After 20 years what would you do?

United States
February 24, 2009 10:44am CST
My husband and I have been married over 20 years. Without warning (at least to me) he tells me he no longer wants to be married? I thought he was kidding cause we dont fight or argue and get along well. I've been the "happy homemaker" for 10 years and no longer have any work "skills" so it will be hard for me to get a job to support myself. How would you feel?
5 people like this
25 responses
@kerriannc (4280)
• Jamaica
25 Feb 09
First of all why didn't you achieved a skill in the marriage. Now you said that you don't argue but your husband look at the 20 years and saw that you just live and he supported you all those years. A woman should be independent and now he want out and you are not able to support yourself. I am sorry that this as happy to you but this should be an example to all the ladies out there that depend on their husband for everything. He is overwhelmed and you both need to attend a counselling session so that you can understand what happen to your perfect marriage.
2 people like this
@sid556 (30989)
• United States
25 Feb 09
She has been married to him for 20 years but out of the workforce for 10. She did not say the reasons why she has been out but I am sure they are probably valid. If you look at her profile....she is 61.
1 person likes this
@kerriannc (4280)
• Jamaica
25 Feb 09
Alot of persons does not tell their right age here in mylot. Heck some of them don't even talk the truth.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Thanks all of you for your interest. I worked on and off for most of my adult life. When we got married we lived in a small town 60+ miles south of Houston where I worked. I worked full time and drive 120 miles a day back and forth to work. I finally got tired of the wear and tear of the work and driving and got a job in our home town. After three years of that, he got a chance to work in Houston so we moved here. At the time he and I decided since he was making good money I could "retire" to being a homemaker and help him manage his business details. At my age, it is a little harder to get hired (not including WalMart greeters)so I had been looking into some part-time work from home to take off some of the pressure. I have also been thinking of re-training or getting certified to do the same work I used to do which at the time you did not have to be "certified" to do. We shall see. Thanks again.
@tyc415 (5706)
• United States
24 Feb 09
I have wondered if that ever happened to me what I would do and I still don't know. My hubby and I have been married forever it seems. I had just turned 18 and he was 25 when we got married and I have been a housewife/mother and what little work I did do outside of the home was nothing to make a living on.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Feb 09
I guess it just proves that we never know what may happen so we should be prepared. Thank you for your response.
• United States
24 Feb 09
Somehow, I don't think you have to worry about that happening. lol
1 person likes this
@mgmagana (3621)
• United States
24 Feb 09
well unfortunately most women think they don't need skills when their hubby is the bread winner...i'm a stay at home mom but i also go to school online to fall back on "just in case" u never want to think it'll happen but unfortunately it does so most have to face reality...i have a friend who's hubby does not want to be with her anymore but because she didn't get a h.s. diploma or doesnt have work skills she begs for him to stay cause she knows she needs him....u guys have been together for a long time so make sure when going through the break up to get spousal support i'm sure u'd be good for about 10 yrs. at least and also ask for half his pension n retirement....the spousal should hold u over until u get a job or go back to school or something...good luck!
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 09
You are right. I was raised in the 50-60's and women did not have "careers" as such. Since we basically live from pay check to pay check cause he is considered "contract" cause the boss thinks it would benefit him as a plumber to have the deductions for business. We have no pension or health benefits. Great life. But I have been thinking recently of getting some retraining if I could get it cheap or get financial aid. He is a good guy and I really feel he is lost in depression cause things have not worked out the way we planned. He is not pushing me out so we are still sharing our home. LOL I did see a story just like ours on Good Morning America about separated and divorced couples living in the same home. Thanks for your help.
@mgmagana (3621)
• United States
25 Feb 09
that's good u guys r willing to work together to stay in one place....i saw that too...i think it's a great idea in this economy...god forbid but if something happened where hubby n i split...we'd probably do the same thing...just sleep in separate rooms.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Yeah, we are sleeping separate now. Me and the dogs in one room and him in the other. At least we still grocery shop together and have meals together. And I still do all the housework, cooking and bill paying. Maybe he just needs time, I hope.
@Liasonfan (1702)
• Canada
24 Feb 09
I have thought about this often, Jill. Hubby and I have been married for nearly 25 years and I have also been the 'happy homemaker' for nearly 10. I honestly don't know what I would do and of course I worry to extreme about this whenever we do fight. (which I always thought was healthy for a marriage), but now I am terrified to speak my mind at times because of this....
@Liasonfan (1702)
• Canada
24 Feb 09
OH and I eant to say, good luck and I will thinking about you and praying for you, if need be and feel free to PM me anytime, because I do understand how you're feeling!
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 09
Thanks so much. When I realized I would not get to that "silver" anniversary I was a little sad. What bugs me the most is that we have always been so close and he won't talk about why he wants this. Now all he says, if anything, is he wants to be left alone.
@miamilady (4924)
• United States
28 Mar 09
Maybe if you give him what he wants and "leave him alone" for a while, maybe he'll have a chance to miss you and come to his senses?
@cindi4 (11)
• United States
28 Feb 09
I have to tell you that this is a very, very normal occurance in a marriage. It's a phase that almost all marriages go through. I speak for myself who went through the "phase" when we were around our 20 year anniversary. Both my brothers and both my husband's sisters have also gone through this, as well as countless friends. I know it doesn't help much but you are not alone in this situation. My marriage, my brothers and sister in laws all survived this phase and now have happy, secure marriages. I've been married for 27 years now. Some of my friends didn't turn out so lucky. Basically what I have been able to deduce from these experiences is that a marriage gets a little off track at some time early in the marriage. Usually, at least in all these cases, problems were swept under the rug and never really thoughourly worked out. As the years go by a wall begins to build up between the couple. The more things are not completly resolved the faster the wall builds. Then, typically, at around 20 years, the wall - that you never realized had been building - has so shut out one partner that they no longer feel love or feel like trying any longer. In almost every case it comes as a complete surprise to one partner. I don't know if it's possible for a reconciliation or if it's too late for you. I do want you to know that people have found there way back with counsuling, but only if the unhappy partner can somehow come around with the idea of trying again. What I can also tell you is that the ones that didn't make it still got counseling for themselves and came out much stronger for it. Good luck.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Feb 09
Thanks for the info. I think he is more unhappy with what he has been unable to do than anything else. I have talked to him about what if anything we could do to save it but he does not want to. He has no complaints, or so he says, about me, he just no longer wants to be married. I tried to get him to work on it with me with no success. I guess he will find out if he made the right decision after I am go. Like I told him--the grass may be greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed.
@cindi4 (11)
• United States
28 Feb 09
What he also needs to know is that whatever caused the division, usually some communication problem, will reoccur in future relationships unless the problem is identified. In the relationships that I have witnessed the unhappy partner thinks ending the marriage is going to make them happy only to find there still unhappy. What you need to do is take care of yourself.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 09
I would really be heartbroken. But I am a fighter, and I would have to talk it out until I was blue in the face and he was too. I'd have to know the EXACT reason he was suddenly tired of being married. I have only been married for 4 years, and though we've talked about divorce a MILLION times, we still fight it out and talk it out until we know the real reason we are considering it, and then when we figure it out, we also realize that it was a dumb reason to get divorced in the first place. But I will say this: My husband tells me a lot of times that a man wants to know what his lady can still have fun and that she is not just stuck in the rut of habit and ritual. You say you have been the happy homemaker.... is this something that makes him happy with you? I am a housewife, and I get from my husband that he wants me to start working again. He doesn't like that I am here all day and makes him feel like he has to do everything for me (outside of the house)... Find out if your husband just wants a little spice and wants you to do more than be at home :)
• United States
24 Feb 09
Though I am lost cause I dont understand and he wont tell me I hope I have the strength to go down swinging. Sometimes I think I could be ok with this, be my own boss,etc. I think things have worn him down because we have had a lot of people disappoint us in the last couple of years. I have not been able to find a job in town or online and that bothers him cause he does need a little help with some extra money and other people who made promises about business have talked good games but not come through with $$$. He's always talked about the "idiots" he has to work around but when he said that I have done nothing wrong and it is him not me I have to wonder. I told him I will not be satisfied until I know the truth cause there has to be more to things. I feel we could avert this whole thing if he would just say what is the problem. I can handle the truth and would be willing to do what it takes to make him happy but I have to know what that is. Thanks for your response.
• United States
25 Feb 09
Yes, go down swinging! I don't see anything wrong with fighting for your marriage, not literally though :) I can see how it has been hard on both of you and how that could have stressed him out, but letting a job disappointments cause your marriage to falter is never a good idea. I will not say that it doesn't happen, because more times than I'd care to admit, it has come between US, but you have to work through it and together. If you really are in dire straights and need money, consider taking up a job at the local grocer or a common goods store. This is a good job for not having many skills and you can develop new ones. Those jobs may not pay much, but they do help with the crunch of not having money for a while. I really hope everything turns out alright for you guys!
• United Arab Emirates
16 Apr 09
i think he is an idiot and doesn't deserve a wife like u. i wud advise u to let it be and don't do anything. let this phase pass on its own and enjoy ur life.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Apr 09
Thanks for your kind words, I needed that!
• China
26 Feb 09
Hi, i was attracted by the title of this discussion that i imagined this discussion is mainly about the job after 20 years which i thinks about sometimes but have not got any clear answer yet, then i found it is mainly about marriage after reading most content of it. I am sorry for what you have to confront in your marriage, it seems there is nothing won't change in our life even though a marriage which have persisted for a long time and seems perfect in the sight of others. don't blame anyone especially yourself about this problem, there may be something wrong in your marriage both you and your hubby have not discovered. hope everything of you would be OK as soon as possible.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 09
Thaks very much for your comments.
@bamakelly (5193)
• United States
25 Feb 09
That has to have come as a bit of a surprise to you. I have been married for four and a half years now and that would probably sadden me for my husband to confront me with something like that. There seems to be no warning signs for some people as yourself. You said that you get along pretty well. Apparently your husband isn't happy anymore. I know it is probably hard for you to not think that you are to blame. Then again maybe you think that you were a great wife. Sometimes things like this can happen out of the blue and you will have to find the strength to either move on or work on your marriage.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Yes it was a surprise to me. As a result I have been through all the emotions shock, anger, hurt, fear. Only when I get a straight answer out of him as to what is really bothering him will I know what if anything can be done. At least I know I will have the love and support of my family. That means a lot to me. Thank you for responding.
@kaka135 (14118)
• Malaysia
25 Feb 09
Sorry to hear what'd happened to you. My husband and I just got married last year. We've been together for about 10 years, and we are still loving to each other. Though you have not been working for years, I am sure you can get a job and live happily soon. I believe when we want to do it, we can really make it happen. Perhaps it may be difficult at the beginning, but sooner you'll find a way out. I always believe human are strong, and women can be really tough too.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Thank you very much. We never know how strong we are until we have to face something hard. I hope and pray that what ever happens, then end result will make me a better person.
@Grandmaof2 (7603)
• Canada
25 Feb 09
Because the marriage has been so good for so long I think as unapproachable as he is maybe it's worth a stern attempt at getting him to sit down and tell you what the issues are in his mind. I knew of this same situation as yours a few years ago. The husband wouldn't talk and the wife refused to leave because marriage was always so good. The husband did a one eighty in all he did. He sold the family car and bought a sports car. You should have heard how he talked about men who were not clean shaven. Suddenly without a word spoken he started growing a beard. He hated tatoos with a passion then one day he went out and got a big one on his arm. He started comming home late from work, then he quit his secure job and took a job with less pay and then in the end he had a one night stand that meant nothing more than a night of passion and lust. The wife moved in with one of the kids and in the end the husband did get some help. He had suffered from male menopause and with going through the change of life he also went through terrible depression, and was labelled as a nut case by everyone. It took him five years to get his life back on track and they nearly lost everything. After six lonely years she did take him back but she's had lots of regrets. Good luck hope this works out!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Sounds a lot like my husband. I even looked up information on the male menopause and see a lot of similarities. Though he never comes home late and would not even consider taking a different job things seem to feel like the man you describe. Right now as he says he wants everyone to leave him alone. He wants to be in his personal "box" and no one to invade it. He is a good man and I wish I could help him but if he won't talk, I can't help. Thank you so much for your views.
• India
25 Feb 09
I have been married for nearly 10 years and I honestly dont know what I would do and ofcourse I worry to extreme about whenever we have a fight which I used to think But now I feel terrified to speak to myself at times beacuase of this. there are a lot of signs, things that could easily be put off as haveing another cause when in reality the relationship was heading in another direction, wonder I can see that now. you might give yourself to look back and see things from a different prespective. But I still fail to understand, that one spends such a long long time with one another and after that they just wanna part ways, I believe god forbid if it ever happens to me I would demand and have aa right to know the exact reasons behind the same. And if he or she not willing to talk then I would make them sit.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
I agree with you. I thought we knew each other well. But men don't like to talk about their feelings. We rarely argue and even when we do it is over shortly. Maybe he is just depressed that life is not working the way he had hoped. Thank you for your response.
@jlamela (4906)
• Philippines
25 Feb 09
What?after 20 years your husband just say that to you?is he mad or something?some couples I know who have been married for 20 years or more their relationship become stronger and stronger and they think nothing but grow old together. Can you save your marriage before thinking of finding job to support yourself?please reconsider of saving your marriage?well, there are some online job which could support yourself or better ask your husband of some financial help because in the first place it is his decision to break your union.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
That was what shocked me. Just a few months, even weeks before we had talked about how we loved being together and he even said he would be lost without me. I agree that it would cost me a lot to move on and he would have to help me out some. I also wonder if part of this is because we never seem to have any extra money as well as the fact that some business "partners" have not come through with the money they promised. I know he is depressed about that. We had talked about me trying to work from home, even a few hours a week, to add a little money. Maybe that might help. Thanks for your interest.
@Chevee (5914)
• United States
25 Feb 09
I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I don't know what to tell you. I will pray for you and hope that he will come to his senses and change his mind. I hope this is just a phase that he is going through and will wake up soon. It might not be as easy as he think it is on the other side. I have seen people that have stayed together even without the love just for security.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Thank you so much. Maybe if enough prayers go upstairs, God will show him what he needs. I personally think it is a phase or midlife problem for him. Only time will tell.
@sid556 (30989)
• United States
25 Feb 09
Hi Jill, I am so sorry that you are going thru this. Your story is a perfect example of why I raised my girls to never depend on a man for their survival. Did your husband give you any explanation? I know it hurts a lot and you are in shock probably. do NOT sign any papers at all. Because you have been out of the workforce for so long and have been the homemaker, you qualify and deserve alimony. He will have to pay you living expenses. You need to get some legal council to ensure that you get what is fair. Again, I am so sorry that you are going thru this.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Thanks for your comment. I guess I was just like my mother. I did work for many years. I was raised in the 50-60's and my mother was a kind of discouraging woman who always told me " you don't want to do that". She never worked and enjoyed her homelife. Of course she was a gifted artist. I told him that I qualify for spousal support, but he wants a quick easy, no drama divorce. Yeah, right! But as yet he has made no effort to file any thing. Funny we are still getting along pretty well, though we are in different rooms now. I'm holding on. Thanks again for your response.
@gracie04 (4554)
• Philippines
25 Feb 09
Of course, if were in your shoes, i'll be very shocked too.. i mean, what's the reason why your husband want to end the relationship after 20 years? i guess you need to do a heart-to-heart talk with your husband.. maybe, something's bothering him or maybe it's because of old age or something.. i hope you would be able to patch things up with him, good luck
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
I think there is something more to his story and we really do need to talk. But I think woman are better at expressing their true feelings than men are. He doesn't really want to talk. When I try he just doesn't react. I really think he is having some issues within himself. I really think if we could just talk about why he has these feelings we could figure out a solution, good or bad. Getting him to be honest with himself is the problem. Thank you for your response.
@elysium (169)
• United States
25 Feb 09
I am sorry if I can not be of any help to you since I was never married (because I am sixteen). If I was married and this happened to me, I would be devastated and confused by his decision. Anyways, I hope you can take my thought into consideration and hopefully, not be offended by it. Your husband probably does not have a real or any reason to not wanting to be married. He is most likely feeling bored. Boredom always occur with human. If you do the same routine such as eating the same foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it will eventually get boring. I am not saying that your husband is bored of you, but he is probably bored of doing the same routine everyday since marriage. It is either the boredom or the stress. He is probably stressed about work, especially since this is the time of the job crisis. Another reason I could think of is he does not know what to look forward to anymore (if children are already grown up). I remember watching a show (forget the name of the title) of where a girl got depressed because of her parents' divorce. It turns out the parents divorced because they had nothing else to look forward to since all their child was already grown up and there was nothing else left to look after in their life. Anyways, I suggest that you take your husband on a date. Show him and do things with him that you two did when younger to remind him of what a big mistake he will make if he is no longer with you. I hope everything works out between you and your husband.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
Thank you very much for your insight. You are a very wise young woman. You have hit on both things that I think are problems. I know he is stressed about work and the fact that every time we turn around these days we need to fix something or the costs of living keep going up. That's one of the reasons I was looking to see if I could bring in some extra money.You are also right in that he (and I ) have been getting a little bored with the same old things and same issues that never go away. Thanks again for your response, maybe you should look into becoming a therapist?
@lynnemg (4536)
• United States
24 Feb 09
I would feel shocked, betrayed, and probably every other emotion there is. Did he give you an explanaition at all? I am not sure exactly what my first step would be except to try to get an answer out of him. People just don't fall out of love over night. There has to be a reason. As far as working to support yourself, first of all, I am sure that if you ask for it, you would be awarded spousal support in a divorce. Chances are, that won't be enough though. It is time to dig deep and find those skills that you used 10 years ago. Obviously, you ahve computer knowledge, and the ability to type. CAn you use those skills in your area? Keep your chin up, dear. I can't imagine how you must fel right now. Well, I can imagine, but I do not know for sure. Times will get easier. Maybe there is still a way to save the marriage. If you think there is, give it a try. Either way, you have to worry about yourself.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
I have been through all those emotions and then some. I still wonder why. All I get out of him is the "it's me, not you" stuff. I agree that you don't just one day wake up and decide something like this, although he says it has been coming on for a while. But he still will not elaborate, typical man. I am not going to give up just yet. I've been looking at the job market here which still is open, but at my age there those employers who would rather hire a "pretty young thing" than an experienced mature woman. I have been thinking about brushing up on my skills. What I used to do and learned on the job years ago, I would not have to get certified. I used to do medical billing and I have done medical coding many years ago. Maybe I can get some financial aid to get certified in those things. Thanks for your encouragement.
@palonghorn (5483)
• United States
24 Feb 09
My last marriage ended after 16 years of marriage, but there were problems all along the way. However, my recent relationship of 4 years (living together) just recently ended, in Jan. he informed me he wanted to 'move on, alone'. And like you, we never argued or fought, about anything. And I was a little surprised by his statement. But, having had the past month, while sorting and packing to move, to think it over and run things through my mind, the old saying 'hindsight is 20/20' proves true again. There were a lot of small signs, things that could easily be put off as having another 'cause', when in reality, the relationship was heading south, and I see that now. You might give yourself the chance to look back, and 'see' things from a different perspective. As for the job, I was a stay at home mom for over 15 years, so when that marriage ended, I had to get back out in the working world. Most places will train you, and I'm sure you will find something. I did have a background in volunteer fire dept, and training, after 3 years of retail and security jobs, I got hired on with the forestry........at the age of 46! So, hang in there, it's not easy, but if you give yourself the chance.........you'll come out a stronger person in the end.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 09
Thank you so much, you've been very encouraging.
1 person likes this
@Pleiades (846)
• United States
24 Feb 09
First off, I'm so sorry to hear that. Yes, I've been through some marriages myself in my life, but I've ended them because I couldn't stand them or just didn't love them anymore. Lucky for you, you've been married for so long you can ask for spousal support. He owes you that much. Don't feel that his decision isn't your fault, it's something that has to do with the other person. Seeing that you two don't fight or argue, I'm sure of it. I've been out of the work force for several years but didn't work much before that either...I've always been a stay at home mother. If I was you, I'd definately want to know who or what has caused my husband's desires to turn from me. One cannot be turned off like a light switch just like that without probable cause. Or maybe there is something you're not doing, but he's not letting you know what it was so you two can work it out. I dunno, are you wanting to go through help to stay together? The courts do provide that. I just got divorced yesterday and I found these things out. Good luck, though whatever happens. I wish you the best. *Pleiades
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 09
Thanks for your response. Personally I think he may be going through a "midlife crisis". I could ask for support because Texas has a provision for temporary alimony if you have been married for 20 or more years, but we don't have any extra money. I had actually been trying to find a job to help out with some extra money. I worked for years in the records and billing of medical offices and hospitals. But since I have not worked in that things have changed and I would have to go back to school to get certified. Plus despite federal law there is still a lot of age descrimination. I know that first hand when I was interviewing for jobs recently. I agree he owes me more than the "it's not you, it's me" copout. My daughter wants me to move in with her and her family - I not sure I want to do that. Thanks for your suggestions.