19 Years - Time to Leave?
My wife and I have been married for 19 years. I am 46, and she is 40. We have two kids, a 16 year old son and a 13 year old daughter. Our son is graduating high school this year and has already completed 2 years of college completed. He will go to college next year away from home. Daughter will start high school next year.
Wife had an affair 13 years ago, and we worked things out...but we never worked through things. She is a fantastic mother, but every bit of energy is focused on the kids (who are quite capable and very bright). She watches a small disabled child in the mornings and afternoons, but probably spends more money on the child that what she is paid. She refuses to get involved in our finances and just expects the debit card to work when she swipes it.
No sex in over a year, and very rarely over the past 10 years. She has body image issues...thinks she is fat, but she is 6 feet tall and 145 pounds. She is objectively very fit and attractive. She pulls away anytime I try to initiate physical contact. She never initiates physical contact. When I say "I love you" she never reciprocates, though she used to before we had kids.
I am frustrated that she refuses to finish her education so she can pursue a career. She is so wrapped-up with everyone else that I am never a priority. In the 16+ years since our son was born, we have never gone on a date (except for an occasional lunch in-between appointments at school, etc.). We have never gone away together by ourselves overnight.
She refuses my requests to see a counselor. I am lonely and sad, and I am fed up with being a meal ticket and a roommate.
Is it time to leave? She refuses to even engage in a discussion on any of these issues. She deals with things by locking them in a box and throwing away the key. She used to be very close to her father in Germany, but her stepmother came between their relationship and she stopped communicating with him about ten years ago. Just like that, she acts as if he doesn't exist.
She has a very ebbulient personality, and it's almost like she is living in a fantasy world. She wants to go to the beach (we live in the Midwest) and lay in the sun and watch sunsets and pretend like the world is perfect.
My son and I have been traveling a lot (he is going to school remotely), and he and I are very close. She is very protective of our daughter, and I don't feel like I can develop a meaningful relationship with her. My son hugs me and says "I love you" but my daughter is very guarded. It seems like she is taking cues from mom...though she is less guarded when mom is not around.
So sad and frustrated. I texted my wife 24 hours ago expressing concerns and asking her to tell me what she wants. I expressed that I am at the point of throwing in the towel because I can't keep living like this. I want someone to care for me and love me. I still care for my wife, and I love her. I asked if she even loves me or cares for me. So far, she hasn't responded to my text message. I resorted to texting because she never would have let me unload over the phone or in a conversation.
Seems to me like we may be at the end of the road. Thoughts?
Really evaluate your relationship. If you decide to split, she will most likely get the children and you will end up continuing to give her money anyways.
Is losing full access to your children and still having to pay child support an acceptable outcome for you?
Also if you decide to stick together, but have to curb her spending then set her up with her own debit card and an "allowance". Might teach her some fiscal responsibility.
There are a lot of problems at play here, but already gave a step in the right direction. You asked her to go to counseling and she said no.
A lot of things should be addressed. First she had an affair, this can usually tell there's something wrong on the relationship. And this goes both sides.
Not offering to work, or go on with her life is also something that shouldn't be accepted for her own well being.
No sex in the relationship.. and no sexual attraction means that what was there was also gone.
To me this relationship should be over 13 years ago.
Trust me, the moment you step out of that relationship she will have to step out of the shell she created for herself, and this isn't a bad thing.
Your kids aren't that small and everyone deserves happiness.
Plan a vacation for just you two for where her fantasy place is - somewhere warm and on the beach.
If she doesn’t respond to this invitation then insist that you go both go to counseling or you go by yourself. You are going to have to learn how to disengage from this marriage, since you have children.
PS don’t worry about how your daughter is distancing herself from you. This is somewhat normal because she needs to push you away so she can have relationships with young men later. However if this is an extreme push away from her then you two need to go to counseling.