I truly believe that if the roles were reversed she would be there for me to do everything possible to make it work.
The roles are reversed. You’re not getting your needs met (boundaries, affection, intimacy). You confronted her regarding and she got annoyed, gaslighted you, told you "the fundamentals of marriage may not be for her".
She is clearly NOT "doing everything to make it work"
She’s doing the opposite. She seems to be laying the groundwork to discontinue the marriage. She’s disconnecting. She will later say, "We’re growing apart" and use that as an excuse to leave the marriage or cheat.
When she’s actually the one growing apart, checking out.
I was 22 years into my marriage, roughly the same age as you, three kids, etc, etc with a more subtle onset of Red Flags than yours. Red Flags that only became apparent in hindsight.
Looking back, honestly looking back, there wasn’t anything I could have done to change the course of events. There was plenty she could have done but, in her own words, her cheating had nothing to do with me or the state of the marriage. It was all on and in her.
Assuming she hasn’t cheated yet:
I would recommend an emergency intervention. Tell her you are very concerned about the state of your marriage and would like to have a serious talk about it. Tell her you feel you two are growing apart and that you’re concerned that mutual needs may be neglected. Request marriage counseling. If she is not responsive or refuses MC, you’ll have a better idea where her head is at. This will establish a baseline of due diligence on your part so she can’t come back down the road and say you didn’t try, you didn’t care, you didn’t notice.
At the same time, I would step up surveillance, discreet surveillance. Don’t tip her off that you suspect cheating. She’ll just take her wayward activities-if any, further underground or temporarily put them on hold until you grow complacent.
Regarding your comment that you’re too old to start over, that attitude will sand bag you, set you up to grovel and play very unattractive and off putting "Pick Me Dances".
You have to be mentally and physically prepared to ditch the marriage to save the marriage. Sounds unintuitive but…
This is called personal boundaries. Your grievances regarding the marriage are just as legit as hers. If she’s truly interested in saving, or even maintaining, the marriage she has to meet you at the bargaining table. She has to be engaged. You don’t drag her there. You don’t beg her there.
If she refuses to put the work in, tell her she’s set you on a course towards divorce.
And tell yourself that there are plenty of fish in the sea who can easily replace her-easily. Because my 58 year old self is here to tell you there are. I too thought my WS was my one-and-only. I thought I would never get so lucky again. Shit, my new gal has totally redefined for me what it is to be loved and desired.
Keep this in mind, and you’ll properly protect your dignity and not put up with less than you deserve.
[This message edited by RealityBlows at 9:08 AM, Monday, September 5th]