After 25+ year of marriage, I have lost faith in my relationship

by Anonymous

On the exterior, most people tell us that we are the nicest couple but the truth couldn't be more wrong. it's like that once look alike broken picket fence has grown into the Great Wall of China.

It all started about 9-10 years ago. We were two dynamic entrepreneurs, laser-focused, fighting everyday for money like there was tomorrow and trying to get a shot a this American dream. We felt lucky to work together and we made a good team. While I was the one pulling the heavy work, my wife had her own terrain and was extremely competent with her job. Everything was moving in the right direction but the particularities of our business made it so that there was also a lot of stress and tensions. Nothing too important, just enough to support a narrative full of disdain. Make no mistake, everybody adores my wife, she's charming and will go beyond to accommodate anybody who cross her path. I often think it’s over the top but she's a genuine people person, she's truly gifted and will make anyone feel like the most special person in the world. Anyone but me. She’s attractive, elegant, always appropriate, honest, not like the rest of us who are just a bunch of irresponsible and I’m the worst.

At home, it's a different story. My wife is nice to everybody but me, even the cats are vip, I’m a peasant. She often associates her kindness with others as putting a mask to pretend she’s happy. Of course she takes off that mask at home and become somebody else. Due to hormonal change I have no doubt that she's depressed and feel insecure, I know now that menopause is very hard on a woman but it also takes a toll on the couple. Like she says and I cite textually “I suffer the consequences of your existence”. Her level of anxiety is such that she's unable to see the good in anything and particularly when it comes to me. She focuses on what she doesn't have, how unfair it is and the sad part is that there's no more happiness or joy at home.

Our adult kids if “adult” is the correct word, are so self-centered that they don't realize how demanding they are. It feels like we live in an emergency room. They come and dispose of us when they have a crisis on hand and of course Mom is always here to clean up the mess. Things could be worse for sure but I realize this incessant noise has a serious impact on our marriage.

I consider myself privileged. About 7 years ago we sold our business with some equity, we paid uncle sam and took what was left to achieve our life dream. We live today in one of the nicest place on earth. At that time, I had the choice to keep doing what I came to despise or reinvent myself. I decided to change my life, went back to school and became the professional that I'm today. I have a
dream job and I love what I do but it's not always easy, specially the money side, it lacks consistency and I'm afraid this is the root of the problem. The roles have shifted. My wife is now the bread maker and I'm the one taking care of the house, cooking, cleaning. My income is less than half of what she makes. To make things work I took on another side job but Covid messed it all up. My wife got herself a pretty good job too, she works 30 hours a week, makes bank, benefits and the whole shebang. So our situation is far from being extreme but my wife is impatient or just looking for excuses. Over the last 10 years, her personality with me has morph into the exact opposite of who she was and we don’t share the same vision of life. I know that I’m a better person today than 10 years ago, I tend to refuse pressure and try to be stress free. This is interpreted by my wife as a failure while I believe I found a way to stay focused and motivated.

It's been a long time that our communication is dull and very superficial. To me, she might be here but her spirit is gone. I can not count anymore the times that I have approached her to talk about us, she rarely engage and avoid the talk. She’s definitely not comfortable speaking about our problems. If I ask her, what's wrong she answers “nothing” and pretend everything is good. I feel like I have to drag her into my life while she’s pulling away. On multiple occasions, she confessed she resents the fact I'm not making enough and she's jealous that I do what I love. She doesn’t trust me nor have faith I will make it. These were tough to listen to .

About 8 months ago she started to see a therapist, but there's no follow up nor progress. She goes every week, but never talk about it and those books are only for decoration. In the beginning I used to ask her how the session went, I realized quickly I was making her uncomfortable so I stopped asking. Sex is non-existent, it happens rarely and lately when we reach some tension and decide to make peace but again there's no follow up. In terms of quality of sex, my wife wants massages but sex has become mechanical and I have to jump through too many hoops. To be honest, I stopped trying about a year ago, I can’t take her rejection anymore.

It’s very hard and I resent her. I have become over the years her scapegoat, her last priority, like that old dusty book on the top shelf. I feel lonely, dismissed, unloved and rejected. At this point, I’m hurt and I’m afraid that I’m becoming indifferent, I don’t even know anymore if I’m still in love with her. I’m sleeping on the couch, minimum contact and starting to look at my options. It is what it is.

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Eugene Kayser, MA, MFT's profile on the Gottman Referral Network