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When did you know you really wanted a divorce?

 
 
WillJay
 
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 08:00 pm
I went through an affair that I broke off recently (http://able2know.org/topic/310222-1) and now that it's nearly month, I still feel horrible about my marriage.

I've been able to institute many dialogs with my spouse about the problems, abortion, intimacy, children, financial, careers, how we deal with each other, etc.. After broaching the subject 8 years ago, I've been able to get her in to see the family therapist I began seeing back in November (Mainly was to deal with our relationship issues, but also to help with managing our 8 year old ADHD child). She is not a fan of therapy (at times hostile towards it), but she went and seemed to enjoy it.

I've begun seeing my own therapist and put the ball in her court to set up her own appointment with a therapist (to help with what I, the therapists and our friends and family feel is) depression. I can' t tell her to go, that's her decision. She feels she has had depression and anxiety in her life, but I don't know how to help her deal with it.

While the dialog has been productive. I still don't feel anything about really making this relationship work. I've told her that much and said in November I do want out of this relationship. I do feel I owe to her and the children to try and find a small piece of me that wants to try and find a spark for our relationship. It's not happening though.

I've done a lot of listening and do admit my fault. Sometimes I feel she's giving too much blame to me, but it's how she feels and I accept that. I just have my own feelings.

I feel like I've been putting a bigger gap between us now that I'm not seeing anyone. I spend time with the kids by myself and put her in a position to spend time with the kids solo. I really have been enjoying the time with them and, as it has been for many years, when the spouse is along I just feel dismal.

To be quite honest, for the last 5 years I've been living with the fantasy that once the kids are grown, I am out of this relationship. I tried after the birth of our daughter 10 years ago and not long after our son to make changes to make the relationship work. All that has done was make me want out and drastically change me. Where I was once shy, introverted, unhealthy (building the married guy body), now I'm the opposite. This has come back to bite me, since I've made many great friends and want something different in a relationship, I think. It's just put more distance between us.

I don't know, I miss my friends, my ex-lover, my family/siblings. But, I feel terribly guilty leaving my kids and spouse in the lurch. I do have responsibilities there. But, I just feel so dismal with my spouse. The endless complaining about nothing, the lack of motivation, that she has felt the need to ignore her depression and that we have such different ideas on intimacy.

My therapist said give it time and do my best, in the end I want to be able to say I tried. It's so freaking hard to try when I feel like I WANT OUT and I want to scream that aloud every moment of the day.

Is this how you have felt when you decided you want out? Did you feel this way and were able to make it work and be content? Not just counting the days 'till you can get out or are dead.

She has said we just need to start over from this point and forget the past. In the last couple weeks she's 'forgiven' me for making her get an abortion. I don't know if it's that easy to forgive resentment she held on to for 17 years. And it's not easy to start over for me. If we just met today, I would not choose her for a spouse. Too many things we would not see eye-to-eye on.

We co-parent terribly. I feel she makes my job harder with many, many things because we don't agree on things. I'd say maybe it's me, but now that I'm talking to my friends about our issues, they seem really supportive since they saw all these issues years ago.

I really just feel dismal... if anybody can relate and offer their experiences, that would be appreciated.

Thanks
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maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 09:37 pm
@WillJay,
I waited too long to get a divorce. Once I went through with it, I have never regretted it. In fact, I have never met someone who regretted a divorce. I think human nature is to hang on too long to a marriage that clearly isn't working.

I moved out from my house when it was clear that things weren't going to get any better in my marriage. I started sleeping in the living room a couple of months before that (way too long in retrospect). At this time I was trying to resolve things and didn't want a divorce. I was trying to get marriage counseling.

After a couple of months of physical separation, and a chance to sort out my emotions, I decided that the marriage was over.

Some thoughts. Divorce is hard for everyone involved. You do it because you want to get it over with and you know that things will be much better once it is over.

Once you decide to divorce, you are not responsible for the mental health of your spouse. You should be kind, but she is an adult and she needs to find other people to support her. Your responsibility is to pick up the pieces of your own life.

I disagree with your therapist. Once it is clear that the marriage is not working (and it sounds like it is) you want to do this as quickly as possible. The longer you drag this out the more painful it will be for you, for her and for your children.

I highly recommend a civil divorce. Be fair, and try to compromise with your ex-wife, rather than fighting. We started out with divorce mediation, but this didn't work for us. I then found a lawyer who specialized in cooperative divorce (after first talking to one who wanted to fight tooth and nail with my ex-wife), and we didn't fight. The result is that now we are civil and cooperate with raising our children... which is a very good thing.

The key to a good divorce is communication. Once I was very clear that I wanted a divorce and that I and wanted to be decent (and not fight), things were easier. The most difficult part of the divorce was when I wasn't sure and was going back and forth... this was painful for both of us. It is the uncertainly that is the worst part, once you make it the divorce certain and let your wife know that it is certain you can both start the grieving process and start to move on.

I hope this is helpful.


cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 10:05 pm
@maxdancona,
Here's another side that has worthwhile information. Before my wife and I got married, we talked to the Buddhist priest's wife, then living in Mountain View, CA, because I've known their family from before WWII in Sacramento. We have lived in Sunnyvale (heart of Silicon Valley since the early seventies.) She told us that after a few years we're going to have disagreements, and the idea of divorce will be in our minds. She said forget that thought, because if you should divorce and marry again, you'll have similar or worse problems. How many times are you willing to divorce for disagreements?
We've been married for over fifty years now, and have settled into a very comfortable life. The only disagreements we may have is about the use of the Apple computer. pssst, she's now watching tv. Wink
WillJay
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 10:19 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I'm curious about what disagreements you had when you were younger and early in the relationship.

While disagreements are normal, what do you do when both partners have long standing resentment and guilt with each other? We are 13 years on a marriage and 20 years into the relationship. While I don't expect things to be rosy all the time, we seem to have grown apart instead of becoming closer.
WillJay
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 10:33 pm
@maxdancona,
How old were your children when you split?

I'm at the point I've been sleeping on the couch for nearly a year. I'm thinking it's time to do a physical separation and sort things out. I'm having massive anxiety right now and I'm having smaller, but more frequent times where I just feel like everything is falling apart and having a panic attack. She certainly feels the same pressure, but i just don't see her trying to make moves to find a common ground.

She did ask if I think I'd be happier out of the marriage, I know there will be many issues that are going to be horrible to deal with... but honestly I do think I'd be happier.

I do want to be decent. But, she will need to step-up her game, career-wise.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 11:16 pm
@WillJay,
My daughter was 8 (I have two older kids who were adults) when I moved out. I was open with my daughter through the whole process, the most important thing was to assure her that we both loved her. My wife and I had some fights... but both of us were always very careful not to put our daughter in the middle. This is something I have always told my ex-wife that I appreciate.

I asked for and received joint custody (my daughter spends 50% of the time with me).

The process is emotionally difficult, but it is generally straightforward. You need to divide your belongings and figure out how to split time with the kids. Fighting over who has the blame and who hurt who is not worth it (and a good lawyer or mediator will tell you this). You will have strong emotions... but it is far more productive to talk to your therapist about these than your soon to be ex-wife.

If you make more money than your wife, you will almost certainly pay child-support and possibly alimony. There is a formula for this, it is best to just follow it. I did agree to give a little more for a set period of time.

I feel it is really important that the divorce doesn't leave any loose ends. You are responsible for your children... but not for your wife. You will end up with a divorce agreement. You have no legal, or moral responsibility other than that. You should feel no other obligation to her... that's what divorce is.

The fact you will have a divorce agreement makes this easier. Just follow it.

Being decent, for me, means that we cooperate with our child. If my ex-wife needs time for herself, I take our daughter... and vice-versa. Her career isn't my concern, nor are her finances or anything else.


maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 11:19 pm
@WillJay,
Sleeping on the couch for a year must be hell. I am sorry you have had to go through that.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 11:45 pm
@WillJay,
I really don't remember, because they were over 50 years ago. I have a tendency to forget the bad things that happened to my life - which wasn't all that much. My life has been pretty good with a good family and friends, good education, good jobs, and better than average income. My wife was the best thing in my life.
WillJay
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Mar, 2016 09:04 am
@cicerone imposter,
Honestly, that's great! It sounds like you've grown together and were always working to a common goal. But, we've had a few issues that caused problems that only became worse as time has gone along. We have not been on the same page for a long time.

But, I am working on my own issues and using this as a way for self-improvement.
0 Replies
 
WillJay
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Mar, 2016 09:33 am
@maxdancona,
You are absolutely right. And that's where I struggle, giving up the sense of responsibility I have towards my spouse. My lingering guilt over pushing her into an abortion that she didn't want? Likely.

At times she seems like the third child in our household. She doesn't throw temper tantrums or anything like that. She is generally mild mannered. But, has not seem to have grown-up into a woman. Doesn't really take a lot of responsibility unless it's forced on her and has a really hard-time identifying with other adults due to that.

I would be far happier with a situation such as yours Maxdancona, I just don't think it's going to be easy to get to that point with her.

I'm more than happy to jump through hoops and hurdles to help out with the children. It's not their fault and they should not have to suffer because mom and dad can't live together.

I've had a consultation with a lawyer and after he got to know the situation, his advice was to get her up and running into a career, have her evaluating her own issues, etc.. Maybe offer her the house and it's equity in lieu of alimony/spousal. All things I'm comfortable with doing.

LOL, I have to laugh at myself... I'm making this far harder than it needs to be. I know what I want, I just I feel like such a selfish dick.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Mar, 2016 10:20 am
@WillJay,
At some point you just have to pull the trigger. It will be emotionally hard, it always is. But it gets easier.

Remember that she is not your responsibility. She depends on you because she can. As you said, she doesn't take a lot of responsibility unless it's forced on her (this is common in humans). The solution is to leave... and the responsibility will be hers.

You need to forgive yourself for the abortion thing. It is in the past and there is nothing you can do about that now. The only things that matter in a divorce are dividing money, and taking care of the children.

Remember that you have as much right to happiness as she does (and you have been the one sleeping on the couch for a year feeling miserable).

It might help to separate your logic from your emotions. Write down what you think is fair to give to her with the help of other people (i.e. therapist, lawyers and friends). Then stick with that through the emotions.

Good luck. Once the process starts rolling, things get easier.
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