General Question

Mutable's avatar

What should you do if you are in a long term marriage where you are moving in a different direction from your spouse?

Asked by Mutable (208points) March 14th, 2011

I am a 52 year old male, in good shape, active, and looking forward to the next 40 years. My wife is 53, 50 lbs. overweight, and likes to eat candy and clean the house for her hobbies (seriously). We have virtually nothing in common but our two kids. We have no sex life (none). It is like living with your sister. I have been depressed about this for over 10 years. We have tried counseling but nothing changed. How do you get the courage to move on?

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15 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, it’s never just one spouse’s ‘fault’ you know. It really sounds like you’re trying entirely too hard (and failing) to convince us of her apparent flaws (making fun of her weight and habits, really?) in order to appear as if you’re so different. The truth is that you didn’t just wake up like this, the two of you, there were many points before, I’m sure, where matters could have been addressed. Perhaps, it wasn’t couples’ counseling that you needed but personal counseling for your own depression. In order to move on, you must have one final respectful conversation where you put in energy to explain what you’d need and what you’re willing to do in order for the two of you to stay together. But it seems like, to me, that you’ve moved on long ago. You just never let her know.

JLeslie's avatar

I am so sorry to hear this. Must be very difficult for you. Is it possible she wants out also? That she is creating an environment that she knows will push you away. If this had been going on for just a year I would say hold on, your being hasty, but it sounds like this has been many many years.

During your therapy did your wife voice anything that would help her feel more motivated? Did you really listen to what she needs?

Are your kids very young?

Does your wife want to want to have sex? I have some health problems thathave screwed up my sex life with my husband, and I hate it. I miss sex with him, but we too are much like siblings in some ways, I identify with that description. Some women don’t miss sex at all, don’t want to want it. When that is the case I think it is harder to overcome.

It sounds like you don’t respect her, which must be tough for you to be with her every day. It also must be extremely depressing for your wife to know you consider her fat and lazy. It’s like a horrible viscious circle.

Does she work?

It sounds like you have given it the real college try to give it time to change or get better. It sounds to me like you are readying yourself to leave. Understandable.

I know for some couples they stay together, because they cannot imagine not living with their kids full time, have you considered that?

You seem to be at a point where you choose whether to settle or move on. I assume you trust your wife and she would be there and bad times, and you have happy memories, and the bond of your children. The is something very nice about being with someone for many years and into old age, but there is something to be said for pursuing what will make you happier.

Tough decision. Only you know in the end. Good luck.

blueiiznh's avatar

Do you love her and want to make this work?
Does she want to make it work?

Coloma's avatar

Yep, if you’re not happy then you need to make a last attempt at communicating with your wife.

Have you directly confronted her and told her her feelings?

Have you actually SAID the words..” Honey, I am frustrated and unhappy in our relationship.”
“I am not attracted to you being overweight and I crave more shared activities with you.”
“I may not be able to stay in this marriage if some things don’t change between us? ”

Bottom line, YOU are responsible for your OWN happiness and don’t be surprised if she is unhappy too, maybe just not expressing it.

Things change, people change, the trick is to either work it out or leave without guilt knowing you are making the highest choice for all parties involved.

Staying and feeling victimized is not healthy for either of you.

Man up and take the high road, and know that you might be freeing her from the unexamined life as well.

I don’t believe all relationships are meant to last forever, but, you do have an obligation to be as clear and honest as you can.

Speak up, change the situation or leave, the rest is insanity.

If she shows zero interest in working towards more intimacy with you then do whats right for both of you, get a divorce.

What is unacceptable is staying in a dead relationship and perpetrating suffering for all involved.

Mutable's avatar

We are both good people. I don’t mean to demean her but the facts are the facts. She is very content for us to live like brother and sister. She doesn’t seem to care about her weight issue (although I have never said a word about it to her). Her biggest thing in her life is to be a mother to our kids (ages 15 and 22). I must say she is an excellent mother. However, it is like living with Mrs. Cleaver in the Leave it to Beaver TV show. We don’t fight…. we don’t talk… we just live day to day. We don’t take vacations because we have nothing in common that we like to do. I love her like you would love a sister. I would do anything for her but we don’t live like a married couple. That will never change (I’m sure of that). Their is no physical abuse in the marriage and neither of us have any chemical addictions. We are just average middle class people with no spark in the marriage. I have never had an affair (and I don’t think she has either). It is a very sad situation.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Mutable Well, it seems like you sure do care about her weight issue even though your other issues are larger (pun intended).

Coloma's avatar


You must find the courage to free yourselves from this stagnant arrangement then.

Being unhappy IS a good enough reason to leave a relationship.

Divorce is never pleasant, but, living a lie is far worse.

It doesn’t matter what the issues are, if they are unresolvable then it’s time to GO!

john65pennington's avatar

You cannot treat your marriage like brother and sister. You already know this. If the love has died, then so has the marriage. Some women do not realize than their husband “needs” the closeness of his mate. Cutting off sex in a marriage, is like shutting off the gas supply to a cars engine. Everything goes downhil from this point.

Your children are old enough to practically take care of themselves.

If you have not discussed this problem with your wife, I suggest you do so promptly.

If she is not willing to compromise, then you have no choice but to divorce her.

Loss of affection is a valid grounds for divorce.

JLeslie's avatar

She likely feels fat, and knows you think she is fat. Have you ever offered to work out with her. To go to the gym together, or even just walk every evening after dinner? Does she know you are thinking of leaving? Might be time to let her know you are considerng leaving. Not just unhappy. Give her the chance to make a real change or not, but knowing the consequences of her decision.

You say you don’t even want to vacation the same places? Are you saying literally you both would not enjoy sight seeing, or flopping on a beautiful beach, or taking a cruise? Or, do you mean you want to vacation in an adventure ridden, risk taking vacation, that she would never go for? I mean, you can go to Cancun, sit on the beach, go parasailing, wave runners, snorkeling and also drink margaritas by the pool. She can sit back and wave to you up in the parasail from the shoreline.

My husband races Porsches, I have no desire to go fast in a car around a track, but when we go we stay in a nice hotel (many of the people stay in less than par motels by the tracks) and sometimes I even take a day trip nearby to entertain myself.

Maybe feeling more united with each other will bring back some of the sex life.

By the way I am not criticizing you, just throwing out some thoughts. Sounds like you both are good people with integrity, and overall a nice family. Also sounds like you want more zest in your life and in your relationship.

marinelife's avatar

What is holding you back? You have tried. Your kids are out of the home. Tell her that you want a divorce.

lbwhite89's avatar

The simple answer is to leave. If you’re in your 50’s, your kids are probably grown. Like @marinelife said, what’s holding you back?

blueiiznh's avatar

This is not a very easy thing to get your head around.
You deserve to be happy! It sounds like you are married but living a single life.
If you can, take some time away from her or the home. Get your thoughts together and find the words and strength.
Determine what you want out of life and work towards it.
Some reading pyschology today

stardust's avatar

If you’re unhappy with your life, then it’s up to you to make the changes. It sounds like a very tough situation and I appreciate that it’s not easy to move on, but it’d be far more beneficial for you and your wife if you do.
Life is far too short.

LuckyGuy's avatar

This is so sad. If there is no chance of turning it around, then maybe it is time to move on. But don’t do it without a lot of thought and preparation. Draw a line in the sand for yourself and have certain goals for both of you. .
Pick a date when you will act. For example, when your youngest moves out to go to college or when that job promotion in another city becomes available, etc. Then envision where you want your relationship to be by then. Again, for example:.You want to be lovers, not siblings (Look at yourself in the mirror – would you make love with you?); You want to take 2 vacations per year together; You want her to be able to keep up with you when you take a walk in the park. etc. (These are examples. You have to fill in your own.)
Explain to her that you are seriously unhappy and the relationship needs work. Now start working on the goals. Counseling? Exercise together? Get rid of unhealthy food? Date nights? You have drawn a line in the sand for yourself. If at six months before the date, nothing has changed, start the process of lining up legal advice and splitting finances. If they don’t happen by the decision date, go ahead, and don’t look back. You gave it your best shot.
Ten years is a long time. You don’t want to spend the next 40 years living with your sister.

6rant6's avatar

Is she depressed? If she is then getting that treated might turn everything around for her and then for you two.

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