Terrified of being alone

Joe’s second marriage may be on the rocks, but the thought of being alone and losing his new family terrifies him. Is the fear of being alone enough reason to give his marriage another go?

Q. Joe
After my wife died, I thought I would be alone forever but I was lucky enough to meet a woman and even though she was 28 years younger than me, we really hit it off. After five years together, we got married and spent eight years quite happy, or so I thought, as husband and wife. However, she has just turned my life upside down by announcing that she feels she has been living a single life all these years as I simply work too much and don’t want to do a lot of the things she does. I thought I was thoughtful by giving her the space to enjoy time with her friends and can’t believe I got it so wrong.

I’m now 68 and the thought of starting over again terrifies me. Also, her large family has very much become my family and I don’t want to lose them. What should I do? Is it worth trying to give it another go?

A. Unfortunately it sounds like your wife has been unhappy for a while. It’s important that you acknowledge how she’s been feeling and encourage her to really open up to you about it. That way, she will hopefully feel heard and validated before you explain how things have been for you. Tell her that you want the marriage to work and you are willing to do all it takes. Make suggestions of things you could do together and paint a picture of what you see as a happy future. Ask for her suggestions and really listen to what she says. It might also be worth reminiscing about the happier times and what attracted you to each other. Surprise her with your memory of little details about the early years and arrange a date that replicates one of your first memories together. In other words, show her how much she means to you as well as telling her.

Related articles:
Discussing a previous marriage
Is my marriage doomed?
Is my marriage worth the fight?

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