Dump "Old" Wife?
Q: I am married, but now I am ready to move on. What is the best and softest way to explain this to my wife? She is a really nice person overall and I want to be as easy on her as possible. I'm just not in love with her anymore. There is no love connection there anymore. I do care about her but I don't love her anymore. HELP! -- Bill, 51
Dr. Susan: When men says it's time to move on, it very often means they've set their sights on another woman to move on to. If you've fallen in love with someone else, or think you have, then you owe it to your "really nice" wife to give her the facts so you can decide together whether there's enough substance in your marriage to struggle for it. When you made the promise to stick by her through good and bad (which is what you did when you married her), that meant you wouldn't allow fleeting distractions to destroy the bond. I understand, though, that you've made up your mind that what you feel for your wife isn't what you feel, or could feel, for another woman. You've decided to trade her for someone who's more exciting to you. That happens all the time, and there's probably nothing I could say that would change your mind.
So how do you tell her? Just tell her what you told me. There is no soft way to tell a mate that you've fallen out of love and want to exit the relationship. Expect her to react with dismay, frustration that you aren't willing to give her a chance to fight for the marriage, and a great deal of anger. She'll believe you're behaving selfishly and immaturely and that you're breaking all the loving promises you made to her years ago. Take her emotional responses like a man, and don't hurl insults, no matter what. And be sure you make the traumatic transition as easy for her as you can.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.