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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.

I'll be brief. Please do not read between the lines. I met my wife when I was 20 and she was 12. Nothing weird went on. Her Dad was a religious zealot and only later diagnosed bipolar schizophrenic. Although she felt that "God had told her" that I was to be her husband, come on she was only 12. Nonetheless, her dad told her at 16 that either she marry me or live in the house as his second wife. It was already hell-on-earth for her, so I took my bride at a month shy of 17. Truly, I was a gentle and kind man of 25 at the time we married.

We have three children (23, 20, 18). This year we will celebrate 25 years of marriage, 29 years in a relationship. I am 50. She is 41. I loved my wife and rescued her from a terrible situation. I love her no less today.

Even when I married her at that young age I knew the day would come when all of her lost childhood (even before me) would come back to demand an opportunity to live. That day happened on Saturday. I have been told that she loved me, but as a father figure (good father - bad father), guardian, protector. Never as a man. Certainly not as a lover. I suspect in some ways not genuinely as a friend.

She is leaving on Thursday to reconnect with her mom and enter a period of self-discovery. She is cold and unaffectionate toward me. When she returns to the town we live in, she wants to have her own apartment so she can discover what it is like to be independent and live on her own. My nature is to let her experience this in the hope that she will discover what she wants in life, grow into that self-assured beautiful woman I have always known her to be.

Am I just a fool? Is the weight against this mental association too damaging for her to see me in the light of lover and friend? I have no idea how to be toward her. She even wants to date other men. She tells me not for sexual activity, but my word.... how do I deal with THAT? Sadly, I love this woman and have made room for her discovery for years. Even telling her that this day would happen. How do I treat this woman who will become the woman that I have waited 25 years to move to the next phase of our life with? I don't want anybody else.

Really... I'd love to dialogue. Nobody I know can offer any meaningful insight.

Thank you.
 

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I think you were lucky to have 29 years with her. I would suggest Damocles that you immediately get individual therapy. I would guess your wife stayed long enough to give her kids a start in life that she did not have. I think you need therapy to be able to mourn the loss of this relationship that you rescued a child in. Now she is grown up and wants to have a life of her own. While you were noble in rescuing her, you now need to be able to allow her to experience life. Please allow her to fly on her own.

This situation is NOT ABOUT YOU, it is about her, and for once in her life, please support HER IN WHAT IS HEALTHIEST FOR HER. I am very sorry for you, but this is very close to the JC Dugard (sp) situation in Antioch California. While she was not forced by violence to stay with you, she was placed in a very bad situation.

I hope your partner is also seeking therapy for herself. From your account she had no choice to not marry you. That is not the way to start a marriage, nor is a 12-16 year should ever have to make that decision.

I hope you can move on and allow her time to heal. Life dealt her the ultimate *****y hand of cards. Sorry you were involved, but if you love her, and for her sake, please let her close this chapter in life and let her move on.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the thoughts. I suspect that much of the advice I will receive over the next weeks, months, perhaps years will be similar. "Let her go." "Move on." "Find somebody else" etc. While I may be able to let her go in the sense of releasing an expectation on her so she may "find herself, I do not think I will let her go in my heart.

When I allowed her into my heart and commited fidelity to her when she was 12, I did so with the sole intention of ours being a life partnership. Although I would have waited several more years - always willing to accept the risk of rejection -I only had to wait about five years until I was able to lift her from her situation and make her my bride. In essence, she had to reach an age and external conditions that would allow me to step in for the next phase of her life.

She became my soulmate as I waited for her. Twenty five years of joyful celebrations as well as troubles and trauma only solidified her place as lifelong soulmate. I can no more easily rip my faith from my chest than to abandon my love for this woman. I think this may be another season of letting her grow, fly, explore,...become.

Perhaps she will return to my arms and I can complete this life as a man of one woman. Perhaps not. Either way, my soul is at peace knowing that I have loved this deeply, richly, and without reservation gave my all. Should she return to me or not, life will never be the same...and that is a good thing.
 
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