My husband and I have grown very distant and cold in the last 10 years. I feel I no longer love him, nor do I want to be with him. He doesn’t listen to me nor share my interests at all. He pays no attention to my work or my activities. I have been married 30 years. What should I do?
—Anonymous, United States
I am sorry for the loss of warmth and friendship between you and your husband. You didn’t mention whether together you’ve acknowledged the state to which your relationship has fallen. Is it even possible to have a conversation? If you were to part ways, the ideal is to do so by mutual consent and in as much harmony as is possible. An adult-like conversation — calm and clear — would be a good starting point. If love has fled your hearts, what is left cannot be satisfying. Yes, there are always complications with living arrangements, possessions, and all sorts of details, but those can be sorted out if you are in agreement and can remain fair and reasonable.
If you begin with such a conversation, try to do so after some period of time that includes prayer and meditation. (Or, perhaps that’s what you have been doing.) Try not to let the conversation come across like a threat but as a calm course of action to be discussed given the lack of mutual interest, respect, and love between you.
Sometimes harmony is not possible because one of the parties cannot or will not strive for it. In that case, the process can be difficult, but obstacles are not, in themselves, a “sign from above” that separation isn’t the right path to take. Sometimes the fear of hardships, perhaps economic or emotional, can cause one to hesitate. Fear, though understandable, isn’t going to produce happiness. Courage can lead to other emotional and spiritual awakenings if we proceed with faith and without anger or resentment or desire to hurt someone else.
Nonetheless, you don’t have to be “perfect” to do what needs to be done. It isn’t reasonable to expect that no resentment or anger will linger or surface. But if in your moments of peace you know that you do not wish harm or revenge, this is very important. Making the effort to remain calm and reasonable will help. Prayer for guidance will help open a channel for courage and wisdom to be your guide. Don’t imagine that you have to know every step that lies ahead of you either. What is faith if nothing is left to the hand of Providence to show Her loving presence?
So, while I don’t want to pretend to “answer” your question (as it is such an important one), can I at least suggest you start with a calm, honest conversation? Perhaps prior to such, consider in your heart the aspects of your past friendship and love for which you can feel gratitude; consider qualities of your husband that are positive; don’t demonize him. Calm acceptance of today’s reality between the two of you can nonetheless include gratitude for what had once been. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Be brave; be strong; be kind to yourself and to your husband. You tried your best and perhaps it’s time to give it a rest and move on. Over countless past lives we have known, loved, and perhaps even fought so many. Let us try to move towards harmony and love for all beings, for we are all God’s children. Besides, you never know what an honest, calm conversation might yield.
Blessings upon you,