A Letter From Edward

To whom it may concern.

I hope I have the right email address here.

My story is fairly typical. I was married for 21 years, I have 2 kids in University and just last month, we decided that a separation was the best way to go for now and see what happens. I don’t think I have ever been so scared in all my life.

It isn’t just losing a romantic partner, it is losing someone who you rely on and someone who has always been there to face life with you over the ups and downs. You really can get attached to someone you’ve been with all that time.

So, my story is that I didn’t really get dumped. Well, I guess I sort of chickened out and agreed to the separation because I knew that my wife would have ended it otherwise. That is a hard go for anyone I guarantee you that.

It still seems surreal how we calmly sat down after dinner one night and logically put our 20 year relationship on hold. No tears or hysteria. It was the weirdest thing. I have to admit that I was on the verge of losing it, but I didn’t let her know that.

If you can imagine someone leaving a long marriage for no reason whatsoever, then you might understand where I was.

I think it started when my youngest left for college. The empty nest syndrome hit us hard and I could see a change in my wife. She looked physically depressed and that is when she started treating me differently. She was snippy and she snapped at the smallest things. Everything that went wrong was my fault and it got to the point where I didn’t want to come home.

Needless to say, our sex life went from scarce to non-existent.

I have always believed that we would stay together until we were both old and gray. I am 53 and she is 49, so not quite old and gray yet. But it got to the point where we both felt the marriage disintegrating before our eyes without knowing what was causing it.

Anyway, that is where I am now. I have left the family home and I am staying in an airbnb condo for the month.

I hate to say it, but I now truly believe that people weren’t meant to be together for life. I think things get stale and, despite how hard you try, in the end, you are still with that person, doing the same thing, day in and day out.

My parents and grandparents were together for many, many years. How did they do it? Is it a sign of our modern society that we get so tired with our partner?

I don’t blame my wife. I admit that I felt the same thing, but now that I don’t have her, I feel like I’ve lost my life. I’m too old to start over.

Maybe we just need time apart. That’s what I am hoping anyway.

I have the urge to go over there and contact her, but I think it’s going to result in the situation getting worse. I can tell that she needs some space, but it’s so hard being away.

Anyway, I suppose that this was more of a way to vent. I actually feel better getting this off my chest. What do you think about the situation? I feel that I’m making the only move I can for now.

Edward

 

Hi Edward,

Thanks for sharing that.

My first impression was that you are in a very comfortable, but stagnant relationship in which one (or maybe two) of you pulled the plug as soon as they could. It isn’t a coincidence that your wife waited until the kids were out of the house. It seems like this is something she wanted for a long time.

It isn’t anything out of the ordinary. In fact, this is fairly common. It isn’t anything you did, she just wanted out.

The fact that she waited to make her move shows that she isn’t a bad person at all. She just needed to change her life before it was too late.

Now, having said all that, you certainly have a lot to lose – you both do. Decades of memories and a life that you both built together. It isn’t likely that you are going to be able to do that again with someone else because you simply don’t have the time required.

And speaking of that: Anyone can find happiness again, regardless of their age. You mentioned that you thought you were too old. You’re never too old, so don’t even entertain that thought.

I think you are doing the right thing by giving her some space. She needs to think about so much right now – there is a lot at stake.

Don’t be surprised if she starts missing you and the life you both built. After all, she is as invested in this as you are.

The only way you can ruin this now is by contacting her incessantly. I know you may feel like just talking things over, but that will come later. Exercise patience.

If she has decided to end it for good, then you have to accept that and move on. And, as mentioned, you can pick up your life at any age. It may not be the same life you had, but it isn’t going to be the most horrible thing either. Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing.

Thanks for taking the time to write in.