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Old 20th September 2012, 11:09 PM   #1
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37 years gone.

Hi all I am totally new here but would like some constructive advice if possible. We have been married 37 years, two grown up children, 4 grand children, (eldest 2 are 6yrs old), who live within 8 miles, both in our middle 50's and for the past 8-10 years our marriage has steadily gone down hill. Now it has reached the bottom as we have both agreed we can't go on like this. I have worked for the vast majority of our life and been the bread winner whereas she has had part time jobs in the past but not worked for about the past 8 years. We own our own house, (5 years left on mortgage), and she wants to sell but I have offered to try and buy her out. She has agreed but wants it completed as quickly as possible as she wants out by Christmas. Neither of us has any family to turn to. I'm not sure what I'm trying to ask except for now, where do I go from here?
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Old 21st September 2012, 03:43 AM   #2
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Re: 37 years gone.

Dear Winder...

Welcome to the forum. I am so sorry to read your post about the situation you find yourself. I guess the first question would be you want this long marriage to end? Personally, I think one fights for the good things in life and as you have worked for everything in your life. I don't understand where you just nod your head in agreement and walk away.

She wants this or she wants that. Why make it so easy for her? Since she has not worked, but part time jobs, it sounds to me that she must have something waiting in the wings to walk out of security, to what? I don't think it is fair that YOU worked for the house and then you have to buy her out to hold on to it. She gets to go live on that money and then you carry the burden for that too. I just would not make an ending so easy. She wants out by Christmas? I would make sure you are an obstacle to that plan. Say no.

If she is so bored with life..tell her to go get a full time job. She only worked part time. Does she think you will pull her weight while you live apart? If she had to work full time she could see how hard it is to survive out there! Maybe she would not be so hot to get out there when she has to pull her own wagon without you! That is, unless she thinks she has another guy signed on already, who will support her, as you have. How long before the proceeds of that house is blown and there is nothing?

I imagine you will need to refinance the house to pay her out, right? I had a friend who managed to blow through her house settlement in a few years of poor employment and spending money on dumb things, since she never budgeted in her life. Her husband had been generous so she had no concept of making it on her own. She ended up poor living on her grown sons charity as he bought a place and helped offset her meager retirement income.

Divorce leaves mark on families and often it passes down a legacy that children will repeat this in their own lives. Can you imagine your family in future holidays and how such an event impacts everyone?

It seems too easy that two people together so long should just give it up without putting in the effort to find out what happened and see if it can be changed! You have shared many memories and there must be so many times that things were great together. Things go bad when people just take things for granted and don't prioritize their time together.

There are grown children but they too are effected by your decisions. Were there alcohol problems? Were there terrible conflicts? Was there infidelity in this marriage? You didn't just wake up one day and say, "I will throw in the towel on this marriage." I think you must have loved her for many years?

It is not easy to find love nor someone who has many things in common, as most couples married so long, have in common. When did you both stop trying? Here is what i suggest to you.

Tell her divorce is NOT an option! No, period. I would then see what the two of you can do together to make your life together work. Maybe going to marriage counselling together with a neutral party to discover the problem areas. There is no way I think you should give up. It is very affirming to love someone through every objection they might have in such a case. Maybe a short vacation to go somewhere just the two of you. Don't talk about problems, talk about what you find good about your wife. Don't be a quitter...see it through. Think about the promises you made at the beginning and try to go back where you were in the past.

If you had only a few months to live how would you live it? That is how you have to think about today. There are so many who have NO choice at all. There are those who find they have a terrible disease and no chance to live life as they would want to live it. You have health, a nice home, a job and security. You must be making awfully bad choices if you can't realize how blessed is your life! Do not throw away your chance to try again.

Tell her you loved her before and you still love her. Ask her what you can do to make it better for you both. Never give up. Is that constructive enough?

Last edited by 1aokgal; 21st September 2012 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 21st September 2012, 05:33 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 5,794
Re: 37 years gone.

Hi winder.
There are 2 issues here. Firstly the marriage. Have you guys ever been to counselling? Have you done everything that you can to work on this marriage? How about marriage enrichment courses? IT seems so sad that you seem to be just giving up for no real reason. I suppose that I am not a believer in ending a marriage unless there is adultery or similar, or serious abuse, and please also think of you family. Your children may be parents themselves, but what sort of example is this setting them for their marriages? That you just end it if its not going well? They will be deeply affected as well even though they are adults.

Secondly the financial aspects and the house. I dont agree with Iaokgal about this. You have been married for 37 years, you have both contributed equally to the marriage, whoever earnt more/less money isnt important. Being a mum sho cares for the children is vitally important even if that means she couldnt work full time. Her getting a full time job now wont magically make her want to stay in the marriage, although I suspect that she will get some sort of job if she leaves to support herself. Judges wont take any notice of who earnt what, and thats as it should be, after a long marriage where they were children to bring up.
My husband payed every penny of their mortgage for 23 years while his ex was with the children and when they divorced he let her have the house!!!Amazing man!
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Old 21st September 2012, 08:57 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6,409
Re: 37 years gone.

What reasons does she give for wanting out Winder? Something is bothering her. Do you not know what it is? Has she been working hard on her marriage and you haven't responded? Whatever it is there will be a reason. Wives do not give up that easily after thirty seven years.
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Old 21st September 2012, 04:09 PM   #5
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Re: 37 years gone.

There are two issues here. One is the marriage and why there are such problems that she would say emphatically she wants "out before Christmas." Most women regard Xmas as a religious and family holiday of great significance. To break up a marriage at that time, says more about her anger, than her desire to part. That date seems to be a weapon hung over your head to separate at that time. That says to me she thinks everything is your fault and when the family is upset at that special holiday, it is on you. Why is she so angry?

One does not have to agree or sign divorce papers. Unless she sues for divorce using grounds of infidelity, where fault is involved, it usually takes two to make a divorce. I agree that there should be great effort to go through marital counselling or pastoral help to talk through some issues before making such a drastic decision to end a marriage.

The issue of the house... legally, if it was obtained during the marriage, it is considered joint in community property states. Neither partner in a divorce comes out in better financial condition. As the home is the main asset, both will experience a drop in life style for a time. A man generally recovers faster, because his income is generally stable, and men traditionally may still earn more than women.

The grass is not that green for those who begin life anew in their 50's. This is the time of life when two people should consider how they can fund retirement years ahead. Now there is the advantage of freedom from children to enjoy time together. The emphasis should be to reinvent the relationship for the two of you. Don't blow this opportunity to make some great years together.
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Old 23rd September 2012, 12:17 AM   #6
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Re: 37 years gone.

Thank you all for your replies. Its been a complicated marriage in the sense that most other couples would have probably split up a long time ago but to answer a few questions. First, there is no infidelity involved by either side so rule that out straight away. The complications involve things like her becoming agoraphobic for a number of years, depression a number of times, (for which she sought advice but was only ever given tablets), violence and disrespect from a teenage daughter which lasted approximately 10 years or more, being rejected by her parents and then her siblings after a minor car accident which her parents witnessed by did not stop to enquire about, and then more depression when I suffered what turned out to be a minor ailment but will require life long medication. Last but not least by any means, family trouble at my parents funerals and finding out a few years later via my daughters facebook account her mum had died and then 6 weeks later by a friend her dad had died and none of her siblings had the decency to inform her and have still not contacted her to this day. There are a whole lot of other issues as well as these but this is to give you some kind of background to our life together. Through all this time I have tried to be supportive but because of things like making light of my ailment, not going round to her parents when we had the crash and trying to do things for her she sees me as being a controller. I chose to make light of my ailment to avoid getting her stressed not to get her wound up so she would be living in a state of fear but she will not listen to any explanations. I went away to work for the first time in 37 years of marriage recently in order to find out how we both felt if living alone. I think thats what finally broke us because we realised we didn't need each other. In fact we have both agreed that we were more relaxed being away from each other than we have done in years. She even found new confidence she didn't realise she had but which I had been telling her about for years. Now she is scared that if we stay together, even living separate lives but staying in the same house, she will lose that independence. Hence the need to get out as quickly as possible.
Its impossible to talk about everything that has happened in our life without having to write a book so this is just a broad outline if that is any help.
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Old 23rd September 2012, 06:16 AM   #7
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Re: 37 years gone.

Dear Winder...

It goes without saying life can be very difficult. Family and friends can let us down and we are are caught up in whatever happens to us. Some things we can control, but much of life is Karma and happenstance. How we react and adapt will make us strong or break us. You have invested many years in your marriage.

She has never worked more than part time jobs. That sounds as if you carried the both of you as breadwinner. She may lack the work ethic and distinct survival skills it takes to provide for oneself. It seems she is ill equipped to imagine in her 50's she can possibly support herself, unless she has a hidden family trust fund. That separation plan late in life for a woman doesn't work without good job skills, a reliable resume and job history. Working lesser jobs is not going to pay the rent.

Emotionally, it seems your wife hasn't done well. No boss cares whether the employee is agaraphobic or depressed, but it matters they show up daily with marketable skills and they are functional. So it seems your wife....possibly Ex-wife to be, may not be able to sustain her escape from controllable you. She may have independence to run the home when you are not there, but can she sustain herself for years ahead in the work place? I will tell you it is mean out there for women who often barely earn above poverty wages. Have you considered to augment her income if she is unable to make that separate life work? There is also the consideration of your present debts and how those will be handled with a lesser standard of living which you may have.

In your case, you have only about 10 years to consider what you have been able to accrue in a retirement account. If you are in the US, I will tell you that it is unlikely you can survive on Social Security alone, unless you have regularly invested funds for that time. While you are the major breadwinner, you must consider that to buy her out of the home, you may likely have to refinance the home with payments into your senior years. Both of you will suffer a major loss in your financial standing to separate after all the time invested. Unless you make considerably more than median income you will pay a very dear price to work out a separation.

As I don't know your full situation I have made certain assumptions which may not be pertinent to your life. Maybe you are the elder son of a very rich family business and your last name is DuPont. You may just have invented a new software must-have and the word, "budget" is a foreign word for you. I say respectfully, these suggestions are based on the average family. Maybe you think your problems are extraordinary, as the estrangement of family and conflicts.

I can tell you many families endure cruel or frozen treatment from other family members. In our marriage we have endured trials of job problems, Cancer, w/multiple surgeries, Chemo and huge medical debts we paid even after health insurance payments. We had to dip into a 401K to refrain from placing any loan on this paid for house. There is my family, so remote I have seldom seen or heard from them for many years, even while we dealt with major illness. My husband works away from home for 6 months of the year as he has for over 25 years. That means it can become lonely and there are things one can miss being alone.

Trust me, life is unpredictable and the only thing we all have to decide is to continue swimming upstream against obstacles. Character is when get through all the obstacles and barriers and choose to keep firm to the vows we took when we married.

While you have have problems that have moved you emotionally distant, is it worth the price you will pay in future to end this marriage? I think you will very much put yourself at risk. What have you gained for that "freedom?" You mentioned your job now has you both living apart? There is still one income, so there must be some financial gain for you to work away? I think you may be tired of her emotional problems and she wishes to escape into the dream of a perfect life. It is just not going to happen.

How much have you talked about the effect this will have on both your future life and those of your family? It seems a really foolish thing to separate at this stage in your life. The present econemy is precarious and the future for both of you separately will indeed be a lesser standard of living. There are no magic pills to cure middle age dreams that suddenly one will find the next great love and more stability. The opposite is usually the case. You both really need to reinvest yourself to work through the problems.

Last edited by 1aokgal; 23rd September 2012 at 04:15 PM.
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long marriage, separating

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