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Here is an excerpt of a book I wrote on pre-divorce activity.

Even while divorce is so common, and even marriage seems to be losing its attraction, (unless you live in a red state, then they seem to demand it), seeking a divorce is a huge decision, not one to be taken lightly. It is expensive, stressful, tough, and if kids are involved, it can often feel devastating.

The first step in getting your own life in order is simple. The first question you need to ask is whether divorce is for you. Take a few hours and head off to someplace quiet, away from family, friends, telephones or TV sets. DO NOT go to a friend’s house, a bar or a restaurant.  Find a quiet place without any distractions. Turn your beeper and phone off, or better yet, leave them someplace else. A library is a great place. Or sit in a park, near some water or trees, but make sure it is away from other people. This is a critical time. Friends, beer or distractions won’t help you with this task.

Go through each of the following questions, taking all the time you need to really think about the answers. Be totally candid and honest with yourself when you answer them. Perhaps you can spend hours on each question, or you might be completely done in 20 minutes.

There are no right or wrong answers. This is an important exercise that will help teach you about what you have to do and what kind of choices you have. The more time you spend, the clearer your decision will be in the end. The clearer the decision, the easier it is to make better choices throughout the divorce process. It will even help you learn whether you really want a divorce.  

If you are one of those guys whose wife has filed for divorce, you should still go through each exercise, including this first questionnaire. It will help you make sense of things. It might even ease some of the pain that you must be feeling. Then again, you may be ready to sing and dance.

It is important that you write down each answer, even if the answer is a simple “yes” or “no”. Ready?  Let’s get started:

1) Are you happy about your life, yourself, and your career?

2) If not, is there something you can do about it?

3) Does your marriage interfere with your self-respect, your life, family, your friends and your career?

4) Why did you get married?

5) Have you changed since you first met your spouse? How?

6) Have you grown and improved, or are you taking advantage of your spouse’s efforts in the marriage?

7) Has your spouse changed since you two first met and started dating? How?

8) Apart from his/her looks, his/her weight, drinking, or past-times or attitude about sex, is he/she partner of yours in other ways?

9) Does your spouse support your career and life in a meaningful way?

10) Do you actively support your spouse's life and career?

11) Do you play an active role in sustaining your relationship?

12) Have you been willing work on each other’s bad habits?

13) Have you been willing to put aside your needs for the needs of spouse or children? Has he/she done the same for you?

*    *    *    *
Just scanning over these questions and coming up with a quick, off-the-cuff answer is not enough. You are taking an important step that will affect your future forever. You must take the time and think about each question. It helps a lot to write out your answers. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, feeling stupid or writing down personal thoughts. These are private thoughts on paper that you will never show to anyone else.  But you must spend the time to put the answers in writing.  There is something about that physical act of writing down your answer that makes this activity all the more helpful.

Seriously,  find a place away from home, someplace quiet, peaceful and private. The more that you write, the better your eventual results and decisions will be.
When you are done, you should feel somewhat tired, yet relieved. You will probably find that your mind is calmer, clearer, yet more aware. You might be sad, angry, irate or in tears. Whatever you do next, do NOT go back to your spouse and argue about what you wrote down. Continue to sit and think for a bit. Because, after all, the only real question that you need to answer is this:

14) Is a divorce my best choice?

*   *   *   *

You may have noticed that only a few questions ask about kids or your family life. This is on purpose. If you want to live without an anchor around your neck or if you simply want to be a good father or mother, you have to get your own life in order first.  

You are the adult here. Only you can fix things that are broken. You owe it to yourself and your kids to keep yourself healthy. If you answered each question honestly and you still believe that you would be better off divorced, the sooner you start the better.  

After answering these questions, if you think that your marriage has hope, start fixing it before it is too late. This book cannot give you any pointers about how to get it back on track. Every relationship is different. No book can teach you how to rekindle a marriage, or recreate a friendly, trusting partnership.  Maybe something in you wrote in these answers can give you a clue of where to start.

You might seek the help of a counselor, a priest, rabbi or minister.  You may be surprised to find that your spouse feels the same way and is coming to the same decision.  Staying married in a successful marriage is always more preferable than a divorce.  Keeping a marriage working may take some work, but if that is your decision, good luck.  Stick to it.

If your answers suggest that the only rational choice is divorce, please realize that you have a lot of work ahead of you. You may have not liked reaching that conclusion. “But a divorce will hurt my kids! A divorce will hurt them.” you might argue. “They need both parents, no matter how bad it is for me. It’s better to wait until they’ve grown up.”

Actually, none of that is true. You will always be their parent, even after a divorce.  They will always love you (even if you are strict when dealing with their growing pains). Your (ex) will always be their parent. Remember that they will always love him or her, too.  Do not try to interfere with their relationship unless their safety is in danger.

If you two simply can’t work things out, but aren’t at each other’s throats, then perhaps joint custody is the best approach for both you and your kids. They have the advantage of having two parents, while you have the opportunity to teach them, mentor them and grow with them. (There are alternatives to joint custody which might work, especially if your spouse is brain-washing or abusing the kids.)

Either way, if your life will be better off without your spouse, act now, especially if you have kids.  Otherwise, your kids are learning the wrong lessons about life at the most critical time in their lives. These are their formative years. How you deal with life, relationships and handling problems teaches them about what to expect in their own relationships and how to deal with others. It teaches them that a bad relationship and a bad marriage are inevitable. It teaches them to expect bad behavior, how to abuse, and all too much about lying, anger, screaming, and manipulation.

Staying in a bad marriage teaches your kids to think that their adult lives will be just as miserable as your own, because “if Daddy or Mommy can stick with it, so can I.” It creates memories of bad behavior, again and again and again. Those memories become expectations.

Answer this question honestly. Do you really want your child to be trapped in the same kind of marriage that you are in? If your answer is no, it is your duty to your kids to teach them that problems must be faced and solved, even if part of the solution means a divorce. You owe it to them to teach them that they can take positive steps to improve their lives. The only way to do this is to have them watch how you take those positive steps yourself. They will learn from you. They will respect you. They will still love you.  And quite often they will surprise you by asking, “What took you so long?”

You cannot be a good father or a good man unless you treat yourself fairly. Divorce is scary. It is an unknown. It means leaving some sort of stability (unhappy as it is) and predictability, unpleasant as it is, for something completely different. On the other hand, divorce hands you with an eraser that lets you start your life over, just a bit older and wiser.

Don’t worry about meeting other people. Once you start getting your life in order, you will find that the world is filled with nice people with similar interests and goals.
So, why do the questionnaire? It is the best way for you to really learn whether divorce is right for you. Self-reflection is never easy. When the topic you are working on is you and your own future, it is even harder.

When you do meet someone new, GET A PRENUPT!

Originally posted to Coping with divorce on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Many times, prenups can easily be tossed out. (5+ / 0-)

    You hear a lot of people say 'get a pre-nup', but what you do not hear is how easily they are really dismissed many times.

    Don't put your faith in pre-nups. They are not iron clad.

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:24:39 PM PDT

  •  I get frustrated at how many focus on material (6+ / 0-)


    Material things can be replaced.  It is not worth the time and money to argue over who gets the ironing board or even in many cases who gets the car.  The courts will lean toward, if there is no adultery/abuse involved, a 50/50 split of assets.  Any attempt to get something better for yourself better benefit the kids.  If you have no kids, why worry about it?

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:37:00 PM PDT

  •  Don't use the same lawyer as your spouse (17+ / 0-)

    my mother did this, and my father swindled her. To this day she doesn't understand how badly she was taken. He was a very slick, manipulative fellow, and he know what he was doing.

    Even if the two parties are relatively amicable, each should have their own advocate.

    •  My ex and I used arbitration, not lawyers (12+ / 0-)

      But then, we were more in the situation of each thinking we were taking too much and wanting the other to have more. Neither one of us is very materialistic. In the end, we both agreed on a fair division of material things. No kids, luckily, our dogs were the hardest part of the whole deal.

      We're both much better off now, as friends living in different states. The lingering resentment is gone, and we can once again take joy in each other's happiness.

      •  The savings are GIGANTIC (8+ / 0-)

        Stress, money, pain and suffering. . .

        That is the way to go. Even though (ahem) many attys hate it because of the lost fees.

        I disagree. Our job is to serve our clients' best interests. Not to profit from their pain and fears. Negotiation and settlement are always best. Well, almost always. Ok. Just more often than not.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 04:06:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know how arbitration works (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tikkun, agnostic, glorificus, Bisbonian

        but if you were each somehow represented, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

        But each party having an attorney does not mean there is going to be a big fight. You need to choose a good attorney, not one who is out make the situation worse for their own personal gain.

        •  One arbitrator for both of us (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          agnostic, glorificus

          We were not individually represented, that's not how arbitration works. Arbitration is not necessarily the best for contentious divorces. But if you've already pretty much worked things out yourselves, why spend ANY extra on lawyers? You DO NOT need to choose an attorney, good or bad, if attorneys are involved, it isn't arbitration. We saved thousands by ditching the attorneys.

          •  You sound like my mother (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            She though she knew what was in her best interest. She thought my father was acting fairly. She thought the attorney would look out for her.

            She was wrong.

            •  Sorry that happened (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Not everyone is out to screw over their ex. My ex-wife and I both still care about each other's happiness, in fact that's why we got the divorce. She is probably going to end up with more than we agreed on, as it has been harder for her to find a job than either of us anticipated. We still talk at least weekly.

              Most divorces are not as contentious as TV makes them out to be. Most people who get divorces are decent adult human beings who still care about their partners. Most people would benefit greatly by ditching the lawyers and going through arbitration instead. Most people would save thousands, if not tens of thousands, by skipping the lawyers. Only a small percentage of divorces ever go to any sort of trial. Most are settled out of court.

              Hell, these days, most people getting a divorce don't have enough assets to be worth squabbling over, thanks to the economy and real estate market.

    •  Absolutely! (6+ / 0-)
      Don't use the same lawyer as your spouse

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 07:58:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My friend's husband moved out two years ago (13+ / 0-)

    and he is waiting for her to file.  She won't do it.  She's in her 60's and so is he (his girlfriend is in her 30's).  

    They've been married for 35+ years and it is retirement time.  What is she to do?  He is getting impatient and wants to end it.  Can he?  She wants to stall and let him do whatever because she is too old to date even though she is pretty and smart, she's too old for a career or to go to college, etc... she's afraid of any change.  

    Her husband is a jack ass.  It is hard to listen to the way he treats her.  The other day he called her and berated her for ruining his life and for giving money to Barack Obama and Harold Ford.   He's a Republican, vain, mean and all kinds of other expletives.  

    She's my friend and neighbor. I'll see her on Friday at the gym, would like to give her something positive to move on from this horrible impasse she is in - right now she is like a deer in headlights on what to do.  

    What happens in these kind of heartless situations?

    •  QDRO a federal law that allows her to share (10+ / 0-)

      In his retirement.
      She will be protected, if she gets good counsel. And, she may even get an order getting him to pay for her atty.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:54:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tell her to talk to an attorney - now! (14+ / 0-)

      Maybe you can help her find one? That's often perceived as a problem by a reluctant spouse. You can tell her, she will still get her share of his SocSec, agnostic is right that with a QDRO (pronounced "quadro") she will still share his retirement, in many states even if there's no alimony there's still some years' support allowed for someone who's been out of the job market, and she can probably get an order that says he has to pay for her attorney.

      And remember - whoever files first is usually better off: you can define the issues, and in some places it helps with burden-of-proof shifting.

      •  Thank you, Ms Kitty & Agnostic (3+ / 0-)

        This information is helpful.  She's humiliated by him.  It is like he went right off the deep end.  

        I don't think she wants people to know in public all the nutty things he's doing, like living with a girl younger than their daughter.  When he first moved out, they were still amicable and would be together on holidays and events, so few knew.  Now, everyone knows and it has been 2+ years, this is looking permanent.  

        She hasn't done anything wrong, so how can he file first?  She seems to think she can sit this out until he comes to his senses or goes onto greener pastures.  That sounds callous, but he isn't twenty one years old.

        •  Actually, in most states, it matters not (4+ / 0-)

          who files first. It may in some, but not the ones I read and write about.

          Depending on her state, she can file under "no fault" or "irreconcilable differences" theories, which require her to prove nothing - all she seeks is the divorce and her share of the marital estate. Because each state and territory have their own peculiar rules, she really needs a lawyer, someone who will do a free consult. (Those who demand $$$ simply to talk will have bills so high that your head will spin. Avoid them.)

          If there are no issues like kids, or disabled adult children, then the only issue is how the marital estate is split. 34 of our states have an equitable or equal share of the estate. (Those are two very different words. I've seen an "equitable" decision of 70-30, where the doctor got the 30, while his wife who put him through med school, residency, and post resd. while raising three kids, got the 70% of the estate) Then, there are states like california whose laws I don't even pretend to want to understand.

          There are a few assbackwards states that are almost punitive in how they deal with marital estates and divorces.

          Bottom line. SHE NEEDS TO TALK TO A LAWYER.  

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:06:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Before divorce? (7+ / 0-)

    Don't marry that person.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:36:33 PM PDT

  •  I have consulted on more divorce cases (23+ / 0-)

    than I care to think about.  Not a lawyer, but a forensic scientist who does all kinds of analytics and investigative work for the past forty years.  This is good advice.  There was a diary up earlier today, but was taken down very quickly.  The advice given that diarist was good when they told her to delete it.  Do not go public on web sites or Facebook.  Whatever is said can become evidence against you.  

    I was bothered by the fact that several commenters in that diary urged her to use the same lawyer as her husband. That is terrible advice.    

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 03:50:18 PM PDT

  •  Back when I had cable I'd catch Dr. Phil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    now and then.

    agnostic, are you familiar with his book "Relationship Rescue" and what do you think of it?

    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

    by glorificus on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 04:05:20 PM PDT

  •  Call me a hopeless romantic, but (9+ / 0-)

    if you feel you need a pre-nuptial agreement, don't get married. I would not marry anyone who did not trust me enough that they felt they had to protect their assets. To me, a pre-nup presupposes divorce. If you're going to presuppose divorce, just don't get married in the first place.

    That being said, there are some things people want to protect. My family has a piece of property, a lovely summer cottage, which five generations of "commonmasses" have enjoyed and those of us living continue to enjoy. It's in a blood trust and my understanding is that it cannot be considered an asset in a divorce and may only be inherited by persons who were born with our family name (that is, it goes to the children, not the spouse when a family member dies). I have no problem with something like this, but a pre-nup to me is just bad karma.

    I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney.

    by commonmass on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 04:06:59 PM PDT

    •  Actually, when a society has 50% divorce (12+ / 0-)

      rates, a preNupt is mandatory, not a whim. But, of even more interest, those who go thru getting a preNupt, end up getting far fewer divorces.

      Apparently, dealing with a relationship rationally helps both people maintain it and make it a long term item.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 04:20:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess I can see that point of view. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, 207wickedgood, Renee, glorificus

        Frankly, the only thing I really give a shit about is that cottage. Other things, well, not so much, but I also don't have a lot of money.

        I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney.

        by commonmass on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 04:59:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think it is more important for them to discuss (4+ / 0-)

        in detail what their expectations are regarding major issues:

        1)  Having children (or not).  Nobody should assume their spouse will change their mind if they don't want kids, or do want kids.

        2)  Child care.  Will one partner stay home with children?  Which one?  Until what age?

        3)  Money.  Differing philosophies of money can break marriages apart.  

        And that's just off the top of my head.

        © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:25:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This x1000. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tikkun, cai, glorificus

          Different ideas about money (and an inability to reconcile them) has killed more relationships than I know.

          Also, I had planned to use a pre-nup to define vows. If you're not on the same page as to what "sickness and health" means, you may run into trouble. You don't have to stay with someone who becomes addicted, abusive, or develops other illnesses and refuses all attempts to help.

          It gives a lovely light.

          by CayceP on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:25:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Addicted or abusive, I agree, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but some illnesses just don't have real good outcomes regardless of what you do -- they're either chronic or they kill.

            And it's those illnesses that I think the "sickness and health" applies to.

            © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

            by cai on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 12:38:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  so let me get this straight (0+ / 0-)

        50% get divorced, and of those who DO get married, maybe 2% do so with a prenupt, and less tha 50% of THEM get divorced...and from that statistic you are drawing conclusions?

        Here's my advice.

        Instead of retreating to the park for navel gazing, yalk yo your effing spouse.  In the morning.  When you get home from work.  In bed, before you both nod off to sleep.

        Amazing how many problems that can nip in the bud.

        Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

        by Keith930 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 10:46:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The stats I have studied show (4+ / 0-)

          a divorce rate of 50 of all 1st time marriages. There was a slight dip in 2008, and a slight bump in 2011, which was most likely due to economic conditions.

          Of those who remarry, 50% of those marriages end up in divorce, often within 4 years of marriage. Except, in the smaller subset of people who use a pre nuptial agreement, the divorce rate is statistically, significantly lower.  My analysis is that is people are mature and far-thinking enough to deal with a prenupt, and all of its implications, then they already are a few steps ahead of the pack, at least in terms of conflict resolution, dealing with surprises, and learning the art of compromise in their relationship.

          Navel gazing? Yalking?

          Actually, the absolutely worst place to have a serious conversation on an extremely tough topic is in bed. A neutral, non-threatening, unfamiliar, but quiet place is far better.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:11:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  suze ormond- (5+ / 0-)

      i probably spelled that wrong

      she said if you write the prenup in a caring way, what you're doing is making sure your spouse will be provided for if things don't work out.

      "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

      by thankgodforairamerica on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:12:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What if the children have a different name? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, glorificus

      e.g., Jane commonmass marries Joe Smith, and the kids are named Smith?

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:26:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pre-Nups make sense for second marriages (8+ / 0-)

      with kids involved.  They protect the rights of the existing children.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:36:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  disagree (5+ / 0-)

      You have to remember that, and I mean this literally, sometimes people have bricks fall from their head and become different people overnight. When there are assets at stake, both parties should be protected from someone suffering from an accident or tragedy that changes them, from mental illness, or just from a radical change of heart. It does happen.

  •  My daughter just filed for divorce last month (5+ / 0-)

    She told me that she used neither attorney nor mediator.  She lives in NH.  If you can come to an agreement on splitting your debt and assets, you can just fill out the papers yourself and file them.  I think it cost her less than $400.

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 05:55:42 PM PDT

    •  That's what (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, means are the ends

      my ex and I are going to do once we actually get around to divorcing :). We've been separated for six years, but are still legally married. (Neither of us are dating, and there's issues with health insurance and the like.)

      We figure, if we've been able to manage this for six years being divorced in everything except legally, why do we need lawyers to muck it up?

      "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

      by ChurchofBruce on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:27:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am gay and have never been married (7+ / 0-)

    However, I have made this same decision four times in my life, albeit with less severity, perhaps.  I can absolutely vouch for the quality of these questions and their supreme importance.  In all four instances, I essentially asked myself those same questions without ever really realizing it, but I did come up with an answer that I felt and still do feel was correct every time.  In the case of three of those four relationships, we're still friends to this day.  I think that is the most important thing - avoid leaving a destructive wake behind you if at all possible.  It sometimes can't be helped, but you sure as hell don't need to cause it.

  •  Poll missing an option . . . (3+ / 0-)

    Married, but previously divorced.

  •  I bought a book + CD from Nolo Press (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, means are the ends

    and did all the work myself. We both decided no lawyers. Still, need to watch out for the accountant. I found he always favored my ex. Ditched him as soon as my taxes were back to the easy form. We are better off as friends and get together often and are still a family unit.

    As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all.

    by SanFernandoValleyMom on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 09:12:18 PM PDT

  •  Couple Culture (0+ / 0-)

    The successful ones are boorish. The unsuccessful ones even more so.  Kick the illusion that it can bring you happiness and just date with no illusions.

    •  That's a broad brush. (3+ / 0-)

      Sorry for your bad experiences.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:50:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So what you're saying... (0+ / 0-) that the only thing worse than being married is being single?

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 02:10:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That Is Your Judgement About Being Single (0+ / 0-)

        The ideal of marriage and even living together is a construct and an ideal that most people have a difficult time maintaining. The happy ones are the exception.

        •  I too know these.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leo Flinnwood

          ...."perfect couples." More than a few throughout the years. One couple whom I've known for twenty-odd years have been together since they were 13-14 years old. They said that even then, they knew they were the one. They are now 60-61.

          In a quantum universe, these occurrences are relatively common, but by no means the rule. Since they can occur at all, I believe, is the problem for the rest of us.  We are sold a bill of goods from time we're born until that first shovel-full of dirt in the face. We are told about "True Love." While men spend less time worrying about it, it is certainly the reverse with women. The movies, tv, and literature all paint the picture that if you were only this way or that, or -worse- regardless of your shortcomings in relative pulchritude, you can STILL have that person of your dreams, send in $19.95 -right now!!- we'll DOUBLE the offer....

          Love is a biochemical reaction. Love for children exists. Love for a spouse exists. Love between family exists. It's just not the Candy-Apple-Red-Basket-of-Puppies-and-Rainbows our culture wants you to believe in.

          It's a survival mechanism for your genetic legacy.

          "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

          by CanisMaximus on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 09:22:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  luckily, my wife divorced me while I was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo Flinnwood, glorificus

    still hitchhiking across America,  Fate put me in Denver on the day so I asked if she'd mind if I went and watched. She told me I probably wouldn't like it but I went anyway. I found out a lot of things about myself I'd never known.

    When I was young we had a local motorcycle hero called Single Jim. I remember sitting around listening to him speak to a bunch of us in the park one day when he said, " If I was dumb enough to get married and it didn't work out, I wish someone would shoot me if I did it again".  I took his words to heart and after one, realized marriage wasn't for me but when I went back to my hometown a few years ago I ran into Single Jim who was on his third divorce. Still called Single Jim. And no, I didn't shoot him.

    "HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE" , bumpersticker on a burning Subaru

    by tRueffert on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 05:06:58 AM PDT

  •  just tired (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm just tired and mostly apathetic.  He's a good person, I just don't care about him very much any more.  Thinking about the future with him brings no emotion stronger than mild annoyance.  But I also don't care enough to stop taking care of him, to tell him to move out.  I'd be happy if he reached that conclusion on his own, but I'm not going to be the one to push.

    I don't think it's depression since I can still get excited about our daughter's events and stuff at work, and even about new video games.  I just have this gaping hole of ennui when it comes to anything related to my spouse.

    •  We All Have Periods Like That (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Strummer, Nina Katarina, glorificus

      I can recall at least 3 very long periods of a year or better of complete disinterest in my husband.  We're still together and I can't think of anyone else with whom I'd want to share my life.  For me, it was a signal indicating that I needed to add something inspirational to my individual circumstances.  He may need a damn good jerk out of his rut as well.

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 09:49:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about when one wants to live alone? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nina Katarina

        Our kids are raised, and I realized I yearn to be alone. I've always loved solitude, and there is less and less pulling me away from that yearning.

        Guess I haven't seen that addressed. It just decreases  motivation for dealing with the apathy.

        I don't fear being alone. It's more the economy that scares me, and economic survival. But that's not a great reason to stay together, either.

        Life is a school, love is the lesson.

        by means are the ends on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 05:40:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting ... (0+ / 0-)

      My wife could have written this except for the daughter and video games parts. Your description of how you feel towards your spouse is a perfect match to my spouse although she does not take care of me.

      After 4 years of her "gaping hole" attitude I likewise don't have any positive feelings regarding her. The good parts of our marriage are a very distant memory. The only reasons I am still married are the dogs, financial and unrelated external family issues.

      I'll be getting a divorce. It will be difficult but like ripping off an old bandage it only hurts at first but feels a lot better in the long run.

  •  how-to advice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, glorificus

    When I saw the diary title I thought it was going to be along the lines of 'what to do while getting divorced'.

    I've never been married but I've been a bystander to plenty of divorces. Otteray Scribe mentions it above, and it bears repeating: be very, very careful with electronic communications. If you're on Twitter, Facebook, whatever...just take a break for awhile. Seriously, only grief can come from it.

    Consider minimizing your use of texting and email. If a good old phone call will serve your purpose, pick up the phone - it's one less thing in a paper trail.

    If you are still living with your spouse while the divorce process is underway, do not use a shared home computer for anything, personal or legal, related to the divorce. I had a friend in such a situation who later found out her husband had installed a keylogging program on the computer. He could read every single thing typed on that computer, including passwords to webmail accounts.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 08:36:47 AM PDT

    •  great advice. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      IN a particularly nasty case, the opponent not only blogged frequently how she hated the fact that she was kicked by god in her gut, forced to have only two boys, when all she ever wanted was her baby princess, and god hated her by not giving it to her.

      She not only forced unusual means to gain her princess, she gave him her name and password, so she could share the joy with her blogger friends. That data came in quite handy on the custody and visitation battle.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 09:37:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stop Walking on Eggshells (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, glorificus

    Hi -

    Mental illness plays a role in many divorces, particularly when the couple has been married a long old time. Specifically, if your spouse is angry and unpredictable all the time, you should consider "Borderline Personality Disorder" as a contributing factor. Google it.  

    The book "Stop Walking on Eggshells" has been a self-help best seller and it has helped many persons reconsider their lives and happiness. ( there is now also a website run by the author with an active bulletin board).

    Disclosure: I have no financial interest in the book, I have simply found it to be useful. (in case you were wondering)

    "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she (Christina Taylor-Greene) imagined it." President Obama

    by guavaboy on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 12:41:06 PM PDT

  •  Absolutely, THE most IMPORTANT thing you can do... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo Flinnwood

    ...before you get divorced:

    Never get married.

    ALWAYS remember: That person who you believe walks on water, that is perfect in every way, who could never betray you in ANY way, would never lie, whose physical beauty rivals the angels and always treats you like the king or queen you are....

    is fact,

    That low-down-lying-cheating-miserable-waste-of-oxygen-drunken-drug-addicted-piece-of-human-garbage-who-should-DIAF... someone else.

    Just remember we ALL have faults and peccadilloes. If you ARE going to get married, be willing to negotiate.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 02:07:48 PM PDT

    •  divorce was my best decision ever (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and marriage was the second-best decision I ever made.

      to the same woman.

      go figure.

      "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she (Christina Taylor-Greene) imagined it." President Obama

      by guavaboy on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 02:22:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  re: your poll (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    means are the ends, agnostic

    You mean I'm not the only hermit here?

    Voting changes things. That's why they don't allow it.

    by happymisanthropy on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 04:07:58 PM PDT

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