I’ll be 50 next year and I’ve been married for 25 years, but for most of that time I’ve been desperately unhappy. I care about my wife and I love her as a friend, but I’m not in love with her and I’m not sure I ever was.
We were pretty young when we got married (24) and I just kind of found myself walking down the aisle and hoping for the best.
I know she doesn’t feel the way I do – she’s in love with me and wants our relationship to work. She obviously knows how miserable I am, but her desperation to cling on to this marriage makes me want out even more.
We’ve argued a lot over divorcing and every time I bring it up, she screams, cries and begs me not to leave her. It’s horrible.
We lead pretty much separate lives and, when we are together at home, we barely talk. Sex is almost non-existent and that’s because I don’t want to do it. It feels dishonest because I don’t want to be intimate with her.
I’ve started planning to move out and I’ve told a couple of good friends, but I don’t know how I’m going to deliver this news to my wife.
Both our children are away studying and I’m sure they would be happier if we split up because it’s obvious things are awful – my daughter has said as much.
I’d appreciate any advice you can give me about this predicament.
It’s a sad situation and I can empathise with both of you.
It’s clear you care about her or you would have walked out a long time ago, and I think a sense of responsibility for her feelings is what’s been keeping you in the marriage. However, you can’t stay with someone simply because you feel sorry for them.
You’re desperately unhappy and, although she may want to cling on to this marriage, she can’t be happy either because she knows you want out of it.
I’d be lying if I said there was an easy way to do this. I think she’ll be very upset and it’ll be painful, but ultimately it’s the right thing to do.
You’re both still young enough to create a fulfilling and happy life either on your own or with new partners.
I think it would be a good idea to talk to your children and other close friends and family to ensure your wife has lots of support when you leave.
And since you care, I reckon you’ll make that transition as easy for her as you can.
You never know, once the initial heartbreak is over you might be able to be friends and even enjoy a better relationship as parents.
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