Why Your Wife Wants to Leave You
Usually, I write for people becoming distressed over their marriage. Recently, though, I have had an unusual number of comments from folks blindsided by a spouse who wants out. In this post and the one to follow, I tackle the question of how to avoid being blindsided.
If your wife is saying, "I love you, but I am no longer 'in love' with you," your marriage is not over yet, but it could be soon.
Here's a checklist of causes:
She's afraid of you. You've become a bully. You might hurt her or make her feel like dirt at any moment, usually while you're drinking, doing drugs, or crazy angry. [Solution: rehab, therapy, anger management classes, or Dr. Stosny's Boot Camp]
She has unmet needs she expects you to meet and you're giving them and her the cold shoulder. [Solution: invite discussion of those needs, show you care about them, and help her find Third Alternative ways to get them met that don't conflict with your needs or call for abilities you don't possess]
She's full of resentment over something you did or didn't do in the past. [Solution: tell her your relationship matters a lot to you and ask her what you can do now to get that relationship back on track]
She's full of resentment over getting stuck with what feels like a lot more than half the work. [Solution: look together for Third Alternative solutions to reducing the work needed or the amount you can do]
She longs to feel cherished but she feels taken for granted. [Solution: even though she's probably treating you with disrespect and a lack of trust, try doing some of the things you did initially to win her heart and watch how fast that changes]
You speak only one Love Language and she's grown really tired of translating it into her language. [Read Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages and master a second language]
You broke your wedding vows and cheated on her, even a little, risking her self-esteem, body image, physical health, financial and emotional security, and ability to trust your words or integrity. [Prepare for a long road back if she'll have you, and go read DearPeggy.com for starters]
You're messing with "her" babies, whether you're their parent or step-parent. [Solution: look for Third Alternative solutions to your differences about how to raise them or how they should behave around you]
You're so busy being a good provider or a good dad or a lost soul that you two no longer experience the emotion of love several times a day, that delicious bonus emotion felt in your chest when the two of you resonate with a shared experience of joy, amusement, awe, comfort, elevation, or better. [Solution: make time for it, be present for it, look into her eyes, smile, keep her safe and resentment-free, and do something enjoyable for a few minutes several times a day]
Anger and resentment are the culprits in most of these. If they lead to withdrawal, don't mistake this for an improvement. Deal with them head-on and you can find your way back to "in-love" with almost any wife who loves you.