Anyone want to talk divorce?

Have you ever left a job? I haven’t divorced, as I’ve never been married, but the relief I felt after breaking up a long relationship gone sour was similar to the relief I felt after walking out of a long job gone rotten.

If your only reason to stay in a marriage is fear of change - get the divorce. I do hope it goes smoothly.

Yet even now, so long as we aren’t talking divorce, things are pretty good between us. Sure, no romantic love, but she’s still just about the smartest person I’ve ever met. And together as a team we sure maintain a terribly comfortable home.

Makes me wonder how much I really want to go through the effort and expense a divorce involves…

There was a point about a two years ago that divorce hit my coworkers like some sort of flu bug. And several of them went through with it…and several of them didn’t. Sometimes therapy DOES work. Sometimes trial seperations DO work. Sometimes people just don’t have the courage to change and get stuck. (One divorced his wife and remarried her).

Sometimes I hear a lot of respect for your wife in your posts - and I hear it now.

When you were a couple - then you were a family with kids - and now you are becoming a couple again - that’s a hard transition to go through - not everyone makes it. It may be best if you don’t - but it also might be worth it - with divorce out on the table in an honest way - to try.

And marriage takes a lot of forms. One of you may want and need romantic love - and if it can’t be kindled here, that means it needs to be gotten elsewhere - which may mean the end of the marriage - or may not. Or you both may be happy as friends and room mates who share children and grandchildren - pursue your own interests and share those with each other.

I guess what I’m saying is it may be worth it to say “let’s get through this year until the youngest gets out of school…and then lets see if we can create something different - and that may be together or it may end up being apart.” If you don’t respect her, then that isn’t worth pursuing - I think you can have a marriage without romantic love - I don’t think its worth it to have one without respect.

Hi Dinsdale. Well you have several questions in need of answer. If you step away from the effort required to split up the household; engage a lawyer; hash out arrangements; figure out where friends fit in afterward, there are still really important personal issues to face.

If you believe you can live your life never again having the joy of an intimate/passionate partnership with some one, then you could stay on playing the role.

If your wife could also answer yes to the above, then it might work out.

Admiring her, finding her intelligence attractive, etc., are all great things that can remain with you throughout your lives. You are forever bonded in some manner through children and their progeny anyhow.

If you can be content to be a little bit lonely - or heck - a lot lonely in a life lived simply as room mates, then that’s fine too.

But you know, as others have said, life really is short. If family was extremely important to you in the past (and I don’t mean to imply that it isn’t now) you are demonstrating a personal value in close, intimate, relationships.

I tried it the way you suggested for many years - and I only got older and more lonely in the process. I never wished ill on him BUT I did recognize that while we lived the sham I was preventing him from being loved in a way that I couldn’t love him.

I suggest that you and your wife deserve to be loved to the greatest extent possible, and to do that, you need to be single and resolved in your joint lives.

FWIW, I stayed waaaay too long because I was afraid of what it might do to my children, my finances, and yes, whether I’d ever be loved again. As a counsellor pointed out to me, fear is a tool to help keep us safe and provides discomfort so that’s we’ll act upon that message of fear. If fear is immobilizing you and keeping you in a static situation then fear as a tool isn’t serving you at all - and it’s time to let it go.

I don’t mean to sway your decision in any way, Dinsdale, I simply wish everyone a rich and fulfilling life filled with all the possibilities for love and happiness.

You’re in my thoughts during your difficult decision-making. BTW - vascillating is a perfectly appropriate stage to go through . . . just don’t stay in the stage too long, it will exhaust you as you weigh and re-weigh possible options and outcomes.

But, to be fair, we don’t know her side of the story at all. I don’t think we should be judging her character. Her husband had a drinking problem for some time there–we just don’t know her side.

I have no divorce advice, and I’m sorry for your situation, Dinsdale. Heck, I’d be worried too in her place–my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home together, and we’re a team, but I’m the one taking on all the financial risk. It’s a gamble, all right, and I could lose it. I’ve decided that it’s worth the risk because of what I want to do, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be thrilled if I lose the bet.

Standard situation - life goes along for months at a time during which things are pretty good - great even - tho lacking romance. Then I’ll do something I want to do that I know she will disapprove of. But I disagree with her assessment so I do it anyway. And I have to decide whether to tell her beforehand and argue over it then, or simply do it and then fight the fight afterwards.

Or she’ll adopt a position with respect to some aspect of me, the kids, or the household that I flat-out disagree with. And I have to decide whether it is big enough for me to express my disagreement, or do I simply go along with it. Then when I finaly express my preference or disagreement over some little matter, it blows up into a big deal.

And then things are fine again for months at a time until the next blow-up.

It just seems sort of silly to upend a relationship where we are earning good money, living a comfortable life in a comfortable house, pursuing whatever interests we wish at essentially whatever level we wish, having our kids continue to be extremely successful and apparently developing into pretty amazing adults … just because there are a couple of things we flat-out disagree on, and because although we have SO MUCH to be thankful for, we don’t have romantic love.

I guess where I am at is that I’ve gotten tired of worrying about the things we differ about. So I started simply deciding what I wanted to do, and telling her when we disagree. Which she interprets as being cruel. She is MUCH more emotional than I, and I acknowledge that I do not respect her emotion-based choices as much as my rational ones. And in the past I’ve done things I knew she would not like, but haven’t told her about them, which is another form of lying in my book.

I guess I’m pretty pessimistic about what I expect from life, that I’m not sanguine that whatever I face by myself will exceed what I face with her. And, in the meantime, I will be responsible for all the household and other chores that she currently does so competently while I am out earning money. And I will lack ready conversation with the one person whom I consider more of my intellectual and philosophical equal than anyone else I’ve met.

Meanwhile I have an appointment with a lawyer tomorrow, at which point the meter starts ticking…

At what point ought I simply say I’ve made my decision and then full speed ahead?

I thought I had posted as much, but it must have been in one of the posts I deleted before posting.

I will be the first to acknowledge that very few of you have even met me, none of you know me, and your sole insight to me and my life is what I choose to post - and that as fair as I may try to be, I present far from an objective picture. And I am far from faultless.

I tend to agree with Dangerosa; it would be worth it to take this next year and see what develops in your relationship. And along the way, some counseling sounds like it might be helpful. Your comments that you have disagreed silently and now openly and her reaction to your disagreements suggest that you both could use some help in learning how to talk - and listen - to each other.

The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. You don’t sound like you’ve reached the stage of not caring anymore about your wife and her wellbeing. Maybe the romantic love is gone, and maybe it’s buried under all the complicated messiness of a relationship that’s gone off track. Are you still interested in finding out if it’s possible to bring the romantic love back? Or are you already gone in your heart?

Dins - Didn’t you say that it was your wife who precipitated this most recent divorce talk? That she told you “I don’t want to be married to you anymore”, and instead of fighting or placating you said, “Okay”?

It takes two of who to make a marriage, even one without passion. I don’t think that is neccesarily a bad thing, BTW - the idea that marriage has to be fireworks and sunsets is relatively new. It wasn’t that long ago that a marriage was more a partnership, and if you respect each other it can still work. Maybe some kind of counselling could be done to redefine the partnership - you’re both lawyers, you should be able to draw up a partnership agreement. But if one party or the other wants out, there’s not much that can be done to salvage it.

Right now your marriage seems a lot like you’ve described your job - not terribly exciting or life-affirming, but it has it’s compensations.

Good luck to both of you, trying to figure out how you want to resolve this.


Why not sell the house and separate without divorcing? It’s got to be cheaper than actually divorcing, lawyers’ fees aside. I’ve known people who have gone YEARS without ever calling a lawyer. Of course, most of my divorced friends didn’t have any real “stuff” to begin with. Maybe it’s worth looking into.

Sometimes when you describe your marriage, it reminds me of mine. Mutual respect for intelligence is the main quality that holds us together. Well, plus raunchy jokes (my husband is seriously funny). But we used to go nuclear over disagreements all the time.

The marriage therapist we went to last year was so wonderful. We didn’t make all the changes I wanted, but we made several. To the point where we’re mostly congenial, and sometimes genuinely fun. We’ve each had to lower our expectations dramatically, and take care of our own selves. And listen more.

It sounds like you two need a new way to dialogue; you’re not speaking each other’s languages, not really hearing. That’s something you CAN learn.

“Romance” - pffft. That’s for kids. :wink: I don’t know anyone who’s been married w/kids for a while who isn’t in a flawed relationship. If disentangling was simple and quick, we’d all be in and out of our marriges.

A congenial partnership is all most of us have energy for.

Hour and a half phone conversation. At the end I say (paraphrase) “I think this conversation was valuable. If we are going to try to stay together, I think we need to make it a priority to make time for more of these discussions. But I’ve got an appt with a lawyer tomorrow. And I’d rather not run up lawyer bills, or expenses related to moving out, if we are going to try to stay together.”

She responded along the lines of, "So long as you respect my feelings."

Which kinda cuts to the quick for me. She has a lot of strong “feelings” about many things, many of which I do not agree with, understand, or respect. And yet she says because they are her “feelings” they are somehow inherently entitled to respect, and incapable of being wrong.

Like I’ve said, I acknowledge that I am nowhere near as emotional as she. But I don’t wish to commit to respecting her feelings, or continuing to change my behavior to accommodate them.

Also kinda strikes me as odd. I thought I was showing some “good faith” in participating in a lengthy and completely honest discussion. Yet despite her claiming that she is afraid of how divorce will affect her, she is unwilling to even consider bending on this one issue. I thought we might be able to table divorce and commit to further discussions, whereas she seems willing to do so only if it reaches a particular endpoint she has decided upon. Just don’t think I want to spend any more time doing that.

Longtime lurker (6 years), recently started posting. Chiming in here as the oldest of 3 kids (21, 17, and 13). My parents were thisclose to getting divorced a year ago. You bet the kids talked about it - but just to keep the others in the know (mainly me, since I’m away at school). And they don’t care much - so long as their livelihoods remain the same: their education funding is secure, they have a house in their hometown to come back to during breaks, and that you’re not suffering any serious emotional turmoil that you’re projecting on them. The 17 year old and I were quick to adopt the “just get it over with” attitude, while the 13 year old took some time but warmed up to it. As far as custody went, IIRC, in Pennsylvania it is practice to ask the child his preference if he is over the age of 12. My brothers would have both picked my mom.

My family is also “well off”; however my mother contributes nearly equally to their income. Mom had filed, lawyers had drawn up paper work, they both only had to sign on the dotted lines and it was going to be done. They have since reconciled - Dad has gone through anger management (he has a nasty temper) and also has agreed (and is under careful watch) that he not “hide” any money.:smack:

My father lived for 3 weeks in our second home, which was approximately 40 minutes from his workplace. This helped them both sort out their feelings on the matter.

Their problems were different, however - my mom jokingly recounted an initial conversation with the lawyer going something like this:

Lawyer “So, I know this is uncomfortable, but when did the sex go bad?”
Mom: "Went bad?? It’s still great - he’s just a dick.

Awkward. But relevant, in that you said the romance is entirely gone. I honestly don’t think they could have reconciled if their romance had been gone. They had grown apart, yes, but my father hurt my mother by hiding things/his temper escalating, and it had to be him that asked for forgiveness and a chance to work things out. Now they yearn for the day that the youngest goes to college, so they can travel widely and both fully retire (they’re soon to be 53 and 63).

If you were in it for the kids, or you’re afraid of the change, don’t be. Kids are grown, they’re smart about it, and you’ll have your own life back. Your kids will recognize the sacrifices you’ve made for them, and admire you for making the best of a sticky situation. If your wife doesn’t appreciate you as the breadwinner (as you’ve mentioned), all the more reason you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay.

Dinsdale - I don’t understand what her response means. Is she saying she wants to stay together as long as you “respect her feelings”? Can she define what that phrase means? I’m not a person who understands gray areas very well, and I couldn’t agree to that, because it sounds like she’s saying “as long as you agree to do whatever I think is best for us”. Is she saying she still wants to separate but things will be amicable as long as you respect her feelings? I just would hate an answer like that.

I think you need to agree (and maybe have a written agreement) about things like the kids, money, etc. I know that you’ve always acknowledged and appreciated her contribution to the smooth running of your household. However, I think it wouldn’t hurt for her to try to get back in the workforce at least part time, so she can contribute to the finances and also to put her foot in the water in case the marriage dissolves.


Have you guys done the therapy thing?

I see a lot of respect for her in you - but I also see a lot of simply not getting her emotion. Like a colorblind person saying “I don’t get green.” In the meantime, here she is, wanting to paint the whole house in shades of green, wanting you to be excited about green.

At some time, I suspect, you got excited about green - either for her sake or because at some time you could see it - otherwise, you’d have never married. And, at some point, she was willing to concede that Olive and Sage were distinctions lost on you.

Maybe you both need to learn a new language.

This applies to a large number of people, both male and female. Feelings are feelings. Some are negotiable and amenable to reasoned argument, some are not. Some people are amenable to having their feelings debated, many aren’t.

Then keep your appointment. Get as amiable a divorce as possible. Get yourself some counseling and learn how to respect, and communicate with, people with feelings you don’t understand. They’re still people, and very little sours relationships more than dismissing a partner’s feelings, even(perhaps especially) the ones which are difficult to understand, respect, or agree with. Some assertiveness courses wouldn’t hurt either. If you can’t politely stand up and say you won’t accommodate requests based on feelings you disagree with then you’ve got some work to do for your own sake.


Do you want to be married at all? If I were with someone who had no desire to respect or accommodate my feelings, arguments about it wouldn’t be once every few months, and there’s no way my marriage would last as long as yours has. Therapy might be good; she seems to think all her feelings should dictate her behavior, and you seem to think your spouse shouldn’t have feelings if you don’t deem them “rational enough.”

I’m just curious how you are about your kids’ feelings, your friends, your other family members.

As a person blessed with two X chromosomes myownself, I say quite vehemently: huh?

If I read your posts right, she gets very upset with you if you don’t understand her feelings. You, however, must also tiptoe around some things, or just plain hide them, lest she get mad.

There seems to be a real disconnect that flows both ways. “Respecting her feelings” means…what? Agree with her? Acknowledge her feelings but reserve your right to think differently? After an hour and a half, with a marriage on the line, “respect my feelings” doesn’t really move the discussion forward, backward or even sideways. Two way streets being good and all, I have no idea what she just required of you.

You guys need either some heavy-duty counseling or just to go your separate ways.

Well, not going to go into it in much detail right now, but after another lengthy discussion this a.m. I cancelled my appt with my lawyer scheduled for this a.m. We’ll see if we can salvage something. But I was afraid once I started paying money - getting a lawyer, moving out, who knows what else - I would pretty much ensure that we would end up at one conclusion.

To my lawyer’s credit he said my cancelling made his day - which I though nice.

Sorry if I’m a drama queen here with all my personal problems large and/or small. Thanks for all your thoughts. They have been helpful.