I won't get divorced, but I can't stay unhappy forever

professorniceguyJanuary 3, 2008

Hi everyone.

I've been using Gardenweb for about 4 years for exchanges and chatting with others about plants and travel and that sort of thing, but today I just really wanted to talk about something personal and thought this might be a good place to give it a shot. I created a new username ProfessorNiceGuy because my old one has so much personal information about me and I'm really hesitant posting this at all. Also, I chose the name since I'm a university professor, and when I asked my two sisters-in-law to describe me one said I was a "funny and sweet" which would sound vain to post, so I just changed it to "nice." Ok, I'm avoiding the issue.

Here goes: I was really really unsure about marrying the woman I married and I've regreted it almost every day that we've been married, which is over 10 years. I've asked her about a divorce many times, but she really doesn't want one and I don't want to because we have children and because I went through two divorces as a child and I don't want that to happen to my kids.

She has extensive emtional and psychiatric problems and I don't believe she is actually capable of caring about someone else. She is always willing to have sex, but without some intimacy, or emotional bond, it is rather empty for me and I don't enjoy it. I'm told quite often that I'm cute (I look like I'm much younger than I am) and I've had a few chances to have one night stands with other women at conferences or when I'm traveling or something, but that, again, would just be physical with no emotional joy and it would be pointless to me.

What I want is to meet a woman who likes being happy, who likes to laugh, who likes to talk and share thoughts about herself with me. My wife really isn't capable of doing that, and her physician is happy if her medication prevents her from screaming and hitting me, so the goal of joy is not realistic (sorry, that sounded rude).

Anyway, am I being selfish or should I NOT want to meet and talk to another woman? I don't know. I've asked a psychotherapist about it and he encouraged me to since it was important to me. But I don't know. Any advice?


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You've put yourself into an impossible box. Can you expand your requirements for happiness?

You dont want your kids to experience divorce, but you'd expose your kids to the idea that infidelity is acceptable.
Don't kid yourself that they'd never know.

I'm not saying divorce is the answer. But it's not like the only option you have in life for happiness is to stay married, hate your wife, and have an affair. It's not even a formula for happiness -

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 8:06PM
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Like I said, I'm open to advice. I think I've tried them all, but sometimes I'd just like someone to talk with and listen to.

The idea of an affair with another seems to emphasize the sex part, which I've said isn't a concern, its just that it would be nice to keep my marriage but be emtionally close to someone, too.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 8:18PM
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I cannot fathom that a psychotherapist would tell you to cheat. I am not buying it dude, sorry. It sounds as if she is bipolar, yes? Medication will curb mood swings but you also mentioned she is screaming and hitting you...is she frustrated with you? I am not condoning screaming and hitting at all...just sensing that a husband who is shopping around is not likely as "nice" or full of "emotional joy" for her as you might think you are. Is it possible she is not getting what she needs from you? Are you certain that it is her that is not sharing her thoughts about herself with you? Have you shared all this with her? If you told her even half of what you are writing here that is basically... you don't love her...other chicks really dig you because your cute and you want to trade her in on a new one while keeping her too?...Yeah...if I were her...I might toss a dish at you too. People only can open up and be emotionally close to people they feel they can trust. Are you trustworthy?

In a nutshell, if you put as much effort into your marriage as you are in "meeting" a new woman, you might have something worth going home to. I get that you have been recently "puffed up" by some very complimentary women and it has your mind swirling about what else is out there for you. Just buy a red sportscar like everyone else who has had those feelings and go home to your wife. Sorry if that sounds direct...it is only my opinion...a jaded one, feel free to take it or leave it. You can blast me now...ha ha

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 8:37PM
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You chose it. You made kids with it. IMHO, you're bound 'til your kids are up and out. If you have to pretend until then to make a happy home, do it. Unless your wife is dangerous, you need to make a happy (if fictitious) home for your kids.

Opportunities for one-nighters are all around all the time. They always have been and always will be. It doesn't matter if you're "cute" or not. But you said you don't want that. Basically, what you said is you want a wife different from the one you have. Good luck with that.

As your fellow citizen, what I want is your children not ending up causing trouble that my tax dollars have to pay for. What I want is for you to fulfill that voluntary obligation you undertook before you get your own ya-ya's out.

Walk the walk....before you dance.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 9:08PM
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Yeah. You are all probably right. OK, I won't check this link any further.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 9:13PM
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I know this all sounds pretty harsh -- But all everyone is basically saying is that you don't get to have an affair just because your marriange isn't fulfilling. No free passes - sorry.

Even though that sounded pretty 'flip', the sentiment is sincere and the situation is what it is. You're in a marriage that isn't rewarding, and you have to decide what to do about it. But there's no "free lunch":

- You can divorce, but that will cause havoc for your children, a very valid concern.
- You can have an affair -- but not remain "the good guy" while doing it. It's just plain wrong, and damaging in so many ways.
- You can work on improving your marriage. But unfortunately, that doesn't come with a guarantee of success.
- You can do the same things you're doing now and watch the clock tick. Maybe do some more research, write a book?
- Or, you can do one thing now, with an eye to doing something else later when your children are older.

As a university professor, the opportunities to imerse yourself in your work must be vast. And if you have a passion for it, you can carve out a pretty good niche of your life to doing something you love. Leave a good chunk of quality time for your children, and enough to maintain that 'pleasant facade' with yoru wife -- but invest your passion in your work. Since you're a man, no one will fault you for that...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:03PM
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Let me give you another perspective on this. I am an attorney and I handled more than one divorce where the wife was really nuts (to put it mildly)and the husbands were nice guys who earned good money, and had children. Everybody forgets about the kids. One of the teenage girls said to me "Mom was crazy and when Dad went to work--we had to be alone with her" the mothers were abusive, they were dangerous to the kids. the fact that they were not wonderful to the husband was the least of it. The kids did not tell their fathers because they were afraid to. So document mental illness and go for full custody. In one case I was able to pursuade a judge to only let Mom have supervised visits because she was so dangerous. She later killed someone in a motor vehicle accident. the kids could have been in the car. Now she is in prison at least.
So if she really has psychiatric problems start looking at how that impacts the kids. If it does--you need to start talking to them very subtly and carefully about what its like being with her, and start documenting it. They have nanny cams to see what nannies do--you need to know what she is doing even if your kids are not little. she may be doing mean things to your kids. You don't see it for the same reason teachers never seem to see the bullies--they don't do it when you are watching.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 2:46AM
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Oh dear...I hope the professor reads your comments, Marge.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 6:38PM
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I hope professorniceguy does check back on this thread. It's hard to when the advice is not what you want to hear.

I have a friend who is in the exact same position. Difficult wife, mismatched personality types, children. They've been in therapy for over 5 years. At this point, they are living like room mates -- barely speaking to each other and trying to make it work for the kids.

The sad thing is that it really does effect their kids. The daughter is kindergarden age but already has learned to walk on egg shells.

Cheating isn't the end of the world, in my opinion but it doesn't solve any problems. If you feel like you might get something out of it (tenderness, much needed affection or just a sense of revenge for having to put up with craziness), then do it OUT OF TOWN. Never cheat within the university system -- academia is a hotbed of gossips!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 9:15PM
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The options in my mind are #1: Fake it, as asolo suggests- and do a darned good job. You might even trick yourself into falling in love again. Don't just live like roommates, miserable - that's AWFUL for kids. Instead, live as if you are in love. Kids deserve that.

#2- If you don't have the fortitude to do the right thing, (#1, IMO) then divorce. It's a miserable option, but if you're not willing to do #1, OR if you're being seriously abused and your children are unsafe, then divorce. Don't cheat, that will destroy your self worth and will mess up your kids.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Growing up with parents who are in a dysfunctional and even antagonistic relationship can damage kids far worse than divorce between them would. Divorce isn't as damage inducing as crazy making behavior on young impressionalbe minds who are forming their notions of family relationships based on their parents hideous example.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 9:13AM
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Agreed - which is why people need to learn how to get along and be happy. It IS possible - they were happy once.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:30PM
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I don't know what the right answer is for your situation, but I do believe that CHEATING IS NEVER A SOLUTION to a problem; it can only cause for more pain and problems to arise. Be careful, very careful what you wish for and try to find a different solution to your problem. You may be amazed at how many solutions you can come up with when you seriously take the cheating option out of the mix.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:58PM
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Opinions here seem to be all over the place. Frankly, I would look into who would get custody of the children in the event of a divorce. Wouldn't it be better for them to live with one sane, loving parent than inside a sham marriage where people are pretending that everything is okay? You won't fool the kids, believe me. Are people really telling the prof to fake it for maybe 15 or 20 years? Does that sound do-able to anybody?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 11:47PM
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I think its amazing what situations people live in.

There is a wealthy man, here, that has his wife, and also a mistress for years, and years, and she has a child. this seemed to work okay for all of them, its all out in the press now. But maybe the wealth makes it easier for all concerned.

I know quite a few adults who don't have anyone special in their lives, that just live, with friends and family, as their close bonds. This appears to be enough affection to get them through their lives. To me, its seems one can live quite happily with just a few close people, and not the "love" interest that a lot of people have.

So, perhaps the professor can stay in his marriage, and just get by with close friends, and family to fill the void that isn't coming from his wife. To redirect his passion into his children, work, and hobbies. He is blessed to be in such a good working environment, to give him mental stimulation.

The thing that would worry me is the wife, and what sort of mother she is. I would take a few weeks off work, and spend time observing this relationship, its vitally important that the children are well catered for emotionally. In fact this is the number one priority in the family.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 7:20PM
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Yikes. I would definitely consider divorce. A good divorce is better for the children than a miserable marriage. I know plenty of neurotic, depressed adults that come from so-called "intact" households that will confess how often they prayed their parents would divorce. Much of the recent research on the effects of divorce on children seems to suggest that the breakdown of the marriage leading to the divorce is what causes the damage to the kids...not the divorce itself, especially if the divorce can be somewhat amicable. In many ways, the prof and his wife are already emotionally divorced...only they are living in misery without any chance to move on. That..I would not do to my kids.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Why is advice to divorce always such a quick answer? Why not, "Please find ways to fall in love again."

If there is abuse, there is the exception. However,we don't have all the facts - all he says is that from the getgo he wanted out. He claims she has problems, but that's all we know! What, she suddenly overnight had psychotic episodes? Why? And if she's safe enough to keep around the kids, then what is constituting a divorce?

We have to be careful what we advise here. Extreme disfuntion is horrible for children. So is divorce. The best solution, in my mind, is to solve the problem at hand, and find a way to change the situation so that the children can be secure, the parents can be happy, and there can be love in the home. It IS a possibility - often times divorce and misery happen because divorce "seems" so much more easy and possible than reconciliation -

Divorce - a quick answer when it is so, so common. Yet, it's not always the best choice, nor is it necessary.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 4:03PM
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Let's hold this up to a mirror for a moment- suppose the OP said she was a WOMAN, married with 10 years of regret to a man who was emotionally and psychologically ill, screams at her, won't give her a divorce and will have sex but not emotional intimacy? Would your advice be the same?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 4:34PM
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Did I miss something- does she scream at him?

Regardless of sex, I still think the priority should be to find ways to make the marriage fulfilling.

The choice often is presented as: 1.I'm miserable in my marriage, or 2. I get divorced.

What happened to all the other choices in between?

Once again, when actual physical abuse and actual psychosis is occuring, that's another story. However, that's a very small percentage of the people who get disillusioned and decide to divorce, so that the kids 'don't have to be a part of such dysfunction," - as if there is not an option to work your hiney off to re-establish love and affection in a marriage. We think love should be easy here, today - and when it's not, then it should be disposable like everything else in the house.

While this might or might not be the case here, it sure is in a lot of marriages/divorces.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 6:18PM
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In most cases, I would agree with the previous poster...but the prof stated that he has regretted his decision to marry for 1o years! I think "falling in love" is out of the question at this point. Yes, divorce is often the "quick" answer...but this seems to be something that has been horrible for ten years. No one deserves that. Stop judging the poor guy and offer validation for his very reasonable desire to be with someone loving and emotionaly healthy.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 8:14PM
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Careful jamiemom- I wasn't judging the poor guy - That statement in and of itself is more of a judgement than anything I said.

My position is that too often, the option to make it work well is forgotten. The options suggested here have been to 1. have an affair to deal with misery 2. get divorced 3. stay miserable for the sake of the kids

I offer a different solution - 4. consider a change of heart.

We have NO idea what the OP's situation truly is, other than he says he's been miserable. How do we know that it's all about her shortcomings? What if he is just miserable - or gets told he's cute so often that he wonders what he's missing out on, so he comes here to get validation to cheat, and people encourage him to divorce?

I'm saying, we dont' know enough, and to encourage divorce to someone we know very little about could mean the difference between a broken family or not.

And I disagree with one more thing- I believe VERY strongly that falling in love is quite possible - even after a very long hibernation. If they loved each other once, they can love each other again. I've seen it happen - I stand behind that belief 100% (once again, assuming there is no physical abuse or actual psychosis).

There are too many unanswered questions. Perhaps she needs some help. Perhaps with that help they can find happiness. Perhaps she's angry and he's ignorant to it - perhaps a lot of stuff. Important to find out such things before suggesting divorce.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 9:20PM
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We all get married thinking that it will last "forever"...don't we? Isn't that in the actual marriage ceremony: "Till death do us part"?

But after a period this long - we are assuming he has done all he could, now. It's like buying a pair of shoes that just don't fit. You can stretch them, you can buy insoles, heel pads, shoe liners, whatever, but every day you are walking in a pair of shoes that just cause you pain. Is it wiser to keep on trying to make them fit or to just take them off? My former "shoes" lasted 11 years and I sure tried everything to make them fit. I still have the scars to show it. If you have not lived with a mentally ill or unstable spouse, you cannot imagine the daily torment.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 2:52PM
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I'll repeat for the third time - if there IS actual psychosis or physical abuse, there's grounds for divorce and getting the children out.

We must be careful unless we "know" this is the situation, a recommendation to divorce might not be the right thing to give.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 4:19PM
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the OP said he was a university professor so I think he would use the term "extensive emotional and psychiatric problems" correctly. That doesn't mean cranky or depressed.
Amy asked if the wife suddenly developed psycotic episodes. It can happen--they go off their meds, sometimes they develop new symptoms. I would like to think that love can cure things, but I periodically have cases that involve mentally ill persons. I have come to believe that they don't get better if they have the major psychiatric illnesses. You can control some of the symptoms with drugs, but a cure and a return to happy, healthful thinking is not going to happen.
So I agree with the posters that believe divorce is a last option. It is not true, that only a small percentage of divorces involve mental illness. You can check that box on the divorce papers, but its not a good idea, because then you have to bring in proof and may have more support obligations. Most people check "irreconcilable differences" instead even if their spouse is mentally ill or uses drugs. That's why the statistics show insanity as a minor cause of divorce.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 7:26PM
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My SO's X was diagnosed with manic depression. She used to be on medication, but one kind caused her to gain weight (or she insisted it did) and the other one made her literally physically violent, so instead of finding a new doctor or adjusting her medication she refused to take any.

Couple of time when she went off medication and was on her manic phase, she had affairs. And then during depressive phase she would confess. SO is very traditional and didn't see divorce as an option while kids were young.

She eventually ended marriage herself and seemed happy for a year and even got a boyfriend. But now her depression took over again, she is extremelly unstable and psychotic or at times she is in a deep depression or extremelly angry. Her daughters (don't live with her) can spend with her not more than few hours and always come home in tears and misery. Almost every phone call or email from her is devastating. Periodically she sends angry awful emails to everyone including her kids for no reason. Then she comes up with weird ideas, then changes her mind, so she drives everyone nuts. She insisted that part of her depression was bad marriage and she just needed to move on, but she is not married to SO anymore, in facts she lives with a different man now. And yet she is as depressed or even worse.

Unless one makes a serious effort to be on a correct medication and take care of their mental health, it does not go away and does not cure by itself.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 8:03PM
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My SO's X was diagnosed with manic depression. She used to be on medication, but one kind caused her to gain weight (or she insisted it did) and the other one made her literally physically violent, so instead of finding a new doctor or adjusting her medication she refused to take any.

Couple of time when she went off medication and was on her manic phase, she had affairs. And then during depressive phase she would confess. SO is very traditional and didn't see divorce as an option while kids were young.

She eventually ended marriage herself and seemed happy for a year and even got a boyfriend. But now her depression took over again, she is extremelly unstable and psychotic or at times she is in a deep depression or extremelly angry. Her daughters (don't live with her) can spend with her not more than few hours and always come home in tears and misery. Almost every phone call or email from her is devastating. Periodically she sends angry awful emails to everyone including her kids for no reason. Then she comes up with weird ideas, then changes her mind, so she drives everyone nuts. She insisted that part of her depression was bad marriage and she just needed to move on, but she is not married to SO anymore, in facts she lives with a different man now. And yet she is as depressed or even worse.

Unless one makes a serious effort to be on a correct medication and take care of their mental health, it does not go away and does not cure by itself.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 8:04PM
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okay, for goodness sake. Let's just get clear here, once and for all -

If she is psychotic, either long term or just recently so, obviously this is reason to indicate that if she is unwilling to get help and meds, then he would have reason to leave, one reason being the well being of the children.

He's a professor, granted, but he is still human - I had a girlfriend once who ranted and raved one night about what an arse her husband has always been, how he's got mental issues, and how he's this and that - the next day, she fell all over herself because she'd been so out of her mind mad and regretted saying all those things because they'd made up and she was seeing things more clearly the next day. That was years ago, and they are still going strong. What if, based on the idea that she's a professional woman, intelligent, etc - what if i'd said, well divorce the SOB. What if she had? Four children there. That would have been a tragedy.

Mental health is certainly not going to cure itself, nor is love going to cure it. IF it exists, then the spouse needs to figure out every possible way to get help for her or him.
Commit them, for goodness sake. Do everything possible. If they refuse help and are abusive, get out of the house and take the children.

Can i reiterate this again - if you're going to recommend someone get divorced, you'd better be pretty sure you know for a fact that they are in an abusive situation, or that the spouse is in fact seriously mentally ill with no chance of medication or rehabilitation.

One comment, made by one person, without details, is not enough to say to that person, "you should get a divorce." Ask more questions, for goodness sake! Get more information. How many times have I sulked for days, complaining that my husband is a bottom feeder? If I'd come here, complaining of all the crap he does, you'd say, "GET OUT!" But if I came here on a good day, talking about what a gem he truly is, all the good things he's done, you'd be jealous.

This person could truly be in a bad situation - or, he could be looking at his wife through muddy glasses because he's tired of arguments or this or that, and someone at work has caught his eye and he's thinking of cheating. One way we justify such behavior is to horrible-ize our marriage - we exaggerate to get the sympathy of others around us.

This is not ALWAYS the case, but it happens! To not get more information when someone says they are on the brink of leaving is in my opinion, irresponsible and dangerous.

I'm saying, we have one paragraph on this guy - don't recommend divorce as the only alternative. Nor is sticking around and being miserable for the sake of the kids the only alternative. There are more options than that - it is so seldom that I ever hear, "what about loving again?" That, to me, is sad - and quite predictable, in a world where marriage is without question, quite disposable.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 8:23PM
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I totally agree with you, amy. There's just not enough here to know if he should even be considering a divorce.

Furthermore, this poster didn't come on here asking about how to deal with a crazy wife or how to protect his children from her. He came on here because he is unhappy and was looking for validation for cheating. That in and of itself tends to make me think he's a middle aged guy using his wive's mental issues as an "excuse" for him to be with other women. (Why, again, exactly, coudn't he even consider divorce if she were mentally that bad?).

I wonder how many wives become suddenly "crazy" or emotionally not there when a husband is looking for an excuse to cheat. What does... "extensive emotional and psychiatric problems" really mean? (sounds like something my husband may say about me when I'm PMS-ing). Does she make him sleep on the couch when he comes home late drunk... maybe she yells at him at parties? Or, is she institutionalized every weekend after going after him with a knife? I'm guessing she's on an anti-depressant or simply popping a Xanax from time to time, so he likes to refer to her as a nut. We don't really know since the poster decided to not check the post anymore...what the heck is that all about?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 9:29PM
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Just a pet peeve here -- But why is it OK to totally ignore the "in sickness and in health" part when the nature of the sickness is mental rather than physical? A person who is mentally ill is even more in need of support and assistance than someone whose ailment is strictly physical...

All done - stepping down.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 9:42PM
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I totally understand where you are coming from, sweeby, but have to admit that I know of one case where the ill man was literally driving the sane mother insane. His controlling and abusive behavior (steming from a mental illness) left her almost incapable of taking care of her children. When she got away from him and his abuse, she could function and was much better. And sadly, often people with mental problems will refuse to try to get help, so what can you do? Some mental illnesses can also create a very dangerous environment for children themselves both physically or mentally. If your mentally ill husband is beating your kids, what do you do?

So, sad as it may be, I understand why some people may need to leave and break the "in sickness and health" part of the vow. Children should always come first even if it means you have to break a vow yourself. Your unspoken vow to put them first and keep them safe comes before you spoken marriage vow, IMHO.

Now, if, there's no real danger of mental or physical threats on others, then I'm all for sticking it out and honoring your vows... even if you're not happy having to do it. And, no I don't think simply being unhappy is mental torture or a valid excuse to leave.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 11:07PM
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I realize I'm compulsively spending way too much time here, but this topic is my life's work and has personal meaning to me, and so therefore I am obsessing - my apologies, but here goes again :)

Sweeby, I agree - wholeheartedly. When one says the word "psychotic", I imagine dirt sandwiches for lunch, in which case the safety of the children is considered.

However, if bipolar, depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, ADD and such things (which are all in the DSM) are automatic grounds for divorce, then hang us all.

Understandably, some mental disorders are very VERY difficult to cope with, and simply coping is not enough. The idea is to find ways to live peacefully, lovingly, and health-fully in the context of mental challenges. Sometimes this is not possible, when the ill spouse is irrational and refuses treatment. However, there are times that the so called "well" spouse does things, sometimes inadvertently, that exasperate the "mental illness" - and without professional help, don't see, or are unwilling to adjust. Sometimes, the one doing all the complaining about their rotten spouse is actually THE ONE WITH THE MENTAL ILLNESS, or at least with the dysfunctional thought process.

If you want out bad enough, or if you want to chase tail, you'll eventually find enough rotten things about your spouse to justify the behavior. Pretty soon, you'll even start to believe the lies yourself. Imagine how much sweeter and easier and lovely for the children's well being when one can stop, look at themselves, and say "I need to become somebody I never thought I could become so that I can save my family and be happy" Overcoming the obstacles that life and marriage set before us make us strong - I do mean, "overcoming" - I dont' mean 'suffering' nor do I mean "abandoning" - i mean real, down dirty problem solving where I look at myself with mature eyes and figure out where I can make adjustments, how I can soften my heart, and how i can assist my partner in his journey as well.- So few are willing to get to such elevated thinking. however, it is only those who will "happily" celebrate 50th anniversaries....

Can I reiterate that this does not apply to couples in which there is physical abuse or actual psychosis? Such situations require drastic action, and a willingness of the perpetrator to get help.

Carla, i'm with you - how many husbands out there have just shook their heads at their wives and muttered - "nut case". I know mine has. Today, however.... he adores me.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 11:21PM
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my two cents.....i work in the adoption field and trust me, a amicable divorce is not the worst situation I have seen kids come out of, everybody gets married with the intention of having the wife, kids white picket fence etc...but this is the real world and that aint always going to be the way things play out, it's just life. IMO life is way to short to be unhappy, you can be here today and gone tomorrow, to suggest that a person stays in a relationship they don't want to be in for 15-20 years is the worse thing that can happen that can lead to so many other problems its crazy! I grew up in a single parent home, and although I knew that my mom stayed in a bad relationship on my behalf for as long as she could so i could have a two parent home it made me more happy that she got out of it and started enjoying life the way she should be, and it took nothing away from the way she or my father loved me! i wanted to see my mom happy! kids aren't dogs, and are way smarter at a young age than are given credit for, 9 times out of 10, they know whats going on, i did no matter how hard they tried to hide it and put on a front for me, and I wasno older than 5, so for two people to walk around in a houshold and fake it is so rediclious, thats just promoting to your kids that hey, if you grow up and get married and your spouse itsn't right, stay with them anyway, being happy doesn't matter anymore, just fake it until you two start really hating each other and then see what happens. incredible. Of course there are other options, therapy and all that, and that may work for some, but nothing is guaranteed, a therapist is human and has human problems the sameway the couple he's advising does.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 4:17PM
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Posted by professorniceguy (My Page) on Thu, Jan 3, 08 at 21:13

Yeah. You are all probably right. OK, I won't check this link any further.

I think y'all lost your OP when you didn't give him whatever permission/blessing he wanted
(& I wonder why someone would call himself "professorniceguy" unless he's trying, real hard, to convince...somebody.)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 6:08PM
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Yeah, but...one thing I'm seeing that maybe you're not, kcils, and this is from reading your other post... it sounds like you may be wanting to give up on your own marriage a little too easily. Could that be a side effect from coming from a divorced family? You may not think it has big negative effects, (and I don't want to imply it still wasn't the best for you) but I'm wondering if maybe your parents weren't divorced, you wouldn't have considered divorce yourself so easily. And, maybe even "your" child will have the same opinion on marriage and leaving if your unhappy that you do if you get a divorce. So, divorce really needs to be taken very seriously.

Plus, you're still so young, kcils, life is not about happiness. If you go chasing that dream and changing relationships every time you're not happy, you're going to become so very miserable. People should be able to make their own happiness anyway. Unless someone is truly abusing you to make you unhappy, they can not be held responsible for your happiness, so leaving them isn't usually the answer. I have found every single person I know that has left a marriage simply because they were "unhappy", has never really found happiness. It's just not a good reason for a divorce, because lack of happiness is an inner self-problem not usually a relationship one. What is it about being away from your wife that would make you happy? Would/could you be happy if you were alone and single? Or are you just hoping for someone to stir those romantic love feelings in you to bring you hapiness? Because if that's it, it's no reason for a divorce; and you are going to be so let down in the long run.

Sorry to hi-jack the thread and talk to kcils, but I consider since our OP isn't here, who cares.

And, syliva, I think you hit the nail on the head about the original poster. Do you think if I call myself "reallyhotdoctorbabe" people would believe me?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 6:23PM
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I, for one, don't doubt it!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 6:49PM
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I did ponder about why he had to mention what line of work he was in, its not relavent, especially when he was trying to NOT draw attention to himself, as stated in his first post.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 7:03PM
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I am going to address the white elephant in the room and probably strike quite a few nerves in doing so...but here goes...

So what is marriage is disposable!
Maybe we weren't meant to be married for 50 years!

Maybe we're serial monogamists. You have to remember that "til death do us part" was a lot easier when people only lived to be 50 and women had NO other options in life if they didn't want to join a convent.

So what if someone wants to get divorced in order to seek happiness! As long as it is done maturely and amicably as possible and with special concern toward the children...what's the big deal??? What's the booby prize for staying miserable with someone all your life? Is there one??????? Please tell me what it is? My mom works in a nursing home as an RN, and many old people she works with regret not having left spouses in their younger years to seek more fulfilling relationships. Is this the reward for "sticking it out"?

I think the suggestion that someone should just stay no matter what is cruel! Why would someone wish this prison on someone else???

And I certainly disagree with the poster who suggested that another person cannot make one unhappy. Is this person for real? The person you interact with, sleep with, eat with, etc...everyday of your life has NO influence on you?? I don't buy that. If this is the case, then why be with anyone at all??

I used to feel much differently on this issue. My mother was married 4 times and I always felt like I should be unhappy because of it. I was not unhappy, mind you...but society kept telling me that I should be since I came from a "broken home." Now as an adult, I know so many adults that come from so-called "intact" families that are terribly dysfunctional. Substance abuse, anger-rage issues, sexual addictions,financial irresponsibility, depression, etc... We have none of this in my family. My mother had 6 children, all of whom are self-sufficient, college-educated, mentally and emotionally stable, law-abiding, tax-paying adults. Those are great numbers. Many "unbroken" familes cannot say the same.

The only way we will lower divorce rates in this country is by taking away women's rights and freedoms. Is this what we want? I certainly do not want this for my own daughter. If she never marries, fine. If she marries once, fine. If she has a series of happy relationships, perhaps including marriages and divorces, fine. Famous anthropologist Margaret Meade married three times and claims that all of her marriages were good experiences.

I guess I am a product of my gereration...gen xer. I am pretty liberal about many thngs. I support gay marrige, universal health care, free child care, generous maternity leave, etc... But above all else, I support an individual's right to pursue happiness as long as it is done in a responsible manner and the children are supported, protected, and parented by HAPPY and normal human beings..and I firmly believe that divorce is sometimes a means to this end.

Maybe our traditional notions of marriage have become outdated. Maybe marriages should have an expiration date, and the two parties in this agreement can chose whether or not to renew it every 3-5 years or so. Radical, I know.

In the end,from what I've seen in my fifteen years as an educator, it's the quality of the parenting, as well as the influence of other people in a child's life (it takes a village) that determines the child's well-being, not whether or not the parents are married. I have known plenty of messed up kids from non-divorced parents!!!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 7:59PM
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I have to agree that I don't think Staying Together Because is the only answer. I have a friend who was miserable, cynical, crying all the time, 50 lbs heavier-- she got the divorce she was agonizing about (she had a seven year old) and she has reverted back to the calm, funny, affectionate woman I knew. She looks like her old self and is not sobbing until 2 in the morning. Her kid is doing fine. The child's father loves her very much and my friend manages her personal issues with the man in order to make sure her daughter has access to her father. A mutual friend of ours kept discouraging the divorce, convinced it was the wrong choice for the kid, but I can't help but believe to the bottom of my heart that my friend was right to keep herself whole so that she can be a better mother and not live her life marking time. It troubles me when I see uncompromising advice that is basically you-got-married-so-lump-it when it can mean reconciling 15 or 20 years or longer of someone's precious life to the trash heap. Was it healthy for my friend's daughter to see her miserable and marginalized? Not from where I sit.

In answer to the original poster, I am sorry that his original choice turned out badly for him. He should consider whether the marriage really is healthy for the children. If he is truly miserable, divorce is an option-- preferable to stepping out, unless his wife would prefer that option (a few couples do). The children have to come first. If she is really unstable, he should be looking at having the larger share of custody-- whatever is necessary for their well being. Easy to say but hard to put in practice, I know.

As far as finding someone else and staying married, well, a few unusual marriages can allow for that, but the odds are high that the OP will either be found out in an adulterous relationship or decide he can't live without the new woman and leave his wife contrary to his first intention. Even if he intends "just" an emotional affair, few wives will be able to tolerate that sort of thing. I sure couldn't.

I wish him the best of luck and a happier resolution to this difficult situation than appears at the present.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 8:31PM
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I feel as if I'm banging my head against a wall -
Is no one paying any attention? Or is the idea of creating happiness within marriage so foreign and so 'impossible' to the modern mind that no one can even wrap their minds around it?

People, there are three options when you're in an itshay marriage. 1. Get divorced. 2. Stay miserable. 3. Fall in love again and be happy. And no, it's not a matter of falling, but more climbing.

Maybe everyone's too tired to climb any more. Or maybe, in today's world, 'why climb when you can just dispose of what you've got' -

Marriage means very little today.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 8:40PM
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Sweetpea, not everyone was in love when they *got* married. My friend wasn't. She was pregnant, not in love. It happens. If you interpreted my post to mean that marriage means little and is disposable, I'm sorry I was not able to make my meaning more clear. Working on the marriage you have is the de facto first choice. I'm assuming that the OP had reached the point where he was unable to convince himself that he and his wife could fall in love again-- assuming they were in the first place, which seems to be in some doubt.

In some ways this is a not very useful argument-- people who manage to turn their marriages around have their own reward; divorce is so unpleasant it is hard to believe a rational person will choose it if they have any alternative. For otherwise loving people who are estranged to find one another again is great. I'm all for it. For two people who never had a strong bond or common ground in the first place, it makes my hair stand on end to think of them being assured they're just not trying hard enough or devaluing marriage or what have you.

There you have my opinion but I understand it is not the only valid one on the subject.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 9:06PM
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but prof. nice guy didn't ask about staying or leaving... exactly.

He said he wanted to meet a woman who was more fun *& that his therapist encouraged him to do so*.

which sounds like a lie.

In fact, his initial post reads a little like a singles ad ("my sisters-in-law describe me as 'funny & sweet'", "I want to meet a woman who likes to laugh", etc)

His request for 'advice' reads a lot like he's fishing for permission/approval/blessing,("it would be nice to keep my marriage but be emtionally close to someone, too")


& his statement that his wife is willing to have sex without emotional involvement but he wants the involvement sounds really really strange, since it's backwards to what usually happens (woman wants emotional closeness, man willing to have sex without it).

like he made it up & he's seeing what response it'll get.

One of the worst experiences of my life was many years ago, when I was young & inexperienced & a married man caused me a lot of aggravation, but, as a result, my "married man on the prowl" detector still works pretty well:.

I had been dating this guy for several weeks when I learned that he was married.

only, as he said, since it didn't have anything to do with what went on between us, he didn't think he needed to mention it.

He saw nothing wrong with lying to me, lying to his wife, complicating my life, his wife's life, his children's lives, heck, he wasn't worried about complicating *anybody's* life, as long as he could have dinner/clean house/charming children...& dates.

It was degrading to be manipulated & lied to like that,
it was mortifying to discover that I was the "other woman",
& it was humiliating to extricate myself from the situation & answer the questions my friends asked about the "new guy" I had been so happy about.

but the guy sort-of mentally shrugged & decided that I was just as crazy/needy/irrational as his wife, *since I was having a good time*...
until I found out about this little bit of (irrelevant & superfluous) information.

This is a married man on the prowl, looking for approval/justification, & he posted this to see what kind of objections he'd get, so he can refine his approach to the next "woman who likes to laugh" that he runs into in the real world.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 9:09PM
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I had a thought -

Perhaps it is my view of the purpose of life which leads to my viewpoint -

That view being, that life is a test, a challenge to overcome obstacles, to attempt to perfect myself (it'll never happen lol) and to excel.

I would imagine that many people see the purpose of life is to search for happiness.

In my experience, overcoming and excelling leads to self esteem, which indirectly leads to happiness -or should I say, peace.

My guess is that in todays world, people are looking for happiness under rocks labeled "fun" and "easy". Not an evil thing, but more a product of today - when there are so many voices out there saying, 'move on.' or "you deserve so much more" - it would be hard to disagree with such pressure, if one's life's mission was to be happy at all cost.

Unfortunately, there is a cost, a very very high cost, and we see it all around us. I'm not going to change the world, but maybe someone is listening.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 9:15PM
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I believe I was called sweetpea! I'll take it as a compliment and not as condescention - Although i did lay into my department head of my masters program years ago for referring to me the same way, so there's a fun flashback... but I digress.

If people aren't in love when they get married, that's fine - they still got married for a higher purpose. They still had an interest in commitment for whatever reason. Such a purpose can be rediscovered. Not everyone needs to have a 'soulmate' to feel fulfilled, happy and productive in live. Some can struggle through, but find great joy in solving problems, and in creating a meaningful relationship with their spouse and meaning in life.

Not everyone can make it work, but I would bet that everyone within reach of this inane obsessive typing of mine would have to agree that waaaaay too many people just simply don't try hard enough, if they even do try. And sadly, most people are sitting on a precious gold mine in their own marriage that simply needs to be discovered and valued. Instead, they point fingers at their "retarded" spouse and find nothing but misery in their marriage. I'll let this all go now, but i do have to tell you all a story and explain why i used the word "retarded" - i'll start another thread later this evening. Good, true story.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 9:34PM
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I read and then I re-read your post. Your complaints about your wife are so similar to the complaints my Ex had about me. He claims I was uncaring, cold, dysfunctional, depressed, etc however, I am none of those things. I have no idea how he saw those characteristics in me except that perhaps since he was unhappy in the marriage he wanted to blame me for his unhappiness so he fabricated an unlikeable personality and called it his wife. Perhaps you are in the same boat. If that is the case, you need to leave your wife. I finally left my husband and I am so much happier now that I don't have to be under his rule. Our kids are happier too.I can even say that Ex is a better Dad without me around. DO what you have to do but cheating on your wife will not solve anything.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 11:00PM
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Gosh, all this wonderful perspective on marriage, and the professor isn't even reading it. What a shame !

"In my experience, overcoming and excelling leads to self esteem, which indirectly leads to happiness -or should I say, peace. "

Totally agree with Amy, here.

"Is no one paying any attention? " I am, Amy !


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 6:38PM
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Well professor I know the feelings exactly. Around a year ago my dh stayed out until 1 with an old flame, saying "she had a bad day and needed to talk" then he turned it over to me causing him to have a bad day. We went through counseling which just dealt with the way I dealt with him and the problem. I do not feel loved or cared for just a liability. He cancelled talking about divorce when the attorney he wanted would not take his case and the attorney I had was a "tiger" (term used by friend that told me about him). After all I have been through antidepressants, weight loss, cannot stop crying, I feel like I would be better off divorced but people say it will damaged the youngest child. The last time he hit me he put a pillow over where he hit so it would not bruise...again, it was my fault. The thing is are we saving the children or costing us happiness. Is there someone out there that will love us and care and not hurt us? What are we teaching the children about love? Sometimes I think I am in hell on earth. Like you I will not cheat, know how that feels. I guess I better go before he sees I am on the computer and crying. Just realize there are alot of unhappy people out here and you are not alone. I am lucky to have a great friend to talk to...find one. Be like AA and able to call when you need a shoulder. Kat and I have lunch and talk, feel better for a while. Also if time comes when I change my mind there will be someone who knows the abuse and can help. Take care and hang in there.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 10:52PM
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lizzie, this is terrible. why are you allowing him to hit you? this should never be allowed under any circusmstances. call the police, file a restraining order and move out and file for divorce. this is unacceptable.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 8:15AM
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Hitting is NEVER acceptable -
- yet I can see how someone would totally lose it in a moment of anger and strike out. Awful, but understandable to some degree.
- but to take a pillow and 'pad' the area before hitting? That's not 'heat of the moment' behavior, that's 'premeditated'.

Lizzie - this guy is bad news.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 11:16AM
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I don't know anyone who encourages people to stay and work things out in marriages more than I do -

This is the exception.

Divorce is difficult for kids - Violence is comparatively devastating. Research, science, statistics, reality all have told us that violence is SOOOOO bad for kids.

If your children are the basis of your decision making, then consider that they are being far more damaged by what's going on at home than by a prospective divorce.

If I knew your city of residence I'd be sending you a phone number of a place that would help you, love you, and protect you -

There IS a better life out there for you and your kids. You do not deserve violence, and you must do something today to put an end to it -

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 12:11PM
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