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Greetings,

My wife and I are now 69 years old and been married since we were twenty.
She was my first serious girlfriend and we were both virgins.

I used to love and adore her more than anything.

My wife used to have a very violent temper. Once while under the effects of PMS she tore a cupboard door off its hinges and threw it at me.

Before retirement, I owned a small business and had a home office.

About twenty years ago, I was the executor of my father's estate. One day my wife appears at my inner office door and announced she was taking my inheritance and "hoped" it didn't cause a rift in our marriage as she deserved it. Well, it certainly did. I didn't say anything at the time, but for the rest of that summer, I couldn't decide whether to get a divorce or commit suicide. I am a master of passive/aggressive and try to avoid direct confrontation.

Since I had a home office, the idea of moving out and divorcing her seemed like a lot of work as I'd also have to move the office and all the inventory. It just seemed a lot easier to commit suicide. Of course being in deep depression didn't help either. I ended up not doing either, but instead made an appointment with a therapist we visited a few years prior.

She was verbally abusive and I came to the conclusion that due to the way she was treating me, she couldn't possibly love me because you don't treat people you love like that. So I fell out of love with her. The term I use is that she beat it out of me, even though it was just verbal.

It came out in counseling that I no longer loved her as I still believed she couldn't possibly love me. This of course concerned her very much. We made good progress in counseling and a few months later, she asked if I loved her again. I lied and said I did.

To her credit, she tried very hard to make things better, but to this day, I have no real feelings for her. I hate buying birthday/mother's day cards which spout love and devotion. I am the great pretender. Pretending to love her, pretending I care.

Even though she's been much better these past few years, I feel I'll never love or care for her again.

Each Spring, she'll go to Florida with her sisters and a few friends. This gives me two weeks of bachelorhood to enjoy life without her. A few years ago, I was at my brother's house during this time and my sister-in-law asked if I missed her. Without thinking, I replied, "No." That seemed to surprise everyone and I realized I had slipped up. I failed at being the great pretender. Which brings the question to mind, how long could she be gone before I would miss her? I know for certain two weeks isn't enough. Perhaps I'd never miss her.

She is an excellent caregiver. She tends to all my needs and keeps the house in good shape.

Our marriage has been much better the past few years, but the great tragedy is I'm in a loveless marriage and I don't think I ever find it again.
 

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Hello and welcome to TAM. I am sorry you found us because of your situation, but hope that you will be able to receive good advice from some of the more experienced members here.

For full disclosure, I'm much younger than you are and am single, so I can't claim to have experienced anything close to what you have, but I will say that your wife's behavior as described reminds me a lot of my mother. Her relationship with my dad is not ideal, to put it mildly.

I wish I had better advice for you, but will be rooting for you.
 

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It does sound like your marriage has been something of a rollercoaster.

You say that things have been much better for the last few years. So that's positive.

Do the two of you do spend much time together? If so, what do you do during these times? I'm asking because it sounds like there is very little connection between the two of you. And spending time together is the best way to rebuild that.

Do you have any children? You don't mention any.
 

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Thanks for coming to TAM. Sorry this is happening.

Marriages takes a lot of challenges over the years.

Verbal behaviour, passive aggressive stuff, unmet needs and unspoken ones, life circumstances, work and the addition of the major challenges of children plus our own medical needs, not to mention aging. It can wear a person out.

To answer your question, does it bother you that you dont miss her? I think it might, since you posted here.

Are you interested in rediscovering that love? Or are you “done” as far as the marriage is concerned?

Love can be resurrected in certain cases. Ive done it.

It doesnt change the history, but the key is to reinvent the relationship based on where you are right now.

Is that something that you are interested in doing? Or would you prefer to start over?
 

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Once, and then repeatedly burned, the fore love-skin loses its sensitivity.

Our minds take a set, as does concrete, any attempt at further smoothing cannot remove the old painful and flawed deep feelings.

Your rational mind refuses to comply with the reality of your situation. It know what it feels.

What you feel is real.

Once you fall out of love, getting it back, is likely impossible.

What made you initially fall in love with your wife was that chemistry, and that was overridden by all those years of incompatibility.

Age and passing years cannot knit that gaping wound that was made larger and more evident throughout in your marriage.

The dance that marriage partners perform can become that habitual lashing out at each other.

Each, steps on the others foot, as if on purpose.
Maybe so, maybe just done as some 'learned' reflex.

Now that you are retired, and, by choice, this closely spaced, this rift cannot be avoided.
Many older couples split at retirement.
Sad, this....

Our THRD is going through this ordeal, himself.
 

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Part of you knows that she has not really changed, just has.....gotten older and herself, more fearful.

She bends at last, at last is too late.
The harm has been done, and you are done.

You are vulnerable and wary, you know in your heart that she is no fool.
And that she is hoping that you remain one, that fool.

These thoughts are her easiest answer.
You represent the known, that tolerable man.
Without you, she would then be that singular woman, having no idealized purpose.
In her mind.

You can be that alone, man.
She cannot, she has self-identified as your partner and master.

Change is hard, hardest when old age is met.
 

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Old men are not sought, not allowed to be astronauts.

They are not allowed to jettison their homes in search of the stars.

Young men can do so as they are the adventurers, the old guys are just those addled, thought fools.
 

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Many people think very long marriages must be happy but they’re often not. Sometimes they’re just very long. People your age do get divorced in case that’s what you’re considering. Your wife likely doesn’t want a divorce so you would need to be prepared to be the bad guy to everyone you know. It takes a lot of strength to end a very long marriage. Few will understand except those who have gone through it. I hope you find happiness whatever choice you make.
 

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You are both nearly 70, you have been together for nearly 50 years. You say that things have improved, so could you just live as friends and companions now? I do believe that a large part of marriage is close friendship and companionship, especially as we age.

The alternative is to end the marriage, hurt a lot of people(especially if you have children and grandchildren), and potentially spend the rest of your life alone. Is that what you want?

Have you thought of some good marriage counselling together?

I do find that story of the inheritance totally bizarre, that you would rather end the marriage or kill yourself that actually TALK to her about it??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It does sound like your marriage has been something of a rollercoaster.

You say that things have been much better for the last few years. So that's positive.

Do the two of you do spend much time together? If so, what do you do during these times? I'm asking because it sounds like there is very little connection between the two of you. And spending time together is the best way to rebuild that.

Do you have any children? You don't mention any.
Even though we are retired, we still work a few days a week to keep busy. We do go out to eat quite often or go see the grand children on occasion. We have a son & daughter and five grandchildren
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It does sound like your marriage has been something of a rollercoaster.

You say that things have been much better for the last few years. So that's positive.

Do the two of you do spend much time together? If so, what do you do during these times? I'm asking because it sounds like there is very little connection between the two of you. And spending time together is the best way to rebuild that.

Do you have any children? You don't mention any.
Thanks for coming to TAM. Sorry this is happening.

Marriages takes a lot of challenges over the years.

Verbal behaviour, passive aggressive stuff, unmet needs and unspoken ones, life circumstances, work and the addition of the major challenges of children plus our own medical needs, not to mention aging. It can wear a person out.

To answer your question, does it bother you that you dont miss her? I think it might, since you posted here.

Are you interested in rediscovering that love? Or are you “done” as far as the marriage is concerned?

Love can be resurrected in certain cases. Ive done it.

It doesnt change the history, but the key is to reinvent the relationship based on where you are right now.

Is that something that you are interested in doing? Or would you prefer to start over?
I am currently seeing a counselor once a week. Not loving my wife is a frequent topic. I brought up not missing her as I assume I should miss her and wonder why I don't. Even if I don't love her, we have been together for a very long time and I wonder why there's no connection between us (from my end anyway).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What did she do with your inheritance? I'm guessing you didn't say anything when she made her announcement and just let her have it.
Most of the money went into improving the house. IE: we now have vinyl siding so it never has to be painted again. She didn't frivolously spend it on herself. My main issue is I was planning on paying off a lot of debt to make it easier to make ends meet each month. She did give me a couple of thousand to do with as I wanted, but I have no idea now how I spent it.

I didn't say anything as I learned long ago that if she doesn't get her way, she gets angry which leads to rage which leads to me having a very bad day. To make my life easier, I've taken the easy way out.

These are all issues in the past and we've both done counseling, so things are much better today.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Many people think very long marriages must be happy but they’re often not. Sometimes they’re just very long. People your age do get divorced in case that’s what you’re considering. Your wife likely doesn’t want a divorce so you would need to be prepared to be the bad guy to everyone you know. It takes a lot of strength to end a very long marriage. Few will understand except those who have gone through it. I hope you find happiness whatever choice you make.
Fantasizing about divorce is my go to spot when things are rough between us. Things aren't perfect now, but much much better. I just wish I had some feelings for her.
 

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I didn't say anything as I learned long ago that if she doesn't get her way, she gets angry which leads to rage which leads to me having a very bad day. To make my life easier, I've taken the easy way out.

These are all issues in the past and we've both done counseling, so things are much better today.
Yet you say you don't love her and it started when she took your inheritance.

In therapy do you talk about the trade-off for your conflict avoidance? To avoid having a bad day (maybe a bad week) you gave her your inheritance and it caused 20 years of lack of love (so far). That is not a good trade-off.

If you live 10-30+ more years, you will continue to live in a loveless marriage. Perhaps you need to begin speaking up, enduring a few days of her anger and then having a clean slate for the coming years.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You are both nearly 70, you have been together for nearly 50 years. You say that things have improved, so could you just live as friends and companions now? I do believe that a large part of marriage is close friendship and companionship, especially as we age.

The alternative is to end the marriage, hurt a lot of people(especially if you have children and grandchildren), and potentially spend the rest of your life alone. Is that what you want?

Have you thought of some good marriage counselling together?

I do find that story of the inheritance totally bizarre, that you would rather end the marriage or kill yourself that actually TALK to her about it??
Friends and companions sounds like a good description for my situation.

We've had many sessions of marriage counseling, which got us to where we are today. I'm in therapy now but not joint counselling. A few times in joint sessions, I was feeling pretty good and thought good progress had been made.... until we got into the car. She would verbally attack me and say if I really cared about her, I wouldn't say such bad things about her so that shows I don't care for her feelings. After that happened a few times, I stopped contributing to the sessions and just pretended all was okay. So now I'm just going solo which allows me to be completely honest and open and discuss the issues which are bothering me.

I've come up with a few sayings through the years to help put things in place. One saying is, "If it's not (wife's) idea, then it's a bad idea. Talking to her would only give her the opportunity to explain how she's right, I'm wrong and if I was only more obedient we wouldn't be having these issues. Near the end of our "bad" summer, I did sit down with her and put everything out there. After pouring my heart out, her response was, "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" I took that to mean it's all my fault for not bringing it up in a timely manner. It took quite a bit of time and sessions for her to consider that perhaps it was partly her fault and not just me being unruly.

In hindsight, I probably should have filed for divorce 5-10 years after we got married, but here we are almost 50 years later.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yet you say you don't love her and it started when she took your inheritance.

In therapy do you talk about the trade-off for your conflict avoidance? To avoid having a bad day (maybe a bad week) you gave her your inheritance and it caused 20 years of lack of love (so far). That is not a good trade-off.

If you live 10-30+ more years, you will continue to live in a loveless marriage. Perhaps you need to begin speaking up, enduring a few days of her anger and then having a clean slate for the coming years.
The breaking point was when we took my inheritance. Before that, she had to be in control of everything and call all the shots. I endured it though wasn't happy about the situation. For quite a few years she's been on medication that we call her "happy" pill. No idea what it is, but it works. She may still get angry, but I haven't seen her rage for a long time. One milestone was a few years ago when she got home in a bad mood and started raging on me. I told her I wasn't going to allow her to abuse me anymore (the look of shock on her face was priceless) and I left. I went to the local movie theater and watched a movie I had no interest in. My phone kept vibrating as she was constantly messaging me so I turned it off. After watching two movies I didn't care about, I went to the car and gave her a call. She asked me if I was sorry for making her worry so much. I said absolutely not. But that was the last time she raged on me as she now knows if it happens again, I won't be around to listen to her.

These issues are all issues in the past and things are pretty good now. I only wish I had some feelings for her and missed her when away. I may be in a loveless marriage, but at least I'm no longer being abused.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What did she do with your inheritance? I'm guessing you didn't say anything when she made her announcement and just let her have it.
Yes, that's true. If you've never been a victim of abuse, it's probably a tough thing to wrap your head around. Back then she was totally in charge and my main goal was to try to accommodate her as much as possible to reduce the chance of being verbally abused.

Thank goodness those days are long past and her behavior is completely different now.
 

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Yes, that's true. If you've never been a victim of abuse, it's probably a tough thing to wrap your head around. Back then she was totally in charge and my main goal was to try to accommodate her as much as possible to reduce the chance of being verbally abused.

Thank goodness those days are long past and her behavior is completely different now.
Sorry you put up with your abuser so long.

Your story makes more sense now.

You should just be truthful with her.

Maybe you can both work with whatever is left but you need some foundation to work with.

If she has two brain cells, she will know why you don't love her.

Regardless, don't let yourself be abused for one instant longer.
 
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