trust her 100%. She is my wife, I know her. She is just confused right now I think.

To clarify, yes, she is busy at home but she does have some downtime, of course. And it's when she is sitting there thinking that I can see, looking back, that she's not happy. She feels something is missing, I think. So she joined all these things recently, maybe thinking that would help, but apparently not. So here we are.

I agree that I should stay in the house and she should leave, but that won't go over well with her. But I guess this can't and shouldn't be a cakewalk for her (which so far it seems to be) and she should be the one to move out. She says she has nowhere to go and I said I can't solve her problems for her anymore if she wants out. She didn't like that. (But she can live with her mom or her dad, she just doesn't want to.)

I am going to stay away for a few more days, not because I want to but because I think she will be a bit more receptive to discussing reconciliation after some time apart.

Should I send her the "I'm sorry" email, or another more detailed email telling her my feelings? Or a letter, hand written? Or just talk to her when I get back? The 180 list doesn't really say you can't write a letter, but I wonder if this will appear "needy". Some already say I shouldn't, my mom says I should, so I don't know what to do (my mom is very smart and understanding and I trust her advice).

Thanks again for the advice everyone, I really truly appreciate it and it makes me feel a little less alone.
 

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holeinside

I am sorry for what you are going through. I went through this 6 months ago. I will tell you one thing. I did send an email very similar to the one you are thinking about sending. I will tell you it got me no where except to feel more empty and alone. She would probably send you an email back with no substance and still leave you wondering. It is hard to feel like you do and have her act the way she is. I finally had to tell myself to stop trying to figure her out and work on myself. I am still in the process though. Sorry you are hurting so bad man.
Striker, sorry to you too man for having to deal with this. It's crazy hard.

I'd love to hear more of your story if you feel like telling it. How did it work out for you? Did you follow the 180? Were/are your circumstances similar?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
One more thing to add. I'm going to go home on Monday I think and we'll talk then. I'm willing to try anything...counselling, date nights, taking up dancing, learning a musical instrument, anything she thinks will help her love me again. I think we got stuck in a rut, watching TV separately most nights, going to bed at different times, not doing anything just the two of us. Then she gets out and joins all these new things and I'm still the dude on the couch at home...same old same old. I'm thinking it's THAT guy she doesn't love. I'm active/busy during the day then watch TV after the kids are in bed (can't go out then anyway, the kids are in bed).

Maybe that's what I need to change. Make her love me again for the guy I am, not the dude on the couch that she sees me as.
 

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Thank you very much for the feedback, I really appreciate it. And like I said, I am 100% convinced there is nobody else. She is with my kids almost 24/7, the only time would be when they are in bed and she doesn't have anyone to watch while she goes out, and the people that would watch would not approve of it.I truly hope you are right but there's a sying here...."Trust but verify"

And while she is in these other activities there is nobody else, she is home immediately after and can't "talk" while circuit training, you know? But based on some of the other activities you mentioned, there would be time during, after and before. Also, correct me if I'm wrong but when you're circuit training, isn't there someone there to "spot" you? Sorry to be that negative voice in your head but someone has to raise this possibility. If you read more in CWI, you'll see many who came here just like you thinking "No Way!" only to be crushed

She is not having an affair. I am not being naive, I simply know this. We live in a small town and there is no way it wouldn't get back to me, and she can't/doesn't drive to the city. Let's take that possibility off the table please. And no, I won't go spying on her or anything like that. If I can't trust her there is no relationship, and I trust her 100%. She is my wife, I know her. She is just confused right now I think.

To clarify, yes, she is busy at home but she does have some downtime, of course. And it's when she is sitting there thinking that I can see, looking back, that she's not happy. She feels something is missing, I think. So she joined all these things recently, maybe thinking that would help, but apparently not. So here we are.

I agree that I should stay in the house and she should leave, but that won't go over well with her. So what? But I guess this can't and shouldn't be a cakewalk for her (which so far it seems to be) and she should be the one to move out. She says she has nowhere to go and I said I can't solve her problems for her anymore if she wants out. She didn't like that. (But she can live with her mom or her dad, she just doesn't want to.)

I am going to stay away for a few more days, not because I want to Then for the love of God, MOVE BACK IN! Do it THIS weekend! but because I think she will be a bit more receptive to discussing reconciliation after some time apart.

Should I send her the "I'm sorry" email, or another more detailed email telling her my feelings? Or a letter, hand written? Or just talk to her when I get back? The 180 list doesn't really say you can't write a letter, but I wonder if this will appear "needy". Some already say I shouldn't, my mom says I should, so I don't know what to do (my mom is very smart and understanding and I trust her advice). No! No! No!

Read up on how not to be a Beta guy. Be strong. Let her think you're looking to move on. She can come along for the ride or she can keep going her own way

I'm sorry but I think when you tell her you're moving back she's going to blow a fuse because you're going to be throwing a wrench in her plans.


Thanks again for the advice everyone, I really truly appreciate it and it makes me feel a little less alone.
 

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I'd like to read your story in some more detail at some time, but strike the kids and your situation seems a lot like mine. A few months ago the wife said "I want a divorce" and yes I was shaken out of my cold hard slumber too. But after the initial shock wore over, I too noticed that we had grown distant over time. And yes, I too wanted her back and wanted to make the relationship work, but by then it was too late. By the time she had told me she wanted a divorce she had already decided on it and there was nothing I could do to change her mind.

I went the initial 'needy' approach and trying to show affection and all the stuff that was missing, including sending heart fealt emails like that, and all I got was put down on and stuff. We went to counseling where I heard how definite she was in her feelings. Outsiders will think that my wife, like yours, is probably in the midst of an affair. Like you I don't really think that was the case (though she definitely started down that road for me...) I think she was more in love with the idea of someone who WASN'T me .. and no matter how much I changed I could never not be ME.

So in my case it was 14 years ago when we got married and at the core I'm still certain things that I was -- logical, good with money, etc. That also has some bad characteristics attached to it - not as emotional, no 'spark' that my wife was looking for. I could - and will - change somewhat to bring some passion into future relationships - but I would never be the guy she thinks she needs now.

That was the toughest thing for me to realize and accept, and reading other people's stories really helped me finally understand that if one party sees divorce as the only option, then it quite simply is the only option. There is nothing you can do to change it. I did implement the divorce 180 process about a month ago, but in my case it was when I was already at 95% sure about the divorce, so I had nothing to lose by trying it -- and unfortunately really nothing to gain in terms of keeping my marriage together.

So chin up, holeinside. I've been through it too buddy and it sucks a$$. But as you've found, there was definitely something missing BEFORE too, and now you too will have the opportunity to redefine it. I know the kids complicate things (I don't have kids) so I won't comment on that part, but I hope you will consider the divorce 180 because I think it will help work on YOU . And I hope that there's a chance for your marriage, but that may be out of your control, in which case, you can only control YOU.

PS, To add even more in common with your story, my wife lost about 90 lbs in weight and got really into myfitnesspal which I was not involved in. We also would watch TV at night but she would sit on a separate couch and play iPad all night. She also started hanging out more with her friends (which I supported) but less with me. There's always slight differences, but like you, I think we just fell out of love. Hard to start over at 36 (my exact age, too!) but not impossible. We will do better :)
 

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One final note -- about you feeling devastated and her feeling fine. That is EXACTLY what I heard. I would tell her I miss her (and I DID miss her) and stuff, and she would say 'I missed nothing' and go even further on how she doesn't miss XYZ or whatever. Don't take it personally. I hope I am wrong but if she has moved on (for whatever reason) then those feelings are not there. You have not moved on yet, so that's why it doubly hurts you.
 

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holeinside

I agree that you should move back in and she should leave if she wants to. Just like you I was willing to change almost anything and tried everyday for 6 months to get her back. Just like you my wife started getting into activities away from the house and built a separate life for herself. She also seems to be fine but I know she is not. What I realize now is that she never ever tried. It takes two. So hopefully you are not so far along that she does not want to figure this out. Good luck. If you want to know more about my story look in the life after divorce section under "don't know what to do" I got the bomb from her a week and two days ago. And yes I still love her dearly.
 

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Update:

My wife just called. I didn't send her the "I'm sorry" email, I haven't spoken to her in a few days actually. She said she's been thinking a lot about what I said last time and she agrees, that we should work on it and give it an honest try. We spoke from the heart and had a nice 45 min chat about all kinds of things, and she's already talking about Christmas...New Years...March break plans...getting a camper...wow!

She wants to try!! Yahooo!!!!

I was so excited I was smiling ear to ear, but just said, "Ok, good, sounds like we're on the same page then, because I've been doing a lot of thinking lately too." She wanted to know what I've been thinking about...sounds like she misses me, after only 1 week away.

I did the 180 steps, for the most part, and gave her space and tried to seem ok with the separation...and it actually friggin worked! I didn't beg, plead, profess my love, smother her, get angry with her, or anything like that. I gave her space and followed the 180.

That's all I wanted - just a chance to show I can change, we can change, to make a better life for us and our kids. I think this was the wakeup call I needed.

Interestingly, the hole in my chest now seems immediately filled in again. Maybe not entirely, but I feel a physical change for sure in my chest area. Feels so much better!!!

Thank you again, everyone that commented. This was a very hard time for me, even though it was just a week. Now that I have found this forum I am going to try to pay the kindness back with whatever advise I might be able to offer someone else caught in this same sticky situation. And Striker, I am sorry to hear things haven't improved for you. I'll head over later to check out that other post of yours. Chin up.
 

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Good luck OP. Take it slow and use a measured approach. No excess emotion (good or bad).

In your OP you mentioned that your wife has external activities/hobbies that she is engaging in while you are at home. First, did her moodiness appear shortly after she started up in these outside activities? Second, tell her she needs to pick one or 2 max so that you get the majority of her time when you are at home. My instincts tell me that she started connecting with some guy at one of these activities and she was getting her emotional needs met by him. Probably didn't go physical yet, but I'd be shocked if there isn't some sort of emotional affair buried in this.

Which goes back to trying to be more measured about this because I think you'll find it tougher than you realize - especially if there is another guy in the picture that your wife connects with in one of her external activities.
 

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The original story you told offers hope. Sounds like there is no affair. I rekon you are a good man you neglected his wife without being fully aware of it. She likely sent you signals for some time which you didnt pick up on of fully appreciate as serious. That I rekon is why she is hurting you now. So here is my take. There is little hope of an immediate reconciliation. She did not do this without taking it seriously and you expecting a sudden reverse would be further evidence of a lack of respect for her opinions. She suffered over time and now its your turn. There likely is very good medium to long term hope if you respect her wishes for now. Dont be a roll over either. Look after yourself and be nice to her. Let her know you still love her by your strength. Do not be needy. She needs to know you dont want this but are capable of going through with it. She also needs to believe that any changes would be long term and not a get her back trick. Focus on the kids. Its good you have a relationship with her family. It they didnt like you and she turned to them you would have big problems. Id say your position is a lot better than mine. I lost a lot a long time ago and am currently working very hard to get everything back. Id like your opinion on my story.
http://talkaboutmarriage.com/ladies-lounge/61513-need-woman-explain-me.html#post1233353
 

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So happy for you Holeinside!! Hope you both are willing to work on it and it will succeed. All the best to you!!

Just wanted to comment bobby5's comment that I totally agree that could be the case:
Sounds like there is no affair. I reckon you are a good man you neglected his wife without being fully aware of it. She likely sent you signals for some time which you didn't pick up on of fully appreciate as serious. That I reckon is why she is hurting you now.
This is exactly what's happening to me at the moment, from the wife's side of view. I have been trying and trying to start discussions which are always rejected with silence. So the hurt and anger inside only grows and grows and there's nothing really to do with it if the other person is not willing to hear you out, what ever the reason. It seems to me that it is very convenient not to listen and not to acknowledge that there might be a problem which needs taken care of or simply put needs both sides to sit down to discuss and make compromises and changes if needed. Now, this is my experience from my own life so far that men are usually very good with ignoring staff which would potentially mean changing the usual comfy life... (not always the case of course!!)
Alright. So now I have sick and tired of even trying to bring anything up because of these many many previous times without any changes. I try to shut my feelings inside me so I wouldn't get rejected and feel that I'm the only one who really cares about our relationship that much to understand that both sides should be happy. With that process I get more angry and hurt with the time but I try not to show it out, I withdraw, I try to find activities outside to keep my mind away from painful, I try to socialize with my friends more and less with my husband because with him it is very hard to act "like normal". And he is like blind!!! I can see that he understands there something wrong but he NEVER ASKS!! just to keep his comfy calm life uninterrupted. After some time perhaps I have managed to stop thinking sexually about him, then we will be just "friends" (NOT best friends because best friends talk and listen each other). Maybe one day I feel I'm ready to divorce and I'll let him know... I'm sure he will be very surprised then and ask why...

Just wanted to give you one story through wife's eyes that sometimes when men hear the word divorce then they think that woman has not tried etc. It could be the problem of not really listening and watching until it's too late. You can't imagine how deeply sad I am that I can't force my husband to really sit down and be present while we are talking and trying to resolve problems. When I finally say divorce then it's too late for him to wake up because I have taken it too far inside me and don't want to risk to get into that painful stage again.
 

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"she said she doesn't love me anymore. She loves me like a friend".. is equal to ILYBINILWY. You were lucky this time. Maybe she didn't find the grass greener in the other side. Toffel tried to advised you. Most of us men find hard to believe our wife are not being feithful and most of them end up divorced without knowing the whole truth. Good luck
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