Seeking a divorce. Any advice?

@owlwings (38075)
Cambridge, England
January 7, 2008 5:24am CST
I am seeking a divorce. I have been married for nearly 40 years but have realised, during the last 10 years, that I have been far from happy. The problem is, I think, that, though my wife loves me and she very far from being a bad person, I have changed and have realised that MY feelings towards her are as if she were a parent or a teacher. This is not a good relationship to have with one's wife. I wasn't young when I married (27 is old, these days) but I came from being a bachelor in my mother's house to being a master in my own. I suppose that, though I thought of myself as 'grown up', I was really still being a 'child' - I had simply exchanged my mother's caring for my wife's. Children there are (now grown and married and very dear to me) but I realise now that they were a buffer in our relationship - a common bond but also a division. Now they are making their own lives, I have recognised the emptiness. Enough of the sob story! Have you had this experience? What did you do? If you decided to separate, what difficulties did you encounter and how did you deal with them?
8 people like this
17 responses
• United States
7 Jan 08
Have you discussed your feelings with your wife? Maybe you both can go to marriage counseling. Maybe remember the good times you had or do some of the things you did with her when you were young. If you are feeling that bad about it though, maybe you would be better off getting divorced.
2 people like this
• United States
7 Jan 08
P.S. Good luck , I hope everything works out for you. Barb
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
7 Jan 08
Yes, we have discussed it (or at least, I believe that we have). We have been to a counsellor and I thought that I had explained everything but, it seems that however I phrase things to make them (as I think) undertandable, there are always more questions which I do not have the answers for! Also, when I have told her (which I always find very hurtful) that I do not 'love' her any more, why am I asked to repeat it and repeat it? It is almost as if she didn't even hear me!
2 people like this
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
8 Jan 08
It is because she is in denial and cannot believe this is happening after 40 years, and trust me those children that you adore will take her side...
@gem4678 (220)
• United States
8 Jan 08
I just thought I would give you some info. If you are going to go through with a divorce try your best to include the entire family first. My father in-law did that and his entire family pretty much hated him for it for a long time. There was a lot of un-needed stress on all. Even the adult kids started to question there own marriages because they thought they could have a life like there parents thinking they were happy and marriage could last and it made there worlds crash down around them when they realized that this was not the case. The kids even as adults can take these things very hard, and it can effect them grately.
2 people like this
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
8 Jan 08
Thank you for your warning. Yes, I do understand that it could affect the way my children see their own marriages. They are, however, being very supportive, having, I think, seen how unhappy I have obviously been for the last 5 or more years.
1 person likes this
@caribe (2465)
• United States
8 Jan 08
Reading this makes me feel really sad. I have no advice for you because anything I would say would be tinged with my own experiences. I am sure that you have hashed and rehashed everything in your mind and your decision has been made. I wish you well, owlwings.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
8 Jan 08
I haven't been divorced and neither have my parents. But personally, if I was in your wife's position, I would have to respect you for your honesty and move one. I'd rather my husband tell me that he has fallen out of love and separate amicably than tag along because of the comfort level. You kids are older and I wouldn't stay in such a relationship even if my kids are younger. I would explain to them about the situation and try to make it as stress-free as possible especially for the kids. Maybe you wife hasn't really understood how you feel in the relationship. But once both of you are separated she will get time to put herself away from you and think things through. After 40 years and loving you, she still considers the two of you as one (so I think) and that makes it difficult for her to accept that you don't love her like you would want to.
2 people like this
• United States
7 Jan 08
I think your a person who is very honest. You sound very sure of your feelings and this was for a while now. I would think you and the wife would be able t make some agreements. That your wife and you both deserve to be happy and not just settle. I know you took a vow before god and so did I. I also know when I received my divorce papers I felt like a bird was on my back. You have thought about this hard and long. Your not being selfish or one sided. Your wife deserves a man who can look into her eyes and want to just hold her. You don't feel this way any longer. No book on this earth can make you feel this. Therapy is great and it helps to talk things out. The therapist is only human. She is there to try to keep you together and collect her check. You say your kids are all grown and they have lives. They will have to deal with their feelings as well. But trust and believe when they see you both move on and happy. That will fill all the void of the divorce you had. No one is promised tomorrow you have to make your life the best you can today. If she is not going to be left with no money or out to just scrap. Talk to her and see about setting a date. Be as civil as you can and try to part as friends. This way your kids will see the adults who raised them respect each other. I wish you luck. Your kids will always love you and someday fully understand your position.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
7 Jan 08
Thank you for your positive words. Yes, the 'children' are being very supportive, the two girls, especially. My son (the eldest) is the one who is, I think, having most difficulty with it and needs to talk it through with both of us and I am careful of his sensitivity. Nothing could be truer than that I should also be careful to be respectful of my wife, even if, sadly, I can no longer say that I love her. I believe that we shall work this through and, hopefully, build a positive and happy solution for everyone concerned.
1 person likes this
• Canada
8 Jan 08
I'm sorry for intruding so many times here, but hun there's something i wanted to say when i saw you say... "Nothing could be truer than that I should also be careful to be respectful of my wife, even if, sadly, I can no longer say that I love her." If i'm wrong, please let me know... But after 40 years of being with someone, i don't think it's possible to say i don't love her anymore, i think that the best way one would put it is that 'i still love her, but am no longer IN love with her' if you know what i'm saying... sorry once again... it's just that i think if you didn't still love her with some part of her, you would not be trying to spare her hurt, and instead give her happiness, know what i mean?
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
23 Jan 08
Not to hate is to love, Spitfire? I think I know where you are coming from but a feeling of responsibility or of charity is not the kind of love that makes one want to be with or stay with a person.
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
7 Jan 08
I was in a relationship that he tried to control everything and basically took everything away from me including my ability to know who I really was. By the time I left there was nothing left inside of me. My advice is to try to avoid conflict. Try to do it peacefully for both of you. That way you can seperate friends. Good luck.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
7 Jan 08
I agree that to try to do it peaceably is the way to go. Whether people intentionally try to control or whether they do it because they are who they are is something which is rarely resolved. I am sorry that you felt so drained. I do hope that you have found yourself again.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
7 Jan 08
I have totallly found out who I am....when I was with him and wrote poetry he would laugh at me....I am now an author of two books...One has poetry in it!
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
8 Jan 08
I am happy that you are happy now Jill but you were young and you had a chance to move on..This marriage is 40 years old, its doubtful that at his age he will be able to fix all the damage he will cause if he gets a divorce..
• Philippines
7 Jan 08
In my opinion, divorce is not the right answer to fill the emptiness you've been feeling. You've already lost your children because they are already living separate lives, don't give in to the feeling that you're also willing to give up your wife. Its wonderful that you've been together for almost 40 years now! For some, that may already have been a miracle! I congratulate you for enduring all the nagging that you're wife has given you throughout the years (marriage is nothing without a wife's nagging! lol!). Kidding aside, try to enjoy your time with her, I believe your already in your late sixties right? I don't think divorce is the best thing or option for you now. May be your just sad because you've haven't spent too much time with your wife. Or you've been too much preoccupied with other things and you don't have fun anymore. Try to sit down alone, have a pen and paper and think about the things that would make your relationship with your wife better or more fun. Yes communication is also important so after you've written all the things that you feel that would make your relationship better, share it to her and discuss other topics that may come out of your head. Like I always say, communication is the key to any relationship. So always be sure to voice out your concerns and feelings to her as possible as you can. Try not to think about the divorce stuff. Live the rest of your life together with your wife and try not to run away from the problem at hand but willingly face it and solve it to make things better.
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
8 Jan 08
Thank you for your thoughts. I do understand that, for many people, anything may seem better than divorce. I think that I have felt unhappy and unfulfilled by my marriage, however, for at least 25 years. It has only been in the last five years that I have begun to understand the problems and source of unhappiness.
1 person likes this
@nannacroc (4049)
7 Jan 08
It's sad to hear that you're unhappy. I don't have first hand knowledge of divorce but tonight on the One Show they were discussing it. Try www.bbc.co.uk/the one show there may be something there to help you.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38075)
• Cambridge, England
8 Jan 08
Thank you for the link, Nannacroc. It was very helpful with a lot of advice about how to go forward.
1 person likes this
@SHAMRACK (8380)
• India
10 Jan 08
Hi, I have departed from the person whom I had to marry it is a long story as soon as she gave birth to a baby the problems started and we are in court and I have to get a legal sanction to see my daughter and she is neither willing to divorce me or live with hence the case is under process in our local family court. If is mutual divorce the divorce procedure is easy and if the other side do not ask for much compensation. Before divorce it those persons who have to decide whether to live together or not. Also consulting with other divorced and good psychologist are also well matters.Hope a positive side will soon come for you.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
8 Jan 08
I will give my opinion as a daughter. I am so thankful that my parents were still together for 29 years of marriage. I admire my mother's patience, boundless love for my father and unselfish love for us her children. I grew up aware of all the difficulties of my parents marriage life. When I was young there were endless time of my parent's fight, I guess it's never been that easy for couples. During those fights I know nobody was happy and that every member of the family was frustrated of what's happening, that I wished they would just separate so that the problem is already solve, no more fights anymore but no one from my mom and dad give up on each other. Then later on I've realized I am lucky that my parents never separate. I have a family. It is so sad that you can feel emptiness where in fact you have a wife. Your children will surely looking up on your marriage as their inspirations as they have their own now. I know I'm not in your position and that I am not 100% sure what could be my response if I were in your shoes. But I believe that happiness is in the state of mind. So if I were you I'll find myself and go back to my husband. If I spent 40 years with him I would love to spend the rest of my life with him alone. God Bless you owlwings!
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
8 Jan 08
I have been divorced but it was due to severe abuse. To me, anything but that would seem workable. Even that was hard to walk away from for I took my vows very seriously. 40 years is a long time to be with someone whom you don't really love. Your wife has been cheated of a great part of her life also. If you haven't already talked to her, you should right away.
1 person likes this
@LittleMel (14059)
• Canada
8 Jan 08
I never really have this feeling I haven't been married that long but I have heard this happened to other people. It's not that they don't love their spouses anymore, they just don't love them as much as they used to. A few of them got divorced, the rest just separated for the time being. I don't know which one will work for you, but if it's possible maybe you two can first separate as living in different house or town, before actually file a divorce. Who knows after a while you may find out this feeling is not permanent.
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
10 Mar 08
I felt that your estrangement with your wife is just an illusion. Having spent decades on your family and children upbringing, it is normal that now they are independent and having a family of their own - it would now naturally be a void and time to catch up with your wife. Try and recall the times the both of you enjoying activities together. Recall her favourite pastimes where the both of you can enjoy together. You need to realise that your wife needs your company and support during this time also. Don't feel so lost and left out for that is exactly how your wife is feeling now too. Both of you need companionship as you walk the remaining years of your life. So start planning and communicating together and you will understand what I am trying to put forth here.
@o2bfree (226)
• United States
16 Feb 08
I have read through this entire discussion and can't help but wonder (curiousity) what stage you are at now? Where your head and heart are? I truly seems tragic to me that it would take someone such a long time to realize their unhappiness. Regardless, we all deserve that happiness and I do hope you find what you are looking for either way ; ) Hugs~C
@MsTickle (24966)
• Australia
11 Jan 08
Practicalities need to be considered first. Where will you live and how will both of you manage on your own? Ask yourself, what are your expectations from divorce. Happiness is an attitude, a state of mind, a choice. No-one is responsible for your happiness except you. Being divorced doesn't necessarily mean you will be happy. Divorce can be expensive...can you afford to be divorced? Divorcing your wife will cause a good deal of concern for your children even if they are grown up.
@pumpkinjam (5688)
• United Kingdom
11 Jan 08
This is quite sad Mr. Owlwings. I, although much younger than you (!), have been in a similar situation. I was very young. I was in a relationship aged 17, had a child by aged 19 and the relationship ended when I was 21. Obviously, this is different in a lot of ways, partly - or even mainly - because for me, it totalled 5 years of my life and yours has been 40. Still, there are some things which are similar. I know my partner at the time still loved me and asked to try again but I knew it wasn't right for me. I knew that all three of us would be happier if we split rather than trying for the sake of it. When children are young, their feelings should be thought about ver carefully. Your children are grown but they will still be affected by your decision. It is very sad that you should wish to divorce after so long but, in my honest opinion, you have obviously put a lot of thought into it and it would seem a waste of your and your wife's time to stick together knowing that you don't feel for her as you should. She will hurt but the pain can only heal if the wound can not be reinfected. Hey, that's a good one, isn't it! I think you will know what I mean. Good luck Mr. Owlwings. I trust that you will do what is best. Love B.
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
8 Jan 08
Yes i had a very simular relationship.I was married young 15 years old and married for 39 years..Please DO NOt Do ThIs..It will not only tear your home apart but it will tear your entire family apart...I di it and it was a HUGE mistake..You may not be Inlove like you was at one time but after 40 years, i can tell you for a fact,because i have been there and done that..You will Never be happy with anyone else..First off your kids will be mad at you,and your entire relationship will change with them..Next after 40 years even if you do not feel you are "In love" there is a lot more there than you think there is,Trust Me on this...You will regret it for the rest of your life sir......If you were 27 when you married and you have been married 40 years,that would make you about 67 years old....Do not go any place...You may just have to settle for a compainship with your wife, but it is much better there than what you will face if you get a divorce....Christmas will change, family functions will change, family will fall apart...Had you did this say 10 years ago maybe you would stand a chance but now, if you do this it will take you a few years to fix what you have broken...Trust me your kids will get angry..I know what people say..They say you have to make yourself happy but at our age,your happiness lies in the family bonds and our childrens relationships and our grandchildren..