It’s time to start pre­par­ing fam­ily for the end of your mar­riage

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - LIFE - MAU­REEN SCURFIELD

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’ve been mar­ried for more than 25 years and have a good re­la­tion­ship with my wife, ex­cept for close to five years there has been no love life at all. It’s been phys­i­cally painful for her at times, and al­though we have had some great nights in years gone by, she sim­ply doesn’t en­joy it. I of­ten ques­tioned my­self, think­ing maybe I didn’t have what it takes. This con­trib­uted to me hav­ing a cou­ple of af­fairs. One lasted a cou­ple of months, and the other one was on and off for over a year. Both these women were mar­ried, left their hus­bands and wanted a life with me, even though I told them I wouldn’t leave my sit­u­a­tion. I want to live with my chil­dren and I don’t want them grow­ing up with di­vorced par­ents. The last re­la­tion­ship ended a few years ago. I’m a good dad when it comes to spend­ing time with my chil­dren. My teenagers love be­ing with me and we have lots of fun to­gether. In the home, I could be more help­ful. I’ve tried dif­fer­ent ap­proaches, such as do­ing ex­tra jobs, try­ing to touch my wife in ca­sual ways while help­ing with a meal, among other things like flow­ers and va­ca­tions. Yes, I could try and “date” her more, but I don’t think this will change her. Hav­ing been mar­ried as long as we have, I know her fairly well. We’ve dis­cussed this topic in the past, but now we just leave it alone and sleep with­out touch­ing. I don’t feel loved and am very lonely. I want a lover, but know it is wrong. — Rock and a Hard Place, Win­nipeg Dear Rock: It’s eas­ier to get through a hard time do­ing some­thing if you know ab­so­lutely when you will be free if things can’t change. Fig­ure out now when your teenagers should be com­fort­ably out of the house. Don’t en­cour­age them to stay at home while they get mul­ti­ple de­grees. That’s not good for any­body’s ma­tu­rity.

It’s time to save all you can to help them get set up out­side the nest and fly. Once they’re gone, it will be the time to break up. You don’t want them at home when this hap­pens, as one of them might stay for­ever to keep their lonely sin­gle mother com­pany. Your wife needs some pri­vacy and a lit­tle lone­li­ness as an im­pe­tus to find a new man and pur­sue a new re­la­tion­ship. She has no doubt felt lonely in this mar­riage, too. Start pre­par­ing your wife for the in­evitable end of the mar­riage-as­room­mates sit­u­a­tion. If she is hor­ri­fied, in­sist on mar­riage coun­selling with a view to rekin­dling the sex­ual end of the re­la­tion­ship. If she won’t go, you go alone and work on the am­i­ca­ble end of the mar­riage.

It’s im­por­tant for the kids that ev­ery­body knows the mar­riage is shaky and you have been try­ing to fix it. Be­yond that, the kids don’t need any more de­tails, but it’s time to stop to­tally fak­ing.

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