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Wife chooses being alone over feeling lonely inside marriage

Wife chooses being alone over feeling lonely inside marriage

Q: My wife of nearly 30 years walked out and moved away, leaving me and a teenage son. She had nothing bad to say about me except that when she was with me she was lonely, and she'd rather be lonely alone. I honestly don't know what she means. Can you state the problem in words I can understand?

Anonymous

A: I'm sorry.

It certainly means your ability to communicate with each other was near zero. But I can't speak for your wife, either. The best I can do is explain what her words say to me.

Being lonely in a marriage means you have no one to talk to, no sense of being understood, no investment in any shared purpose — but you still have to make the sacrifices of married life, like sharing space and compromising on tastes and cleaning up after somebody else. It also means having your spouse there every day as either a cruel tease that someday things will get better, or a cruel reminder that they probably never will.

Loneliness alone, to me, means having no one to talk to, no sense of being understood — and no one to stop you from doing whatever it takes to rebuild your life from scratch.

I don't advocate always staying or always leaving, I'm just channeling one state of mind.

It may not have been her intent, or your choice, but your wife has handed you that same opportunity she seized for herself, of making something new out of your life. Just because it's an opportunity you didn't want doesn't make it any less of one. There's abandonment, there's shock, there's confusion, there's grief — and then there's what comes after, which is up to you to decide. Please demonstrate that for your son.

Expecting apology from volatile ex is a waste of energy.

Q: How do you get past wanting/needing an apology? I had a horrible breakup that involved yelling, cursing and throwing things at me. Those things certainly made me glad the relationship is over — but I can't help but think I deserve an apology. I'm not likely ever to get one . . . any tips for being okay with that?

Anonymous

A: People who curse and throw things at others generally have a void where their character should be.

People who have a void where their character should be rarely admit fault, much less apologize.

So the reason you want/need the apology is the reason you won't get one — and hoping for one in spite of such evidence is the post-breakup version of "If only X changed, we'd be okay." It suggests belief in a connection between what "should" happen and what actually does.

There is no such connection. Specifically: That you deserve an apology has no connection whatsoever to the likelihood you'll get one. You can ask for an apology, of course, if you think that will accomplish anything (and if you're up to the risk of not getting one).

But whether you get satisfaction is entirely under the other person's control. At this point, fresh out of a bad relationship and looking to feel whole again, I think your energy would be better channeled into healthier pursuits — the kind that are entirely up to you.

Wife chooses being alone over feeling lonely inside marriage 06/13/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 13, 2009 4:31am]

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