Stay or go?
on Feb 11 2012 at 18:44
I'm trying to decide whether to stay married or get a divorce. Mary (not her real name) and I have been married almost 25 years and have four kids; two are adults, another will be leaving for college in the fall, and the youngest is in middle school. Mary has been a stay-at-home mom all these years, by her choice.
This is not the first time the topic of divorce has come up. Almost 17 years ago we were having troubles and I asked for divorce, but she talked me out of it. Almost 7 years ago she said she wanted a divorce, and I talked her out of it. Five years ago we had a blowup and she again said she wanted a divorce, and it was with some relief that I went along. We were separated for about 9 months, and got through a good deal of the divorce process, but she ended up asking me to come back. I didn't want to, and I told her so several times before she finally persuaded me to return.
In the four years since I returned, I've told Mary on three separate occasions that I wanted a divorce, but I haven't gone through with it, although I've talked with lawyers and at one point was looking for apartments. Each time something happened that caused me to put my plans on hold. In these four years we haven't had the fights and blowups like we used to have, and Mary has been very nice to me, but I just feel empty. I'm no good at white lies, so I haven't said "I love you" to her since before we were separated -- five years now. And every time she says it to me I feel terrible because I can't return the sentiment.
A large part of the problem, I think, is that we just don't have much in common other than our children. When we married we were both active, committed members of the same church, but four years later I realized that I didn't believe in any sort of god anymore. When we go out to dinner together, we have nothing to talk about. We have almost no common interests other than 2-3 TV shows we watch together. I know it is arrogant of me to say this, but I am much smarter than Mary, and that makes it hard for me to respect her. Every time I meet an intelligent, well-educated woman I feel a twinge of jealousy towards her husband.
Why did I marry her? I was terribly lacking in confidence when it came to women, and she was the first and only girlfriend I ever had.
But... how can you divorce someone when you're getting along OK, and she's being kind and considerate to you? And what about my relationship with our youngest son?
on Feb 15 2012 at 03:53
It's not an easy decision to make 'stay or go' and in your situation it may not be clear cut as stay or go as there are younger children involved. Also, another factor to consider is that she is considerate and nice and even though you may not love her or not say ' I love you', you may still deep down care for her even though you just feel empty. It is a contradiction, feeling empty but still caring for that person. Maybe, an issue to consider is that you may care for her but feel empty as she may not be your soulmate. We have different chemistry with different people in various types of relationship scernerios but listen to the emptiness for a sign that something maybe missing in your life. Maybe, it's some communciation or hobby that is missing or maybe it's a church,community support or group that is missing. I hope you find what you are missing and your emptiness fills up with a glass full instead of a glass empty. That's all i can suggest from my learned perspective. Take what you like and leave the rest.
on Feb 15 2012 at 10:27
Agreed. Stay together. Find common ground. It's in there somewhere.
on Feb 16 2012 at 00:25
It's not that i agree to stay together. I disagree that is the soultion when there are clearly many problems like a sound mind for starters. She may not have a sound mind and your problem barry maybe her. Your wife may be the problem hence the emptiness. What i am saying that has been interpretated and misconscrewed as to agree for couple to say together as that one needs to find out what the root of the problem is in fact that to solve the problem one needs to find out what the problem is based on meaning, the root cause of that problem instead of temporary band aid like barry wrote it's an off and on again relationship clearly the foundation to the relationship is not stable for marriage compatibility even though they get along for now and are nice to each other. The pattern is that it is cold and hot with no 'I love you's for five years it's more than just a rough patch that any couple goes through when one is dealing with life on lifes terms. Maybe, it is a reality issue that is the root cause of this on and off relationship. The fact that she talked you back into marriage suggests red flags for much deeper emotional problems. Are you happy barry on your own or is that happiness fleeting too. In other words, barry what is your happiness. Do you have a faith you can turn to barry or is your wife your soft place to fall.
on Feb 16 2012 at 00:28
Sorry Ben, Barry is on my mind for some reason. Maybe, that song Barry on my mind is playing itunes on apple
on Feb 28 2012 at 05:46
SARONNA writes: "Are you happy barry on your own or is that happiness fleeting too."
The fact is that I didn't miss her during the 9 months we were separated, and I was starting to feel good about my life.
SARONNA writes: "Do you have a faith you can turn to barry"
I have strong moral beliefs, but as I mentioned, I no longer believe in any god. And yet I've had to raise my children in a religion (LDS/Mormon) that I do not believe in. For many years Mary put pressure on me to attend church with her, complaining that she felt like a single mother without me there. I finally put my foot down a few years ago, but I still get pressured to attend certain church events when I really just want to leave that religion entirely behind me.
on Mar 21 2012 at 21:28
you've been married for 25 years and there's a reason you didn't get a divorce, you say you can't say i love you back try and say it even if its not true after a while you will feel it again because you felt that once and those feelings wouldn't just faint away, and don't say that you're more intelligent because everyone is intelligent they just use their intelligence in something else, my advice to you is try to remember the things that made you fall in love with her .
I think you are both old now and it will be hard to find someone else she made sacrifices too i bet and as a religious woman i think she still has hope for you too so don't give up and try to work it up because things don't get fixed by themselves.
Imagine yourself divorced alone you're kids away and no one to share 3 tv shows with, life is hard try to appreciate the person who've been with you for 25 years and still is
on Mar 22 2012 at 22:11
Instead of putting all your energy into the negative be positive! Put some effort into the marriage, do something nice for your wife...maybe do an activity you guys used to enjoy together or do something new. If she\'s showing you affection whether verbal or physical return it. There is nothing wrong with Mary choosing to be a stay at home mother, your kids probably turned out better for it. Motherhood is an extremely hard job, try caring for a young child all by yourself and you had 4. It\'s draining! Remember we work to live not live to work. nobody can persuade someone to do something they don\'t want to do, you wanted to make it work even if it was just an itsy bitsy part of you that did. SO MAKE IT WORK. Stop trolling the net, Stop seeking help online, and actually put that energy into your marriage. Your wife gave up a lot when she married...freedom, dreams. I want to shake you.... take care of your responsibility!
on Jun 26 2012 at 15:11
Hi Ben, I can empathise a great deal with your situation, as mine is similar. I can't stand the person I'm married to. He bullied me into marrying him, I did not have the courage to keep saying no, and basically just did what I was told out of guilt. I thought maybe I will learn to love him. 10 years later, with 2 children from the relationship, my resentment has not gone, but got worse. I want to leave but I can't because of my kids, and I worry that it will make things worse, as there would be shared care, this person will never be out of my life. I am tired of trying to make this situation better, it never will be, the damage is done and can't be undone. Now that I have more courage than I used to, I think how did this happen? I resent 10 years of my life suffering with this person, and wonder how many more am I going to suffer till I completely crack. It is hard. I hope you find a solution for your situation. Though I'm in no great position to give advice on this very topic, I can only suggest do what you think is right for you, others feelings are their responsability, sometimes you need to put yourself first. It sounds like your kids are old enough to deal with the separation. If you are happier when that person is not around, that is telling you something. Don't mistake listening to your heart of hearts for guilt or obligation. You only get one life, and you deserve to be happy.
I was going to ask my own question on this forum, but by the look of some of the unsupportive/ unhelpful responses people get, I have changed my mind.
Seeing a counsellor might be a good option to cosider, from personal experience sometimes it helps just to have someone care and listen.
on Jul 23 2012 at 22:42
It sounds as if you have already made up your mind on divorce. But are consernd about your relationship with your youngest. Will he be living with you? If you decide to dissapear on him then yes there is an issue. Children so offten feel abandonment during divorce. So try to keep in high spirits around him. You dont want to emotionally scar him for life. As for your wife she seems graceful and respectful enough to not make this in to an all out war. But inevitably feelings will get hurt they always do. Just try to have some dignity and be respectful, and lift up your son through it all.