I think you need to decide if this is the time to “burst the bubble” or not? If you want to open up about your “not so great“ marriage, I recommend you meet with a couples therapist who can help you through the transition of separation because marriage counselors are just as important to use when deciding to split up as they are at helping to patch things up. A therapist can also help both of you understand why you kept up the “façade” and why was it so important to appear as though you have a happy marriage.
I come from a generation where most of my friends’ parents ended up divorced and 99 percent of the time the kids were not shocked because they had seen the signs long before their parents shared their plans to split. If you have kids, I would be shocked if they did not have their own suspicions.
If you are not ready to “burst the bubble,” suck it up and let your friends and family celebrate with you on what will be a special day for the entire family. But I recommend that no matter what decision you make, you seek out a counselor so you and your husband can work out your feelings. Twenty-five years is a long time with something, and it could take a few years just to transition out of being a “couple” and to single.
Since you’ve bothered to reach out about this, I suspect you already have a good idea about what you want to do. It sounds like you’re ready to “come clean” regarding the condition of your marriage which means your first conversation is NOT with all the people around you and your husband. It’s only with your husband.
Whether it was outwardly verbalized or not, at some point you both made a decision to roll with this situation. Together you built what you each needed to support the relationship. I would suggest that now is the time for you two to work together to either find a way to reconcile or part ways amicably. So before you do the big reveal with your family, get real with each other. You, your husband, your 25 years together, and your family deserve that consideration.
Talk to each other in a way you haven’t talked in years. I recommend you don’t focus on what doesn’t work about the relationship but rather on what does work in order to successfully decide your next steps. Don’t make it about each other or what either of you have done or not done over your many shared years. Sometimes people just simply grow in different directions to a point where they just can’t make their respective paths connect anymore. Forgive each other for that reality.
Is there blame here? I don’t think it matters at this point. Deal with the situation and your respective feelings and let go of any hurt, blame, or fault-finding that’s more appropriate for a child’s playground than in an adult’s life. If you need an objective third party to help facilitate this process, reach out to trusted objective friend, clergy, or therapist to help you with the next steps in your relationship and with presenting it to your family and friends.
Understand when you tell your family and friends they will need time to process it. By the time you share it with them, you and your husband will have had time to get used to it. Afford your loved ones the same consideration. They will be shocked and dismayed initially but they will get through it just like you two will.
As you move through this process, consider what got you to this place. What needs were being met with maintaining the relationship? What played into the conscious or unconscious decision to stay with each other all these years? Doing the work NOW in this relationship will help you and your husband, help your family and friends, and will be a gift to a future romantic commitment so you don’t make the same mistakes again.
1. Relationships don’t end; they simply change status. Get help to facilitate next stage.
2. Talk to each other before talking to everyone else.
3. For the benefit of future relationships, do the work now to understand how it got to this.
Reaching out about your concern is a great first step for getting real with each other. Talk to each other first before talking with your family and friends. Get professional help to facilitate this process. It took 25 years to build this life you two share. It can’t be undone overnight. And who knows…maybe in this process of working together you might find a new place of understanding and appreciation for each other. Relationships NEVER end. They just change status.
What do you want the next phase of your relationship to look like?
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