Can't Face Wife, But Wants Out

Q: I am a 55 year-old professional and have been with my wife since 1982. I have not been in love with her for the last 12 years. Our only daughter is now in college and it seems clear to me that, not only am I unhappy, but my wife has not been happy with me, as well. I feel extremely guilty about wanting to leave her, but at the same time I just don't know how to do it, even though I am very unhappy. Why can I not go through with it and tell her? -- Bob, 55

Dr. Susan: I think you're jumping the gun, that's why. You know she's going to freak out when you suddenly say you're walking out, with no efforts made to improve matters at home first. Unless you can't bear another minute in her presence, it would be much wiser to open a conversation with her and at least TRY to decide together what your next steps will be. And if you don't talk about what went wrong and learn from your experiences, then I promise you that your next relationship will fizzle after a while too. If it turns out that you've both been seeking a way out, then you can plan a friendly transition together. Whatever you do, don't expect your daughter to necessarily have an easy time of it. Be there for her. How you model an adult relationship, and adult decision-making, will make a big difference in how her own life proceeds.

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