I need to be alone. Married twice for 30 years’ total, I’m still with my second wife. But I want out.
I’ve never cheated. There’s no one else waiting for me. I just want to live by myself for two years, maybe longer. Except for college and 18 months between marriages, I’ve never lived on my own and I desperately want to now.
My wife has lovely instincts to help others. New people like her instantly. She’s incredibly smart, can be very nice, treats her own family well and generously.
But she has a mean, vindictive streak, with violent anger sometimes (I’ve been scratched, had my clothes torn, been screamed at, and had things thrown at me over the past 10 years).
I know my words/actions or inaction can infuriate her, but she insists I caused her anger. I’ve never raised a finger to her.
She’ll do anything for people she loves, but if not “paid back properly” in actions or attention, she lashes out verbally or cuts people off. Or they cut themselves off (almost all of her friends). She’s far too judgmental, says “good riddance.”
I’ve gently tried to broach this subject and urge repair, receiving only anger. I’d become good friends with the husband of one of her long-term now-former friends, but was angrily told it’s “disloyal” if I continued to be his pal. So, I didn’t.
She relies almost exclusively on me to talk to and for most activities. It’s too much. I can’t be her everything and don’t want to be. When I want to do something on my own, she either cries or gets angry.
She told me more than five years ago to stop trying to be romantic and asking about sex, even playfully – and that she’d come to me when she felt I was “acting correctly.” So, we’re roommates until she feels she needs sex, about twice a year. We don't talk about this.
I feel so sad that she’ll be mostly alone because her parents are elderly and her siblings estranged. We have no kids together. If we split, my three grown kids from my first marriage probably won’t stay in touch with her.
She often says how much she needs and loves me and I tell her the same. But I’m lying. I feel terrible but can’t carry on with the charade of our marriage much longer. How can I tell her I NEED to be alone?
Desperate to Leave
From your perspective, you clearly need a break from a marriage that’s wearing you down - persistently demanding, argumentative, and with almost no warmth, mutual love, nor sex.
Yet, though your wife’s been increasingly difficult throughout a decade, there’s no mention of you two considering counselling together or a doctor’s appointment regarding health issues that may be affecting her increasing anger and her repeated moves to estrange from past friends and family members.
It’s easy to understand your desire to leave. But is escape the only answer? Since you think so, you’ll likely go ahead. Still, you feel badly about it.
Consider trying a different tack. Tell your wife that you both need a change. Suggest you live separately a while and visit each other, say, on weekends. Describe it as “refreshing” your relationship. Plan your “dates” together, e.g., seeing a play when theatres open up, attending a concert, or meeting for walks and a restaurant dinner.
If her behaviour remains unbearable, start your life on your own.
Years ago in University, I lost a tampon internally and went to the hospital emergency to have it removed. It was a teaching hospital and I was asked if it’s okay for a male medical student to examine me. I said “Yes, but I’m keeping a sheet over my face.” I didn’t want to bump into him in the university cafeteria someday.
Recently, I had an issue with my intra-uterine device and saw a new obstetrics and gynecology specialist.
Shortly afterward, as a volunteer making calls for a fund-raising, I saw his name. Our children attend the same school. Weeks later, my husband and I were seated beside this doctor and his wife at the school event. Am I wrong to be uncomfortable socially with this man? He made no reference to knowing me.
Yes. In his field, he’s not studying your face. And he was very appropriate at not mentioning your being a patient.
Tip of the day:
A miserable marriage warrants counselling, health checks, a trial separation. If nothing helps, move on.