marriage in trouble....what to do

My marriage has been in a rough spot for the last few months and today my wife tells me we should consider separating for a while.

I’m not going to go into details, this isn’t due to infidelity on either of our parts, she just seems to be constantly angry or annoyed with me. And she doesn’t think I love, respect or want to be around her. Of course, I feel the same way based on her recent behavior…I’m not convinced she loves me or wants me around.

I’m devastated; I don’t want to be separated, I don’t want a divorce; I want to be in a happy loving marriage with my wife.

We are seeing a counselor and have been for several months.

But I have my doubts our marriage will survive this.

Can you give me some insights in what I should be doing to prepare for the very real possibility of our marriage breaking up? There isn’t blatent animosity or arguments and if the marriage has to be ended, I have to somehow live with that. But what should I do right now? Do I/we need lawyer(s) now? Do I need to do something else.

I imagine some of the SDMB divorcees will pitch in on this, but I don’t think you need a lawyer unless you are served with papers or you decide to serve her (which it doesn’t sound like you would want to do anyway).

Has the counseling been helping at all? It is possible (I’m getting this vibe) that your wife has already decided she wants out of the relationship and is just going through the motions. Has she explained how she thinks the separation will benefit you both as a couple? Or does it seem more like she is just tired of the relationship and wants to pretend she’s not married anymore? Only you can answer those questions, and we don’t need to know the answers. But it sounds from the info you’ve provided like she wants out.

IANAL, I’ve never been married, and this advice is worth what you paid for it. But my parents divorced when I was 11, then my mom divorced my stepdad when I was 19, lots of people in my family have been through at least one divorce, and I’ve talked to friends in situations like yours. I have heard both sides of many, many stories not unlike this. It’s unfortunate and sad, especially when kids are involved, but it boils down to this: you can’t force someone to stay in a relationship that they don’t want to be in. Even if there’s no abuse or loud fights or any apparent problems at all, she could quietly walk up to you one day, out of the blue, and file for divorce under “irreconcilable differences.”

Most of the time, people start to take each other for granted after they’ve been in a relationship for x number of years. Maybe she feels she has grown apart from you. Or it could be the way you fold your socks, for all we know. The only way to know why she feels the way she feels is to ask her. Best of luck, however it turns out.

I can’t give you relationship advice, but I think you should certainly get legal advice to ensure you don’t get shafted.

I hope I am proven wrong but I can only see things ending in tears. You need to be prepared.

So you say neither of you love, respect or want to be around each other? That is a huge hole to work your way out of. A separation doesn’t necessarily mean a divorce. And it sounds like both of you could use some distance and perspective.

There are some questions you need to ask yourself. Why do you want to be married? Do you really want to be married to her (and I mean the real her, not some perfect ideal version of her you may have in your head), or do you just want to be married? Can you (and only you, it would be nice if she would as well, but there is only one person you have any control over) make enough changes to make your marriage work? Your answers should help you figure out a course. And of course, if she has decided on divorce… there is nothing you can do about it. You may have to accept that your marriage is already over.

I stayed married for about 12 years longer than I should have in my 13 year marriage. There were many points of incompatibility. And a decade on we came to loathe each other. But my vision of myself didn’t include a divorce. So basically I tried to force it to work through raw force of will. And that failed terribly. By the end she despised me and I despised her, both for good cause. Now several years after the divorce she is again one of my best friends. Divorce doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

What I would recommend is sit down, drop all the animosity (easier said than done I admit) and try and talk things out with as much honesty as you can muster. Try and get a feel for what each of you really want, and if that is really achievable.

If you do decide to divorce, it can be done without lawyers and acrimony. But you do both have to put emotion aside and work together to achieve it. In any case most lawyers will do an hour consult for free. And it is worth having a lawyer to review the paperwork, even if you do decide to do it yourself or go through mediation. If she lawyers up, you definitely should get one. But until she does you don’t need to worry too much. The courts will allow you enough time to get a lawyer and prepare a response to anything she files. What you should do now is get copies of everything. Every financial document, all account information, listings of all properties, and the like. During my divorce, I had moved out of the house and had no access to any of these. Waiting for her to provide them, made things harder.

No, he didn’t say that. He said she says she doesn’t feel like he loves, respects, or wants to be around her, a feeling which has caused enough behavior changes on her part (being constantly angry/annoyed) to make him feel the same way about her: that she doesn’t love, respect, or want to be around him.

It sounds to me like she is treating you like crap, and whatever you do, for the present, is going to come over, to her, as you being the jerk.

  1. Do not expect her to be understanding of anything that you do. Separation seems like a good idea. If she just needs a break, this will give it to her; if it’s irreparable, it will give you some time to adjust to your soon to be new status.
  2. I am not saying that your wife is/was unfaithful, but, in spite of reassurances to the contrary, I kind of smell the ol’ horns are being hung on somebody as we speak. She treats you like crap, and ‘she thinks you don’t respect, love or want to be around her?’ Too fishy, for my tastes. I’m not saying to be suspicious, but, be prepared for a shock. Worst-case scenarios, and all that…
  3. Don’t beg or crawl to her. Don’t try to be overly macho to compensate, but, don’t come over as needy.
  4. Ask her where she plans to move to in the interim period…or, does she expect *you *to move out?

Best wishes,
hh

stay with the counseling, get a lawyer, and always remember, “amicable divorce” is an oxymoron used to describe how much court time and litigation is involved, not how you feel about each other during or at the end of the process

Fair enough. But I’m not sure there is a huge difference in this case between, “she doesn’t love me” and “I feel she doesn’t love me.” They are already in counseling. If with the help of a counselor neither can convince the other they love one another, there is a real problem in this relationship. Like I said that’s a big hole to work your way out of.

Sigene asking for help is a great step. Don’t be afraid to cry out as loud as you can to everyone you know. It is amazing what a honest cry for help will release. I don’t know your faith, or that of your wife, but if you can cry out to God or whatever higher spiritual power you can and ask her to also for help.

Good luck

You’ll be better off to cry out to a lawyer and the sooner the better.

I would at least start looking/asking around for a lawyer. You don’t want to get served papers and then have to scramble around looking for one.

Not sure if you have kids or not, but if you do keep a journal of what you do with them if you do separate.

Other then that I’ve got nothing.

A lawyer is recommended notheless to make sure all the paperwork is done correctly and completely, which is something you want even if the divorce is amicable. My two freinds got divorced quite amicably and the division of property was quite simple, but a family lawyers still took care of the process. Even if you’re in a legal juristiction where a lawyer isn’t necessary for a divorce I would do so anyway. I can get a will kit from Staples to prepare my will, but I would still prefer that a lawyer take care of it, just to make sure that something doens’t goterribly wrong. You don’t need to think of the lawyer as an evil bastard who is out to ruin your spouse, but rather as a mediator whose job is it to maintain an equitable situation and ensure your mutual wishes are carried out correctly with no surprises.

But I would wait and see how counseling works out. Communications glitches can have drastically negative effects on a relationship, and if they are resolved, the marriage can rebound and get back to its formerly healthy self.

  1. Lawyer.

  2. continue counseling. However, in my experience with counselling, one party usually wants to be there more than the other. Based on what you said, I’d say you want to be there and work things out. She may just be checking boxes at this point, but you will know better her true feelings the longer you go to your sessions.

  3. does she want to see other people? Never a good sign.

4). Best of luck. But always take care of yourself first. I had a friend who went through this and like you, didn’t want the separation. Because he tried to win his wife back, he gave in to all of her demands, hoping to show her what a great guy he was. Her mind was already made up, and he lost his shirt. Take care of yourself and your potential situation of being on your own.