I have been married for 20 years and have realised the past 3 years that I have fallen out of love with my husband. I am a very loving passionate person and really need to give my love. My husband has been trying I will grant him that, with helping a round the house more, but he is very unreasonable sometimes when we discuss matters. He loves me but i know i am driving him away by not returning his love. I dont know how to mend this, if it can be mended. If i leave I know I may find someone i will fall in love with but I cant see how i can leave as I have little income and practically it seems impossible. I dont want my children suffering through this.
If given the choice, children will tend to want their parents to remain together. And “staying together for the sake of the kids” was once the conventional advice given by society at large and grandparents in particular. Or, couched in less sympathetic terms “You made your bed, now lie in it”!
I’m less convinced of this. Yes, kids desperately need to have lifelong, close and loving contact with both parents. But I feel they suffer just as much by seeing parents hurt each other either with open arguments or hidden contempt as they do seeing their parents part.
What sort of a message is it to give them that they live in a family where people who say they feel love actually ignore or slight each other? Or argue destructively? Or stay together only because you feel you can’t afford to live apart? Kids may be very good at ignoring conflict but the atmosphere has a damaging effect, I am sure.
Can the gap between you be mended? I wonder why you’ve come to this conclusion about your feelings for him. You say you realised over the last 3 years you no longer love him. But what happened 3 years ago to bring this into focus? Is there underlying pain, loss, anger triggering this? Exploring it may allow you to put the situation and your feelings into some perspective. It sounds as if he is making some efforts to change but he may be finding it hard to talk it through because he finds it hurtful – he knows you no longer love him as you did, or as he still loves you, and that makes for raw, touchy emotions.
My suggestion would be to show your commitment to trying by giving him the safety net of an objective mediator. Make an appointment with a counsellor and say it will help because both of you can speak clearly and listen confidently, without descending into bruising argument.
Your own GP may have a counsellor in the surgery or they can recommend. Relate offer counselling for relationship and family issues. Look in the local phone book for your nearest centre or go to Relate . They also do phone counselling – call 08451 30 40 16 for an appointment. Or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy can suggest a counsellor in your area. You can ring them on 0870 443 5219 or write to BACP, BACP House, 35-37 Albert Street, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2SG or go to BACP.
Give it a try – you may be surprised how much you can do when you understand what underlies your feelings and when you can discuss it honestly. And if the end conclusion is to split up, you can then do it with the minimum disruption ( although don’t imagine it can ever be easy). Good luck!