by Quietly Grieving in Zion:
My wife and I were married more than 20 years ago, and we have several children. One child is a returned missionary and another is currently serving. We have a teenager at home and one who will soon be a teenager.
My wife and I have a relationship that has steadily deteriorated for years. We really have no relationship any longer; we are not even friends. We don't talk or enjoy one another's company at all. We used to fight, but now we don't really care enough for that. We went to couple's therapy less than a year ago, but that ended poorly for me. Recent events have made it clear to me how unhappy I am with her. She was recently gone for about a week, and I could not believe how relieved and happy I felt to not have her in the same house. I also feel much more effective as a father when I'm not around her.
I want my children that are still at home to spend as much time as possible together and with her. I also want to be with them as much as possible. That leads me to desire that we stay together for the kids. Staying together would also be easier financially and socially. But I have found myself counting down the years until we can separate. I also have tremendous loneliness, anxiety, and grief over the death of a relationship that I thought would last forever. I believe it would be easier to grieve as well as move on if I could separate, but, of course, I'm afraid that that would be selfish.
I'm not expecting anyone to answer this for me. I pray about it all of the time. I'm considering seeking professional help to assist in determining whether I should stay for the kids or insist (against what I believe are my wife's wishes) that we separate. Many of you have experience with this that may be helpful. Please share. I anticipate the widest variety of responses; please leave your experience as a comment. Please provide your ideas in the most honest and loving way possible without worrying about how others might respond or how others' experiences may differ.
Image credit: BK (used with permission).