Trial separation after 22 years of marriage
After 22 years of marriage my husband decided he needs to 'move on'. We are currently in a trail separation that will end in a month. Prior to him leaving, he had an emotional affair and managed to completely detach from me and is now looking at our history as 'something that happened' rather than something that binds us together. My oldest moved out last year, which through both of us into a bit of a tailspin trying to figure out how to find our place again. I started menopause and was in a bad personal place for a few months. H took that all personally and decided to take his own space - which I gladly gave him thinking he just needed the same thing i did - some time to find himself again. What i didn't know in those 5 months he had already decided our relationship was over - just didn't tell me this. Went on as normal and then one day said he wasn't 'in love' with me anymore and felt he was missing out on something in life. This resulted in me 'giving him space' in our home where he treated me like a fly on the wall - would not look me in the eye or talk to me AT ALL. Would not tell me why he wanted to end our marriage after 22 years other than saying he was sick of me 'shutting him out'. I know this screams midlife crisis - I have done alot of research on this. 2 years ago he married me again in front of all our friends and family. This is not the person i married.
So we have been seeing eachother every week for coffee at his request. He still does not want to talk about our relationship at all. He hugs me at the end of our coffee. He texts me during the week. My heart feels like it is in a vice and he has control of the grip. I want to save my marriage - I love my husband still. I have stepped up and gone to counselling on my own (he will not go with me) and read about 50 books on relationships, sex, love, etc. I have made a super effort to change myself and become a better person to be married to.
With one month left for our trial - I dont see any progress from him at all. Other than now he looks me in the eye when he talks to me. The problem is I dont know what his motive is - to try to reconnect? To try to placate me into being friends? To be nice to make the divorce proceedings better? What I do know is that I have given myself permission to let him go at the end of this trial. I cannot be his friend - my health has suffered greatly over this. So my question is: Should I tell him this now before our trial is over? Or should I just wait to see what happens and if he decides he does in fact want to move on I will tell him then? My H mother thinks I should tell him now because he's probably thinking he will have the best of both worlds because I am still his friend now and kind to him. Meanwhile I am falling apart inside because my whole future is gone.
Thank you for reading this.
Hi there. In similar circumstances myself after 25 years together. It's heartbreaking...
I have been from all in to folding, and everything in between. We're two years into this process and only now am I able to find some clarity of my own.
I have some questions for you:
1) What do you want from this man? As a husband, friend, and fellow human being?
2) Whatever it is you do want, is there any hope you'll ever get it from him willingly, without wondering about his motives?
3) What do you want more (and less) of in your own life? Put aside your marriage and the history of what was and concentrate on you as an individual. What do you want today, and tomorrow?
Of all the things I've learned over the last two years, thus is what I'm finding most important. I can't make anyone feel or want anything. Nor should I have to. I deserve to be happy, on my own terms. If I want to be with anyone else, including my husband, I need to love myself, and them, exactly as is. Anything else is a recipe for more heartache.
If you're unhappy or unfulfilled now, as friends, then I believe it's well past time for you to stop concerning yourself with what he wants. If you want more than he's willing or able to give, then why are you allowing him to string you along with nothing more than conversation over coffee? Stand up for yourself, and stopped pretending he's the only one allowed to set the terms of your relationship.
I'm happy you're taking the time and effort to work on yourself. I've been doing the same, and am finding it to be a far better investment than waiting for anyone else to pay me the attention I need, and deserve.
Hope you find something useful in what I've shared. My heart goes out to you. Reevaluating our lives, and the people we choose to decorate it with, is a painful but necessary and rewarding process. Ficus on yourself, and whatever the result, it will be the happier and healthier one in the long run. Hugs and hope to you. <3
Thanks for your response it means a lot.
1. I want my best friend and life partner back. I wanted to grow old with this man.
2. I have no idea. He doesn't talk to me and sends me mixed messages so that makes it more difficult
3. Aside from my marriage, I have everything going for me in my life. It is full of good friends, good career, and close relationship with my kids. I believe so strongly in the vows of marriage. I would never do this to anyone, let alone my H of 22 years without at least giving it my all for a year. Then, if things still didn't come back or get better - I would give up gracefully. But this does not make sense to me - it goes against everything I believe in about marriage and being a life partner. So that is why it is so hard for me. Because while he seemed to be able to walk away from his promise of better or worse with me (which he just made again 2 years ago in a heartfelt ceremony) I can still see our past clearly and there was so much love there. I can articulate that love is something you give sometimes when you dont really want to - because you know the investment will be worth it.
The reason I cannot be his friend is because it just tortures me to see him. I still listen for his vehicle every day. I still open my eyes in bed at night and expect to see him laying there. I just cant see myself getting over him and being able to move on with my life if he is still around and expects to come by the house and do chores. Plus - shouldn't there be some consequence for his behavior towards me? I have never felt grief like this.
What I want to know is should I tell him this now? Or wait to see if he does end our relationship officially in a month? What I am afraid of is that if I tell him now that we will not be friends should we split - he will see this a pressure to reconcile. Which I guess it maybe is, but for me it is setting a boundary that I cant take this anymore.
mamabear: have you been separated for 2 years? Are you still trying to work it out after this long?
I understand where you're coming from... And it is incredibly difficult to honor your vows AND yourself. We haven't been officially separated for two years, but his work has taken him all over the country and we've been apart more than together. I moved out last month, for my own sanity. I too struggle daily with having him with so many limits, especially since all I want is the opposite of that. I want his whole heart, WITHOUT conditions or limits. I don't know if I can love him in parts. Every time we see each other, it only reminds me of what could be. I'm finally accepting reality though. The greater the potential, the harder it is to let go. But unrealized potential is worse than no potential at all. At least for me. Only you can know what you're willing to live with, and without.
Has your husband given you any solid indication of what he wants?? Does he want to stay married, and work toward greater connection and intimacy? If that's what he wants, and just needs time to sort his own heart out so he can share it with you without reservation, then I think you're right to give it more time. But if his ultimate goal is something different, it's unfair for him to leave you twisting in the wind...
Self care is not selfish. If the current situation is unbearable for you, it's up to you to change it. Have you asked him what he wants from you? Today, and in the future?