At some point in a tepid marriage I think you look at each other and simply say “eh, fuck it”. It’s not like you are horrible together, you just aren’t good. You weigh that against the crap of upheaval that happens as the result of a divorce and you basically do the math on a marriage dissolution. More often than not, it’s just more cost effective to stay married and continue living the separate lives you have already created for yourself.
Convenience can be a very harsh word when used in relationship to a union between people that should have been about passion and long term commitment; accepting neutrality as opposed to emotional connectedness. When you do not want to destroy the individuals inside a family because of financial and emotional pressures that come when you divide spaces, you have to accept the awareness that comes with that choice. Giving up your expectations of an emotionally and physically rewarding, shared life with a partner, can actually bring you a measure of freedom. You can not miss what you do not pine for.
Maybe you can re-negotiate the terms of the stale marriage. Maybe you can eventually find common ground again and find your way back to each other. Maybe you build resentment and negative feelings towards each other, ending up divorced anyway. The point is, you don’t really know what will happen once you make the decision to live inside an emotional divorce while staying legally married to each other. That information tends to stay as private as people’s sex lives; with some people being more open than others.
If money were not a consideration, all things being equal, the main reason people choose to remain married when they do not want to be with their partner anymore, is simply because they fear how their children will be impacted. I am not talking about emotional or physically abusive relationships nor am I including anything to do with addictions of any form. I am talking about the ennui of being with person where you share a sibling type of relationship. Friends and co-parents that function well together in life management but far removed from anything of a sexual nature.
Is it fair to disrupt children’s lives because you are bored?
Doesn’t it just make more sense to live separate lives and accept that your partner is not going to ever be what you need? Isn’t it better to learn to grow in your own way and make choices for your life, as if you were actually a single parent? Become the person you want to be and start dividing your time, as if in reality you were divorced. Every second week end, take a mini vacation or do not include any family time activities. Spend it being alone or with people you want to get to know better.
Create a life for yourself outside of the family unit and if that eventually leads to a physical affair with someone, then so be it. Your spouse absolved you of any moral compulsions to remain monogamous when they failed to remain in a physical relationship with you. Their choices lead to yours. It’s not like you are going to apprise them of an affair anyway. It’s in your best interest to simply enjoy it for what it is, while maintaining the parental role you determined would be best for your family.
By this point in a marriage, I am sure the betrayed souse wants to pretend just as badly that their partner is faithful. They want to keep living in the “don’t ask don’t tell” world they have created for themselves because it is simply more convenient for them to do so. That way they can maintain their non sexual contact with their spouse, which they would not be able to do if forced back into the dating world, as most people have an expectation of physical connectivity when choosing new partners.
Whiny people annoy me. People who go on and on and on about a situation and absolutely refuse to accept what’s in front of their face. I can barely stomach them and before long I am desperate to have an Asperger’s moment myself and say exactly what’s on my mind. Tell them they are too stupid for words. But people like that do not listen anyway, so it’s a complete waste of time. I look at their partners instead, knowing they have carte blanche to do whatever they want, as their spouse is their biggest ally in keeping the truth out of reach. They do not want to see it or hear about it, they certainly do not even believe it when shown proof of what’s occurring. They are the ultimate in miming the Royal lackey who would staunchly proclaim the Emperor’s new clothes to be the finest ever made.
Reality check, people. Some things once broken are beyond repair. They can never be used for their original purpose. In those events, you do not have to completely get rid of it. In the guise of reducing, reusing and recycling, how about we re-purpose an old relationship that’s broken, into something different and accept it for what it is, instead of what it was or should have been. We let go of the past and accept we have to look for something that will work but not at the expense of completely getting rid of what you once had.
The useless spouse is still good for something; co-parent, house manager, bread winner, dinner maker, bathroom cleaner, lawn mower, pay-check. You need someone to water the plants when you take your solo trips or to look after the kids on your solo week ends. And it sure beats having to divide your assets when they are just as content to pretend everything is wonderful because they refuse to talk about any of your marital issues. Let them happily pretend you are content with sharing space and nothing more. This will let you find other people who can fill in the blanks of your own life. It will give you time to make decisions about your future, after the kids are gone.