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Facts:
• My wife and I have been married for almost 10 years now – physically in good shape and attractive people in our thirties.
• We have three, young children.
• I have always worked and provided for all needs of our family, while my wife takes care of kids and home.
• We are very busy with our kids, so we rarely spend time just the two of us – dates are only once every few months.
• We have a healthy sex life together.
• Neither of us have been involved in intimate relationships with other partners during our marriage. There is no evidence or even a gut feeling of infidelity.
• I used to profess a certain theology during dating and early marriage that my wife still currently professes, but I no longer claim to follow that religion anymore.
• I view porn occasionally (~20min/week).
• I don’t really have any friends with whom I stay in contact. I am very close with my family, living close to them. My wife has a couple of religious and homeschool friends.

Problems:

• Because I no longer hold to my old religious beliefs that my wife still believes, my wife holds this against me, blames me, accuses me of lying, falsely representing myself while dating.
• My wife almost left me when she found about the porn use early in our marriage, which I admitted to her openly, not knowing it would be so problematic with her. I went to a group for years about it. These people all had physical affairs in their past, so I was a lightweight in the group. I still do not talk to my wife about this subject.
• She often choses to close her eyes during sex. She says it is because she can’t look at me. She says it is because I have looked at porn, and so she feels like she can’t compare herself to the women in the videos.
• We both admitted last year that if we could do it over again, we would not have married each other, given our differing theology and value system and that we argue so much. However, we are still trying to make it work, especially because of the kids.
• My wife has said some mean things to me along the lines of how she hates her life, how she hates me, how she wishes she could divorce me, and how she wishes she was dead. Later, she will apologize. She admits to struggling with an anger problem.
• Usually I act or fail to act in a way that she expects me to act, and then she confronts me about my failings. I can’t think of the last time I have confronted her – probably a long time ago about her anger issue. She often confronts me for many minutes about how badly I screwed up and explains all the ramifications of my poor choice. Oftentimes, voices become raised, and we get angry with each other. She thinks I don’t take it seriously enough, and I think she is making a mountain out of a molehill. We then sometimes go hours or days not talking to each other nor having sex. I’m tired of constantly “walking on eggshells,” trying not to say or do the wrong thing and be scolded by her. From memory, the below examples of how I have failed her in her eyes, which escalated into fights:
o I bought the wrong pizza toppings and toilet paper.
o I am not being a spiritual leader in our house.
o I am not taking our kids to a weekly spiritual event and teaching there.
o I am not alerting her after the fact if I look at porn.
o I use the TV too much when watching our kids.
o I might skip a religious service once every few months (normally I go every week).
o I might play on our gaming system for an hour during any given week.
o I set the thermostat too hot or too cold.
o I don’t take her out to restaurants enough.
o I don’t buy her the clothes or shoes that she wants (she has what she needs).
o She didn’t like my choice of older vehicles at one point. We since bought a newer one.
o She doesn’t feel like she can spend money as she wants to on various things.
o I looked at attractive girls a few times at the pool and beach.
o I bought an alcoholic beverage one time at the store and drank it.
o I am not leading the charge to get our kid involved with baseball.
o I initiate sex too frequently.
o I don’t think that holidays are special, sacred days and decorate and get into the holiday spirit.
o I don’t always 100% stop for stop signs or drive the exact speed limit.
o I have walked around some rooms in our house in my boxers.
o I sometimes have a brief bad attitude about visiting her parents for one week each year.
o I think sending the kids to public school is fine, but she insists on homeschooling to teach them morality.
o Sometimes I joke, but she uses it against me.
o I have walked away from disagreements when we seemed to run out of things to say.
o I do not show enough empathy to her about how I have wronged her.
o I do not buy her the right gifts for celebrations, or I give out of obligation.
Questions:
• What are your thoughts on my situation?
• What suggestions do you have for how we can improve the health of our marriage?
• Do you think that we can ever be happy with each other?
• Do you think that my wife can ever love, accept, and forgive me?
• For those of you with critical spouses, what are some tips for living with them?
 

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I think that your marriage is completely fixable. Before it get into some ideas of how to fix things, I am going to comment on items in your long post above. Give me a few to write it up.
 

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Sorry you're here, but welcome.

With the information presented, and it does cut through a lot if questions.

It sounds like there's no hope there and the quicker a separation the quicker each of you can begin a healing process.

I'm sure neither party is 100% to blame but at some point there is a tipping of scales. If she's just plain mean and abrasive ad nauseam that eliminates improving communications.

Make plans to exit the relationship. Ask her to move out. See a divorce lawyer quick.

Time does not heal all relationships.

Bear in mind I'm taking you at your word on the circumstances.
 

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I don’t always 100% stop for stop signs or drive the exact speed limit.
Have you ever been tested for autism? A lot of things in your post jump out at me, particularly for some of the analytical comments and the way you structure things with bullets points. If by chance you are on the spectrum, that would explain a great deal of the communication, emotional and spiritual issues you are having in your marriage.

If you do have ASD, you probably lack the empathy she would expect from you in certain situations. Meanwhile you react analytically perhaps trying to solve a problem or avoid further conflict as opposed to demonstrating that you understand and feel her emotions.
 

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Sorry, man. A few things jump to mind.

The first is that to her you abandoned your post when you abandoned your faith. I don't believe that, but I'm not a religious guy. I think you need to deal with that directly and need to force the issue.

If she is unhappy with your current beliefs, she can leave. If she doesn't want to leave, she needs to respect them. There is no middle ground. This is a fork in the road that I think you need to directly address. Likely with help. I do not know or understand her faith; would there be support and openness for you here? But I do think you need to stop accepting these kinds of slights.

I also think you two need to agree on how you can disagree. No name calling, how to call a time out, how not to cycle, etc. She does not treat you as an equal, likely because she is religious and you now are not. Until she can accept that you are still her equal deserving of respect, anything else will be a fool's errand to try to fix.

Lastly, stop having sex with your wife. She plainly does not want to have sex with you, and it's likely leading to further resentment.
 

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Change the only thing you can.....YOU.
bait and switch anyone?
 

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Have you ever been tested for autism? A lot of things in your post jump out at me, particularly for some of the analytical comments and the way you structure things with bullets points. If by chance you are on the spectrum, that would explain a great deal of the communication, emotional and spiritual issues you are having in your marriage.

If you do have ASD, you probably lack the empathy she would expect from you in certain situations. Meanwhile you react analytically perhaps trying to solve a problem or avoid further conflict as opposed to demonstrating that you understand and feel her emotions.
Soooo funny I was thinking the same thing. I thought it might be ADD but autism applies much better.

DoesItGetBetter, it can get better if you want it to get better. There are an awful, and I mean an awful, lot of complaints your wife has there, but the greater number of them are legitimate complaints.

Yet, it doesn't appear you try to do anything about any of them. Frankly, it doesn't appear you do anything at all.

So yeah, you're both unhappy. It doesn't seem like you want to be a husband or father, and she doesn't like being married to a man who clearly doesn't like being her husband. But you don't have to be unhappy. You can do something to please her. You can do something she asks you to do. You can do SOMETHING.

Men are often known to ignore their wife and dismiss her complaints and call her a nag even though they are the one who make her a nag by ignoring and dismissing. But most men do make some kind of effort. In the very least, when wifey becomes the Walk Away Wife and leaves because she finally got fed up with his neglect and inability to listen to her, then those husbands suddenly start wanting to straighten up and become a husband finally.

Where do you want this to end up? Do you want a divorce? Do you just not want to be a husband? If you don't want to be married or participate in raising your children, then you have that to decide for yourself. But if you do want to be married and participate in raising your children, then it is way past time that you start participating in raising your children and acting like a married man. You don't get to do whatever you want when you're married. You don't get to do absolutely nothing except want sex when you're married. It looks like you sure do expect that often enough, and it doesn't look like anything else matters to you.

So what's it going to be? Do you want to be married or not? If you do want to be married, then what are you going to start doing about your unhappy marriage. Would you like some pointers? Would you like for us to bullet list the things for you to do?

If you don't want to be married, then get a divorce and stop complaining about your wife's complaints because just like she does a whole lot of complaining, she has just as many reasons for those complaints.
 

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Lastly, stop having sex with your wife. She plainly does not want to have sex with you, and it's likely leading to further resentment.
What, exactly, do you expect to come from that? It's my experience from reading thousands upon thousands of posts here on TAM that it's a very rare thing to see a marriage head into the sexless category and recover from it. Sex is a part of God's plan for men & women. The issue here is what sex has become, and perhaps not just for her, but for him as well. Intimacy in this relationship has gone out the window, and not just intimacy in bed but the ability or perhaps willingness to openly communicate with each other out of love and not anger. Heck, even anger would be an improvement here.

Everything so far is a done thing. There's no talk between them about how to make things better, how to compromise and respect each other. No talk about making sensible boundaries. Little things like a willingness to walk around in boxers, knowing that it annoys her, and keep doing it. Instead of seeing it as a pretty easy thing to talk with her about and try to understand where she's coming from and geez, if there's something simple to change, would it be the end of the world to not walk around in boxers?

Making lists might be OK if it leads to some sort of epiphany and something is actually done about the issues. But making lists just to prove you're right and she's wrong (or vice versa) isn't going to get anywhere.
 

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What, exactly, do you expect to come from that? It's my experience from reading thousands upon thousands of posts here on TAM that it's a very rare thing to see a marriage head into the sexless category and recover from it.
She often choses to close her eyes during sex. She says it is because she can’t look at me. She says it is because I have looked at porn, and so she feels like she can’t compare herself to the women in the videos.

... she hates me, how she wishes she could divorce me, and how she wishes she was dead.

I initiate sex too frequently.
That is why I say she doesn't want to have sex with him.

It's also plain she no longer respects him.

It may be the case that she's having sex with him only to fulfill some kind of religious obligation. Which will (in my opinion) only fuel her resentment and make things worse.

On top of that, I've had consensual sex with someone that plainly did not want to be having sex with me. It sucks. It's soul-killing. It's empty.

So it helps neither of them. It harms both of them unless structural changes are made. It can also force a marriage reset - because it will be an obvious and very real change.
 

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I began my earlier response by acknowledging the possibility you might be autistic, and then I went into my response as if that weren't a factor. I didn't mean to neglect that possibility.

So if you are autistic, please inform us and advise us if you have received any therapies. If you don't know if you are autistic, you can always get evaluated, so ask your doctor about it. You can't get help or therapy unless you're diagnosed, and you can't be of an asset or of much value in your marriage unless you get help and therapy. So please look into it.
 

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Anger,resentment, fear,resentment, frustration,resentment, void,resentment

DIGB, You need to help yourself first. Do some IC for your self and do it with enthusiasm for yourself. Explain to your wife of your regret having failed in doing your part of meeting her expectations in your marriage. As she thought a
were a sure thing!

And ask her for patience, and Grant you time to see if you have an epiphany. And if you do what a greater act of love, for the both of you.(never stay for the children) And then see if some of your perspective changes, as a couple joined together and sanction by God! (At the time of your marriage). Normally would give you different advice but l see something worth salvaging here.

Spare yourself and her and your children, the pain and misery should this turn south.
 

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If the following sounds like I’m being hard on you, keep in mind that I would be saying exactly the same thing to your wife if she came here. You are both responsible for the state of your marriage. But you are the only one who is here, so I can only address you.

Facts:
• We are very busy with our kids, so we rarely spend time just the two of us – dates are only once every few months.
This right here is one of the biggest issues in your marriage and it’s what leads to the complete breakdown that your relationship is suffering.

If the two of you don’t prioritize your relationship, then the relationship will die over time. That’s what’s going on.

Humans have a hormone that is responsible for a strong emotional bond and for passion in a relationship… oxytocin.

To explain how profound this hormone is to human relationships I’m going to talk about childbirth. When a woman gives birth, the level of oxytocin in her brain skyrockets. Therefore, she is immediately bonded to her new baby. Oxytocin is often referred to as the amnesty hormone because due to this hormone, women do not remember the full extent of the pain the experience in childbirth. Some say if oxytocin did not exist, there would be no second child… no woman would go through childbirth a second time due to the pain of birth.

Oxytocin does two basic things; it creates a strong bond between humans, and it makes it so that they see things through rose colored lenses.

In a relationship, when a couple first falls in love, feel good brain chemistry skyrockets. The brain creates and uptakes hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. With that the couple falls madly in love. The brain’s high-level production/uptake of these hormones lasts for about 18 – 24 months. And then the level of these hormones winds down. If the couple makes it through this time period, they settle down into what we call mature love. In the stage of mature love that can last a lifetime, the couple has to nurture the relationship to keep the level of Oxytocin, dopamine and other feel good hormones high enough to remain “in-love”.

What happens if a couple does not nurture their relationship? Your relationship is a case sample. That’s what happens.

Why does you wife pick on you? Because with now level of oxytocin, she sees you through lenses that exaggerate every little annoying thing you do and/or do not do. If her oxytocin levels were high enough to remain ‘in-love’ with you, she would see you through those rose-colored glasses and none of that would bother her.

Another thing that happens when oxytocin levels drop, especially in a woman, is a lack of desire for sex with their spouse.

Women are far more sensitive to low levels of oxytocin then men are. When a woman’s oxytocin drops too low, she does not want to be touched, she’s very critical, she’s easy to annoy, and so forth.

From all that you have written, you too are very critical and nit pick on your wife. You definitely sound like you are not in-love with her. She under your skin and it’s getting to you.

So, what to do? The good news is that this is completely fixable. How, one of the most important things is to start spending a lot of quality time together, just the two of you with out the children or anyone else. Go out together and do romantic things. (Movies do not count because you are not concentrating on each other.) Spend time talking, going for walks and holding hands, go on picnics. A couple needs to spend a minimum of 15 hours a week in quality time. Do that and the two of you will fall in love again. And she will no longer see you as an annoying household member. The way you feel about her will improve greatly too.

Now about the religious thing and the porn.

Religion is important for those who believe. In some ways she is right in that you married her as a religious person and then changed your mind about all this. My bet is that one of the reasons that she decided to marry you is that you two shared religious beliefs. Now the two of you don’t have this very important outlook on beliefs in common. Can you at least recognize how profound this change in you is and how it changes your relationship with your wife?

Porn is an issue for many women. Why? Because women cannot compete with the women who pretend in porn. The acts these women put on are not real, but many men now expect their wife to act during sex like a porn star. Plus, the appearance of porn actresses is completely unrealistic. They have a lot of cosmetic surgery and wear tons of makeup. 99% of women in real life cannot look like they do. Shoot, the porn stars don’t even look like their on-screen image. Take a look….

https://izismile.com/2013/03/08/porn_stars_before_and_after_their_makeup_makeover_93_pics.html

It takes hundreds, I not thousands a month to maintain the porn-star look. A real woman cannot possibly life up to this. Their husband viewing porn makes them seem every insecure.

There is an interesting thread here on TAM written by a man who used to think that his wife was insecure for objecting to his porn usage. Then his wife started looking porn and masturbating to it. He found out. Apparently, he was absolutely devastated and insecure once he found out about her new hobby of using porn. His point on the thread was that sadly, he now understood the object that women have to men watching porn.


I don’t really have any friends with whom I stay in contact. I am very close with my family, living close to them.
This is easy to fix. Go get some friends. Look at http://www.meetup.com You will find all kinds of things you could do. Go, meet people, make friends. You can even find things for both you and your wife to do.

Because I no longer hold to my old religious beliefs that my wife still believes, my wife holds this against me, blames me, accuses me of lying, falsely representing myself while dating.
I can see why she feels like this. I’m not a super religious person. But I understand how important this is to some very religious people. I also get that some people lose their faith. I’m not sure how you resolve this.

She often choses to close her eyes during sex. She says it is because she can’t look at me. She says it is because I have looked at porn, and so she feels like she can’t compare herself to the women in the videos.
A lot of people close their eyes during sex. I have a very high sex drive, at least once a day is good for me. But I always close my eyes during sex most of the time. Why? Because it helps me focus on the feelings. If you are bugging her about this, you need to stop it. The last thing you should be doing is to pick on something like this related to sex. It will only make her want sex with you less.

She is right. She cannot live up to the female porn stars. They are faking everything from their appearance, their actions and even keeping they eyes open all through sex.

My wife has said some mean things to me along the lines of how she hates her life, how she hates me, how she wishes she could divorce me, and how she wishes she was dead. Later, she will apologize. She admits to struggling with an anger problem.
Have you ever said anything mean to your wife in anger?

Your wife sounds very depressed. It’s one of the side effects of having low oxytocin, dopamine, etc.
Usually I act or fail to act in a way that she expects me to act, and then she confronts me about my failings.
You would benefit from reading the book “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. I highly suggest you get it and read it.
I am not being a spiritual leader in our house.
She’s right on this. She chose to marry a man who would take this role. You sort of promised this when you married her. It means a lot to her. Not sure what you can do about it, but she’s right.

I don’t take her out to restaurants enough.
She’s right, you two don’t really spend any quality time. This is on both of you.
o I don’t buy her the clothes or shoes that she wants (she has what she needs).
o She doesn’t feel like she can spend money as she wants to on various things.
Does your wife have access to money? Or do you control all spending?
Your wording, “I don’t buy her” makes it sounds like you control all spending and she has to beg you for even small, personal things.

Who decides what she needs in clothing and shoes? Is this something you dictate?

Does she get any money that she can spend on herself any way she wants?

I am not leading the charge to get our kid involved with baseball.
Why don’t you? How much time a week do you spend with you children?

I don’t think that holidays are special, sacred days and decorate and get into the holiday spirit.
Kill joy! For someone who really likes holidays. I hope that she encourages your children to enjoy and celebrate holidays with her.
I don’t always 100% stop for stop signs or drive the exact speed limit.
By 100% stop, does that mean that you just drive through them not reducing your speed? Or does it mean that you just drive slowly and continue through the intersection if you see no approaching vehicles?

Sounds like following the rules is important to her.
I think sending the kids to public school is fine, but she insists on homeschooling to teach them morality.
Is she homeschooling your children?
I do not buy her the right gifts for celebrations, or I give out of obligation.
Does she give you gifts for holidays, birthdays and celebrations?

So how to you fix your relationship? It’s going to take some work to do this but it can be done…. You two can restructure your relationship into a loving, passionate one.

Here’s what I suggest. Get the books “Love Busters” and “His Needs, Her Needs”. Read them in that order and do the work that they say to do. After you have read them, get her to read them with you and the two of you do the work together.

You have to stop the love busters before you can start meeting each other’s needs and rebuild the passion between you.

What are love busters? They are the things that people do that kill their spouse’s love for them.

For example, you walk around the house in boxer shorts. You need to stop that because it’s causing problems. Go get some of those baggy pj bottoms sold at places like Walmart. Wear those instead. Surely you can do that little bit.

Put more effort into gifts for her. Apparently, that means something to her. It’s your job as her husband to do the things that are important to her. Find out what she likes/wants by talking to her about it.

She does a lot of love busters too. I don’t have to list them because you listed a bucket load of them here.

If you want to fix your marriage you can if you do what those books say to do. Give it 6 months, if things are not significantly better, then you will know that you did all you can, and a divorce is probably your best bet. Your current situation it not good for your children. They see your miserable relationship and are learning that this is all they can expect in a marriage when they are adults. It’s better for them to have parents who are living healthy lives even though they are divorced.
Divorce is hard on kids. But so is an unhappy home.
 

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DIGB and his wife are not compatible.
For whatever reasons....

It is simple as that.

Why try to reinvent the wheel?

Each should go their own way.
Problem solved.



KB-
 

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Facts:
• My wife and I have been married for almost 10 years now – physically in good shape and attractive people in our thirties.
• We have three, young children.
• I have always worked and provided for all needs of our family, while my wife takes care of kids and home.
• We are very busy with our kids, so we rarely spend time just the two of us – dates are only once every few months.
• We have a healthy sex life together.
• Neither of us have been involved in intimate relationships with other partners during our marriage. There is no evidence or even a gut feeling of infidelity.
• I used to profess a certain theology during dating and early marriage that my wife still currently professes, but I no longer claim to follow that religion anymore.
• I view porn occasionally (~20min/week).
• I don’t really have any friends with whom I stay in contact. I am very close with my family, living close to them. My wife has a couple of religious and homeschool friends.

Problems:

• Because I no longer hold to my old religious beliefs that my wife still believes, my wife holds this against me, blames me, accuses me of lying, falsely representing myself while dating.
• My wife almost left me when she found about the porn use early in our marriage, which I admitted to her openly, not knowing it would be so problematic with her. I went to a group for years about it. These people all had physical affairs in their past, so I was a lightweight in the group. I still do not talk to my wife about this subject.
• She often choses to close her eyes during sex. She says it is because she can’t look at me. She says it is because I have looked at porn, and so she feels like she can’t compare herself to the women in the videos.
• We both admitted last year that if we could do it over again, we would not have married each other, given our differing theology and value system and that we argue so much. However, we are still trying to make it work, especially because of the kids.
• My wife has said some mean things to me along the lines of how she hates her life, how she hates me, how she wishes she could divorce me, and how she wishes she was dead. Later, she will apologize. She admits to struggling with an anger problem.
• Usually I act or fail to act in a way that she expects me to act, and then she confronts me about my failings. I can’t think of the last time I have confronted her – probably a long time ago about her anger issue. She often confronts me for many minutes about how badly I screwed up and explains all the ramifications of my poor choice. Oftentimes, voices become raised, and we get angry with each other. She thinks I don’t take it seriously enough, and I think she is making a mountain out of a molehill. We then sometimes go hours or days not talking to each other nor having sex. I’m tired of constantly “walking on eggshells,” trying not to say or do the wrong thing and be scolded by her. From memory, the below examples of how I have failed her in her eyes, which escalated into fights:
o I bought the wrong pizza toppings and toilet paper.
o I am not being a spiritual leader in our house.
o I am not taking our kids to a weekly spiritual event and teaching there.
o I am not alerting her after the fact if I look at porn.
o I use the TV too much when watching our kids.
o I might skip a religious service once every few months (normally I go every week).
o I might play on our gaming system for an hour during any given week.
o I set the thermostat too hot or too cold.
o I don’t take her out to restaurants enough.
o I don’t buy her the clothes or shoes that she wants (she has what she needs).
o She didn’t like my choice of older vehicles at one point. We since bought a newer one.
o She doesn’t feel like she can spend money as she wants to on various things.
o I looked at attractive girls a few times at the pool and beach.
o I bought an alcoholic beverage one time at the store and drank it.
o I am not leading the charge to get our kid involved with baseball.
o I initiate sex too frequently.
o I don’t think that holidays are special, sacred days and decorate and get into the holiday spirit.
o I don’t always 100% stop for stop signs or drive the exact speed limit.
o I have walked around some rooms in our house in my boxers.
o I sometimes have a brief bad attitude about visiting her parents for one week each year.
o I think sending the kids to public school is fine, but she insists on homeschooling to teach them morality.
o Sometimes I joke, but she uses it against me.
o I have walked away from disagreements when we seemed to run out of things to say.
o I do not show enough empathy to her about how I have wronged her.
o I do not buy her the right gifts for celebrations, or I give out of obligation.
Questions:
• What are your thoughts on my situation?
• What suggestions do you have for how we can improve the health of our marriage?
• Do you think that we can ever be happy with each other?
• Do you think that my wife can ever love, accept, and forgive me?
• For those of you with critical spouses, what are some tips for living with them?
Yes your marriage is 100% fixable and with some good marriage counselling and work and effort on both sides it could be good. You have three small children who depend on you and need you to be a full time dad, divorce isn't an option.
I do understand her feeling that you married her under false pretences. I am a Christian and I wouldn't marry a man unless he was too. She married you thinking that you were and now you deny the faith. You also watch porn and I can fully understand that she is hurt by this. The first thing you can do is to stop the porn.
 

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Get the HELL out of there.......She will suck the life out of you(and not in a good way.....). You seem quite reasonable to me. You will always be on egg shells around her and that's no way to live. She feels the need to hold the power in the relationship and she DOES NOT RESPECT YOU. What more do you need to know? There are MANY red flags here. I'm not buying the autism bit at all..........
 

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DIGB and his wife are not compatible.
For whatever reasons....

It is simple as that.

Why try to reinvent the wheel?

Each should go their own way.
Problem solved.



KB-
I 100% agree with this.

You two seem really different.

I don't foresee the issue around religion every being resolved-- her truly accepting that you no longer wish to practice it
 

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It sounds like you both are very miserable. I’m sorry to read this. Also very worried about the three kids involved.

I’m confused, you are no longer part of her faith but you attend all but once a month? I’m assuming this is giving very mixed messages to her, your kids, and those who know you. Please explain. This seems like a VERY important piece, and one she thought you were in full agreement on before marriage, but then you changed your mind.

All I can think of is that you guys need lots more time to enjoy and renew your marriage. You will both need to make a lot of changes. Marriage counseling seems imperative. You have worked yourself into a BIG pickle.
 
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