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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
How does one know when it's time to throw in the towel? I feel like I'm getting to that point. But maybe I'm just being selfish.
My youngest has three more years of HS. I've told myself all along that I can survive that long and then see what the state of my marriage is at that point. But there are days when three years seems like forever.
I'm a lurker on this board; I got flamed once here and haven't posted since. But I'll chance posting here to offer my thoughts, since I have now been divorced for 4 years (was married for 21 years) and also have a teenager at home. Hopefully you'll find my perspective somewhat helpful, or at least give you some things to consider. (And I hope that I'm not flamed again for chiming in.)
I suspect that knowing when it's time to "throw in the towel" in a marriage is different for everyone.
I hung in during 8 years of major problems, also thinking towards the end of that 8 years that I should keep the marriage intact until my son was in college. But then something occurred that made it clear to me that I couldn't and shouldn't sacrifice myself any more, and that my son was being affected. Doesn't matter what happened; I'd reached my breaking point and after that, I was done.
During that last 8 years I would often talk to my friend, a divorce lawyer, about the tough choice of whether to divorce or not. I was mainly worried about the impact on my son. I wanted my son to have a father participating full-time in his life -- that was very important to me. So I went back and forth for years, always choosing not to do anything. But once the straw broke the camel's back the choice to divorce was clear and seemed necessary. I still think it was the right choice for me and for my son, although I'm sad that I had to make that choice.
I read that your father recently passed away, and I'm sorry to hear that. (I can probably relate to how you may feel, since my mom passed away last year.) I read about your wife's lack of support to you, which is sad and disappointing and might be causing you to think harder about divorcing.
The last thing I will say is, it's tough to stay in a bad marriage, but there are also challenges when you get out of a bad marriage. It can be lonely; there's no guarantee that you will find a compatable long-term date for companionship. It's just a difficult choice.
The only person who can tell you when the time is right is you.
I divorced my 1st wife about 13 years ago. For me, it came down to an ultimatum. I tried like crazy to save our marriage but she made a choice to move to another state. It was when she made that choice that I decided it would be over. I simply told her as soon as she pulls out of that driveway, there is no going back. It was extremely hard seeing my two young kids leaving with her but in the end, it was the best choice and the right choice. I now could see the light at the end of the tunnel. No more wasted nights wondering "what if" or "what should I have done" or "what can I do". It was as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulder.
About a month later, my "soon-to-be" ex wife at the time, came back to town with the idea we could work on our marriage. She was in for a rude awakening. I made it clear to her it was over and it would stay that way. It felt good knowing that I was now in control. About 2 years later, I re-married to a woman who I absolutely adore and cherish! She is one of the best things to ever happen to me (aside from the birth of my kids).
As for the kids, my kids were very young and yes it was hard (my oldest started crying one night when I drove them home because he didn't want me and his mommy to divorce). In the long run, they adapted extremely well-better than I could have expected actually-and show no ill effects from divorce. In fact my oldest son, now 20, sent me a nice text one night saying he now understands why we divorced and he's happy things turned out the way they did. Kids are resilient and they'll get thru it. It won't be easy, but they'll get thru it.
The decision whether to divorce or not is not an easy one, especially in situations similar to yours (I've loosely followed your posts).
Have you had a serious one-on-one, coming to Jesus, no holds barred talk with your wife to let her know exactly how you're feeling? Have you consider a long separation first?
I can only speak as someone who knows TONS of kids whose parents would stay together til they graduated. Everyone knew about it, even if their parents didn't tell them. It made a lot of my friends in high school feel a lot of pressure, sadness and anxiety about time passing and about the state of their family.
If you wouldn't get divorced because your kid was going through a milestone, I've never gotten the logic of staying married until a milestone, if that makes sense?
Follow what you think is right for you. You're not selfish to want to be happy, and you're not bad to want to fight harder.
You'll know. I asked DH who left his ex in 2001 how he knew and he said you just know. It's different for everyone. Sort of like your pain threshold, what may knock someone else to their knees will cause you to just shrug and vice versa.
DH has also said once his kids got over being angry at him for not saying good-bye (he knew his ex would cause a scene so he left while she was at work), he noticed they were happier and more relaxed. Kids know when their parents aren't happy and can feel the stress in the house. If the parents can at least be civil and friendly toward each other, that's one thing but from what you've posted about your wife, that isn't happening.
Yes, it will be hard. Yes, you'll feel guilty. Once the dust has settled, unless you are being truly selfish (you're not), you will see it was the best thing. It may take weeks, months, or years to come to that realization but it will happen.
One person cannot keep a marriage together; it takes two.
Hey queston! Have you thought of writting the Pro's vs Con's pertaining to being married and your marriage down on a piece of paper? It might help in straightening some of the thought process out. Also, are you able to see a counselor yourself concerning this? Could the past months events be fueling this thought? Could your expectations be set a bit high? How much back pedaling is there from the progress you and your wife had already made? Are you able to get things back on track with subtle or not so subtle cues and reminders?
I know that you have been married for many many years and in the past had casual conversations with others who have a similar history and such to yours. Can you confide in one of them concerning your thoughts to bounce things off of?
A very wise woman that I know once said that you know when it's time to throw in the towel when the thought of staying hurts more than the thought of leaving ...
The only advice that I can offer is to not make any decisions right now. You have just undergone a very painful bereavement. Whether you think so or not, this will affect any decisions that you make. Give it a couple of months first ...
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
I know that I'm not there yet, and I also know that this is not the time for me to be making any big emotional decisions.
Spring is always our worst time, for some reason.
I think that my wife is very emotionally confused. We talked last night, and she said that our relationship would be better if A, B, C and D...where A, B, C and D are things I've expressed a desire for over and over again and she has been uninterested. She seems completely unaware that we have the kind of relationship that *she* has chosen, for the most part.
I feel for you, I really do. I'm sorry to hear that things aren't going well.
I don't really have any advice, but I think those who have already posted have offered great suggestions. I know you're hurting, and confused. But hang in there. We are here for you. And you're a strong person. No matter what happens, I think you'll get through it ok.
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