Divorce questions

So it appears that my wife is toying with the idea of a divorce. No doubt I have my faults, and I am willing to work on them. It also seems clear that I would come out on top of this matter. My wife doesn’t earn enough money to maintain a separate household, at least not by her demanding standards. I give our kids much more affection and affirmation that she does. She cooks their meals but apart from that all she does is yell at them for not meeting her expectations. I am ambivalent about staying with her, but I couldn’t bear being without my kids, and I think they would suffer for their parents being separated. We did well for the first 5 years of their life and I think it would be stupid to deal them such a blow right now.

Some who have followed my threads know that I have an issue drinking, which counts against me in this matter. All I can say is that I have never let my children see this side of me, I only do it late at night after they have gone to bed.

Also my wife was a ferocious drinker earlier in our marriage and still delights in verbally abusing me (which somehow I just tolerate it because I felt I had no better options). But in fact she still has anger issues and is abusive toward me and our kids. I feel very resentful that she can just blow her temper and issue strong demands whenever she feels like it, but if I suggest anything is wrong, then things are just hopelessly screwed and it’s time for us to separate. And she is exactly the type of person to go scorched-earth and poison the kids against me regardless of how it might harm the children.

I would happily leave her in a minute but I can’t leave my children. To complicate matters, she is a foreign national and our kids have dual citizenship in a country where they could simply disappear with me having no recourse to ever see them again.

At any rate, I don’t even know why I’m posting this. No legal advice will be adequate or applicable. But if you want to share your experiences I’ll be glad to hear them. It’s hard to imagine remaining married to this person, but impossible to imagine losing my kids. Any thoughts are appreciated.

This is very sad, and I’m sorry you’re going through this, but having followed your alcohol thread, I just have to address this point.

The side of you that is problematic is not the fact that you consume alcohol, it’s that you have a drinking problem. Whether your kids know about the actual consumption (and depending on their age, it’s absolutely possible that they do), they can certainly see the emotional devastation that is connected to your drinking. Addiction causes people to behave differently in all sorts of ways, and those are things that your kids will pick up on, even if they don’t know the cause. I know how desperately you have struggled to address your alcohol issues. but I think now would be a great time to make another attempt, whether through AA, therapy, or even discussing with your medical doctor. Divorce is complex and emotionally fraught, and bringing the emotions of an addiction into the mix will only make it more volatile.

Thing is, I own my problems with alcohol. I deal with them as best I can. All I ask is that an outside observer allow the fact that perhaps one party in the relationship is a controlling abuser and the other party deals with it by consuming alcohol. And what can one do when the controlling abuser is the mother of the children. I suspect there are no good solutions in this case.

Here is the crazy stupid thing that precipitated this whole conflict. Every year she gets a bonus equal to about 9% of her salary. I advise us both to adjust our witholding so that we won’t pay too much to the government. It so happens that each year we end up owing the government an amount exactly equal to her bonus payout.

I maintain that this all washes out in the end, but somehow she feels that she is entitled to this lump sum that is her bonus, to spend exactly as she likes.

It also bears mentioning that in each bi-weekly paycheck she deducts about $150 to spend as she likes. This money is earmarked toward visiting her parents overseas, which I don’t begrudge if it isn’t more than once every 18 months. But christ, $10k a year is a bit much. Anyhow, now I’m drunk and flailing, but thanks for contributing in any cas.e

Yes–even if the drinker only drinks when the children and spouse are not around, he is not fully emotionally present when they are around, because his mind is really just anticipating the next drink, even if only subconsciously. The kids can sense this.

As for the divorce, getting away from both the wife and the children–temporarily–might actually be key to stopping the drinking. Otherwise, they will just always provide an excuse to drink.

You acknowledge in your OP that you tolerate your wife’s behavior for the sake of the children, and that they would suffer if you separated. Clearly you believe that your children benefit in some way from their relationship with their mother. Take that as your starting point – however your relationship with your wife develops, you want what is best for your children. Creating an adversarial “she’s just a horrible person” approach will only increase the animosity and create more problems for you and for them.

Most importantly, you need to remember that you have no control over your wife’s behavior. You can only control your own behavior, including your reactions to her. One of the reasons that I think now would be a great time to again try to address your issues with alcohol is that they will impair your ability to react appropriately.

I am going to emote now. This pisses me off so much, that she gets to be a raging terrorizing judgmental person toward all of us. And I deal with it by drinking alchohol, and now I own the whole problem. Why can’t the person with anger and control issues own the problem and get their shit back together? Because they’re the mother I guess?

I would be the very last person to say that a woman or a mother enjoys any special privileges in an emotional relationship because of that status.

No one said that you own the whole problem. In fact, my point was the opposite – you own only those parts of the problem that are under your control: your own thoughts, behavior, and reactions, just as your wife owns her own thoughts, behavior and reactions. Do you have an effective means of getting your wife to address her anger and control issues? It may seem unfair that you can’t just make her be the person you want her to be. But that is the way the world works. And the sooner you understand that, and move on to doing what you can do, instead of living in the fantasy that you can change her behavior, or that drinking is an effective solution, the sooner you’ll be able to move forward.

B/c you’re the one that is posting. B/c no one has figure an effective way to brainwash someone. You’re never going to get her to change. So the only choice you have is to figure out how to deal with her and protect your children. And the first step is to get your alcohol use in control, then document all the issues and start talking to a lawyer.

ETA that SpoilerVirgin’s post is spot on.

Thanks all. We’ll see tomorrow.

Please don’t take this wrong, but are you a US citizen? I ask firstly because of the HMS moniker and more importantly because if you live in the US, how can you possibly believe this to be true?

If you’re in the UK, I bow out because I know nothing of divorce there, but if you think your US wife is at a disadvantage because you earn more than her? Sorry, but I have bad news for you.

Here is the crazy thing. I don’t want to be married to my wife anymore. But I feel if we separated then she would engage in a no-holds-barred nuclear exchange in which I would end up as an uninhabitable parent.

Which IMO is insane. Yes,she cooks dinner for them. And I can too. And I can get them to soccer practice and back. All these things can be done without her, except having a stable family life with people who love each other. Apparently we are in a hostage-taking situation, and the only thing that can be done is for me to give in entirely. And so I do, and so it is done, I give in entirely.

delete drunken ramblings of a maniac.

It sounds like she’s tired of living with a drunk. I don’t blame her, even if the bad situation doesn’t bring out the best in her.

Don’t “own” your drinking. Stop it. Then maybe things will get better. Or, at least, you will be equipped to deal with things getting worse.

Beaten to the punch! I would bet that a divorce will end with OP paying alimony. And unless custody is split 50/50, child support as well. Being the top earner is not going to work in your favor if you have to pay to “maintain” your ex until a number of years pass and/or she remarries (highly dependent on state law, so educate yourself).

My father crawled into a bottle when his mother died (he was also an incredibly stupid man and completely dominated by his mother). I did not realize exactly how much he was drinking, but I remember, at age 12 or 13, asking my mother: “Why don’t you get a divorce?”.
Mother was also a case: desperately afraid that, someone, somewhere, might, at sometime, think she was less than “perfect”.
She did finally divorce the drunk moron - 20-some years later.

If you think your alcoholism is not affecting your relationship with your children, you are also deluded in that matter as well.

Grow up and stop using “Drinking Problem” as an excuse. It is a piss-poor one.

Can you tell us where she is from?

I don’t know whose stance is right in general, not knowing how your budget is organized, but the bolded part bothers me. Why shouldn’t she be able to visit her family more often than once every year and a half, especially if she pays her travel expenses with the money she earns, and doubly so if her yearly bonus alone is $ 10K?

It’s not like you’re struggling with making ends meet, is it?

Alimony is uncommon nowadays; as for child support, even if they had 50/50 physical custody (which I do not believe in, because the kids don’t really live anywhere) he probably will still have to pay child support if he really does make significantly more money than she does.

An alcoholic and a person with anger issues. Every lawyer’s worst nightmare when it comes to child custody. :frowning:

HMS, get thee to an AA meeting today if you can.

  1. Stop drinking. Get help, but do it. There are a LOT of good reasons to stop drinking, but the one pertinent to this thread is that if you really fear a divorce, your chances of spending time with your children after the divorce are vastly improved if you are NOT drinking.

  2. She sounds desperately unhappy too. If she is willing to go to counseling, I think you both ought to do it. Separately and together.

If you address the drinking, and try the counseling, you may find there is a marriage to save. Even if there isn’t, you’ll be in a better position moving forward.

I grew up with a controlling father and a mother who drank at night to deal with him, unhappiness, who knows. I was miserable. I wished all my life they would divorce so that we wouldn’t all have to live in their toxic morasse of misery.