Heartbroken and Growing Impatient
This is my first thread, besides my intro. I've been checking out this and other boards for a while and do see lots of people in similar situations, though mine seems a bit unusual.
I am 36 and have been with my wife for 14 years 10.5 of which we have been married. We have three young children together, 8, 6 and 3 years old.
About 3 and a half months ago, after an argument one day, my wife told me she would like me to move out of the house, in a trial separation of sorts. I was taken a bit back by this.
I did sense something was building with her. She had started a new job in May that was very demanding and required her to work late and travel. I stepped up and took over both drop off and pick up duties for the kids school/daycare as before it was more of a split. I typically do most of the cooking and cleaning anyway, plus we have an Au Pair so we do have help.
The argument developed on the tail end of a business trip where she was gone almost a full week. Upon getting home she started complaining how things were messy and how I didn't care about the house and that the garage was a mess. I mistakenly got defensive, I mean she was gone an entire week, I was left with all of the responsibilities of the kids and the house. Did she expect I'd finally get to the garage while she was gone?
Then it progressed, there have been problems for years. She will always love me but doesn't feel in love with me. She isn't happy and this is not how she pictured her life. She thought we would be more financially secure by now and we are not. She doesn't think I care enough about her and she wanted me to leave.
I told her I wasn't leaving. I spend most of the time with the kids, I do pick ups and drop offs and homework. They cry for me when they wake up in the middle of the night. She was free to go if she wanted. I work full time. She makes a bit more money than I do, but not when you divide by all the hours we work. I've never been unemployed and have consistently earned 6 figures throughout out marriage and managed to be a present parent and a present husband.
In the end I decided to start sleeping upstairs in a spare bedroom as a compromise as we really can't afford a second apartment and all of my family is in New York and we live in Florida.
Rewind a bit:
Have I been perfect? Hell no. We were in our mid twenties when we got married. I was young and naive. I may have ignored some early signs of turmoil inadvertently. There were times during the pregnancy where we both gained lots of weight and I didn't look very good. We had babies sleeping in our beds and we were not intimate very often. We did pump out 3 babies in 5 years so there were lots of ups and downs as far as intimacy, weight gains and losses as well as stress and arguments. I had a hard time getting childcare so we can have alone time. My parents couldn't or wouldn't help as much as my wife thought they should (financially and babysitting) which caused other stressors. The fact that I didn't demand more of them upset her. She is an only child and only grandchild so a bit spoiled. I have three siblings, my parents are not wealthy and my mother would later develop cancer. My other siblings are kind of deadbeats and I was the successful son and didn't want to burden them.
In the end though I was always supportive of her. If she wanted to work, or stay home (she changed her mind a lot), what care she needed/wanted for the babies. I literally went to every OB appointment for all three pregnancies. I'd leave work or take off if she felt sick, woke up in the middle of the night to keep her company while she breast fed. Woke up myself and let her sleep so I can bottle feed and change diapers even though I had work the next day. Whatever it took to make her happy, or what I thought would make her happy I did.
I have never cheated on my wife, never have come close. I would never put myself in a situation to even be tempted as my family is the most important thing to me. I've never ever hit her. I don't have expensive hobbies or gamble or have made financial decisions without consulting her.
I routinely wake up early to help my wife get out of the house to her early gym class that she likes to take and sacrifice my own work to let her work. She is brilliant and currently a step away from becoming an executive at a large company. She has more potential for earnings, I admit it, so I do the best I can to help her achieve her goals and dreams while still earning a pretty good living where I can be flexible enough to pick up the slack with the kids.
In early 2018, my wife was working with this personal trainer/ "life coach". The trainer was a female. My wife became a bit enamoured with her and was acting strangely. She was shutting me out and I noticed she started sleeping with her phone under her pillow. Going against my belief that she deserves privacy, I couldn't' help myself. I took her phone quietly one night and started reading texts with this trainer. It turns out there was a bit of an emotional affair with this person going on. SHe even kissed her once, on New Years Eve, which happens to be the anniversary we met. I must have been distracted (and a bit drunk) entertaining when it occurred.
I was devastated. She woke up in a panic and begged for the phone back and asked me to stop reading. So I did. I was hurt angry and demanded she stopped seeing the trainer. She wouldn't. SO I contacted the trainer which caused further strains. The trainer assured me that my wife just had a girl crush and that she was straight and not interested in my wife.
We started seeing a therapist, though the therapist focused more on my wife and didn't require me to go very often. I started focusing on myself. I got a new better paying and more fulfilling job and started working out again. Dieting came easy as I was love sick and had no appetite. I got fit fast. I shed 50 lbs and added 15 in muscle. I shaved my head and let go of the few wisps of hair remaining and grew more confident.
At this point my wife and the "life coach" had a falling out and it got ugly. I'm talking this woman calling CPS making false claims and the cops at our house several times. My wife ended up being served a restraining order at work causing her to get fired. Legal fees ensued and the restraining order upheld preventing my wife from visiting our won HOA clubhouse during certain times for a year. Turns out this life coach specialized in ruining marriages. We had uncovered some other people hard done by her. The strange part is how she had a hold on my wife who is typically so strong and it was so out of character. Almost like she had a spell on her.
I supported my wife throughout. I took her side and was determined not to let this woman destroy us. Along with my improved physical appearance this helped a lot. We started becoming more affectionate and planning date nights and little get aways. Things got really good and would remain so for nearly a year.
During the good period my wife took a job which was relatively low stress compared to what she was used to. She didn't have much choice it was what she could find. Things were good. Then as mentioned this past May she took this more demanding higher paying job and that's when I started noticing things falling apart again. I tried to prevent another breakdown but maybe didn't do enough. I don't know I wish I could go back and try something else but I can't. She is more irritable. Seemingly blames me for all of life's problems.
I am confused and hurt. I thought she might be cheating on me again (she denies the trist with the trainer was cheating but it was). She insists she's not. Some snooping and her schedule make me believe she is not. I mean unless she is an evil mastermind I doubt she is.
We are seeing a new therapist, but our joint sessions seems to strain things more so we have been doing solo sessions. Things seem to start getting better and progressing, then she regresses again.
Its very hot and cold. She expects me to carry on doing everything a husband would do. She texts me when she gets yelled at at work and needs comfort. When she was sick recently I stayed home to take her to the doctor and make her soup. She locked her keys in the car and calls me. She asks for back or foot rubs when she is sore from the gym or wearing heels. We have our normal nightly routine where we watch TV together and chat. We do things together as a family (i.e. have a short Disney trip planned this weekend and a trip to NY for Christmas). But in the end she won't let me (or invite me because I've stopped asking) back into bed and obviously no sex or intimacy. Prior to 4 months ago we were pretty routinely getting it in at least 4 times per month, before her new job even more.
She still undresses in front of me, showers in front of me. It's very difficult for me. I'm very attracted to her. I love her (or a version of her I know she can be when she is less stressed). I know 4 months without sex isn't that long, I've seen people posting going years without it. I'm trying to be patient and understanding and more helpful. The more I do though the more I am asked to do. I'm not perfect and mess some stuff up or forget stuff and she always uses it to confirm her feelings that I suck. Its hurting my confidence and affecting my performance at work. It's like I can do a million things right and the one mess up erases it all. She is hard on me and verbally so. I'm usually able to let it roll off my back, but I have Sicilian blood in me and when in the wrong mood I snap back sometimes making it even worse.
She sometimes will come over and hug me, usually while I'm sleeping and plant a kiss on my head. Sometimes she kisses me hello and goodbye before work, sometimes she pulls away with a nasty look when I try to kiss her or hug her. That hurts.
Strangely my wife would sometimes initiate sex with me in her sleep. When I was in bed with her and I'd be sleeping too it would sometimes turn to sex. She would remember that we had sex the next day but did not remember initiating it. Pretty recently I tried to wake her up (she fell asleep on the couch) to get her to bed and she started making out with me. I laughed it off woke her up more fully and put her in bed. If we're both sleeping that's one thing but I was awake and it would have been wrong, as nice as the kiss was, to try and get more out of it. It's almost as though there is a part of her deep inside that wants me and is trying to get out. I don't know it's confusing.
I know the above is a lot. Any comments, advice or observations would be appreciated. I think just typing this all out was very therapeutic for me.