Hi all. Been lurking on this site for a couple of weeks now and it’s been a massive help. Thank you to all who share their stories and the wise who hold their hands. Maybe it’s time to have mine held too.
Back ground: Me: 55 W: 41 Married: 12 years Together: 14 years Same sex marriage No kids
This is our story: We have been ecstatically happy (or so I thought) in all our time together. She and I have not really had any major issues and would often reflect together on how lucky we are with life, each other and everything. BD 14th July (a month ago) when she told me she needed space and packed a bag for “a night, a few days, a month… I don’t know”. It completed blind-sided me. We had had a few difficult weeks for the previous 6 weeks when our communication had really suffered, but I thought it wasn’t a major thing. Jeez I was so wrong. I wish I had handled things different, but hind-sight is a wonderful thing.
Looking back on things I realised what a complete %&*# I had been for the past 14 years. I take total responsibility for how along the years my emotional availability diminished. I didn’t realise. I really didn’t realise.
I’ve read so much on the internet and have learned about how all my actions have been the cause of so much pain for her, and feel SUCH an idiot for not realising.
One of the major problems for her was my drinking. I don’t think I’m an alcoholic, but was (and I use the “was” this proudly) a problem drinker – scoffing a bottle of wine a night (she doesn’t drink). I have no excuses and her nagging would have no effect on my poor attitude. It’s something I deeply regret. I stopped drinking 3 days before she left and look and feel massively better for it. I know this to be a permanent change – it’s the first time in my life that I have EVER wanted to give up drinking, so I’m not finding this a challenge.
So, I’ve spent this last month devouring all I could find online about what I should be doing. I’ve ordered the book, and this will take a couple of weeks to arrive. I have given her the space she needs – not initiating contact, answering her texts politely, listening intently, validating, and wearing my bullet-proof vest on the 3 occasions we have met.
During these face to face contacts, she has begun opening up to me more and more about my despicable behaviour (for the first time ever) which has been hard, but I needed to hear. This has been really helpful for me, and I am deeply regretful about the pain I have caused her. It was never my intension to hurt her. I’m a total idiot not to see what I was doing, I’ve apologised massively and honestly, but the wound she has is incredibly deep.
She has been staying with a good friend of ours but can’t stay there forever and has been looking for somewhere to rent. We own a beautiful house together which is her decision to leave and I have to respect this. I really have been in the wrong in our relationship and take responsibility for getting us into this situation. I am giving her all the space she needs (although it kills me not to pressure her).
We work together in a school so are both on holiday at present. Our wages go into a shared bank account – it has always been whatever is mine is yours, and have managed to save some money too. I told her to use whatever money she needs to find somewhere. The last thing I want is for her to feel trapped because of financial implications. Fortunately, I earn enough to cover the mortgage by myself should it come to that, but she will find it incredibly hard to find somewhere to rent on her wages alone – hence me wanting her to use what savings we have. I know she feels bad about this, but it’s the least I can do.
I think I’m doing the right things; not drinking, exercising, growing and becoming a better person, but it’s too little too late. In her words, she "needs to be happy" and is feeling "like she can breath" now she has moved out.