Losing My Wife Who Is My BFF

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Hi all,

Most of the letters on this forum are from women, which is to be expected.  I regularly read these interesting accounts because they are informative, honest, help me to support my wife and consider views from a different perspective.  

I am a married man in my early fifties and my wife is of a similar age.  We both are healthy as we exercise 6 days per week and try to eat well. My wife has been going through the surgical menopause for the last six years.  She is now finally taking the correct HRT and she is doing well.  I have always considered myself an easy going person and not averse to doing any role in the house.  In fact, I am better at cooking and housework than D.I.Y (I know my limits). My wife and I have been married for 10 years, we do not have any children due to medical issues.  Until recently I considered my wife to be my best friend.  I am not naïve to believe that she tells me everything but if I was going to share my deepest darkest secret then she would be the only one I would tell.

In the last six years, I feel as though I have lost my BFF, lover and my rock. I am heartbroken and as I type this I have a mixture of emotions ranging from despair, mourning, betrayal (for writing this letter), frustration, anger, sorrow and love. I accept we all change over time for various reasons but what I had hoped wouldn’t change would be the love, intimacy and consideration for the other’s feelings.

Currently, my wife and I are very distant both emotionally and physically.  Over the years I have supported my wife through the menopause.  I have accompanied her to the majority of the medical appointments, I have read (and continue to read) menopausal literature, I have attended menopausal seminars, I have championed and raised menopausal adjustments in the workplace, I try to be understanding and tolerant about the symptoms and effects of the menopause (I’ve learnt to be quiet to avoid arguments and accept unusual and irrational behaviour) and I try not to take things to heart (but sometimes that is too difficult).

I love my wife and marrying her was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.  I am still in love with my wife and I really fancy her.  I give her genuine compliments and I have learnt to be tactful about her insecurities and encourage her to see herself as I and many other people do.  I am not perfect and I can be stubborn, miserable and on a few occasions childish often retreating to my “man cave”.  But even when I’m annoyed with my wife, one of her smiles can sometimes cause me to melt.

I honestly believe that my wife loves me but we are more like friends who happen to live in the same house. My wife’s reduced libido has seriously affected our intimacy and I am regularly rejected even when I just want a cuddle and I make it clear that I won’t try to have sex.  This has seriously affected my confidence in all aspects of my life, and I am now at a point where I won’t instigate contact through fear of rejection.  The spark in our marriage has gone.  I have tried to create excitement by arranging date nights, being sympathetic to her needs, arranging weekend breaks, taking as much stress off her as possible and just listening.  However, this does not seem to work.  I feel like my wife is very negative about life in general. Very rarely do I hear her say anything positive about her work, colleagues or other aspects of her life.  She seems to be very pessimistic about everything and I am the complete opposite.  I always look for positives, I don’t take myself seriously and I love laughing and making my wife laugh.  We don’t seem to laugh a lot anymore well at least not in each other’s company.

I have spoken to my wife about the way I feel and the way we have become.  My wife states that she feels distant as well and is not the same person since the hysterectomy.  She no longer feels like a real woman. Following these honest and candid conversations, our relationship improves but after a short while it quickly reverts back to how it was.  I now fill my spare time with hobbies and I no longer try as much as I used to make our relationship work.  A part of me believes this is what my wife really wants despite telling me she is so in love with me and could not see her life without me.  She seems oblivious or unconcerned that our marriage is suffering and that I am in a lot of pain.

So my question to the ladies and men on this forum is, do you recognise the above scenario and what are your words of advice?  Please be candid, over the last six years I have built up a very thick skin.  So if I need to “man up” then please say.  I recognise my happiness is my responsibility and not dependant on anyone else. I don’t expect my marriage to be one continuous honeymoon.  I just want to feel wanted, desired, respected and loved.  I don’t need to be put first on every occasion but I want to be considered. I don’t want to be the centre of anyone’s universe but I think our marriage should be most of the time.  I don’t want massive acts of affection, a small gesture or look will suffice.

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  • Posted

    Wow Brandon! Can you please just clone yourself...I have about 5 girlfriends that would love such a kind, empathetic, sweet & respectful guy like yourself - please don’t give up on your wife or your relationship you can weather this storm!!! I have been with my husband 38 years & I can guarantee you he could have written the same description of our relationship - these are tough times & nobody prepares you for it - my husbands complaint about me is that I am always so “on edge”, but when you are anxious, irritable & generally don’t feel well, you are “edgy”.  I wish I had some answers for you, but I don’t.  Just keep being kind to your wife, and think about the reason why you married her in the first place & give her foot massages...woman ?? That! 😃

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  • Posted

    I feel your pain, I went through the same, both 50ish, 11 years of bliss 1 day ended, after 6 months of, the only way I can describe it is her doing a complete 180, for what reason I will never know.

    We said we would be together forever and everyone around us thought the same, we was so in tune, most things in common, most of the time others commented on how good we was together, had a few ups and downs as all couples do but nothing I'd say would warrant her one day just telling me to leave and move as far away as poss. as she never want to see me again.

    I tried, I really really did, I knew all about the peri / meno,  Im not an  ignorant but in the end I lost, I lost everything, I was completely shocked and so was everyone else 

    Its been just over 2 years now and Ive not heard a peep, nothing, she's a new life, new man, I'm history.

    Am I happy, No, has it changed me as a person, Yes, It'll always be in the back of my mind as to why, Yes

    Sorry to say that's how it went for me, yes Ive had to "man up" and get on with it.

    I really really hope it dont end the same way for you too 

     

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    • Posted

      Steve, I hope you find someone to share your life with, if that's what you want. Like you I would be devastated if my marriage ended and I would mourn for a time but I know life will go on. Thank you for sharing. I am going to keep on trying for as long as I can.

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  • Posted

    My dear Brandon, I feel so badly for you and I see it from both sides of the fence as my man is probably thinking the same way you do. Men, even when they are as supportive and understanding as you as my man is aswell, you cannot comprehend what happens to us at this time. Your wife has tried to reassure you that she still loves you and I believe she does. I keep telling my man how much I love him, and that its me not him, that is the problem. He feels useless because he can't help with this, but he doesn't realise, I couldn't get by without him. He is as supportive as can be, I'm nearly 55 and he is nearly 50. Sex is 2 or 3 times over a 6 month period as I have no libido thanks to this process. We used to have sex nearly every bloody day in the early years, we've been together 13 years. Believe me it is not intentional, its this horrible process and we don't mean to hurt those who love us it just happens as a result of such a sudden and drastic change to our bodies and our minds. It affects both quite severely and we often feel completely helpless as we don't know what to do to help ourselves and unless we have considerate drs providing excellent medical care, we don't have much to look forward to. I am on HRT patches which do help a lot, but I still have some really bad days. I look like one of the walking dead, I am losing my hair, I have no eyebrows and I hate how I am. I look and feel like I'm 70. I have little or no self esteem because of how this process has ravaged my body. I'm lucky my man sees beyond my looks and loves me for who I am not what I look like. I have a grown son living at home still. He and his best friend who has adopted me as his mum, know what's happening, and luckily they feel awful about what's happening to me, and they are there for me as and when I need them. Your wife hasn't deliberately pushed you away, she has no control over how she feels at all. The hrt can help as I said but it does have limitations and you feel hopeless and helpless at the same time. Try and dig your heels in and let her know that you love her and will support her through this even if it means stepping back and giving her some space. Just be there for her when she needs you because if she is anything like me, I need my man and I believe your wife needs you. If she didn't want you, your relationship sounds to me like she would say so and she hasn't said that, she has done her best to tell you the exact opposite that she still loves you. The strange thing about this process is that you say what you feel as your emotions are so screwed up and I believe if she didn't want to be with you she would say so. Please try not to take her coldness personally. The last thing on our minds when this happens is sex. I love my man, and I still fancy him as much as I did when we first met, I just can't help it. Would you rather have your wife be honest and tell you she has no libido, or would you want her to lie there and think of England as the saying goes,and like a sack of spuds and knowing she is not getting any pleasure out of it and is just doing it out of duty to please you. You love her, would you really want that. My man has accepted that unless my sex drive recovers, sex is likely to be an every once in a while occurrence, not a regular thing. I think if you really want to save your relationship that you must let her know that its her you want and that if sex is just too hard for her at the moment don't worry about it. At the end of the day, if you get too desperate, I'm sure just as my man does, relieve yourself if you get what I mean. After being on the right hrt for a few months she may come round to being intimate again. Let her come to you for a cuddle when she feels she needs it. I don't really know what else to say except I wish you all the best and hang in there. You sound like a good man who really loves his wife and it would be so sad for you to lose that. Here if you need me or you can pm me if you wish. We welcome men on this forum aswell as women. X

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    • Posted

      Tina, you have really given me a lot to think about and everything you have said makes a lot of sense. I have known for a long time that my wife feels out of sync and on occasions I must not have helped. I will be patient regarding the intimacy and try to be more tolerant in general.

      You are spot on about lying back and thinking of England. I have sensed the lack of connection during the love making. I have blamed myself and tried to be a better lover but afterwards I feel terrible and empty as oppose to that blissful feeling knowing that you've satisfied your partner. I will suggest that we abstain for a while but remain loving. Hopefully this will relieve some of the pressure and remove some of the elephants in the room. And as you allude to, I can always "take matters into my own hands". Thank you.

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    • Posted

      You are very welcome Brandon and if you have any other observations or worries you wish to share, please feel free and pm me if you wish. Always here for you just as I would be for any of the ladies on here. X
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  • Posted

    Hi Brandon, so sad for you to have to go through this difficult period in your life. I would highly recommend psychological  therapy for yourself and or the two of you together. You just might get to the real issues whether your wife needs meds or something deeper is going on with her not just menapause. You need someone to speak to to help YOU navigate thru. Good luck!
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    • Posted

      Shana, we have both had individual therapy but not together. I think we have both been using our exercise regime as a distraction. I will suggest joint therapy. Thank you
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  • Posted

    I’m only at the beginning of my new journey so probably don’t have enough experience or good advise for you, but you sound like your doing the right things. It does however sound like your wife might be depressed. If a surgical menapause is an hysterectomy it is a big thing for a woman to go through, then being thrown into the menapause must be extremely hard.  Like I said I’ve no advise as I’m just starting out and trying herbal stuff but I do think your wife needs a little more medical help.  I do know though that she couldn’t get anymore support from yourself you sound like a star.   All the best.   
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    • Posted

      Thank you Tracy. I again suggested the Well Woman's clinic I can only hope my wife will go. However, I have now resigned myself to getting on with things. All of your advice has really helped given me more impetus.

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  • Posted

    Good Morning Brandon,

    First off I applaud you for acknowledging the change your wife has gone through. Most men don’t even consider what menopause does to a women. My husband could have written this as well. We got married 6 years ago. I’m 55 and he married me right before my libido took a nose dive. I’m sure sex was a big reason why he married me and now it’s basically non existent. I feel really bad but let me share it from my perspective. I used to be able to orgasm with him very easily and that was a turn on as my husband cares about pleasing me. Now sex is more painful and I don’t orgasm and I feel that he thinks i’m Not turned on. So sex is a disappointment to me because I can’t do this for him anymore. He hates his job, I have a 20 yr old with us who is pregnant and I changed my mind about relocating to another state because I want to stay near my grandkids so I feel like he now hates our life. He deserves to be happy and so do you. What your wife is experiencing does change us mentally and emotionally. We have now entered the final stage of our life and it’s undaunting. Some women embrace it some fight it. Couples therapy is a good idea Brandon. The fact that you believe in menopause is a huge thing and I wish there were men out there like you!

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  • Posted

    You said she just started Hrt?  She should have been on that from the beginning; what a shock to the body to lose precious hormones and have nothing to replace it.  But truthfully, the best thing to do would be BHRT, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  The synthetics are hard for the body to process and recognize, the bio's are plant based and identical to the bodies own hormones.  I went through early menopause at 40, and for the years before that I was like your wife, and my poor husband went through the wringer with me, and being so young, it was especially hard.  Thankfully, he is like you, and very caring and understanding, but not superman---your description of childish pouting and escaping sounds familiar smile---don't blame the poor guy though.  I got on BHRT's and my life is back.  I don't feel tired, depressed, "unwomanly", anxious, achy, and all the other horrible symptoms anymore.  They even added a bit of testosterone into the mix to help my libido get back to normal.  When I say, it wasn't there before, it wasn't.  Numb.  Nothing stirred it.  Now I feel like when we were dating!  My husband is so thankful, as am I.  I get it from a compounding pharmacy and they make it for me there.  I am still adjusting doses monthly as my OBgyn goes by my symptoms, and it gets better every month!  I am losing the bit of weight around my middle, and hopefully getting some lean muscle back that I lost.  

    Brandon, its not just about being patient and suffering.  We should not feel this way.  Especially with your wife in surgical menopause, her body is crying out for hormones that it recognizes.  She can feel back to herself and you both can have each other feeling healthy, sexual, and happy together.  I found my obgyn that prescribes the bio-identicals by calling my local compounding pharmacy and asking who they work with.  That was my magical step that brought me back!  Don't hesitate, don't mind your wife if she is hesitant or doubtful, she is in the state that is horrible and you feel no hope.  Do this for her.  

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    • Posted

      Casey, I'm so glad that you are both moving in the right direction. Just to clarify ( my mistake) my wife was prescribed HRT immediately after surgery. However, it took nearly 4 years before she got bespoke HRT. I personally think it needs to be reviewed or at least adjusted. I've suggested this to my wife so I'm hoping she will make an appointment. In the meantime I'm going to focus more on being positive and return to previous hobbies that I let slip . While still loving and supporting my wife.

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