Epic post...need help and advice
First off, I would like to express my gratitude to anyone who reads all this and offers any kind of opinion or advice. Right now I’m finding it hard to focus and do not really know where to begin, so I’ll start from the beginning. I will, however, be vague about certain details to protect family privacy the best that I can. Sorry for the length, but I don’t want to skip anything important. Also, I want to take my lumps, too, instead of just trying to bash my wife. I don’t think that’s fair.
My wife and I were married 12 years ago as of last month. I think we had a good relationship at first, even with the ups and downs that are present in any relationship. We married as soon as she finished her school – she was 25 at the time. Then the plan was for me to start working less and to concentrate on getting my degree. That lasted for a semester or two until we decided that we needed to buy a house rather than rent an apartment.
We lived in our place for many years. Her job required her to work odd hours sometimes and that could be stressful, especially when the kids started coming. I worked a day job in an office, so my schedule was stable. The kids started coming along and things became more stressful over time. Because of my wife’s schedule, many days it was my job to get the kids up and to daycare, and then rush myself to work, get my work done, and then rush back to daycare and get the kids before closing. On top of it I was taking classes at night for many years. I will admit that I would get grumpy at times and probably wasn’t fun to be around. To be fair, my wife could be moody on a fairly regular basis also. I guess this might be a good time to mention her job changes over the years, too. There were several.
Over the years a few major issues began to surface. She wanted to move. She wanted a bigger place and preferably in a warmer climate. I admit that I have known all along that it was her dream to move somewhere warm one day. I had a few sticking points. If I was to consider it, it would have to be really worth it. I’d want a marked improvement in the quality of my life. Also, I was working hard in school and didn’t want to lose credits transferring to another college in another state. My pursuit of a degree was never just for me, it was for all of us – something I felt I had to finish to set an example for the kids and for my wife. Her father (R.I.P) wanted me to finish because he regretted not finishing and it caused him problems toward the end of his career. It was devastating to him.
The other sticking point was my lack of career goals despite my fixation with my academics. I worked hard and achieved excellent grades. I’ve just never been interested in spending extra hours in an office trying to achieve career milestones and big paychecks. Instead, I wanted to spend more time with my family and friends, try to give my kids a more loving and nurturing environment than I grew up in, and pursuing self-development goals – I love learning and want to read everything and explore the deeper meanings of the human experience. Before I sound too boring I have several hobbies and I love to go out to see bands play and have a couple of beers with my friends. Life is just too short and wonderful (at times) to waste it in pursuit of material excess. But believe me, I went to work everyday and was well liked by my bosses. I just wasn’t fulfilled doing what I was doing, but, hey, I have a family to support.
Another problem with leaving was the fact that I lived in the same area for my entire life. All my friends and family were there, all my connections, my entire life. My friendships are extremely important to me and recently my wife told me that she never felt as important as my friends. I am truly sorry that I made her feel that way. Truthfully, after the kids started coming, I saw them less and less. Still, I was ecstatic during the times that we did manage to get together and hang out. There are just things you do with friends and things you get from them that you don’t necessarily get from a spouse. I sure didn’t expect to be her everything.
Now let’s talk about last August. That’s when the first major talk between my wife and I happened. She said she was unhappy and just realized that she was for years. Some of the above issues came up, but I believe the major one was with the move. She actually thought about leaving me. I was blown away. Somehow we managed to reconcile and move forward. I said we’d move for one thing, despite not knowing we we’d get the money. Due to certain things that had happed in the last year, we were cash strapped.
We also discussed our communication problems. I feel like whenever I’d bring up an issue, she’d take it as a personal attack and get her feelings hurt, so I stopped hurting her feelings and instead kept things to myself. She wanted me to connect with her more, which I understand. I told her that she needed to be more physical with me – not just sex. I feel like she rarely touched me or hugged me and that’s the kind of closeness that I needed to open up. I think we worked on it a little, but were making slow progress.
Finally toward the end of last year she found a house close by that she really wanted and was happy with her job. I was stressed about money – I had no idea how we’d make it work, but in her mind I was just negative. Maybe I am. I was desperate to make her happy and get her in this house and told her I’d liquidate my 401Ks if I had to. I knew the seriousness of this. To be fair to her, she has told me over the years that she felt “smothered” in our townhome community.
Within 2 weeks, we found out that her office was closing and that we’d lost the contract on the house. She was devastated, but I could see the wheels turning in her head. She was starting to look south for a job. Things started getting really stressful again. We kept our house on the market while she looked for work. At this point I started pushing counseling because I knew we needed help. She didn’t want to go. Especially since the one I found didn’t accept insurance. We didn’t have that kind of money. Well, she was offered a job down south and we got a contract for a quick sale on our place and then things were set in motion. We were going and I had no choice realistically. She also came how shortly thereafter with a purebred puppy.
I was a total mess during the lead up to our move. I was stressed beyond belief. I was already being treated for high blood pressure and it started getting worse. I also finally caved and got put on medication to ease my anxiety. I could barely function. Here I had to leave a job that I actually didn’t mind and could deal with – I never complained about it. Furthermore, I was fearfully as to what would happen if we got down south and things didn’t work out. Deals were made/reassurances given during several heart to heart talks. I felt like this was my last shot to save my marriage and keep the family together. She talked like she’d just go with the kids and leave me if I didn’t want to go. What could I do? I gave it a shot.
Now I’ve been here for 6 months and the marriage is settling back to its old ways. Things haven’t been terrible, but there is still something not right. Recently, my wife started telling me about a male coworker of hers that she’d like me to meet. One day we went over to his place to eat and swim. Truthfully, once I saw him and spoke to him I didn’t feel like he was much of a threat to my relationship with my wife. Plus, I’ve never had a problem with my wife having male friends before.
Then I started to get the feeling that my wife was on her phone too much with this guy. For two weeks running, she took two of our kids over to his place to swim on the nights that my one child and I have a thing that we do. The first night she got home after 11pm because of a show they were watching and the next week around 10:30. Too late for someone who works early in the morning – not to mention that my kids have to get up early for school.
Then her birthday approaches. The day before her birthday she had to work overtime and wanted her coworkers to take her out afterward. That’s fine by me. She deserved to have some fun. She works hard at her job. I received a text from her around 4pm saying she was getting ready to leave to go to dinner. Later in the evening, the kids and I went to the store to get her flowers, a balloon, and things for her birthday breakfast. When we got back she still wasn’t home. The next text I get is at almost midnight and it essentially said that she had dinner and just watched a movie at the guy’s house and was going to watch another one. Then she was going to crash on the couch and he’d bring her back in the morning. Then I couldn’t sleep. She never stays up that late!
The next day was her birthday, so I tried to act like nothing was wrong. The following day is when I asked her what was going on. She told me that she still isn’t happy and that I don’t know how to connect with her. She told me the guy was a very important friend to her right now – that it’s strictly platonic at this point. When pressed she said that she may be developing feelings for him, but absolutely nothing physical has happened between them. I want to believe her. She expressed just how lonely she is. Once again I pleaded that we go to counseling, but she still refuses to go. She says she’s tried long enough to make things work. Personally, I feel like she has been trying to make things work by just changing my behavior and not her own. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but that’s how I feel.
She wants to end our marriage and we have three beautiful kids caught up in this. I dearly love them and it breaks my heart to think of them hurting. I’ll get over this – I hope that they get through things alright. My wife even said that I could take all three kids back up north if they wanted to go with me. Frankly I’m surprised that she’d allow this considering how much she wanted them. I don’t know what to think anymore. Things are tough and it’s hard to live in this house with her right now. She's already looking at apartments and looking to sell our new house. That’s all I’ve got for now.