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Trial Separation or Fight to save marriage

(105 Posts)
stumpy1969 Mon 16-Jul-12 13:49:10

Hope it's OK for a man to post!! If not apologise.

Could do with advice. Wife and i have been married for 12 years and have two children 8 and 6.

As a family unit we get on fine and the kids are happy. have a good circle of friends, no money issues, nice home. No arguments in 6 months. Neither of is violent, gets drunk. However the intimacy in marriage has not been there for some years. I had a long conversation a couple of weeks ago where i said i did not want to stay in loveless marriage for sake of children as i could then just see us getting divorced when kids left home (and the temptation to have a one night stand or affair to be OK) - note nether of us (certainly not me wants one night stand / affair)

My wife said the spark had gone (ie not as career focussed, does not fancy me)

We agreed to have a trial separation (i rent somewhere, joint custody of children) for a period of 6 months to try and work things round

Whilst looking for somewhere to rent i have started running 5km a day (already lost half a stone, just another 3/4 stone to go before beer belly gone), eating healthier

However in the last three weeks when confiding in friends about our amicable separation we have discovered one friend has being having an affair for 3 months and has now left husband for good, another friend has had troubles in marriage for 2 years and last week kicked husband out.

I will be honest and say that i will do anything do save our marriage and get things back to how they were, I am concerened that maybe we to hasty in agreeing separation to save marriage. ie ie will be living in a rented house (which will not be a home) and therefore i am sure that will get me down. The agreed contact to try and reignite the flame is once a fortnight after first month apart for a date night. We will see each other on family afternoons with children but will not discuss issues in front of kids. I am struggling how i can attempt to reignite spark when that fortnightly contact is the time we are also discussing our issues. ie not the most romantic thing on a date to bring up anecdotes of how we have upset each other over the years

When wife was out last weekend she came back and mentioned that amongst our friends we seem to be "not too bad"

I was upset when my wife said she did not fancy me anymore but after doing a lot of readings om forums believe this is not uncommon. We make time as a family but not necessarily for each other.

So the question i need advice on at what stage is it best trying to work things out whilst still in family home and at what stage would a separation (trial) be best?

ie. if i can stay in home we can continue to decorate son's bedroom together, plan new kitchen.

By moving out i feel that it jsut makes it easier for separation to become permananent.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Jul-12 14:14:36

Salvaging marriages and creating sparks rely on both parties wanting it to happen. If your wife has decided the best thing is a trial separation that suggests she doesn't want to try for sparks and, more than that, she'd prefer you didn't live together either. 'Not too bad' compared with warring friends is not exactly a ringing endorsement. The truth is that sometimes people just drift apart. It's no-one's fault exactly & not as simple as losing a beer belly etc. When you're thrown together with someone day in day out, even minor irritations become unbearable. TBH I would respect her wishes and go along with the plan. Then make full use of your fortnightly meetings to find out if there is any hope.

FaultyGoods Mon 16-Jul-12 14:19:17

I don't think you should move out unless your DW has specifically said that this is what she wants or it's what you want. If it's that you have both 'lost your way' in your marriage, I think you would be better off staying in the same house but arranging for some counselling sessions where you can discuss your issues openly. Then, outside of the counselling, try to reconnect with each other in small ways, perhaps by spending time together doing things that you both enjoy. IMO moving out should be your last step, not your first step.

amillionyears Mon 16-Jul-12 14:26:49

Do you still love her?
Does she still love you?
When do you think the rot set in or has it been gradual
Do you still fancy her?
Why does she no longer fancy you,wieght? hygiene?dont change clothes very often?
Would she agree to go out with you more,just the 2 of you,before you have left the home?

MissFaversam Mon 16-Jul-12 14:32:22

You said in your post that you "both" agreed on a separation. It seems that you agreed to give her time soley wanting the outcome to be getting things back on track.

The idea of a separation is to be apart to see if "both" of you want make a go of things, if she decides not to then so be it.

amillionyears Mon 16-Jul-12 14:37:31

And dont understand the no arguments bit.

startlife Mon 16-Jul-12 14:46:18

I'm interested in how you got to the decision to have a trial separation, rather than other options like counselling or discussing the specific issues..weight and lost of ambition??

I posted just a few weeks ago about a trial separation as my dh & I were arguing constantly - for us it's because we do have enormous outside pressures which are causing the stresses and we are pulling apart rather than pulling together.

I still fancy my dh and love him - even if I don't like him at times. I would be more concerned if we had reached the stage of where the attraction and love had gone. I think if a woman posted saying her husband was demanding a separation because she had put on weight he would be called abusive and understandably so.
Are you sure it's just the weight issue, what else does she say? Losing the spark is quite common after many years married so I think counselling would be more effective than a trial separation. It's rather shallow for her to just say your weight is the issue.
If you don't want to separate then I think you should try counselling first (it would also be considerable cheaper and likely to be less disruptive to the dc's).
Have you read A Marshalls "I love you but I'm not in love wth you". It highlights the stages that long term relationships often go through.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Jul-12 15:49:16

The OP's wife said she doesn't fancy him but I didn't see weight specifically mentioned as a reason for that. If a stone is all he needs to lose he's hardly a tub of lard. There are lots of reasons why someone would stop wanting to have sex with their partner that have nothing to do with appearance. Many marriages fall foul of mismatched sex-drives, especially post children.

OP... You're the one saying you can't live in a sexless marriage and proposing living apart. If your DW hasn't protested I think you have to accept that you've hit the nail on the head. Step back from ideas of 'reigniting flames' and try to connect with your wife in other ways.

stumpy1969 Mon 16-Jul-12 15:55:35

Do you still love her? yes
Does she still love you? Think she sees me as a friend rather than lover. She has said if she met me now rather than 10 years ago she would not give me a 2nd look
When do you think the rot set in or has it been gradual Rot has set in during last 4 years. partly due to me not want to spend money as i was saving for a rainy day so she was constantly having to nag me to spend on big things. In last 8 months i have not refused her any expenditure and i hoped that would sort things out. Our social life has gone from hardly anything 18 months ago to something happening every weekend (whether separately or with friends). We do loads of stuff as a family but not much together (ie occasional trip to theatre. The doing stuff together has diminished party down to at the end of a nice evening/meal/theatre it saddens me when wife will not even want to hold hands, link arms or let me touch her.
Do you still fancy her? yes
Why does she no longer fancy you,wieght? hygiene?dont change clothes very often? she mentioned beer belly so i have now nearly got rid of that BUT i do not think it is as simple. She's mentioned me not being as career driven but i like the fact i am not working away 4 nights a week so i can see my family most evenings makes me happy and she herself says makes for a happier family unit. I'm not that bothered about wearing the latest clothes/fashion so maybe that grates. That can be changed. However i do not think there is a checklist of things to make spark come back. speaking and reading i believe some things are mental/emotional and not that easy to undo
Would she agree to go out with you more,just the 2 of you,before you have left the home? . Realised in last 2 weeks there is no reason when i am working from home we can meet up near her work for a coffee/lunch. I also believe we should go out just the two of us more often

Re No arguments - 18 months ago we were arguing over stupid things on a weekly basis. Last 7 months there has not been one disagreement

When we discussed a couple of weeks ago me not wanting a loveless marriage (at least from her side) the conversation seemed to lead to a trial separation - at that point in my head i thought we had reached the point of no return BUT i have now realised after reading a number of posts that it is not uncommon for the spark to go. But i am also wondering if the spark has a better chance of returning if we are still in same home rather than living separately

startlife As mentioned earlier when i talked to wife about the affection not being there from her end she said she was not sure it would ever come back (it could take 3 months, could take 6 months, could take 12 months). Its not the weight issue that was just an example. I do not believe my wife is that superficial and i think that some things i have done in the past (ie not supported her business 7 years ago) may carry a resentment. Wife does not want counselling and i have not read the book mentioned. I will attempt to get her to agree to counselling tonight either jointly or separately

amillionyears Mon 16-Jul-12 16:24:32

Thank you for that post back,most helpful.
I am thinking the sudden no arguments in 7 months,after lots of arguments previously,may mean your DW is just not bothering to bring anything up anymore.How long has she thinking about you both seperating?
Also.Sounds like your wife is indeed resenting things,and is actually now sweeping things under the carpets as well.Does she hold things against other people as well,ie is that her general way with everyone,or is it just you she holds things against?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Jul-12 16:25:32

"18 months ago we were arguing over stupid things on a weekly basis. Last 7 months there has not been one disagreement"

To me that says she's given up caring.... sorry. I don't think it's your weight, fashion sense, work ethic or anything else tangible. I think she's simply had enough of the relationship and wants out. That's why she doesn't want counselling because she sees it as a waste of time. That's why she doesn't want to have sex with you. The trial separation, I believe, is her way of letting you out of the marriage gently.

mcmooncup Mon 16-Jul-12 16:38:35

When you say you "were arguing over stupid things" - what were they? Maybe they weren't stupid to her?

stumpy1969 Mon 16-Jul-12 18:01:02

7 months ago i made a concious decision not to worry about what we spent our money on. Most of our arguments up to then had money at the root cause.

I think you may be right in terms of letting me down gently but it is actually prolonging the inevitable and making it worse. I'm moving into a rented accommodation for 6 months where i will share joint custody of kids. However for 6 months the place where my kids are staying will not be full of all their games, toys, books, clothes. The street has no kids the same age. Family home is on cul de sac where the kids play out most evenings in safety. If i knew it was ended i would get something more permanent.

Thanks for comments off to wallow in my own misery for a couple of hrs :-)

MissFaversam Mon 16-Jul-12 18:18:04

What were your "Money Arrangements" ?

Did you split all 50/50 or do you hold the purse strings?

hidingbeneathanamechange Mon 16-Jul-12 18:53:49

Ok, here's the thing, nothing is more unattractive than someone desperate to win you back. I should know - my DH left me for someone else, and to start with I spent hours talking to him, trying to convince him we could change things for the better, the works. Did it bring him back? Of course not. All it did was make me seem like hard work and his OW much more attractive (I appreciate there isn't anyone else in your situation).

Move out, get yourself a social life, throw yourself back into your work, and leave her to sort her head out. If there is anything left worth saving she'll miss you, if there isn't you will have saved yourself hours of misery.

stumpy1969 Mon 16-Jul-12 19:37:54

All money goes into joint acct - 50/50

hidingbeneathanamechange - think your advice is correct and you are right i need to let wife sort our her head and me to carry on living. Depression now officially over

MissFaversam Mon 16-Jul-12 20:01:08

partly due to me not want to spend money as i was saving for a rainy day so she was constantly having to nag me to spend on big things. In last 8 months i have not refused her any expenditure and i hoped that would sort things out

I smell a rat.

stumpy1969 Mon 16-Jul-12 20:34:33

"i smell a rat" -do you want more clarification from me by what i mean or you suspect wife is up to something?

MissFaversam Mon 16-Jul-12 20:41:18

I'm saying stumpy that the relationship didn't get where it is by itself. You are sort of making out that your wife is the bad guy here.

Let me tell you something, just from my 50 year experience.

When a woman shuts off it is usually due to some sort of "control" aspect from the other and running through your thread is the money issue coupled with the "sex" thing.

amillionyears Mon 16-Jul-12 20:47:57

Am I right in thinking that she likes to spend more money than you.
Would you say she overspends,or that you dont spend as much as a lot of other people.
Just trying to find out really how your wife is feeling about things in general and money in particular.Has she told you how she feels? And did you properly listen?Have you had a heart to heart?

stumpy1969 Mon 16-Jul-12 21:19:59


no i'm sure there is more to it than i have posted and i do not want to make out that the issue is purely down to my wife. I've been lazy with doing the DIY jobs in the past. We had a bad period between having the child no1 and child no2 ( i was working away four or five nights a week and was shattered at the weekend (just wanting to stay in). Wife was SAHM (with no friends nearby) so wanted to get out of the house. We sorted it out but i think we just papered over the cracks and never got to root of any underlying issues whatever they may be.

When i was young both my uncles and my parents went bankrupt so i have always tried to have six months to nine months salary as a safety net in case i lost my job. My wife spends but i would not call it excessive (ie she is not into designer clothes (at least not that many). Reflecting over the last month i have come to realise that every bit expenditure in last 6 years (ie over £1000) has taken my wife weeks/months of pressure to get (ie waiting till car was falling apart before replacing, putting off a new kitchen) . There is always money left over at end of month.

Compared to our friends we have a good standard of living (we both work -me full time and wife has well paid part time job)

At the moment it is weird the last month we are talking more and more (she is even buying me presents for first time in years apart from xmas/fathers day) but my wife believes that only a trial separation will give her the space to work out what she feels about me and why. The agreed rules of separation are no talking about our relationship for first month and family time with kids at least once a week. Month 2 (start of Sept) will be when we can discuss the differences in how we feel for each other.

She is happy in general (doing well in job), nice group of friends/social life.

One moment i am thinking we are going through the motions of a trial separation when deep down it will be permanent. The next day she will tell me how she "found a bracelet she got for her birthday 3 months ago from a girlfriend that she hated at the time (the bracelet not the girlfriend). When she found out she had lost it she realised how much much she actually liked it..."

Point of initial post is immaterial as wife has re-iterated tonight that she still wants me to move out a week on friday.

I have ordered two copies of book mentioned earlier (A Marshalls "I love you but I'm not in love wth you").

Thanks to everyone for taking time to comment

BalloonSlayer Mon 16-Jul-12 21:35:20

"she has said if she met me now rather than 10 years ago she would not give me a 2nd look"

what an utterly shit thing to say to anyone.

And yy the bracelet thing - DEEPLY suspicious.

sad for you

MissFaversam Mon 16-Jul-12 21:40:28

Very sad for you OP. It's a done deal really then. Go and move out. What will be will be.

RandomMess Mon 16-Jul-12 21:46:43

If this was a permanent seperation would you be happy to move out to where you are planning to go?

I would have a stipulation of my one which would be to good couples therapist to get you communicating openly and honestly again.

s0fedup Mon 16-Jul-12 22:04:57

I just want to let you know that I think you sound like a throughly decent man.

I know you have probably made some mistakes, (havnt we all)
You are reflecting on these and it seems like you are willing to change for your wife, and fight for your marraige, GOOD FOR YOU!

So often on this board we hear about totally s**t men who will not admit a problem let alone sort it, and some disgusting behaviour from them.

So stumpy, keep fighting

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