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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, first post here so bear with me a little.

I've been married 15 years, together 18 with my wife (I'm 41, her 39). We have a daughter who is 13. I love my wife like a family member (ie, my mom or sister), but there is absolutely no passion at all in our marriage. It feels to me, and I suspect to her as well, that we are essentially roommates in the same household. I want to separate and divorce.

A few months ago, I felt as if I have woke up to realize this state, and it was no longer an acceptable state for my life to be in. This lack of passion is by no means new. Our sex life is generally less than once a month, with 13 months after my daughter was born being the longest (currently in a 2.5 month stint).

My wife is a good person, and I want the best for her, but I also have myself and my daughter to think about. Best for me is to move on, I'm certain, and my wife as well, (although she may not see it this way at this point in time). It frankly is my daughter I am concerned about, although I kinda think she would be able to handle it (all of her main friends are in broken or single parent homes.). I'd be pushing for joint custody, and attempt to maintain as good a relationship as possible with my then ex-wife.

Complicating factors is that there is a coworker who I have gotten close to and have developed feelings for, although for reasons possibly not worth going into, it is fairly unlikely that anything will ever become of it. To be clear, I have not cheated on my wife. The coworker would probably say that she sees me as a very good friend, but I could be wrong.

Another complicating factor is that we live in a house that we rent from my parents. If this wasn't the case, I could just move out simply after I decided to separate. I guess this is just a small detail, but whatever.

I believe that we only get one time on this merry-go-round called life, so I really am wanting to take another shot at having passion in my life.
 

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Hi Thinking,

Sorry you're going through what you are. I however need to point out - the fact that you're currently having an affair (yes, it's an affair. An emotional affair) has muddied the water considerably. I can assure you, while I have no doubt that your reasons and concerns are genuine, you're now in the fog, in a position where you really can't evaluate your situation clearly.

First you need to get out of this EA. Then you're in a better position to make any sort of decision.

So yeah, you are indeed cheating on the missus unfortunately
 

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I agree with caladan that the fact that you are infatuated with your co-worker is clouding your judgment. The best thing you can do is to cease all non-work related contact with your coworker. After all, you've said that it is unlikely that anything can come of it, and even if you were to declare your interest and she were to respond, you would be starting off in such a toxic situation (i.e., she would be part of the breakdown of your marriage) that the chances that it could last for more than a couple years are very, very slim. [I've read on TAM that relationships that begin as affairs have less than a 5% chance of working out. Don't know the actual research that supports this claim, however.]

Next -- have you tried talking with your wife -- REALLY talking with her. ?After my H and I had kids we went through a stretch where our one-on-one relationship took a back seat to parenting and worrying about keeping our jobs together. Both of us were unhappy and both of us made half hearted attempts to talk to each other. But neither of us REALLY sat the other down and laid it all out. Instead, we'd say vague things like "why don't we go out more?" or "why don't we have sex more often." And then the other person, who truly wanted the marriage to work would make some changes, but ultimately they didn't stick because when things would get better, we'd get complacent again.

Do you want to know what finally brought my marriage to a tipping point (i.e. teetering on the verge of divorce?)? My husband became attracted to a co-worker (struggling in her own marriage) and they started to share confidences and do more things as "friends." Because every things was new and fresh with her he began to discount all the good times the two of us had shared and took all my strengths for granted. He convinced himself that the fact that we didn't have as much passion as he felt for the coworker was because we were "just friends" not lovers anymore.

If I had a magic wand and could do anything differently in my life it would be to rewind in my marriage and be open about what I wanted and would have pressed to try to reinvent the marriage that we had. PLEASE give your wife the same chance by TALKING, REALLY TALKING before you do something that you will never be able to undo.

You might start by getting His Needs, Her Needs and asking your wife to read it with you. That book could spark conversations that could really help the two of you.
 

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First off -- I believe your feelings are valid. Spouses who want sex should not have to do without. I recommend the book The Truth About Love by Pat Love. I would also highly advise against any contact with the coworker as that is clouding your judgment.

If the main complaint is no passion and sex, know that it is a common state in marriage and can be solved. It sounds like you both have no affairs or addictions, you have just grown apart. It is very easy for disconnection to sneak up on people in a marriage.

It won't hurt you to stick it out for another few months and lovingly bring up some of your grievances. I myself did not have sex with my husband for a year after our first child was born, for many reasons; upheaval of changing from from a wife to a wife-mother; anger at what I felt was his lack of affection; pressures from work. It was easy to take the exit of being too busy or exhausted and all of a sudden a year had gone by. It was both of our fault. We are probably splitting up for other reasons, but specifically when lack of sex was brought up to me as one of his grievance I was in agreement and realized we were in a cycle where we had both dropped the ball -- him on affection, me on sex. Once we had that out in the open we actually were able to begin relations again. But it would have hurt a LOT and been a LOT UGLIER if that conversation had begun with something about being attracted to a co-worker.

Do you feel you have any responsibility towards the situation? Have you been meeting her needs that keep her "emotional pitcher" full? I don't know her situation, but for me, being a wife, mother, and business owner meant wearing a lot of hats and constantly feeling depleted. Having a husband who came to me late at night for sex after my hard day of work (in and out of the home) and baby-care, but did not help "fill the pitcher" with affection and flirtation during the day was infuriating and felt inconsiderate. I knew he was starving for sex but I just could not get there with half my mind on the dirty dishes and the fact that the baby could wake up at any minute. At one point I considered writing a fake Craigslist ad called "Will trade bl*wj*bs for housework" and sending him the link as a hint. It was that bad.

Please, please, read the book I mentioned because it breaks down very simply the biological nature of what happens to our brains during initial attraction and why it is so easy to lose passion after that initial period. I feel like this is what might be happening in your situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Thinking,
the fact that you're currently having an affair (yes, it's an affair. An emotional affair) has muddied the water considerably. I can assure you, while I have no doubt that your reasons and concerns are genuine, you're now in the fog, in a position where you really can't evaluate your situation clearly.
To provide more details, she has worked in the same company as me for two and a half years, and I've thought that she was friendly, nice, and attractive the entire time. However, since about July I'm now in daily contact with her, and share work breaks with her (not in private). To my recollection, I have not shared any sensitive marital details with her. I do not do activities with her outside of work or contact her outside of work, (although I'd like to). She used to be overweight but over the last year or so has really transformed herself, which I think is very inspiring.

While I'm hearing from all of you, she is that this is clouding my judgment, I feel as if I have been woken up from sleepwalking through my life. Obviously, she is a major catalyst in this 'awakening', along with dropping video games, and cable TV.
----

The major complaint isn't lack of sex (although, yeah, that is a complaint); it is no passion, intimacy. Frankly I honestly can't think of the last time my wife hugged me or kissed me. I just keep coming back to the roommate analogy, because that's really what it is like.

I will be having a talk with my wife regarding our issues when/if I am close to a decision to separate/divorce. I have been thinking about this for awhile now, reading this site, etc. Just nowgot to the stage to talk with people about it.

Mfriend2012- Yes I feel partially responsible, I am not placing all blame on my wife. I feel we probably were not a good match to get married, but I don't regret that as I have my daughter because of it.
 

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I will be having a talk with my wife regarding our issues when/if I am close to a decision to separate/divorce. I have been thinking about this for awhile now, reading this site, etc. Just now got to the stage to talk with people about it.
I don't like the sound of this sentence -- the waiting to talk until you are close to a decision. Start talking to your wife NOW. You could, for instance, approach her by saying, "Wife, it's the start of a new year, and while I'm not one of those people who makes new year's resolutions, I have been taking stock of where I am in my life. I'm happy with many things including our daughter. But our relationship over the past few years has not been what I imagined or hoped for. I don't want to continue to settle for something that is only OK. Things either need to change (which will be hard work for both of us) or I will need to move on."

Also consider all the usual advice --
1) Try reading His Needs, Her Needs; 5 languages of Love. Especially if your wife will read it with you and talk about what you both desire. Be honest about what you want, but listen to her as well.
2) Individual counseling and MC could work.
3) Don't fall into the standard cookbook "date nights." If your dates with wife have become routine -- go our for dinner, talk about your kid, etc -- they are not serving the same function as when you two were dating. So instead, be physically active together -- play tennis against each other, go ziplining, skiing, or train for a 5K race together.
 

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I don't like the sound of this sentence -- the waiting to talk until you are close to a decision. Start talking to your wife NOW. You could, for instance, approach her by saying, "Wife, it's the start of a new year, and while I'm not one of those people who makes new year's resolutions, I have been taking stock of where I am in my life. I'm happy with many things including our daughter. But our relationship over the past few years has not been what I imagined or hoped for. I don't want to continue to settle for something that is only OK. Things either need to change (which will be hard work for both of us) or I will need to move on."
Agree w couleur. Instead of turning towards others, turn towards your wife. My own relationship was damaged, very much so, because of my husband constantly turning to others for relationship advice and *****ing to others (sometimes our mutual acquaintances) behind my back.

I would also add to the above recommended opening, to know that there may be defensiveness and for your wife to feel that she is being criticized. As much as you can couch it in that it for both your mutual happiness and that you are not criticizing, you are genuinely trying to make both your lives better, I believe that is a really good tack to take. So opening with an appreciation or word of something you are grateful for, before launching into the "things need to change or I will need to move on" stuff. I would even possibly leave that to a follow up conversation. If this is the first time you have had a heart to heart about the relationship in a long time, my instinct as a wife makes me want to tell you to make the first conversation about the two of you and improving your relationship before you bring up leaving or moving on. Just mentioning that can really freak someone out and shut them down. You can always have that conversation in a few weeks if you feel her behavior has not changed.
 

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The co worker is definitely a complication, and you need to get clear before you make any decisions you will later regret. Here are a few things to think about that can help clarify things for you:
1) create a picture of your ideal relationship
2) think back to when you first got together with your wife - where there elements then of your ideal relationship?
3) if you could overcome all the problems, can you see your wife creating that ideal relationship with you?
If you really can envisage you and your wife being happy (including sexual) then it just becomes a question of how to do it - and there are certainly ways.
Just make sure you're not throwing away a potentially great marriage - or on the other hand staying in one for the sake of it. Clarity is the key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for all your comments.

I will definitely talk with her before I make any decisions. I feel that I owe her at least that much.

This is not just my wife's fault, but both of our problems that we created. Not quite sure how we got here, but here we are. I don't know what to do, cause I feel no passion toward her, and she expresses none toward me. My feelings towards her are exactly like she's a non-romantic family member (like a mother or sister); I love her, care for her, but do not need to talk with her or see her every day.

I have no social network outside of work and our respective families. She dominates my time when I am not at work; she does not encourage me to do stuff with others, and would be moody if I did. And at the same time, we do essentially nothing (grocery shopping, movies once in a while, netflix TV, sometimes go on a walk, etc stuff like that).

But conseulling? I don't know, seems like they will try to change the way I feel. I believe my feelings are valid.

My ideal vision if we separate is living with joint custody of my daughter, eventually starting to date, and then developing a relationship with a woman that is better suited to me, being able to do activities with other friends outside of this relationship as I see fit. The woman I envision is most likely someone I haven't met yet, usually not the coworker. Any thoughts of a future with the coworker lands in the 'wildly optimistic and unrealistic' department.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Talked with my wife about the state of our marriage. She agreed that it is not good shape, but she wants to work on it. Now unfortunately, things are feeling a bit artificial and awkward.

The talk went probably as good as reasonably could be expected, however she now is nervous and afraid. She seems afraid that I don't love her anymore. As described above, I still love her, am upset by causing her this pain, but I just don't know what to do. There is no spark. She wants us to try to work on it, which I'm agreeing for now, but I feel deepdown it is going to be hopeless. She does not seem to have it within her to rekindle the spark.
 

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Your lack of social life makes it sou d as if though you are using her as a scapegoat for some of your own issues. People do grow apart, but by already considering divorce so heavily before even the first conversation took place makes me think you are just taking the cowardly way out.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
by already considering divorce so heavily before even the first conversation took place makes me think you are just taking the cowardly way out.
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Are you serious?!? Considering unravelling a marriage after 15 years is the easy, cowardly way? Fff, I don't think so. Cowardly is continuing along in a meh marriage, just riding out our lives in a dull passionless existence just because society sees marriage as a good thing.

Her parents divorced awhile back, and while the way it came about was extremely painful to her mom (her dad cheated), now both of her parents are in better relationships then when they were together. Point is, sometimes marriages are better off broken up. Of course, sometimes they're not. My parents are together, not sure that is a positive for them.

Zanne, thank you for your comments.

I'm trying to look at this from everyone's in my families perspective. I think in the short term, a separation hurts me the least. But long term, I think that this would probably be a positive for all of us. I don't want to think that I am acting selfishly, but at the same time, we all only get one shot at life, and no one is getting any younger here.
 

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I guess I was somewhat on the other side, and maybe can see where Pepper123 was coming from. By the time my wife told me she wanted a divorce (similar 'no spark' comment) it was too late to change her mind. The next two months were a waste of her and my time. In her case she told me she's been thinking about for a year, so she told me about 10 months in, when she'd already made the decision (which is maybe what the fear is from your posts).

I would ask that if this is the first time you confronted her about it -- and I feel like she reacted like I did, which is a little hurt but also not surprised, because you both felt the drifting apart - then be honest. If you want to try, then give it your all -- if you don't want to try, then tell her that too. In my case I feel like I got conflicting messages, at least for a while, with her agreeing to go to counseling, but then not actually listening to the counselor on anything, etc, etc.

I do think you've been married for a while so as a 'betrayed spouse' ....I'd suggest you give it a 'real' try... but only you can make that decision.
 

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This is exactly what I think / was trying to say. Its not that I think its garbage that you want out after 15 yrs, its that you're already have made the decision for the pair of you before she even knew the potential. That just seems highly unfair to me
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Are you serious?!? Considering unravelling a marriage after 15 years is the easy, cowardly way? Fff, I don't think so. Cowardly is continuing along in a meh marriage, just riding out our lives in a dull passionless existence just because society sees marriage as a good thing.
^^^THIS.

I'm in a loveless, sexless marriage that has been drifting at sea for 10 years now. And when I say sexless, I mean SEXLESS. Last time my husband and I had sex was when our now 9 year old son was conceived. There is ZERO sexual attraction. He's been sleeping on the couch for YEARS. We are roommates, great friends, and had both been on SSRI's for many years. I've gone off the SSRI's, and am now of the opinion that they're evil (for me anyway). They dull the emotions, cause a complacent denial, and kill libido. How convenient in a sexless marriage. :rolleyes: Our children (9 and 11) have NO IDEA what a real marriage between two loving partners should look like! Talk about setting an awful example!

In my case, the catalysts for making me finally think of getting out of this are 1) Stopping my drinking and getting the heck off of SSRI's and 2) YES -- Having an EA. Thing with my EA though, is that I've never actually met the guy! And I know I will I will never actually hook up with him either! What he DID do though, is to make me FEEL again, and to make me realize that I have SO MUCH love in me to give! I honestly don't see how an EA of this type is bad. It has reawakened me.

I deserve to love and BE loved. Physically and emotionally. Being a coward or a martyr is NOT a good thing. If a marriage has been sh*t for 10-15 years, it's time to call it quits and seek out what is deserved. I don't want to die having never released myself. No one should.
 

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You hear so much about working on marriages but some times its just not there ...I am with mine now for 27 years and iam scared to death to leave it but I do think the simple fact is, sometimes people marry the wrong person, especially if they marry young. That very well could be the case with you, you married the wrong woman before you were mature and experienced enough to know what the right woman was. You shouldn't have to be miserable for the rest of your life because of that mistake. But if you're going to correct that mistake, you have to do it fairly and honorably. (unlike Me) Counseling is a good first step, but your wife needs a big time wake up call. You need to make it clear to her that it's not your problem, it's a problem for the both of you and you both need to work on it. If the counselor suggests you divorce, the counselor will do so whether she's there or not. She needs to be there to participate, and to take responsibility for her role in the disintigration of the marriage. If she still refuses, then there just isn't much left for you to do. You have some pretty strong emotional needs that have been going unmet for years, and you have a right to live a happy life with someone who can respond to you and meet your needs, and you have a right to a rich romantic life, with someone who loves to hold your hand, cuddle, talk and share, etc. But keep in mind, counseling wont' work miracles. It won't completely change your wife into someone she's not. You have to think hard on what you're willing to compromise on and what you're not. You make it pretty clear that sacrificing your own happiness and shutting down and repressing your emotional needs for the sake of your family is something you really dont' want to do, and I don't really think you should. It will only make you resentful, frustrated and angry and you won't be truly present for your family anyway. Try counseling, and do your best to convince your wife to go with you. As for cutting this woman out of your life entirely, I don't know if that's necessary,

It just amazes me how many people on the forums just think you can get the love back just by working on it ...ive been killing myself trying so good luck to you my friend if it changes let me know ??
 

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Make your marriage work. Sorry I just hate these "I'm not feeling it anymore" topics. Make your marriage what you would like it to be. No passion? What have you done to add passion other than get attached to a coworker? Take the lead and not wait for your wife to be passionate.
Meh. I disagree. You can't make your marriage work unless you actually want to. Now there's an argument that you can make yourself "want to", but it's a tricky, unsure route. It takes a substansial measure of sacrifice, of self-denial, of self-brainwashing even. You lose something, a part of your personality, a part of your drive, a source of energy. And for some, the energy strains and bursts out, and you end up seeking windows to express yourself outside your marriage (yes, I refer to cheating here).

Some people were never in love but instead tricked themselves into thinking they were. In other words, there are people whose entire marriage was a fog. According to your logic, these people should remain in said fog for the rest of their lives? I don't think so. You don't have "passion" for every one you meet on the street. And there are some gulfs that love can't bridge.

We try our best to make the other party love us, to make ourselves love the other party. And sometimes our best simply isn't good enough.
 

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Blah. He's having and EA with a coworker. He said he loves his wife. I'm sure his wife would be tickled pink to know he's confiding in a coworker about his marriage issues. Every second talking to her is wasted time he should be talking to his wife. Just looking for an out so he can pursue a fairy tale. Marriage is a commitment, period. Another ended marriage because the grass is always greener. Divorce is the easy way out for some. Much easier than making what you have work. I guarantee you any marriage issues are both parties fault. I'm sure his cable TV and video gaming may have something to do with no passion. But he quit those recently and expects passion to just appear.
 
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