There had not a peep prior. We had not gone to marriage counseling. She had not once said our marriage was in trouble. There had been tense times, to be sure, and I had undergone some very unique stresses for a few years from my biological family. But there was no significant issue, at least on the surface. I don't drink to excess, don't take drugs, don't gamble, have no addictive behaviors, and didn't womanize. I loved my wife openly and clearly, had long made it a habit of telling the children that "Mom is the love of my life."
She has hardly spoken to me since the filing 11 months ago last September. We have seen each other in person a mere three times. She has refused to talk, which hurts even more, because the "why" still makes me weep. I have a feeling that she is not talking because she doesn't want to take a chance that her will to divorce will weaken. For years she said we didn't communicate very well, yet after suffering in silence for years, she is committing that very same offense -- not talking.
I'm sorry you are in this situation.
The two statements I put in bold seem to contradict each other. Not communicating well is a significant issue. Have you considered that your wife might not be talking because she has given up trying to communicate with you?
Do you have any specifics of what your wife felt was not working in the communication between the two of you? You mentioned wanting to improve yourself for your next relationship. Given what you've shared here, I would start with exploring what was wrong with the communication in your marriage--thinking from your wife's perspective as much as you can--and learning better communication habits.
Also, have you read up on the Five Love Languages? What is your love language? What is your wife's?
Well, this could be a long answer, but let's address only one thing now, the matter of love languages. I have no doubt that she will claim that I was either deliberately, or unwittingly, dismissive of her love languages. But that cuts both ways. She would be so mired in her pain that she would not realize that she was clueless about mine as well.
Yes, our marriage was muddling along but when we took our vows 30 years ago we both took those vows seriously, e.g., "for better and for worse" and "for richer and for poorer" and especially, "til death do you part." So I never, ever thought she would walk out. I would have never done it myself, either.
Yet ... had she told me a year prior, or 5 years prior, that our marriage was in trouble I would have done anything to keep it. Truly anything. As Michele said in one of her columns, when the beloved wife walks out, or is a few minutes from doing such, the husband is truly at the lowest ebb in his life and CAN make the changes that his wife thinks are impossible.
I didn't tell you what the love languages are yet ... I thought you might want to comment on the above first.