Peter, in fact as you know I have been married three times, which I suppose says more about me than anything. However this last one has lasted 40 years now, although six years ago I was kicked into touch with the old emotional 'heave-ho'.
In all three yes it started with lust pure and simple, but there obviously was more to it than that as I wasn't 'going without' in any sense of the word. The first was a youthful folly that lasted all of six months before we both realised we had made a terrible mistake. Took three years to get out of that one.
Second fail was simply through the serial adultery of my wife. The current one exists in name and some friendship but that"s all.
One thing each of the ladies had in common was ultimate pragmatism. Looking back I realise that I was the 'romantic' not them. None of them were dependent on me financially although the current one did travel large chunks of the world with me, but was always my paid secretary, and not as 'my wife'. I thought it was a good life and pretty close to five-star most of the time.
Then although I had a longer career than most in my industry - just over 50 years age did finally slow down the work flow at just about retirement time. As mentioned we had anticipated good pensions from our contributions in Australia which were wiped out, so that was a financial shock*. Not being complete fools we did have reserve funds and we had bought our home outright and ditto with the car etc., and we had no debts whatsoever - and the financial management I place squarely on my wife's abilities, not mine.
I thought we were doing OK, until out of the blue came the old heave-ho. I was (justifiably) accused of being obsessional about my work, and as I am still trying to restore some income level this is still true. Secondly I didn't 'own her' - and I had never even thought about it in that light - but I supposed the possessive 'my wife' is indicative of that? But the cruncher was 'you can't force someone to love you'. All these points are inarguable on logical grounds, and as such impossible and pointless to fight against.
There was not enough money or I suspect (at least on my side) too much enthusiasm to try and start separate lives, so we now, after a few torrid years seem to have reached some equanimity and a shared house. I don't think she found anyone else, I just think she felt life was passing her by which was more pronounced after the peripatetic one we had enjoyed for so long. She now has her sister nearby, and both have taken up and are showing a remarkable and unsuspected talent for art which seems to be fulfilling for them both. They now also share theatre, cinema and other cultural delights that do nothing for me, such as Modern Dance, so although I am certainly sidelined and solitary except for my Skype contacts, it will probably suit until I fall off my twig in a very few years.
I still produce my books, albeit a little slower than before, I still do the odd painting of military subjects. I still read avidly and even voraciously and work at developing my collections of DVDs and books.
There will be few if any tears shed at my passing when it happens, and I genuinely am pleased about that, as I have patently not been the best of human beings in my life, as has been pointed out. But I am content to die with that fact as I am now to live with it.
Sorry that was a longer answer than anticipated, but this happens sometimes with simple questions requiring compound (and boring) answers!
* Just out of interest I have just been appraised of the latest on 'pensions' from Australia, although apparently has been in place for some while - I am sure IDS has taken note. Now there is no such thing as the 'Right to a Pension' in Australia, no matter how much or for how long you have paid in. Pensions are now assessed on 'individual need' and nothing else. This was tried whilst I was their under the title of 'the Means Test' which literally took stock of your assets - house, car, savings, investments, clothes, and all other possessions. If the net was (and now IS) considered to be over a certain amount you have no claim to a Pension.
So this is another 'catch-all' for those thinking of returning to Australia to claim their 'rights' - they no longer exist. Maybe yet another thought for those planning on a return to the UK? With a creep like IDS in charge, don't hold your breath!