Carla in Edina writes:
My husband of 14 years and I are about to separate. Over the years he has drifted physically and has made his work a priority over my daughter and I. We are best friends, but after years of begging for attention, he has finally admitted that he has not been a husband to me. Now I am to a point that I don’t know if I can look at him other than as a brother. I am torn apart breaking our family up. Do I settle with the companionship I have or do I risk being alone? I realize most marriages don’t have the wonderful base that we do have. I am completely torn.
While it is hard to spice up a marriage after years of neglect, it isn’t impossible. It takes time, and a whole lot of effort, but people who were once truly in love (as you two were) can fall in love with each other once again.
Breaking up a family is never easy on anyone. It is an emotionally volatile experience for all involved. It is very sad that things had to get to this point for your husband to fully understand how you feel, but at least he has the glimmer of understanding now, as well as the desire to correct it.
You and your husband have a solid base to work from, which is a good thing, but you do need time and distance to find out for yourself if you can experience romantic feelings for him once again. Even though it will cause great upheaval, a trial separation may be just the thing you need to allow yourself the freedom to honestly assess your feelings. Working on things under the same roof seems to present more of a challenge, because the two of you tend to slip back into old patterns and roles.
If you move forward with your separation plans, incorporate weekly counseling sessions for your marriage, and “date” your husband, this marriage doesn’t have to end. It will be hard to continue seeing your husband as brotherly when he is putting a great deal of effort into winning your heart over once again. You do still love this man, you just settled into a place without passion in order to keep your family intact.
Unless you choose to make it a mission, I don’t see this marriage coming to an end. So do what you need to do, give time a chance, and the “honeymoon stage” of marriage will enter your life once again.