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    Old 10-10-2003, 08:16 AM   #1
    shockedandawed
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    Post Shocked and confused

    Hello,

    I need to vent my problem as I have no idea how to handle this.

    I am a 38 year old male who has been with my wife for 20 years, almost 18 of them married. We have two children, 13 & 11. We have had a good relationship with little fighting. We are very similar in our opinions, beliefs, values etc.

    Recently, I had noticed my wife seemed agitated, after several days of whats wrong?, etc she finally told me she's not happy. As the conversation progressed it eventually led to her wanting a divorce. While our sex life has not been overactive in some time, we were always affectionate, cuddling in bed, nightly messages etc.. from that moment on, she has refused any contact whatsoever. I have tried everything form talking, ignoring, begging, to no avail. She has little to say, keeps herself out of reach and doesn't waiver on wanting out. She can not explain nor does she justify why she wants out without any effort to save the marriage. Just says it won't matter. That is the most painful part, I get hit with this and she is unwilling to try anything to salvage. It's as if she woke up one morning and decided a 20 year relationship meant nothing now.

    I really never saw this coming. The only problems we ever had was her low sex drive since the children were born. Although it would sometimes make me feel rejected and I would pout, I would get over it quickly. When we did have sex, about once a month, it was usually great and mutually enjoyed.

    I love my wife and my family more than anything. I feel completely out of control and close to losing everything. I don't want to put myself or our children through a divorce, especially when no efforts have been made to save our marriage. I really don't know where to turn or what to do mext. I lay in bed everynight wanting to both hug and caress her and slap the hell out of her. (I would never do that),I feel like I no longer have a future and that everything that is me is about to be ripped away. I haven't concentrated on my job in a few weeks and have the constant pain in my stomach. I have the personality type where I want to fix things asap, she doesn't.

    Sorry to ramble, I am just so confused and hurt.



    [This message has been edited by shockedandawed (edited 10-10-2003).]

     
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    Old 10-10-2003, 09:21 AM   #2
    Monday1954
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    Shocked, I don't want to shock you further but most women don't just get up one morning and decide they want a divorce and refuse to discuss trying to save the marriage. Whatever is going on is not just a whim, she most likely has devoted quite a bit of time thinking about it.

    You can ask her if she would like to try counseling, sometimes that helps. None of us are mind readers and if she refuses to discuss it at all with you then you do have a problem. Maybe ask her to write down in a letter to you what she needs, she may be confused herself and needs to work through whatever is going on.

    My husband has expressed shock several times when friends or aquaintances wives just up and ask for a divorce, I have tried to explain to him that most women don't do it on a whim, they have thought long and hard about it before leaving. Women just do things differently from men, we most likely will have a plan of some sort.

    Women, got any words of wisdom for him?


     
    Old 10-10-2003, 10:11 AM   #3
    daylight568
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    Just let her go 100%. She's made up her mind that shes going out to look for excitement.Once away from you she might discover that she really does love you after all,then again she just might find the excitement shes looking for.Either way you have to shut her off NOW, and completely.I would suggest completely ignoring her entirely.Only talk to her when it concerns the children or the household.Don't express any further emotions to her.

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 10:18 AM   #4
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    Monday's right, these things don't happen overnight. She's been disillusioned for a quite awhile; and apparenly hid it, well. Either that, or she's met someone else --sorry that's painful to read, but a distinct possibility.
    If she's set on divorce and won't consider any attempt to reconcile or counselling, then there's really nothing you can do. You can't save this by yourself. Please consider getting counselling for yourself; you're screen name (understandably) says it all. I'm sorry you're going through this.

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 12:53 PM   #5
    shockedandawed
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    Thanks all for the replies!

    I am sure you are right and she has thought about it for some time. She has stated that. She just did a damn good job of hiding it.

    Although she has said what she has and continues to have this no contact wall up, she still does enough to give me hope. Wears her wedding ring everyday, starts conversations(nothing about the relationship)etc.

    I would really like to go to a counselor together, I am sure it would open things up about our relationship. She has no desire to go. Unsure if it will help with just one.

    As far as someone else, I have brought that up numerous times. I may be naive but I don't think there is. We have always had a great deal of trust for each other. I think she would have snapped and told me by now. That would be easier to understand than not knowing what is going on.

    I really like Sheldons advise and believe me, I have thought about that often. However, if she does feel I have been distant and unattentative, I want her to be sure she knows how I feel now. I guess I would rather be the wimp than to risk miscommunication.

    I hope I can help you all out someday. Thanks again.

    [This message has been edited by shockedandawed (edited 10-10-2003).]

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 01:11 PM   #6
    Monday1954
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    Shocked, Dsheldons advice sounds like a good idea when you are mad and hurt, revenge is sweet. Sometimes giving someone a taste of their own medicine backfires.
    They decide you didn't really care afterall.

    I have been married 28 years and have been unhappy many times, sometimes with no reason other than I wasn't happy in general, didn't have anything to do with my husband, it was my unhappiness with me. Sometimes it was with my husband, didn't think I was getting the recognition and attention I thought I deserved and started dividing up the furniture mentally, I got the washer and dryer because of course I got the kids, he could have the stereo, I could have the t.v. - he could have any furniture and gifts that came from his side, me keep the things from my side of the family and we each got to keep our own car. He could have the house, I couldn't afford the payments. This plan has been revised and changed at least 20 times in 28 years, but I am still here and satisfied.

    Marriages go through slumps, just like jobs and baseball teams - you just have to work at getting them back in working order.


     
    Old 10-10-2003, 01:27 PM   #7
    shockedandawed
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    Thats what I think Monday. No mind games at this point, I just hope I don't drive her farther away by letting her know how much I care and want to save this marriage.

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 01:41 PM   #8
    Monday1954
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    It is hard to drive someone away by being sincere, if you love her tell her, if you admire any qualities about her, tell her, if you can think of anything you did to hurt her, tell her. Like I said, sometimes it wasn't my husband, it was me. Mid-life crisis or something, see if she just wants to talk, maybe about life in general, not your relationship. Just starting to talk often opens the floodgates. Gotta run now, but will check back later. Monday

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 04:29 PM   #9
    stolie
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    Quote from Monday: ``My husband has expressed shock several times when friends or aquaintances wives just up and ask for a divorce, I have tried to explain to him that most women don't do it on a whim, they have thought long and hard about it before leaving. Women just do things differently from men, we most likely will have a plan of some sort."

    I think this is absolutely terrible. I don't see how you can condone someone making plans like this without letting their partner in on their thinking before they've made the decision to cut the cord. It's sneaky, it's subversive, it's so wrong I can barely believe everyone here seems to find that to be a tolerable mode of conduct. Shocked, I am very sorry this is happening to you. The advice sounds correct, there probably is nothing you can do at this point.

    At the same time, I certainly wouldn't blame yourself, as you should not have been expected to be a mind reader for all those years. From what you've told us, it doesn't sound like you mistreated her.

    For those women who do things this way, maybe they should ask themselves whether this is a fair, humane way to deal with another human being. Of course, if there is abuse involved, that is another story entirely. But to just decide you're not satisfied and let it build without letting your spouse even have a chance to make things better, that to me is unforgivable. Good luck Shocked, let us know how it worked out.

    Oops, edited for typos.

    [This message has been edited by stolie (edited 10-10-2003).]

    [This message has been edited by stolie (edited 10-10-2003).]

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 06:32 PM   #10
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    Women often show signs of unhappiness during a relationship, but males often don't take those signs seriously or when a woman says she isn't happy with a particular situation, a lot of males blow it off as their partner being difficult to please or going through PMS or menopausal, when infact it's none of those things. When your woman says she is NOT happy, then she is NOT happy and you should sit up and take note b/c women do get sick of repeating themselves over and over again, year in and year out. Sooner or later, most of them do up and leave.

    Statistics of divorce cases show that 70% of males claim their wife just decided on the spur of the moment to ditch them "and everything was just perfect at home, so don't know why she left me". No woman just wakes up one morning and says "honey, i want a divorce". You need to seriously sit down and look at ALL the times throughout your entire marriage where she has been displeased and wanted things to be different. She has very likely gotten sick and tired of nothing happening for the better in whichever department she is unhappy in. Don't necessarily think "poor me" but be honest with yourself, were there times things could have been done different over the years, did you make any particular decisions in life which went against what she wanted? and yes, sex has a huge impact on relationships for most people, women are under a lot of pressure to perform, churn out the orgasms, look beautiful, keep a wonderful home, pick up after husbands and kids. You say she means a lot to you, but does she know that she means a lot to you? don't just say the words, that gets so repetitive, but show her in actions.

    I hate to sound harsh, i dont mean to be, but just giving it to you in black and white. It's difficult for women to understand why males are the way they are and difficult for males to understand women, but your wife may see no alternative but to leave, maybe she doesnt really want to leave, maybe the only way of getting you to change is for her to ask for a divorce.

    I've been married 8 years, which isn't a lot compared to your 18, but there have been times when the only way i can get my husband to take me seriously is if i tell him that i'm sick and tired of talking to a brick wall and that i should pack my bags and leave. This doesn't mean i don't love him, but things can get frustrating at times. Why is it that people only take action when somebody wants to walk out of their life? Lastly, even if your wife doesnt want counselling, go alone. You would be amazed how much you can learn from even solo counselling.

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 08:13 PM   #11
    Monday1954
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    Stolie, sorry to shock you, most women do make their unhappiness known, sometimes they just aren't listened to. I think Audrey did a really good job explaining it, much better than I did.

    Read Jlaffey's post titled "Am I being selfish", she is making her unhappiness known, the guy still seems to not have a clue. He will most likely be shocked when she announces she is leaving one day, of course she may stay forever, but she is voicing her unhappiness and he expresses surprise, he thought everything was great.

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 09:43 PM   #12
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    I'm seeing exactly what he's talking about in my brother and sister in-law. She has detached her self emotionally. It has not happened overnight. It's been building up to this for years. I believe now it may be over because she seems to feel nothing for him anymore. Says she loves him but can't live with him. I think she says she loves him because she has not quite completely detached herself but it is not far off as I see it.

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 09:48 PM   #13
    shockedandawed
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    Thanks again for more great responses!

    Sure I can look back and see signs of unhappiness on boh parts, but I can also see alot of togetherness. She has never told me or even strongly hinted that she wanted out until she dumped it all on me 3 weeks ago. Our marriage did suffer from complacency. However, we have had our recent fun. Just this summer alone, our family took a 2 week vacation out west with whitewater rafting, hiking etc and a week in August to Florida.

    What do I make of the limbo? As I said, once she said everything, there has been this wall up that I can't penetrate. However, in addition to putting her ring on everyday, we are still sleeping in the same bed, just completely apart, helping each other with housework, going out to eat on weekends all with this awkward, tension cloud hanging over. If I don't bring up the subject, we can small talk all day long. When I do bring it up, she becomes defensive, short of words and stands her ground. The less she talks, the more upset I get. She has not brought it up first since it all began. Even that night, I had to pry it out.

    Monday, good advice on the talking in general, I am going to try just being here and talking about everything else and not bring the subject up. That is very difficult as I can't stand unresolved conflicts. Try to give her space and time without being too far away.

    Also, if I can't get her to go, I will probably try the counseling anyway. So far, this board is the only place I have discussed this problem. I am so proud of my marriage and family, I don't want to let anyone know there are problems in the event we work it out, no matter how small the chance.



    [This message has been edited by shockedandawed (edited 10-11-2003).]

     
    Old 10-10-2003, 10:02 PM   #14
    stolie
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    Monday,
    I agree, if the woman has made it known she's unhappy, that's enough for me. I was under the impression that in this case, it was never stated. I really think it's important to be up front and tell someone you're not happy, not to hide it and let it fester until it's too late. But I agree, if a partner says they are unhappy in a relationship, that should be taken very seriously.
    Whatever the case is here, I wish you the best, Shocked. Sorry to sidetrack the post.

     
    Old 10-11-2003, 05:03 AM   #15
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    Hi Shock,

    I'm just pondering a few things, here.
    It seems you have this picture-perfect marriage with no obvious signs of dysfunction; alcholism, physical/mental abuse, adultery..etc..so, you're trying to figure out, from her, what is going on.
    You said you have a 'let's fix it' personality; maybe she won't tell you the problem, because she doesn't want you to try and fix it and she doesn't want to be talked out of her decision.

    You're 38, I'm assuming she's around that age too. You've been together 20 yrs...doing the math; the two of you got together at a very young age.
    Was she ever on her own?
    If not, she may have been having feelings of restlessness and a need for independence for quite some time--kept at bay, due to family responsibilities,etc...but now it's come to a head.
    I'm sure you're aware this is not uncommon.

    She won't discuss it because she feels guilty; she knows her reasons are selfish....and if she tells you, she'll feel even more guilty for hurting you, and be faced w/that everyday when she's around you--the defense mode is much easier for her--so, she avoids it and just says 'I'm not happy--end of discussion'...and you're left trying to figure it out.
    If this is the case, there is nothing you can do..she's not willing to give you the chance to talk her out of this, and seems determined (at this point) to see it through (divorce).
    Just something to consider....

     
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