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I can't take much more of the pain and rejection. I feel like I'm exploding on the inside. I can't think straight, my work is suffering, my body hurts, I can't eat, and my mind is racing all the time. I can't sleep.

The short story is that my wife (37yo, married for 11 years) told me after several years of being emotionally neglected by me, she no longer feels like she wants to be with me. We still "love" each other and treat each other with respect, but the spark is completely gone from her eye. She even backs up when I try to get within a few feet. Is her emotions being channeled to others, possibly another guy? I am pretty sure the answer is yes but only because she was so unhappy at home. I don't think it is physical but she is on her phone emailing alot. We grew so far apart that I forced her to never be home, while I stayed home with the 2 kids and did all of the domestic duties. It has created alot of anger and pain and feelings of neglect for both of us.

We went through marriage counseling for several months this summer to try to work it out. We stayed together at the house but things never healed between us. We did spend alot more time together (she was home every night), and went out to eat alot together (almost every day), and had a great time (and spent alot of money). We laughed alot, talked alot, and cried alot. But through all of this, the emotional distance is still there between us. She doesn't seem interested in affection, hugging, holding hands, or any of that type of stuff at all. It feels like we are roomates who sleep in the same bed. Except the underlying stress is eating both of us from the inside out.

Two weeks ago, we decided I would move out to see if things will change for us. Everything is very amicable and the children are well cared for. They come first. We take turns staying at the house on the weekends and we each have 2 weeknights with the kids. That part is working good so far.

But the stress I am feeling everyday is destroying me inside. I don't know how she feels but I did not think it is nearly as bad as me. She has a strong network of friends to lean on. I don't. I don't think her feelings will change during this time apart (how can they?) and I am preparing myself mentally for a divorce.

I'm limiting my texting to just things related to the kids and we have spoken/seen each other only once. I read lot about the 180 on this forum, but I can't find out what that is exactly. Does anybody have a link to what the 180 is exactly?

My main questions are: Is there anything that I can do to win her back and how long does the pain of divorce last?

I know these are not easy questions to answer decisively, but I am out of options to make myself feel better. I hope that writing on this forum will help in some way.

Thank you for any response.
 

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Hi there,

I am just new to the forum and new to marriage in general actually. I hope I can give you some helpful guidance.

Let me start by asking a few questions,
1. Has your wife ever been particularly expressive with her affection?
2. You mentioned your wife may be looking for emotional support elsewhere, do either you or your wife have difficulties with communication?
3. You have been married 11 years, that in my eyes is a remarkable achievement, how many years would you say have been especially difficult?

I am no expert by any means, I am going through a tough time with my own marriage, but I would suggest a bit of introspection, look inside yourself. women tend to appreciate little gestures that don't cost money, examples could be as simple as finding similar interests, complimenting her appearance/ express how much you respect her / value her, listen to what she has to say and try to remain kind and suggest achievable goals. Also I would suggest you both to read (online or books) on how to help reignite the spark between you both.

If the above prove fruitless you should consider taking a break, not a separation as such, set boundaries.. No seeing other people etc. maybe (if you can afford it) give your wife some free thinking time to go abroad for a couple of weeks or even somewhere quiet nearby, a cottage or somewhere when she (and you) can have a bit of thinking space.

Best wishes
 

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After re-reading your post I thought I'd add some things.

You stated that you emotionally neglected your wife for several years, or at least she believed you to do so,

She first step I would take would be to apologise profusely, you probably already have but over the years lack of empathy and being emotionally unavailale has most likely desensitised her to emotional involvement with you.

In the occasions that you meet each other, make an effort to ask how her day has been, you could maybe text her now and again asking 'advise' on something that you know she has knowledge of, which will make her feel needed without making things uncomfortable.

All the best
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi seeking solace, thanks for the reply.

To answer your questions:
1. She use to be very expressive years ago. Overly expressive and that I think is where our problem started. Because I would only hug her for 5 seconds instead of 10, as an example. She has a very sorted history and I feel her emotional needs from being a child are still unfulfilled. Just a feeling, I'm not any sort of psychologist. But that is what started her feeling rejected by me. Several times a day, little things, year after year she kept feeling rejected by me. And she tells me she often felt as though I didn't like her as a person.

2. We have had problems with communication for the past 5 years. It got worse as time went on. The crappy part is that we communicate now better than we ever have EVER. What is interesting is that I may say something completely benign and she will hear it with an attitude or hear something in my voice that I think is not there. Again, that exchange puts her on the defense. And when that happens day after days for 3 or 4 years, the wall between us gets bigger, and emotionally she shuts off to protect herself.

3. When we hit our seven year reunion, I could feel that we weren't the same lovey couple. But things were still very respectful between us. Just slowly over time they degraded. So slow that I didn't even see it happening until it was too late.

I tried the doing little things for her, and apologizing, and changing, but the pain to her is so deep it only causes her more stress. That is why we are separated at the moment but we still take turns in the house with the children. I think (and hope) she just needs a break from me. She has ADHD and has trouble thinking clearly about things. Having me around was making too much noise in her brain for her to think clearly. At least that is my opinion. I am hoping that with me leaving, the noise will be reduced to a point where she can have some clarity about our relationship, our family, and what she wants going forward.

I believe (maybe foolishly) that she still loves me more than anyone she may be speaking with online or has a new emotional connection with. I may or may not be wrong, but I think that she use to love me more than anything. I can't believe those feelings are gone forever.

Believe me when I say I have apologized profusely. Probably too much.

I am trying to keep my distance so that she (and I) can get some perspective about our lives. Because during the last few years while our relationship was degrading, our personal lives were also degrading. So we hope to take this time, however long it may be, and work on ourselves individually to make us better people.

I did speak with her last night (because I got a disturbing phone call from my daughter's teacher) and the conversation was awesome. It gave me an emotional boost like I couldn't believe. But it was short lived, and nothing has changed at this point.

I am reading a book called the Divorce Remedy. Just started it and I hope it helps. I have found that reading is a great way to divert my mind from thinking about her and the possibility of losing her and my family.
 

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Sometimes the damage of things can be repaired, and sometimes the damage is just done and can't be repaired. Your wife seems like maybe the damage has been done, period.
 

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OutofEnergy,
I am sorry that you are going through this painful time.

You asked what is the 180 - this website should help to clarify what it means:
The Healing Heart: The 180

It is a way of distancing yourself from your spouse. It helps you take care of yourself -- instead of your focus being on your spouse.

Good luck,
--dontpanic
 
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