Hopelessness & no clear way out
I started out in this relationship for the wrong reasons, we were expecting a child. Then when everything in me told me not to stay, I staid, & to make it worse I married her out of guilt and a sense of responsibility.
We were married even though I knew I wasn’t happy I couldn’t bring myself to leave that child & to have her grow up in a broken home from the start, or at least that was my frame of mind at the time. To add to fire we would up having another child , at this point we have two beautiful girls.
I can’t say that it was all bad, I grew to love her as the mother of my children and there were some happy times, but even though GOD knows I have tried I just never could & still can not get my heart to fall in love with her.
We struggled through years of marriage putting on a show for each other mostly pretending that we were happily married, one big happy family, or at least I was putting on the best show I could. I worked over 80 hours a week. Looking back I think it was a way, or excuse, for me not to go home, and when I did I went straight to bed then got up and started all over again the same day after day.
Fast forward 21 years and here we are. My girls are grown now. One 21, obviously, the other 17 about to turn 18. I have struggled so much with this. I think my wife truly is in love with me, but I can’t make myself fall in love with her. I’m now about to turn 51 years old and I feel like I’m dying inside. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. My wife doesn’t want to drive, so she will not get her drivers license renewed and she hasn’t worked or had to since we had our first child. How do I tell her that hood is just not good enough. How do I tell her that she’s done nothing wrong my heart is just not there. How do I tell her that I love her as the mother of my children & the person she is, but I will never be in love with her. Also, how do I keep from crushing her heart, and keep from crushing my two girls in the process?
My wife is 7 years older than me so you can do the math on that one. It was never actually a problem as far as the age gap goes we just didn’t have much at all in common except our girls. It is tearing me apart not wanting to hurt her, but by staying I’m killing myself.
I know I should have never staid this long and the longer I stay the harder it gets & the more it will hurt. I don’t hate her, I’m not mad at her, I wish her nothing but the very best. I just see my life wasting & slipping more & more away & the hourglass never stops.
I’m hopelessly torn, hopelessly desperate, and hopelessly confused, what do I do, what can I do, what should I do, how do I move on??
Sounds to me like you are making excuses to justify an immoral desire to leave. A man does not stay married for 21 years and have 2 children with a woman that he doesn't "love".
Maybe you are confused by the word love. A lot of folks are. Love is NOT an emotion, nor a surge of feel good endorphins/hormones that come with new relationships.
Love is an action word. That is why in traditional marriage vows, it is "promise to love". You can't promise to have an emotion or a feeling. But you can promise to behave in a certain manner. Again love is an action, it is treating your spouse right, putting your spouse before yourself, and not leaving your spouse for trivial reasons.
Quite frankly, you may be going through a midlife crisis. Take a step back, and sort things out properly. Maybe see a therapist, if you think it will help.
I agree - this is one for a counsellor. He or she can explain how to stay and improve, or leave like a caring gentleman, as well as walk you through it.
Plus, HopelesslyTorn, once the kids fly the nest, everything changes and the harmony and romance tends to automatically creep back in (or begin!).
It's weird, but, having kids can tear you apart AND bring you back together.
I guess I'll be something of an outlier here-
I don't know anything about whether you can love her again. I will say, as a woman, *refusing to drive* and being totally unwilling to work now that the children are grown seems a little selfish. It kind of sounds like you have the responsibility of doing everything and she just sits around at home? I KNOW it wasn't that simple when the children were young, but now what? I know of a [very] few people who were full-time parents, but they taxied their children around, and were active in their communities and >> did things outside the home once the children were grown (political stuff, volunteer stuff, *getting a job*)
If you're feeling that you have to be her whole life, that's not right or fair to you. I don't know what you make, but I imagine your wife even having a part-time job would provide some money to help the two of you enjoy some extra things in the next 10- 20- 30 years. That would probably involve driving.
I don't blame you for feeling sad or trapped. It looks to me like your wife is taking advantage of you. There are things she could do now to take some of the financial burden from you, to engage herself in the larger community, to have interests other than, frankly, sitting on her behind waiting for you to come home and entertain her.
I don't think divorce is the first choice. I think if some of these issues were dealt with, you may think differently about spending the next twenty years with her.
I wish there was a way to edit our answers:
I understand *not wanting* to drive. 20-some years ago I had a terrible accident, 100% my fault, totaled a car, fortunately no one seriously hurt. I beat myself up for it for weeks. Two things happened: the woman who processed the rental car assured me that accidents happen and that I wasn't the stupidest human alive for having this one. The other was when I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and I said to my husband, "I don't want to drive any more." I just had to say it out loud. And he said, "We live in Maine honey. You have to drive." And I got up the next day and did. And every day after, too. I know people who live or have lived in large cities with lots of mass transit resources live without driving for decades. If that's not your wife's situation, I take her refusal as something akin to manipulation to make you more obligated toward her. Not nice.
To the OP:
You are not alone.
I have been married for over 40 years.
My wife refuses to drive. Has NEVER had a license.
Our physical intimacy stopped when my children were quite young--over 35 years ago. No, I have NEVER cheated--at all.
She refuses to learn about basic computer skills.
She also refuses to go to counseling. Not even once.
She took primary responsibility for raising our children while I was not there.
She takes care of the house.
She takes care of ME when I am sick.
I do love her...and I realize that the pain caused by me leaving would be far out of proportion to whatever satisfaction I might get in the short term.
I would instantly lose the respect of both of my children as well.
You're in it for the long haul. You feel trapped and unappreciated; I know. But know that you are NOT alone.