My hubby and I have been married for 30 years. We were college sweethearts and we have been together ever since. We got married when we were in our late twenties and had three children who are now adults. I am sure you hear about this a lot with couples who've been together for so long, but we have lost the magic in our marriage. I feel like we have a superficial relationship. I love my husband and he has been my best friend since we met, but things that have happened have caused me to resent him (even though I don't want to resent him). We are very busy people and we just don't have the time to invest to make the marriage outstanding. Conversations between us on the phone are no longer exciting. I actually answer the phone with "yea" instead of hello and excitement. I just feel like a "buddy" to him and I don't feel a strong connection like I used to. I would like to fix it because I'm just not the kind of person who likes to live superficially and just have a roommate type marriage. Don't get me wrong- I love to chill and watch movies every night, but I feel like there's nothing new to talk about and I feel like he feels the same way- he just doesn't admit it.
So how did we get here? Starting after the birth of our children, our intimate life was slightly less than it had been because we were tired. We had a lot of arguments about it, but we made it thru those times and came out better for it. We were even going to renew our wedding vows back about ten years ago. We discussed it briefly, and I actually saw on our computer where my hubby had left a window open with ideas pertaining to renewing wedding vows. I felt really loved and special when I saw it. However, sadly he never followed thru with it. A year went by and nothing. This made me feel very sad. I never said anything because I felt like there was a reason he never wanted to do it. So I didn't mention it. During this same time period, even though we were getting older and in our forties, his sex drive was off the charts and way higher than it had been. Even though we were intimate at least once or twice per week, it was never enough for him. The sex was robotic and felt like he was acting out a movie script and was emotionless. I became suspicious of this and started snooping. I found that he had a ritualistic porn schedule, along with video chatting (and possibly messaging escorts). This broke my heart. I never expected him to do this. It definitely was a 360 degree turn from what I thought would happen (vow renewal). He denied doing anything wrong, and I could never prove a thing except for the pornography. I full on resented my husband for doing this.
In the past when a male would stare at me or smile, I would turn away because I was embarrassed to receive male attention because by golly I was married and I wanted to do the right thing always. But because of my resentment, I began to notice feeling flattered if I received looks from other males during this time period. It made me feel special. I had a male friend from high school comment on my photos on a social message platform. We were never an item, but we were always flirty and interested in each other - it just never panned out because we dated other people back then. I was flattered by his messages. We started talking periodically. The conversation was intellectual and he actually seemed interested in talking to me. There was always something to talk about that was new and exciting. Of course I realize now that it would be because we hadn't talked in years. But at the time with the state of my marriage and what I had caught my husband doing, I did not feel bad for doing this. I knew I wouldn't take it any further than talking and it gave my ego the boost of self confidence I needed at the time. My husband was crushed that I was talking to him. I never lied- I told my husband who I was talking to and it made my husband cry. It was the first and only time I've ever seen my husband cry for me. The guy I was talking to was trying to get too close to me, and I stopped our conversations. He would have gone to the ends of the earth for me. I had not felt this since my husband and I met (when HE would have gone to the ends of the earth for me) and I loved that feeling. It was difficult to give that up, but I did because I wanted to remain in my marriage and I felt my husband and I were now even.
I don't think my husband thought we were even. In fact, he had some passive aggressiveness toward me for a couple of years after that. Then we got busy with life and just kept doing our thing. Sometimes the marriage would feel more genuine like he was really in love with me, and other times he felt aloof and compartmentalized. He just has never been able to fully open up to me on a deeper level. My male friend was able to talk to me in this manner just over the course of a few conversations like we had known each other forever. But my husband is very surface level. He doesn't have these type of conversations with me. I never know what he is thinking- he's very closed off and quiet most of the time.
The next year, my husband decided to change jobs. He just went into a new career all by himself- never even told me anything about what the career entailed, etc. He signed up for a boot camp and just took off for a week. That always felt weird to me. How could he not share that part of himself with me. He was like that. Very unusual. Of course he was wanting to continue having sex, but he couldn't spare me any intimacy whatsoever. His intimacy was very robotic and emotionless. He took a few months to get hired at a new company. We celebrated his new job. I was very happy for him as he wasn't happy with his previous position. About six months went by, and he became a totally different person. He was suddenly very rigid. very snobby, dressing extremely preppy, shaving his manhood, etc. I used to watch him get dressed every morning, and it would make me feel weird the way he would act. A couple of months went by, and I found out he had a close friendship with a woman colleague at work. There was a lot of texting, saving seats for each other at meetings, lunches together, coffee breaks together, walks together while at work. I was unaware of this until I found some evidence by accident and I can't say I was happy about it. I sort of felt like he started it the last time we had issues with the porn, video chats, etc. Now it was this. He would deny anything was going on. He would get very angry and treat me horribly. It would make my cry and make me sad. He even told me he needed to get me mentally evaluated for me being so jealous. It was unbelievable the way he treated me. The two of them even went on a company trip together (just the two of them) and dined together every night, stayed at the same hotel, etc. We almost divorced over this. I pretty much gave him an ultimatum. He even talked to a lawyer about a separation and inquired about an apartment. For some reason, about a month later she left the company and he seemed very happy the day she left. Then things between us became SUPER. We suddenly got along a lot better, he was hyper focused on me, I felt special again. We went thru a honeymoon phase for a couple of years. He even mentioned that's what it was and that it wouldn't last. I scoffed at the idea it wouldn't last, but wow he was right. It didn't.
He became irritated with how I slept (I'm a hot, restless sleeper). He wanted me to move into the guest bedroom. I cried when he asked me to. I really fought hard for us to stay in the same bed. It really hurt my feelings, but he told me he needed his sleep for work. So I moved into the guest room. I think that's when the physical intimacy (not sex) fell off a cliff. We used to fall asleep in each other's arms or holding hands (for a couple of years before I moved out of the room). I thought he enjoyed it and he seemed to sleep very well. But he pushed me away (in my mind). So I set up the guest room in the most beautiful colors with fabulous linens, beautiful art, etc. I got a dog and he sleeps with me every night. So I'm not alone.
Since then, he has made strong friendships with both male and female colleagues at work. He will go out of his way to do things for them. On company trips, he has the best times with them and seems to love to be with them. This stings when I see this because he has no enthusiasm when he's with me- he's always tired.
So this is where we currently stand in our marriage. We've both done some not so great things (I have never cheated- I can't say whether or not he did). I can feel good knowing that I didn't and that I never stepped out on my vows. It's a shame we never could renew our vows and experience a deeper relationship. I just feel like I can't fully give myself to him without having my heart broken. It's been broken so many times. I have forgiven him for things he did and hope he has forgiven me, but I feel like we will never ever get to that deeper level. He's just not going to do that with me. I sometimes wonder why he just doesn't go thru with the separation if that's what he really wants. He looks unhappy at times. He has had a lot of family issues and the loss of close family members, so maybe that is some of the issue but this doesn't bother him when he's with his work friends.
He just won't open up to me on the level I would like. Are other marriages like this? Especially ones that are 30 years long? Do you have issues like this and your marriage is complicated? Now I know why sometimes at 50 year anniversary parties- the couples look like they are in a daze. It brings up lots of emotions- good and bad. Life is complicated. People are complicated. It's hard being married. I feel bad at times like I should just shut up and enjoy it because it's normal with a marriage that has lasted this long. But I like to make things the best they can be. I've asked him to go to counseling but he refuses. Actually we tried it once (during his female colleague friendship issue) and he got so angry (or maybe ashamed) that he stormed out of the session and refused to go back.
I truly feel like he thinks of our marriage as "can't live with her, can't live without her'.