Three months ago, my wife of five years told me she wanted us to separate. I was completely surprised. Our marriage was never, by any means, perfect – we often argued over very minor issues, but any disagreements were only very brief and we moved quickly.
We’ve had great adventures and traveled most of Europe and Asia together, and we’re both very close to each other’s family. From the beginning, we were both very clear that we wanted to have children. We put off trying to start a family until 18 months ago, while we pursued our careers and bought a house together. However, we have not had success with our fertility journey. Our GP recommended that I have a semen analysis, and the results, which came in just before my wife announced she wanted to separate, showed that the quantity and quality of my semen is very mediocre and that even through IVF I’m unlikely to ever be a father. a kid. A new analysis confirmed the results. My wife showed me very little empathy. Although I was visibly devastated, she backed off and refused to discuss the matter.
When she decided she wanted to break up, she said she didn’t love me anymore and she didn’t want to discuss it anymore. She moved back to her parents within a week and has barely spoken or replied to any of my messages since. She refuses to consult and is adamant that our marriage is over. The only explanation for all of this is my fertility issues. I know, as I am sure she does, that there are many solutions to these difficulties today, the obvious one being sperm donation. I respected her by keeping a distance, but I can’t accept that she no longer loves me and that our marriage is over, when there may very well be solutions.
The big difficulty here is that when one person wants to leave a relationship and offers no possibility of reconciliation, the other person can’t do much but accept it.
Yet you got married and you deserve an explanation to accept your new existence and start rebuilding your life. If you could understand better, it might allow you some ease, and it might be worth studying. What is your wife’s family history? Are there any stories of parenting or fertility issues in her family? Such stories can be hidden, so it can be difficult to decipher the real situation, but it is a very sudden decision on her part to leave so close to know that you have fertility problems.
You say you respect it by allowing distance, and that’s commendable, but it doesn’t allow for any conclusion or next step. Is it possible that you are reluctant to engage with her for fear of hearing that your marriage is really over? Fertility problems are common: one in six Irish couples will experience them, so it’s something most people are familiar with.
As you are in so much pain, certain steps need to be taken to move you through the shock phase of this disclosure.
Couples can experience intense closeness while going through such difficulties together, but they can also experience great distress as one or the other person may feel blamed, often without saying anything. These difficulties are often compounded by the silence that surrounds the situation, with little support offered to the bearer of the blame, in this case you.
As you have long wanted to have children, you have your own grieving process to go through, and this may have been put on the back burner as you deal with separation issues. You would benefit from emotional and psychological support at this time, as your losses are many, including the increasingly likely loss of connection with your wife’s family, with whom you have had such a close relationship.
One of the ways to have a conversation with your wife is to use the national family mediation service, as it allows all issues to be raised and discussed. However, you can only start this service if you both know clearly that the separation is on the cards, and it seems that you are not there yet. But it can be a way for you to open up a conversation while forcing yourself to accept that the relationship is at a tipping point that could lead to its end.
As you are in so much pain, certain steps need to be taken to get you out of the shock phase of this disclosure. Invite your wife to a series of open discussions where you can sort out the issues – if this is not possible on your own, ask a third party to help you (mediation, counseling, trusted friend or relative).
It’s possible you didn’t see it coming because you weren’t paying attention to what was really going on in your relationship, and bringing it up as a topic of conversation could get your wife involved as someone who doesn’t. is not entirely responsible for the relationship. situation you find yourself in. Be persistent in the need for discussion and seek your own support through this difficult and sad time. Free mediation for separating couples is available at citizensinformation.ie.