More questions from the popular topic of my online chat, Knowing It’s Over (August 21):
I need to move on. My husband’s been a good father, a decent man, but he’s just not the man I want to live with for the next 40 years. I used to look up to him, as he was older and wiser, then.
Now I feel I’ve grown ahead of him in some areas, while he’s stayed back at the old level. But how do you break up with a good father to your kids?
It’s not easy, and divorce is usually hard on kids, until they settle from the shock, disappointment, and disruptions in their life.
Though you’re free to choose your own path, you should make every effort to smooth your children’s situation.
Get marital counselling, personal therapy, mediation about the financial and custody arrangements – i.e. everything possible to make a transition as smooth as possible and keep them connected to their “good father.”
Takes time and money? So does divorce… a lot more.
NOTE: Be sure that the things you’re dissatisfied with are in the marriage, not in yourself. Or, some personal changes – going back to school, changing careers – are part of what you’re seeking.
If possible, do these first… and then decide about divorce.
Just the thought of ending my six-year relationship terrifies me. Yet, I’m no longer sure my boyfriend’s The One. I can’t imagine being on my own, wouldn’t know where to begin, but the original reasons I fell for him have changed.
He’s not that spontaneous, adventuresome, go-crazy guy anymore. I’ve changed too, but sometimes I think we’ve morphed into our two mothers… who never liked each other!
Two issues: 1) your fear of being alone. 2) Everyone changes.
Separate these different realities.
On fear - That’s no reason to stay together. You’ll survive, and likely thrive, once you recognize your ability to function well, whether you’re with someone or not.
On changes - You only become like your mother (in negative ways) if you let that happen. E.g. don’t just criticize. Say what you want, and discuss how to make it happen.
Also, discuss how you’ve both changed (no blaming), and how to make your union work better.
If he doesn’t join in, or it doesn’t work, get going.
My wife (five years, no kids) brought home architectural plans for a home we’d talked about building. I immediately felt sick, and have been depressed ever since.
I’d been building up to tell her about an overseas job opportunity, but since I know she’s reluctant to leave her home-town, family, and friends, I was waiting for the right timing.
Now I’m forced to either give up this unbelievable career/travel opportunity, or what… break up?
You’ve gone to the worst-case choices without weighing the steps in between. You need to sit down with her as a life partner and together do Pro and Con lists re: the job – e.g. great travel, but uprooting from family;
Increased salary, but higher costs elsewhere, etc.
Also, consider how many years’ commitment’s required. You could agree to “try” the job for two-to-five years, say, and then decide whether to return.
About the architect’s plans – don’t burst her bubble harshly. Say you’d love that plan, but suggest putting it on hold while you examine the immediate choices.
Note: some experts see depression over a specific situation as a “silent temper tantrum.”
If that fits, it’s not a fair way to deal with a major couple’s decision.
Once a cheat….? I’ve talked it out endlessly, with my fiancé who’s admitted cheating, with friends who say he’ll never change, with a therapist who says to give him a chance, due to “circumstances.”
But the thought of having sex with someone who’s been with another woman, and then slept in my bed right after, makes me physically ill. Why should I forgive when I know I’ll NEVER forget?!
You’re over it, so why question further?
It’s likely you will NOT forget, because it’s part of your story from which you can grow wiser, choose your next partner more thoughtfully, and not consider a “player” as partner again.
But you CAN forgive, when you’re ready to put this behind you. He’s the loser - he traded a loving relationship for sneaky, illicit sex. His need is for risk, but yours is not, and now you’re beyond being fooled again.
Tip of the day:
A relationship’s end is an opportunity for self-reflection, confidence-boosting, and personal growth.