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My Wife wants to have a trial separation and I don't - some good advice please

(39 Posts)
UKWill1974 Sat 30-Apr-16 14:01:12

We've been married for 14 years and although we function brilliantly as a team around the house, we have struggled to communicate on an emotional level for a very long time. For the last 6 months she - by her own admission - has stopped trying and more recently started a friendship with a work colleague. When I confronted her about the friendship, she swore there was nothing to it. Since then I have seen photos (not the sort you would send to a friend) on her phone. She said she needed some space and time to think, which I have tried to give her. I've now been living elsewhere for 2 weeks and trying to keep talking and emphasizing that I want to try and make things work - but that this would need commitment from both of us and a willingness to listen and change. I've also been going to counselling to work out my part in the communications problems. She has spoken to many of her friends, but has not told any of them the full truth. Yesterday I spent the evening at the house, and although things were strained, we still managed to talk. This morning she admitted that, even though she said she would not stay in contact with her colleague, she emailed him last week to arrange to meet/talk. I'm so confused. I've tried to give her space but it doesn't seem to be working. Before the recent contact with her colleague came to light she had suggested a trial separation, which I wasn't comfortable with but was prepared to try. Now I'm even less sure. To make things more difficult we have 2 brilliant kids (10 and 8), who we both adore and I miss badly whilst away. In need of some good advice...

UKWill1974 Sat 30-Apr-16 14:05:37

I ought to stress that although her friendship has been a catalyst to our current situation, my wife says she was intending to talk about our relationship and that this recent friendship is not really relevant. I still love her and really want to try to salvage our marriage. Help please...

ClashCityRocker Sat 30-Apr-16 14:06:28

IT sounds to me like she's looking before she leaps - and wants a relationship to 'go to' once you've left. It sounds like she was at least having an emotional affair wi the colleague if not a physical one.

It doesn't sound like she wants to invest in your relationship but is scared of being on her own - which is understandable, although it's not fair on you.

I think you need to start thinking about the practicalities of splitting up and try and do it fairly and without blame.

SummerHouse Sat 30-Apr-16 14:09:57

You need to let her go. If she changes her mind you can both think very hard about giving it another go. But that needs 100% from both. I am really sorry. flowers

AnyFucker Sat 30-Apr-16 14:10:00

You want "good" advice ?

Stop being a mug. Separate properly and negotiate 50/50 care for the dc

She is having an affair and you are doing the Pick Me Dance that will simply diminish you further in her eyes

Gather up all your self respect and stop begging for crumbs. She's made a cuckold of you and you seem desperate for more of the same.

You can still be the father you want to be without being in a relationship with her

SummerHouse Sat 30-Apr-16 14:17:20

God that's harsh but anyfucker but yes, I think you are right.

UKWill1974 Sat 30-Apr-16 14:20:09

Mug or not, I don't feel ready to throw in the towel yet. Would it not be worth trying joint counselling first?

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sat 30-Apr-16 14:30:37

Joint counselling can only work if both parties are fully committed to it.

This "trial separation" talk was probably only to get you out of the family home so she do what she wants and when. She's not cut off all contact with this other man, so she's not committed to anyone except him.

Move back in and see how committed she is to you. I foresee her asking you to leave again.

Quietattheback Sat 30-Apr-16 14:31:37

Maybe. But only if she's into it, if not it will be an exercise in futility.

Tell her you would be up for it but leave her to make the decision, I know that sounds agonizing but if you force her into going by pleading and guilt tripping, you're really only putting off the pain. It will make no difference to the outcome if she is not willing to invest in the relationship and there is nothing you can do to make her want to invest, if it is over for her.

AF is right. Don't sacrifice your self worth by doing the "pick me" dance. Carry on with your individual counseling and try and work on looking after yourself emotionally. This is very painful, I'm sorry you're going through it - find some real life support so that you can navigate this well for you and your children. flowers

NotnowNigel Sat 30-Apr-16 14:33:15

If she's not 100% behind trying to salvage your marriage, I'm afraid you can't do it on your own flowers

It takes two to keep a marriage going, but only one to end it.

Your main priority has to be your dc and how you can stay a good father to them and continue parenting while she gets her head together.

For yourself, I think you need to be brave, stay dignified and strong and may be put a time limit on her making up her mind, if she hasn't already done so - it may b e that she just doesn't want to take responsibility and admit she wants to be out of the marriage.

I'm sorry, look after yourself.

Arfarfanarf Sat 30-Apr-16 14:37:05

Bottom line is that you can't make someone stay in a relationship with you if that is not what they want. The towel is not just yours to throw. She's got one too and she's thrown hers. I know that is hard to hear but you can't make her be with you.

I'm sorry. I know it's painful but it isn't enough that you want to stay together. You can't make your wife say oh, ok, you want us to be together, ok then...

I think that counselling for yourself is a really good idea. You can work through all of this and understand it. I'm very sorry for your pain.

AyeAmarok Sat 30-Apr-16 14:37:54

She's already left your relationship, I'm afraid. Mentally, she's separated from you and is pursuing other avenues.

Fighting to hold on to a relationship with her when her head is completely elsewhere will do so, so much damage to your self esteem. Please don't do that to yourself.

Nobody deserves that, it's actual torture being in a relationship like that.

hellsbellsmelons Sat 30-Apr-16 14:42:53

I'd get myself back into MY home first and foremost.
So she's having an affair want to separate and yet you have to move out?
Doesn't seem very fair to me.
AF puts things bluntly but she's absolutely right.
Tell her you are moving back and if she still needs some space then she can find somewhere to get that space. You've given her 2 weeks so now it's her turn to get out for a while.
Stop putting up this. It's not good for your self-esteem.
Let her understand what is will actually be like for her when she has to leave the family home on a full-time basis.
She wants her cake and to eat it too.
She's being very cruel and you need get some control back.
Don't be a doormat.

Timeforabiscuit Sat 30-Apr-16 14:43:31

I am very sorry, but you can't make a person see sense, tell the difference between infatuation and real emotional connection and you can't convince someone that crapping all over 14 year marriage for a bit of excitement is wrong - because you're not them.

She either decides to leave or keeps playing you off against each other, it is unfair, undignified and in my opinion utterly selfish.

Have you told anyone, do you have any support? If not start talking to people, start making arrangements for permanent separation and get contact arrangements in place.

Please don't put your own life on pause, she has already made her decision just lacks the guts to face up to it and the consequences.

UKWill1974 Sat 30-Apr-16 15:13:20

The collective advice seems very damning... Truthfully, I don't believe her friendship crossed over to a physical side. The pictures were incredibly upsetting, and yes, it was as a minimum an emotional affair, but fortunately I don't think it crossed a barrier (she did meet him for walks and a cup of tea at his house though - and she has been deceitful about the nature of the relationship (not only to me but also her friends/Mum) so I can't be certain).

We have been here before too... About 4 years ago I was working away from home a lot and in hindsight had my priorities all wrong. I found out she was having a relationship with our son's football coach (again she admitted to meeting and kissing, but nothing else). As a result I made some drastic changes. I changed job so we could spend more time together and allow her to have more freedom and pursue a career, which I have been very supportive about. For a while things seemed to be pretty good, but I don't think we ever addressed the underlying issues that led to the first 'relationship'. Largely because I don't think we were completely honest with each other.

I still believe there are more fundamental reasons for our emotional disconnection and communications problems, which is why I'm so desperate to try and address them now and try to salvage our marriage. I know that trying will not guarantee success, but surely it must be worth a go???

I really appreciate everybody's input, but like any relationship there are always two sides. I'm far from perfect: I can be moody, serious and too intense (her colleague made her laugh and feel like her 'old self'). I (still) work too hard and she feels like I don't always listen. I can recognize some (if not all) of these criticisms, but just wish she would be more open and honest about how she was feeling.

nauticant Sat 30-Apr-16 15:13:32

She's telling you without saying the words that she's planning to bin you sharpish. This is likely to be a precursor to her taking up* with the colleague. Given time and opportunity and he could move into the family home with your wife.

Move back in and tell your wife that if she wants the trial separation she can move out, depending on whether this is practical of course. Put simply, if things are over and you're still there you'll be in a much better position to negotiate a financial settlement that is fair to each of you. (Although this sounds doomladen it would be foolish to ignore the medium to long term.)

* or perhaps continuing

AnyFucker Sat 30-Apr-16 15:15:51

You have posted before have you, Will ?

AnyFucker Sat 30-Apr-16 15:16:33

This is your wife's second affair. She's not going to stop, mate

nauticant Sat 30-Apr-16 15:21:05

She prefers other men to you and doesn't want to be with you. She has affairs every few years. Counselling can't repair those problems. Even if it is used to paper things over you'll be setting yourself up for a life of uncertainty and the slow pulling apart of your sense of self.

UKWill1974 Sat 30-Apr-16 15:29:12

Maybe she has these 'friendships'/'affairs' because we have never addressed the underlying issues? That's what I think we need to do. I think there are some quite deep issues around emotional/physical closeness she needs to address. I know this will sound like a broken record, but I'm an optimist and would still like to try... I'm not throwing everybody's views/advice back in their faces - there are some very good valid points, especially both wanting to fight for the marriage...

CommonBurdock Sat 30-Apr-16 15:34:53

When you start using the words "make things work" it's the beginning of the end. Things only work out if there is desire and respect on both sides.

She clearly has none for you, zero, zilch, nothing, niente.

Your kids will not thank you in the future for losing your self respect to perpetuate the myth of the ideal nuclear family.

Summerlovinf Sat 30-Apr-16 15:45:48

She's put you on the subs bench...up to you how long you stay there waiting to get a game

springydaffs Sat 30-Apr-16 15:52:29

my wife says she was intending to talk about our relationship and that this recent friendship is not really relevant.

Right. Sure it isn't hmm]

Fact is, she has strayed. For the second time. You do know there'll be a third (and forth)? She is rewriting history: 'I was unhappy anyway, that's why I had the affair'.

Plus you say she wanted to 'talk'. When she has never wanted to 'talk' before, which you feel has led to your problems together. Uncanny that she suddenly wanted to 'talk'.

You're saying you have been a bit of a workaholic focused on all the wrong things and, though you've done a lot to address that, I'd say it may be too late. Because she's voting with her feet, do you see?

I really, really wouldn't want to be chasing after someone who has broken the marriage not once but twice. Why would you want to chase after a marriage like that?

Let her go. Hard not to be living with the kids 24/7 though from what you say there have been significant absences due to work. Would you be able to manage 50:50 childcare with work commitments? If so then go for that.

Agree it's time for her to move out for a few weeks to 'think'.

Arfarfanarf Sat 30-Apr-16 15:53:34

why do you want to cling to someone who treats you with contempt?

That's what having affairs is. Contempt. That's what pursuing these little flirtations is. Contempt.

If that's what you want to cling on to, to salvage - a relationship with someone who is happy to shit all over you, then you really need some counselling.

It's probably less painful for you to tell yourself that she loves you really and she can't help herself because she's got all these ishoooos and she gets scared of closeness so she sabotages it / she craves closeness so she goes after other men.... but the reality is she probably does it because she can and she doesn't care enough about you or how you feel to not do it.

You can't make someone treat you with respect. They either choose to or they don't.

But again, you talk of what "we need to do" - she doesn't want to. Don't be one of those people who refuses to accept the other person's right to end a relationship.

springydaffs Sat 30-Apr-16 15:56:45

Good post, arf

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