What do I want?
Is there enough in the relationship to save?
Do I really want to save it?
Have We passed the point of no return?
Do I really want a divorce?
Or does even considering divorce inherently make it more likely?

Analysing these questions in the echo chamber of one’s own frustration is not reliable.
For as long as I can remember I have largely scoffed at the idea of therapy. In some respects I still do: it implies one is broken. But this is relationship therapy, and our relationship is broken. A counsellor can provide an unfettered, objective opinion. The outcome has no direct consequences for them and they are therefore not burdened with partisan narratives. They are in a position to observe, interrogate and advise with impartiality.
That was the sort of help I needed. Someone to ask questions different from my own.

An hour’s conversation with Kirsty on my own.
My goal? To figure out what I want and whether the idea of divorce has become destructive target fixation.

I tried to stay on topic for the hour. It was easy to drift of and rant from time to time. To release pent up emotions and complain about my Wife’s behaviour. With hindsight, there may have been much blame. I’m aware it would be dangerous to blame it all on my Wife without taking responsibility myself. Take responsibility for my part in the past, and the future. As introspective and analytical as I am, however, it is difficult to step outside oneself and see where one is going wrong. I had asked my Wife what I am getting wrong. Her answer – being angry at Her and saying nothing is changing seem to be the crux.

I’m painfully aware of the impact divorce has on kids. To have their home ripped apart and to be separated from one of their parents for much of the time. To take the rock on which their world is build and reduce it to rubble. Kirsty was at length to point out that living in a house where the parents don’t get on is not modelling a healthy relationship. And that seeing their parents happy and apart is better for kids than seeing them unhappy together. She is, of course, absolutely right, and although I had already rationalised this, it is difficult not to focus on the short term pain divorce would inflict.

After two joint sessions and an individual session each, Kirsty observed that she still doesn’t know what We’re trying to save. This brought me back to my original questions.
What do I want?
To Kirsty it sounded like I want to be loved.

Whatever avenue of investigation we took, I kept coming back to control as an underlying issue. I bitched about it at some length. More than one revelation seemed to be met by surprise from Kirsty, and notes were taken.
Over the Xmas break, my Wife and I had tried to talk about the things one should never talk about- politics, sex, religion and money. The most contentious subjects imaginable. Each is a problem for us, in a more or less direct way. We had started with the easiest- politics – and that nearly destroyed us on the spot. I never expected it to be otherwise because, from my perspective, it negatively informs all the others.

Has control always been a problem? Has it got worse? Has it progressively filled more of the pot? Or has the evaporation of what was good in the relationship just meant there was less pot to fill? Contrary to what my Wife had implied – that sex had dried up after We became parents, when She felt Her body was no longer Her own – We had a passable sex life for the first few years as parents. Then sex stopped. Maybe other important things stopped around the same time. I don’t know. But from then on, every year has seen at least 6 months pass without sex. [Ed: Read back over this blog and you can count the months.] And now it’s 2½yrs. 2½yrs in which We have never kissed and barely touched.

I related how my Wife had suggested it was worth “staying together for the kids” [Ed: A notoriously bad idea for all concerned.] and because it would be easier than finding someone new. I told Kirsty that, as unkind as it might sound, I didn’t think my Wife would find someone else because I didn’t think She’d make the effort. I knew I would, and I thought it would be both emotionally fulfilling and probably fun.

Kirsty asked both what this relationship would look like six months from now, and what the alternative would look like.
A good question.
Separation: Logistically complicated. Financially I’d probably be better off. Emotionally I’d be better off. The whole family would probably be happier. I suspect I’d be living 100s of miles from my family. I would probably be dating, or at least having some fun and getting laid. [Ed: Getting laid was not something that came to AM’s mind when the question was posed, but let’s be honest – that’s something that AM really, really wants!]
Staying together: I don’t know. I find it incredibly difficult to thing about that without saying That depends on my Wife. Will She change? Will She think She should have to change? Am I expecting Her to make all the changes? Who will blink first? There is much for me to think about there.

As the session drew to a close, Kirsty said that next time she sees Us together, she wants to find out what it is that We respectively want from a relationship, and examine whether that is achievable in this relationship.

I have already thought some of this through. Equality, respect, trust, sex. I already know there is a line in the sand when it comes to sex. I need to give some more thought to the rest.

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