It’s always disheartening when someone close to you doesn’t care about something as much as you do. But when that “something” is your marriage, and that person you care about is your wife, that’s just asking for heartache.
Redditor “ThrowRAdivorce980” shared on the “Relationship Advice” subReddit his dilemma, after hearing his wife tell her friend that she had settled for marrying him and still thought of her ex, 20 years later.
The Redditor told the community:
“I (45M) overheard my wife (45F) saying she settled for me. I told my wife I wanted a divorce [and] now all h**l is breaking loose.”
The Redditor shared what he heard his wife say.
“I (45M) have been married to my wife (45F) for 20 years. I genuinely thought we were in love, until I overheard her on the phone recently remarking to a friend that she feels she settled for me and thinks about her ex every day.”
“Her exact words ‘I feel like i settled for him… i love him but he doesn’t excite me the way Tom did. Sometimes I wish Tom had been serious with me’.”
He was surprised to hear this, after all his wife had told him about Tom.
“Tom is her ex who she dated on and off before she met me. I always thought she was done with him Bevause she told me that he ‘meant nothing to her’ because he refused to seriously commit but hearing this all these years later broke my heart.”
Because of all of this, he knew the relationship was over.
“I know it sounds crazy, but in that moment I knew it was over. I knew I wanted a divorce. But what I struggled to accept was that i was brainwashed for 20 years and living my life based on a lie. I’m feeling a lot of unreality.”
His family doesn’t understand his perspective, however.
“I told her I overheard her and that it’s over. She broke down in hysterics saying it wasn’t what it looked like.”
“Both of our children are now grown adults (19M and 21F) so she can’t hold anything over me.”
“I just know I want out but her and our entire family has taken her side calling me a fool and idiot.”
The Redditor turned to the subReddit, looking for advice.
“What do I do?”
Redditors shared their thoughts on the OP’s (Original Poster’s) current relationship status, ranging from talking to his wife to questioning the entire relationship.
Some believed the OP should hear his wife out and not throw 20 years of marriage away.
“I’ve said some stupid s**t in my life that I didn’t mean. I’d hope my husband of less than 1 year would hear me out rather than ending everything over a simple comment that could have been massaged to make the friend feel better about their situation.”
“I think OP didn’t explain whatever else had been going on to cause him to feel neglected or second class over their relationship. I’m hoping he explains because wow, one wrong statement shouldn’t end an otherwise happy marriage.” – Willothwisp2303
“I agree that maybe ending 20 years for a comment may be an overreaction, but it’s also devastating that she would, for the sake of making a friend feel better (theoretically) throw her husband under the bus ~ that doesn’t show much in the way of respect for your partner.” – QuantumComputations
Others disagreed, believing the past 20 years were essentially a lie.
“Half the people commenting probably haven’t been alive that long.”
“Also been married for 20 years.”
“This isn’t even open for debate. OP is right, the last 20 years have been a lie, gtfo and don’t waste the next 20 years.” – Shivadxb
“This is a really good point and it resonates with me cause I’m sure marriage…twenty years of marriage is work but damn, if I overheard that. Knowing fully that it was something she’d been repressing, I’d immediately need some kind of recourse from my spouse because I mean…how else am I supposed to feel?! F**k. I wish you peace OP.” – muva_snow
“This thread is absolutely disgusting, The downplaying is absurd holy s**t.”
“‘Oh, how can you throw a 20 years relationship away over a simple comment.'”
“SHE LITERALLY SAID SHE WISHES THOSE 20 YEARS DIDN’T HAPPEN WHAT THE F**K ARE YOU ON ABOUT.”
“‘Oh she didn’t mean it, and even if she DID mean it she didn’t REALLY mean MEAN it you know? She is just remembering stuff wrong, lying to her self, take her to the therapist'”
“‘All of this doesn’t matter you were just looking for an excuse to dip’ with a side of insult and wishes of bad fortune”
“This is the one that really p**ses me off. 20 f**king years, 20 years MARRIED mind you.”
“Do you honestly believe that talking with someone who has been lying and omitting for 20 godd**n years now that what they lied and omitted for is in danger is going to suddenly magically solve anything?” – suiphobic
A few pointed out the wife’s comments probably had less to do with a specific ex and more to do with being bored in their relationship.
“There’s a great Johnathan Richman lyric about looking back that goes: ‘When you long for some little girl that you dated, do you long for her or the way you were? That summer feeling’s gonna haunt you the rest of your days.'”
“Lyrics are lyrics, not life, but it asks a good question.”
“Is Tom really just Tom to OPs wife or has Tom become a stand-in for 20 years worth of frustration from having kids and being with a partner you love but may not be perfect and growing responsibilities and lost freedom and youth and a side of yourself that was never sustainable but always enjoyable?” – CanAlwaysBeBetter
“It’s romanticizing the past and is something that comes up in therapy a lot. It can be over family, friends, or romantic relationships. It entails forgetting about reality, basically, and only remembering the good stuff. Or a future that probably would not turn out the way you think it would.”
“Recently I have been doing a lot of self reflecting and found I do this. Or did. It’s one of the best things I ever realized. It enabled me to let so much go.”
“That being said, his wife is wrong here and he has every right to leave this relationship.” – mandalarie
Others pointed out this would be very hard to come back from, no matter the circumstances.
“Put yourself in his [shoes] though how would you feel if someone you believed is your soulmate feels like you never really lived up to her expectations and she still thinks about her ex for 20 years. You would probably break down, I know I would.”
“Plus everyone is not on his side and all the anger he feels he wants to use it to show them that he is not. Also it will never be the same, you can never [unhear] that, also I hope they can work it out 20 years should mean something let’s hope for the best.” – Xxavier359
“All I can imagine is the heartbreak. This poor man. I even turned and read the story to my husband. I wouldn’t be able to stay either, I’d be destroyed. I believe wholeheartedly in communication but there’s no fixing this.” – DrMcFoxyMD
Whatever the wife’s original reasons for making the comments, the subReddit seems divided on whether or not the OP should try to make it last or throw it all away.