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  #1  
Old 09-02-2018, 01:02 PM
UncertainT UncertainT is offline
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Iíve been reading several posts here for the last day or two and Iíve found them very helpful. So thanks to this community for your honesty and insight into an area of life that is difficult to get helpful perspectives on.

Iíve been thinking of divorce for some time. Several years off and on. If it wasnít for my 2 kids (8yo son and 5 yo daughter) I would have pulled the trigger long ago.
My parents were divorced when I was young and I lived the experience as a kid, so one of the reasons Iíve stuck it out with my wife is because subjecting my kids to a similar experience would rip my heart out. But yet, I am deeply unhappy with my marriage.
My wife and I hardly speak outside the context of our roles as parents. When we do speak, it most likely devolves into argument or snide remarks pretty quickly. Our marriage has been pretty much sex-less for many years and Iíve been sleeping in the spare bedroom for the better part of the last 2 years.
Weíve done some marriage counseling that wasnít very effective. Gone through 2 rounds of ďrelationship coachingĒ. Iíve also done fairly extensive work / counseling on myself over the last couple of years, mainly because I wanted to have some certainty that this wasnít manifesting due to some remnants of my past. None of this has shifted the experience of our relationship significantly.
Hence all this research on divorce.
Another thing... Iím the sole bread winner. Iíve been encouraging her to work for many years and she currently spends many hours a day at a multi-level marketing business, but has not brought in any income or contributed to the household financially after about 10 months of effort. This is her 4th or 5th such endeavor.
I guess another reason Iím hesitating is because I would really prefer not to get financially raped if I do choose to go thru with this process.
I donít hate my wife. Our relationship has devolved into a roommate situation with really no benefit for me and all responsibility on my plate.
Iím just so uncertain as to what to do. Staying the course would just be so soul sucking... but choosing divorce seems like such a disruptive change that sets me back so far in all sorts of other areas of life.

Iíve read several posts that suggest that you exhaust all other options before choosing divorce... and then exhaust some more.
In that spirit Iíve been researching the John Gottman work and am considering a course with my wife in the very near future.

Iíve also read that you should know what to expect if you do choose divorce, but Iím not sure how to do this.

Any insight or advice based on your experience would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2018, 06:31 PM
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arabian arabian is online now
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How long have you been married/living together?

Sometimes it is better to get out of a relationship early on rather than sticking it out (financially).

Has your ex a decent education? Did she work prior to, or after, having kids?

If you are hoping to end things and have a 50/50 parenting role then perhaps you should try it on for size. Maybe your wife needs a bit of a break for a few weeks? See how you make out with the kids by yourself for a few weeks. Also, check into cost of child care. I hear it's extremely expensive.

Before we scare you with things such as spousal support and child support, I'd try on the "single dad" thing first.

"...Our marriage has been pretty much sex-less for many years and Iíve been sleeping in the spare bedroom for the better part of the last 2 years.."

Well that isn't unusual for some people, particularly when you have young children... hard to feel "turned on" when kids are shitting and puking all of the time. You get go to to work every day, be with adults, have social lunches and then come home. Your partner may not get this same sort of break? I recall when our son was young my ex always seemed to get a boner on the nights/mornings when I was dead tired. Nice weekends away (without children) usually set things right. We had to work at making things happen in our relationship. Ex and I had a small business which required all of our combined energy.

Life isn't easy.

For a start, make sure you aren't comparing yourself with what you perceive is your friend's seemingly "happy marriage". Everyone has tough times. Take a step back and try to balance your thoughts with positive things. Do you have disabled children? Do you have aging parents that you have to look after? There are many things in life that can throw a wrench into everything.

Finally, a frank discussion with your wife about your feelings may seem good but remember that it might come off as a threat.... tread carefully.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:28 PM
UncertainT UncertainT is offline
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Thanks for your reply. I welcome all perspectives at this point!

Weíve been married 10 years and been together 12.
She has a psychology degree and training as a dental hygienist but has let her certification slip a long time ago. She has been doing some accounting work for my business for since our 1st borne, but Iíve tried to encourage another line of employment. Hence the small businesses. None of which have panned out.

I like the idea of ďtrying it on for sizeĒ but Iíve also heard advice that guys should never leave the matrimonial home. Especially if they desire 50/50 custody.

Your comments about common stressors of life with my stage of life are close to target... my eldest son is not disabled but is higher need (high functioning autism) and my wifeís father passed away about 10 months ago.

Iím also curious about idea of open communication being threatening... how else does one move forward?
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:42 PM
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She has been contributing to the family business by way of keeping the books. Should you separate without your wife having a few years (at least) of meaningful employment experience under her belt you will most certainly be paying spousal support. Even if she were to find employment now, the fact that she gave up her career track (psychology and/or dental hygiene), to stay home with children and contribute to the family business would weight heavily in her favor for substantial SS.

If/when you make the decision to separate you should be try to get spousal support in a step-down way which discourages her from trivial employment. It sounds as though you are a way off from that stage yet though... learn to walk before you run.

You don't need to move out to "try on" single parenting. Arrange for your wife to take a vacation for a week or two. See if you can look after the kids and tend to your business. It would be understandable if you couldn't but before you get into "divorce war" it would beneficial to see things from your soon-to-be ex's wife's perspective in terms of balancing looking after children and seeking employment or upgrading education. Too often we look at our spouses and think that if we were in their shoes a) we could do it better and b) it is no big deal. Try it out! Oh and do this without calling/texting her for directions 10 x/day.

Once you have experienced walking in her shoes for a few weeks then you can perhaps have a meaningful conversation. That conversation should include reasonable expectations from both parties. The conversation will likely morph into more than one conversation. I'd recommend doing it in a neutral environment, away from distractions (children, cell phones, television). If you try to short-cut this then she probably won't take you serious and it will evolve into a mutual put-down sort of conversation.

From what little you have posted on here I'd say that if you want your freedom, it is going to be very costly. Be very sure before you make any decisions that you may later come to regret.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:35 PM
UncertainT UncertainT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
She has been contributing to the family business by way of keeping the books. Should you separate without your wife having a few years (at least) of meaningful employment experience under her belt you will most certainly be paying spousal support. Even if she were to find employment now, the fact that she gave up her career track (psychology and/or dental hygiene), to stay home with children and contribute to the family business would weight heavily in her favor for substantial SS.....


From what little you have posted on here I'd say that if you want your freedom, it is going to be very costly. Be very sure before you make any decisions that you may later come to regret.
You are confirming my suspicions and desire for her to have meaningful employment.... Solid advice all around.

I will say that there may be a desire for freedom, but there definitely is a need for intimacy. And I just donít see how that is going to happen. Itís almost like I have a choice to divorce and have the potential to find that intimacy again but at the cost of destroying the rest of my life OR I stay and slowly die from a soul sucking existence. Good times.

I take it, Arabian, that you are of the female persuasion. I appreciate your advice to look at it from her perspective more before making any decisions.
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:01 PM
kate331 kate331 is offline
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I was a stay at home Mom but for 6 years, so I didn't qualify for spousal support. My relationship ended abruptly and if I had known, I wish I had been better prepared to enter the work force. So if you want to be a nice guy, please give your wife some time to either upgrade her skills or find a job. Hobby jobs dont count

And while your trying to find intimacy again, please dont forget you have 2 children that are going to be thrown for a loop. As a parent of 2 special needs children, one being Autistic, they need to have both parents in their lives. You need to be there for them. Change, upheaval, stress and tension in the home are not a good mix for any child let alone an Autistic child. Maybe I am bitter, but I am reading more about your needs and not the needs of your children. Make sure you stick around to help with the childcare and dont let your wants and desires as a man stand in the way of being a great Dad.

The every other weekend, one night a week is a cop out parent in my opinion. She will still get child support should she choose not to work even in a 50/50 split if that is an issue.

The good news for you is your planning this well in advance and I am sure your wife knows the writing is on the wall, so I hope the 2 of you do right by your children. There are a few of us on here with special needs children and have been very generous with advice.

In my own situation daycare was a huge issue with work schedules and finding childcare that accepts special needs children. So these are things that could be worked out in advanced.
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:34 AM
UncertainT UncertainT is offline
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ďSo if you want to be a nice guy, please give your wife some time to either upgrade her skills or find a job. Hobby jobs dont count Ē

I feel like Iíve given her years! From my perspective she seems to not want to take a ďreal jobĒ because why do that when you can make a million dollars thru multi level marketing... problem is thatís not real. Not that I can point that out to her without being an asshole.

ďAnd while your trying to find intimacy again, please dont forget you have 2 children that are going to be thrown for a loop. As a parent of 2 special needs children, one being Autistic, they need to have both parents in their lives. You need to be there for them. Change, upheaval, stress and tension in the home are not a good mix for any child let alone an Autistic child. Maybe I am bitter, but I am reading more about your needs and not the needs of your children. Make sure you stick around to help with the childcare and dont let your wants and desires as a man stand in the way of being a great DadĒ

I have no problems with my responsibilities as a Dad. You may have skimmed over the part where I mentioned my own parents where divorced and one of the reasons Iím not already divorced is because subjecting my own kids to a similar experience would literally brake my heart...

One of the the things that Iíve tried to convey to my wife is the necessity to view intimacy in our relationship as one of the most important ways to help our kids. Because the research would suggest it is.
We also have a kid on the spectrum. The stats on divorce in parents of kids on the spectrum are not ideal... much worse than the general public. It adds lots of stress. Iím a doctor professionally, so not only have I seen it in my own household, Iíve seen it professionally for years.

But care for ones kids and parental intimacy are not mutually exclusive. Or at least in my mind they donít need to be.

To this point, Iíve been unsuccessful in convincing my wife that one of the ways to care for our kids is to care for our relationship.

Iím not trying to run off and be free and a dead beat dad... Iím trying to get a need met and I no longer know how.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:20 AM
kate331 kate331 is offline
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I think your wife will realize when reality sets in and rent/mortgage needs to be paid, those multi level marketing schemes dont work unless u value a Pink Cadillac.

I hear you on the intimacy and the needs of children, especially those that require more attention. Between, the numerous Dr's appointment, speech therapy, ABA treatment, temper tantrums over misplaced chews etc, the last thing I was thinking of was intimacy, and yes it cost me my relationship. So count me in on that research. Looking back it would have been nice if my ex helped out more (not saying you dont).

My ex now has all his needs meet, a lovely girlfriend to meet all his physical needs. And a stressed out Mom to take care of his children. The best of both worlds

Sarcasm aside, your a Doctor, you can afford a seasoned lawyer, I'd go get professional advice before listening to me
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:03 AM
UncertainT UncertainT is offline
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ďSarcasm aside, your a Doctor, you can afford a seasoned lawyer, I'd go get professional advice before listening to me ď

But your experience is very valuable to me, Kate!

For example, knowing what you know now, would you have prioritized intimacy if you knew that it would have saved your marriage?
And more importantly for me, what would it have taken to allow you to understand this at that point in the past?

There seems to be lots of overlap of your past and my present, which means I can learn from you.

The dynamic of my wife dealing with caring for our son has been a major stressor to our marriage. Iím a Doc and see people dealing with intense health issues everyday, so the whole thing is much more normalized in my experience.
She views this as me being uncaring, when in reality Iím just trying to be as rational and grounded As possible.
Sometimes it seems as though my wife is the most difficult patient Iíve ever had to deal with. Our son is high functioning on the spectrum and is doing relatively well, but if I donít immediately agree to every therapy she researches on google, Iím instantly viewed as a heartless asshole. Which doesnít go over well with me when Iíve actually been treating people on deaths door all day long.
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:32 AM
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Nothing much matters beyond getting the 50%. Most of the financial pieces fall into place if you have shared custody. If you do not have shared custody almost immediately once you pull the trigger, expect:

1) To be kicked out of the house (exclusive possession)
2) To have to pay immediate child support
3) To have to pay immediate spousal support
4) To have your access to the children severely and possibly permanently curtailed.

Unfortunately, you are employed, and she is not. This sets up a terrible status quo where she is the primary parent. Fortunately, you are not being blindsided, which gives you some time to change that status quo. The extra year of marriage will cost an extra 6 months of spousal support, but it is well worth it to establish that you are an equal parent. Two options are available:

1) Reduce her time with the kids
2) Increase your time kids

You reduce her time by hiring people to take care of the kids. Get a nanny to help her "grow her business".

More importantly, you need to drastically increase your time with the kids. Start taking a day off work a week. Start making dinners. Make the school lunches for the kids. Make breakfast in the morning (easiest meal to handle!). Sign the kids up for activities and make yourself responsible for bringing the kids. If she asks why you are doing more, the answer is always "to give you more time to work on your wonderful MLM business that I totally support!"

Meanwhile, document everything you do with the kids. Start a diary. Take photos. You want a year of hands on with the kids. If you need sex that badly hire a prostitute, just don't get caught or you might get blindsided yourself before your year of prep work is up.

Talk to the lawyer BEFORE you talk to your wife. Plan this out. The default is that you lose your kids and your money. Don't let that happen... You can keep both! Well, at least more money than you would otherwise get.
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