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Should we Separate?!?

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  • #414366
    Dave
    Participant

    Hello all,

     

    First time posting and new to the forum so please go easy.

     

    I have been married for 14 years now to my wife, we have 3 beautiful children who are amazing and challenging at the same time.

     

    My wife and I met whilst I was on a lads holiday in my early 20’s, I had just broken up from a relationship and wanted some space and arranged to go away with the lads for a week to Spain. I am an only child and my parents are still together in what I can only describe as a relationship that they have just allowed to rumble on when its clear that neither are happy. My dad works full time and provides for the home and my mum works part time, (I am sharing this bit for some context) they don’t go out or have a social circle and my dad from the second he gets up just sits in the same chair day in day out and watches TV whilst living a “yes dear” life.

     

    When I met my now wife I was consumed with a wave of emotions that I had never felt before and even though I was on holiday when I met her, I immediately called my best friend and told him I’d met the woman I am going to marry. I lived initially 60 miles away from her which was a challenge and we started dating and I moved in with her and continued to commute back and forth to my job. It was tough I was inexperienced in living independently and she had already done it for a number of years and just seemed to have her sh!t together. We split very briefly after only a few weeks living together as it was just too much for me and her expectations regarding things in the house and bills etc I just wasn’t ready for, having spend most my life basically having my a$$ wiped for me living with my parents.

     

    I wanted the relationship to work and so did she so I threw myself into being a partner and working on being a couple and living together, everything was great and I was happy – I proposed 6 months later and we both agreed that we wanted children and when we got married I cried saying my vows and couldn’t believe my luck that this beautiful wonderful women who seemed all together perfect wanted to be with me and forge a life together. We had 2 children within 3 years of being married and at one point, we had 2 boys under the age of 2 both in nappies with challenging needs and this became very stressful. I have always worked in sales orientated positions and earn good money but have changed jobs frequently which causes stress in the situation and relationship but she works part time in a great job she loves and has been doing since before we met.

     

    At this point things, although stressful were great. We always took trips and holidays together and spent quality time with our children. It just worked and so many of our friends comment and say how great a couple we are… 3 years ago we had another (unexpected) child and our lives were turned upside down again and the boys were 9 and 8 at the time and before finding out about the pregnancy we were starting to rediscover our initial relationship and having a better balance of being able to do things as a family as well as having time separately.

     

    I love my wife dearly but I relish the intimacy and closeness of being in a loving relationship and I had to knock her back at the beginning as she always seemed to want me and be close, craving me and my attention. Now everything is soo different and I come home from work and perhaps speak about her day briefly whilst chaos around us ensues. 2 pre-teens and a challenging 3 year old mean that we have such a slim amount of time alone together and if we argue or disagree it difficult to resolve anything as there is maybe an hour between the children all being asleep and me and my wife also wanting to go to bed! She seems to have all the energy, warmth and excitement to great the children and cuddle with them and be affectionate but there is nothing it seems for me.

     

    She just seems cold towards me and distant, I have some idea why as I have not been a saint in all of this. I like to party and go out with friends and work colleagues often coming home later than agreed, I can be lazy and she often compares me to my father which I find infuriating, a lot of the time I feel a deep seeded sadness within me that I cannot figure out where its from. I can also be quite short and dismissive of my children when I am pre-occupied with work or certain things – But I am a good person, never cheated or been abusive to my wife or children. To this day I find my wife very attractive and compliment her constantly, in bed regardless of potential sex I want to be close to her and every night roll and put my arms around her. This just feels very one way and the lack of intimacy and physical absence in our relationship is making me resent her.

     

    Before Xmas we discussed were we were and I highlighted my concerns above as she did with her feeling of my sarcasm and negativity, we both agreed to get through Xmas and discuss further at the end of January. Its all come to a point now where I believe that our relationship is very much about the children and how we feel about each other never seems to be addressed… I have come to a point where I now feel I don’t want to make an effort physically with her as I don’t want to be rebuffed or feel shunned any more and she confirmed my worst fear that she has felt we are just too different but she feels trapped. She said this because her feelings are based on keeping our family together and being with me feels better that being without me although when together she doesn’t actually feel happy.

     

    Although tough to hear from her this way I at least know where she is, I really don’t want to get divorced but can’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel and neither can she – we haven’t fallen out or anything just had a really open conversation. My conflict is this – do I stay in the relationship and sacrifice my own happiness and continue to almost avoid each other whilst putting on a brave face or do we agree to a separation and some time to thoroughly examine where we both are?

     

    I just don’t know – Any help or advice is greatly appreciated

    Dave

    #414372
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Dave!

    Welcome! It is brave of you to seek advice about your relationship. It tells me that you genuinely care. You were very honest about the difficulties in your relationship.

    I hear your feelings about the one sided intimacy. Intimacy I feel is a very important part of a relationship.

    I have a question. If you had a small chance to work on the relationship and repair it would you? Bearing in mind that it is a long challenging process. Is this something that your wife would be interested in?

    I don’t think that things should stay the same, that would mean living an unhappy life. But what if there was a chance that you could find a way to work together and both be happy?

     

     

    #414382
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You shared that when you met the woman you married, you were in your early 20s, on a lads holiday in Spain, but otherwise, living at home with your parents. During the holiday, you were “consumed with a wave of emotions“, and immediately called your best friend and told him: “I’d met the woman I am going to marry“. You moved in with her, separated briefly because you were not experienced living independently, and “her expectations regarding things in the house and bills etc.” burdened you. The two of you got back together, you proposed 6 months later, very happy, and had 2 children within 3 years of being married. Following the 2nd child, the two of you were “starting to rediscover our initial relationship“, but then you had a 3rd, unexpected child,  eight years after the second.

    Currently, you have 2 pre-teens and a 3 year-old, and the relationship with your wife is unhappy and very limited: “She just seems cold towards me and distant… our relationship is very much about the children and how we feel about each other never seems to be addressed… and she confirmed my worst fear that she has felt we are just too different but she feels trapped. She said this because her feelings are based on keeping our family together and being with me feels better than being without me, although when together she doesn’t actually feel happy“.

    “My dad works full time and provides for the home and my mum works part time.. they don’t go out or have a social circle and my dad from the second he gets up just sits in the same chair day in day out and watches TV whilst living a ‘yes dear’ life… she often compares me to my father which I find infuriating“-

    – you find the comparison infuriating, I gather, because you hate the idea of being like your father. So, you made sure you were different from him: he sits in the same chair day in and day out, but you “like to party and go out with friends and work colleagues, often coming home later than agreed“. He is a “yes dear” kind of man, but you are not: you return home from partying later than you agreed to, and you express to her “sarcasm and negativity“.

    A lot of the time I feel a deep seeded sadness within me that I cannot figure out where it’s from“- is your sadness about watching your father being a “yes dear” kind of a man, feeling sorry for him, wishing he was a sometimes No Dear kind of man, his own man?

    I will wait for your response to what I wrote here, and if you do respond, I will be glad to reply further.

    anita

    #414417
    Dave
    Participant

    @Helcat

    Thank for the note in response, I absolutely would work on the relationship and try to repair it. I’m just not sure that’s what she wants that, we spoke further about this yesterday and it appears that she just doesn’t have the energy to make more of an effort. There is more context to this which I will also detail below

    #414418
    Dave
    Participant

    @anita

    Yes I find the comparison extremely infuriating as I don’t view myself in that way, friend and social interaction are important to me. My sadness is not that my father is the way that he is but that I appear to be giving off a similar impression to my wife. My dad lives 60 miles away and is who he is, and its not particularly something I think about too often. Only when she draws the comparison, and admittedly I have times where I can be lazy, unmotivated and this is likely why she uses this example.

     

    To add some further depth to the situation, we spoke further at length yesterday about our situation and my pain in the above summary. Her thoughts and feelings I can understand in some way, she feels that I can be lazy, sarcastic, unmotivated and show a general lack of initiative, almost like I have given up making an effort to keep the excitement and passion in our relationship. For this reason she explains it is difficult to connect with me and me affectionate and intimate. Like if I am not make an effort to remove some of her feelings above then when would she want to be close or intimate with me.

     

    I totally get it and can see her side, I know I haven’t been a good enough partner and she does lead on most things in terms of planning and organizing. I always say that’s just not my thing, and your really good at that part where as for me it causes me stress and anxiety. This isn’t fair to her really I see that after our chat last night!

     

    Most of the time it feels like a catch 22, I have to change things to draw her closer to me. I also feel that I would make more of an effort to do that if the closeness and affection was there in the 1<sup>st</sup> place, so I’m sort of stuck if you know what I mean.

     

    I really appreciate your thoughts and comments, look forward to hearing from you further

    #414419
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Dave

    I think that’s an important point she doesn’t have the energy to make more of an effort.

    You said she gives all of her energy to the children and she has nothing left afterwards.

    Does your wife do most of the housework too?

    You mentioned before your last child the relationship was recovering.

    Perhaps there is a practical solution. She might need more help with the housework and child care. If not you, can other help be arranged?

    #414420
    Dave
    Participant

    @Helcat,

    We share the household chores and I do more than my fair share around the house and with childcare etc, I would say its as close to 50/50 as you can get.

    Its the lack of initiative and sarcasm that she finds draining and she explains its really tough to remain positive and want to be close without passion and in her eyes the passion come through a drive to be a great person and someone who wants to get things done and also has a positive outlook on life.

    I just feel I am trying too hard to pull her towards me, when I should maybe be focusing on the things that are important to her and it might happen naturally.

    Right now we are at a crossroads, we both feel a break and trial separation would be best to take stock of the situation and whether we want to build the bond and work on the relationship or go our separate ways.

    The whole situation is just baffling to me in some ways as I have not done anything specifically major, like cheat or abuse or anything. More that our situation is a result of just growing frustrated with each other, “huffing” as I like to call it through life instead of working towards something that is deeper and long lasting.

    Hope this makes sense?

    #414422
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    I read your recent posts and re-read the previous. The following are quotes from what you shared and the thoughts that cross my mind in regard to the quotes. It doesn’t mean of course,  that my thoughts are accurate, complete and balanced: my objective is, with your help, to get to a better understanding of your situation, which you say is “baffling” to you. (With better understanding, you can figure out what’s best to do next).

    she often compares me to my father which I find infuriating…I find the comparison extremely infuriating as I don’t view myself in that way”- she often makes this comparison because she is often angry at you: she knows that making the comparison infuriated you before, and she wants to infuriate you yet again.

    The whole situation is just baffling to me… our situation is a result of just growing frustrated with each other, ‘huffing‘ as I like to call it through life”-  “huff: A <span class=”hvr”>fit</span> of <span class=”hvr”>anger</span> or <span class=”hvr”>annoyance” (the free dictionary). The anger in the marriage is on her side and on yours, at this point. But how did it start…?</span>

    “I was inexperienced in living independently, and she had already done it for a number of years, and just seemed to have her sh!t together… having spent most my life basically having my a$$ wiped for me living with my parents“-

    – it is possible that what triggered your intense emotions when you met her (“When I met my now wife I was consumed with a wave of emotions that I had never felt before… I immediately called my best friend and told him I’d met the woman I am going to marry”) was the image of her being that of an independent, strong woman: one who you can rely on, one who will take care of things.

    “I can be lazy and she often compares me to my father which I find infuriating… and admittedly I have times where I can be lazy, unmotivated… she feels that I can be lazy, sarcastic, unmotivated and show a general lack of initiativeshe does lead on most things in terms of planning and organizing. I always say that’s just not my thing, and you’re really good at that part, whereas for me it causes me stress and anxiety”-

    – she leads on most things in terms of planning and organizing but she is angry about it. She figuratively points her finger at you and calls you: Lazy! Unmotivated!.. Follower (not an initiator)… Unacceptable!

    If she pointed her finger at you first, and you reacted with sarcasm, then her anger came first.

    “<b>We share the household chores and I do more than my fair share around the house and with childcare etc., I would say it’s as close to 50/50 as you can get</b>… It’s the lack of initiative and sarcasm that she finds draining, and she explains it’s really tough to remain positive and want to be close without passion, and in her eyes the passion comes through a drive to be a great person and someone who wants to get things done and also has a positive outlook on life“-

    – you do more than your fair share around the house and with childcare, etc., but it’s not satisfactory to her. She would like a man who has “a drive to be a great person”, not.. you. She doesn’t think highly of you, does she?

    anita

     

     

    we spoke further at length yesterday about our situation and my pain in the above summary. Her thoughts and feelings I can understand in some way, she feels that I can be lazy, sarcastic, unmotivated and show a general lack of initiative, almost like I have given up making an effort to keep the excitement and passion in our relationship. For this reason she explains it is difficult to connect with me and me affectionate and intimate. Like if I am not make an effort to remove some of her feelings above then when would she want to be close or intimate with me. I totally get it and can see her side, I know I haven’t been a good enough partner and she does lead on most things in terms of planning and organizing. I always say that’s just not my thing, and you’re really good at that part where as for me it causes me stress and anxiety. This isn’t fair to her really I see that after our chat last night! Most of the time it feels like a catch 22, I have to change things to draw her closer to me. I also feel that I would make more of an effort to do that if the closeness and affection was there in the  place, so I’m sort of stuck if you know what I mean…

    We share the household chores and I do more than my fair share around the house and with childcare etc, I would say its as close to 50/50 as you can get.

     

     

    #414423
    anita
    Participant

    I forgot to edit out the part in the post above below my name, please ignore it.

    #414428
    anita
    Participant

    I want to edit and re-submit my today’s reply so to make it clearer:

    Dear Dave:

    I read your recent posts and re-read the previous. The following are quotes from what you shared, and the thoughts that cross my mind in regard to the quotes. It doesn’t mean of course,  that my thoughts are accurate, complete and balanced: my objective is, with your help, to get to a better understanding of your situation, which you say is “baffling” to you. With better understanding, you can figure out what’s best to do next:

    She often compares me to my father which I find infuriating…I find the comparison extremely infuriating as I don’t view myself in that way”- she often makes this comparison because she is often angry at you: she knows that making the comparison infuriated you before, and she wants to infuriate you yet again.

    The whole situation is just baffling to me… our situation is a result of just growing frustrated with each other, ‘huffing‘ as I like to call it through life”-  “huff: anger, annoyance” (the free dictionary). The anger in the marriage is on her side and on yours, at this point. But how did it start…?

    “I was inexperienced in living independently, and she had already done it for a number of years, and just seemed to have her sh!t together… having spent most my life basically having my a$$ wiped for me living with my parents“-

    – it is possible that what triggered your intense emotions when you met her (“When I met my now wife I was consumed with a wave of emotions that I had never felt before… I immediately called my best friend and told him I’d met the woman I am going to marry”) was the image of her being that of an independent, strong woman: one who you can rely on, one who will take care of things.

    “I can be lazy and she often compares me to my father which I find infuriating… and admittedly I have times where I can be lazyunmotivated… she feels that I can be lazy, sarcastic, unmotivated and show a general lack of initiative… she does lead on most things in terms of planning and organizing. I always say that’s just not my thing, and you’re really good at that part, whereas for me it causes me stress and anxiety”-

    – she leads on most things in terms of planning and organizing but she is angry about it. She figuratively points her finger at you and calls you: Lazy! Unmotivated!.. Follower (not an initiator)… Unacceptable!

    If she pointed her finger at you first, and you react with sarcasm, then her anger is first.

    “We share the household chores and I do more than my fair share around the house and with childcare etc., I would say it’s as close to 50/50 as you can get… It’s the lack of initiative and sarcasm that she finds draining, and she explains it’s really tough to remain positive and want to be close without passion, and in her eyes the passion comes through a drive to be a great person and someone who wants to get things done and also has a positive outlook on life“-

    – you do more than your fair share around the house and with childcare, etc., but it’s not satisfactory to her. She would like a man who has “a drive to be a great person”, not.. you. She doesn’t think highly of you, does she?

    anita

     

    #414433
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Dave

    It’s good to hear that you’re 50/50 on the chores and housework.

    This is a welcome surprise since you were so hard on yourself earlier when you were calling yourself lazy and suggested that you spend a lot of time socialising after work.

    The thing is that your wife has given birth three times and she isn’t as young as she used to be. Even though you are doing 50/50 on chores and child care. Your family might benefit from some extra help. Three year olds are exhausting and you said yourself you have no time together. If you hire a baby sitter and take some time to go out together. That could be a welcome break and allow you both a chance to be a couple again.

    You are still the same person she has always loved. Perhaps having another young child has put a huge amount of strain on your relationship?

     

    #414513
    Dave
    Participant

    Hi Helcat.

    Apologies for the delay I have been working away.

    Having a 3 yr old certainly keeps us on our toes, i think if i was in a position to take her out on a regular basis (date nights) financially i think this may not be where we are. We have the option of babysitters and rely on them at times to get a little free time for ourselves, it can be tricky but that is more of an excuse and i have to move past that and perhaps she will engage with me more.

    Time will tell i suppose – wish me luck and thanks you both so much for the input, I will hopefully come back to this thread with a further update in a week or so

    Dave

    #414524
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Dave

    No worries! I understand that finances can be tricky with three children especially in this economy.

    Good luck with everything! I hope you guys can figure something out. Even an extra hour helps. Send the kids to bed early 😂 Massages that don’t lead to sex. Might ironically lead to sex down the road. Sometimes it’s the little things.

     

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