Second-Guessing Our Separation — He’s My Best Friend, But I Have No Romantic Feelings

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Reader’s Question

I’m 28 and married to a man I dated for three years, and knew in high school. We are currently separated. I now see that I married for a variety of wrong reasons (my sister and friends were all getting married; we had dated for years and it seemed like the ‘next step’).

Almost immediately after we married, we moved away from our hometown. Things felt wrong and we struggled. We argued and he would lose his temper. I asked him to get counseling for the temper and he did. The counseling helped with his temper, but we continued to have other problems — in-law issues, unhappy in our new town, career issues. I decided to move out and here we are.

I still care for him and we are great friends (my best friend) but no romantic, ‘in love’ feelings are there on my part. Should we go ahead and divorce or should I try harder and hope to fall in love with him one day?

Psychologist’s Reply

You and your husband have been together for a long time, and it makes sense that even though things have been rough lately, you are conflicted about whether or not to divorce. It sounds like your marriage was under a lot of stress from the start — meddling in-laws, dissatisfaction in your town and job stress. Those things can definitely have a negative impact on the best of relationships.

It sounds like your husband was willing to work on himself in order to help your marriage. I wonder if you’ve considered couples counseling to see how you might re-connect and work as a team to overcome the stressors you mentioned, and to possibly rekindle your romance. The fact that you are still such good friends and care for one another so much is a good indicator that it may be possible to work things out.

If you go to counseling, and work as a team to deal with the stressful aspects of your lives and rekindle your relationship, you’ll know that you both gave the relationship another try and that divorcing is the right choice — and hopefully, if you end your marriage it will be as friends.

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