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Old 21st February 2005, 05:07 AM   #1
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Unhappy 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).
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Old 21st February 2005, 01:45 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 21st February 2005, 07:00 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 21st February 2005, 10:10 PM   #4
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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?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:01 AM   #5
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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.

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Old 22nd February 2005, 03:29 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 25th February 2010, 07:51 PM   #7
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Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Follow your heart and if you don't know what it's saying learn to listen. Chinese proverb says 'if you don't know what to do... wait until you do'

Last edited by Tickedy_boo; 24th April 2010 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 7th March 2005, 10:15 AM   #8
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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!
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Old 9th March 2005, 02:49 AM   #9
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Thumbs up 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.

Last edited by squeeky; 9th March 2005 at 02:51 AM. Reason: misspelled words
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Old 16th March 2005, 12:55 PM   #10
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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!
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Old 4th August 2008, 06:48 PM   #11
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Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

squeeky, if both of you respect each other and wish no harm on the other that's a great start. Just be open about your feelings, truthful with her and see where it leads. Remember, now that you have children they really do come first. Your relationship with your wife is VERY important, but it's bigger than the two of you now.

Good Luck
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Old 11th August 2008, 05:07 AM   #12
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Re: I don't love my wife and never have...


Its good to see your still online! I was reading your story and was very curious where you are now in your life.

I feel exactly as you do, unfortunately my wife still loves me- I understand that should be a horrible thing to say but i'm sure you know how I feel. I have been married for six years, and by all accounts i'm pretty successful. I married for the wrong reasons but now have children that mean more to me than my own life. Have things turned around in your marriage?
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Old 14th January 2010, 09:58 PM   #13
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Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Hi peeps,
I have read all of your posts guys and I have been noding my head all the way through. I married my wife to do the right thing too its a horrible long story and im not gona get in to it. I do love her and my little girl BUT i am not in love with her and find myself hating her for trapping me, its not always a straitforward story takes 2 to tango and all that.
When I look in to other peoples relationships I find on most occassions that there is always one in the relationship that isnt IN LOVE and the other is madly in love.
I feel that i want to love another all the time and sometimes i take it out on my partner not aggressively or anything but i do, she knows that there is something wrong but like another post on here i do hide it well some times more that others obviously my mood comes in to play. It is really hard man but i really dont think i could leave my kids just so i can go out and sleep about to find a perfect partner which will probly never happen cause i find most people messy and unorganised.
Maybe im wrong and i should just leave her, I just dont know anymore!!!

Im 26 btw and we been together for 8yrs married for 5yrs, so i always feel i have missed out on alot of fun that most people i no have had

I could go on but it is a boring subject for most people.
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Old 15th January 2010, 04:10 AM   #14
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Talking Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

Hi Johnymac;
I can't tell you what you should do, but I will say this. I stayed for my kids but that's not the right reason to stay. It's worst to grow up in a unhappy family. If there is no connection, or communication there's not much to save. But if you have all that in your marriage then, I would say the trouble is within yourself. You might need to look inside yourself and try to find out what it is about your marriage rubs you the wrong way. Because if it is just that you feel that she trapped you, that's not going to work because you could have said no. It's okay to just say "I just don't love her" that was my truth. I'm not saying this is how your story goes, maybe you do really do love her, maybe not. But if you have one person in love it can not turn out well for everyone, someone is going to get hurt. Know why you want this change before making that desired change. No matter what you do best of luck, I hope things work out for you.

Sorry don't mean to sound like an horses b-hind if I did.
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Old 4th October 2011, 05:55 PM   #15
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Re: I don't love my wife and never have...

I think you need to make the right decision initially in the sense of having the right motive. Certainly not to just get married for the sake of it. One needs the initial chemistry as well.

Apart from that one has to work on it as well even if it is the so-called right person. Most of us will marry the right person if we use our head as well as our heart but I do not think there is anything ultra mysterious about this. I think I married the right person but we still have our faults which we are working on. I think marriages are successful where there is commitment and faithfulness which is a moral thing really.

Sorry mistake here. I answered a comment at the end of page one without checking page two and three.
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