I am an intelligent professional with a highly stimulating job. My husband has a great job too. We have delightful children who have never caused us trouble or grief and we always agreed on parenting.
We never fought over money or even household chores. Sure, there were niggles between us, but I thought it was all in good humour.
We work a lot – too much – and forgot to concentrate on our life together. All my spare time was focused on the children, as surely that was a reasonable priority.
Not a perfect life, but I believed he was my greatest friend and ally and knew we would grow old together.
It turns out I was living a lie. My husband was miserable, and by the time he told me, he had already decided to leave. There is no-one specific he was fleeing to, just a vision that I do not make him happy anymore – he cannot be himself as I am so negative.
The vision is that there will be someone else to fill this void. Apparently, I cannot fill it, despite 22 years of marriage, 4 children between primary and high school, an amazing history of achievement as a couple with study and work and financial success to make us finally comfortable. He is just not “in love” and wants me to accept this immediately.
Our friends and family are shocked and say it is his problem, it is not me. But I choose to take responsibility for where I stopped telling him he was special and I loved him and wanted to touch him and hold him and listen to him.
I know that he was doing the same to me, but it is a partnership and we let each other down.
I cannot take responsibility for him leaving and giving up – he must wear that. And so I know that in the end, it is up to him, to decide that he wants me. I am sure he knows I am still here.
The self-help books say to work on myself; give him a slightly cold shoulder; neediness is very unattractive. Unfortunately, this is so much easier said than done.