My marriage is quickly breaking down and I'm going out of my mind with the coldness my wife is showing throughout the whole process, so I just needed to vent and maybe collect some thoughts from other people that may have gone through the same. Some background
(I'll try to make this short, but still include as much info as possible):
I started dating my wife 22 years ago (we were 16 and 15 at the time). I was her 1st boyfriend as she was quite introvert and she was maybe my 3rd. We dated for 7 years and, even then, it was quite a challenging/bumpy relationship. I was a devout christian and got into a lot of trouble when it became known in the church we had had sex. I endured being kicked out of church because I felt we were meant to be. Having said that, I have always been far from perfect and, back then, in the interest of (innocent) honesty I was candid to her about some physical features I found interesting on other girls. She was VERY jealous and possessive at the time and, to this day, she still blames those comments as having a deep negative impact on our relationship and our intimacy...
Anyway, I finished my degree and got a job abroad. Since she was going to drop out of her (admittedly high profile) degree anyway, I proposed, we got married (15 years ago) and she went with me. While abroad she took a different BA (which was clearly a 2nd choice for her) while I worked on my dream job (no long hours, though). Still we are both stay-at-home people so we stuck together w/o many hiccups. It was clear however that being abroad had been MY plan (not hers) and since she really wanted to have kids (I didn't care much for the matter) after 7 years I compromised and we moved back to our home country. This was 11 years ago.
Since coming back I've been working on an ok job but not in the industry I am talented/gifted in. She's on her second job (she had a 2 year unemployment/maternity spell between them) she doesn't care much for, but pays the bills. There's open resentment on both sides that each other choices to move countries have blown the other's career prospects.
In the meantime we had one daughter 9 years ago which really rocked our already thorny relationship. After that I was quite pragmatic and said that we should stick to 1 kid because our frayed relationship needed spare time to survive and, obviously, the economics would be easier. She felt that it was bad for a kid to be alone in the world and that brotherhood is an important part so I was kinda "coerced" into having another girl 3 years go. Now, we love them to bits but they have really driven a stake through the marriage (esp. the second one, which is a handful).
So for the last years our already difficult relationship turned into a storm where she's constantly mad at me, I'm constantly mad at the kids (she frequently is too), there's a lot of recrimination and no one's having fun. And if intimacy had always been infrequent for my liking, it's come to the point that it's like once every 2 or so months and I know she does it just to keep me happy.
Then for the last few months, she stopped being mad. I could sense she distancing away and after finding out she had begun having internet male friends (one of them she admitted to having met already 2 or 3 times for coffee), I confronted her and she told me she doesn't love me anymore, she can't picture herself getting old with me and wants to still try and find love elsewhere (we're 38 and 39 now). Still, she wanted to stay together for the kids and suggested we try an open relationship which, if you ever knew her, is TOTALLY surreal. I have obviously declined the proposal.
The problem is that I still love her and, besides, the logistics of divorce are scary. After we agreed we'd make an effort - I have, for the last 3 weeks, been trying to make an effort to be more romantic, send her flowers (on my birthday, while I was working abroad), compliment her looks (the latter something I have ALWAYS done) and spend more time with the kids. But it has clearly been a one-way effort as she hasn't moved one iota herself. Furthermore, she doesn't appear to have any remorse on the matter (she says its because she's on anti-depressives).
Don't get me wrong: my wife has tons of qualities: she's attractive, dresses impeccably, is a loving mum, is capable of the most thoughtful things and keeps the family logistics in check. But I like to think I'm not a slouch either: I'm ok looking, I do the dishes, take out the garbage, do the beds, fix everything around the house and take the kids to school. But we can both be very self-centered and in these last months she's got it down to an art.
So, in a sense, my obvious questions are:
1) Is my best course to continue making the single-handed effort (so, if it breaks down at least I know _I_ made an effort) or go for the 180 approach (in the same house?) I just read about?
2) Is it even POSSIBLE to turn around this state of things? And I mean to it being ACTUALLY BETTER than it ever was (not limited, but including sex)? Or should we just cut our losses and go separate ways? (I refuse to stay together in a loveless marriage just for the kids)
Many, MANY thanks for any words or feedback on the matter. Let me know if you need more info (there's always tons of detail): I'll try to be as honest as possible.