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squeeky 21st February 2005 05:07 AM

I don't love my wife and never have...
Help! I didn't want to get married but I did anyway. It has been almost 7 years. My wife knows that I don't love her even though I do my best to convince her otherwise. She often accuses me of resenting her for "forcing" me to marry her. She accuses me of not loving her. I do my best to lie to her so she thinks I love her. One time I admitted it with disastrous consequences so I retracted it and said, "That's not what I meant..."

I am respectful and most of the time we get along okay.

We've been to couples counseling. The counselor gave us advise on how to improve our relationship but not how to deal with the real problem. My lack of love makes her unhappy. I am unhappy. I have been faithful even though sometimes I wish I could find someone to love. I don't know what to do.

We have two wonderful children whom I love very much. If it weren't for them, I would have left a long time ago.

Do you stay in this relationship? Can we achieve happiness?

I've spent a lot of time analyzing "why" I chose to get married and I have some theories. (I'd be happy to discuss them if anyone cares but the purpose of this posting is to solicit feedback about what to do in this type of relationship).

Concerned Reader 21st February 2005 01:45 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Dear Squeeky

Under the heading 'Articles' (just on the green column to the left of this post) there are many items which examine love from many perspectives. There is no doubt that if you can be married to the person you love, you are very fortunate.

You wrote: "I am respectful and most of the time we get along okay."

That strikes me as a very good way of living. It may not amount to what you would recognize as love, but it certainly qualifies as a mature and committed way of living your life, honouring your vows, and especially loving your children. I'm sorry you are not happy, but it still looks like a very good approximation of a man doing something which I would recognize as love.

You don't say how old the children are, but there is an old-fashioned view which says you should 'stick together for the sake of the children'. The evidence is patchy (the articles refer to the Exeter study and there has been a more recent one) but to date it appears that being the child of married blood-parents amounts to a subtle advantage.

There are no invariable rules here, so if you broke up the marriage the children would be alright and your relationship to them would continue, but it would probably change.

The following is purely personal and based only on my own observations.

When marriages break up it introduces more change than the person who initiated it may expect. If the marriage was hell on earth (violent, abusive, destructive) everyone would say that it is probably best to end it. But if the marriage was 'ho-hum' and workable, then it is not clear that initiator is going to be much happier outside the marriage than they were in it. This goes double if the problems within the marriage are actually to do with the attitudes and behaviours which undermined the marriage. They just take their unhappiness to a new place, but this time they are a bit poorer and more alone.

Subsequent relationships may not be anything like as straight forward as the pool of prospective partners shrinks. They may include complicated second families, and statistically they tend to last for a shorter time.

The children of the first marriage don't adopt a studied neutrality in this. They may not say much outright, but they do hold their own opinions in private. They hold them very, very strongly. I have seen many adults shocked when their child does not want to endorse their new world-view, and I'm getting to the stage of wanting to say in an exasperated tone "What did you expect?"

From what I see, the children of divorced parents tend to re-classify the relationship and downgrade it from something unique, something you only get one of, to a special-status friendship. This sounds good, until you see that other non-parents are eligible for the same status - such as step-fathers and step-mothers. There is nothing quite so galling as finding one is obliged to compete, stand in line, or take turns for one's own children.

So if I were a betting person, I would say 'back the marriage'. Find a way to fix it, improve it, or make it more tolerable because the alternatives are much riskier. Leaving the marriage might work, sure, you might find exactly the right person, but if you come unstuck then you could be much worse off than you are at present.

Make the decision to leave only after you have tried everything else. Be very sure that the marriage is the source of your unhappiness, because if the source is inside you, then it will just travel with you.

On a note about the marriage: was there something unusual about the circumstances which affected your decision then and is still operating now? I know some people marry and regret that decision - they sometimes post on this board - but you went on to have two children. That would normally be taken to indicate satisfaction rather than unhappiness.

Made My Bed 21st February 2005 07:00 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
17 years ago I married a woman I didn't love. We were good friends and got along great but there was no love on my part. After 15 years on the dating scene I hadn't fallen in love with anyone so I chose to go with someone I was at least comfortable with. The sex was terrible and we refrained from sex for long periods at a time. Now, in my late 40's I see myself getting old and very much regret having never been in love with anyone. I feel I am more capable of love now than I was in my teens. 20. or 30's. Why I suddenly started to crave the feeling of being truly in love at this late date I'll never know. I guess the thought of a life lived without love is just too much to bear.

I have children too, they are still quite young and I feel a great responsibility to be there for them. So for me, despite feeling very depressed about all this, there are few if any choices. Everyone has to make a decision, especially with children involved, but I'd hate to see anyone else end up in my shoes.

Squeeky2 21st February 2005 10:10 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Thank you, I will read the articles.

I guess I'll go into why I got married in the first place. I would really like to know if the problems would follow me.

I have never been assertive about how I feel. I grew up in an environment that taught me to conceal my feelings to avoid ridicule and pain. I am an attractive, fit, smart, ambitious, moral person, but when I got married, I was young, naive and lacked self-confidence.

When I first met my wife, I was not attracted to her in the least. However, after she persisted for several weeks (we saw each other often in church-related singles activities) I agreed to go on a date with her. She convinced me that I should take her snow skiing because she knew of my interest in skiing and said that she used to snow ski competitively. I thought that it would be great to ski with someone who could ski better than me and hoped that she would teach me a few things. I viewed it as a casual date with someone whom I would never have considered as a potential spouse or even as a girlfriend.

She really wasn't all that good of a skier. On the 3rd run, she fell and hurt her knee bad enough to require surgery. She had just quit her job and didn’t have insurance or any money. I felt somewhat responsible because I had pushed her to go on more challenging terrain. So, I stayed around to take care of her while she recovered. I brought her flowers, movies, meals, etc. I did all that I could while politely trying to take leave of her. Thus began our relationship.

Things were complicated by the fact that that very same week, I had taken another girl from the same church setting, on a first date skiing and she had also fallen and had damaged her knee bad enough to require surgery too. So, they both showed up on Sunday following the skiing adventure to see each other on crutches. Of course two people on crutches in the same church get a lot of attention so people began talking. Another girl that I had been on a few dates with also chimed in to let everyone know of our relationship. To summarize, I had created a true social debacle.

I didn’t want to date my wife, but because she persisted, I acquiesced so as to not hurt feelings. I thought I could go a little longer and then break it off nicely. In fact, I tried several times to break it off but each time my wife’s persistence kept us together. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. When the time came and out of a feeling of duty, I proposed. Most women want diamonds and the bigger, the better. In-line with my feelings for her and not wanting to get married, I did a despicable thing; I bought a plane gold band—as cheap as they come. I didn’t engrave it either because I planned on taking it back. But she consented to be married.

As the marriage date loomed near, I hoped that someone would try and talk some sense into me. Even during the marriage ceremony itself, I was screaming in my head for someone to stop me or at least let me know that I didn’t “have” to get married. (Just to be clear, I had free agency and could have stopped it at any time.) But I put all those things out of my mind as “normal” and that everyone probably is a little reluctant. I proceeded by ignoring my heart and conscience. I couldn’t dispel thoughts that my wife’s parents had spent a lot of time and money preparing for the union. I carefully reviewed all of the cerebral facts like the fact that my roommates had just been married and I needed to find a new place to live. And that I didn’t know of anyone with whom I would rather be at that point in my life at the ripe old age of 22. I perceived that my opportunity to meet other eligible women was not that great having just moved from a small city to the largest city in the state. I asked myself, “Is this my best chance for happiness? If I hold out for someone ‘better’, will they really exist or are they a figment of my imagination?” But in the end, the overriding factor was that I couldn’t break my wife’s heart. So, I put on my happy façade and ignored the inner turmoil.

That was almost 7 years ago when we got married and now not hardly a day goes by that I don’t regret making that decision. I wish I had suffered the angst of separation back then. If I could undo it all like I can “undo” a mistyped word, I would. But, on the other hand, I really love my children. I want the best for them. I would like them to see a happy and loving relationship. I would like to feel fulfilled….

Now, my question to everyone who has been patient enough to read this, is not loving someone justification for separation to at least find out if you can be happier apart knowing that the other person loves you? Should I start over now, while I am still young (I’ll be 30 soon)? Can I be happier? I plan on being very much involved in the lives of my children and I may even spend more time with them because I won't be coming up with reasons to work late or to go on a long bike ride but in the end, what will happen to my kids? Is there really someone out there with whom I could be happier? Is it my marriage that is causing my unhappiness or something else? Will I make the same mistakes or different mistakes with similar consequences?

Sierra 22nd February 2005 12:01 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Whenever I post my stuff gets either deleted before anyone sees it, gets locked or I get banned from the forum.

I am sorry you (several) feel the way you do, but this is what I mean that people need to spend a great deal of time looking realisticly at people and relationships. If you make bad choices up front some of this stuff is not fixable.

One poster in here is 17 but figures she will wait till 19 to get married. In 5 years she will have two kids, a whole host of new problems and be back in here asking for more advice.

The honest answer is that there may not be a fix to the problems you created.


smackie9 22nd February 2005 03:29 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Dear Squeeky, You have sacrificed so much to make everyone else happy. If you feel you are missing out on the thrill of love and passion, then go for it. Being in a loveless marriage is like being in prison. You are obviously are very lonely and feeling trapped. You only live once. I think you've already made your mind up, haven't you.

Squeeky2 22nd February 2005 04:17 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Yes, I really want to separate but I don't know if it's the right thing to do. Is there a right thing to do in a case like this? The longer I wait, the more we both will wish I had done it sooner. But, maybe I could go on being unhappy for several more years.

She knows that I am not happy but I avoid discussing it. She has had dreams for years of me running off either by myself or with someone.

Has anyone divorced from an unhappy marriage and found a fulfilling and loving marriage?

Squeeky2 22nd February 2005 04:19 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
If you were the wife in this situation, what would you want?

bal 22nd February 2005 02:23 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Hi Squeaky! Indeed you have a dilemma.
For what it's worth, I've been married for nearly ten years, and have five beautiful (most of the time!) children.
I married my wife on the basis of several things:
1. We'd already had two children, and I felt I had to do the 'honourable' thing
2. I'd been offered a job in the US and we needed to marry before emigrating to avoid visa compliations
3. I liked her more than any of the other women I'd been out with since my most 'emotional' relationship ended
She has told me to leave previously and perceives a lack of true love in me. However she also confesses to feeling the same about me! (She also liked me the most of anyone she'd been out with since her most loving relationship ended).
In summary now, if anything we've grown closer together. We're more attracted to one another than we ever have been, have a better sex life (when we manage to find some peace and quiet and energy!) and are about to emigrate to Australia for a 'new life'.
We have heated rows from time to time and both have some emotional hangups, but I can't see things falling apart now - we been through too much and have too much together. I couldn't conceive how upset the children would be if we ever split up.
I think we were both emotionally weak when we met. I probably still am, and she's the more expressive one, both positively and negatively!
I can't really advise you on what to do, but thought it might help if you felt that you weren't alone in having these thoughts.

smackie9 22nd February 2005 03:04 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
If my husband didn't love me and he was misrable, I would send him off myself. I couldn't live like that. But you will get both opinions here, to stay and not to stay. Both decisions are painful.

Kate 22nd February 2005 09:26 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
What is love? There's a big question. Is it feeling warm fuzzy or hot passionate feeligsn for soemone or is it a commitment or is it a desire to make the other person happy?

Is it something we feel and then do or do and then feel?

Is it about what we get out of it or what we give?

Can it grow or does it just come and go?

Some more thoughts here and some ideas here on how to make it happen.


smackie9 23rd February 2005 02:58 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Dear Squeeky, There is no right or wrong here. Just follow your heart.

squeeky 28th February 2005 03:57 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Well, I told my wife that I wanted to separate. After the tears and the initial shock and a sleepless night, I think we're working through it and will stay together in large part due to her desire to stay together. I was relieved that I could finally be completely honest. I half expected her to throw me out of the house but she put that burden on me-- if I wanted to leave she would let me but she wants to work it out. I was completely honest with her. We are going to go to couples counseling again to try and work things out. She refused to give up because she loves me.

I think that one of the biggest comforts was the advice that I received from my religious leader. He shared some powerful insights that I would like to share with you. He said that two people, who are willing to work at it, could achieve a happy relationship. I believe him and therefore I’m going to try and repair my marriage.

Thank you to everyone who has commented here I appreciate the different perspectives.

justmarried 7th March 2005 10:15 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
wow! your situation is fairly similar to mine. I have recently seperated from my wife. We married last august but have been together over 7 yrs. I realise I got married to "get married" and not "be married". 6 weeks after the honnymoon I admited that i was not in love with her any more and although I tryed desperatly to sort my head out after that and convince her I did I eventually had to admit to myself that we did not have a future and it could not go on like this!

squeeky 9th March 2005 02:49 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Why is it that so many people can sympathize with this plight? Is it really true that we married the "wrong" person? Do you believe that there is a right person or only a "right" way to have a relationship? In other words, if both people in the relationship do everything right and you get along, does that constitute a successful marriage or is there supposed to be something else?

Also regarding your post above, do you feel that you made the right decision or do you have regrets? If you have regrets, do you think it is normal "break-up angst" or do you feel it is something else?

I don't know what the "right" thing is. Right now, it seems like the right thing to do in my situation is to try and work things out with my wife. I'm trying to focus on her good qualities.

teodor 16th March 2005 12:55 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Dear Squeeky,
I deeply understand you, your story reads as if it was mine, the only difference is that we married for the pregnancy reason, so I also had the problem of accepting the child from the beggining (I was not matured enough at all to have a child). But this is improving now.
I think there is no answer to our doubts and self-questions, one can only get them within himself and can take a decision. My wife also loves me and wants us to stay together, and I always felt that and couldn't separate as I know it would hurt her so badly. But my feelings are just not the right ones. We are doing councelling right now too. So far the results are good, but my doubts are so strong that I just hardly put them aside.
I think a real issue is to ask ourselves weather we divorce - would this really solve some problems, or would we just take them with us to a new location. In that case I think working on a marriage has a great sense because bad state of affairs is just the consequence of our personal (inner) conflicts, not the fact of 'being with a wrong person'.
But if it is the marriage which makes life so heavy, then divorce is a very logical step.
That's how far I came. I believe one day things will get clearer and a decision will be easier.
Take care and good luck!

robin 31st March 2005 06:20 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Came across this when searching on the internet about anything to do with "what to do when you admit to yourself and others that you don't love your husband and never have" I have been married for 13 years and have a 13 year old son from this marriage. We get on ok and my husband has unconditional love for me and is caring, kind, considerate and everything else positive you could imagine. However, I let myself be persuaded by him to go and live with him 16 years ago to help me get out of a difficult, cold, failing first marriage. He told me he would always love me, look after me and my 2 young sons and he was sure I would grow to love him. I was very emotionally unstable, with no money and let myself go along with everything he did for us. We are now financially stable with 3 well balanced sons, both of us have good jobs and on the surface everything is ok. However my feelings never developed as he had hoped, he is aware of this and still wants us to stay together.
Since admitting to close friends 3 months ago my thoughts about my marriage are in turmoil.
I don't know how I can carry on for the rest of my life sharing with a man I have no physical desire for. The feelings of guilt at how much I am hurting him by broaching the subject of what I have just written about are overwhelming, how can I live with myself if I leave after such a long time of being together.
I have had counselling recently and this has helped me see that I can't take full responsibility for my husband's happiness/unhappiness, but further than that I am not sure where or what to do. I would love to hear what others have to say on the matter. By the way I have tried to talk about how I feel to my 2 eldest sons and they have said they want me to be happy and would support any decision I make.
Thanks for reading this.

helenrw200 1st April 2005 05:23 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
I really feel for both you and your husband as we were in this same situation just 3 years ago.Like you , I moved in with my husband many years ago, when I was 21, I had come out of an abusive marriage which I had been in since age 16 and had a very young son under 2 at the time.My ( 2nd ) ex husband was a rock for me, we had been friends for many years and he offered me and my son a safe home with no strings. However after not very long it became clear that his feelings were much deeper than mine and he started to press for a relationship, which I gave into, and then marriage. Sadly I have to now admit I married him from gratitude and not love, he knew didn't love him, but as in your case was convinced the love would come in time. It never did, at least not the passionate love one should feel for a husband , more a sister / brother feeling on my side.
We stayed together for 18 years, with me feeling a sham and eventually numb. During this time I had an affair with a man I was very much in love with and became pregnant, when my husband found out he begged me not to leave, saying he would bring this child up as he had my first, as his own. My step mother was dying of a particularly nasty cancer of the spine, my dad was in pieces and I was trying to support them whilst suffering very bad morning sickness that made me feel ill all day.
Eventually I gave in and told my lover I couldn't leave, the end result was worse than I could ever have imagined, my lover committed suicide, the love of my life died because I felt beholden to a man I could never love but who had saved me from a life of abusive hell.
Our son was born with autism 4 months after his dad's death and for the next few years I was numb, looking after my sons took all the energy I had and my marriage limped along.
One day when my youngest son was 10 , I took a step back,and started to really think about my life, my 40th birthday was only just over a year away and I realised that I was being unfair to my husband and myself, preventing both of us from finding true happiness, half of my life had already passed and I didn't want the last half to pass in numbness.
I left, it was hard, the children who by then were 19 and 11 came with me. For the first year my husband was in a terrible state, but although it hurt to see him that way, I knew deep down I had done the right thing for both of us, I should never have left it so long, never maybe have married in the first place.
My ex has a new partner now who loves him as he deserves and he and I are finally what we should have stayed. Friends.
Had I been strong enough to make this decision earlier a life would have been saved and we all maybe could have found happiness. The adage that you only live once is one by which I now try to live, if only I had realised this sooner.
I wish you luck and hope you can be strong enough to do what is right, for you, and for him, whatever that may be.
I would just like to add that my present relationship is far from perfect, but I do love him , and having that has made me realise just how much life I wasted .

robin 1st April 2005 07:06 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Helen, thank you for replying so quickly to me. I had also posted my message on another thread and have just read a reply that says don't hurt your husband by leaving him as he is a great guy and gives you everything. So that basically is my dilemna, go for my own mental health sake or stay for everyone elses. I know that no-one can tell me what to do for the best, but it really helps to get different peoples advice as everyone has a different viewpoint. I have got as far as enquiring about a mortgage in my own name and even have found a possible house locally, but am unable at present to make that big step. My husband wants to keep our son in the marital home and I know this will be best for him, but I don't know whether I can exist without being involved with him on a daily basis. I can't make my husband sell our house as he is not the one who wants to go and I couldn't be that cruel. Fortunately I have a good job which means I could support myself financially. Some of my friends have queried how I think I would be better off by moving out, they think I will be lonely and miss my son too much, and that my husband's qualities compensate for my lack of desire for intimacy. I also think who would ever want to get involved with me in the future as I have left 2 husbands, I feel ashamed of that and think that people will think that there is something wrong with me.

It really helps to talk this through and I welcome yours and others comments.
Thank you

pjf 1st April 2005 11:18 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
I recently was able, through psychoanalysis, to admit that I had never loved my wife and that I was desperate to find someone and fall in love (I feel the pleasure of this prospect even as I type) for the first time in my life. There are many other factors about my marriage which compound my problems but I wanted to ask if anybody had successfully left a marriage and found lasting love and happiness with another woman. All the books I read seem to say that I will unhappilly drift from relationship to relationship and that my kids will be permanently damaged. This is my fourth bout of clinical depression in 5 years and I do think they are caused by my repression of the truth. I know that it's also not been good for my wife although she says she loves me and wants to work at it. I feel I have nothing to work on

robin 2nd April 2005 10:11 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
I know exactly how you feel, I have all of the same concerns about relationships and my children - I feel an enormous obligation to give them as normal a home situation as possible so that they can form healthy relationships themselves. When I gave my elder boys a brief outline about how I was feeling, they are supportive BUT say they had no idea that anything was"wrong" which just goes to show how well I had covered it up for so long. Can I do that for another 5 years until the youngest is 18? I really appreciate viewpoints of people, it helps to see things from all possible angles.

Thank you.

Kate 2nd April 2005 11:58 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
I just wanted to refer back to my posting further down the thread.

I hear that several of you are saying that you are not in love with your spouses, but that doesn't mean that you cannot find happiness and fulfilment in your marriages by choosing to act lovingly and with commitment towards them.

I think that we are heavily influenced by pictures of love that involve strong emotional attachments, rather than other sorts of deep bonds such as companionship, shared values, respect, affection. These romantic views of marriage have their roots in Hollywood, popular entertainment, novels etc. I'm not saying that romance and emotions are not important, but I am challenging the pursuit of personal happiness which is so embedded into our culture.

I also think that some of us were not parented securely and often look for a partner who will father or mother us and then as we grow up within the marriage we find it difficult to make the change to being equals in the marriage.

I'm not sure I believe that there is a perfect partner for us, but that there may well be a number of people who we could build a good marriage with. Once we have found one of them then we will find the most satisfaction in remaining committed and learning about love that is a choice and a commitment, based on the promises you made when you married. We should never expect our marriage partner to fulfil all our emotional needs - it just isn't possible, but how good a job are we doing for them?

I also feel concerned about involving children in your concerns about your marriage. Isn't that an unfair burden to put on them?

So, a little challenge, stop focussing on how you feel and why not pull out all the stops to see how much you can express love, care and concern for your wife or husband. Read some of the articles I mentioned below, book yourselves onto an enrichment weekend. If you've got problems of your own then get some counselling or therapy for those.

I don't intend to be unsympathetic, my marriage hasn't always run smoothly, but it's very easy to get sucked into the "look after yourself, do what feels good" way of thinking. Marriage isn't about that - it's about 100% giving and receiving. What has kept me going has been the commitment to go on being the best wife I can be and challenging my husband when his attitudes and behaviours are unhelpful for us as a couple.

Just an aside to Robin - your counselling showed you that you weren't responsible for your husband's happiness. That is true in one way, but much counselling seems to focus on helping the individual to find what's best for them, but marriage does involve sacrifices for the other person - there are two of you in there, and only true marriage counselling focusses on finding what's best for the couple. Sometimes the other person's happiness has to be more important than your own. We have to do that for our children so why not for our spouse?

I'm sure that in all your relationships just as in most marriages there are other issues that concern you, but beware avoiding them because you don't feel "in love".


robin 2nd April 2005 12:42 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Thanks for your notes Kate, I thought long and hard about burdening my children with my marriage concerns. But they knew I was distressed about something over the last few months and kept asking me to share whatever it was with them, in the end I felt they were worried I was ill. They told me they were not children anymore but young adults and wanted me to to talk to them.I have been at great pains to tell them that they must not dwell on my problems too much and get on with their daily lives, I have been assured by them that they are OK about me telling them about my marriage concerns.

Re the counselling, I agree with you that to an extent it is one sided, as the counsellor was supporting me not my husband. The next step may be for us both to go relate, but I know that my husband will not cope with hearing me be brutally honest about how I feel in front of someone else.
Thank you for listening and replying.

squeeky 3rd April 2005 01:19 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
I opened this thread when I was looking for justification to leave my wife. I too had not been open with myself about how I felt and that I was wasting my life when I could leave and find happiness “somewhere” and with “someone” else. I was convinced that I could find happiness elsewhere and that my wife would ultimately find happiness with someone who loves her. I wanted “Passion” in my life. I spoke with several close friends about my situation and I received mixed advice. I don’t know if I should give more weight to advice from someone who has been through a divorce or someone who has worked things out—they offer two distinctly different perspectives. I was hoping someone could tell me “you should leave your wife and both you and her will find a more loving and fulfilling relationship and will live happily ever after”. Unfortunately, life is not that simple.

I had made up my mind to leave and told my wife that I wanted to have a trial separation. I received mixed reactions from my family as well as her family. My Mom said that my decision was a difficult one understanding everything that was at stake. My brother asked me why I was “throwing away my family” and that my relationship with my wife was not that bad. He couldn’t understand what was so awful that I would want to leave. A coworker suggested that I would be much happier if I left. Others say that my problems may follow me. Still others say that I need to work on the relationship and that as I work on being unselfish and when I think about my wife before myself that I will find out what love is. And the advice goes on and on. Ultimately, we didn’t separate and we’re going to counseling.

Setting all that aside, my wife and I have been going to counseling for the last month or so to try and resolve these issues. There are things that we both do to contribute to a less than ideal marriage. I know that I can improve our relationship and I am committed to improving it if not for the only reason that the things the counselor has told us to do will be beneficial for me regardless of what I decide to do. But, since I told my wife that I didn’t want to be married because I didn’t love her and never had and that I wanted to leave, my wife has understandably had ups and downs as we work things out. On the "down" days, she dwells on the underlying fact—I don’t love her and this makes her very sad. Counseling focuses on helping the relationship. It teaches us how to interact so we can both be happier. The principles taught in couples counseling can help “anyone” to live happier with each other. That is both the good news and the bad news. I can be happier in my relationship and that the principles of good relationships will make me as happy with my wife as with anyone else who lives by good relationship principles. What it doesn’t address is the fact that I am not attracted to my wife in a passionate way. Can I live without that passion or will the passion develop as we live harmoniously together? That I think is the question that can only be answered with time.

I have stopped dwelling on how I feel and what will make “me” happier. I’ve been trying to think of “her” needs and what will make “her” happy. As I do this, I feel better. I have come out of a mild depression. I feel that I will be able to develop unconditional love for her. My hope is that as I love my wife with “unconditional love” that I will be happier with or without the “passion” that I desire.

To summarize, my current thinking is that it is right to try and work things out because if I don’t try, I will regret not having given 100%.

robin 3rd April 2005 10:18 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Your last message really sums up how I feel and also what I feel I should do, especially as it is my second marriage. You have given me a lot to think about .Thank you

helenrw200 5th April 2005 05:19 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Robin, I feel so much for what you're going through, and yes, the decision has to be yours . I also was told by many people , including my family , that I should not leave the husband who loved me and stood by me , but in the end I had to go with my heart, and my heart knew that staying wasn't right , for either of us. I too had been married before and so felt the stigma of two failed marriages, but still better that than a lifetime of regret for " what might have beens ". I hope that you will find a solution for your dilemma and feel free to post to me anytime, even if only to get some of the frustrations out, it does help to talk and even though I left myself, I am not biased, I do know that what was right for me , won't necessarily be right for someone else, I could take my sons with me , if that had not been the case , I don't know if I would have had the strength to leave them behind.

robin 5th April 2005 06:59 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
helen, thank you for replying, I have also posted some thoughts today on the other thread about not loving my husband

helenrw200 5th April 2005 10:09 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
It's true that you can build a marriage on other things than love, but, in reality why should you have to ? I'm not saying that we should all keep searching for " the one " , but their comes a time when you deserve to think about your own needs and unfortunately they don't always coincide with your partners. If you can be happy with someone without loving them then there isn't a problem , I certainly wasn't looking for romantic love , more personal fulfillment and I knew deep in my heart that my husband also deserved to experience the joy of requited love, which I could never offer him.
As to involving children, most are pretty good at picking up signals if all is not well, and surely it is better ( taking into account age and ability to understand ) to be as honest as you can be with them ?
My mother left the marital home when I was 5, for 2 years she continued to return before I woke and leave after I went to bed , she may have thought it was better for me to keep up this pretence, but in effect it has made me very distrustful of people, I felt that I had been kept in the dark, and for years I couldn't allow anyone to be close to me, I felt betrayed. I would far rather , even at that tender age have known the truth and been given the time and space to come to terms with it. I try to always be honest with my children, sometimes this is hard as the youngest is autistic and very nervous of change, but handled properly and sensitively, information helps him.
Robin has said that she feels unhappy in her marriage, so surely she deserves to find out if she could be happier out of it ? She has after all spent many years trying to make it work, waiting ( sorry if I'm presuming here Robin ) for the love to grow, if it hasn't, does she not at least deserve to find out if there is someone or something greater out there for her ?
Sorry if this seems inflammatory, it isn't meant to be, it is purely my opinion. I feel as wives and mothers we give a lot of ourselves to other people, and rightly so, at some point we also have to give to ourselves.

robin 5th April 2005 10:14 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
You are right, I have spent many years "forcing" myself to believe it is right and that maybe I will eventually love my husband, but deep down I know it never will.

I have always thought I must be the only person in the world to be feeling like this, I am forever trying to do the right thing both for myself and others, one day I think I might crack up under the strain.
Thanks for your encouraging messages.

Concerned Reader 6th April 2005 01:01 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Dear Helen

Your story is fascinating and colourful, but it is an illustration of how cheating and divorce just hand misery down the years. The question is how best to stop it.

You don't say why your mother left the marital home, but since she was able to come and go at will, the assumption is that she chose to, and that she was cheating. I can see that this sets up a terrible tension in a child, but I don't understand why the conclusion is that she should have tried to excuse this to a five-year old child, rather than that she should have been faithful in the first place. Of course, I don't know the situation with your father, but what ever it was, infidelity will have made it worse.

In respect of your ex-H, from what you write he was prepared to keep his promises in the face of your coolness, your infidelity, and even accepted the child of another man despite the extra problems that caring for this child must entail. However, you chose to leave this exceptional partner against the advice of your family.

Although your ex-H is happier now, his first choice was that you should keep your promises. You cannot use his current situation to justify what was done purely for your self-interests. Thank goodness it worked out for him, but that is not something you can claim credit for. That's just spin, like a company saying it is 'freeing people to pursue their economic freedom' when they mean 'we've just sacked half the staff'.

Just recently you have posted that you have had a temporary separation from your current partner, and that you left but returned.

Is this really making you any happier?

London 8th April 2005 09:37 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Originally Posted by robin
You are right, I have spent many years "forcing" myself to believe it is right and that maybe I will eventually love my husband, but deep down I know it never will.

I have always thought I must be the only person in the world to be feeling like this, I am forever trying to do the right thing both for myself and others, one day I think I might crack up under the strain.
Thanks for your encouraging messages.

Robin, I am curious, what did you end up doing?

For myself, and this goes beyond what you have been posting. I cannot see why anyone should be "forced" to remain in a marriage when they clearly no longer "love" the person or never loved the person they are married to. Why can't people clearly admit that despite being "civil" and ho-hum in the marriage, that they made a mistake in the first place? I am all for saving certain marriages and working hard for their survival, but is it not just plain silly to remain in a relationship where one of the partners don't want to be part of?

I've read other places that some people encourage working through the issues and remaining in it just because the other person loves them or because you made vows (wc were wrongly made in the first place) etc...

when can one just say - I am not happy and I am not making you happy it's time to separate to ensure we can both find happiness elsewhere....

robin 9th April 2005 03:20 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Well, I have decided that I cannot leave my 13 year old child and move on simply to make myself happier. As he definitely would choose to stay with dad, I have no choice but to stay for the present. Although my husband knows I am now on antidepressants and staying for our son, he is happier with that than if I went. The tablets haven't kicked in yet, I know they are not solving the problem but may help me get back on an even keel to what I was like 3 months ago before confessing my feelings. I know this is not doing the right thing for myself, but cannot take that enormous step of hurting others.That's where I am at the moment.

Thanks for listening.

London 9th April 2005 05:47 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Although my husband knows I am now on antidepressants and staying for our son, he is happier with that than if I went.

oh my - sounds like H is playing the guilt and power cards and being very selfish while you are trapped. Does your 13 yr old not see that the mommy doesn't love daddy - there are so many ways this would show?

If your son doesn't know, can you imagine the guilt that will ensue in him when he finds out *he* is responsible for your depression and unhappiness (i say that bc it reads as though if you had the opp to leave with the son you would). How is that going to help him in the long run?

Would it not benefit all of you to find happiness elsewhere?

I am sorry if i a come across harsh here - i know yo have recounted your story already.

helenrw200 11th April 2005 05:52 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Dear concerned reader,
my story is neither fascinating nor colourful, it is simply my life.

My mother left the marriage because of her lack of feelings for my father, but it was a joint agreement on both their parts that she would return daily to avoid me knowing the truth. There was no other person involved on either side, indeed I don't think either she or my my dad would have been so accomodating had there been another person involved.

Oh yes my ex husband was more than happy to be the generous husband providing I play his game of happy families , and lie both in court and to his and my parents about the parentage of my child, so that he could save face and not admit the truth to anyone. To this day my son has no idea that his dad is other than my ex husband, this was part of the "deal " .

I am glad that you feel you are a strong enough person to have withstood all that came my way, however I am merely human and was weak and allowed myself to be manipulated. My ex husband was clever enough to catch me at a time when I was at my lowest ebb, having escaped an abusive marriage and played his hand well over the years. I'm sorry if I sound bitter, but I gave him 18 years, and tried so very hard to be a wife and to love, I feel no guilt about my decision to leave, it was right for me and for him and I'm glad that I did. I think much more of him as a person now, and am truely glad that he ,as well as I, has learned from past mistakes. I think 18 years is enough time to give a marriage that isn't working .

I had a temporary separation from my ex husband many years ago, but returned under pressure. My present partner and I have had difficulties, but the difference is that I love him, and hard as he may sometimes be to live with , this relationship is worth saving.

I didn't leave my ex husband in order to be happy , I left him in order to be me.

I will never be of the opinion that marriage should be saved at any cost, we all make mistakes and we all have to live with consequences, I lived with mine for 18 years, I think that was long enough.

You are entitled to your opinion however and I have read it with an open mind , we must however agree to disagree.


squeeky 29th April 2005 05:07 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
What do you do when you can't have a disagreement with your spouse without her becoming upset and hurt when no offense was meant? I ask because anytime my wife and I have a disagreement, she sulks until she becomes depressed and assumes the worst about our relationship. It only gets better when I either give in to her or smother her with affection.

London 29th April 2005 02:24 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Originally Posted by squeeky
she sulks until she becomes depressed and assumes the worst about our relationship. It only gets better when I either give in to her or smother her with affection.

how much worse can the relationship get in her mind? She knows you DON'T love her...!!

robin 29th April 2005 06:27 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Just a note to say I am still reading comments with interest on both threads. I have been taking anti-depressants for 3 weeks and have stopped crying all the time. I am content in that my youngest child is still in a 2 parent family unit and that my husband still has what he wants eg me, but how long I can live "in limbo" ie no desire for intimacy of any sort, I don't yet know. But I am not making any changes in my life at present that would affect other people. I am very fortunate in that I have exceptionally supportive friends and colleagues who are helping me by letting me talk things through. I am not sure how long my husband will want us to continue in this way.

Campazio 3rd August 2008 12:01 AM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Is the person who posted still online and respond to this website? I would like to know, I am recently married w/all the same problems and would like to know if my response or story would be heard

squeeky 3rd August 2008 04:39 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...
Yes, I'm still online.

ilakatilol 3rd August 2008 05:51 PM

Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Originally Posted by robin (Post 10332)
Just a note to say I am still reading comments with interest on both threads. I have been taking anti-depressants for 3 weeks and have stopped crying all the time. I am content in that my youngest child is still in a 2 parent family unit and that my husband still has what he wants eg me, but how long I can live "in limbo" ie no desire for intimacy of any sort, I don't yet know. But I am not making any changes in my life at present that would affect other people. I am very fortunate in that I have exceptionally supportive friends and colleagues who are helping me by letting me talk things through. I am not sure how long my husband will want us to continue in this way.

I just saw this thread... & have questions of my own (my post).

Its not that I have never loved my husband... BUT I am emotionally confused to where I stand when it comes to love now... if I should keep on staying?

Why I quoted Robin's thread is because I still enjoy intimacy from my husband...
I see it as an *expected payment* from him for making me miserable all the time & I enjoy sex a lot. Except he has even been too tired & lazy to put out lately.

I hate him for how miserable he makes me... even to the point of if he were to have an affair, I'd be so lucky to be *let go* of the misery he caused me.... or even if I were to take another man, I'd be probably *out of revenge* (not even an emotional confirmation that I am still wanted by another man / nor emotional dependency & what not; just *hatred*) for what he makes me feel; and I probably won't even feel *guilt* which I am trying to (feel) even as I type this (I am not seeking an affair mind you to get married again whatsoever... I probably would be happier SOLO... just at an emotional *zero* state where I cannot "feel" for others; too "pooped out" by my own hubby).

I also do understand that the stronger the love, the stronger the hate as well...

What I want to feel is that guilt for hating him like that, but I cannot find it. I know that I am probably at a self destructive stage right now, I love him... but DO I love him or just plain HATE him??? (this is what I feel as I type... exactly how I feel...).

Should i even stay?

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