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Marriage Feels Like It’s Over

Long time supporter of Heart Support, but this is the first time I’m reaching out for help.

I’ve been married to my wife for almost a decade. We’ve been together for almost twelve years. Lately, we’ve been verbally fighting a lot, as I’ve felt our marriage crumbling due to a recent friendship with a coworker. I often find myself worried or anxious that’s she’s spending the majority of her free time with this coworker instead of me. Maybe I’m being selfish, or maybe I’m seeing red flags from this friendship taking priority over our marriage relationship.

I’ve tried bringing it up to her on a few occasions, but it’s only led to a defensive tone on her end, and both of us going our separate ways inside the house.

Throughout this whole friendship, I’ve felt her being joyful and happy when spending time with her friend, but she often seems dissatisfied or disinterested whenever I try to spend quality time with her. It makes our marriage feel like a glorified roommate/acquaintances situation.

My wife has mentioned she wants some “distance” from me, but that makes it hard as I’m currently working from home during COVID-19, and she works outside of the house in a healthcare role. We’ve got a two year old son, so that adds a whole other side to the stress and awkwardness of this situation, as trying to find a suitable temporary space to stay would take me away from my kid, and also put me in a situation of finding accommodations that would allow me to effectively continue to work.

I’m no angel, and I’ve made several mistakes in the past, but how can I effectively communicate how I feel to my wife of how toxic her friendship is to our marriage?

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Hey friend,

I’m going to share some perspective from my own experiences. And you can take what you will from that. :hrtlegolove:

I was married and in a relationship for 14 years. Something that I learned from that relationship and that marriage was that a lot sooner we should have agreed to never let anything or any person come between us and should it feel like that was every arising that we talk about it and work through it. I was also only 17 when I entered that relationship and just 19 when we married. This is something that I’ve spoken about in my current relationship that is a serious priority for us.

Relationships are a team you know? They always require nurturing and awareness. Reassurance and connecting. I think sometimes it’s so easy to get “comfortable” and maybe slack off in certain areas of nurturing. Not due to lack of love or anything, just something easy to do after being in a relationship for so long and easy to fall out of habit of the things any relationship needs. So it’s good to be aware when things maybe are slipping.

It’s okay to have feelings based on this situation with the co-workers. Especially if it’s the opposite sex. It really just depends on the situation at hand. It’s good to ask ourselves what is causing the feelings you have? Where is the source of those feelings coming from? For you it seems to be coming from the fact that it feels like she’s being either defensive and/or lack of quality time together. So it’s natural to feel these things when your relationship seems to have some underline issue even if it’s minor. Those things need to be discussed.

This came about in my own marriage and it was not attended to properly. So there was some struggle there. It’s important to be able to sit and talk about the feelings you have. To calmly share where these feelings come from and how you feel that could better. And it’s also good to reflect on your trust of one another. Maybe there can be some balancing. Of time spent with friend and time spent with you. And reassurance that this relationship with this co-worker is healthy. That’s the biggest thing. Just making sure it is a healthy friendship, not something unhealthy for the marriage or vulnerable emotions. That can get scary. Been there.

I obviously don’t know you or your relationship, but I know when things are starting to feel like there’s “distance” needed that there is a bigger thing that probably needs to be addressed and discussed. Worked on together. You definitely don’t want to leave that seed to grow and push you guys further apart. That was an issue in my relationship and it caused a huge strain. It spiraled a little bit.

It’s good to talk about why that “distance” is needed. Just make sure things are okay and maybe address it if it’s needed so that your relationship is getting the nurturing and awareness it needs.

If this relationship is toxic, it definitely needs to be addressed. And she needs to ask herself why this friendship is so important to her and if its worth risking your marriage. Trust from one another needs to be visited.

Im not a therapists or a professional so I can’t properly advise here. This is just perspective from my own experiences in a previous marriage and my own knowing of how my situation could have gone better. My current relationship prioritizes these things. We talk. We communicate. It’s so important.

Do you think that maybe having a therapist could help you guys get back on track? To help you guys sort of work on maybe the little things that seem to be there and causing tension or strain? It’s totally okay to need that guidance to reconnect and find your way back to a strong partnership.

It’s good that you recognize mistakes you have made. Maybe it’s worth talking about those too. And how they may be impacting how she feels and how maybe you can work through that. It’s good to be open to one another. To just share each of your feelings, be vulnerable, open and receiving.

Do you think you guys could connect this way?

TLDR;

The best way to communicate that is to just talk. Sit and talk calmly. Be open. I have found in my own relationships that anger and intense emotion doesn’t help these kinds of situations and makes it harder to be receiving of feelings. I think I learned that too late in my previous marriage. Neither one of us were good at being very collected and listening. That I now put into practice because it’s important. Just make it a point to make time to listen and talk to each other and try to value each others feelings and be really open and honest about what’s going on and how you can work through that

Sorry this is so long. I really hope that you and your wife are able to come to an understanding and work things out.

:hrtlegolove:

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communication even in the hardest of times is important. One person can not fill the emotional needs of another so it’s important to understand what the are bringing to her life. To understand then discuss what’s important. A 14 year old marriage and a child together and a life built . Listening and talking are key. I hope for restoration to your soul and your family .

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Every marriage I’ve seen fall apart can have its issues traced back to a lack of communication. Cheating happens when needs aren’t met, and needs aren’t met when they’re not communicated. Money problems, different opinions on child rearing, conflicts between careers and family, all seem to come from a lack of communication. Communication is not screaming at each other in the living room, and it’s not crafting the perfect zinger retort while they talk. Communication is each person hearing the other out on what they think and what they feel, as well as the speaker being honest and rational and properly conveying what they are feeling without shifting blame to their spouse. Communication is a two-way street where each party tries to convey what they’re really feeling and thinking.

When you’ve “tried bringing it up to her on a few occasions,” has it been over dinner, dishes, or other distractions, or has it been over a deliberate sit-down session? Discussing serious issues needs to be done at “the right time,” and communication of important issues needs and deserves full attention from both of you. Maybe ask her during the day if y’all can have a talk that evening after dinner, or in the transition time say between washing dishes and watching TV, or even between eating and doing dishes, put a hand on her shoulder and ask “Hey, can we talk for a bit?”

To avoid a blowup, prepare yourself by writing an open letter to her. Don’t lay blame or point fingers at her, but write down how her specific actions make you feel. Putting it on paper can help you collect and analyze your thoughts, and maybe even see patterns. One clause might be: I feel like your new friendship has taken precedence over our marriage, and that makes me feel unloved and empty. There’s no mention of “you,” but rather “your new friendship,” which is a far less aggressive way of addressing the real adversary. When you talk, ask her to please just hear you out. You don’t have to use the letter, but stick to what you wrote and avoid personal attacks. She may get angry and react, but that’s on her. Stay calm and don’t feed her anger or push her away. Try to keep the conversation focused on your observations and feelings. Congratulations, she has your side of the story now. Now it’s her turn. Ask her what she’s feeling, why she feels the need for distance or to spend more time with her friend, what’s missing, and what you can do to make her feel more loved. When she answers, don’t interrupt her. Listen, actually hear what she’s saying, instead of thinking about what to come back with. Put yourself in her shoes for a few minutes. I can’t say whether or not she’ll participate just like this, but if you come with an olive branch instead of a battle axe, you’re more likely to have a calm, successful conversation; but most importantly, you’ll have done your part and put the ball in her court. Whether she responds then or storms, just wait patiently. Your part is done for now.

I’ve been married for just over a year, but while my wife and I were dating, we saw a lot of important couples split up because they got complacent, quit talking, and just grew apart. It’s easy to resort to coping mechanisms, like new friendships, as a substitute for interaction and affection with your spouse, and the more time you spend away from your spouse mentally, the more awkward it is to come back and the easier it is to lean harder into those coping mechanisms. To avoid that, we’re prompt and direct when we feel like our needs aren’t being met, but still courteous and kind. One example: she has a friend who perpetually complained about bad relationships and job woes. I told my wife I felt like she was getting too preoccupied with her friend’s life and fading out of our marriage. She thought on it for an evening, evaluated her behavior, considered my feelings, and concluded that she was getting really wrapped up in her friend’s issues and that she needed to set some healthy boundaries. It sounds like y’all have a longer way to go to closing the rift between you, but that journey begins with asking her to evaluate her priorities vs where she’s putting her energy, and in return she may tell you what you can do to reignite the spark between you.

If you haven’t, take the 5 Love Languages quiz and read the same book by Gary Chapman. Too many people have tried to fix marriages with expensive jewelry when all their spouse wanted was to hear “I love you” a little more often. His “Four Seasons of Marriage” book also helps guide couples through good times and bad, and look at the opportunities and pitfalls at every stage of a relationship. I hope this helps, and I hope you can find each other again.

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From: legendofdice

Marriage is a promise to work together through all future trials together. Keep trying to talk to her about it calm and collected. Right down your feelings so you have a clear head. Ask her if this is the life she still wants.

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From: utmostownage

I would be willing to wager that there are more issues going on than just the friend. I would recommend you honestly examine your relationship and figure out what you can fix on your end. Show her that you love her. Cherish her every day. Show her that you are going to make her a priority even if she isnt returning it. If you do get to have a conversation with her, don’t pin it on the friendship, instead, try to find out what issues she has so you can try to address and make changes.

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From: adamburnsr3d

I think it helps to recognize that this friendship matters to your significant other on some level, and acknowledge that you both work and different settings and make make connections with others in some form or fashion. From there, I think it gives you a good point to explore and understand the feelings surrounding those facts, and to work together on setting boundaries that are healthy for both of you, as individuals and as a couple.

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From: xlucid_gamerx

I know how you feel. I have felt the same in my marriage multiple times. Every time i’ve looked back and thought i was being envious and silly but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve learned to try and just relax about it and not get angry and confrontational. Going on the attack only brings the attack back on me and staying positive and doing what Dan and Cassers are saying has proven to work better. The feeling still comes but I can deal with it better

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Hey @Shawny we discussed your topic on the HeartSupport Twitch stream today! Here’s the live video response.

Hold fast!

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