Ask Andrew – My wife is emotionally separated but still under the same roof, is there still hope?
I have been with my wife for 7 years, married for almost 5 and we have a 3 year old son together. About 2 years ago I believe I fell into depression. We moved away from both our families for my job in the hopes of getting a better financial situation, something we both agreed to do. After a while, my wife got lonely and depressed, and hated the area we moved to. I subsequently got depressed because of this, and my job did not work out as well as I had planned which added to my depression. I blamed myself because it was my job that we moved for (even though she agreed and was initially excited about the move as well).
I ended up mentally “checking-out” of our relationship, and during that period she told me how depressed she was, how she needed me around more emotionally, and even asked me to go to counseling. I was stubborn, didn’t see what I was doing or how I was treating her, and didn’t think we needed counseling so I didn’t agree. This went on for approximately 2 years.
I finally got us transferred back a little closer to her family late last year. About one month before my wife and son were finally going to be able to move out (they had to stay behind for about a month and a half because of rent/housing contracts) her father passed away unexpectedly. It absolutely devastated her. I caught the very first flight I could to get home to her, but was still in my depression and still not completely there emotionally for her. Another 2 months after that her grandfather passed (a little less unexpected, but still painful). At the time, I thought I was trying my hardest to be there for her through everything.
It finally hit me when I found she had started talking to another man. It was just talking, he was in another state and a person she had known before, but it really opened my eyes and I began to see what I had been doing. I aplologized to her for everything, told her how horrible I felt, that I would take the rest of my life to make it up to her, the whole nine yards. Initially she said don’t worry, “I haven’t left yet, I’m still here”. I told her I would change back to the man she married, the man she fell in love with. However, unfortunately my initial reaction was panic, and I began to wory about what she was doing, who she was talking to, instead of worrying about how I was going to make things better. This obviously drove her farther away. After about 3 months of this she finally came to me and said that she wanted to separate and didn’t want to try to work at our relationship. She said she didn’t “love me like that” anymore and didn’t think she ever could again. I was devastated, and now the tables were completely turned because I was the one trying to save our marriage and asking to go to counseling and she was the one “turned off”.
We are now mutually and verbally separated, but still live under the same roof due to financial reasons. She has begun to date and this has gotten my emotions to take over my brain on a couple of occasions, driving her even farther away. I know there is still something in her for me, I can see it on occasion in her eyes, or her actions, or her words when I do nice things, but she continues to say that we will most likely be divorced and she will not love me like that anymore. Is there any hope for us? I love this women more than life itself and don’t want to lose her. I am continuing to make changes in my life, but sometimes my emotions get the better of me and I screw it up and have to start from square one all over again. She says it’s too late, is it?
Let’s start with the good news. You understand the problem and how you’re making it worse but unfortunately, you don’t have the first idea how to climb out of the hole. I’m not surprised, men are taught how to solve straight forward problems and this is far more complex – as it is one problem on top of another.
You’re right ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ is only part of the answer but it is a good start. (It will explain how bereavement and ILYB are linked). Next you need to understand why women have affairs, why they seem so powerful but are NOT the answer. Look at ‘How can I ever trust you again’ as this will do this job. Let me stress – there is hope (no mother splits from her child’s father beyond as a very last resort).
The main book – My wife doesn’t love me anymore – will not be out until next month. (As an e book in the UK in Sept 12 and then print version in Oct, probably e book in the US in Oct too) but the main message is more women leave because men push them away than leave on their own accord. You already know how they do that because you’re already doing it! Next time you start to panic – please walk away, read one of my books, phone your mother any thing but try to talk to your wife, get reassurance or ‘solve’ your problems.
If you are sensible, you’ll be doing a lot of reading! So let me give you other books to read, while waiting for MY WIFE: Learn to love yourself enough (to help you start working on yourself), Resolve your differences and Help your partner say yes (to start working on improving day to day communication)
Be strong and you will turn this round (but one day at a time)