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How long can you fence-sit?

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RightTrack posted 8/11/2013 16:13 PM

I have declared myself someone who is "R'ing for the kids." My plan has been to wait until they are our of the house (hopefully in nine years) and then divorce.

It was visiting the divorce attorney and looking at the reality of child custody and visitation that kept me married.

My WH, equally, did not want to share custody of the kids. Unlike me, however, he desperately wants to remain married apart from the issue of kids.

I can be happy with my decision for now. I am very good at staying happy in miserable situations. I enjoyed my chemo nurse so much that we continue to meet four years later. I see surgery as a chance to relax. Jury duty? A good time to catch up on my reading. So yeah, I can be happy now. My WH is working overtime to make changes, to finally be a good father and to actually be a partner to me. HB continues on a year later!

BUT I'm only staying in it for the kids. I can't imagine, after looking at the big picture of everything he's done, any other valid reason to stay with him.

The stress of all of this can be what brings the cancer back. The not using protection also was playing roulette with my health. Two years of lying, spending money we didn't have, leaving me alone with the kids all the time, utterly destroying my self-image, my trust in him and myself. How can I ever get over this?

MY QUESTION (for those of you thinking the same way or those of you who have walked this path) is what do you do after the kids are grown????

I am thinking of this today because we are starting to look at retirement plans. It's six years out for him, probably ten for me. He would like to pick our retirement spot now. We may be able to buy a house now and rent it out until we are ready. I still can't get past the thought that he took MOW for sex week-end to the LAST retirement spot we were looking at, but that's just a pesky digression.

At some point I know I need to make a long-term decision. That "Just Friends" book has a line about the college girl noting that so many of the kids in her dorm are finding out their parents are getting divorced. I don't think I can wait that long to make this decision.

The BEST advice given to me this last year was not to make any immediate decisions if I didn't have to. For my kids' sake I am glad I didn't go through with the divorce.

But I'm going to have to make the decision at some point. I don't care about fairness to my WH, he has lost the right to demand that of me. "Fairness" to him would truly be acting like everything is great and then out of the blue serving him with divorce papers in ten years. That's fairness. That's about the only thing I could do to come close to repaying him for all the pain he's caused.

So I'm not looking at that issue re: making a long-term decision. I'm looking at the thought of retirement with him.

How long can you put off making a decision?

womaninflux posted 8/11/2013 16:43 PM

I would hesitate to purchase a big ticket item while you are still in limbo about pulling trigger on divorce.

And, FWIW, all of the older women I spoke with about my situation who had BTDT said they regret not getting out sooner. They would rather have been divorced at 45 than 55. So...there is that.

This is kind of the situation I am dealing with now. My H is SAWH who entered treatment about a month ago. According to all therapists I speak with, I really should give his treatment a year to see what kind of changes are taking place, if he can be the kind of husband/person I need him to be. I have to suck it up. I don't think I could suck it up for another decade. My H wants to keep the family together and says he can't imagine his life without me yet at the same time, doesn't seem to be able to give me the kind of marriage I want. So there's that. I'm assured by therapists that everything we are dealing with can be addressed it's just a matter of time. And I'm in my 40s and I don't want to spend another decade with my life on hold in this shitty marriage. I feel like I owe it to myself. But, then again, I have to wait a year to see where this is. And the therapists keep saying "don't do something when you are angry, because you will just carry that anger with you for the rest of your life. " That is probably true.

Yes, you have your kids to think about, but you also have yourself to think about. Don't you owe something to yourself as well?

RightTrack posted 8/11/2013 18:37 PM

What's BTDT?

Waiting a year is probably a good idea. I see what you mean about waiting 10 yrs...For me it would be similar; divorced at 44 vs. 54, although I can't imagine ever wanting to get married again.

I wonder in 10 years if I'll be over all of this. I can't imagine it, but it could happen.

rachelc posted 8/11/2013 18:44 PM

Been There Done That..,

ItsaClimb posted 8/12/2013 04:00 AM

I was fence-sitting until just a couple of weeks ago. It was driving me a little insane...

I hate being indecisive for one thing, and then to make matters worse, I found that I continually had this internal dialogue going on: "Listen to what he just said, that is so arrogant, you see, I should leave him! What the hell am I still doing here?"... "Oh look, he is trying SO hard to change, he is being so sweet and gentle, you see, I should stay".... It was driving me stark, raving mad!

It got to a point where I felt I HAD to make a decision or go nuts.

I decided to take divorce off the table and only to consider it again if he well and truly screws things up. Of course, I have a whole bunch of deal-breakers that are non-negotiable too.

Funnily enough, my youngest finishes school in Dec, so if there was a good time to leave that would probably be it. I am not staying for reasons of over-whelming love... still don't know if I love him... my reasons are mainly financial, but also we have so much history, I am so used to being with him, I am so comfortable in my financial situation, my family situation... I don't know, leaving seems terrifying and I can't imagine myself single. I suppose only time will tell if I have done the right thing.

ifinallyfoundme posted 8/12/2013 05:49 AM

My last one graduates in just a little while. I understand where u are. I am 55, but divorcing at 45 for me was not necessarily better. I think it depends on your goals and outlook. Is remarriage in your plans? Finances? Retirement?

We've been separated for some time now and it has allowed me to create a life for myself. Looking for a new man to care for at this stage in my life is not a high priority...Don't get me wrong I love sex, but taking care of an aging old fart is not so appealing now. Trading my freedom for a live in companion....that's the issue.

This weekend my internal clock had decided that it was time to make a permanent decision. Though in recovery, he had become just another man. I wanted out. Well something profound happened. I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but I have been praying about this. If I didn't hear certain things out of his mouth, I was out. I told no one of my plans. Long story short, the exact words I needed to hear came tumbling out of his mouth.
Needless to say for me I am no longer on the fence.

RightTrack posted 8/14/2013 23:33 PM

Thanks for sharing your story. I don't find that at all offensive, I think it is beautiful. I wish you the very best. I hope to hear next year that you are very happy about this decision.

PolyGal posted 8/15/2013 01:36 AM

Family dynamics vary so much...

I can't relate to your particular issue as an adult, as I have no kids. However, my parents' divorce was finalized shortly after my 18th birthday.

When I was a kid, they separated for a time, my father moved out. I still don't understand the details, however, from the little I do know it wasn't an affair, basically he wanted to room up with a bunch of friends, have parties, and so on, and my mother didn't want that environment for me and my sister, so they separated. I was about 6 years old. When I was about 10 they tried to R, bought a house together in a new neighborhood. By the time I was about 13 they were sleeping in separate rooms.

For me, the damage was done with the initial separation. When my father moved back in, I no longer viewed him as my father, and he held no authority over me. I rebelled against my mother as many teenagers do, but I still respected her as my parent. I blatantly disobeyed my father on the rare occasion he tried to tell me what to do.

He moved out when I was about 16, my ultimately sister "chose" him a few years later and I chose my mom. I didn't speak to him or my sister for about four years. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, he practically had to force me to R with my sister, but it was a good thing, 12 years later we're best of friends again.

Ah, but my mom... I worried about her when I was a kid. I respect the decision she made to not want to expose my sister and I to custody issues, to having to say our parents were divorced when we were children. She didn't even date for a few years after the divorce. The past is the past, she finally did start dating, and she met a new man who is committed to her and their relationship, and she remarried about 5 years ago. I don't view him as my stepdad, I'm 35, but he has been more of a father to me than my dad was since after he left when I was 6.

I'm glad that she is happy now, with a quality male, but I look back on that sacrifice that she made, so many years without a true companion, for the sake of me and my sister. I am grateful for the love that she always has shown us, and continues to show us. But, I looking back on it, I would have preferred her to seek happiness for all those years. I would not have respected her less or been less grateful for her had she chosen a different path. I want her to be happy, and I feel that she genuinely is happy, but I don't feel it was necessary for her to have delayed her search for it for my sake.

My mom is fit and healthy, physically and mentally, educated, smart, and attracted a quality male with similar qualities. My father is obese, smokes, does pot, is still alone. The last time I saw him (at my sister's wedding) he got high, suggested I get high with him, and then accused me of deferring to my smothering mother when I declined (I had moved out of state and staying with her and her new husband for the wedding events), and then followed me out to my car, tried to not let me get in, drunk and high, blabbering about how he loves me and my mom. I'm going to assume that your husband is a better father than my father is. I send him a happy birthday text once a year if I manage to remember.

Anyway she did what she thought was best for us, I just wonder if it was necessary, and if it was best for her as well. If she had divorced my father and dated before I turned 18, I am confident that she would have formulated an appropriate way to handle it, and she wouldn't have had to give up years of potential happiness. Then again, she also wouldn't have found her new husband, but hey, who can predict these things? I think everything turned out ok for her, but look, life is so short. Can you do right by your kids without having to sacrifice years of your own happiness?

5674emt posted 8/15/2013 15:50 PM

I spent 1 week on the fence. WH stayed elsewhere, but came into our home to help get our girls ready for school in the morning and put them to bed at night.
After a week of seeing his repentance we decided to give R a try. It is 8 months from DDay now and we have settled into the "OK I think this might work" phase. I initally let WH stay for the sake of the children, but now I am developing a fondness for him again.

I still contemplate the D idea with various options though. I have set plans to take care of myself and our girls if R goes wrong.

My parents were separated 3 months before my wedding and D 3 months after I was married. Their D was due to my father's alcoholism. Personally, I was glad they gave me 2 parents at home to balance my ideas of M as I went on and became a wife. They were not loving toward each other, but the were kind and friendly.

Only you can make the decision what you want your future to be like.

RightTrack posted 8/15/2013 19:51 PM

5674, we did the same thing, he stayed at his cousin's and was here for the kids in the morning and bedtime. I don't have a clear plan if R. doesn't work. Polygal asked the 1,000,000 $ question: can i do the right thing for myself and the my case I think I need to stay for the kids' sake despite my personal feelings. My daughter has extreme anxiety. I hate to think what a divorce would do to her.

in the end, I believe when I die I want to be remembered for being a good mother. I guess that's my answer.

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