Marriage crumbling, looking for advice

Hi all - thanks in advance to anyone who reads this. It’s appreciated! I’ll try and cliff the basics on the relationship and detail what appears to be the current core issues.

TLDR on the below to encourage people to read: In one day I got promoted, found out my sister has cancer, passed my classes, then got told by my wife she wants a divorce.

Summary of relationship
*] Started dating in 2008
*] I moved around the world to her in 2009
*] Engaged in 2010
*] Married in 2011

We are financially stable and have a generally positive marriage with occasional down periods. We just bought a house together and we have 3 dogs. It’s been getting increasingly strained.

Core Issues
*] We have yet to consummate the marriage. She saved herself for marriage (strict Catholic upbringing) and is naive and inexperienced. I’m not much more experienced. When we tried on the wedding night she was so nervous that even 1 finger was too much. I failed to make her feel comfortable during various subsequent attempts. It got to the point we stopped trying and “made do” with oral and non-penetrative. Great strain from this that we never really discussed. I tried a few times and it upset her a lot, and she ended up shutting down and not wanting to even discuss it.
*] I made the conscious decision in 2012 to grind at work in order to improve my position, with the goal of being able to sole-provide for us so we can have children and she can stay at home. She wants to build a career but has been struggling with office politics. I just got promoted this week. This has caused tension. My prioritization of work (albeit for a “endgame” goal of family) has created a rift as she felt neglected.
*] She has battled undiagnosed depression over the past few years. It started in 2009 when she got fired and faced months of unemployment. She internalized her problems and let rip on me; I endured as I thought that meant I was being there for her. She doesn’t like her current job as a result of multiple “let downs” over the past two years. Great stress here, and she has become a very angry person.
*] I am someone who doesn’t stay angry and moves on very quickly. She holds grudges and does not forgive mistakes. This has caused friction (“you don’t even care!” etc). On my part I struggle because I hate that she will not forgive past mistakes.
*] Her first time moving out of her parents house was when we got married. She is not worldly and longs to travel now she is free of a sheltered upbringing. This has been an issue due to finances. Further to that I ****ed up on our first day home after marriage by playing Skyrim all day. She later told me how scared she was (first time away from parents home, etc). I didn’t pick up on this as I’ve never had issues being away from home having traveled a lot.
*] Her age. The impending 30 paired with our failed sex life is terrifying her.
*] I know she feels I’ve changed the way I talk to her over past years and have become a lot more negative. I am not aware of this but I am sure the above have taken a toll on me.
*] Working in the same place has caused some trouble; for example, I’ll be working and she’ll walk past carrying a box to her office from storage. I tended to keep working rather than help and that upset her. My mindset is that if we worked in other places I wouldn’t be there to help, so we shouldn’t make an exception just because we work at the same place.
*] I do not get along with my mother or sister, and she feels I will become towards her the way I am towards them.
*] She has a great pressure upon her from family (children, religion, success, career, etc). Asian.

I just read the above and I feel like I’m blaming her a lot. I am trying to keep this as unbiased as possible. I feel wronged at this time (see below) and it’s hard. I accept my failings (the biggest being my lack of empathy and the decision regarding work)

Current Predicament
On Wednesday she told me that she is not happy in our marriage and has been talking to someone online. I sensed it pretty much immediately as she suddenly started keeping her phone with her at all times and staying up all night “Facebooking”. They started talking 3 weeks ago after our wedding anniversary (I had to work late… We went to dinner around 9 PM but she was furious). It started as him consoling her and talking to her, but progressed when he stated that he thinks he loves her. Rather than draw the line there she said “I think I love you too”. It actually “ended” quite abruptly the next day when he ignored her or something… and she flipped out. She has since expressed a desire to me to meet this person IRL and see if there’s a connection. She has told me she loves me but is no longer sexually attracted to me due to my neglect over the past year and our failed attempts at a sex life. She has told me there are colleagues at work she’d rather sleep with than me. I’m crushed. Last night she told me she wants an annulment. She wants to live in our home together, not tell anyone until the annulment is confirmed (potentially 2 years +), but sleep in separate rooms and essentially be roommates at home but a couple in public. I’m outraged at this point.

Continued below…

My Stance
I am by no means a beta personality. I am confident in myself and know I’ll be just fine, if not better, without her. That said, I love her more than anything and want her to be by my side every day for the rest of my life. I am filled with so many emotions at this time that I do not know how to react. I’ve always internalized, considered, and then pushed forward and achieved my goals. All my dreams and plans that grew over the past years and currently dashed and I am utterly lost. I can see how my actions hurt her and that is tearing me apart.

My greatest frustration is I do not feel there has ever been a point where we’ve both tried to fix our issues. We’ve barely even discussed them. Our lack of communication and our inaction is my greatest regret. I am well aware of my actions that hurt the marriage, but hindsight is 20/20 and I did what I felt was right at the time. I could see the damage it was causing but convinced myself that an improved financial situation would allow us to mend our wounds and move forward stronger and more stable as a couple.

She is refusing to go to couples therapy. She is refusing to speak with a Priest (offered up due to her Catholic upbringing and the potential for annulment). She will not talk to friends or family.

I feel there is so much we can do to make things better. I feel she’s rushing a decision. I feel we need counselling, both independently and together. I think she’s got so much pent up frustration that she is unable to expense that it has taken her to breaking point. She admits she is unable to expel anger and that it “sits in a bottle”.


I wish I had advice, but have never been married and only experienced a few relationships. My gift is spirituality and so have considered a religious life and the priesthood. I’ll offer my prayers for your marriage and the only two advices I think of with regards to married relationships.

  1. “The Family that Prays together, stays together.”
  2. “Don’t let the sun set on your anger, don’t give the devil a chance to work on you.”

Your wife has some serious issues if she won’t have sex with her husband yet tells him she would be willing to have sex with her online/Facebook friends!

And add in the fact she refuses to speak with a priest or get counseling---- I say she has unilaterally decided the marriage is ended!

I wouldnt play into her charade of living together any longer; move out, file for divorce, then seek an annulment. She certainly has no understanding of what a true marriage entails.

Good luck in your future relationships; she has made it clear this one is over. Maybe consider yourself lucky to find out now . . .

It looks like to me you are distracted with way too much activity.

Is there a way somehow that you both could cut yourselves free to concentrate on each other for a while. I mean just to anchor the relationship for the time being before you need to get into a hectic world and family life, which is all too normal these days. I’m thinking of more anticipation of what the other may desire. Do things together that each finds approving. No arguments, a strict rule. If one doesn’t like going to this place or that restaurant, then that’s “out” and not an option.

Start thinking has one. Try to restore those moments that brought you together. If this isn’t what may work, then start over again and work together to find a way. Make it a second ‘first date’, and get dressed like your going to a first prom. After all, she/he’s the perfect partner you know already. Make your outings exciting and spontaneous, no mention of current or family problems and concerns, this is absolutely out for discussion for the time being. Focus on each other and don’t spare the compliments. Establish a time-out period during the week, where the focus is each other and nothing else.

I’m not an expert, but in bed it’s a real relaxer to find something to laugh at. Just start by talking, and sometimes even being silly will break the chain. Reminiscing a good time, or simply making a ridiculous comment will work. Love making should be a physical expression of the love you feel for each other. Best to keep your mind empty and no fantasy intruding. No thoughts on how to get the car going again tomorrow, or that blond down the street. Problems are left behind.

I just would like to add that those ocean cruises, and Vegas trips to celebrate something is overblown. You don’t need these sensual distractions to remember a good time. It’s what’s in the hearts that will be remembered. So celebrations are Ok but should never be so extravagant and glitsy that it is all that is remembered, and it does have that potential. It leaves a credit card debt legacy to boot, that digs into the family funds better spent on the kids or could be placed in the college fund. Simple outings and places you both like will do the trick. Good friends that have good dispositions and virtue are priceless.

If this doesn't work, I know it's at least a good start to find a solution.

The devil loves to detract young couples. He forces us to occupy our minds with problems.

This is a complex situation, there may be possible grounds for an annulment here, I would consult your Priest and tell him about it, and what moves should be made going further. I will pray for you.

OK, but I don’t see why every situation needs to end in a ‘Young & the Restless’ solution. I sense there is still an attachment here and there is something to work on. It should be given a try. The priest should recommend reparation in first cases where no violence is involved and he senses a bond, even if residual. This is easy to see if both partners attend. Marriage in the true Church isn’t a trivial matter and deserves a second chance. It’s not like a hat drop closing membership from a club.(not that I’m saying your implying this of course.)

Yup that works for me.Just about what I was going to say. I would also talk to a divorce lawyer as someone else suggested too. She says she would rather have sex with someone else besides you.You might want to remind her if she brings it up again that her bedroom antics aren’t going to work with other men.That if she does the same stuff with them that she does with you it could get really nasty . If your wife asks what do you mean? tell her one of these guys she thinks is so hot might just beat her up and then rape her if she won’t put out.

Try again to suggest marriage counseling and talk also to a lawyer.Tell him or her what she suggested in regards to the living arrangement .
She really needs to talk to someone maybe even a psychologist to deal with issues that come from her upbringing.We all carry around with us baggage from our childhood and youth.Maybe she could learn from them how to express her anger how to use it to make changes that have a positive outcome.In regards to her work maybe it’s what she does at work that bothers her not the company or business itself.Just talk to her ask how things went in her department. Sympathize.Ask her if something went wrong how she might make something better for herself and others in her area. If she truly is unhappy then ask what would she really like to do,etc. Maybe plan something that she likes to do as a surprise. Maybe just go to see a counselor yourself so they might be able to help you see the situation from a different view point and how you might make things a little better.
If after all this things get worse then talk to you priest again and follow his advice.
Keep us posted if and let us know what happens.

Sounds like someone who was abused in their childhood and wants to not deal with it.

JC, I don’t know if I have the answer for you but let me point out one thing. Yes, she may have some issues that need to be fixed/changed, but I think you may have some too. The one thing to always remember though is you can ONLY fix/change you. Don’t even try to fix/change her. Be the change you want to see.

My marriage has gone through some rough times… my wife and I even looked at divorce a few years back. I prayed a lot, and I tried to fix me as I knew I had a lot of things I needed to fix in my life, even if we were not going to stay together. Even when my wife was hurting me with words, and her actions, I prayed for God to send His graces upon her and to bless her with His love, peace and serenity.

When I started fixing me, she started to notice, and things began to happen. Long story short, WE realized that we BOTH needed to fix ourselves and we have grown in our love more and more each day and our marriage has been strengthened so much by this blessed event.

May God bless both of you and may you find peace and serenity in your heart, and may your wife also find peace and serenity in her heart.


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