I have been married for 15 years. I am a scientist/patent agent and she an intensive care physician. I work in-house at a pharmaceutical company that recently went through a merger and substantial lay-offs. Things are still unsettled. I fortunately survived. My wife recently became medical director of the ICU. In short, our professional lives have recently been extremely stressful. We have two wonderful boys 9 and 10 we love very much.
Our marriage was not arranged, but our meeting was by our parents (yes, if you haven’t figured it out, we are Indians). We had a two-year long distance dating relationship (me in NY, her in Ottawa). Met almost every weekend or whenever we could, and talked for hours on the phone every single day between meetings. We got married and then lived apart for another two years as I finished up in NY and she finished up in Ottawa. We eventually settled in Toronto where both of our families are.
I am a romantic and emotionally sensitive, definitely not the macho man. Would love to whisk her away on a long weekend to Paris, Rome etc. Would love to walk along the Seine hand in hand in spring. Love to cuddle and be cuddled, hold hands, lie on her lap while watching TV, have her run her fingers through my hair, be kissed and hugged. In short I am very affectionate. I need to be touched. I need to be loved. She was quite affectionate in our early years together. Not so much after the kids, but I could still get hugs, kisses and almost everything mentioned above, just not as often. That was fine. I perfectly understand that partners change over time. Relationships change over time.
I am the cook in the house, I do the grocery shopping, take the trash out, pick up and drop off the kids at school every single day of the school year. I do most of the homework with the kids, science projects etc. I take the kids to their extracurricular activities (swimming, soccer, birthday parties etc.), manage the finances, meet with our financial advisor, take both cars in for servicing, take the kids to their orthodontist and pediatrician. I do the ironing. She takes the kids to the dentist, does the laundry and takes the kids shopping for clothes. Her schedule is such that she says she can’t do all of the other things. She is out by 6.30 am and does not return till about 7pm. I have somewhat of a 9-5 job. I don’t complain, but it is sometimes overwhelming. Over the past couple of years I have noticed that she has gradually become increasingly unaffectionate to the point that she now does not even touch me. Whenever I sit next to her on the couch, she will tell me to move away, whenever I put my arms around her, she will cringe, if I try to kiss or hug her, she will give me the “what the hell are you trying to do” look. She will push my arm away, when I try to cuddle and tell me to move to my side of the bed. She does not say “bye” when she walks out the door in the morning. More often than not, I don’t even know that she has left. She does not say “hi” when she returns and does not ask how my day went. We have dinner together as a family almost every night and will often wait for her even if she is late. At the dinner table, she will ask the kids and will push them to talk about their day, but not me. She is in bed by 9 and sometimes even earlier. While this has become acute recently, keep in mind that it started at least a couple of years before she took on the job as director of the ICU.
I understand that communication is key, and so I have tried to talk to her to try and figure out what the problem is. She won’t talk. Whenever, I say that we have to talk, she mostly responds by rolling her eyes back and giving me the “oh no not again” look or she will say “oh brother, what do you want to talk about now?” or “do we have to talk right now?” I can’t get through to her. She would prefer to sleep than to talk. When I told her all of what is going on is a little overwhelming for me and if we could talk it over, her response was “such is life, deal with it”.
Admittedly, I am not an angel. I have my faults. She would tell you that whenever she wants to voice an opinion or says something, I just lash out at her. There are times that I have. I admit it. It was not right of me to do that. I have apologized. Her response is to give me the silent treatment for at least a week and sometimes more. I get over my anger within minutes. She takes at least a week if not more. I forgive and forget. She will hold a grudge. I think, in part, this has caused her to close up, fearful that I will lash out at her if she says something. It has come to a point that we don’t even exchange a single word between us on certain days.
It feels like we have grown apart and maybe even out of love. Thinking back, I am not sure if we were in love when we married. I think we liked each other a lot, but I am not sure if we were deeply in love. In part, I do believe that our parents wanted us to get married. I was at a stage in my life where I thought if I didn’t get married now, I would never get married and did not want to grow old alone. I make friends easily, but am shy with women when I first meet them and need to get a lot more comfortable with someone before I ask them out. I was never then and am not now into the club scene and did not know where and how I could meet up with someone. She is not at all a sociable person. She is an introvert and has almost no friends. Hates going to weddings and parties unless she is absolutely certain that there will be people she knows, especially the handful of friends that she has. I feel like we are two separate people living under one roof. I feel very lonely, empty and have cried myself to sleep almost every night (I said I wasn’t your macho man!) trying to figure out what is wrong or what I have done wrong to the point that her skin crawls at my touch? Six months ago, I hired a lady, whom I knew from my previous employment, to come work for me. She is stunningly beautiful, but much, much more importantly, she has a beautiful heart. I have gotten to know her much better over the time we have worked together. I always knew that she was divorced (12 years) and has a 14 yr old son, whom she loves very much. We have a lot in common, both likes and dislikes. She is smart and very intelligent. She has a face and personality that could light up the darkest room. Her face is like the sun, her smile like its rays. She was alone on Xmas day and so asked her over for Xmas dinner with the rest of my and my wife’s family. Everyone loved her. Let be very clear, I AM NOT HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH HER, HAVE NOT SLEPT WITH HER, HAVE NOT ASKED HER OUT. I AM NOT HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH ANYONE ELSE, HAVE NOT SLEPT WITH ANYONE ELSE, HAVE NOT MADE ANYONE PREGNANT, AND AS FAR AS I KNOW THERE ARE NO “MINI MEs” OUT THERE EITHER. But, I am falling for her, and therein lies the problem. I want to tell her, but I know I can’t for what it will do to both our friendship and our professional relationship. She is very good at what she does and I can’t afford to lose her. I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable either knowing that I am falling for her, especially when she might not even know I “exist”, if you know what I mean. I know what others will say when replying to this. That I am very vulnerable right now with what is going on at home and that I am looking for affection elsewhere. I have confided in her. She knows my position. She is not the type to take advantage of me either.
I can’t get through to my wife. I am not sure now if I even love her or that I loved her at all. I am not sure if she loves me now or loved me ever at all. I am afraid to get divorced as it will shatter the kids, whom I love very, very much. I cannot see the kids just 50% of the time. I will miss them immensely. And if I do get divorced, I have no idea that my co-worker will even want to have to do anything with me, which means I will end up alone and devastated, and at my age there is no hope in hell that I will ever meet someone else (I am mid-age. My wife and I are 8 years apart and I am 9 years apart from my co-worker). But, seeing her everyday makes me very happy, especially since I am not happy at home, yet is very painful.
I don’t know what to do.