Adultery/My wife wants to end our marriage but wants me to be her best friend
QUESTION: Hi Laura
I have written to you before about my w wanting to divorce me due to me making all the usual mistakes of not being a good husband and having a problem with online porn.
I have not left yet to give her space but we do talk, mainly about the kids. She says that she is broken hearted and has no desire to ever have sex again, partly due to the affects of giving birth to our second child. She says that she doesn't want another man in her life but wants me to be her best friend as I am the closest person in her life. She cried the other night saying that she hoped we could grow old together and see our grandchildren. She makes it all sound so final.
I want to reconcile the marriage and hope space away and me working on my issues will help her feelings change. It has been two months since she filed for divorce and I think she built herself up for a long time for this due to being unhappy in the marriage. She tells me that I should go and find someone to have a physical relationship with as she cannot give me that. She says that she will cry when the divorce is done and will miss me but that I have had my chances.
Laura, I am confused as to what to do or suggest to her. She knows I love her but need to show her in a way that isn't hurting her more. My porn issue is now history after waking up to the damage I have caused.
ANSWER: Hi Andy,
You need to build up her love bank. Figure out what her love language is, then show her love in the way she receives it. Don't do the things that destroy love (whatever that is will be unique to her). When you have more love in your bank than pain, she will begin to respond. Since she still wants you in her life in some capacity, all hope is not gone. You have something to work with. Build on it.
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QUESTION: Thanks Laura
How would I be able to fill her love bank when I move out? I will see her twice a week when I see the kids but at the moment I am helping around the house and being more involved with the children. We talk and she looks at me affectionatley so I know there is maybe a deeper love there. She is so hurt that she has closed her heart. She does says that her feelings may change, but we are going through divorce proceedings now. I'm worried I don't have enough time to make enough of a difference before it's too late. Will space help her see me differently?
ANSWER: Hi Andy,
No, you can't fill her love bank in absentia. You have to be present. Once you move out, your chance of reconciliation diminishes tremendously. The only way that distance becomes a unifier is if she will miss you more than she needs space from you. You do that by filling her love bank.
As long as you are moving towards divorce, you are moving away from reconciliation. You can't build as you are destroying. The two of you have to choose which way to invest energy.
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QUESTION: Thanks for your advice. My wife sent me the following email. I just wondered if there could still be any hope? It seems pretty final and heart breaking. Please could you advise me?
I just wanted to say something. Please actually read it, and take notice... and don't just skim it to see what the end result is.
I will never completely get over the loss of my marriage, despite what you may think... about how this is all so easy for me.
Ok, if I had just found the porn on your phone... perhaps with some counselling etc. I could have got over that. I'm not certain I would have, because of our history with it, but I could have tried.
If it had just been your issues with Erica... perhaps with Colin's help, we could have sorted that out, although from what I've seen recently, I'm sceptical.
If it had just been that I felt I was constantly overcompensating for you, not being a true giving human being, generous with love, and giving what you can to make other people happy perhaps I could have been more patient and tried harder to get you to see all the things you were missing that were right in front of your eyes., although partly that's your personality and that can't be changed.
If it had just been that we lacked intimacy in our relationship perhaps I could have tried to spark things up, maybe even tried sex therapy, although the fact that you were so consumed with getting your kicks elsewhere and had nothing left of you to give, I doubt it would have worked.
If it was just that you needed time away from us for your own hobbies, perhaps I could have been more accepting although it was very hard to understand how you can watch everything fall apart and put playing about with models and mixing before your own family and marriage.
If it had just been that we were struggling to communicate, perhaps we could have tried marriage counselling, but then haven't we been here before? And it all stopped when I was 'off your case' for a while.
If it had just been that you seemed to lack compassion when I was upset, perhaps I could have learned how to make myself feel better inside, without you needing to do it for me.
If it had just been that you seemed to not care about work, or being a better provider for us, and wanting the best for your family... perhaps I could have worked more, or encouraged you to better yourself. But I have tried in the past, something always stops you and makes you think you are not good enough.
If it had just been that I was tired and run down from doing pretty much everything for our family physically, mentally and emotionally, yeah perhaps we could have got through that too... maybe.
BUT you put all those things together, and it just seems like an impossible black hole of upset and constant disappointment and it's very hard to have any energy left to salvage anything.
Don't get me wrong, if I had been a bad wife, unforgiving and unwilling to try to make things better... sure I deserve all that crap. But I was fighting a daily battle for my marriage, and I lost every time. I cried in the toilet when no one was around, I questioned my actions and constantly felt insecure because I was getting older and uglier. There was no way I was going to be able to pull this back, as strong as I might be.
BUT what finally broke me was seeing that you didn't need me at all. You could look at Italian Milfs anytime you liked on your phone... what did you need me for? They're better looking, younger and don't answer back. I was dreading our future. How much worse could this possibly get....
I had to get out. For my own sanity and for the sake of our children... it had to be over.
So, your previous questions failed to mention all of this. Your wife is giving you the gift of seeing your marriage through her eyes. Love is lost drop by drop. Eventually there comes a time when there is nothing left. There is no energy and no desire to do anything about it. It looks like you are there. It appears that your efforts are too little and too late.
If that is the case, the best thing you can do for your wife is respect her wishes. The best thing you can do for yourself is to see if there is any truth to what she says. If so, fix those things so that your future prospects are better, your life is better.