Zombie marriage? Should I be worried?

Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 02:58 am
I fear I am in a zombie marriage. My wife and I are both in our 40s and have been married for almost 20 years. We have two children and are comfortably off with good jobs. To onlookers everything is fine but underneath, to me at least, it does not feel that way. Whereas we used to talk regularly about work and the state of world. Now we often sit in in the same room watching the TV but not saying much. We have not had sex in three years, we do not say I love you anymore and we no longer hug each other goodbye when one or the other leaves the house. My wife has never been one for intimacy so kissing, cuddling and displays of affection have never been much of feature of our relationship but what we did have has gone and I miss it.

We don’t talk about it either. I cannot tell whether she is happy and content with how we now are. We talk about a future together and go out together; but it feels like we are now friends who live together rather than husband and wife. Our children have pointed this last point out to us so it does feel like this is an elephant sitting within our marriage that neither of us want to address. I don’t want to raise it for the fear that our marriage would crumble as it became clear that there was nothing left.

We have too much in the way of shared history and I do not want to throw that away. I am not unhappy and I don’t think my wife is either, though I cannot be sure. I did notice that she has recently switched her wedding ring from her left ring finger to her right ring finger. Does this mean anything? Am I over interpreting something into this that is not there? Nothing she says suggests she is unhappy, which is what makes me wonder is this largely an issue in my head.

I love my wife dearly and admire what she has achieved, but I am not sure we are ‘in love’ anymore and we have, over the years, have drifted apart. My instinct is that she feels the same, though I do not know for sure. She may be happy with how we are and it is just me.

Am I over thinking this? Is this just how marriages are at this stage of life and that is ok? Or is the reality that my marriage is in trouble and it just a matter of waiting for one of us to raise it or for something to happen that forces us to confront reality? Thoughts please.

Thank you
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Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:11 am
We don’t talk about it either.
Maybe you should. Hate to be blunt, but we can take wild guesses about what is going on in her head (and yours) but all it would be is a guess. The only thing we really can do is make suggestions. So talk about it with her. See if she will go with you to see a counselor (maybe a church minister or a paid marriage counselor) if you feel that would help both of you open up in a controlled setting.

Should you be worried? Sounds like you should. You are both stuck in a rut and don't want to talk about it. A few other suggestions that may wish to try before seeking counseling.

1. Have a weekly date night. Just the two of you. No kids. Get out and have fun. You know, treat each other the way you did when you were trying to win each other over.

2. Take a weekend trip together. Again, no kids. Spend time reconnecting.

3. Turn off the dang TV. Sit and talk for 30 minutes each evening. Again, connect. Talk about your day. Heck, talk about and plan a weekend trip together and look at what you might do when you get out of town.

I'm sure others will also have some good suggestions. Good luck.
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Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:35 am
FYI if your wife is gaining or losing weight, that could explain the ring shift. I lost a ton of weight and the only finger my ring fit on was my right middle one. I had to explain to a bro I used to work with that it did not mean I was separated, looking, etc.
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:43 am
Yes, you should talk about it. Marriage is no longer a life sentence. If it isn't working for you, either fix it or let it end. I can't imagine going three years in a sexless marriage.

As CoastalRat says, there are many things couples can do. It starts with a conversation... marriage counseling is often helpful for people who want to stay together.

There are many of us who are happy after a divorce. There is a difficult time right after divorce... but most of us discover that things are better out of a marriage that isn't working.
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Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 08:13 am
And what exactly is wrong with living with someone who is a good friend? One that you are comfortable with, have a safe happy nice home, have concern for each other and want good things for each other.

No one can, nor should they tell you if your marriage is normal or not. It’s your marriage and you and your spouse
get to say what is normal.

When others start sentences with “I can’t imagine (fill in the blank)” you’re in danger of going down the road of doing things and trying to live your life to satisfy in this case a complete strangers take on how they can and can’t imagine living themselves.

You say you are not unhappy, so that’s taken care of.
I guess you’ll have to buck up and ask her if she is content with the relationship as it stands. I personally doubt if everything around you would crumble and end over asking her that.

FWIW imagine this scenerio. Fast forward through going from neither one of you were not unhappy and content with each other’s company. You both go through the great stress and expense of divorce. Assists are divided, and now alone neither one of you can afford the living circumstances you have now. So now both of you are sitting in your respective not nearly as nice homes, watching TV alone, not having someone to even comment to. You’re still not having sex. You worry more about money because you’re the only source.

On the flip side maybe you’d love going through the process of finding someone else. Although I wonder if you can even ask the person you’ve lived with for 20 if they are content, happy, whatever word you want to use, would you like to do that? Are you even looking to find someone else? It’s not a life requirement to have someone else.

Just asking if you’ve thought it all through what your life (and hers since you care about her) would look like if your lives became different.

If you are “living a life of quiet desperation” as Thoreau put it, do enough to make yourself more content.

If you’re not unhappy, and it turns out she’s not unhappy, that’s a good place. Not just a good place to start. You can stay there or work on obtaining the next level for yourself.

Being not unhappy is a hell of a lot more than a lot of people have, and is not to be sneezed at.

Please don’t go by what anyone else says they can or can’t imagine.

Honestly? When I have looked at the lives of people I personally know who have in so many words informed me they couldn’t imagine this, that or the other about the way I live, choices I’ve made, or beliefs I hold or don’t hold, my conclusions are “well your life is a real **** show, regardless of how you appear to the world. Why would I care what you can or can’t imagine?”

IMHO, people who come up with mindless things like “good enough, isn’t” and all that other reach for the stars stuff do that for attention to themselves, and don’t have to live your life.

Ask the wife if she’s ok with your life together. If she says she is, and you’re ok with your life together, then you’re ok.

Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 08:32 am
I disagree with Chai on her outlook on life. She also paints a very negative view of divorce. Most divorced people, including me, are much happier than we were when we are married. I don't know anyone who regrets a divorce (although I am sure they exist).

Divorce represents a new start, a new phase in life. I am not saying it is some magical happiness cure that will solve all of one's problems, but it does get you out of a situation that isn't working and open up possibilities that very well might work better.

Since I divorced my sex life has been much better. In the first parts of marriage, there was consistency and security in sex... my wife was generally there. That is an advantage of marriage. After my marriage turned cold, even when their was sex it wasn't very good. Since my divorce I have never gone for years without sex. There are roughly equal numbers of divorced men and divorced women... you can do the math. There is something special and exciting and hopeful about a new relationship.

Of course there are two sides. There are often economic costs to divorce. And, there is a difficult time where you have to rediscover yourself as a single person. But there are many happy divorced people who find their lives better after ending a marriage that wasn't working.

Life doesn't come with a guarantee of happiness, but sometimes what we need is hope and a chance for something new.

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Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 08:34 am
jespah wrote:

FYI if your wife is gaining or losing weight, that could explain the ring shift. I lost a ton of weight and the only finger my ring fit on was my right middle one. I had to explain to a bro I used to work with that it did not mean I was separated, looking, etc.

That is an excellent point Jes.

I am no longer the slip of a girl that married decades ago. I realized years and years ago the band was tight, and I took it off. I never like wearing jewelry anyway.

Later my husband noticed his band was worn out. He took a ring with a lions head I had given him as a gift long ago and put it on that finger instead.

We’re not any more or less married, and it’s our normal.

We just flat out have too many worries over what we “should” do and what our life “should” be like at any particular moment. Seems like 99% based on what others who don’t walk in our shoes tell us what we “should” be doing or want.
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