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Old 12-19-2011, 11:56 PM
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Default Looking for help, or direction or a kick...

I am new to the site and, like many, looking for help. But first I want to be sure I am in the right place. I am not divorced, although I should have been many years ago and many times in between. There is an essay or even a book that goes with this but I don’t want to spill my guts if this is not the right place. A performance appraisal and a profile completed by survey, on me, last spring, showed me what I known in my heart for years… that although my skills in my administrative/supervisory role are excellent; my personal happiness is abysmal. This unhappiness has a beginning point way back, and has been aggravated by years of disrespect, verbal and emotional abuse and lack of, and sometimes withholding of, affection (or should I say more of a roller coaster) and has been gnawing at me for many years. But the survey was the last straw. Seeing it in black and white was the clincher. I am living a lie, through a personal version of hell compounded by my own personality; one that sees me giving and giving to everyone… everyone except myself.

The short version is that I am a 59 year old, well educated, well respected, man, still in a 37 year marriage that should have ended about 15 years ago, after 3 years of trying to reconcile, but overwhelming guilt (both materialistic and emotional) and fear trump my sadness and anger every time. I love my career and admittedly hide there as long as I can each day so I can put off having to go home. I have not yet left my marriage, but feel I am closer to doing so than I have ever been before. At least three rounds of counselling, and two of couple’s counselling have come and gone. I know my Meyers-Briggs personality type. I am knowledgeable in the techniques from “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. I now cope okay with most issues in my house. I am active and have many skills and hobbies. My children are grown. I could gripe and some might be shocked at what has transpired over the years, but in the end I am still there and simply and terribly unhappy. I have not been in love or felt love for many years. I am lonely and unhappy in my own home. It seems that except on holidays, my wife has no more to give, nor does she care to. Real affection, attention and physical and emotional intimacy are all things of the past.

A few friends know, but the reality is squarely with me. This is something I have to do on my own, but remain paralyzed by a lifetime of not knowing any other life, indecision, confusion, fear, guilt and even something as mundane as knowing what might happen if and when I walk out the door, or maybe even getting out the door in the first place. Not that my life is horrible… some might say my life is quite okay. Materially it is. I see many uglier relationships. But this is for me, not others. Emotionally, with respect to closeness, affection, happiness and connection, my life is empty. I am tired of trying, tired of being the one who get the advice to go back and try this or that, when it is me that seems to be hurting most. I could continue, but need direction first. There are days when I think I will go crazy. I am almost obsessive at times with rehashing thoughts, both pro and con, and wake up thinking about it at ridiculously early hours and simply cannot “get out of my head”, as the expression goes, on many days, to simply live at least a normal life. How the hell am I ever going to get out of the house, or alternatively, let the anger and sadness go and stop complaining?

Do you have suggestions for where a person might go for “pre-divorce”, “pre-separation” support? A website or people who might listen or help? Separation support seems almost synonymous with divorce support. This seems to be the most professional Canadian site I have come across.

Thank you.

btw... I am told that "Weslemkoon" is an Aboriginal word and is currently the name of a lake in central Ontario near where I live. I love the lake and especially the local dialect... The name has been "Anglo-sized" and is pronounced "Wesley McKoon" Gotta love that!
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2011, 12:18 AM
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When you know that uncertainty for your future is still better than the ongoing unpleasantness of your present, your decision will be easier.

As for support, see your family doctor. They worry about your mental health as much as your physical health, and would be knowledgeable about that counselling services in your area you can be referred to.

Does your job have an EAP service? That may also be a good first step.

There are some books people recommend, and probably some websites, but in-person help is a lot more personal.

Searching around this website will also provide you with 'the list' of things to do to prepare for separation. For example, before even approaching your spouse to discuss things, make sure you have copies of all financial/debt/ownership etc information for both you and her, and set your personal valuables somewhere out of the house where she won't have access. It sounds paranoid, but there are too many horror stories of things turning ugly during a divorce.

Good luck.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:40 AM
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Hi Weslemkoon:

If you're coming here to get advice on whether or not you should divorce, you're a bit misguided.

In my experience, if you're the one deciding to leave...its not something anyone can or should advise you to do. Your marriage is unique..and if you decide to divorce, it will be unique too. Its like going on a do it when you do it. You have a lot of emotion in your post...and I can tell you as someone who desperately came to want out of my marriage at whatever price, emotion isn't a sign of someone who's ready to leave a marriage. When you're ready to leave...there seems to be a common thread of feeling a bit of hope, a bit of dread, a bit of fear, etc. But very little feeling about the stbx spouse aside from tinges of regret for wasted time.

Your decision should be based on whether or not your marriage meets the large majority of your critical life needs based on compatibility. For instance, if your core needs are mostly financial or comfort-based (really dig that clean, big house)..then maybe you're doing ok and can live with it. If your needs more are emotional and intimacy based, you might not be doing so well. You need to rank your needs, her needs, status and how they stack up against each other. I can recommend a book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship - Mira Kirshenbaum (eBook) but ultimately its your decision to make.

You get one life...just do you want to spend it? No person or support group can help you with that.
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2011, 05:37 PM
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Weslemkoon is on a distinguished road

Thank you for your thoughts and for the link to the book. I have already ordered the book from Amazon. It looks like a good fit. You are absolutely right that only I can make this decision. I wasn't asking "if" so much as what have others experienced. I have read enough to know that whatever I am experiencing is probably normal. I am frustrated and sometimes even feel guilty about my own reluctance to leave but at the same time about not doing anything anymore about fixing things. Why am "I" feeling guilty.. the one who has invested most into the marriage since it went downhill? Most days I prefer that my wife stay angry because I hate when she is nice... at this stage it's phoney and is never consistent... only when I am pulling away.

I know I don't want to be here. I know I do not love my wife. We have a long ago past, amazing children, all of whom still frequent our house but don't live with us. But we don't have love, nor intimacy. She has told me matter-of-fact-ly that if we make love it will only be because I want it and not because we are sharing intimacy. It has been over 5 years, and I don't even care. She has no interest. Cuddling, kissing... maybe... but that's it.

All the journaling I do is a lark, because it is constant validation. But here I sit. The question seems to be not so much "if" I SHOULD leave, but whether I can live with myself, live in my head with this responsibility IF ILEAVE. I can almost get panic attacks looking in the housewares department of a store thinking about the enormity of the decision. My wife is fine with our busy lives, a peck on the cheek and an occasional trip. She asserts we just have to try a bit harder, but forgets the next day, and goes on living her life with a cloud over her head. She is a bitter angry person... except on holidays or at holiday time. I seem stuck, yet, others walk out of marriages every day. My life has been quiet, predictable, boring, normal... and everything about separation terrifies me. Do others languish in misery waiting for the right time, the right amount of anger? A colleague walked out on her husband after only a few months of being unhappy. I am well into YEARS! What the heck am I missing? A counsellor once told me that, for me, leaving would be like a crucifixion for me... pretty graphic. Yet home life is dismal... I am waiting for a switch to flick, to be hit on the head, for the sky to fall, to get angry enough, sad enough, disinterested enough ... something. Thanks again. I will watch and read over the site as well.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:56 PM
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Hi Wes

I am newly separated, one year as of December 1 of this year. I was married for 35 years. I can only speak for myself but separating can be somewhat compared to going on a diet. No matter how many times someone will need to lose need to go to the need to get back in shape...if you are NOT ready for it, it will not happen. I tried 2 times to leave my spouse and each time I felt guilty, even though I knew I was fed up. I even told our children I was leaving (twice) but I didn't. I'm sure they must of assumed I was right off my rocker this time again as rolled their eyes.

There always seems to be one in the marriage who is the go getter and the other one is content to let it happen. In my marriage it was I who was always trying to better myself. I went back to school when I 25 and took ECE, then I took photography courses and got in Diagnostic Imaging at our hospital, during that time I also continued taking courses and got my PI Licence and I was in my 50's at that time. My husband chose to continue to vegitate and remain content where he was...absolutely no ambition. I raised 4 boys, cooked, cleaned, repaired walls, painted, took down walls, washing, ironing...yada yada yada.

One night last December my spouse walked down the hall to go outside and I looked at him and said "I can't do this anymore". So I went on a diet and dropped 230 lbs that night. My health improved, my mental state improved, my cardio was great and I loved me again. My children are delighted to see me so happy. I bought my own car, got an apartment I like, got a cat, and life is good.

Getting there wasn't easy and this year has had many ups and downs. My EX took me to court and was awarded Spousal Support. He called the police on me twice, called the Firearm Ministry in Toronto, you name it, he did it. You I also hunt so he told the police I threatened to shoot him. So I had my firearm taken from me (his word against mine) the Ministry had my Dr. fill out a medical form proving I was not unstable (he said I was). In the end the Police apologized to me the Ministry apologized to me...I have my firearm back here at home and he looks the fool for all the lies he told them.

As far as journaling I would be careful with that. My ex did the same thing and I found his journal book. He would write about every argument we had, every disagreement, if the children upset him, if I went out for lunch with the girls, and also complained about my water aerobics I was taking...waa waa waa. That made my decision to leave so much easier.

So the long and short of it is...yes it can be hard to do and you feel guilty, but after you've made you decision a weight will lift. At least it certainly did with me.

  #6 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:13 PM
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Check posts throughout this forum. It's a great place to read answers, and get up to speed with processes when dealing with the legal system. It's also a great sounding board (positive and negative comments...). It had made me re-think a few things and great to have different advice/thoughts from others in the same situation.
One word of caution...I moved out Jan 1 2011...big mistake. I found this forum and details after...turns out I should have never left. Ex said he would buy me out of the house and I believed him. He still hasn't and court battles will be ensuing. Read through the posts and you will find some great advice !
Good luck...
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:49 PM
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Moving out of the house usually puts you at a severe negotiating disadvantage. HOWEVER, if you have significant RRSP in your own name (and she doesn't), and you think you are liable to pay spousal support, then possibly just moving out (and stopping paying all bills except 1/2 of mortgage and insurance) might not be a bad idea.

If you are able, consider using any joint funds to pay down your mortgage (thus forcing an eventual even split of these funds), and also possibly reducing your monthly mortgage payments.

That leaves her with incentive to settle the financial issues to get her hands on spousal support and rrsp, in return for buying out your share of the house.

The big caveat is that you need to protect yourself against her running up bills on any joint lines of credit, credit cards, or emptying joint accounts that might have a big balance. Try to close out or limit any such joint accounts.

Last edited by dinkyface; 12-20-2011 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:36 PM
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Weslemkoon is on a distinguished road

Originally Posted by dinkyface View Post
Moving out of the house usually puts you at a severe negotiating disadvantage. HOWEVER, if you have significant RRSP in your own name (and she doesn't), and you think you are liable to pay spousal support, then possibly just moving out (and stopping paying all bills except 1/2 of mortgage and insurance) might not be a bad idea.

The big caveat is that you need to protect yourself against her running up bills on any joint lines of credit, credit cards, or emptying joint accounts that might have a big balance. Try to close out or limit any such joint accounts.

First of all, I feel like maybe this doesn't belong in "Introductions" any longer, but I don't know how to move a quoted text. If a moderator wants to move it, please feel free.

We don't have any joint accounts or lines of credit due to her long ago indiscretion. I do need to have a good look at pensions (mine is much larger, but only because I have been contributing longer... our incomes are similar) but really need to seek advice on all financial matters.

But my first question is really about "moving out". I was told several years ago by a lawyer when I tried to do this once before, that the person who caused the break up is not a consideration, that who leaves, and who stays, doesn't matter. Yet, a couple of posts here seem to indicate the opposite. I would be leaving because my wife never will. As much as I do not wish her any ill will (I just want to get out), I feel as if I need to force her hand to deal with financial issues. Trying to work out something while living in the same house just doesn't seem feasible.

Keeping in mind that we are 3 to 5 years from retirement, the kids are all grown and have homes and careers of their own, does it really matter if I am the one to say I am not happy, my marriage sucks, and leave the matrimonial home? What difference does it make? This is assuming it goes to court... I really don't know what to expect at this stage in my life. Is it a law, or based on who has the best lawyer or the judge or ???

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:53 AM
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I think the main problems with leaving the house may not apply to you so badly.

The biggest reason is that children of a marriage generally stay in the house, as they need stability during the breakup and not having to move provides some. So the parent that moves out is at a disadvantage for establishing an equal right to custody. Moving away from the children is a lot like handing primary care over to the spouse who remains in the house.

The next biggest reason is financial. Neither person is likely to be able to afford a new house until the old one is divided up. So someone who moves out is probably going into a crummy rental because the equalization that gets them a down payment on a new home will take a long time to sort out.

Another big reason to stay in the home is to hurry the process along. There can be a lot of tension when separated spouses continue to live in the same home, which gives both parties incentive to move the process to conclusion. Even if someone moves out, their name remains on the title and mortgage, so they have a vested interest in making sure the home is maintained in good condition, the bills are paid, and nobody defaults on the mortgage. This is a sweet deal for the remaining spouse, to have half their bills paid. So why would that person be in any hurry to sign a separation agreement to buy the other person out?

But, your kids are grown and live elsewhere, maybe you don't mind a crummy rental for a while and maybe you don't have a mortgage anymore and don't mind if your money is tied up in the house your ex-wife lives in for a couple of years before you can buy a new house. Maybe some other people can think of a few more reasons.

Upon rereading this thread, I notice that you have said a couple of times that your wife is happier when on holidays. I also see that you said you stay late at work because you dread coming home to her. The obvious issue from the outside seems to be that you aren't spending enough quality time with her. Never mind why this ended up being your situation, it's a self-perpetuating vicious circle, but it occurs to me that maybe retirement is a solution to a lot of your woes. Can you afford to do that sooner than 3-5 years? Maybe you being around more, or travelling together in retirement, will make normal life more like a holiday and relax your wife and let you guys rediscover your marriage. Just a long shot, maybe.

And if you do separate, same house or moving out, you don't automatically need to go to court or worry about what a judge will do. You don't really even need a lot of lawyer activity. You just need to discuss and divide up your property in a way that you both think is equitable. Come up with an agreement together about who gets what and who moves out and take it to lawyers as the last step. It even sounds easy in your case, to be honest. If you have similar incomes, there's probably no reason to have spousal support come up. Your kids are grown. So that only leaves equalization to worry about. Add up all your assets, subtract your debts, and each gets half. One person will get the house, and the other person will get most of the liquid assets, most likely. Or you can sell the house and both get a lot of cash for starting over.

Last edited by Rioe; 12-30-2011 at 02:00 AM.
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