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My wife dumped me and I can't help feeling used

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Dear Coleen: My wife dumped me and I can't help feeling used

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After all this time she told me she wants a divorce, citing that we are “different people and want different things”

Dear Coleen

How can you live with someone for 14 years and not even know them? When I met my wife, there were fireworks.

But after all this time she told me she wants a divorce, citing that we are “different people and want different things”. I don’t think we do – we just come from different backgrounds.

Unfortunately, and I am not proud for thinking this, I feel used.

When we met, she had problems and I helped as much as I could. We got married and had our ups and downs.

Recently, I noticed she wasn’t herself and asked how she was, hoping we could talk it through, but got the shock of my life when she said she wanted a divorce.

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The reason I feel used is that I had a decent job when we met – but my prospects have gone backwards while hers have gone forwards with several promotions. It feels like I was there when she needed help with our (her) kids, but now they have left and she’s doing well, I’m no longer needed.

I have moved out and she has filed for divorce. We’ve seen each other a few times when I’ve collected my stuff and I’ve asked if we can work it out, but she keeps saying we are too different. I don’t see this as we always shared the same dreams.

I saw her last night to pick up my mail and there were tears in her eyes. I love her so much and would like to sort out our differences. I suppose at least she’s not giving me false hope. Can you help?

Coleen says

Break-ups are devastating for everyone – whether you’re the person driving it or the one on the other side.

I’m sure your wife is very sad and I’m sure she hasn’t used you all these years but she obviously feels differently about the marriage now.

I understand your desolation and pain, but you can’t force someone to be in love with you.

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If anything, and I know this is a hard thing to do, let her get on with it and maybe when she sees you’ve accepted it and you’re alright, she’ll start to think differently about your relationship.

I know many couples who have broken up and started divorce proceedings, then got back together – what they really needed was some proper time apart to realize what they had.

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I’d love to wave a magic wand and make it better, but you have to go with what she wants.

It’s especially frustrating and difficult for you because there’s no concrete reason for the split – her “we’re too different” line is pretty vague.

Sometimes anger gets you through the pain initially if you have something to get angry about – infidelity for example. But when someone is saying they just don’t feel the same, there’s nothing really to direct your anger at.

Counselling really helped me when my first marriage was ending, and it could be what you need to help you get through this first difficult patch.

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