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Thread: Kind of lost

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Kind of lost

    I have been reading a lot f the posts on here and other boards. I have been trying to save my marriage for a year now. Now we are going to separate. We have 3 kids, and she says she has lost her identity. She is moving out as soon as she gets a job. I wouldn't throw her out anyway. She is a good person and a good mom. Life just got in the way of our marriage and it was too late to fix it I guess. She isn't involved with anyone, we've been down that road before with an E.A. But even though I have changed myself for the better of the marriage, and kept it up consistently for a year, it just wasn't enough. We are both hoping the separation will help and we will start dating each other again after a month, but I guess I am not as optimistic as I once was. There are so many questions that I don't know the answer to. Can I handle being a single dad? Will I do a good job? How do I move on? What chance do I have finding someone again if it doesn't work out? Will anyone find me attractive? My life has revolved around being the family man, so I guess maybe I have lost a bit of my own identity too. I'm just lost.....She's moving out, and I am keeping primary physical custody of the kids to keep them in the home. There wasn't any abuse, in fact we didn't fight very much. Everything is really civil. All I know is that this sucks. I don't really have a lot of friends, I worked and came home. She was/is my best friend. I feel like my heart has been ripped out.

    Any advice would be appreciated.....

  2. #2
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    Re: Kind of lost

    Hi Dbolton, welcome to the forums. Wish it were under happier circumstances.

    First of all what you describe seems to be very common these days - life interfering with personal relationships. It is easy to lose ourselves, when we are under a lot of stress to bring in the money, to look after the kids, to socialize with friends and family.

    A relationship is a two way street, and without knowing any of the particulars, it is simply is not true that a single person can do the work for both partners in the relationship. Working on yourself is good and commendable.

    But if your wife says she lost her identity, what does she really mean with those words? That life had become monotonous? That she wanted to pursue her dreams (for instance, by getting a degree, take up a particular type of job)? These are questions only she can answer, since we can't make anyone happy with themselves, with the exception of ourselves. She might also have simply emotionally detached from the marriage, or even be depressed.

    Of course a separation is a scary experience. You have been with your wife for many years, you see yourself as part of a family, of dad, mom and your three children, that any change is indeed difficult to contemplate, and obviously you wish it were not happening.

    The fact that you have been working on yourself, suggests that she was not happy with some aspects of you in the relationship - what those are, and if these are really your issues only is a different matter.

    But a separation may well be the best thing for your family, for the time being. If your wife is not happy, it will impact on her ability to be a good mother to your children. It is quite possible she feels guilty about that as well. She too needs to work on herself, and sometimes, family life can get in the way of that, especially when it puts demands on us, which we can't really cope. What is she planning to do, other than getting a job, once she moves out?

    To focus on your questions:
    - Can I handle being a single dad?
    I am sure you can. Yes, it will be a massive change, but it is probably not true that you hardly saw your kids, or hardly had a relationship with each of them. It is "only" a separation, and an amicable one at that. Sure, it will require some adjustment from the children, but it is not like their mother is abandoning them either. How is she with the children in general?

    -Will I do a good job?
    The fact that you are concerned shows that you care. It will be difficult, and you may accidentally wash a red shirt with some whites, or something like that; we all make mistakes, especially when dealing massive changes to our lives. But you have to back yourself. Things will have to work, and you may do things differently on your own, compared to when you were with your wife, but children adapt.

    -How do I move on?
    For now, the focus should be on the separation. It is too early to say what will happen. Things may work out, or they may not. Key is, to get used to life without your wife constantly being around. To be a father to your three children, and all the massive changes that entails. Once that is done, and the same holds for her, you'll find out if the separation is temporary or permanent.

    -What chance do I have finding someone again if it doesn't work out? Will anyone find me attractive?
    I would not worry too much about these questions yet. It is way too early days to say if things don't work out, and you are simply better off investing your energy on the changes you face in your life now.
    Last edited by Vautrin; 05-01-2011 at 08:26 PM. Reason: added stuff
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  3. #3
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    Re: Kind of lost

    Welcome to our home away from home DBolton. I am sorry you are here for such difficult reasons. I can't add much to what Vautrin said. I think the answer to all your questions regarding life as a single parent is yes. But I also think it is too soon to be worrying about them. Deal with things day by day. Let your wife do whatever soul searching she needs. If it works out and she comes back then you can work on the couple you want to be. If she decides to leave then you will be that much more prepared to be single. It isn't the end of the world and time does heal. We are here for you. Please come back as often as you need. We are here and we will listen. Hang in there.
    The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office. (Robert Frost)

  4. #4
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    Re: Kind of lost

    Hi Dbolton,

    I have nothing to help you as such, but, i would like to say a few thing.

    From your writing i can see that as much as you feel like crap, you are handling it well and you seem to be coping in a very sensible and very controlled manner. That has to be a huge advantage and will certainly help you and the kids.

    I guess that you can only hope to try a few "dates" and that the passion will rekindle, or the magic will return.....but who knows

    I suppose i just want to wish you well and assure you that dropping by and chatting in here will help you. Sometimes just talking and working through issues with friends can really help, even moreso that you can do it any time of the day or night from the comfort of home. I find when i have issues, talking in here generally gets me a few good ideas

    Be Well and come back soon,

    Snooks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    3

    Re: Kind of lost

    Thanks everyone for the replies. I know it has been a while since my original post. So I think it is best to start with an update. She is in a position where she cannot find a job and cannot afford to move out. I don't make a ton of money, so a support situation is out of the question. In any case, she said that she will try and work on the marriage. I have heard this before, so my optimism is in check. I don't know if she is going through the motions yet because it is convenient or if it's real. I know that you have to "want" to save a marriage to actually succeed in saving a marriage, and I'm not entirely convinced yet. I have tried different things to try and start any kind of physical relationship again. Sex is infrequent and awkward. Hop on and hop off. No lead up, no passion. I would like to make out without sex! She is very into kissing, but apparently not with me. She says that things have been so "roommate" like for so long, it feels strange to her. She sleeps on the couch, and that bothers me a lot. She has started to wear her rings occasionally again, but at my request. I have tried to give her some resources to work on things and look at stories, like on here. She loses motivation, and says she just doesn't know how to work on things. I have proposed that she and I have a discussion on what our biggest problems are, and develop a plan from that. Not much response. Her way of doing things are a little fatalistic. If it is meant to be, it will be. I don't know, I feel like we're coasting until she gets a job. And if this is what I have to look forward to for the next 30+ years, I don't know if I am that interested.....

  6. #6
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    Re: Kind of lost

    It sounds that somewhere down the line the passion was lost. That can happen, but if the both of you want it to work, the effort needs to come from both sides. A one-sided effort simply will not yield any positive changes; at most it will get the hopes up of one of the partners.

    From what you describe, it does not seem she is making much of an effort with you. She probably feels trapped in the current situation, seeing as she simply cannot afford to move out and be on her own. Once things look up for her though, it is quite likely that she will try to move out, and find a place of her own.

    As for what she wants, it is simply pointless to guess about that. She needs to find out herself, and talk about these things. If she does not, then there is little that you can do.
    Perhaps her notions of love are not similar to yours anymore, and she might be looking for say a knight on a white horse, though the realities of life hardly allow for such fantasies, especially with three children, housework and bills involved. You are not a mind reader, and even attempts to please her may meet with a hostile reaction. The best you can do is try to keep open the lines of communication.

    How are the kids coping with this?
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    3

    Re: Kind of lost

    Like I said before, there isn't a lot of animosity between us. Most people would think everything is fine. That being said, obviously the kids can pick up on something, but it is very non-specific. They see us hug and kiss a little. My wife and I have never been big fighters, especially in front of the kids. I have read "The Sex Starved Marriage." I recommended that she read it, and she has started to. Hopefully there will be some things in there that might help. I am inclined to agree that she is comfortable here, and may be waiting for the right opportunity to leave. But I do have to give her the benefit of the doubt that she does want to work on things. I guess I just don't know when to give up. I value family and I am believer that working through the hard times is what defines a marriage. But it is a frustrating experience......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Re: Kind of lost

    hope i am not talking out of place here as this is not my intention,but i think it will take more than sex to keep a marrige together and if your wife is at least willing to work on the relationship as a whole thats got to be a real fine place to start.

    i wish you much luck!

    allover now

  9. #9
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    Oct 2009
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    Re: Kind of lost

    Quote Originally Posted by dbolton View Post
    We have 3 kids, and she says she has lost her identity.
    I picked up on this in your first post. You know.....I don't think it's all that uncommon for women who have three kids and a husband to feel like she's lost her identity. Maybe years ago she envisioned her life moving in a different direction, and now she's here but doesn't know how to be an individual in addition to a mom and a wife. A lot of women don't find their true identities in being a mother and wife, most consider family life just a part of the whole. Ya know? Perhaps a councelor or a life coach could help her figure out what direction she needs to move in next. You can help her too by letting her know you're concerned about her finding her identity and maybe asking her some questions to help you both figure out what it is she would like to be doing so that you both can do what is necessary to move in that direction. She's your best friend, you are her's, talk to her and let her know that you support her. You don't really seem to have conflict in your lives aside from this, and trust me, having an identity crisis can come at any age. Be patient and supportive of her. Hopefully you'll both get thru this. Good luck to you both!

  10. #10
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    Jul 2011
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    82

    Re: Kind of lost

    Hey Dbolton,

    I can only imagine how tough it must be to be separated in the same house. I hope you and your wife are successful. I feel as if I'm going through very similar emotions as you stated in your first post.

    I just wanted you to know you're not alone, especially with this part:

    "Can I handle being a single dad? Will I do a good job? How do I move on? What chance do I have finding someone again if it doesn't work out? Will anyone find me attractive? My life has revolved around being the family man..."

    You echo my mind exactly..

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