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After 30 years together, I'm not in love with my husband Add to ...

The question

I’m considering a divorce. My husband and I have fallen out of love, it feels, after 30 lovely years together. I couldn’t ask for a better friend - but I don’t see him as a soul mate anymore. We’re not intimate, I’m not tickled by him, and I’m not sure I can live the rest of my life like that.

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I don’t want to be alone and I’m worried about not finding anyone 'better.' But I’m just not thrilled by my husband. Is that a good enough reason for divorce?

The answer

Contemplating ending any long-term relationship – particularly a marriage that has spanned three decades – can be a highly stressful, confusing and sad time.

There is no right or wrong answer to your question of whether what you are describing is a “good enough” reason for a divorce. Ultimately both you and your husband need to do some soul-searching about what you want in your respective (and possibly collective) future lives, what is most important to you, and what weight your history together plays.

There is no doubt that certain circumstances (e.g., the presence of physical, emotional or verbal abuse; infidelity) are objectively more easily understandable reasons for ending relationships. You are not describing these issues, however, and rather describe having 30 “lovely” years together.

Ostensibly this can make any decision you make much more difficult. Ending a relationship is often more confusing if you feel there is no “good enough reason” to do it. You may be feeling the additional burden of being the partner that is taking the initiative to considering ending the marriage.

You speak of your husband and your relationship warmly – and my best advice is to first try to see if there is any possibility of things changing or improving in a way that could make you both happy.

Have you spoken to him openly about how you feel? What are his thoughts and his feelings? Could the two of you at least consider whether you could feasibly rebuild your relationship?

Relationships do change over time – and for many couples the intensity and/or frequency of passion and physical intimacy naturally changes. Physical intimacy is a key part of any relationship and the absence of that can understandably impact your overall level of relationship and life satisfaction. The absence of this alone can certainly be more than enough of a valid reason to end a relationship.

Have the two of you considered seeing a therapist that could help facilitate an open dialogue between the two of you about your issues? Or, have you considered initially talking to someone about your feelings and thoughts to help you further identify where you are it and whether the issues are solvable?

Whatever decision you choose, remind yourself that ultimately you need to make decisions that work best for you; others may not understand or agree, but you ultimately need to do what you know will contribute to you living the best and happiest life you can.

Send psychologist Joti Samra your questions at psychologist@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Dr. Samra.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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