New to this forum.
Basically, I am in the category "My wife wants to divorce and I don't". And my question is: what can i do to save my marriage ? Or, is what I am doing right ?
Here are (some of) the details.
I am 47 years old, have been married for 23 years, with six children (aged 5, 8, 12, 15, 17, 19). My wife is two years younger than me. I have always loved her and being truthful to her.
Let me say that I acknowledge that I do have some responsibility for the situation. My wife stayed at home raising the children for 18 years and we lived a very traditional household. While we lived great times together, she also went through difficult times and hardships. For many reasons I was not so helpful. She fainted one night (out of exhaustion), alone with the kids, while I was away (abroad) for work. That was two years and half ago. We both understood that something had to change but she understood much better and harder. Since then she has changed completely her lifestyle. She's out 4 evenings a week, sometimes more, comes back very late. Left many of the house duties for me and the kids. She's out of religion. Decided to return to work. (She starts this coming week.)
She also voiced her complaints. My lack of interest in her as a person (as opposed to the mother of my children); being conservative; being excessively thrifty, frustrated (or "cultivating frustration", with her and the children); my will to control "everything".
The blame is at least in part justified in my eyes. I have failed her in many ways. Not consciously, but the damage is done.
Two months ago (on my birthday) she told me calmly and explicitly she wants to divorce. She had told me earlier, but I have to say that it was in the heat of a discussion and while it hurt me and I tried to change my attitude and actions, I did not take notice enough, as I should have.
Since then, while we continue to live in the same place and sleep in the same room, we are physically separated. My wife still has not formally filed for divorce. She said she plans to do it in the coming months (two-three months).
Now I tried to change my ways. I do a lot at home. I take care of the younger kids, help with the homework of the older ones. Do most of the cooking and the washing. I try to do it with good will and humor (I am better succeeding at it now than six months ago). I try to show that I care concretely for her. I no longer contradict her. I take all her criticism (and there are days there is a hell of a lot). I feel that I learned a lot -- the hard way -- thanks to her. I even understand her statement: I want to divorce. Since I did not truly listen to her earlier.
Thanks to friends, I learned to let go. I still love her. But I understand that she may leave me. In spite of all my current efforts, I have failed her too much in the past. Meanwhile I am doing my best on all the concrete things I can do now.
This is tough. I believe that I can accept that she leave me, if this is what she wants. I could even help her. She needs to fly. She deserves to fly. But another part of me says: you cannot forget the kids, they need their mother.
So we can be good friends. She still kisses me on the cheek from time to time. But this is really tough for me because I love her. I am afraid of expressing my feelings towards her too much. We do not really communicate anymore because serious talk would hurt both of us. The exception is the children. We do talk about the children, schools, and so on. Sometimes though some good memories come up.
And the other hand I guess, I should just be grateful. A kiss on the cheek is really not so bad.
Is there hope to save our marriage ?