You should be asking yourself what you want, given how shabbily you have been treated, says Annalisa Barbieri. Don’t follow your wife’s orders
My wife and I have been married for nearly 20 years. We have three teenage children. My wife became uninterested in our sex life about 10 years ago. She then became progressively more distant. About four years ago I found out that she was having a “platonic” affair with one of her colleagues. After many discussions, we managed to get back together as she “chose” us. Over the last year or so, she’s become more distant. When I asked her whether it had something to do with the other guy, she said no and I believe her.
Recently my wife acknowledged that she is no longer in love with me; she loves me as the father of her children, admires me, respects me, loves me as a family member, but is neither attracted to me nor in love with me. She said she was considering ending our marriage when the children are grown. I believe this is a very cruel way of playing with my feelings, letting me know that she intends to leave me but that, in the meantime, she wants to stay with me as a “roomie” for the children’s sake, and probably also for economical reasons.
I told her so, just as I told her that it would be way beyond what I can and am willing to accept. I do love her and am still in love with her, but her behaviour has hit me quite hard. She advised me to get into a relationship with her best friend – let’s call her Anita – saying we would be a perfect match.
I know that my marriage won’t recover. We are on good terms and I would hate our relationship to become grim.
I feel desperate for our children. I do not know what to think or do concerning Anita. She is a beautiful woman whom I have known since I met my wife. I have never thought romantically about her. Would it be wise to talk about it with her?
Our intimacy and sex life didn’t resume
No, and this isn’t the question you should be asking. You should be asking yourself what you want, given how very shabbily you have been treated. Your wife says she respects you but I think she needs a dictionary. Can we imagine for a moment if the roles were reversed? Perhaps you would see how emotionally abusive this relationship is.
I fear that my frustrations on knowing that my love for my wife is hopeless will make our life together eventually unbearable
It is sad, but understandable, find a hookup in Mobile Alabama when people to fall out of love with one another, but it is not fine for them to treat their partners badly and offer to set them up – pimp them, almost! – with other people.
What matters now are your children, first and foremost, and dealing with ending this relationship safely and sanely for all of you. Because, by your own words, it is past saving.
I consulted sexual and relationship counsellor Caroline Lovett (cosrt.org.uk) about your letter and her first thoughts were: “Where have you as a couple been in this relationship and where has your voice been? This doesn’t sound like a new problem. It sounds like something that has been there for over half your relationship.” Lovett acknowledged that your household sounds very busy with children and jobs etc, and said that “relationships can become very functional [in such situations]. People can become very good at being parents, at their jobs etc but where is the time for you as individuals? Where is the tending to the relationship?” It really needs both of you and it sounds like your wife lost interest a while ago.
I felt your wife was also being rather provoking – where does she get off telling you that she’s going to leave you in X years time, but, hey, you’re a nice guy and look who I’ve got on the subs bench for you? It’s massively insulting to you and her “best” friend.
“Control is the big word that jumps out at me here,” said Lovett. “Your wife isn’t taking responsibility for what’s happening in the relationship.” And if you did, “go off” with Anita, as Lovett pointed out, it would seem like “Dad’s having an affair with Mum’s best friend”. Your wife is being manipulative.