My wife and I have been married 28 years. For the last five years we have been having problems. Over the last 18 months I have moved out four times. Our biggest problem I think is communication. I admit we lost the spousal connection. My wife has agreed to counselling. What's your take on this?
So as you both move towards your 30-year milestone, instead of concretising and consolidating the relationship you are destabilising and drifting apart. The question is, what has happened in the last five years that has led to the drift in the opposite direction? Is it that the issues were always there but have now come to the surface?
Couples employ varied conflict management styles and the one that you seem to embrace is the non-confrontational/run away style. You mentioned that you have moved out four times over the last 18 months, but isn't that a reflection of weakness on your part? So the first move out could be a spur of the moment, fit of anger reaction, but three times after that is quite cowardly!
So at no time before you took up your suitcase did you say to yourself, I need to confront the issue and not run away? Certainly your wife could have done the same but supposedly she knew your default position and expected that you would take flight as soon as the situation required your presence! One can imagine how frustrating it must have been for your wife to witness the hide-and-seek game you were playing.
Some men would do what you did, advancing the argument that instead of sticking around and ending up doing something that they may later regret it is best to leave. You may be right on that score, but certainly in the period when things were going well and you were at home, a conversation about the way conflicts are managed in the relationship should have been had.
It is not surprising that since there is a communication breakdown, the emotional connection would be hampered as well. Couples who have lost respect for each other and disregard the feelings of the other will no doubt drift apart as the emotional attachment glue no longer holds.
The saving grace in all of this is that your wife is not opposed to counselling and obviously you will be initiating the sessions. One matter that must be addressed apart from the communication deficit is the conflict management style that you have adopted. Running away can't be the most effective way of handling the conflict. You need to learn how to lovingly confront your spouse and address the matter at hand.
All the best as you both seek to rekindle the love and affection that must have been present 28 years ago.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org . Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/ .