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Do I stay or do I go?

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October 7 will be 10 years of marriage. We've been separated twice, the most recent one for an entire year. After marriage counseling, church groups for saving a marriage and individual counseling, we always seem to come back for more. Problem is that the effort and happiness is always temporary. I'm tired. I want to be happy. At one point we even agreed that had we dated longer, we would have never gotten married. So I say tonight, I want more. I want to be romanced, feel loved, feel important to him. He says that I have always wanted more and that is our biggest issue we fight about. I'm guessing from that comment, nothing is going to change. I know marriage is hard, but isn't there supposed to be good times as well? Or am I chasing something that doesn't exist?

Do I stay or do I go?

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Yes, good marriages exist. But I think the secret is that it's with two people who are happy with THEMSELVES first, then compliment each other (You golf, I'll be on the boat. I'll see you for dinner at 6 - kind of thing) You are going to have to be more specific about how this marriage is so intolerable. You say you "want more" - how is it that he cannot "get it"? Are you happy with yourself? You don't mention children . . . are there?

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Yes, there is supposed to be good times. You say you want to be romanced, feel loved and feel important... Did you give him a road map? I don't mean an "all inclusive" one. Just some ideas on what he can do to fill out those needs. For the general male population, I would guess that maybe 50% of men really have a clue on how to romance a woman (of course I have no factual statistical data on that - it's just my opinion). Honestly, I really have no idea on how you can get your husband to fill those needs. He's the one that has to figure it out or he's going to lose you. If he does lose you and you follow your own path looking for romance and such. Keep in mind that while you're doing your search for happiness you just might run into someone who is just like or even less of what your husband ever was. I've been married for 35 years. It definitely can be a roller coaster ride.

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Yes, there are children involved. There is lack of connection between us. He has filled the needs before, but every time it is temporary. He will make the effort, only after I have completely come to the end of my rope. Then he only does it for awhile before he goes right back to his old behavior. FYI - the two separations were based on domestic violence. Not that it matters to some people, who think you should stay married no matter what. But for what it's worth, physical nd emotional abuse has been a part of our past.

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Yes, it does matter, the physical abuse. Are you staying so the children can have 2 parents. My wife basically openly cheated on me, but I stayed because we had a 3-year-old child, so the child would have 2 parents in the home. Did the physical abuse start after the first child was born, so he knew you wouldn't leave him? That shows you what kind of person he is, that would use his own child to keep control of the mother. That shows you the kind of person you need to get away from, for your sake and the child's or children's. Do you have the finances and the guts and the sense of how to do this, such as a plan for leaving, not just telling him in private so the abuse might continue? But just leaving, with no pre-warning for him, and going to a safe home, etc.?

Do I stay or do I go?

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PJVL9 Thank you for the honest info. We had a history of abuse, but nothing physical has happened in a well over a couple years, unfortunately, the emotional part still exists. The last time I left I did it in the manner you mention - surprise, planned, no pre-warning, etc. But he convinced me that it would all work out. We started counseling, even through a church. Yet we stayed separated for a full year. I felt that he was making the right changes to fix everything and we moved back in with him last fall. But things just aren't right. In fact, we just got done talking about our relationship and we agreed that we care about each other, but are not in love with each other. We don't want to hurt the other one or go through a nasty divorce, but don't want to stay together just for the kids. I'm not sure what this means at this point, but at least we are on the same page. Kind of sad that we could so easily just admit that we are not together for the right reasons.

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Yes, it is sad. And unfortunate. No woman should ever have to tolerate physical abuse. IMO... That IS grounds for a woman to leave. Not only for her own safety (mental and physical), but for the safety of any children too. Abuse with children around to hear or visually witness is child abuse. Looks like you have a tough decision to make. I wish you the best.

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"we just got done talking about our relationship and we agreed that we care about each other, but are not in love with each other." Sounds like you two agree that, sadly, this is over. You both are in agreement that a divorce is imminent. That's a great start for an amicable divorce. Just be sure that the child is taken care of. Sorry this is what it has come to, but believe me, this is NOT the worst thing that will ever happen to you in your long life! Good luck.

Do I stay or do I go?

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What does it feel like to get beat up by a guy? How do you stay in the same room with a guy who just beat you up? Not saying I would be strong enough to leave, just wondering how you felt? How do you live with yourself staying with the same guy who last week beat you up? And did the physical abuse begin after the birth of the first child? It looks like the relationship is in a gray area. "In fact, we just got done talking about our relationship and we agreed that we care about each other, but are not in love with each other. We don't want to hurt the other one or go through a nasty divorce, but don't want to stay together just for the kids. I'm not sure what this means at this point, but at least we are on the same page. I rem. when I found out my wife was int. in another guy. It was like air being let out of a balloon. You're in the same house with someone you now don't really like, and vice-versa. It's like being in an elevator alone with somebody you hate, but for 20 floors you have to be in the same elevator. And same thing the next day. Oh, horror. Do you keep riding on the elevator because it beats walking up the stairs? Is, what's out there might be worse than what's in here? What did I feel when my wife's affair became obvious, and she said, "LEAVE!!!!!" I'll tell you how I felt. I felt, "The now just discovered adultress is now ordering me out of my own, 1/2, house? If that doesn't take the cake. I just got caught robbing a bank, you're going to jail. What sort of fantasy world are we living in? And, you're telling me I have to leave my own son, cause you got caught, and our son has to be without a father in the house, so she can have more sex uninterrupted. Of course, the opposite is, I have to live in the same house with a wife who has been cheating me for 7 years, that's my victory prize for her having gotten caught cheating. Either way was no good, sort of like what you say your situation is like. It's a lose-lose situation. Or this loss (staying) is a little bit better, maybe, than the other loss (my leaving) maybe. I stayed for our son and financial reasons, we were buying a house, and two paychecks in one house was better than one. She died of a long-term illness 6 years ago, and I got the paid-for house. Hey! I look like a genius. And our son gets to inherit the house. Payment for that? 16 years of hell. Oh, but one thing, I just did my projects around the house, and didn't worry about the great relationship. Of course, I did see a few heart doctors about chest pain, which since stopped, so it wasn't as easy as I'm making it out. She was sexually abused in childhood and was a borderline personality syndrome person with a divided ego from the trauma, living on two side of her mind, perfect wife, perfect mistress. Can you make it on your own? When you got out OK for a year, what brought you back? How did he get worse when you got back with him. He was just not interested around the house? If you did it once, you can do it again. Did the kids do OK without him. Are they doing better now with him? I never thought about leaving. I might die on the floor of the house, but I wasn't going to leave.

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PJVL9 All I can say is wow! Have you ever been around a woman who as been abused? Your words are incredibly hurtful, rude and discriminating. Sadly, when you ask how it feels, you should look at your sorry butt and what you submitted to for 16 years. Was it worth it? Was the house so important that you gave up your life? Answer those questions and you might realize you were in an abusive relationship yourself.

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I apologize. I thought you were trying to get out of your situation where there had been a physical attack on you. I was thinking, I would like for you to be out of that situation, too. When I encouraged that, you write, how can you be so insensitive? You didn't list a lot of reasons for staying. You just talked about how rough the marriage was. If you had said, it's rough, but I want to stay because.... But I never heard that. I thought you were Attala the Hun, I never knew you were crumbling inside. I never saw that side. I saw nerves-o-steel. You left for 2 years, I couldn't leave my horrible marriage for 5 minutes, so you're right about that. However, I did have mixed feelings, for I didn't want to leave my then 3 year old, or leave a house I had been helping to buy. She could then demand my car, it would never stop. I also now realize, after attacking and abusing me, she would have abused our kid by bringing men into the house, etc. She would have also abused my mother by saying, "With only one paycheck in the house, I can't make the house payment, and your grandson is going to be out on the street, unless you pay if from now on." So, the abuse would not have stopped with me, if I had backed off, it would cont. with my child and my mother. If we had been single, she could have just left me and wouldn't have to have my permission to be out on her own. She could have just left. She could also have been the one who just left our house and child, like she was demanding I do. OK, I was in an abusive situation, and I later realized after that previous message, that I was contradictory. I was telling you, that you weren't up to the task if you didn't leave, but yet I had explained my own situation of abuse for 16 years, and never gave a thought of leaving the marriage. It was really 29 years I took the abuse, I realized later. And, even after our son grew up and left the house at say, 22, I didn't leave, and the abuse was still there. So I am sorry. Again, I thought if you had made it on your own for two years, you could make it. (Also, my wife was cheating on me before we were married. I had had a nervous breakdown living on my own, and thought by marrying her, I would have someone in my house with me, and maybe I wouldn't have another one. So I was bargaining from a position of weakness to start with. So when she started abusing me by cheating on me in our marriage, I was already used to that and accepting of that. It was like the book title says about sex abuse victims, "Abuse Me, But Don't Leave Me." So my sex abuse, mentioned below, goes deeper than I thought. I will say, now that my wife has been deceased from a long term illness by almost 6 years, I have, in fact, made it, and I have made it every day. Why no mental break downs in those 6 years? I'm a manic-depressive, and I' on lithium and an anti-depressant, which I wasn't on when I got married and prior to having a nervous breakdown. So, in fact, I could have made it on my own, with the right diagnosis and medicine. What else has helped me make it? About 10-12 years ago I read a column on being positive when trying to solve problems. It didn't say I had to be positive all the time, so I bought it hook, line and sinker. I didn't know it, but unconsciously, I was negative. And every time I went to try and solve a problem, my conscious wanted to solve it, but my unconscious didn't, for I had been raised that way. And since I couldn't see my unconscious, I couldn't figure out what the problem was. But when I read that column on being positive when trying to solve a problem, I had a clue that I had been tripping myself up. And I was. Now, whenever I try to solve a problem, first, I think, "Think positive, think positive, think positive," to try and drive any negative unconscious out of my mind. As for the question, was it worth it? The 16 years of abuse, really 29 years. Actually, I came close to dying, with the much chest pain during that time, and visits to heart doctors. So, I could have died trying to stand up for my rights. I could have died being out on my own, because I wasn't strong enough to make it. No, I've never been around a woman who has been physically abused. My wife was sexually abused. I was to a degree, and maybe more than I know, for I have trouble making it on my own, holding a job, etc. which may be a result of that. How about this? I didn't like the idea that you were being hit. I wanted you to get away from that, if that's what you wanted. I was trying to help. Are you seeing a counselor?

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PHVL9 Thank you for your kind response. I appreciate your honesty. I don't know whether I want out or not. That is part of the problem. It's been years since he was physically abusive. He has been doing individual counseling to make get ahold of his anger issues and it's helping. I feel bad though because I don't know if it is just too little to late or what. We talked the other night and agreed that we are not in love with each other anymore, but we do still care about the other one. We also agreed we don't want to keep coming to this point where divorce is a possibility, which seems to happen about every 6-12months. But neither of us are committed to giving up yet. Kind of at a standstill. Ironically, things have been much easier since we both agreed to this the other night. Somehow finally being on the same page of where we are in our relationship has made it just simpler. This never has happened before. It was always one or the other wanting out. I'm so sorry to hear about all of the troubles you have had. Stay strong and keep taking your medications. Lots of people who are bi-polar stop taking them when they feel good, thinking they may not need them anymore, only to come crashing down. Thank you for the positivity talk as well. I will definitely keep that in mind. I like to think of myself as a positive person, but lately, it's been difficult. Well, God Bless.

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CK2NOW5 I appreciate your response. I think y'all can make it without the love. My problem with my wife was that we despised each other after she got caught with the affair. I compared it to 2 dogs in a pit. That's pretty vicious. Y'all being at a luke warm is a lot better than we had it. Are the kids doing better with y'all together? Or were they doing better when y'all were apart? Two paychecks in one house is better, for all parties. I knew a woman who only left her husband when their last kid was in college. Some people just don't believe that if the parents are having a difficult time they should break up. So what if the parents are having a bad time? If the kids are doing better with the parents together, they should consider living together. I'm going to leave my kid because I dislike my wife? No way. Also I was raised in a 2-parent family, and that's what I wanted for my son. I wanted to be in the living room playing toys with my kid, while she was in the kitchen making cookies for all of us. Take away the wife, and that's not going to happen. But you know your situation better than anyone, just as I knew my situation, inside of me and out, better than anyone. I want to include the column on being positive, below. You don't really sound like you need it, but I know it has helped me a lot. Also, you can find good in bad. Mine the good that's going on in your marriage and life, look for it, expand upon it. Don't simply sit there and dwell on the bad. It's the same situation, but it's a different mental approach to the same thing. _______________________________________________________________ by Niki Scott June 21, 1994 “We all know people who race around in small, futile circles whenever they’re present with a problem to solve, and others who seem to be natural-born problem solvers—able to tackle obstacles, calmly, logically and effectively. “Fortunately, being a good problem-solver is not a genetic trait. It’s a learned skill, one that can be learned at any age. If you want to improve your problem-solving skills, here are 10 steps that will help: "The three most important things of a good problem solver are attitude, attitude, and attitude. If you think of obstacles as anxiety-producers and unfair burdens, you almost certainly aren't an effective problem solver." “If you view obstacles as opportunities to gather new information, stretch your imagination, learn new coping mechanisms and achieve more control over your life on the other hand, you’re probably a problem-solving whiz.” “Be an optimist. If your general outlook is pessimistic, you’re probably not a good problem solver. Facing every puzzle with the assumption that it’s probably unsolvable practically insures that it will be.” “Happily, changing from a pessimist to an optimistic frame of mind isn’t as difficult was it might sound. Pessimism isn’t a genetic trait, either. It’s a habit of thought we learned as children—and can unlearn as adults.” “Keep an open mind. Most problems have not just one solution, but many—and sometimes the best ones sound far-fetched or even bizarre at first.” “Be flexible. Force yourself to give up old, outmoded ways of thinking or acting even though they’re comfortable. Experiment with new ways of thinking and acting, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly THEY become comfortable.” “Believe in yourself—no matter what. If you believe you’ll be able to solve a problem, your chances of solving it double. Review your past successes—frequently!” “Take one step at a time. We all want guarantees that our imagination, diligence and hard work will pay off, but good problem-solvers are able to concentrate on the job at hand and move toward their personal and professional goals without blueprints or guarantees of success.” “Ask for the help you need. There’s no shame in needing help—only in being too self-conscious, too self-protective, too proud or stubborn to ask for it. “Don’t ask for help you don’t need. Those of us who were taught as children to run to an adult whenever a problem arose, or encouraged in other ways to be helpless and dependent, may find ourselves automatically seeking help now when a problem arises—whether or not we really need it. “Resist the temptation. Asking for assistance before we’ve honestly tried to solve a problem robs us of our dignity, self-respect and self-confidence—too high a price to pay. “ “Respect the process—not just it’s outcome. Never discount a learning experience just because you didn’t get an A+ on the test.” “Regardless of whether you’ve been completely successful at solving any problem, working on it almost certainly has gained you valuable experience and insight—good tools to bring with you the next time you have problem to solve!” “Finally, never hold the past over you own head. Learn what you can from your mistakes, give yourself credit for trying, then wipe the slate clean, quickly, and give yourself the same sympathy, understanding and encouragement that you’d gladly give to any friend.” Niki Scott June 21, 1994

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'Almost-conflict' well handled! I thought it was just a simple misunderstanding, myself. (Isn't it always.) CK, I have got so much to say to you. I hope you like books? "I don't know whether I want out or not. That is part of the problem. It's been years since he was physically abusive. He has been doing individual counseling to make get ahold of his anger issues and it's helping. I feel bad though because I don't know if it is just too little to late or what. We talked the other night and agreed that we are not in love with each other anymore, but we do still care about the other one." For every physical entity in this world there is a psychological equivalent. There is more than one way to batter your wife than slamming your fist into her stomach, say. You can do so with your mental fists - punching her psyche. As far as I can gather from what you've said, this is what he switched to (which I imagine was in direct response to your having left him for an entire year). This is still battering, only a MORE SNEAKY/LESS HONEST version. BUT... you now say he's improving on that score, so that's alright, that's the main thing and at least proves it wasn't deliberate bullying or power-bidding, just a childish response to emotional over-arousal (meaning, Houston? - we have yet another natural-born barrister who ties her mate in wordy knots during arguments as leaves him only his 'ace cards' to win it with). And yet what he HASN'T ceased is his refusal to step up to your insisted standards and expectations, aside from whenever comes the point when he can tell he REALLY has to. Then, after an initial show, he either simply can't or won't sustain it. WHICH? To not feel romanced OR loved OR treated as his top priority (or one of them, equal with his career, say), is no small list of complaints. Do you make him feel romanced, loved and your top priority (or did before you finally gave up)? Is he dropping his extra effort the minute you cease watching his every move? If he is then he's showing he can't be arsed to go beyond the bare necessities minimum. If he isn't, if he just CANNOT be the mentally energetic, attentive man you need, then you two might well be hugely incompatible, with this neglect the symptom of basically a lack of incentive. If the chemistry is Grade A, you shouldn't need incentive. The chemistry, that magical glue, that self-manufactured DRUG that ITSELF, without need for any conscious help, let alone contrivance, keeps you coming back for more, trying to get more, keeping your 'supplier' sweet, is obviously the key that's missing here. What I'm saying is, CHEMISTRY ALONE is supposed to be the incentive. He says you've always wanted more and that's the problem. And yet the 'more', that aforementioned trio you're talking about are all BASIC FUNDAMENTALS. How can he call a need for fundamentals, 'greed'? What HE obviously would prefer is a much lower-expectation-ed, lesser-maintenance woman. And you need more of an Alpha. I don't think it IS your problem. Were you unhappy with yourself and projecting that onto him and what he does or fails to do/supply then no WAY would you have been able to endure that separation for that incredible length of time. You'd have been too unhappy and uncomfortable on your own. You didn't quit the separation because you couldn't hack it, you did that because he held out the carrot you'd always spelled out you wanted! (Case closed!) And when I say Alpha, neither am I talking brilliant career and social status. I'm talking ROMANTIC LOVE Alpha. Assuming you didn't marry him mainly to satisfy some long-term-but-non-permanent sense of inadequacy or urge - there WOULD have been a time when he met your emotional needs, though, or else you'd not have said 'I do' and *stayed* married back when it was easier to still walk away. So this suggests either that your needs/appetite have naturally grown (late developer) or that over these years your confidence and sense of self-worth have grown whereby you finally feel *entitled* to getting a better behavioural grade of partner (have outgrown him). Perhaps what you've outgrown is your childhood *family* and what they always communicated you should limit your expectations to? It's no good you two forging some tacit pact to just forget about that giant side of the marriage. You should have the co-parent, the co-earner, the co-housekeeper, the friend/housemate, etc., *and* the pleasing lover. Lover. VERB. I know it all *FEELS* easier when you drop those erstwhile expectations. But, one, you shouldn't have to when too many other men and women who aren't any way better than you need not. And two, that relief you feel is only temporary. These needs to be loved, romanced and made to feel like you're their whole world are not unfair, unrealistic expectations...luxuries. They're basics, without which a part of the human spirit dies. The man being a good earner, witty raconteur, a naturally talented father, innately clean and tidy, etc. - THOSE are the extra bonuses. Side-bonuses. If you think whatever package of side-bonuses can in terms of weight compensate for a complete absence of those meaty basics, you've got another think coming. You can run, but you can't hide. Least of all together in a PRETEND marriage. For your information, the good times (or Light, as I call them) should outweigh the bad or lacklustre times (Dark) by two third at least for 'contentedly married' to be a warranted term. I'm talking 70:30. 80:20 justifies Happily. 90:10, Blissfully. Higher than that, Ecstatically. So are we talking emotional battering or emotional neglect? WHICH? Describe the ways? OR are we talking a man who longer suits you because the smaller 'you' back when you met and married him is long gone, replaced by this more confident, self-rating, assertive woman with a far bigger stomach and appetite than before and than this bloke can possibly cater to? Are you just too much woman for him / Is he just not enough man for you? Describe, therefore, in actuals or examples, exactly how he behaves or fails to behave around you in a day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year way. Because I note you haven't done so yet, aside from citing these vague catch-alls. Only once you've painted a proper picture of what being his wife is like on commonplace basis can anyone conclude whether your expectations and standards are too high per se, whether it's that your basic expectations just aren't getting met, whether he's wittingly withholding and depriving so as to suppress and thereby keep your expectations no higher they were when you first got together (because he wasn't looking for the romance of the century with output matching input), or whether he's actually pretty normal but getting blamed for "things" because those are faster, easier, more graspable ways for you to articulate the nuclear fact that he's just "the wrong trousers" as has only fairly recently become acknowledged/accepted by your mind. So what IS "the emotional part" you refer to? Because if you're not in-love with each other any more, as is not for want of trying, then you two have no business staying married. You won't be doing the kids ANY favours, despite the common myth (excuse not to change). Kids sponge up data, either directly provided/flaunted OR gleaned from the daily vibes and atmospheres - the 'code' that translates to this: When I'm married, as long as my face looks like 'this' and 'he/she' at least does 'this' then I should be satisfied, see it as just normal married life and make do forever Amen. NEVER! Everybody BUT EVERYBODY has a vast enough pool of soulmates out there. Some are good soulmates. Some are fantastic, you couldn't get any better partner for you. Some mightn't be in the right frame of mind at the time to be the best partner they can be. But that whole pool and a relationship that results from the two of you meeting and pairbonding are VASTLY superior to any *non*-soulmate. You both have the attitude that the sun literally shines out of each others' arses. And even when they too slip up, you either can't mind because only the day before and the day before that, etc., they made you feel like you're made of pure Gold, or genuinely don't mind because you find even their faults cute and amusing or too petty compared to their hugely impressive traits and behaviour. E.g. he makes loves (not sex, makes love) to you for five hours straight but in the morning forgets to put the toothpaste lid back on or hang the towel straight. See what I'm saying? And the same for him as far as you're concerned. Your husband sounds like my ex-husband regarding the can't be buggered to try aside from for 5 minutes in order to re-dupe/shut you up for another 6 months or so. A million miles away from the diamond husband-soulmate I've got now. I'm not special. I'm effing annoying quite a lot of the time (to the point where I can even annoy myself!), have irritating or inconvenient traits, needs and habits, etc., etc., etc., AND SO IS HE. In fact, we have the exact same faults on every level (it's actually quite hilarious)! Ergo, neither of us "HAS FAULTS". We are literally, despite subjectively, perfect. And, despite we were *supposed* to have left Honeymoon Period years ago, we are still blissfully happy - aside from TINY LITTLE, INFREQUENT WINDOWS (ratio: 95:05) - and STILL prefer by choice to stay in together on weekend nights because the romance, the non-stop deep and entertaining conversation, and bedroom expedition later is consistently, without fail, THE most exciting and entertaining and deeply fulfilling 'pastime' we have ever, EVER known! We say 'I love you' and 'Hello, gorgeous!' about 10 times per day and never get bored of saying it. You each reap what you BOTH EQUALLY sow. Yes, we put in a lot of work. But 'we' don't. "It" makes us. THE A1 CHEMISTRY. We're DRIVEN to work hard, like an itch that demands scratching. You get used to it. It becomes normal. It's like emptying your petrol tank only for that very emptying to cause the tank to instantly re-fill again back to Full! I'm not special. I JUST HELD OUT FOR WHAT I DREAMED MUST EXIST AND WHICH - WELL, WHADDAYAKNOW! - *DID*. This means I dared to ditch the prior dud majoris (and the rebound dud minoris), dared to contemplate a consolation prize of remaining single if that's what it took not to ever again feel daily deprived and downright insulted...dared despite it would mean a total transformation of mine and my son's present and future life, everything we were used to, had a handle on and felt comfy with. We lost X but gained ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. My son is now FAR happier (with a school and social life to show for it x 10). How could he not be when he's daily interacting with and around two grown adults - *The* role models - who are constantly grinning like idiots and busting an enjoyable gut to make our respective 'drug-supplier' feel like royalty and thereby freed up to do the same towards him as compels him to do the same back? Almost permanent good moods, bad moods just fleeting blips whereby they neither pose as cause for concern or threat. Moods that LIFE causes, not each other. Finally, I am f**king, PERMANENTLY 95% Ecstatic, Happy, Contented and only 5% slightly pissed-off or vexed. I did nothing to earn it but refuse to settle, vow to hold out/wait. Talk about tiny price to pay? Now in dating age phase, my son's yardstick is "STELLAR". HE doesn't waste his time with Less Than. It's dump/next!/dump/next!...and now he's finally found a young diamond in that lucky barrel. Divorce does not traumatise kids. How the adults handle it (and the kids) is what either traumatises or elevates kids. TRUTH! Divorce that is nasty is a product of one or both adults being vindictive, lazy-minded, small-ego-ed, petty and selfish. TRUTH! No-one can claim a kid is and shall remain better off if his parents stay together rather than split up unless that kid lives a post-divorcal life on a known, parallel universe so that one has the Grade A proof of that alternative outcome and state to compare it to. TRUTH! Divorce is not final; a couple can halt the divorce or later on re-marry. TRUTH! That calibre of marriage of mine is not special, it's what should be, what USED to be, "NORMAL". But normal has become so lost for so long in all the societal nonsense and issues and knock-on issues that Abnormal all the way up to So-So (or at a push, Quite Good) have taken over as the new norm, with Normal now considered *special*. You just have to want it enough (- read that again), dare to contemplate taking it on (- it's EASIER than a so-so/crap relationship, not harder!), believe it exists (it does!), dare to reject anything too overly Less Than so that you're free to find or be found by it (one, two, three, JUMP!), and - voila. It will come. Wanting it enough *and* being finally ready for it - all of it - is a POWERFUL VIBE. Two people with that same powerful vibe are like heat-seeking missiles, better believe it. So you don't even have to put in 100% effort because the bloke is simultaneously doing his own share of watching/waiting/seeking, radar turned to Full, so it's ONLY 50-50 effort, equals 100%, to find/be found - TEAMWORK!...same as the relationship is supposed to go on to be. You could sit stock-still on a park bench for however long, with that powerful inner determination never to settle for less exuding out of every pore, and *he'd* find *you*. It's just a numbers game. So whilst you're waiting, get everything else ticking like clockwork....so that you can afford to properly concentrate on and luxuriate in the relationship once you find it/it finds you. Finding true, knock-yer-socks-off, reciprocal, equally respectful and cooperative love is so simple, so NOT rocket science, I could laugh in your face for your question about whether a marriage should feature good times as well. MOST of the time, I'm saying, 'Shouldn't there be bad times as well?'. Yes, a successful marriage is hard. HAPPY HARD. There's the difference that makes ALL the difference. Do your kids a favour and GET OUT. You've tried this, tried that, tried the other. Nothing's actually, GENUINELY worked. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Bigger boobs? The Angel Gabriel to float down and throw coffee in your face whilst yelling, "WAKE UP, YOU TWAT - YOUR LIFE ON THIS PLANET'S FAST RUNNING OUT!"? The week right before you die of old age? Or try one last time. But make it something NEW, not the same ol' failed strategies. ...Bringing me right back to my acid-test question: Describe the ways. Let's see if there's even any SCOPE for saving *and then promoting* this marriage and your kids' future marriage AND LIFE calibres, shall we? Let's see if you trying again but him NOT, or you and he trying equally, just ends up you going round and round in the same ol' circles in that little boat, shall we? But first heed this inarguable rationale: if he's been GOING to anger management counselling and the product of that is merely you two now DARING TO ADMIT that you're not in-love with each other any more and both doubtful you ever could again be, then, logic says this so-called solution is not only not helping but doing eff-all, hence the marriage is FURTHER DETERIORATING...down to Housemates. And STILL you don't know whether you want to stay or leave? Really?? He wants to stay. Always only ever lifting half a finger but expecting the (time limited and non-replenishable) full salary and perks nonetheless, including the false public appearance of a solid family unit for the benefit of The Joneses. He doesn't like CHANGE. Even change for the eventual better. Ergo, he must FEAR change. What about you?

Do I stay or do I go?

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In my response to Soulmate, yes, it has been 2 months since you posted this to me. I have to admit, some of your words were harsh. But the most important thing I have to say is thank you. I came back here tonight to re-read this and it made much more sense. I was more open to it tonight. Congratulations on your happy marriage. I have been privileged to see that through people I have met recently that true love and happiness do exist and that I have outgrown my marriage to my husband. Thank you to the people who have offered advice to me.

Do I stay or do I go?

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LOL, well, if you can see some pedestrian's about to walk down an open manhole (again) but you're not within 'grabbing them' range, you don't TEND to raise just a finger and whisper, 'Ahem, er, excuse me,..', do you. You throw something at them to stop them in their tracks whilst yelling, 'WATCH OUT, YA PILLOCK!'. Well, I do, anyway (heh). Cheers for the congrats and (on behalf of all the contributors) appreciation. :-) So do I take it you've sat the husband down and managed to get him to join you in admitting defeat and thinking positive when it comes to "life after"? It'd be great if you could because, with a bit more time for him to catch up to where you're presently at, that would mean you could both do this amicably, as Susie stated, possibly even remaining good friends - for your own sakes as much as the kids'. Trust me, when you need that 'two against one' element - say, when one of your kids is getting too out-of-hand and won't be told - or when it's school Parents Evening or you need a 'babysitter', it's tres handy to be able to count on their father dropping everything willingly to lend that practical or emotional support. And that includes his choosing to live within a 'do-able' range, including for ease of custody changeover. I mean, you *can* expect/enlist any inevitable, future partner's help, but it's not really fair on him or the kids; much better if both parties are free to spend as long as possible getting to know and trust one another as well as finish getting their heads around and adjusting to their new situation without need for any real negativity, despite he would still be expected to be respected and obeyed as the other adult of the house......Let him ease into being a kind of deputy, back-up authority.. *your* side-kick. Plus then the kids don't act up out of feeling massively guilty for being disloyal in treating another man as a replacement father as opposed to an *addition* to the global family unit (diff/all the diff). Basically (and no'a'lo'a people know this), there's no such thing as divorce if you have kids together. Not really. So it's best to take any lemons and make the best possible lemonade out of them. So what's the plan, Stan? Care to share? If not, just feel free to trot on back and pick up this same thread whenever you need to compare notes or borrow any wisdom from any of us "been there, done thats". In the meantime, try not to worry about the kidlets. Kids moreover tend to succeed *in spite of us*, not because of us, and are highly flexible and adaptive (unlike us wrinklies). Basically, the applicable principle the entire way through can be illustrated by the fact that, if they grow up constantly witnessing mum and dad screaming and running in the opposite direction on sight of a great hairy spider running across the carpet (the operative words here being 'constantly' and 'running, etc.', as opposed to dealing with it as drama-free as poss) then that's how they'll learn to react their whole lives. Monkey see, Monkey do, and all that. So this whole episode can either be the making of them (and you two) by making them stronger, wiser, and more mature or can become a hurdle, whichever outcome being purely a CHOICE that you and your ex-2-b have full control over. That doesn't obviously mean you hide your feelings about it all from them. You just keep it to a reasonable level as well as paint it as a positive afterwards, as in, 'Phoo, that's better, there's nothing like a good cry to clear any mess in your head', etc. That sort of thing. Roger, Over...

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B-6