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Discussion Starter #1
Help! My wife of 9 years just told me three days ago she wants a separation.
We have 2 happy lovely girls, ages 3.5 and almost 6. We bought a house almost 3 years ago. we were good friends for a couple of years before we started dating, and dated, and lived together for a good 2 years before marriage. so we 've known eachother for about 14 years.
she told me that she wants to be alone. she wants to stay in a good relationship for the kids. she wants to be friends like we used to be.
We used to talk out disagreements, and listen to each other's sides of the story and resolve most conflicts. then the kids...
we have been in a gradual decline since the 1st kid, which quickend once #2 was in the picture. I have atributed it all to the stress of babies/toddlers. Money is an issue too, as we are a 1 income family.
I have made the typical guy mistakes- taking her for granted, not listening well, not nurturing the relationship or her. (we both come from divorced families, thus don;t have postive rolemodels.) (it took the seperation to fully understand this)
so we have degenerated into two ppl who don;t respect or listen to eachother for the few past years. again, being an oblivious dude, I just resigned myself to suffer for a while until the the kids were a little older- then things woudl come gradually back. It took her telling me how miserable she is, to realize that I too am more miserable than just a stressed out dad.
so, basically, our relationship is dead. we are both checked out. I have hope we can salvage it. I love the old her dearly (the new her, of course, not so much, but hte new me is not so great either.)
we both have focused heavily on the kids, who we love more than life itself, probably to the detriment of our relationship.
she had asked for us to see a marriage counceler a few times inthe past. being the breadwinner, and living paycheck to paychek (or worse), I had not followed that up, again, thinking when we get a little more money, we can deal and pick up the pieces. dum-as$.
she is miserable, wants to be happy for the girls. She feels as though she has lost herself. I totaly want her to be happy, and support anything that she needs to do. but I am not very good at supporting her emotionally. I am terrible at showing her how important she is to me- especially for the past years that we have been checked out. I am a great chore sharer, but half the time, she complains that I dont; do enough. the other half, she tells me that the chores dont matter, and I need to support her better. which I never understood, but now I do (at least in theory)
So my heart is broken. when she told me she wants the seperation, she was her old self. she allowed herself to be vulnerable- so I remembered what I love about her.
I had a great sence of relief that the terrible rut that we were in was over. but an even greater sadness, of course. I had always envisioned us getting back to a good spot, and growing old together.
and then, there are the kids. I live for them, wish I could spend every second with them. with a divorce, I can't imagine the pain of not getting to kiss them goodnite every nite (tears!).
I can;t imagine the pain my dad went thru. then I remember how secondary he was to me growing up. that kills me.
so needless to say, I would do anything to keep the family together. She says she will do counciling, but her vioce tells me that she really thinks it;s over, and thinks it will be better living seperate lives.
we both have come along way over the years. for example, I used to be very sarcastic, which was a mechanism to make me feel smarter/ superior to her. thru many fights, she has helped me realize that, and Ive stopped years ago. when she was mad, she used to be REALLY mean, name calling, demeaning stuff, and worse, and she is much better too. but none of that makes her feel better now. we both suffer from low self esteem.
please, I'm looking for positive feedback. please tell me a story where a separation worked out for the better. tell me it's possible to turn back from the brink.

signed one sad dad on a friday nite.
 

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Where did this come from? just out of the blue? Were you fighting?

Is there someone else involved? I would suspect cheating or close to it.

She wants to be alone so she can pursue this other person.

:(

I'm so sorry...it's so devastating. But, can you snoop a bit and find info?
 

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Agreeing with TG here. You definitely owe it to yourself to at least investigate, albeit on a minor scale. Some smoke apparently needs to be cleared on your part before you can really make an accurate assessment of the situation. Sorry to see you here, but you've come to the right place. The vast majority of us here on TAM will be here for you should you need us. You will remain in my prayers!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi TG. yes- out of the blue, though we've been checked out for some time. I don't think there is anyone else- anyone at all

but boy, do I feel naive. we had a long talk last nite. she is still not exactly sure how, but basically the gist of it is she wants divorce. she will do MC, but has no hope. she says we are too different. it's too hard. we've tried too hard already (working on ourselves, not the marriage), and it's only gotten steadily worse. feels like we shouldn;t have to change who we are, but that's the only way to make it work. we are totally incompatible. (all her words here).

we have both definately lost part of ourselves in this marriage.

she feel's like she "just woke up" on her decision that this is waht she needs. she has been in a fog, and now it's clear. that is why her anger is gone now.

a little more background: her brother is ~6months into a not-so-nice divorce, in another country. alone. she just got back from visiting him- 3 days before breaking this to me. he is doing well now- working out, new friends etc. Her dad is also going thru a divorce to his second wife. so there's that big stress in her life too. Ive tried really hard to support her feelings about all this. not sure if she realizes this, or if I have not been doing the right stuff...

this is crazy. a month ago, she was talking about buying another house together with help from her dad. now this.

might this be part of a mid-life crisis? we are 37. we both have been lost in baby world for almost 6 years, and of course being the stay at home mom, she has definitely taken the brunt of this. we are broke- (our present mortgage is a huge % of my pay- kids and food the rest.) so there's severe limitations to what she can do with the kids, and she grew up with more $$, so that's hard (for both of us).

wow. i dont think i've ever been so angry. i feel like a fool, like she's mis-led me for a long time. she does not remember the good times, only the bad. feels like she never loved me, an it was all in my head. same time, i feel my part here not being a better husband all these years. ive tried, but...seems like every improvement I make, it actually gets worse.

sorry for the ramble. it helps me sort out my feelings.

gonna be an interesting weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
another thing- depression runs in both our families. she had post pardum depression with our first child. did not seem to with the second, but then again, things have been pretty bad since #2.
 

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so we have degenerated into two ppl who don;t respect or listen to eachother for the few past years. again, being an oblivious dude, I just resigned myself to suffer for a while until the the kids were a little older- then things woudl come gradually back. It took her telling me how miserable she is, to realize that I too am more miserable than just a stressed out dad.
so, basically, our relationship is dead. we are both checked out. I have hope we can salvage it. I love the old her dearly (the new her, of course, not so much, but hte new me is not so great either.)
Is exactly where I was at the end of my relationship - however from the sounds of it you are not checked out of this, only she is.

Also, all the things she is blaming you for, you could have done a better job perhaps, but you still care and still want to make it work so do not place what you did or didn't do on her unilateral decision to end it.

Like TG suggests, there IS a reason why she is saying this now, there is someone or something in the picture that has ignited this action within her, because until something happened a future with you was still her best option until she has set her sights on something else. So I would highly suggest investigating covertly and figuring out what this new thing in her life (that she IS NOT going to reveal to you) is. And it probably IS another person because that is about the only thing that can't happen within the boundaries of monogamy.

If you do search and find, do not confront her until you've thoroughly found out what you can, be it another person or something else. And STOP accepting the blame for her decision, separation is not what you want, be clear on that.
 

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I'd still investigate if there isn't another man involved here. Wives suddenly awakening and bringing out all the wrongs you've done more often than not means there is a third person in your marriage.

Do not ask her if there is, if there is she has already chosen to keep it hidden, so asking her is just plain stupid.

You need to investigate - try the usual voice activated recorder in her car/where she might use her phone during the day at home.

I'd also suggest a keylogger on the PC if she uses that - things like FB and email.

No one goes from happy - to this has always been h3ll without some motivation for that kind of change. Unfortunately for many marriages it turns out that motivation was coming from a new relationship on the side.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Lon, I was checked out until this F***ng serious wake-up call. probobly not as much as her, but still. every morning, and eve after work, just the sight of her would make me just a grumpy a$$. I'd avoid eye contact, and genrally show little respect. I was very conscious of not being directly mean, but still. no good. at all. would yawn when she woudl try to talk about her feelings with me- standard jacka$$ stuff stemming from un-resolved resentments. I completely regret it all. but we both have some big resentments from unresolved issues, and she has obviously not been a cup of tea either. totally subconscious, until the wake-up call.

I appreciate all the calls about infidelity. y'all are trying look out for a guy in a hard spot, and that;s the most obvious, easy answer.
I don't think I want to stoop so low as to snoop. It just does not feel right. My radar is on high alert, however, after all your calls, and reading other posts on TAM.

It is sudden, and out of the blue, but not. as I said, we've been checked out. I've been fantasizing about divorce my self for a while- but just fantasizing. the kids and my dreams of relationship improvement kept me in check.

today was a hard day- as you might imagine. I think she thought this would be easy considering how poor our relationship has been lately. not big fights, but just no connections, and as I said, I've been jerk, and she too.

well, we will continue to talk at nite, and hopefully get somewhere. either closure, or reconciliation. at least we can talk now! ironic.
 

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blindsided, I think I understand, to clarify what I mean when I say "checked out" and later found out that all women seem to universally understand, is that they are done and have no intentions of returning, as in checking out of a hotel. Sounds to me like you were just on autopilot, and not really participating. There is a diff, one (the latter) means resentment, the other (former) means no chance of reconciliation.

Now as to her infidelity, unless you "snoop" (which is aka "protecting the marriage from impending doom") you just may find out what "blindsided" REALLY means.

Honestly, in my experience and from what I've seen, you almost should wish there is an affair so that you can blow it up and take some kind of action, because if she is just a walkaway there is nothing you can do to shake things up.

Your best bet either way (after exposing an affair if you find out about one) is the 180, which is basically becoming emotionless to her and leaving her completely to her own just as she is asking, so that you are free to use your energies to improve your own life instead of wasting them on an unappreciative spouse. If you were as lousy as husband as you say you were it will be easy, if you find it hard to 180 well then you weren't ever really checked out and you were a lot more faithful spouse than you give yourself credit for.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
holy crap- I just wrote a very long and cathartic reply for the past hour, and the freaking brouser lost connection and erased it. *frustrated*!!

well, I'll elaborate later, but for now, Lon, thanks for the input. Yes, I was using the term checked out to mean extreme resentment, fantasizing about divorce. for her, it remains to be seen.

the 180 sounds interesting- for our relationship, 180=loving caring people. I am actually trying to be that way while acknowledging her needs for space too.

we had a good talk last nite- i;ll detail more later.

I've been focusing on myself a bit- hair cut, new clothes, time alone with the kids.

day by day.
 

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...I've been focusing on myself a bit- hair cut, new clothes, time alone with the kids.

day by day.
Good! this is the best thing for you either way, you need to heal yourself and love yourself before you can love others. Taking care of yourself is the primary thing for you right now.

That sucks when your writing is just discarded by technology like that. Not much more frustrating especially when you've just poured your heart out through your fingertips.

As to doing more, showing her more love more, many people advocate that this is the way, some other site (divorce busters??) calls this Plan 'A', and the 180 Plan 'B'. Most of us betrayed on this site will advocate Plan 'B' when your shows of appreciation are voided by a spouse who still wants to leave despite. But no matter what anyone says, the thing you need to do is always what you believe you need to do, so certainly no judgements from me, after all neither plan A or B worked out for me (though I didn't follow the book, just my intuition). But I have known a few on here over time who've managed to get into reconciliation mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hi Lon, thanks for the affirmation! yes, I'm feeling better about myself than I have in years. I'm scared, but also very hopeful.

regarding the infidelity thing, I strongly doubt it, based on 3 things:
1. I know her character. I know, most ppl don't suspect an affair until too late, so this one does not hold much weight presently.
2. We have been very busy with young kids, and pretty much have done everything together as a family until last week. she doesn;t really have time (at least for a physical affair- emotional, maybe. )
3. I've looked at the the cell phone bill (family plan) and no strange phone#s. there are some texts to # that I don't know, but not a ton, not a ton to 1 particular, and none at inappropriate hours. She does FB text with ber brother, who is getting the divorce.

I am considering a straight forward approach. I want to ask her directly to show me her texts, and FB stuff. to explain that I don't suspect, but I need to be sure.

anyone think that is a mistake? not sure I will do it today, but that's is where I am leaning within the near future. or maybe wait until within the safety of MC session?

take care, everyone.
 

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Don't ask her to see evidence unless there is something glaring that you know about and are testing her reaction.

You may have thought you knew her character, but did you foresee her ending the marriage? When they check out it all changes, their character no longer fits what you think, trust me its the hardest thing to accept in cases of infidelity, it is completely bewildering.

I'm not saying presume affair though, I'm just saying prepare for the worst so you can take control of your own life... MC may not automatically be a safe place either, don't presume that you are getting the full disclosure whatever it may be, usually when one wants to end it and has been unsuccessful at really explaining why they are most likely going to be defensive and not readily transparent, use MC as a place for you to get the confusing and painful stuff in the open where you have a hopefully unbiased and reasoning witness and mediator to help sort through it and allow you to have some type of communication... good luck BD
 

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Discussion Starter #14
here's another quandry:
wife's brother is going thru a messy divorce out of the country. Bro/dad have at best a very rough relationship. dad wants to visit, bro says only if she (my wife/ his sis) can go too.

wife asked me if I could take a week of my vacation time to stay home and watch the kids. I've been *aching* to go back home for a couple weeks using my vaca time, havn't been able return in 3 years. I talked to my boss, I could likely just take the extra time considering my predicament, but... i'd feel bad about that.

As a husband, I'd support her in this family crisis. As the dude being separated from, not sure I want to do any favors like that. but then again, the brother is in a very rough spot, much worse than what I am (so far). I sympathize with him, and my wife's worries. and I don't want to be punitive here. I've got passive aggressive tendencies.

opinions?
 

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The asking to see cell/text at MC is a good idea, if/when she refuses the request, the MC and help control the back lash you will get from your wife.
Plus it will be good to have the MC help you guage her responce to your request.
Also sit close to her, she may start to delete like crazy before she hands it to you, sitting close will be able to see what she is doing to the phone.
 

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guy, good point. MC would help gauge reactions, which may be more important than evidence.

In some ways, at this point, I don't fully trust my judgement- as we tend to see what we want to see!
 

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Please, please, please keep the snooping and P.I. work off the radar. If she isn't having the EA and she is just the woman who is tired of being in what she feels is a dead marriage I would honestly think you seeking what she is not doing would be the last thing needed to push her out the door.

I think you have a chance. She isn't out the door. She is saying that she will see a MC even though she thinks it is going to be an epic fail. If you didn't have a chance nothing would keep her in that house. That is my honest opinion. I most certainly hope her family is not all for this pending divorce she is talking about. That would make it harder but it is not impossible.

You got blind sided but you also got a wake up call. It sounds to me like both of you need one and if she isn't going to have that epiphany of self discovery like you it is fair to say that a MC will help you both identify what is wrong and fix it. Fixing it takes work. To me you have to exit a marriage knowing you came, you give it your all and you leave knowing you couldn't of done anything better to fix it. If she never gets to that point with you? You will still know you got there. You delivered.

Kids are such an incredible addition to a marriage. They bring so much joy, love and laughter to our lives...so much so sometimes we forget that our relationship takes just as much nurturing. If you don't give it the time you give your kids it will wilt, shrivel up and die. Some of us don't get that until it is way too late...but you have a chance. It may not be ideal but take it...the blinders are off now you know?
 

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I'm a big fan in snooping, I also believe her reaction to the request to spontainisly ask fo her phone can be palyed off as in such a way that that your W won't go deeper underground.

If this is just a EA it would be could to stop it now, but if it is a PA then the addiction is even stronger and you can still get the evidence, it will just take longer.

So; ask for the phone at MC and risk it going deeper underground or hold off and continue to investigate and risk it going to a PA.

My thinking is her response will validate more costly investigation or you get some admission and start to take the steps to work on her infidelity issues.

It can play out were she just gives up and hands you the phone and you can start to work on the reality of it all.

It can play out were she tells you and the MC to pound sand and walks off, confirming that a more expensive and lengthy approach is needed to get the smoking gun that might get her to admit her problem, but deniel is strong and even with video she could deny.

Or it could work out to all be a dead end....even then she may have covered her tracks or there are no tracks at all.
 

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its all a risk, in my case my 1st confrontation was nothing but denial. My 2nd was with text and photo, at best if my fWW want to deny it could have been pluaseable that it was just an EA with inappropreaite behavior. But it was enough for her to "just give up" and admit to more then I had.

Thats one of the best tools to have, is being able to work the angle in getting wayward to believe you have more then you really do have.
 
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