Carolyn: How do you know its time to end a marriage? Im not at all attracted to my husband, the result, I think, of his preoccupation with work (even when hes home, hes usually thinking or talking about it, or on his phone or laptop) and just an overall lack of physical chemistry.
Weve never had a good intimate relationship something we both acknowledge and Ive ached for something better almost the whole time weve been together. He says hes content.
That said, weve got two young children, and for the most part, we are great co-parents, manage the household pretty well together, communicate well and have a solid friendship. Many would say Im lucky, but the idea of spending my life in what feels more like a business relationship than a marriage breaks my heart. Am I crazy to think of leaving?
Crazy, no, of course not. You want passion, something most people want, and the thought of not having it, ever, knocks plenty of sane people off their hinges.
Still, your decision-making skills arent at their peak. You married a man you never found intimately satisfying, brought children into that marriage, and now you want out because your marriage lacks intimacy?
Imagine your anguish for your grandchildren if your grown children made that same sequence of choices. Or, maybe more aptly, imagine if your parents took the path youre eyeing now; youd be angry at somebody.
Do children adapt? Yes, mostly. Am I playing the guilt card? Maybe. Should kids have the last word in adult relationships? Yikes.
But, the whole purpose of a disinterested observer like me is to point out things like this: You appear not to be giving enough thought to long-term consequences as you try to find your way out of the pickle you got into by not giving enough thought to long-term consequences.
You want to fix your mistake, not repeat it. So put aside for a moment your emotional impulse to dismantle your marriage, and weigh the logical case for (re)building it. You say you are good co-parents and friends who communicate well. Thats not a business relationship, thats an emotional one. Solid at that.
And, have you heard any old jokes lately? Even good marriages grow more comfy than passionate.
Meanwhile, your husband is content; that suggests powerful motivation for him to cooperate if you let him know the full truth of your emotional state. Admit youre lonely, since thats what you are; admit youre desperate to feel close to someone, since thats what you are. Admit youre so discouraged by his glued-to-a-screen absenteeism that youre terrified of living the rest of your life this way, since thats what you are.
A constant preoccupation with work is a choice, after all, and if your husband decides hed rather share a home with you than custody, then he can make a different choice. Choices + time = attraction (or lack of). Moving together walking, working out, dancing helps, too. Seriously.
He might refuse to budge, and the environment his refusal creates might be detrimental to your kids, and you might need a marriage counselor and ultimately an attorney but please, for everyones sake, take that road only if its the last logical choice, not just an emotional one.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.