5 Secrets for Saving Your Mid-Life Marriage – Even When Only One of You is Trying to Keep It Alive

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”  Charles Dickens could have been talking about mid-life when he wrote A Tale of Two Cities. 

For more than 40 years, I’ve been helping women and men find the right partner and keep their relationships alive and well.  But mid-life is a most difficult time for many.  And mid-life marriage can truly bring us “the best of times or the worst of times.”  The stresses can impact our health and at mid-life we may be dealing with everything from rheumatoid arthritis to enlarged prostates, menopause to male menopause (Andropause).

Every day I hear from women and men who are struggling to keep their relations afloat.  Here are a few comments from a woman and a man who could be speaking for millions:

“I’m living a nightmare,” says Martha, a fifty year-old mother of two.  “I want to save my marriage, but I don’t know what to do.  He says he just doesn’t love me and wants out.  We tried marriage counseling, but that didn’t help.  We’ve been together for twenty-eight years, but now it looks like the marriage is falling apart.  What’s even worse is I don’t know why it’s happening.”

“I’m fifty-three and my wife is forty-eight,” says George who seemed distraught and confused when he called me.  “I know this may sound strange, but I’ve reached a saturation point.  I don’t feel the same things I once felt for my wife.  I still love her, but I’m not in love with her. I miss what we once had, but things seem dead and I don’t know how to bring them back to life.”

Do these short descriptions ring a bell with you?  Are you or your partner over forty?  Do you long to have a relationship that is passionate, alive, and engaged?  Does it sometimes feel like you want the relationship more than your partner does?  Do you feel deeply troubled, but haven’t given up on the relationship?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on.  Here are five critical things I’ve learned helping more than 25,000 couples over the last four decades.

Keep a Long-Term Mindset in a Quick Fix Culture

Most of us made a vow to our partner when we got married that went something like this:

I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

We were in it for the long haul, “until death do us part.”  But 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce and the statics are even higher for subsequent marriages.   It’s not easy keeping a relationship alive and well through the years and it’s even more difficult in our quick-fix, throw away culture.

We buy new clothes, new cars, new computers, new phones when we grow tired of the old ones or just want to get the “next best thing.”  It shouldn’t surprise us that our consumer driven habits rub off on our relationships.  If we want to save our marriages we have to change our mind set to “the joys of longevity” instead of “the fun of a newer model.”

Understand That Even Good Relationship Have Long Periods When Things Look Bad

Shortly after my wife and I got married we went to a lecture by the world renowned psychologist Carl Rogers.  He was giving a talk on how to have a successful marriage and we were on the edge of our seats wanting to learn from the master.  At one point he looked over to his wife of fifty years.  With a chuckle he said, “Remember that difficult stretch we went through?”  She nodded and smiled.

I was amazed that even a world-class expert on marriage had his problems.  I was thinking, “well I guess we’re not so different.”  I expected him to go on to tell us about the difficult month they once had and was floored as he continued his remembrance.  “Things just got off track for eight or ten years, until we worked things out and got back together.  It was a miserable time.”

As a newly married couple we were sure we would be ecstatically happy forever, with a few down turns that might last a few weeks, a month at the most.  Difficult times lasting eight or ten years were beyond our imagining.  But I’ve since learned that good marriages that last thirty, forty, fifty years, or even “until death do us part” will have long stretches where things look bad.  So, don’t give up too soon.  Hang in there.  Get help if you need it.

To Keep Your Relationship Alive You Must Keep Your Eye on the Prize

When we first fall in love, we are ecstatic, head over heels entranced, engaged, and awestruck.  But of course, it doesn’t last.  With his usual caustic wit, George Bernard Shaw gives us a glass-of-cold-water-in-the-face bit of wisdom:  “When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”

I happen to agree and disagree with Shaw.  Being in love isn’t a delusion.  Its real and it can last, but we have to risk being honest if we want to keep it alive.  At the beginning of a relationship we are in an altered state.  We overlook our loved ones faults as we revel in all those cute little idiosyncrasies we think we’ll love forever.  But as time goes on, we inevitably run into things we don’t like.

There are three ways people handle the things that come to bug us.  Only the third choice will improve your marriage.  The first is to ignore the problems and hope for the best.  The second is to focus on what you don’t like and hope your partner will change if you let them know what you don’t like.  The third focuses on what you would like.

Instead of ignoring your partners lack of attention or focusing on the problem, focus on what you’d like instead.  “I’d really like to spend more time with you.  Let’s find a time to do something glorious together.”  Negativity breeds negativity.  Positivity breeds positivity.  I’m not talking about being Pollyanna, but keeping focused on what you want and exploring creative ways you and your partner can meet your needs for connection.  In other words, be a good friend.  It’s the basis for a good marriage.

Do Love Your Partner Like a Child 

One of the main complaints I hear from women and men about their relationship is that their partner often seems as needy as a child.  “It’s like I’ve got three children in the house,” a 40 year-old woman told me.  “I’ve got two young ones and a husband who acts like a child.”  I hear similar complaints from men about their wives.  “She always needs massive amounts of reassurance.  She’s worse than my three year old.”

In our independent-oriented culture, any kind of dependency seems suspect.  But scientific studies on good marriages show that we all need the same kind of love that good parents give to their children.  Social psychologists Phil Shaver and Cindy Hazan, then at the University of Denver, decided to ask men and women questions about their love relationships to see if they exhibited the same responses and patterns as parents and children.  To their surprise, they found that adult lovers have the same needs that we had when we were children and that healthy love includes healthy attachment.

The adults spoke of needing emotional closeness from their lover, wanting assurance that their lover would respond when they were upset, being distressed when they felt separate and distant from their loved one, and feeling more confident about exploring the world when they knew their lover had their back.

It May Take Two to Tango, But Only One Partner is Needed to Save a Marriage

“I still love my husband and I want to save our marriage,” a 52 year-old woman told me, “but I can’t do anything if he’s not willing to work on the marriage with me.”  Many of us believe that both partners have to be actively committed to improving a marriage.  Otherwise, the marriage is doomed.

But after working with men and women for more than 40 years, I’ve found that it only takes one person who is committed to the relationship to turn things around.  No one gets married because they want to be miserable.  Every marriage starts out feeling good.  Things deteriorate for many reasons, but they can be revitalized with the right kind of help and support.

The good news about humans is that we are all mammals.  As such we are social and truly desire to have a good, loving relationship with our partner.  When one person begins to change things for the better, the other person will naturally start to come around.  It isn’t always easy, but it is always possible.  Toparaphrase the anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed spouse can change a marriage for the better.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Please share your input in the comments below. Together we can heal.

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  1. Very timely. But what if you suspect infidelity? What if trust has been lost?
    What if your spouse has continued to do things that make her suspect?

    • Ben, Those kinds of things make healing ever so much more difficult, but even those issues can be healed once you get support on how to handle possible infidelity and how to regain lost trust. There’s nothing more disorienting and confusing than infidelity, so its definitely good to get some help yourself from someone who can guide you. I counsel by phone, if I can be helpful, let me know. Or find someone good locally. You obviously care about yourself, about her, and your marriage. Don’t give up.

    • What if he fathered a child during his infidelity

      • Hurtful behavior makes healing difficult, but it is possible. Everyone of us acts from our woundedness as well as from our lovabilty. and we all need healing.

  2. There’s a lot of wisdom in this piece. One of the most important has to be the example of resisting the tendency to express a concern in the negative. Many of us would say something like, “I never see you anymore!”

    Your positive expression avoids provoking your partner to bristle and respond defensively, perhaps angrily. Instead, he or she can recognize and acknowledge the compliment in, “I’d really like to spend more time with you.” It’s an easy substitution and certainly much more effective if that’s what you’re striving for. Kudos for helping translate our thoughts into effective speech.

  3. John Holmes says:

    There is wisdom in the advice and perspective offered. I am in a 42 year marriage, and have been going through a rough patch for the last few years. Things just seemed to keep getting worse, and I wonder if it can ever get better. My wife keeps telling me she wants to separate and divorce, mostly because she isn’t in love with me anymore, and she isn’t happy. She had moved into her own space in our house. She had stopped going out with me. She argued endlessly with mey, days and days of just arguing.

    We saw a counsellor, but that didn’t help. He told her to go find herself, and strike out on her own, and give up on our relationship. So, I guess you get all types with counsellors, don’t take one person’s word as gospel, it’s about what you as a couple need at that time in your life.

    I tell her that I am committed to our marriage, and am not going anywhere; I am the rock in our marriage. Ever so slowly, I’m seeing a ray of hope. Where she stopped having date nights with me, she started again. Where she moved into her own bedroom, she’s moved back into our shared bedroom. The rough patch hasn’t been easy (and we aren’t out of the woods on it yet), but I have learned to listen to her, and to make time for her. I also reached out to men, and joined a men’s team, where I can get the support I need.

    So, I agree one person can make a difference if that person is truly committed, and willing to persevere. No matter how bad things get, you will need to hang in there. And equally important, find some men with who you can take the mask off and be real and vulnerable. Talk to the men about your stuff, where you are stuggling, but don’t take that to your woman. Only take your best to her, not your doubts and uncertainties.

  4. I don’t know how you save a marriage when your husband spent hours in the gym trying to get buff, ran off with another woman, quit/lost his job of 20 years, is pushing for a divorce. I’m 18 months into this nightmare and the push for divorce is stronger than ever. I’m told that he is clearly in a mid life crisis, but what about the crisis he left behind for me and my sons to deal with?

  5. Thanks for the comments. Not every mid-life marriage can be saved. Some are just too far gone for repair, others should end because both partners are really ready to move on. But many can be saved and I want to help those that I can.

  6. Dear Jed,
    I am certain that my husband of 17 years is suffering from IMS. He has changed so much from the man I married. We have 3 beautiful kids and what I thought was a wonderful life. Last year he started showing signs of depression. I encouraged him to seek help and did my best to support him. This past summer he told me he no longer loves me and needed space to think. We have been seperated for 2.5 months and he has said he is no closer to making a decision about our future. I think there is hope- your site is amazing and I ordered your book. Is there hope? What should I do? I wish we lived in CA.

    • Tracy, I know how wrenching this time can be. So many men go through this dark night of the soul. Often their life has hit a rough spot and they are confused. Often they think the problem is with their wife when it is really with their life. I’ve learned that there are a lot of things a woman can do to help, but often without guidance, she does the wrong things and makes the problem worse.

      I continue to counsel people here in my office in California and with people from around the world by phone. If you’d like more information or have questions, drop me at note at Jed@menalive.com (Be sure and respond to my Spamarrest filter if its the first time you email me.)

      In any event, know that there is hope and marriages can get back on the right track.

    • I feel like I’m reading about myself. I am married 17yrs as well and my husband threw a 3 page list of the horrible wife I have been for our whole marriage and left. It’s been 2.5 months and the same thing he doesn’t know about our marriage or future and he needs space and time to figure it all out. He won’t talk to me at all except about stuff regarding the kids. I’m curious how things worked out with Tracy?


      • Regina, I know how difficult and painful this can be. Often men (and women in their own way) will become stressed and depressed. They don’t understand what is really causing it and while things are really going wrong with their “life,” they often think the problem is with their “wife.” It’s a simple solution, that is always wrong. I help women deal with their side of the problem and ways they can improve things even if the husband is resistant to help.

  7. I’ve been trying to save my 30 year marriage. My husband had an affair. When I found out, he left me and I got the “I love you you, but not in love with you.” His relationship with the other woman ended soon after that…..seems like many do once found out. It has been a year now. My husband lives alone and looks terrible. He has gained weight and in general doesn’t take care of himself. I am kind to him, I know it is hard to understand but I have compassion for him. I see that he is the big loser in this mess and there is no need to be hard on him. I want our 4 children to have a relationship with him. I miss him. He tells me he needs to be alone and never wants to hurt people again. Jed, is it too late to help him or should I leave him alone.

    • Patricia, Based on what you’ve written, I think there’s still hope. I work with a lot of women in this situation and help them to help themselves and find ways to help their man. The line where you say, “he tells me he needs to be alone and never wants to hurt people again” is a key. Many men care about their families and often feel they are hurting them. They may feel that the most loving thing they can do is to stay away.

      The key is to help him re-engage and let him know that he can do it in such a way that he won’t damage you all. We all get hurt, from time to time, but real damage can be minimized.

      It may take some counseling to help you get to that place, but it can be worth it to save a family. Drop me a note (Jed@MenAlive.com and respond to my spam arrest filter if its the first time you’ve emailed me) and I can give you more details about help that I offer).

      This can be a better year coming than the last one.

  8. My husband of 30 years says he lives me but isn’t a happy person and wants to be happy before he dies. He’s always been a workaholic with a lot of responsibilities but now he says it’s because he doesn’t want to be home. What should I do

  9. My wife and I were separated for 2.5 months during that time she had an affair with a guy that has a live in girlfriend we are currently back together but she is having doubts about our relationship she says she is going through the motions and she doesn’t know if she will ever feel in love or romantic about me I love my wife and I want my marriage to work out I am asking her to give this relationship time to see if we can work out our differences but she says that I don’t care about her feelings and she may want to proceed with a divorce I don’t want to force myself on her but I believe that the marriage can be saved do I move out and give her space or do I stay and try to find ways to fight for my marriage?

    • Blue, if you want the marriage its worth putting in the time and energy to do what you can to save it. I’ve worked with thousands of couples over the last 40 years and have found that one person can
      save a marriage, even if the other person is leaning the other way. The right strategy is an individual matter. For some the best way is to give space. For another person, the best is to stand firm and keep fighting for the marriage while you’re together.

      That’s the kind of thing we work out in counseling. In the mean time, you can tune into your own intuition and ask yourself, which direction feels right for you.

  10. I need advise on how to regain my husband’s trust and move forward because of conflicts I have had with his mother. For the past 9 years she has made it clear that I was not the wife she would have chosen for her son. She consistently says cruel things to me and my children, is passive agressive and disrespects my attempts at setting clear and kind appropriate boundries. For example I ask for at least 24 hours notice when she plans to arrive in town and stay with us overnight or that she groom her dog before leaving it in our home to babysit for days. She consistently ignores these requests. She repeat ly arrives to spend days, staying in home when we are gone and when we are here. She discounts my requests for notice saying that I should not worry about cleaning or preparing for her visits. When I our home, She is often belligerent when she drinks. She mocks my children and openly complains that her son has married an “older woman” and that she will now never have blood grandchildren . I am three years older than my husband. It is both our second marraige, and we were both in our early 40’s when we eloped. Neither of us wanted a 2nd ceremony. Only my children, who he adopted attended the wedding.

    In the past my husband acknowledged that his mother was “difficult”, his ex-girlfriend and ex wife both warned me that she was a “piece if work” and wished me luck. Her only other son, my husband’s brother confided to me that he would never subject his wife to more than one week per year with her. They live on the opposite end of the USA and only visit for 5 days of the year. I understand that my husband is close to his mother, I admire his loyalty and the way he cares for her. His integrity and sense of obligation as the eldest and only accessible son to her is also commendable. It is an attribute he also demonstrates towards his stepchildren and my parents. He is also kind to and respectful of his ex wife, which is a trait I appreciate. However, my husband seems unwilling and unable to stand up to his mother. In the past he stated that I should rise above her behaviors and respect her as an elder, recently he has accused me if overreacting and creating insurmountable barriers at our retirement cabin on a lake adjacent to his childhood home where she currently lives. This place is very special to my husband as when he was an adolescent his father died while building this lake house with him. His father is buried there, and our future cabin on the adjacent lot is his primary financial investment. He initiated building it it with his business partner two years prior to our meeting. .

    The conflict leading to the rfftv occurred when we were visiting the lake in August to celebrate her birthday. At the birthday dinner I prepared for everyone, she surprised us all with a gift to my husband of tickets and a weekend out of town trip that excluded me and our children on the weekend of my birthday in November. She became very defensive when I stated calmly I felt that hurt by the fact she didn’t check the dates with us prior to purchasing the tickets and that this gesture was inconsiderate and passive agressive.This situation seems to be the last straw in a serious of difficult situations. This caused a huge riff and I am now”banned ” from her home and the lake… I realize that my husband technically should have been the one to stand up, or “man up” to her, but he is extremely conflict avoidant and refuses to validate my feelings or help establish more healthy appropriate boundries. He is angry with me because I alienated her, hurt because I don’t like or respect her and “lost” with what to do as he feels in the middle. He supports her accusation that I am trying to control him. He refuses to seek counceling or even discuss the issue. Any refernce to his mother and the concerns seems to create a bolistic and rageful reaction.

    After six weeks if barely speaking over this we are finally returning to normal, but it is because I have dropped the issue and am focusing on our positives. Initially he was “punishing me”, by withholding, however, I initiated some of Mort Fertel’s suggestions and things are slightly better. However, with holidays approaching, the weekend trip in a month and multiple upcoming family events I feel at a loss for how to even approach him to resolve thus or develop a plan. At this point he now refuses to discuss any weekend plans, our fall/winter schedule or any future events. He says we are taking things “day by day”. This makes me feel very anxious and discounted. In the past we have always planned together. In the past He would give me his calendar and schedule outlining His monthly trips alone with his best buddy and business partner to build the cabin, hunting trips, ski trips and golf outings with my father and his buddies and which I encouraged as I recognize how important and healthy the male bonding and exercise is for him. In spite of his busy schedule, We would build in special time for us and our nuclear family. The children’s events often taking priority, but now any request to plan is stonewalled. It seems the common problems of flight into man cave, poor communication and blaming, and stalemate and gridlock are occurring. My responsibility is that I did not trust him to work out the issues related to the gift. By my stepping in and asserting my perspective to his mother he felt betrayed. He feels that I can’t be trusted to go with the flow and not challenge his mother’s behaviors. He believes that There is too much bad water under the bridge between his mother and me. I wrote to her offering to meet with a neutral party or family therapist in an attempt to develop a strategy for “compassionate resolution” I asked that she stand beside our sacred marraige, not between us. I realize even writing to her with this offer was a mistake,mas she called my husband even more angry and upset with me.

    Ahhhh – how to rebuild with him and develop healthy communication around concerns? How to overcome the barrier between his mother and me and halt the passive aggressive hurtful behaviors and tension????

    • Liz, these are complex and difficult issues, but all can be resolved with the desire and some good counseling. Getting a professional involved can save you a lot of heart ache and head aches.

  11. I need advise on how to get my husband back. We have been together for 10 years. We had problems a few years ago, I thought we resolved our issues. He said we didnt and he just gave up trying, he said he doesn’t love me anymore and he has since moved out and he refuses ro go to counselling. He said he doesn’t want to try. Said he needs to be on his own. How do I get him to come back and try to save our marriage.

    • Melissa,

      I know how confusing and difficult this can be. Often men become more resistant the more you try to help them. That’s why I’ve developed a special program that starts by working with the woman to help her better understand what is going on, what her own needs are, and how best to help herself and also to help him. If you’d like more details on that, feel free to email me at Jed@MenAlive.com. Be sure and respond to my spammarrest filter when you’re writing for the first time.

  12. It’s been a year 1/2 almost I’m hurting in my heart. My wife and I have been together for 25 years she had seen an email I sent to this female and it hurt her deeply she asked me to leave our house I miss and love her so much I know men do not show emotions but I find my self crying a lot because I miss her and my kids I keep asking her when can I come back she says she is not sure I love her with all my heart and soul what can I do to win her trust back again

  13. Hi Jed
    About two weeks ago, my wife dropped the bomb on me. She told me that she’s no longer in love with me and wants a divorce. She’s asked that I don’t touch her and says she’s no longer loves the man she married. The following week, she created chaos at work to the point of being fired. She’s become the most irrational person I’ve even known and there is nothing I can say that appears as positive. She insists that we just need to work at ending this peacefully so our two kids under the age of eight don’t have to deal with the extra stress. Divorce is ok and the kids will be fine. She says she needs time to find herself, but doubts that there’s ever a possibility of caring for me again. I suspect that she dealing with a mid life crisis. I love my wife dearly and want to save this sinking ship. I would have never imagined this nightmare in my wildest dreams. Can I make this work?

  14. About three months ago, my wife told me “I love you but I’m not in love with you”
    We are international couple, Canadian and Japanese. We live in Japan,and she realized she can’t be integrated to life in Japan and she is getting depressed. She said I, only hope for her, have changed for these several years and she is not attracted to me, doesn’t have interest in me. So she doesn’t have any interest in living together with me in her home country either.
    I want to save our marriage but I don’t know how, and I don’t know if there is a hope.
    Any advise or suggestion are appreciated.

    • Bruce, I know how devastating that can be. The loss of love and connection is the most hurtful thing we can experience. I’ve found in working with people for more than 40 years that some marriages just can’t be saved. But most, can. It takes only one person who wants to change things for the better. I work with individuals and couples to help them get clear what is happening in the relationship, what can be done to improve things, and what one person can do, even if the other person has given up.

      I counsel people here in my office in California and by phone with people from all over the world. If you need more information, drop me a note (jed@menalive.com) put counseling in the subject line and be sure to respond to my spamarrest filter if its the first time you’re emailing me.

  15. Hi Jed,

    My husband and I have been married for 5 years, we just had our 3rd baby 4 months ago. About 2 months ago I realized he was having a friendship with a co-worker that I was not comfortable with, just emails and friendly talking, but I knew it was inappropriate and he eventually told me he felt a connection with her that he no longer feels with me. He claimed it was not a big deal. As a result of this coming out he told me he is unhappy in our marriage and has felt this way for a long time and does not know if he still wants to be married to me. He feels like we do not appreciate each other, we don’t have the same interests anymore, and we don’t have fun together. All of which I feel is bs… One of the huge reasons we fell for each other was because it was so easy and natural, now when life is very demanding and sometimes difficult he wants to leave me. We have 3 kids under the age of 4, I stay home with them because we decided it was the best option for us, I gave up my career so he could further his. I completely care for our children and our home, which I love and wanted to do anyway. All this time he has been being promoted at work, obtained a PhD, and advanced his career. All of which I supported because we had a plan and goals together, now all of the sudden he doesn’t know if he wants any of it anymore. He told me today he knows how to fix it but he just doesn’t know if he wants to. So meanwhile I just sit here in limbo, it is very hard for me to be a fun, happy, loving person when I feel so betrayed. I don’t know how to move forward, what to do, and what to expect from him. I have never been so sad, hurt, and angry all at the same time.

    • Liz,

      I know how devastating this can be. Unfortunately this is all too common. I’ve seen it happen to many couples. Fortunately there is healing and help available. It starts with you. There are things you can be doing right now to stop the slight in your marriage and to get things back on track. I talk about this in many of my posts and books. But the best way is to get some good counseling. There may be someone good in your area or I do counseling with people by phone from all over the world.
      If you’d like more information, drop me a note at Jed@MenAlive.com. Be sure and respond to my spamarrest filter if its the first time you’re emailing me. In any event, know that there is help available. Don’t give up.

  16. My husband and I have been married for 14 years and have 2 small children. I caused trust issues back when we were first dating that he has never let go of. Now, just this past summer, he fell in love with a friend I brought home and had an emotional affair for months. He says he does not want to give up but is now questioning our entire relationship and wonders if he really loved me, why did he do this. He is beating himself up and pushing me away. He is still struggling to convince himself that the feelings he “fell in to” are false and not real. But they must be very strong. I can tell by the way it is difficult for him to let it go. He says he loves me but not in love with me (that damned cliche) and doesn’t feel the electricity with me anymore. Can we be saved??? I’m not afraid to work it alone until he comes around but I don’t want to play the fool again either. Please advise ….

    • Amy, Thanks for the comment. I’ve found in working with couples for more than 40 years that relationships go through stages where things are more susceptible to pulling apart and other people can seem like a better option. Bottom line is that there is a lot of hope. I help people understand what’s pulling them apart, what they truly want and need, and how to find the love that often seems to have been lost.

      I counsel people here in my office in California and also by phone with people all over the world. Whatever you decide, don’t give up if you still care. It really only takes one committed person to turn things around if you have the right guidance.

  17. Kelley Miller says:

    My wife and I have been married for 10 years and we have an 8 year old child with diabetes and adhd. We have been having issues for awhile now because she says she is not in love with me anymore and has felt this way for a long time. About a month ago she moved out of the house. Our son stays with me for the most part but goes to his mom’s once or twice a week and every other weekend. My heart is broken not only for myself, but for him. I have tried and tried to convince her to talk things out with either me or a counselor but she does not seem willing to do that. She does not want to work on the relationship anymore. I am not willing to give up, but am starting to question myself if I am doing the right thing by fighting for our marriage. Our son needs his parents. I need my other half. I understand that things take time, but at what point do I say enough is enough? I live in fear that she is going to file for divorce, and that is something I am just not sure that I can handle. Any advise?

  18. My husband left our home last June saying he was unhappy, it came out of no where. He filed for divorce in August only to drop the suit in January. There is or was another woman that he knew years ago a and reconnecting with online. She lives 2400 miles away, so I’d say definitely more of and EA. He recently seems to be making his way back to me. I’ve researched MLC extensively and have done all the right things ( after doing all the wrong things). I’m confused by his encouraging words and signs of affection, hugs, kisses and saying I love you. Unfortunately he isn’t progressing. I’m desperately trying to be patient, is there anything more I can do?

  19. Christan says:

    Just this past Saturday my husband of 8 years texted me out of nowhere and said he wanted a divorce. He refused to talk to me. All he said was he wasn’t happy and just wants to be happy. I am completely lost and confused. He came the next day to get his belongings and listened to me for a few minutes and with no emotion at all just said he needed to be alone and that he was done. Apparently the place he was going to go fell through so I offered him the add on room to our house which he can access without coming in the main part. He took me up on the offer and helped move some things around, but then left and didn’t come back. He came in this morning to see the kids before work and brought me a coke out of nowhere. I know it sounds odd but to me it is confusing that he would bring me anything after stating he wants a divorce and staying gone. Then all of a sudden today he starts texting me occasionally with small talk and came here for lunch. He didn’t stay long as I think I upset him by asking about us. He later started texting me again and then just quit responding. He has blocked me on his social media accounts but I accessed them out of curiosity and found a female coworker that he seems to be trying to get closer to. Please help me. He is my life and I love him more than anything in the world other than my kids. I am willing to do anything to save our marriage but he wants to hear nothing of the sort. What do I do?

    • Christan, I know it can be devastating when your partner tells you its over and you still want to keep the marriage alive. Fortunately there’s much you can do, but you have to start with recapturing your own love and letting go of your fears. That isn’t always easy. Sometimes a good counselor can help. If you’d like more information about my own counseling, drop me at note at Jed@MenAlive.com. Put “counseling” in the subject line and be sure to answer my spamarrest filter request if its the first time you’re emailing me. That way your email won’t get caught by my spam filter.

      In any event, don’t give up. As I say in the article, there’s a lot you can do.

  20. Jim,

    Being honest and making a commitment to make things better are the first steps to reconnecting with your wife. I’m not sure how to delete your post, but I’ll try. If I can help on the other matters, let me know.

  21. douglas says:

    My marriage is galling apart. My wife wants to leave me and move out on her own. We sleep on the same bed still and shower together.we went to marriage counseling once. She asked for it and it went negative. We have a 11 month old child together. I tried everything to stay strong and pray. Do the things that were right and because I care and was sincere. She filed out a rental application and now turning it in. She says this is hard on her too. I don’t know what to do anymore. She says she does not trust me because before we got married I had some if my exs stuff. She was trying to black mail me and I told her to come get it as I did not know exactly what games were hers. She resents me for that as well as not being there all the time for our child. I had three surgeries in the last year and tried to do things every opportunity that I could. Please help

    • Douglas,

      This is some of the most painful experiences we go through in life. Mid-life is a particularly difficult time for all couples. I’ve found ways to help. It only takes one person who is committed to the marriage to keep things alive.

      I counsel both men and women. If you’d like to get help drop me a note at Jed@MenAlive.com (be sure to respond to my spamarrest filter if this is the first time you’re writing) and I can discuss options with you.

  22. Georgie says:

    my partner of 17 years has said its over between us
    Yet is still living in the same house and sleeping in the
    Same bed I love him dearly with all my heart I’m so confused
    He is sending mixed signals one minute hot one minute
    Cold, I wan to try to save the relationship he is saying
    It is never going to happen he loves me but is not
    In love with me , I have had my issues and caused
    Arguments but so has he , do you think there is anything
    I can do to save my relationship ?

  23. Hi iv been married for 30 years now to bridgette 18 months ago we seperated two months before that my daughter left the nest , she was doing deferent things taking credit cards out behind my back leaving or new car outside our daughters and getting a lift home all got a bit much I seriously lost my temper with here and she left she lived with her brother for a while , we started talking again and we started going out for meals or I would cook in are house did that all year this Christmas she said she wanted to stop and find a new life for her self so I let her go for a while , she Texted me 2 months ago saying she is now dating, 4 weeks ago asked her out again for a meal which she said yes she is still dating this chap I have asked her out for lunch tommorow she as said yes again can you tell me what is going on in her head! !!!!!!!

    • Gary, At midlife our lives often get shaken up. What worked in the past is no longer satisfying. Like adolescence it is a time of exploration. It sounds like that is what your wife is doing. She wants to explore. She also wants to keep a foot at home for security and safety. It would be good if you two
      could find a good counselor so you could discuss your needs and feelings and see if you could work out a way for both of you to get your needs met without pulling the marriage apart if it doesn’t need to be.

  24. Why does my wife tell me that she loves me isn’t in love with me after 20 years of “yes” good times and bad. Just recently found out she was involved in an emotional affair with a man at work. I recorded her and him as they sat in her car after work. They talked about sex but at the time said they hadn’t so at the time was sure they hadn’t. Since finding out she told me she has stopped the affair. She was embarrassed and sad all the same time. Sad that our marriage was that bad that she went outside of our marriage. We have had many talks about not divorcing and not wanting the other to leave but where i am willing to try and work and do whatever to help save our marriage she doesn’t want to. OK. My intuition is then do I believe her when she says ” the affair has ended”? I want to believe her of course but here we are both saying we don’t want to divorce but she doesn’t know how to get the will to save our marriage. I had an affair 5 years ago that ended before it started, she found out and we worked through our issues then but she never has truly moved past it. I know we sound pathetic but she is my best friend and I miss her and just want to make her happy and straighten this nightmare out. What do I do? I spend more time trying to figure out why? Why does she not want to work on our marriage? She says she doesn’t want to work? To me it’s not work when it will bring us together and hopefully happy. Thanks for listening and any help.

    • Dave, There’s no simple answer to what’s causing problems in your marriage. But the good news is it can be fixed, even if only one person is ready to do some work to get things back on track. Often one person is so discouraged they just don’t want to try. Other times they just don’t know what to do and don’t want to get their hopes up trying. I’ve worked with thousands of couples and have learned that these kinds of problems are very common, and though painful, they can be healed. Sometimes you can do that on your own. Sometimes you need expert help to sort out what is really going on and develop a real plan that can work. In any event, don’t give up. Most marriages are worth saving and can be helped.

  25. I have been married with my wife for 25 years. Our marriage is broken and I have caused it by my actions that i have done to her throughout the years. I have asked God for forgiveness and I am truly remorseful for what i have done. She has stated she has forgive me but the wounds are deep. She states that all these years have not been fair to her and why now have I changed ? We have had some really great times but also bad times. We have gone through a rough time also with our teenage18 year old son who is a drug addict and she has blamed me for that. This all started 2 years ago and her feelings and emotions have all come out. She is very angry and resentful and bitter towards me for this. I need your help or advise on how to save this marriage. I truly love my wife . I pray daily for her and I am walking with God and know that only He can change a Harden Heart. She tells me she will never trust me again.
    Thank you .. I have a broken heart..

  26. My husband told me he didn’t love me right after Christmas of 2014. (We have been married 20 yrs this past March 17th) I was in shock and ran out of the house..I finally came back after sitting under the moonlight at a church a block away sobbing. He then told me, haven’t you said something you didn’t mean to say and wished you could take it back? I had a lot of anger issues and he just couldn’t handle them anymore. So I got the “I’m done” speech.. January 3rd 2015 he packed some clothes and went to stay with his friend across town. February he wanted to get an apartment, he said if he came back now we would go right back to fighting..so I agreed. He got this apartment (which I have never been to) and is still there. It is now the end of July 2015. In June he said he still was not ready to talk..I don’t think he is seeing anyone in fact I’m pretty positive. He works a lot (we have our own business) and is tired. He comes by now once a month to pick up a few bills in his name that still come here, and stays for about an hour. I was being needy to begin with, but learned real fast that, that just pushes him away quickly. So I stay clear and wait to hear from him. Our communication is so much better than it was in January, but we don’t talk about us. I might add that all his things are still here except for what he took as far as clothes. I mean how if any do I get him to talk, I know men hate to talk, but I’m going a little bit stir crazy over this. Oh I might add he doesn’t support me anymore either, he does pay our cell phone bill and helps me with $ for the dogs..i guess I’m basically wondering without pushing him away and feeling like I’m starting from scratch again, how do I ask him what his intentions are. I love him and I still feel he cares for me but I don’t know where to start a restoration…can anyone help me?

    • Lisa, The simple answer is to make your own life so good that he will want to get back in it or so good you find if he isn’t in it you feel fine without him. Mid-life is a time of change and we are at a time in human history where many people are overwhelmed by the stresses of life and just want to “get away.” Relationships can be stressful even when we’re with someone we love. As you’ve found, getting a man to want to be with you is tricky. If you’re too “needy” he pulls away, if you don’t express any needs, he feels wanted. I’ve found great success working with women to help them strengthen their own lives and develop a strategy for making it good and including the man if you still love him and aren’t ready to move out of the relationship.

  27. Andrew Temperato says:

    Hello, I’m a Disabled Veteran, I have 2 teenagers and have been married 20 years. I find out 2 days after my birthday that my wife was never in love with me and says never will be. I love her with all of my heart, she has taken care of me these past 12 years I have been partialy bedridden, been there for the kids, and tried to hold our house and finances together as best she can. I have been in a depressed rut for a while, when we first got married I was on fire for the Lord, we are Christians, I didn’t smoke and I never cursed. Well now I’m the opposite and for the past few days I have moved my smoking to on the porch, I have started to read my bible again and I told her I’m going to change for the better but I see it in her eyes, she says she loves me but just not that way. Should we even try going to our pastor for counseling or should I just let her go and move on? Problem is right now we’re in too much debt for her to leave and our son starts his senior year this year and she says she’s not gonna leave us until my son Graduates. It’s ripping me up inside seeing her and not being able to hold her, make love to her, or even kiss her ever again. I need help someone please give me some guidance, Thank you for your time and sorry it went so long.

  28. So what does one do when the wife has said she’s done, she wishes I had made the changes I have over the past year and a half, 5 years ago. I have been completely honest with her, I’ve admitted my fault for the things I’ve done in the past to push her away, right now we’re”giving it time” we’re not in a position financially to get a divorce or live on our own individually with our 3 kids so we’re kind of stuck together for now no matter how much she wants to leave. I’ve made a lot of changes and I’m still working on being a better husband and just person in general but there seems to be nothing I can do to please her. What I mean by that is, I think most people have basic things that make them feel good or happy, something as simple as making her breakfast, were any other person to do that for her, it would please her and make her have a good start to her day, when I do it, she feels nothing, she does say thank you of course out of respect that one human being has for another but that’s it. Not that I expect to fix our marriage through breakfast but that was just an example. What can I do if there’s nothing I can do to make her feel good? How can I rekindle a flame that seems to be nothing but ash now?

  29. My wife of 4.5 years. We were involved in swinging and even being open, for me it was an addiction to the rush of doing something taboo…she has now fallen in love with someone else. I see now how emotionally destructive the lifestyle we were leading is and desperately want to fix what was wrong in our marriage and get back on track. She has moved out and I have been giving her the space she wants, She says she is “done” and does not want to fix things even though she admits they could be fixed, she wants to be with this other person that she now thinks she is “meant to be with” he “shed a light” on what was wrong in our relationship and what she was missing. I told her I would always be here for her and would never stop loving her or give up on wanting to work on our marriage. Now that we dont speak and I am giving her space I feel she is just drifting further to him…How can I still work to save a marriage she is so quick to want to run from?

  30. me and my husband have been married almost 10 years. He left 2 months ago. He is 43 years old. He told me he doesn’t love me anymore. He was never happy. He wants a divorce and is ready to move on with his life. I think he is going through a MLC.

    I don’t want to lose him and this marriage but I am the only one willing to try to save it. How can it even be possible with just one wanting to save it’?

  31. I remarried in March 2013. In November 2013 my husband left and filed for divorce. A few days before the divorce was final he stopped the divorce and we moved on…or I did. On August 10, 2015 he got mad that my son left a lamp on in his room and over the day got madder and madder telling me that I had never done anything for him or his kids. He moved to the basement and wants a divorce. He tells me that I only married him for what he could do for me and my kids. I know I am a good person…and a good mom. I have been at my job 25 years. My husband is a firemen and makes no money but I have never held that against him. I have 3 boys ages 19, 16 and 8. Their father passed away in 2008 from Colon Cancer. My husband has 2 boys ages 22 and 17. His 22 year old has pretty much cut his dad out of his life and we only see the 17 year old on his birthday or if we are going on vacation. My 8 year old calls hom dad and misses him so much ..he has just stopped being part of his life our life. My husband blames me for his failed relationship with his kids and tells me over and over that I have never done anything to help him with his relationship with his boys. He tells me I am a poor excuse for a mother. During our marriage if he get mad I’d get the silent treatment for days and he works be the one that decided if we were going to make up. He had a horrible childhood and his father committed suicide so he has has no idea how to be a father and or a husband. I feel he is jealous that my kids are around 24/7. I love my husband all all heart. I don’t want this divorce. I am 42 and he will be 50 soon. Is there anything I can do?

  32. I remarried in March 2013. In November 2013 my husband left and filed for divorce. A few days before the divorce was final he stopped the divorce and we moved on…or I did. On August 10, 2015 he got mad that my son left a lamp on in his room and over the day got madder and madder telling me that I had never done anything for him or his kids. He moved to the basement and wants a divorce. He tells me that I only married him for what he could do for me and my kids. I know I am a good person…and a good mom. I have been at my job 25 years. My husband is a firemen and makes no money but I have never held that against him. I have 3 boys ages 19, 16 and 8. Their father passed away in 2008 from Colon Cancer. My husband has 2 boys ages 22 and 17. His 22 year old has pretty much cut his dad out of his life and we only see the 17 year old on his birthday or if we are going on vacation. My 8 year old calls hom dad and misses him so much ..he has just stopped being part of his life our life. My husband blames me for his failed relationship with his kids and tells me over and over that I have never done anything to help him with his relationship with his boys. He tells me I am a poor excuse for a mother. During our marriage if he get mad I’d get the silent treatment for days and he works be the one that decided if we were going to make up. He had a horrible childhood and his father committed suicide so he has has no idea how to be a father and or a husband. I feel he is jealous that my kids are around 24/7. I love my husband witb all all my heart. I don’t want this divorce. I am 42 and he will be 50 soon. Is there anything I can do?

  33. I’ve been married for 15 years with 4 kids and we’ve had ups and downs as most, some trust issues but all in all she has always told me how happy and madly in love with me, could never live without me. About 6 weeks ago she had and iud taken out and the hormonal imbalance really hit her very hard with insomnia, anxiety, depression, irritability. She is on hormones and just started Zoloft. A few days after she got it out she told me she just has no emotion to me and wants to start a new life for herself. After much conversation about why she is unhappy, I have truly seen so many things to change for myself as a husband that I am improving daily. I’ve read and heard that hormone imbalances can cause a lot of problems with emotions yet I do acknowledge problems in our marriage that need work. She is draws set on divorce right now and says there is no changing her feelings ever. She claims she has been feelings this way for awhile. We still live together and carry on with small talk and texting throughout the day. She says she doesn’t want to be too nice to me though and give me false hope and sometimes quickly turns pretty cold but not mean. When she talks about divorce details she is 100% one minute but can bring it up later and say…IF this all goes through we would do this or that. I haven’t begged or pleaded but asked that we slow down a minute here and get her body back on track and try to get past the holidays before jumping into this, she says that’s just stalling the inevitable. I am madly in love with her and want to grow old with this girl! I just don’t know what to do at this point or how to get more time out of her in hopes she gets her body and mind back to normal and sees some changes in me….

    • Jason, You’re right in believing that often hormonal changes, and generally changes in life, can cause a person to feel that they want more distance and may even want to start over in a new life. If you really love this woman and want your relationship to survive and thrive from these changes there is much you can do. First, you can support her desire to be happier and let her know that you will do everything you can to help her meet her deepest needs.

      You can also recognize that divorce is rarely the answer. Rather than trying to talk her out of it, just don’t put any energy into your interchange when she says she wants a divorce. Keep focused on making her, and you, happy. The more we oppose a person, the more they fight back for their position. The more you lovingly ignore her talk about leaving and continue your support of her needs, the more that position will have a chance to win out.

  34. Alejandro Garcia says:

    I’ve been married for 10 years now. To be honest I’m not sure how I can deal with all the pressures anymore. We’ve hit a rut in the past 3 years and have been struggling to find a place of our own. We have been living with family. She spends too much money on going out to eat instead of cooking. I can’t save up anything to move out anymore and she doesn’t work. She’ll start a job and not even a month down the line she already wants to quit. She doesn’t hold on to a job. I work my full time and with what I make we should have saved up for a decent apartment but I cannot. I’m at my wits end and don’t know anymore. Should I get a divorce? What about our children?

    • Alejandro, there are usually better ways to get through these blocks than a divorce. I help people get to the core of their beliefs about love, marriage, and why “he/she does what he/she does.” Don’t give up on love. Learn to understand what’s blocking it from flowing smoothly.

  35. amanda jones says:

    This is my first time posting in any blog or website about this topic. I have devoured everything I can on the internet and I’ve read about 10 books in the last several weeks – all in an effort to find ways to salvage what was once a really great marriage – not perfect, never perfect, but really great nonetheless. My story is long and I will try to recap in the shortest way possible. My husband and I have been married for 18 years, together for 20. We have 3 daughters. In year 5 of our marriage I felt things weren’t going great – adjusting to kids was tough. I suggested Love and Respect to which my husband put no effort – things were good for him so he didn’t really see a problem. We went on a marriage retreat through our Church to which he stated how he hoped I would take some inspiration from what we learned. He’s not a jerk but in those 2 instances I truly felt I was alone in this effort to have an amazing marriage. There have been 4 times in 20 years where I would voice a sincere issue with happiness and all 4 times was met with “maybe this marriage isn’t going to work…” After the last time which was about 5 years ago, I quit voicing my thoughts and began compartmentalizing. in 2012 my husband was forced out of a career he loved by corruption and evil people. I thought we weathered that storm fairly well, he went back to school for his masters degree and got a new career in an area he truly felt he would be good and at make a difference. This job did not turn out as planned – it’s been more stressful than anything we could ever imagine. Because we weren’t great at really talking with each other, he withdrew from everything because he was miserable at work. I felt abandoned (selfish I know with what he was going through) he was never engaged at home, he was always miserable no matter what… so I bailed on that “team” and joined teams with my kids. I was needed, appreciated and valued there. I figured when the stress of work slowed down, he would come back to his “old” self and we could get back to normal. WRONG!!! And if that wasn’t enough, we moved houses 2 times in 3 months – first to a rental then to a permanent home to be closer to work/school. Trifecta for marriage busters right? Well this summer it came to a head. I had seen the error of my jumping teams and was trying to get back on track and that’s when I realized he was even further away than I had thought. When I pressed him to talk to me, he said he was so stressed that his doctor says he’s on the verge of a total breakdown and that he needs to take a time alone to decompress and get his head on straight. I was totally supportive of that – and then I asked how he felt about “us” and he said he didn’t – he thinks he wants a divorce but he’s not sure and that is partly what the trip is for – to make sure what decision he makes is the right one. Different than all the times he’s said the D word before because this time, he was at the bottom. It crushed me – my efforts to change me and get back to what I should have been doing all along went into overdrive. Determined to save this marriage I launched into action. While he was gone I did some serious soul searching and praying to really make sure I believed and valued what I thought I did and when I confirmed that with myself, I prayed for my own healing and change. I can’t change him, I can’t make him do what I want him to do, I can only fix me! He had an amazing trip and had a moment of clarity where he knew he wanted this marriage to be better. He came home and things improved slowly – and even though he said things like “we are going to be ok” or “i do love you”, I still felt and feel insecure about where I truly stand. We went to 2 joint counseling sessions that he was not happy with and have not been back since. He has never professed a deep desire to work things out, to fix “him” to repair the hurt from the words he said that night. He hasn’t alleviated my fears that maybe he still questions “us”. He does not make any efforts to repair our marriage. When I bring something up which I try hard not to because I don’t want to nag and push him further away, he is receptive and we have good conversation – but like the last 20 years, I have to basically pull his teeth to get him to talk. To top this off, he has a “friend” at work that he has talked to about “us”. SHE would give him advice as to what to try to help our marriage but I’m suspicious. He says they are friends he doesn’t spend any extra time with her except texts – and sometimes its in the evenings or when we were on vacation – that is a slippery slope in my opinion. He never gets defensive when i talk about it, he seems to understand my concern but continues to say it’s truly just a work – partly personal – support person, nothing more. Things are different now than they have ever been. He’s never been one to say “i love you” first, and yes, I had hoped that would change if he was truly trying to make sure I knew where he “was”… but other things are different – he has changed how we make love, ever so slightly but enough that it feels like he’s holding back. When I plan a date night, he goes along with it but never shows much interested – if it happens great if not, no biggy is the attitude I perceive. This huge long story comes down to this… for all my efforts and changes and growth that I am making – for me not for him… in hopes of improving ALL my relationships but mainly my marriage – I don’t see feel or hear any efforts from him to do the same. It makes me wonder if I say right now… ok, you were right, maybe we would be better off seperate – he’d be on board with that. I don’t believe in Divorce. I vowed for better or worse till death do us part. I believe that is a Covenant made with God and ourselves and while I wasn’t great at Honoring the “love, Honor and Cherish” vows every stop of the way, I’d never walk away – especially without at least trying to make it better. At what point though do I take his lack of effort for more than just “continued stress” and put it to meaning lack of interest, feeling, caring towards our marriage? I realize it’s only been a couple months since this boiled over and I’m trying to focus on the positive things I see and not nag for more… but sometimes the positives are few and far between. Is it possible that it’s just “dead” for him, and he’s just waiting for me to agree? I don’t want to believe that but I also need to be realistic. It takes every ounce of energy I have to not ask for confirmation of his desire to be here every day… partly I don’t want to pursue him right out the door, but partly because I’m still not sure what his answer will be. He will return the “I love you”, he will always kiss me goodbye and hello – but that was always the case, even when he was at the bottom. He is not doing things much differntly than he did then which is not entirely different than how he “is”… he was never overly emotive but he would leave cards, or notes for me and I had hope maybe some of that would return… it hasn’t. I could go on and on but at some point I need to sign off and see if anyone actually read my entire “short” (right) story… thank you to any advice or encouragement. I’m happy to clarify any points if someone would be more comfortable with more information before responding.

    • Amanda,

      I read all the comments that come my way. I know how difficult it can be to want to keep a marriage alive, but feeling the pain of being with a man you’re not sure is able to go the distance. I can tell you that there is hope. I’ve worked with many couples who seem at the bottom, but if one person has not given up hope,…there is hope to improve things.

      Often people don’t really understand what causes marriages to go off track or how to get them back on. That’s what I help people do.

      For starters, I’d ask you to take a good hard look inside and ask yourself, “is it over for me or do I still have some hope of making things better.” If there is some hope, then its worth exploring ways to see how you can get things going back in a positive way.

      • amanda jones says:

        Hi and thank you for your reply. I absolutely feel it’s worth saving and worth any all efforts we are able to muster to get “us” back on track. I have absolutely been working to change the habits I allowed to form out of bitterness and resentment of him not doing “his part”. I got to a point where I said, well if he’s not going to then why should I… 3rd grade mentality right? I have absolutely been working and Praying to change ME and I know it’s working. My concern is still that my husband is so miserable in his job, he feels trapped because he is the source of income for our family and it has drained him of everything… he has nothing left. He has been making efforts that I now know are efforts – we had a talk last night and he pointed things out that I maybe didn’t give him credit for as “changes or direct effort”. But he did admit that he’s not 100% certain that the last 2 years didn’t “kill” something with us – that’s terrifying to me. I would never walk away without knowing I did EVERYTHING – fought tooth and nail and I’m not sure he feels the same. Could this be a true mid-life crisis for him? He says he loves me but in another breath will not say he wants to be married to me… he doesn’t want to let people down but then he can’t find the energy to really fight for this marriage. I feel like we’ve lost our “friendship” somewhere along the way. He told me things last night that I never knew – I found out he shared them with his female friend at work but he never shared them with me. How do we rebuild that? I truly feel we CAN get past this… and heal and be better for it in the long run but I don’t know how to do it so I”m not pushing him away by wanting to talk things through but if we don’t talk, how do we heal? We both made mistakes and “checked out” – he acknowledges his and I have certainly been working on mine. How do I help him – he even says he needs to fix “him” but doesn’t know how. He has totally turned away from God which is also terrifying to me. I want to help him, I want to repare “us” but I dont’ know how.

        • amanda jones says:

          One more thing… I totally feel like I failed him as a wife. When he was having the stresses and work – both in the career he got forced out of the stresses of his new job, I wasn’t the rock for him I should have been. I let him down in ways I might not even know about and I know can’t be changed. It kills me to know this. I wish he could say I was what kept him going, I was an amazing source of strength and peace for him; instead, I was a huge factor is his unhappiness – I compounded everything else because I SHOULD have been those things and wasn’t. I couldn’t see past my own selfishness – what I perceived that I wasn’t getting… not looking at the reasons why, just seeing the not – in doing so, I contributed to his misery in ways I’ll never understand. HOW does that get repaired? How do I help him through his stresses knowing that I was one of the greatest ones and have him start to see me the way he used to…. or is that gone forever? I truly hope not. It will be my biggest life’s regrets that I let him down these past couple of years. I hope he can forgive me those failings, I eventually hope to forgive myself. It is my sincere hope and Prayer that we will look back on this time and see that we needed this trial to get to the happiness I hope we find. HOW do we get from here to there????

          • Amanda,

            In 12 step programs, people acknowledge the damage they have done to themselves and others they love. They then make amends. You are doing just that and it is the bedrock of healing. Now you have to recognize that you did the best you could at the time, with who you were, what you knew, the blind-spots you had, and pain you were experiencing. Now you are at a new point in your life and you can do better, if, and here’s the big if. If you don’t blame yourself. Blame is punishing and blame keeps us from being the best we can be. Act from love, not from fear. Be good to yourself.

  36. John Sedlak says:

    I have recently been separated from fiance’ and we have a 7 year boy. I took things for granted. Like not pulling my weight with our son and not showing her the love she deserves. She told me these things, but I never acted upon them. Now that she walked out I realize all this and feel so much love for her. I hurt beyond belief. She loves me but is not in Love with me and doesn’t think I would be any different if she came back. I have tried to tell her if I could have the chance I would show her what I have realized and make it right. She needs to fall back in love with me. I don’t know what to do to get that feeling in her back. She has such grudge about our past. After 14 years it got stale. But I miss her so much. What should I do and could it get back to getting back together?

    • John,

      Its human nature to take what is good for granted. Its not unusual to find after we’ve lost the person we most want, that we didn’t pull our weight. So, there are two things you can do now. First, deepen your own experience of love for yourself. Recognize what was going on at the time that made you less involved. Rather than beating yourself up, learn more about yourself and love yourself more fully. Second, let her know that you love her enough to let her go if that is what would make her happy. But also let her know that you’re doing to do everything you can to win her back. Give her some space to sort things out, but begin doing little things to let her know you still care. Don’t give up.

  37. I keep reading over and over to “just give it time” and “just give him some space.” What exactly does that mean? How much “time” and how much “space?” My husband and I have been separated (my choice because of his behavior) and now he has decided that he wants some time and space and is not sure he wants to be married. I know he’s has started calling a woman that lives 5 hrs away but I don’t know if they have made the trip to see each other yet. So, basically I am separated and I’m sitting over here not calling and not going over there and I feel like all I’m doing is giving him “time” to move on without me and giving him all the time in the world to be with HER. Am I not supposed to call again….ever? Or, not go over to see him again? I really want him back, but I don’t know what to do!

  38. I read through a lot of the posts. Some of the situations seem very similar to mine. I and my wife have been married for 12 years and have two boys (9 & 3). We have always had some communication issues but never really argued about much. We have talked before about things I have said, about me being insensitive. About a month back I stopped by where she works and gave her some flowers. She came home and told me she didn’t think we were going to make it. She has been suffering from depression (post partem and husband induced) and I have not really supported her like I should. Not that I intentionally wanted to hurt her emotionally, I just assumed that her and her counselor would resolve the issue. Again, insensitive and unempathetic. A court me months back we were discussing marriage counseling because we both recognized that we did not communicate well. She mentioned talking to a couple of them and setting an appointment. I did not follow up thinking again that she would handle it. Now she says that she is leaving me, that she has no love or attachment to me and that we are “beyond counseling”. I have pulled a 180 concerning my behavior, doing more housework, trying to be more sensitive, seeing a counselor of my own to be more empathetic. Ive written her some letters because she has shut me out. She claims I copied them from a book I started reading. I try to show that I value her and am accused of insincerity. She told me that she is good my to see a lawyer to have the papers drawn up to “start the process”. I love my wife and tell her every time we part. I want nothing more than to save our marriage. Is there any hope?

    • Mike, As long as you are still committed to making things better there is always hope. Most of us have become desensitized to the pain our partners are suffering. Some of it we contribute to by our inattention. Some of it is caused by a deteriorating support system in the larger society. Whatever it is, there is much we can do to heal old wounds.

      Keep learning, keep putting your love into the relationship, don’t give up hope even if she is feeling hurt, wounded, and wants to give up. You are not alone. Many others are going through this. Some will give up and others will keep looking for new and creative ways to make things better.

  39. Hi Jed
    My wife has told me she still loves me but can not forget the last 3 1/2 years which has been a bad part on myself I didn’t stick up for her when she fell out with my family, I took on more stress at work and brought that home I turned into someone nasty. I have realised what I have done I feel giving her some space will help but I don’t want to loose the woman I married she hardly talks to me and I feel we have drifted further apart over the last 3 weeks and I want to prove that I’m changing back to the man she married but I don’t know how to sort this



    • Graeme, Healing takes time and wounds heal at their own pace. Counseling can help. In the meantime, keep your love flowing and also give her the space she needs. Often small shows of affection can be better than big ones which may come across as “you’re not sincere, you just want to get me to forget the hurts from the past.” Be gentle, be kind, (to yourself as well) and reach out for help if you need it.

  40. Jed,

    My wife of 4 years left a month ago. She had been saying the last few months she was not happy and was looking for something to make her happy and that she was not happy being married (I don’t know what she’s looking for and she doesn’t know either). The first 2 weeks she contacted me, but I did not respond to her. the 3rd week, I started texting her every few days to let her know I was good. Told her I think this seperation is good, to give us space and time to reconnect. I have asked her out on 2 dates, a coffee date – we didn’t talk about any of our problems. Then we went out foe drinks and dinner, put my arm around her walking to dinner and she said I was moving to fast. I am wanting to go on more dates with her, but don’t know how to reconnect and bring attraction.

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  42. My husband of 37 years woke up one morning and said he didn’t love me any more. He has a girlfriend and is in love. I am devastated. He will not go to counseling. He is moving out of state to be with her. I love my husband with all of my heart. We have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. He is hurting so many people. He tells me that he is so happy. I don’t understand how he can be so happy while hurting all of us. Is there any thing I can do.

  43. Well..what a crazy few years me and my husband have had. 18 monyhs ago I found out that my husband had an affair…a no strings attached affair..with a younger woman. The affair occured during a cery tragic time in his life his family suffered 8 deaths all bacj to back..he was 45 years old..mother died..a sister..a niece. We were going though a very bad time in our marriage and I had lost interest in him years before. Sex was just when he wanted it..I never initiated it cause I’d lost interest. Well..I found out about his affair..he ended the affair immediately. .he had already started ended the affair vefore I found out. Any ways..from the first day..he was completely honest with me..and sad he doesn’t know what the heck he was thinking. He did everything in his power to make it right.. but I was so hurt..anger..completely heartbroken..I left anyway..he vegfed daily..I didn’t care. I left and started dating another man..and I lived it up..my husband continued to beg me to come home…he cried..begged..prayed..I finally told him that I too was seeing someone else. He was so hurt..but still he forgave me snd wanted to bulid up our marriage. I ended my affair and came home. My husband has continued to do everything daily for over a year and a half..but I still have resentments and bitterness towards him. He wants to just put both affaurs vehind us..an d work on our marriage. I do too..sometimes..but I still have times when I have my doubts. Any advise you have for me to let this go would be helpful.

  44. I would love some advice..my husband moved out in sept. Filed for divorce in oct.we have been married a mere 29 yrs I do not want a divorce ..I know i was not the perfect wife I had my own menopause episode that lasted 6 months in which time I totally withdrew into a deep dark depression. .but I think he is in full bloom midlife crisis ..he says he loves me but not in love with me …he worries about me ..he has turned his back on all his friends ..he isn’t even enjoying the one thing in life that gives him pleasure so I know he is depressed but I can’t tell him that it’s all my fault to hear him tell it he was perfect never did wrong …I don’t want to loose the man I love please help
    I have read everything and I have already changed a lot but how will he know? We don’t see each other none of his new friends know me help?,!

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  46. I’ve been married to my husband for 5 years; it’s a second marriage for both of us. He is childless, and I have a 14 year old daughter. He is civil to her for the most part, but has voiced deep resentment about the time that I spend parenting and the amount of time she spends in our household. I have a 70/30 custody arrangement with her biologic dad, but he’s remarried and disinterested in his daughter, so he does the bare minimum. I can’t force him to spend more time with her, because he’s meeting the terms of the agreement.

    I have made efforts to improve the situation; I make sure my daughter’s with her dad on my husband’s weekends off. My husband spending more and more time doing things without me–I don’t complain, in fact I encourage him, because I want him to be happy.

    My husband has told me that he loves me, but “not the way I want him to”; he’s said I am too frumpy, and he’s not attracted to me anymore. At times the tone he uses when he talks to me is truly hateful–it feels like a physical assault.

    I am completely torn. I worry that I am damaging my daughter by forcing her to live with a man who doesn’t want her around. At the same time, I still love him deeply, and I want to salvage the marriage. I do have feelings of anger about the situation; it’s not like he didn’t know I had a daughter. It seems that the reality of being a step-parent is not what he anticipated. I’d think he would have adjusted by now, but he seems to have grown increasingly more resentful.

    Please help. I am exhausted trying to keep him happy while ensuring my daughter’s well-being.

    • Beth, Thanks for writing. These situations are always difficult. We have duel loyalties, toward children and spouse. You care about your daughter and want to support her and you also want to support your husband’s needs. As you say, it can feel like you’re being pulled apart. I encourage you to reach out for some counseling help. There are ways you can deal with these issues so that everyone can win and you don’t lose your marriage in the process. It’s not easy, but with help and support you can do it.

  47. My husband had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the Navy in 1991. I married him in Dec. 2002, was pregnant and had a baby 4 months later. He had always said that the child was the catalyst that brought us back together (he had broken up with me while dating, and when I told him I was pregnant he decided to give it a shot), because he loved me more than he’d ever loved anyone, and thought we could make it work. 13 years later, we have separated. All his things are still here, but he has gone to his dad’s house and spends nights there. This is to see if he misses me. After 2 nights there, he said he didn’t miss me the way he should, and in not so many words told me if someone came along, to go for it, because he doesn’t want to be responsible for me being left alone, ( I let him know that I don’t want to be left to grow old alone). He feels very burdened by the fact that I don’t want to land up alone. He feels if it’s not right when my son leaves home (he is only 12 now), he will leave too. I told him I’d rather have him leave sooner than later, because at least then I am not alone, I am with my son. The empty next syndrome I have heard is horrible, so I couldn’t imagine him and my son leaving around the same time and I’d be in my mid 60s. We haven’t found therapy that helpful, but I think he has made up his mind that this will not work. I realize the TBI doesn’t help. What should I do, if I still want this marriage to work?

    • Sally, Thanks for the comments. It sounds like there are some serious conflicts, but I’ve also found that one person can make things better if you get the right support. Sounds like you have some real fears about being alone. I suggest you begin now to look at your own support system and reach out to those people who can be caring and supportive of you as you move into the future. Some good counseling can help, but as you note finding the right person takes some time and effort.

      I wish you well. If you want the relationship to survive, don’t give up. Get help so you can do what you can to make it work.

  48. ok, here goes. My wife of 5 years, we dated for 3 years before marriage, kicked me out about 3 weeks ago. She stood on the porch and demanded my house keys and to keep my son (2yr) from hearing any yelling or animosity, i just gave them to her. So, I lived out of a car until my mom found out what I was doing and she had the motherly way of getting me to her house.
    I love my wife very much, I can not explain to you how much I love her. But I let a demon seep into my life that took over and consumed me. I started spending money and more money to get it. It went as far as me signing my wifes name to a withdrawal slip on her account to get money. When it go to be too much,, she put me out. And I seriously thought that if I would just give her everything she needs and wants, it would be fine.
    Well, here we are two weeks later, and I have not seen my son because she is keeping him from me. When she kicked me out, she packed up her stuff and went to her parents and of course told them everything that I have ever done. Which I am fine with, I just really hate to disappoint her and her parents. They have always supported me and loved me since i have known them.. Even when my family turned their backs on me, they were there for me always. So, she kicks me out and no one is living in our home. I can not get her to talk to me in any way. I have sent letters, email, texts. And I woke up today and said to myself that I would not call her anymore and that I would not text her anymore. No matter how much I wanted to, I was gonna give her some space. Then, she just out of the blue calls and has a very despicable attitude. I have spent the entire last two weeks sober and have done nothing but pray, cry, pray , and cry some more.
    So what I am trying to say is, I know what I did to cause this, I just dont understand why it took me til now to make the proper changes in my life. But I have, and I want her to see the man that she married again. But, she wont budge an inch on anything. She wont let me see my son, She wont talk to me, and she wont let him talk to me. I am really lost. I dont know what else to do.. I really love this woman and I know that I caused everything. and I would be willing to spend the rest of my life making it up to her. Help me get her and my family back!!!!!!

  49. My husband of 8 years told me he lives me but isn’t in love with me. He said he isn’t sure he was ever in love with me. He feels we are good friends and get along but he wants to love someone as much as I love him. I’m devastated and will do anything to make my marriage work. He said he wants a divorce and had been staying at a friend’s house for a week. Is it hopeless or can I save this.

  50. My husband of 8 years told me he lovees me but isn’t in love with me. He said he isn’t sure he was ever in love with me. He feels we are good friends and get along but he wants to love someone as much as I love him. I’m devastated and will do anything to make my marriage work. He said he wants a divorce and has been staying at a friend’s house for a week. Is it hopeless or can I save this.

    • Ann, I know how painful this can be. Its a tragedy when love dies and couples want to split up. I remind people of this quote Diane Solee, “To get divorced because love has died, is like selling your car because it’s run out of gas.” We are notoriously bad and understanding real, lasting love and we very often revise our memories of what was once good to conform with our present discomfort. It doesn’t have to be that way. I counsel people and let them know that love can be revitalized. I’m writing a new book on The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why The Best is Still to Come. Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/nssa2wa


  51. Thomas E. Harvey says:

    Jed, It might help if you explained to your readers that the,”in love,” feeling is really euphoria caused by certain neurotransmitters released by the brain at the onset of a relationship. This,”in love”, chemical reaction is natures way of perpetuating the species . The euphoria lasts between 18-24 months before the body reaches equilibrium. Long enough to establish a permanent relationship and have offspring. Nature never intended that the in love feeling would last indefinitely. Much of the ,”falling out”, of love is just the body coming out of this natural high. Often the infidelities and martial break ups are an attempt to reproduce the once experienced euphoria.

  52. Hi my name is Terry I’m 27 years old and me and my wife have been married for 8years and I messed up by thinking that my video games and football games were more important and that she felt that we were just room mates and her friend that she goes to school with had a problem where she was staying and my wife asked me if she could stay with us for a little while and I agreed to that I lost my job because they said I made to much and I had to go back to towing and had to work nights and I came home and went to take a shower and I came down stairs and my wife and her friend were sitting on the couch and her friend said that the reason why some guy didn’t answer his phone was because he forgot to pay his bill and I asked my Wife if there was something going on and she said no so I dropped it right there then I went to work and my son birthday I was so tired because I didn’t get No sleep that night I felt really bad because i didn’t go and her cousin told me that when they were up at my son’s birthday party some guy showed up there and they asked if that dude is for u or your friend and she said her friend and I told her that we need to talk about everything and that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and I told her that she had two choices one her friend needs to leave or we are done and. We have been separated for over a month and she is living with her dad and I told her that I would go to marriage counseling and I have been reading a book called love dare and have been doing everything possible to show her that I’m changing my ways and when I ask her if we are going to work things out and she says Idk give me some time and I said ok. I have been looking for a day job because I only get to see my son is on Mondays and he told me that she was seeing someone else and I don’t know what else to do we have been to 4 marriage counseling classes and she told me that she loves me and cares about me but is not in love with me I feel like she is dragging me around I don’t want to lose my wife and son please help me

    • Terry,

      Sometimes it takes a crisis like this to wake us up to how important our relationship really is and that we can stop the downward slide that can pull people apart. Glad you’re dealing with the issues and hope you continue to reach out for help.

  53. I’ve been with my husband on and off for twenty two years. We’ve been through separations and a divorce. We remarried ten years ago. The last five years have been really rough. My husband has been going through severe depression. His mother died last fall. We have been going to counseling for a year and this month my husband left the session early and when he left the councilor told me he recommends divorce. He said my husband maybe a sociopath and that during our sessions he has never offered to try or felt remorse for miss treating me. We have three kids and my income is not enough to support our family. My husband did say he doesn’t care and he’s to tired to try anymore. I feel like counseling was our last hope. I have stuck it out through him yelling at me in front of our kids and through the long periods of silent treatment(he’s still doing that). Even though he haven’t spoke to me in a month I’m not sure I should give up. What other options are there? He said he doesn’t want to go back to the counselor and the counselor told him he doesn’t have to come back. You’re suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

    • Becky, I know how difficult this can be. I don’t believe in labeling people. I don’t believe “diagnoses” are helpful. I’d rather focus on individuals, what they need, how they have been wounded, and how to help them get what they need. Often I work with one person first because they are the most ready to engage. I’ve found that I can guide the person to taking care of themselves and helping their partner, even when the partner is resistant to change.

      Don’t give up on your marriage if you’re not ready to do so.

      • Thank you for your reply. I’m going to order your book ” The Irritable Male Syndrome” for my husband. I hope he will read it.

  54. Second marriage for us both; married almost 11 yrs. I’m mid 60’s. He is 61. I am slightly overweight, but am told by most that I look great for my age as I try to keep makeup, fashion, etc., up to date. I am retired. He still works. He has ED; nothing happens at all (erection) no matter what I do. Sex has drifted off to almost nothing at all. I caught him in the first three yrs of our marriage in texting sexual comments to a couple of different women. I was devastated. He was repentant and quit. He already suffered from ED by then; blamed me. Yep. Said I wasn’t ‘woman’ enough to arouse him…We went to counseling, etc….but I admit the ‘sex’ part drifted away…Fast forward to current….Last yr he saw a TV ad with a heavier gal; (I looked thinner than she)-and said “Eww I wouldn’t crawl into bed with her; gag.” I died a slow death that day-and determined he would not see me naked. So this past weekend, I saw he’d moved an email from a co-worker into a different folder. It read, ”E…….I so enjoyed seeing you the other day-I really miss you.- (the other read) ”E……. do you think you could meet this weekend for drinks? (I was going out of state that weekend to watch grandchildren). She couldn’t make it….Then I checked his texts and calls thru our wireless account. He was sending/receiving texts 20-25 times a day and calls as well. I confronted him and he seemed repentant and claimed he’d stop. (Went to confession as we are both practicing Catholics). Problem. I feel a loss, sadness, empty, bleak. I feel I can’t divorce at 65-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and yes financially. So I guess my only answer is to reach back into my 30’s mindset and try to have sex (of some kind)–which I must confess I thought and hoped I was DONE with…., in order to ‘save’ this marriage. A deeper part of me thinks that whatever type of ‘sex’ we do will Not be ‘enough’ and he will just keep ‘looking out there’ for something juicier, ‘dirty-er’, etc…..I feel hopeless and that is just awful.

    • Florida,

      Many couples go through these changes and there’s a lot of shame on issues
      like weight, erectile dysfunction, getting older, body image, sexual desire
      or lack there of.

      The key to getting through these difficulties and resolving them is for the
      couple to talk honestly with each other. Talk about your hopes and dreams
      as well as your fears, the things you feel good about yourself and the things
      you don’t like.

      It often helps to work with a good counselor. Too often we try and work out
      these issues in silence and what each of us may be doing to take care of our
      own needs may be contributing to the disillusionment and pain that your
      partner experiences.

      It sounds like the relationship is important. So find a way to talk about what
      truly matters and give your relationship a chance to heal.

  55. Mr. Diamond,
    I just want to thank you so much for this article. I have read it at least once a week for the last month and a half! It brings me hope when I start to feel all is lost.
    My husband and I have been married for 25 years he is a good man and a wonderful father. The last five years we have been so busy with children and career, we sort of lost a connection with each other. We have been in counseling for the last three months, but his feelings toward me have not improved. (He loves me, but is extremely concerned that he does not feel the same way about me that he used to.
    I am holding on to faith and hope. These things take time right?
    Thank you again for providing light in this dark time!

    • Maria,

      Thanks for your supportive comments. Sometimes relationships do get off track and the feelings of
      love are lost. Often disillusionment sets in and people worry that they won’t be able to recapture
      the love that’s been lost. I’ve found that there is great hope, even in these cases. In my new book,
      The Enlightened Marriage, I talk about the 5 stages of marriage and why disillusionment can set in
      and most importantly, how to get through it. So, do keep your hope up. Sometimes counseling can
      be helpful when people feel stuck.

      Best wishes,


  56. meena sheena says:

    after marriage of 18 years now my wife says she loves any other person .she makes a distance with me about three years we have no relationship we have 3 children 17years 14years 12years she says i never like you .what i have to do please guide me

  57. I know how difficult it can be to keep love alive and well after years together. Too often misunderstandings and miscommunications can cause people to feel that love has been lost. The good news is that it is often just been covered over and can be regained with some help and support. Sometimes counseling can be helpful. Don’t give up, seek help if you need it.

  58. Dear Mr Diamond i would be very grateful if you could advise me what to do. We have been married for 40 years, have had a rocky few years. He left me last year after he had a bit of a melt down. Issues with health etc played a big part. He says he no longer loves me and feels we can only be friends. He wont go over any of the problems we had and gets annoyed if I bring the subject up. I want to save our marriage and i do know what caused a lot of the problems we had but he said it is too late to go back. He did have a brief affair with someone a few weeks after he left which is over now, could this
    be part of the reason he thinks it is too late? Is there any hope for us getting back together?

    • Dee,

      I’ve found that too many people go through life changes that overwhelms them. They often confuse the feeling that “I don’t love my wife” with the feeling “I don’t love my life.” They think the solution to the problem is to get away from their wife. I work with the woman (or whoever is willing to reach out to me) to help that person understand what is really going on. I’ve learned there are things one person can do to get their relationship back on track, even when the other person has given up.

      If you’d like more information, feel free to reach out and I can tell you more about the program I’ve developed.

      In any event know that there is hope as long as one person still hasn’t given up.

  59. How my marriage got reunited again with the divine assistance of Doc Osemu Okpamen. Find more on ( https://aricestringer.wordpress.com ) Arice Stringer Ohio, USA

  60. Mike Graziano says:

    Me and my wife have been together for 14 years now, married for soon to be 8 years. We’ve had a rocky relationship for most of the time as I suffered from depression, and recently she has admitted to 2 times in the past having feelings for other men, the 1st guy she got over, but the 2nd has happened very recently. I’ve come out of my depression and have realized what damage has been done, and tried to smooth things over, but right now she admits its hard because she still has feelings for the other person who not only is her friend, but co-worker at her job as well. She says we should take things day by day, but I see on social media she’s making posts about relationships that almost feel like hints towards what could happen in the future. Is there anything I can do to put my marriage back on the right track? she has said that she hasn’t felt love for me in her heart for some time, and that in some ways she wished to have divorced awhile back. She also acknowledged that she wished to have more alone time when we were younger, and feels like she missed out on life experiences. She claims that she still likes me, but the love has been missing. We’ve been taking things day by day for the past month now, the hardest part for me is not knowing what to do next, since we still do tend to have intimate moments every so often. When approached with the idea of seeing couples therapy she shrugs it off since we had gone 2 times before with little progress. I’ve tried explaining my past experience with depression, and why I did the things i’ve done with to her, since she has questions of “why didn’t you” and “why did you”. To me it feels like I’ve reconnected with old feelings, and I’m not sure how or why to even end it. Even my wife isn’t sure what step to take next, since she’s “burnt out on relationship” is this something that could be saved?

    • Mike, thanks for writing and posting. I know how difficult these issues can be. Things often are complicated by the stresses and strains of the past, but it really gets down to one simple question. The answer is likely to determine whether your marriage survives or dies. It’s this: What are you willing to do for your marriage?

      We often think that “it takes two to Tango,” but as I say in the article, one person can turn things around, but they have to be absolutely committed to doing whatever it takes to renew and revitalize the marriage. Half measures won’t work and you have to it with no guarantees of success. It’s your commitment to love and to the beautiful being that is your couple. Its the same kind of commitment that a parent often makes when their child is in trouble and in danger. We don’t focus much on ourselves, we do whatever it takes for the life of our child. This is the way I counsel a man or woman who wants to safe their marriage. You may need support to know what to do, but only you can decide if you’ve got the courage to “go all in.”

  61. Hi,
    On my 40th birthday my husband told me he wants happy with me or our marriage. We have a 4 year old daughter who we both love dearly. He recalled every negative thing I have ever said throughout our 12 years together, of which we are married for 9 years. I did try to counter with all of the good time and in taking my negative works was also taking them out of context, but it didnt matter to him. I love him dearly and take my vow seriously. He rarely speaks to me and and if there is a question or comment, is short. We went through this about 8 years ago. I did everything to show I’m I loved him and was invested for both of us at the time. He came around. This time is similar but he is much more focused on leaving, hanging out with his friends, certainly choosing them over me and making that fact very clear. He suffered from depression and had a tough year at work. I have tried to support him through that time but wanting to leave me, not talking to me, not even wanting to be in the same room as me is tough. My issue is that while I think he is amazing, I rarely say p you amazing. If I say it now, it comes off fake, although I mean it… Im not sure what to do. He said we are to different, dont share the same interests, ect. I would love some advise. If you were in the NY/NJ area, I would ask for counseling! Note I have suggested this to him.. now sure if that will pan out. Thanks.

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  63. Alana Beaulieu says:


    My husband and I are married for 24 years (I am 46 and he is 50). I had a affair 3 years ago. I had a stroke that year a he helped my and we put my affair in the past; however he never dealt with the affair. This year he asked me to leave the house. We are working on our marriage (we have a beautiful family and our youngest child is leaving home for school, so we are now ‘alone’ , no kids at home). How to regain lost trust for him? I love him alot….I made a bad mistake and three year ago; and I showed him before and after. I want this marriage to last…

    • Alana,

      It takes time and commitment to regain trust. It also takes some good therapeutic healing. Its often difficult to release the traumatic memories of an affair, even years after it occurs. The problem may not simply be that “You can trust me now, I’ve changed.” It may also be the internal traumatic memories, that like PTSD in battle, can interfere with our lives months and years later.

      I wish you well in the healing process. A good marriage is worth saving, and the growth it takes to renew a shaky marriage can be a real hero’s journey in life. I talk about these ideas in my new book, The Enlightened Marriage, coming out in August.

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  65. I just miss my wife, we split up 4 years ago, I wanted to work at everything but she didn’t, it’s a horrible situation, we got divorced last year, I thought I’d be able to move on and meet someone else but I’ve absolutely no confidence in myself, why would anyone want to go out with me, she married me because she needed someone reliable to have children with, once they were born and out of nappies I had served my purpose. Will I ever get over her, I want to but I’m not sure I ever will.

    • Andy,

      I know how you feel, I went through it twice, but I didn’t give up and you shouldn’t either. I did some work on myself, raised my self-esteem, learned about why my marriages had failed and how my current problems were related to what I had experienced in my family growing up and how my love map had gotten distorted by my parent’s experiences and what I subconsciously internalized from them. I’ve now been married to Carlin for 36 wonderful years. It isn’t easy having real, lasting love, but it can be learned and it truly is the best thing a man can achieve in life.

      If you’d like more information, drop me an email, Jed@MenAlive.com, be sure and respond to my spamarrest filter so my system insures you are an actual human being, not a bot.

  66. Stephanie Dunbar says:

    My husband and I have been married for 20 years. These past three years have been very difficult. We have had periods of fighting, we’ve ignored one another for weeks, I’ve withheld sex, and essentially we had not been good to one another. Almost a year ago my husband said he was not in love with me anymore. He asked to separate. He has been living with a friend for almost a year now and we have yet to reconcile. I went thru all the emotions; fear, sadness, anger. We sought counseling and got excellent advice that helped improve our communication. For the past year he comes and goes whenever he likes. I have not limited any access to me or the kids. I have maintained the home and have interacted with him as if I am still his wife. He often eats dinner with us, we travel together as a family to theme parks, his sister’s wedding, etc. For about five months now I have been more emotionally stable. I have used the time to self-reflect, make changes for the better and our friendship has improved dramatically but he is still not “in love” but he doesn’t know if he wants a divorce. He says he realizes that this situation is not fair to me and wants to do whatever I need to make this easier, short of coming back home. I love him and want him to come back home but I feel as though I am in limbo and I need to prepare myself for a future without him. I am thinking about moving out of the house we built together and starting a new life with the kids on my own because I think this is the only way I can put up boundaries. I don’t know if that is a wise decision since I want nothing more than to have our marriage restored. I must tell you that my husband is diabetic and has been suffering from ED for about 5 years now. He never sought medical advice until recently. He got his testosterone level checked and found it to be extremely low. Now Im wondering if this could be a big contributor to the decline in his feelings for me. At times I feel like I need to make a life without him but then news like this makes me wonder if treating his low T might help us get beyond friendship and move him to reconciliation. I don’t know what to do.

    • Stephanie, As you know I’ve been helping families get through these difficult times and to save troubled marriages for more than 40 years. There is often a triggering event when men decide to leave that reflects their level of unhappiness and feeling stuck. In your case you’re describing medical problems that often make a person feel helpless and ashamed. You mention diabetes with accompanying erectile dysfunction, along with low testosterone. For many men, there desire to leave the marriage is really their cry for help. They often feel they aren’t fulfilling their role as a man. As a result every day they wake up and see their wives, they are reminded of what they perceive as their failure.

      As you rightly recognize, this can be a time for you to focus on yourself and improve your own life. But it also is clear that you’re not ready to give up on the marriage. In my counseling program and on-line class, I guide you through the difficult stages of helping yourself, but also helping your husband. If you’d like more information, drop me an email, Jed@MenAlive.com, be sure and respond to my spamarrest filter so my system insures you are an actual human being, not a bot.

      In any event, know that help is available and don’t give up.

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  68. Chris Smith says:

    My wife and I have been married for 24 years. We are both 44. We have a 21 year old son and a 15 year old daughter. We’ve had more than our share of ups and downs but always got through it. At one time my wife weighed 265 lbs. It bothered her very much so about 7 years ago she had gastric bypass and lost 110 lbs. After a while she did put some of the weight back on. Last Fall I introduced her to a personal trainer. Not because of the way I fealt about her weight but because of how upset she was over it. She’s done great and is in the best shape of her life. Not long after starting with the trainer she started having problems with heavy bleeding and we found out she has a fibroid tumor. About 3 months ago her gynecologist prescribed her progesterone. Also about this time she got a boob job. Again, to make herself happy. Not something I requested. She’s very conscious about her hygiene so when she was having the problems with bleeding we obstained from sex. I still wanted it but due to her circumstances didn’t want her to feel pressured. It’s been over 3 months since we’ve had sex now. No more bleeding issues but always some reason why we can’t do it. Two weeks ago she dropped a bombshell on me saying she isn’t happy, doesn’t and never did find me attractive, wants to separate and maybe divorce. We’ve gone through an emotional roller coaster in the last few weeks. We have not separated yet and have had 1 visit (2 days ago) with a marriage counselor. I go to see him alone tomorrow and she goes a few days later. I’m nowhere close to perfect and have made lots of mistakes but I love my wife very much and will do anything I can to save my marriage. Tonight she told me that she wants to keep seeing the counselor and thinks there’s a 50/50 chance we can fix this. I need help. Can my marriage be saved or am I fighting a losing battle?

    • Chris,

      Clearly there have been some big changes and often at this time of life the changes not only trigger things in the present, but also stir up things from the past. Seeing a counselor is a good thing. Hang in there and keep going deeper. My new book, The Enlightened Marriage, is just out and my program and class might be of help, in addition to the counseling you are doing. You can check it out at http://www.TheEnlightenedMarriage.com. It will be available soon.

  69. Ronel Taljaardt says:

    Me and my husband have been married for 12 years now, which was good most of the times. Now all of the sudden he saw an ex girlfriend of him from 15 years back and now he believes she is everything I never was. She is married herself by the way and dlso have 2 small children. We have 2 small children together and I am trying so hard to win him back, be he is so adament to go one with his life without us, because he believe our marriage was just bad, which is absolute rubbish. How do I win him back and get him to say he love me again?

  70. I’m 39 years old and have been married 16 years. Our relationship has always been good and bad but now it is to the point that my wife wants to quit. I have let her down times over the years but never cheated, she feels she has no trust in me and the one thing I have prided myself in over the years is we have trusted the other would not cheat but now I feel the same way that there is no trust. I may be slightly depressed but I feel she is very depressed and it is clouding the views we have of each other. I know I have not been the perfect husband over the years but I know I love her and I know she loves me but it may not be enough. I’m lost and would do anything to save our marriage but feel she has quit now. I have offered to go to marriage counselling but how do you find the right counsellor and if a marriage has gone to far can it be saved?

  71. Tammy Melo says:

    What do you do if he says he loves you more than anything doesn’t want to lose you but wants sex with another or to watch you have sex with others. Been married twenty years and it’s all so unexpected to me. He says he is addicted to me and only wants to experience these things with me with him but I’m an old fashioned girl and his request hurts my heart more than ever I can’t imagine letting another woman or man touch me or to watch the man I love give his love to another woman. Just the thought hurts my heart and makes me tremble uncontrollably. I never saw this coming after two months of discussions a broken heat and many tears he says he don’t want it that bad and doesn’t want to hurt or disrespect me but how do I trust him now that he’s had these things on his mind and will honor our marriage and stay faithful to me. It hurts so much he even asked me any of this even though he claims it’s not that important to hurt me over and if I don’t want it then he won’t seek it? Why did this happen, I had three kids I went from hot to a pretty face on a fat chick but he says that he doesn’t mind that he still loves and desires me he just wanted to experience more things with me included.

    • Tammy, It’s not unusual for people to want to spice up their sex lives and its not unusual for some to be intrigued with trying sexual variety in the ways you mention. Some couples have the kind of “open” sexual experience you describe. Others try it and it undermines their relationship. Still others have one or another partner bring it up and the other partner, says, as you have, “No, thanks, that’s not what I want to do.”

      When one partner wants to try something different, it may indicate a desire for variety, or it may mean there are some other more serious issues in the relationship that need to be discussed. I wouldn’t assume that since he brought it up you can’t trust him if he tells you it isn’t something he wants to do if you are opposed to it.

      It may be an opening for you two to go deeper in your relationship and talk about your sex and love life, what you want and what needs you have.

      Some people find it easier to explore with a trained therapist if talking together is a bit scary. Most of us have difficulty talking about sex and need a save place to discuss it.

  72. Tammy Melo says:

    Thank you for the response

  73. Laura Humphrey says:

    Jed I’m struggling in saving my marriage of 29 years and really need some advice.. we’ve had a pretty good marriage but about 6 months ago my husband said he was going through something because of lack of respect from our 3 sons that are 18, 25 & 27.. all still live at home.. I said I was there for him but then I found out he was having a emotional affair with another women which then turned into a physical affair.. he since said he don’t love me anymore moved out to live in his parents house and filed for divorce.. I really think she made him move out and file.. I don’t know what to do or is there no hope for us.. he admits to being in love with her and that she is his girlfriend.. he even stays at her house a couple of times per week.. is there any hope for us?? I still love my husband and will do anything to save my marriage..

    • Laura,

      There is always hope, but we need new approaches that get at the core of what is really going on and how to change things. Men (and women) often lose connection with their own needs and we find it difficult to feel respect for ourselves and don’t feel like we’re getting it from our loved ones. I help people get back on their own path to success and interact with loved ones in a way that automatically brings about more respect. Happy to tell you more if you’re interested.

  74. My wife abandoned me after 6 months of our marriage but after i used the service of robinson.buckler@yahoo . com i and my wife are back again.

  75. I understand how you feel. I feel the same. My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We dated others briefly in college but got back together and married. We were married 30 years this past April. We had two beautiful children. One past away when he was young. He was born with heart issues. Over a year ago we started having problems. Not sure what brought it on. We had some issues over the years but we seemed to work out things. Now he says he doesn’t love me like he used to and is not attracted to me. We tried some counseling but he won’t go now on a regular basis. A lot of the of the issues he has with our marriage I’m being blamed for. I’ve made changes in myself, I continue to go for counseling myself, I still love him and are attracted to him. I’m trying to work on the marriage but he doesn’t seem to be trying. I get glimmers of hope but then he’ll say things haven’t changed between us. He has said divorce is not off the table and we may be headed for a split. A month ago he came with me to see my therapist. He comes every so often. It was decided then that we would have a trial separation. We are still living in the same house but he sleeps in another bedroom, washes his own clothes and makes his own meals. He does his own things now. We don’t talk at all now unless we have to tell the other someone. When I’m home I spend a lot of time in my bedroom watching tv and reading. I feel so lost and hurt that he won’t try to fix this marriage. Maybe he’s made small attempts but nothing big. I don’t know what to do. Do I keep fighting for this marriage or let it go. I feel he has other things bothering him besides our marriage that he hasn’t dealt with. I wish he would see someone on his own.

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  77. anonymous wife says:

    Dear Jed Diamond,
    Thank you so much for sharing this important information. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me and my marriage. thank you thank you thank you. I have researched and read many articles about affairs and mid-life crisis and yours is the only one that gave this advice and it rang true. wishing you all the best–happy holidays and many happy new years to come! gratefully yours.

  78. My partner and I have a real issue. We got engaged in Feb, she has told me multiple times this year how happy she is and how much she loves me, we are both 36 and have been together for 5 years and have a daughter together.
    More recently we’ve supported each other and had a lovely anniversary where she said to me “Aside the kids your the best thing to ever happen to me” and then when our wedding date was a year away within days she told me she doesn’t love me and no longer wants to be with me, citing neglecting her as the reason but never being able to specify anything – I just get told I don’t understand.
    I’ve looked into this and can see it is synonymous with a midlife/identity crisis and that I shouldn’t take things said to heart.
    I am still in the midst of all this and it is horrible, really horrible, I have been up and down emotionally but I give an outer shell of calm and control for my kids and to per most advice not to give her a negative force to fire more negativity at. To some extent it has worked and I know I need to remain strong and consistent but how do you control your own emotions, I get the idea of the long game and eyes on the prize etc but my word it is difficult.
    I love her to bits and I know she is not to blame for this and her current crisis is causing her to act in I suppose a more juvenile fashion.
    I give her space where possible, engage in conversation when she initiates it, other times I am polite and keep everything light and breif per what I have researched and it seems to elicit a better response from her, but this has only gone on for two months, three days after she told me how much she loved me she didn’t love me. Some advice says it averages at 2 years…how do I hold my head for that long when she wants me out of the house (which comes with her job, so if it comes to that after the new year I have no choice but to go).

    • My wife and I are both 49 have been married for 23 years. We have three grown children all at home ages 22, 20 an 18. About six months ago my wife told me that she is not happy and hasn’t been for a long time. We have stopped having sex and now she sleeps on the couch. She says we are different people and that I am not giving her what she needs. She had breast cancer 16 years ago and had a mastectomy. She says I hurt her with the cancer because she felt I was embarrassed of her scar and that I made her feel bad. I told her i never cared about her missing breast and all I wanted was for her to live. All these years since her cancer she has told me that I was a great husband and very supportive of her. Now she is on the couch and is telling me that the situation is not fixable. We have always been highly compatible and have had a good life together. She tells me she loves me, but more or less is not in love with me. As the six months has gone on and I have looked at our marriage, I have felt her pulling away these last few years and me becoming more clingy. I believe she is going through menopause (mood swings and hot flashes) and depression. Last December she graduated from college but only found a job in October. The first half of the year she was depressed. I am so distraught, I love my wife very much and would do anything to make it better. I have asked her to go for counseling with me, but she will not. I have been going alone by myself and she is going by herself, but refuses to go as a couple. I miss my wife.

      • Keith,

        Don’t give up. A good marriage is worth saving. There are things you can do to help, even if she feels there is no hope. For now, do your own work on yourself, keep your faith, and keep moving ahead with your own vision of what you want for your future.

        • Thank you, that is what I am trying to do. I have made a decision to stop pursuing her and asking her to go for counseling. I will try and keep busy with friends and family.

  79. My wife and I are both 49 have been married for 23 years. We have three grown children all at home ages 22, 20 an 18. About six months ago my wife told me that she is not happy and hasn’t been for a long time. We have stopped having sex and now she sleeps on the couch. She says we are different people and that I am not giving her what she needs. She had breast cancer 16 years ago and had a mastectomy. She says I hurt her with the cancer because she felt I was embarrassed of her scar and that I made her feel bad. I told her i never cared about her missing breast and all I wanted was for her to live. All these years since her cancer she has told me that I was a great husband and very supportive of her. Now she is on the couch and is telling me that the situation is not fixable. We have always been highly compatible and have had a good life together. She tells me she loves me, but more or less is not in love with me. As the six months has gone on and I have looked at our marriage, I have felt her pulling away these last few years and me becoming more clingy. I believe she is going through menopause (mood swings and hot flashes) and depression. Last December she graduated from college but only found a job in October. The first half of the year she was depressed. I am so distraught, I love my wife very much and would do anything to make it better. I have asked her to go for counseling with me, but she will not. I have been going alone by myself and she is going by herself, but refuses to go as a couple. I miss my wife.