On the verge of divorce - need advice
I'm a 42 year old male and will soon be married for 10 years to my wife and need marriage advice for what seems like an inevitable divorce. We met at my current job while she was still married to her previous husband and I had just gotten out of a bad relationship. I was looking for someone who shared christian values and had a family in the future, not just partying and living for the day like my previous relationship. For my wife, she was unhappy with her marriage because she felt he was not a family man and although they had no kids she knew he didn't even want to move in that direction.
It seemed that we had found in each other what we were missing. We moved together once her divorce was final and within 9 months we got engaged. We bought a house soon after and married a year after our engagement. During this period I think we were happy, her friends used to tell me that they hadn't seen her this happy before and likewise I felt happy that I had found someone who shared the same values as I did. We also had a couple of fights, but didn't think much of it because everyone has fights... I admit I felt troubled because I feel that some of those fights were flags regarding my wife's behavior.
As I sit here to write this is hard to think of specific examples of how arguments started back then, but I know that they did and were hurtful to me. I remember after having bought the house that I was away on a business trip and she called me to tell me that water was leaking underneath kitchen sink. I explained to her over the phone on how to turn off water to that sink and asked how things were... she was so upset and aggravated that she started yelling at me and tell me that I needed to stop talking so that she could tell me how things were. I consider myself of very calmed demeanor... at least I always had, my family and friends have always told me the same thing and I really think of that myself, however anytime we have an argument she is quick to throw in my face that "oh, everyone thinks you have such a mild demeanor but if they only knew!"... anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. After that argument I remember coming back to our new house and having a conversation with her to let her know how I felt.
Soon after she seemed edgy and I remember to start feeling like walking on egg shells when talking to her, she was easy to escalate an issue into an argument if I didn't agree with her... It sounds bad writing it now, but it didn't sound that bad back then, it simply was something that I was willing to accept and just deal with. She was under an anti-depressant medication, or at least that's what I thought it was, she later has told me that this medication is a profilactic medication she needs to take for migraines but to be honest I haven't checked on it myself. Soon after this we proceeded with the wedding.
At the beginning of our marriage I always enjoyed doing 2 things, playing poker with friends on Friday nights and golfing on Sunday mornings with a league. I had done this even before I dated my wife and while we dated she was always accepting of it, she used to tell me that she never wanted to come between my friends and I and actually enjoyed the stories I used to tell her on how we busted each other during my outings with them. During other days we did things together, she enjoys going to restaurants and trying food so we used to do that most of the time, she even had mentioned that she would've liked to do restaurant reviews at one time but nothing ever happened from that. I do admit, she brighten up my taste palat and allowed me to get out from the usual places I used to visit which were maybe 1 or 2 on a regular basis.
After getting married she complained that I was golfing too much and that how long was I planning on keeping up with the Friday night poker game. I wanted to compromised and I felt that poker wasn't needed all the time, after all I was coming home late from my friends house on Saturday morning like at 3am and that made me tired during the day so I could see how that would be a problem, also it was keeping me from having a normal sleep schedule. So after many arguments I compromised and said that I wasn't going to do that all the time, maybe once a month, she was fine with that in the beginning. The whole purpose was to do things together and on Friday nights if I suggested to go to a movie, she would say that she was too tired and rather wanted to go to sleep early. I was accepting of that. However golf also started to become a problem. She would say that she would be home doing chores while I was golfing and she resented that. I offered to help more with chores around the house so that she wouldn't feel burden with that.
She was at first happy that I offered but then she started to get resentful about me asking what specific chores I could help with.I asked if I could create a list of things that needed to be done and how frequently, then that would help so that she wouldn't feel resentful as I would know when those needed to be done and do them. I wasn't apprehensive to do any chores I just didn't know what specifically needed to be done. My wife is considered by her friends as a "clean freak", a denomination that she even laughs about and is not afraid to admit to others, almost like a pride badge. I mention this because she would tell me that if I didn't know what exactly needed to be done around the house then she couldn't help me. In her mind, she wasn't there to be my mother and tell me what to do or when to do it but that I should figure that out myself. Additionally, it was difficult because when I tried to help she would be quick to say that I wasn't doing it right and just tell to leave it and that she would handle it in a very aggravated tone.
Over time I stopped golfing so that I just wouldn't deal with the stress. After not having golfed or played poker for 6 months I would asked if it was OK to do that once and she would just in an annoying voice say "OK". I would ask why and that would just ensue an argument that would begin with "is that what you want to start doing now?". I would respond that I hadn't done it in months and my intention was not to do this regularly but maybe a month here or there. The argument would continue where she indicated that it was easy for me because I had friends that share similar interests but she didn't have friends to do things with. She had moved to the state where we met from a different state and that all her college friends were far away.
I used to tell her that I thought it was healthy for us to do things with friends sometimes and that I would support her to do things with new friends. She didn't know where to look for other friends so I would ask her to take on a hobby or something that she felt passionate about and that I would support her... Unfortunately that didn't work. We had a couple our age that lived next door and I thought she could hang out with the wife. Although they were good neighbors, she just didn't click much with her. They went out to dinner a couple of times and had drinks with the neighbor's girlfriends but nothing much happen in terms of them hanging out in a regular basis.
I encourage her to take vacation time to go see her girlfriends when they could all plan a trip, so they went to NYC together or California but when she came back from those trips it was always the same problem... She would be depressed because she wasn't near them and she was missing her home state. We were then married for close to a year and got news that we were gonna have a baby. Very exciting for both of us and really thought that this was going to be something really good for our marriage.
Unfortunately right after the news of the baby she started to become a little more edgy, anything would set her off. Around that time since we worked in the same company we went to the company's christmas party. My ex also worked there and she knew that because she knew her but disliked her, I think that for no other reason that she was my ex. She used to tell me how she didn't like her because of how she used me and although I knew that I wasn't bitter and I wasn't critical of her... needless to say the topic of exes wasn't brought up before because it just made it very uncomfortable for me and also created unnecessary drama. . So back to the christmas party, at that time we had already gotten into arguments in the past because she found out that my ex had called me or ran into me at the hallway simply to say hello and how everything was going. She had already moved on with someone else, and she simply wanted to say hello. I knew that she had done that with previous relationships while were together so it wasn't surprising that she was doing that with me as well, just staying friends that is. That wasn't something my wife approved of and she was very much irritated about when she had heard that other people saw me talking to my ex. So she asked me to write an email to tell her to stop and that I didn't need to stay in communication with her. I respected that and did as she asked. Unfortunately while at that Christmas party my wife had taken a moment to go to the bathroom and in those few minutes my ex decided to stop by my table, which was full of my wife's co-workers to say hello to me. My color faded from my face as I knew that was going to be a huge problem if my wife came back while she was there. Fortunately she simply sat down, said hello and asked me if I was doing ok and went on with her new boyfriend to the rest of the party. When my wife returned to the table my ex had already left so no foul..... at least that's what I thought at the time.
The next day one of my wife's co-workers was having a lunch at her house for girls only so my wife went and just dropped her off. When it came time for me to pick her up she called to come immediately and she was very upset but I didn't know why since she didn't say on the phone. When I picked her she proceeded to rip me a new one as she had found out that the tramp had stopped by and said hello to me, she was furious because I hadn't said anything to her about that... I told her that her visit was of no more than 1 minute at the table and that I didn't want to cause any problems that's why I hadn't said anything. She was obviously very upset and proceeded to grill me with questions of "are you F**#$# her?", is that why you wanna go golfing or play poker because I can hook up with her (although I hadn't done that in months)... All of those allegations were false but she was upset and to be honest I was angry at my ex for stopping by... Needless to say that ruined the entire weekend. My wife's demeanor changed and I she just wouldn't talk. I told my wife that I was going to have a serious conversation with my ex the following Monday and let her know that we didn't need to stay in touch which I did. That same weekend the argument got so heated and my wife was slamming doors around the house and even though at first I tried to stay calm the moment that she kept accusing me of having relations with my ex or probably doing other things during the times that I was golfing or playing poker I had just had enough, so I got up and said that I was going to go for a drive and let things cool off... She became enraged and said that I wasn't leaving the house, at that point I said "the hell I am". We had already argued back and forth about the same things since 4pm and it was 11pm at that time so I had had enough. I grabbed my car keys and she grabbed them out of my hand to try to pull them so hard that basically buried the key ring in my hand and I started to bleed. I asked her that what was she doing and if she was crazy.
This was happening very quickly and although I had never ever lifted a finger to hit her, she started to ask me right on my face "what are you gonna do?, you gonna hit me?" I was furious but I reminded her that I would never lift a finger to hit a woman. I reminded her of how when I was growing up my dad had hit my mom and that I promised I would never ever do anything like that to a woman. So she proceeded to tell me how easy it was going to be for her to simply call 911 and tell them that I hit her, the police would take her side and simply cause all kind of problems for me including losing my job from the police arrest. At that time, I was able to walk out the door and take the car key with me. I didn't care what she was going to do at that time, I just knew I had to get out of the house. I drove for about 2 hours. It was late so I was sure my old friends had already gone to sleep... That day I felt so alone and the most depressed I have ever been in my life. When I returned home I slept in the couch and the next morning we didn't talk at all. I felt very depressed and the next day after work I told my wife that I was sorry for not having told her about my ex stopping by and that I would try to be a better husband... Now that I think of these things I realize how much I have said "I'm sorry" over the years just to bring peace to home and to bring back a sense of normalcy, but at what price?
The word divorce got brought up for the first time during that christmas argument, we hadn't been married a year at that time and in my mind all I could think is I'm married now, we bought a house with a 30 year mortgage and now we're also gonna have a baby, so that quickly became not an option for me and I convinced my wife to continue trying. This was also the first time of at least 3 times in our marriage that I offered to go to counseling to get help. Every time my wife has refused because she doesn't feel comfortable with someone else knowing our dirty laundry and is not confident that anyone else can help because they don't know us... I've begged that we could just try, I don't care who and that she could pick the counselor but she objects. I admit, that has made me wonder many times why but I've continued to believe that we can make it work... that I can make it work.
I just realized that I've written so much and still have so much to share... I don't even know if anyone will actually take the time to read this far but I hope someone will. I will fast forward a few years and now 2 years ago my wife gets diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we still leave in the same house but she is more adamant about moving back to her home state and how I knew that from the moment we got married. That was not my understanding at all and I have told her that but that just creates more arguments which we have continued to have for the last years. Our little one is now 5 years old, my wife no longer works at the same company as I do. She found a similar job working from home and that was good in different ways but in one. She finds it very easy to just keep working through the evenings very regularly and that originally caused problems when I would ask to spend sometime together watching tv shows that we used to watch together but she would get upset because she said that I would put too much stress for her to come spend time together when she felt pressured that she needed to perform better at work... So I stopped asking.
So now, with the new cancer dianosis we don't know what's going to happen and although I try to comfort her saying that everything is going to be ok, we just need to pray about it and let the doctors do the best they can do, she would argue with me about that too. Like, how do you know things are going to be ok, you're not the one with cancer, you're insensitive, and other things around that same topic. She was even more depressed that she didn't live in her home state and she wasn't going to have her friends nearby for support. So I proposed to sell our house and move to her home state and that I would ask my job to see if they would let me work from home a few times a month and that we would budget my flights accordingly. Also, I would ask one of my golf buddies who was now retired to see if I could stay in one of the rooms in his house.... All of these things came through, I got approval to work from home every other week, my friend would allow me to stay in a empty room in his house for free and we would just need to budget about 18k year for my travel expenses as we would incur on those, like taking a pay cut but better than looking for a new job that would pay me as much as the one that I've had for the last 20 years. I told her that I wouldn't mind the sacrifice as long as she didn't. She agreed and was ecstatic that we were doing that. By that time, she had already had her thyroid removed which had removed the entire cancer as well, we had also been able to sell our house and had found a rental house in our new home state.
In my mind things were getting better, I didn't mind the sacrifice although it got really hard. Not spending time with my daughter during the week became really hard at first. She would be sad when I had to leave and that would just break my heart. At first I thought that she would find the happiness she had asked for by being near her friends and that her attitude would also change. However, soon other problems started to come out. She would be upset that she had all the house responsibilities during the week, that she was the one doing all the things for our daughter school and she was not being appreciated. Although we had talked about this before making the move and she was totally fine with dealing with the extra responsibilities as long we moved back to her home state. My work reassigned me last year to a different department and as a result my new boss was not a fan of the work from home arrangement so my choice was only to fly every week. We are talking about a 1.5 hour one-way flight between the 2 states every week. This wasn't well received at home and although I was stressed and demoralized, I didn't feel much support from home. My wife's now pushing me to get a new job closer to home and I have been trying to do that for close to a year now, unfortunately with my resume it is hard to find something that pays me similar to what I make right now (140k per year). My wife makes 70k and between the both of us live a decent middle class lifestyle. Also, after having sold our previous home and renting for a while we just bought a new house last year, a pretty expensive house that I can't afford to take a pay cut for so it makes it really hard for me to just jump to another job without having a similar pay.
Now I am starting to get really irritated about her edginess. Mainly because it affects the way my daughter reacts to her as well. I hate saying things in haste, things that you can't take back. I've mentioned that to my wife several times and her response has been that I shouldn't take things so literal. Like calling me names in previous years like asshole or other non-appropriate terms. I remind her that I don't call her names so that she shouldn't do the same, and also how she claims to be such a christian so she should be a better example. That irritates her a lot so the drama just gets worse, so I try not to say that unless it gets really out of control. More recently she will use more curse words in front of our now 8 year old daughter, like shit or f$... and I have gotten into arguments with her as to being a better example and avoid using those words. Also, she is quick to interpret the way things that are being said to her as mean or negative. For example, the other day she asked me if I sprayed when I came out of the toilet and I said in a very calm and actually good loving way "yes I did honey", she immediately reacted to me and said "why did you respond so mean to me?, I don't deserve that"... I was like "What do you mean? I was actually making an effort to say it in a good voice tone", she then replied "well whatever, you didn't sound that way"... Again, this is just one example of many that are always said by her to me... I'm say it using a mean voice, she's starting to say that to my daughter and when my daughter tries in a simple way to explain that "no mommy, I was just trying to tell you that I wasn't doing this or that", then my wife snaps and tells my daughter that she should be quiet before she needs to slap her because that's disrespectful to talk back... I then intervene and then that just creates more problems because she then tells me that I'm taking our daughter's side and that I'm making her to look like the bad person... I then try to do damage control so that my daughter is affected as little as possible
This is exhausting, the more I write about this the more depressed I'm getting... Not sure if I'm event going to submit this yet but I'll wrap it up next. We haven't been intimate in a year, we don't kiss or even do a hug or sign or love like caress the other's back... Not because I don't try, which I have tried to do those things, she on the other hand does not. For sex, she claims that she's always had some issue down there, for kissing she claims that my beards hurts her lips, and that she's just not that touchy feely as I am, is not within her to be because she claims that I'm not taking care of myself, that I have a smell that impregnates the sheets, although I shower and have taken extra steps to use shower gel or shampoo that is of her approval, and the most recent complaint from 2 years ago, that my snoring is so bad that that irritates her to the point of just losing her sleep and therefore it makes her not like me. So I have gotten a machine that allows me to breath at night and prevents me from snoring (CPAP), although is very uncomfortable to wear and after a year it is still very uncomfortable for me to sleep with at night. So now, when I'm here on the weekends only I sleep in the guest bedroom sometimes or I sleep with my daughter since she misses me during the week and she still likes sleeping with her parents. So if I sleep with her then my wife decides to sleep in the living room couch which irritates her the next morning. Keep in mind that we have a huge house and the guest bedroom is very comfortable but she choses to sleep in the couch just because she wants to. When I ask her if I'm going to sleep in the bed with our daughter and if she doesn't want to sleep with us then to please sleep in the guest bedroom, her response is don't tell me what to do, I'm fine here and if I try to insist then she gets upset.
Today what escalated things quickly is when we had a stupid argument about me not doing the dishes the right way, it got so out of control so quickly that then she said the f word with my daughter in the kitchen and I immediately said "great parenting, please don't use that language in front of her", she proceeded to say "I can't wait until she turns 18", implying that we can get divorced then and then went and got in the covers in our room and shut the door. This is what she always does when she gets upset, so it just leaves my daughter and I out of it but it just changes the family dynamic after that. Especially because she tends to stay in the room for hours and the day could then be "ruined", another one of her favorite words to use.
Then my daughter comes to me and in a very soft voice asks me "daddy, why did mommy say that she can't wait until I turn 18?, is it because she doesn't want me here?" That statement not only broke my heart but infuriated me towards my wife. I proceeded to tell my daughter that not to be silly, that mommy's and daddy's sometimes argue but what mommy meant is that she can't wait for her to be a big girl and for you to make good choices in your life as a grown up in good kind of way. I then run into our room and very sternly told my wife that I could care less of what she said to me anymore but not to use bad language in front of our daughter and not to make statements like the one she said about her turning 18 because of what our daughter happened to think she meant. Instead of reacting and saying jeez I'm sorry (sorry is a word that my wife has rarely said in the past, at least not meaning it), she then proceeded to tell me how dare I come in the room and tell her what to do... I told her that it wasn't great parenting, so then she said "go f$#% yourself!". I left the room and then she proceeded to call my daughter in the room to make peace with her. My wife is a great mother, she can be very strict but she means well to her and she does love on her a lot, the emotional part that she doesn't have with me, at least she does give her love from what I can see. She calls me in the room later to tell me that we need to get a divorce (she's done this before but as a form of calling my bluff so that I can say "I'm sorry, let me try harder") so today I simply said "OK, I think that's the right choice, when I get back to work this week I'll look for a different place to stay and we can talk about other arrangements", she then said "I'll see if I can find out where to live and put our daughter to school" (she knows that my daughter is the world to me and that I would do anything for her so I think she says that so that I can re-think the divorce thing), so I said to her that let's not jump right onto that decision because we may arrange just letting the house stay so that my daughter can stay in the same school but that we needed to arrive to a better decision after giving it some more thought.... That was the last time I had conversation with my wife. I left the room and other than her telling my daughter to tell me that dinner was ready we haven't had any other conversation.
Tomorrow I will see what happens but if history serves me right, she will just continue to have a long face and not say much until I'm the one who breaks first and says "I'm sorry", then if anything she will proceed to tell me what I did wrong but again not admit fault of her own.... I don't want to do that anymore and that's what got me writing this message in the first place.
I'm sorry for being so long on this message. I truly don't know if anyone will take the time to read it... I think that to some extent it has been therapeutic for me to spend the last 3 hours writing this message but I know that I want things to get better, I want to have a happier life, I want my daughter have a better upbringing... I really want to have a wife that loves me and appreciates me.
For your daughter’s sake, get a divorce, house with two bedrooms, joint custody, and therapy for both daughter and you.
Your wife sounds ill. Very toxic personality disorder. Your daughter needs protecting.
Thank you for your reply susiedqq. I think I've known that for a while now, but I need to take that next step now... I am afraid because I don't know what's going to happen nor do I know how to go about it, as stupid as that may sound. I guess my next step will be to talk to an attorney. Just don't know where to do it, at the state that I work on or at the state I live. So many questions I guess I'll need answer, like how's the time with my daughter going to be split given that I work in a different state. In a joint custody how is that time going to be split. I was looking for another job just to be closer to home, but given the circumstances I don't think I want to change jobs and lose that security, after all this year will be 23 years that I've been with the same company.
I guess some of those are answers that an attorney will hopefully provide me with.
You will be able to figure out housing - like an apt half way between work and child.
Plus you will have liberal visitation.
Do what’s best for you and your child. Don’t let pity be a hold she will try to have on you.
Get a counselor abd a lawyer to help you through all this. Good luck.