I’m a woman, 44, divorced five years ago from my then-husband of 13 years. I’m very happy in my second marriage of three years.
I’ve read/heard so many other stories that start this same way, that I’ve been wondering why these marriage breakups happen so often within similar ages.
Why do couples get so focused on what’s been going wrong in their marriages that they’d rather split than keep trying? Were there ways to handle those problems that could’ve kept us together, still loving and happy?
I met my ex-husband at 24, he was 26. We had an immediate connection. I’d just graduated college and excitedly started my first job. He was working in his family’s business.
Then I got pregnant and he was against day care until a child was three.
I was immediately overwhelmed by the reality of being home with a baby most days. I loved my daughter and the son who followed her, but I was missing myself.
He followed his father’s routine of extended work hours whenever needed, which was often. I was lonely, he was frustrated, as I had little passion in me at day’s end.
Why didn’t we know this was a recipe for closing down, over resentment, frustration?
My mother gave me old-school advice to be grateful that my husband provided a good living, didn’t chase women, and I should have regular sex even when I didn’t want it.
I suggested counselling but he went with me reluctantly. He didn’t think he was doing anything “wrong.” He loved the kids, and said he loved me. I was just numb in response.
When the kids went to day care I got a good job and plunged into it. My husband was upset whenever he had to leave work to get the kids and feed them snack until I returned. He started golfing on weekends whenever possible. Sex was infrequent. We were growing apart.
By the time I said “divorce,” we both knew it was coming. The kids were in school all day and we foolishly thought they could handle our split because we both loved them.
I don’t want to go back to that time and certainly not to that marriage. But I wonder what couples should think about and discuss before they get into these situations.
Your thoughts, please.
Yes, such common factors in divorces stem from lack of maturity and experience. The 20’s years bring major changes of choosing jobs, handling finances, starting life with a spouse. Yet preparation for all this is usually limited, and later rarely discussed till problems occur.
Through the 30s, life is full-steam ahead, each partner taken for granted unless there’s a conscious effort to maintain the romance, sex, and commitment.
But if they’re emotionally divided (mother/worker vs major provider) then each may feel misunderstood, with personal hopes/ambitions/needs ignored.
Your observations are correct. “The average duration of marriage in Canada is 14 years, and 42 percent of marriages last ten to twenty years,” according to the May, 05, 2020 Family Lawyer Winnipeg Blog written by Donald I. M. Outerbridge, Executive Director of Merchant Law Group LLP.
Also, “The average age of divorce of the Canadian people is 41.9 years for women and 44.5 years age for men. The average age of a person to get married in Canada is 27.6 years old for men and 30.2. These rates are increasing day by day.”
Your own experience is unsurprising in light of these findings.
My wife and I are school teachers with two school-age children. My sister and her husband are both lawyers, with joint income much beyond ours. They recently bought my parents’ “family” cottage which means our use of it in school-free summers while they still worked and came only on weekends, will end.
My sister insists we’ll work it out. But her husband has his parents and married siblings who’ll also stay there sometimes.
How do we handle this change?
Missing Cottage Already
Look for a rental nearby and book it for as long as you can afford. Next year, do this early in spring, or book ahead now.
You’ll be able to visit your sister without jockeying for free time there. Meanwhile, ask if there’s any time when their cottage will be available, so you save on rent during that time.
When things change in a family, it’s best to adapt to protect the important relationships.
Tip of the day:
Marriage won’t thrive without spouses’ efforts to hear/respect each other, discuss problems, share intimacy, feel loved.