reconciliation advice needed
I've been going through a rough time the last few weeks, and ran across this website, and could really use some advice. My background... (sorry its so long)...
I've been married about 3-1/2 years, dating around 3 years before that. I'm 45, she's 34. She has a stepson who just turned 17. We bought a home together just before getting married. In general, everything seemed great – we fight occasionally, but not often, we take trips together (my wife and I, and as a family), we host family get togethers. We've definitely had some stresses with the teenager, especially early in the marriage, but I thought we got through those ok. He's 17 now, our biggest conflict is that he sometimes smokes pot in the house, which I have a huge problem with and causes a lot of stress. He's hardly ever home these days though, as he spends most of his time at his girlfriend's house.
My wife and I have gotten into a major rut. We carpool together to work (don't work together but close by), we come home, and we sit in front of the TV on our phones or iPads. I get bored and go to bed early, she comes up a few hours later. Clearly, not much opportunity for a sex life. We both also gained a lot of weight over the years (me 50 lbs, her about 20), which we've been on and off again trying to lose, her with better results than me.
A few weeks ago I started to get the feeling something wasn't quite right. So I asked her “Are you happy?” Well, she thought about it for a few minutes and decided she wasn't sure.
We have a few problems...
1. She had her son when she was 16, feels like she missed out on the “party years”. Now her son doesn't need her anymore, she wants to go out clubbing, drinking, dancing. I'm not into the club scene. I can see where she's coming from, and generally, as long as I know who she's with and she's safe, I've never had a problem with her going out without me.
2. We don't have much of a sex life. Once every week or two. She has a higher sex drive than me, says she could have sex 5 times a day. I want more sex too, although I'd be happy with 3-3 times a week. We used to have more sex, but never as much as either of us wants. Right now the biggest problem is that we got into this evening rut. Longer term the issue is that I have a really hard time opening up, talking about sex, and initiating sex. We've talked about this before, but I've never really realized how big of a problem it was (for either of us), and just let it go.
3. She says she stays home with me because I never want to go out, and she's started to resent me for it. Its at least partially fair - I'm fairly introverted. But we have great friends, and when we do go out we always both have a great time. My weight gain has seriously affected my confidence and desire to go out. We've both been saying for a while we need to get out more, have date nights, but it never really happened. Like I said, we've gotten into a rut.
So... we discussed all this, it all took me completely off guard (we were planning a family trip only a few days before), and we had a blow up. Whenw e do fight (which isn't very often), I tend to just walk away. In this case I ended up grabbing my keys and saying “Maybe I should just leave”. I quickly realized that was a terrible idea, but the damage was done – that really hurt her – that I was going to just walk away from the problems.
The next few weeks were pretty tough... we slept in the same bed, were civil, and even went out together a few times and had fun (although also a little awkward). I tell her I love her, she sometimes will tell me she loves me too. We hug, but she completely withdraws in bed. She goes to visit friends most nights after work, and when she is home she takes 2 hour baths. She's also drinking (a little, not a lot) most nights. I set up a MC appointment, and we've had one session which went ok.
I'm of the opinion that most of our issues can be solved with some romance, start dating again, etc, along with serious communication. Get ourselves out of this rut. She even agrees we're “mostly great” together. I'm willing to push my comfort zone re:sex and going out when maybe I don't quite feel up to it. I'm also at the gym now (its my therapy) and have lost 15 lbs in the last month, already feeling the confidence coming back and feeling better about myself.
In the meantime, to give her the space she needs, I “moved out”. We agreed its not a break, we're not separated, I didn't rent a place, didn't move any furniture. Just took some clothes and am crashing at a friends place for a bit. I thought it was the right thing to allow her to come home and be in peace to think about where she's at without worrying about me being there, wondering what I'm thinking, etc.
I understand I need to be prepared for the outcome that she doesn't want me back. And I'm trying to prepare for that. At the same time, I don't think we've put any effort at all into fixing this, and I think we owe it to ourselves to do that. I'm willing to, but of course she needs to be as well. Right now I'm just trying to do what I can to improve myself, get back in shape, and to show her that I love her. I think she still loves me, and I want to reinforce that I love her and am willing to work on this.
So... my questions are... and I know there's no one answer, it depends on a lot of factors. But I'm in a rough spot and need a little guidance...
* Is getting out of the house the right decision? Should I be pushing to move back in within a few weeks, or just wait until she asks me to come back?
* Should I maintain contact with her? I'd like to ask her to dinner, keep the communication open, and I think thats probably a good idea. I just want to balance that with giving her the space she needs.
* Any other suggestions for how I can show her I love her while still giving her that space?