My wife told me on the phone. She had been distant for a while. Our last year was full of instances where she refused to communicate. At first, her voice was uncertain. When I later reflected on it, the uncertainty in her voice had little to do with her lack of resolve. She was just unsure whether she should tell me at all.
She told me that she was long gone. Gone for years. That I had failed to see the warning signs. That she felt nothing for me. Emotions. Attraction. Intimacy. Respect. Nothing.
Lack of open communication played an equal part in the unravelling of my marriage. Through my actions, I had confirmed in my wife’s mind, that no amount of talking would ever change anything. So, she closed herself off more and more.
People are different, and they react to different situations differently. In our case, as I had tried to talk through the troubles in our marriage. I came from the perspective of a person solving problems. But to her, I was dictating solutions. I had always failed to gauge just how unwilling she was, or maybe, I didn’t care.
I tried to accept what she was saying, I was in shock , it was surreal. But it echoed of the hundreds of small conflicts we had over the years. So, there was a part of me that knew this was coming. I am no stranger to terrible news, and so I took it in my stride.
But once we disconnected the call, my world started to crumble. Ten years, I had identified myself almost solely as a husband. I did not know what else there was for me.
I searched on the web for the best steps forward for the first few days. And every site agreed on one thing: No begging. As I read more into these articles. One thing became clear to me, I had no real idea what was happening in my marriage for all these years. I was clueless about my wife’s disillusionment with the status quo. She saw me less and less as a man she wanted to be with. The articles stressed the value of change. Profound change from within. Changes to become a better man, a happier man, and hopefully a man that my wife feel want to be with.
And even if I do all those things, there is no guarantees, that she will ever be able to look past the years of bitterness, resentment and disappointment.
After the first few days, My wife suddenly cut off all contact. She said I was suffocating her with my sense of optimism for our future. I was promising her change. But she was too far gone to see that as something positive. For her, it was just irrelevant what I was doing. It was annoying and it was making her guilty of her resolve to walk away.
I respected her space, and did not call. 3-4 days later, she contacted me on text and re-empasized that it was over. That I should let go and that what I did no longer mattered to her. I spoke gently of hope and reconciliation but it was shot down.
She told me she wanted more space and that I should reach out to my friends and prepare. Prepare for a divorce.
I was not ready. I wanted to fight. I wanted to change. Do everything to restore our love. Work to undo the pain and hurt. I resolved to not feel depressed. I resolved to make changes that force me to appreciate my life.
I embraced the following in hopes of healing and growing myself.
- Cleanliness: I wanted to help with the house, and I resolved to do whatever was needed to keep things clean and tidy.
- Fitness: I had let myself go over the course of my marriage, and I resolved to push myself into the best shape I had ever been
- Joy: I had been miserable so long that I did not even know what it meant to be happy and spontaneous. So I decided to just go ahead and enjoy things. Be kind to others and bring them joy.