Talk About Marriage banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UPDATE: 14FEB2014 (Valentine's Day)
I posted this 16 months ago, and have updated this thread with a follow-up post, just FYI. I figured many people may pop in here and vent, then leave without providing any resolution / outcome. So, I decided to do just that.


**********
**********
**********
...what would you do?

I'm brand new here, and in need of help. We've been married for nearly 20 years now. I wrote this tonight in quiet desperation. I have not given it to her yet, thinking that it could just "be in my head" or that it could make things worse.

Please forgive the poor grammar. It went from my heart to the keyboard via my fingers. Editing isn't a priority at the moment.
=====

My heart aches. I mean it literally hurts, almost like it's trying to beat with an oppressive weight crushing down on my chest. It's even difficult for me to breathe. I am depressed and I just don't know what to do. I can't keep pushing it down into the back of my thoughts like I used to be able to do, when I could just ignore it or dilute it in a sea of other thoughts, hoping it would eventually drown forever. It hasn't. Instead, it is becoming more dominant, daily now, where it was once rare and random. I can't cope any longer. I know it must be me, at least that is what I demand myself to believe. If it's true, my heart would burst.

My marriage has slowly, steadily, drifted into a sterile, unfeeling, black space. My wife has become little more than an impersonal roommate. There is no tenderness. No love. Daily I sense that she wants to be somewhere else with someone else. She shares her thoughts, her desires, her dreams, with other(s), but not with me. She looks at me with a blankness, an emptiness. I watched this happen, almost in slow motion, in utter denial, over the last months and years. I feel like I am trapped in a dark cavern and I don't know how to get out. Any flames pointing to the way back long since extinguished, never to be reignited. Her familiarity with me has finally become contempt. I feel hopeless.

My crushed heart aches to feel again, to feel that she feels for me. Only for me. That she wants to pour out her heart and soul to no one else but me. The very same way I want to feel for her. Words can't fix this, while the loveless expression behind them belies the fact they are said only in the hope of pacifying... that this is "what he wants to hear" so I can get back to Facebook, or so I can talk to someone I'd rather talk to, someone to share my thoughts with.

I fear it is too late. Resuscitating our marriage would be like resuscitating a cremated cadaver. No body, or image of what once was remains.

This must be my fault. All my fault. Somehow I have poisoned you, your heart, and any love for me, outside of a general desire for the well-being of another person, has been extinguished. That deep love I once thought we had having long since evaporated. Instead, I feel like I am the one holding you back from being truly happy, fulfilled, out of some selfish desire to keep you near me, even though the tighter I squeeze the further you drift away.

Is there anything... any thing... I can do?

I am afraid this question comes far too late, but I just don't know what else to say. This may be the last time I can pour myself out to you... a thought that fills me with dread. Whatever comes of this, it is my prayer that you find the true happiness you are seeking and so richly deserve -- with or without me.

With all the love in my heavy heart,

Your husband.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,640 Posts
Biff: That's a very moving letter. You seem to be going through what I did sans the rampant deception. I hate to see you here at TAM, but given your situation, you've brought yourself to a lot of caring, empathetic friends here who have endured what you're now experiencing.

Do you two have kids together? I'd like to know a little bit more about you and your wife's marital history.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Biff: That's a very moving letter. You seem to be going through what I did sans the rampant deception.

Do you two have kids together? I'd like to know a little bit more about you and your wife's marital history.
We have no kids. We've both been completely faithful throughout our marriage. I have never touched another woman -- not once. I'm not a "sharer" and I'm not prone to exhibiting emotion, which is certainly part of the problem. This is the most emotional I've ever been, and it was a HUGE thing for me to join this forum and seek some advice before making such a move unilaterally.

The strange thing is, we don't fight. Neither of us are abusive. There is no trauma to be found. We are very cordial to one another. We talk some, but it is predominately superficial banter.

It feels like motion without life. Scripted. Artificial. We hug, but it feels lifeless as well. Kisses are devoid of passion.

I'll also add... she has grown very close to her sister's husband. He is over our house frequently, and they will walk together outside, like we used to do, and I know she shares openly with him. I try to reject any thoughts of impropriety, but they are becoming more difficult to discount. Their marriage seems very secure and affectionate, but the thought of my wife sharing deep things with any other man, regardless of familial relationship, is beginning to weigh on me. She spends hours each day on Facebook (I have refrained from joining, as I fear the addiction I see in her), which I think is perhaps a small part of our problem as well. It seems as though the computer / internet has become a surrogacy for emotional support I used to provide.

We are both retired (six years now), which I originally thought was a great thing. She retired on her 40th birthday (she's a year older than I). I was proud to be such a good, providing husband, and until last year everything seemed to be wonderful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,640 Posts
FB greatly contributed in helping to destroy my marriage as my STBXW hooked up with two men from her past, a HS boyfriend, and the best friend of her deceased husband.

Getting back to your situation though, do you think that your wife would consider trying marriage counseling before attempting to do anything rash?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,665 Posts
This letter makes me so sad. :( Has there been any discussion between you at all about maybe getting into counseling, or doing any self help like reading books like His Needs, Her Needs? It doesnt seem like there is any sharing or communication, and has been that way for quite a while. I can empathize from a previous relationship that was void of closeness as well. I hope you are able to move forward now that you are getting in touch with your own emotions, whether it is with her or without her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
IMHO it is not too late for you to try MC . Do you think she would be willing to go? Your letter is very moving with deep emotional feelings. I want to wish you good luck and don't give up yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
I think you should hold off on giving her that letter.

Maybe try some baby steps in rebuilding a bond.

Are you sure that you used to be close, or do you think it was always distant and unemotional?

Think of something you'd love if she did for you, and do it for her. Remember, you get what you give. If you want her to share more with you, share more with her.

Btw, that's a very beautifully written letter. I just think it might be too much for her, if you're going from void of emotion, to presenting her with that. Maybe save it for after you've taken some baby steps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
291 Posts
Here's the key: Male and Female relationships live and die by RESPECT before anything else (even love)

So, I'm sorry to say, I really don't think this letter will help you.

Even if she initially has some guilt and tries to be 'warmer', if it's coming from a place of guilt it won't last....

You haven't gone into great detail about the dynamics of your relationship, but I can tell you:

if the "undercurrent" in your relationship is very unbalanced, and one in which you alone have a great need and desire to be close to her...(whether you verbalize it or not)...that will be off-putting to her


A man has to have a bit of an edge, there has to be a sense of "hey...I could lose this guy"....for a woman to respect and be attracted to her husband

Her behavior with her brother-in-law reeks of disrespect...(both to you and potentially her sister)

And really, that you tolerate it, makes me question your self-respect

Anyway, I'm sorry for your situation, and I hope your wife is really
worth all this pain you feel (and that you're not staying in this relationship when something better could be out there for you)

Of course, that's your call entirely

Just know that, if you want your marriage and your wife to change

It's really all about winning her respect back (by not being her helpless puppy dog)...it's not about gaining her compassion or pity

Good Luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Has she mentioned anything in the past about needing more on the emotional side? How is the sex? That's usually a good gauge on how a woman is feeling emotionally.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,548 Posts
Not a woman, but I think your letter is absolutely full of your love for your wife.

Normally this would melt a wife/gf heart when she is attached to you unfortunately I think your wife is detached from you.
In her current situation I think this may make you look weak and needy in her eyes.

You need to look at the 'man up' section in the Mens clubhouse I think.
Begging and pleading with your wife is not going to work.

The way back to your wifes heart is by making your wife interested in you again. There are many self help books available.
Married Mans Sex Life and No More Mr Nice Guy come to mind. They may not be your cup of tea but they are worth looking at as they have helped some men regain the respect of their wives.

What do you think your wife sees in her brother in law?

Is he confident, outgoing, fit, works out at a gym.

If so you have your answer, that is what she wants from you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: northernlights

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
I can feel your pain. I am in a similar situation and know very well that literal feeling of my heart aching . This isn't your fault. It takes two people to make a relationship of any kind work. I would give the letter to her. If things are as bad as you think they are,the letter isn't going to one iota of difference. It almost seems to me that she has already left but for some reason she hasn't walked out the door. 20 years is a long tome and to watch it walk away would be painful...but you will survive. Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate all of the support. I'll address a few of the points and questions.

I won't give her the letter, yet.

1) My wife and I have always been very tactile people. We always held hands, gave back rubs, when we sit together she thrust her feet in front of my face and I rub them -- reflexively now ;-)

2) Our sex life has always been sporadic. We go in spurts where we'll have sex frequently, and then not for months. I have an insatiable labido, and I would like more and a much greater variety, but honestly I'm very capable of "handling" that myself and I've been there when she wants me, and don't force the issue when she doesn't. She was a virgin when we met/married, and has never viewed sex as important. It took me eight (8) years of prodding before she would try oral sex (though she is always willing to receive it, which I happily provide). She is not "adventurous," but I'm able to deal with that without much frustration.

3) I'm definitely not "clingy." If anything, she would have liked me to be more so. I've always felt that if someone doesn't want you the same way you want them, then it's foolish to maintain such a relationship -- hence the letter.

4) The "familiarity breeds contempt" portion of my letter addresses the respect issue. I'm not sure I've ever had her complete respect, and perhaps I've not completely respected her. I'll have to dig deeper into this, hopefully with her. I will often make decisions without consulting her which has, in the past, been a point of contention. This doesn't happen much any more, but there was a time I would come home with a new $80k car and not think to mention it until she noticed it in the driveway. Those days are past, but I'm sure I do other things along those lines.

We've been together for 23 years. We've traveled the world together, done everything together, never looked for fulfillment outside our marriage, gotten through tough times, and somehow it feels like it is (or has) just slipped away for no good reason. I certainly could and should have been more emotionally supportive in the past, even though I fear I entirely lack the tools necessary to provide that, I am willing to learn.

When her (our) brother-in-law comes over, often unannounced (or my wife knows, but doesn't mention it), she lights up. They talk, sometimes for hours, and I'm clearly persona non grata. The conversation becomes trivial when I'm within earshot. He's here 3-4 days a week, and they talk on Facebook. I didn't think anything of it until lately, as I trust my wife implicitly and my brother-in-law's marriage seems very solid -- though his wife travels frequently for work and is the main (only) breadwinner.

I guess I need to work on my communication skills and hope I can break her new dependency on other sources of emotional support.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,548 Posts
So what is it that she likes about the brother in law?

Have you spoken to the brother in law and your wife about their relationship?

You have big problems if your wife will not spend time with you and yet spends hours with BIL.

Imagine you are us and somebody writes in and says "my wife spends hours on facebook and talks for hours to my BIL but not to me"
Would you not be a little suspicious of something inappropriate?

I'm not saying that your wife is being unfaithful but does your wife ever go shopping or similar during the days that BIL is home?

You wouldn't be the first person to trust their spouse implicitly only to find later they are cheating?
Look through the Coping With Infidelity, there are dozens and dozens of examples.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
I would be very moved if I recieved a letter like that from hubby.

1) If i had given up hope that he had emotions for me, that would reassure me that there was still love in the marriage.
2) It would point out to me that I need to pay more attention to showing my feelings for my husband.
3) It would inspire me to have my husband get some emotional individual counseling, as well as us getting couple counseling.
4) If I truly did NOT feel anything for my husband, it would maybe prompt me to reveal that I did not feel that the marriage was going anywhere, and would prompt me to tell husband why I was spending so much time on facebook,etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
291 Posts
I appreciate all of the support. I'll address a few of the points and questions.

I won't give her the letter, yet.

1) My wife and I have always been very tactile people. We always held hands, gave back rubs, when we sit together she thrust her feet in front of my face and I rub them -- reflexively now ;-)

2) Our sex life has always been sporadic. We go in spurts where we'll have sex frequently, and then not for months. I have an insatiable labido, and I would like more and a much greater variety, but honestly I'm very capable of "handling" that myself and I've been there when she wants me, and don't force the issue when she doesn't. She was a virgin when we met/married, and has never viewed sex as important. It took me eight (8) years of prodding before she would try oral sex (though she is always willing to receive it, which I happily provide). She is not "adventurous," but I'm able to deal with that without much frustration.

3) I'm definitely not "clingy." If anything, she would have liked me to be more so. I've always felt that if someone doesn't want you the same way you want them, then it's foolish to maintain such a relationship -- hence the letter.

4) The "familiarity breeds contempt" portion of my letter addresses the respect issue. I'm not sure I've ever had her complete respect, and perhaps I've not completely respected her. I'll have to dig deeper into this, hopefully with her. I will often make decisions without consulting her which has, in the past, been a point of contention. This doesn't happen much any more, but there was a time I would come home with a new $80k car and not think to mention it until she noticed it in the driveway. Those days are past, but I'm sure I do other things along those lines.

We've been together for 23 years. We've traveled the world together, done everything together, never looked for fulfillment outside our marriage, gotten through tough times, and somehow it feels like it is (or has) just slipped away for no good reason. I certainly could and should have been more emotionally supportive in the past, even though I fear I entirely lack the tools necessary to provide that, I am willing to learn.

When her (our) brother-in-law comes over, often unannounced (or my wife knows, but doesn't mention it), she lights up. They talk, sometimes for hours, and I'm clearly persona non grata. The conversation becomes trivial when I'm within earshot. He's here 3-4 days a week, and they talk on Facebook. I didn't think anything of it until lately, as I trust my wife implicitly and my brother-in-law's marriage seems very solid -- though his wife travels frequently for work and is the main (only) breadwinner.

I guess I need to work on my communication skills and hope I can break her new dependency on other sources of emotional support.
Well from what you describe it doesn't sound like you've been her doormat (which is good).

Though...it kind of leaves me at a loss when trying to pinpoint some self-defeating behavior on your part to change

When you describe your marriage here... presumably, it's not anywhere close to this now right? (hence your letter)

So when did you two stop being affectionate companions?

Was it a slow drifting?

Or can you pin-point it to some event?

I'm assuming she's not having you rub her feet currently.

Honestly, from what you write, I don't see where a "loss of respect" would've happened...even the car thing...while that would certainly breed resentment, I really don't think, that sort of behavior in and of itself would've damaged her respect for you (unless, she sees you have an impulsive spender, bad with money or something)

And yet you say you wonder if you've ever had her complete respect?

I'm guessing there's a piece (and maybe many) to your story we're missing...

In any event, the BIL thing is a bad sign...and that does point towards a respect problem and maybe deep resentment too...(though those two are very frequently bound together)

IDK...maybe improving your communication with her and making a great effort to be her attentive, supportive husband will change everything for the better...though my instinct says there's probably something else here that would have to be improved upon too

Anyway, again I wish you luck, and please consider updating your story as it progresses...if your situation ends up deviating from the "norm"...I think this thread could prove valuable to others
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Well... if this doesn't beat all...

Yesterday, my wife begged me to tell her what was wrong, and begged me to work with her to fix it, told me how much she loves (only) me, and can't imagine being with anyone else. She apologized (many times) for sharing with others what she should have been sharing with me, but felt that I didn't want to hear it or wasn't interested, which hurt her.

I can certainly understand that, as I'm obtuse and unapproachable by nature. We talked, resumed physical intimacy, including the touching that had disappeared, and she looks at me like she used to (which is a HUGE deal to me). She didn't want me to let go of her.

I was dejected and have a naturally pessimistic side. She said she never thought in the slightest about being with anyone but me, and has no desire to share with anyone but me, but BIL has always been an over-the-top-sensitive-guy-meddler and he thrust himself into the position of surrogate support for estranged spouse. I like him, we get along, and I'm close to his wife (my wife's sister), but I don't butt in, and I don't give long hugs even to close friends (he has a thing for long hugs with female friends and spontaneous back rubs of same -- i.e. he has always been VERY "touchy"). When his wife privately says something negative about him to me I try to put a positive spin on it -- something like "that's every guy" -- as I try not to become a petri dish fostering negative thoughts or emotions.

Anyway, I feel precisely the opposite as I did when I wrote "the letter." It took a while to become that despondent, and I'm sure it will likewise take time (and effort) to recover, for the both of us, but we're confident we avoided a total derailment of our nuptial train. In fact, it seems I internally exaggerated the severity of the situation. I am greatly relieved, and hope this is just another one of those "tough times" we've been through that will only buttress our relationship against similar issues that may arise in the future.

Thanks for everyone's support. This seems to be a wonderful community that should be a requisite visit for every married couple.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
I retract my statement that she may have had one foot out the door. I am so very happy for you. I hope you both take the time to reacquaint yourselves so you don't feel like that again.

Cheers
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,548 Posts
Brilliant news Biff, just shows these things don't always follow the same script!

Any idea why she suddenly came out with this, just pure random chance maybe?

Or could she have logged on to this site and read about the way you feel?

It's really good to hear of a story ending happily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
You're right to be concerned, and I get the feeling you're a very intelligent guy.

The BIL (brother-in-law) sounds like he has a lot of time on his hands. You know what the good book says about idle time...so do beware.

The fact that she's clinging to him would perhaps indicate she needs more time and attention from you (since this is what he seems to be providing). How about thinking of a new hobby the two of you might share interest in, and learn it together, etc. Find ways and reasons to give her more of your time and interest.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about balance in relationships, and it's always good to try to meet in the middle. Move more toward the middle in the things that you think aren't balanced in the relationship.

From the sounds of it, you might have been inconsiderate of her in the past (buying the car without her knowledge). Find ways to be considerate, so it might ease any resentment she feels deep down.

Sorry, I hadn't read your last post before writing what I just wrote, so I'm editing to add more.

I'm glad the two of you talked and you're feeling better about things. I'm guessing some of the insecurity you were feeling comes from things you think you're neglecting in the marriage.

On the sex side, try to spice it up some. Months would be a long time to go without intimacy. Maybe visit the adult store together and buy a game and "toys", or just surprise her with something. I think you can even order things online if you aren't comfortable going to an adult store.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top