Following are leftovers questions from my online chat “Knowing It’s Over” (Jan28):
I was unhappy in my marriage and felt I’d soon leave, when I met a woman, and it was like a thunderbolt struck.
I left my wife and moved into an apartment so I could still see my son without immediately having him deal with a new person.
But my girlfriend was constantly worrying that I’d go back to my wife, and didn’t understand when I had to connect with her about our son.
Things got very strained and she became very demanding.
I told my wife there was someone else, and then it became an emotional battlefield between them, both pulling me in opposite directions.
My son was suffering so I knew my first responsibility was to him, and then to my wife.
Your marriage wasn’t really over when you left for another woman, because you hadn’t yet stated your plan or moved.
When the “thunderbolt” started to weaken, so did the new relationship.
Yet the romance wasn’t really over either, when you decided to confess to your wife. It was left to your son to help you decide that the new relationship wasn’t working.
You’re the one who’s been unclear with both women. You act on feelings without thinking them through.
You’re strong-minded about your responsibility to your son. Now apply that thinking when dealing with a partner, whether your wife or someone new.
I grew apart from my husband of 15 years. He was older than me and made all the decisions when I married at 23. But after I had our two daughters and later started to work, I wanted an equal voice.
He still controlled our finances, which also controlled any vacation options. He showed little interest in my work, which I love. Our time with the children was always about what he wanted to do – watch TV sports, visit his parents, etc.
I knew I had to leave him, and it was hard on us all. But we’re both remarried happily, the girls spend time with both of us, and it’s turned out okay.
For some people, divorce is never an option. In those cases, and especially where kids are involved, a couple should make every effort to improve their relationship.
But for those who feel divorce is a choice, and can find no middle ground together, then knowing when it’s truly over can provide a fresh start for all.
The break-up is hard, adjusting your own life and helping your kids adjust, too.
But when a couple agrees to both move on, and then are both fortunate to find happiness, it’s a journey that eventually benefits everyone if you both act in the children’s best interests too.
My wife and I fight a lot. She earns more than me and uses that power in our household decisions.
She acts on her own regarding our kids, before discussing things with me.
Things are getting worse and I expect we’ll soon be going through the divorce she’s always threatening.
How do I prepare our young kids for this?
Despite an approaching split, you still need to help your children adjust without casting all blame on their mother.
It’s a crucial time when you MUST compromise on some things, and speak up firmly on others.
Talking to a professional would help you both learn to handle separation and joint custody issues in a better way than you’ve each handled the marriage.
We’ve had two marriage-counselling tries over 10 years. Tensions eased for a while, but then renewed.
Now, he’s constantly saying he’s frustrated with me and I’m fed up. It seems we’re never content together.
He’s always looking for the “new better answer” to our life – move to a small town or back to his home country, or change his job to a field in which he knows nothing.
I want to end this constant stress.
Why not first try something different? He’s a dreamer, frustrated by not achieving the “better” life for you both.
But he doesn’t know how to get you on his wavelength. And you don’t seem to get his perspective.
Instead of shooting down his ideas, hear their message. He wants encouragement. Maybe career counselling could guide him towards something viable.
Maybe finding boosts to his self-worth and enjoying them together could end the divide.
If not, you tried.
Tip of the day:
You KNOW it’s over if you truly tried connecting through communication, listening, and compromise.