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I have started and deleted this 3 times, but I am finishing it now, no matter what. It’s a long on, so please bear with me! I appreciate any judgment-free advice.

I am married to a lovely, sweet man. We have been married almost 2 years (next week in fact...) and together a little over 4. Shortly after getting married I started having serious regrets. I loved him, but the physical spark was gone and had been for a long time. We have talked about this numerous times, but it's at the point now where when he touches me, I freeze and try to get out of it. It feels like a brother (ew, I know, but that's the truth!) or a good friend to whom I am not attracted is trying to be intimate with me. Oftentimes I give in because he is very persistent and I feel bad when his feelings are obviously - and rightly - hurt, but then I get mad because I shouldn't have to do that when it feels so wrong. I resent the fact that at times he WILL NOT let it go - it doesn't matter if I am on my way out the door, or if I am going to be late, or if I am on a deadline or yelling at the computer because I need to submit a paper and it's not working. He'll keep trying. At one point I told him flat out (after over 5 hours of him asking and 20 minutes before houseguests were to arrive) that if I were to have sex it would be obligatory and not pleasurable, thinking that would shake some sense into him, and he said "Ok, that's fine" and proceeded to undress. So... that's a problem. I should want my husband to touch me, right?!

Another problem is that we want completely different lifestyles - nothing crazy, but where he wants routine, predictability, nothing unexpected or different, staying in his hometown, with his high school friends, near his parents (who are both very sick so I understand that), I crave travel and adventure, meeting new people, seeing the world, being creative etc.

You would think that wouldn't be an insurmountable issue, but we both feel so strongly about wanting these things for ourselves. I feel confined, claustrophobic, and trapped in this life where everything is the same day in and day out, where we see the same people ALL THE TIME, where nothing ever changes and we start to, to use his favorite term, "homogenize" with the path of least resistance. Part of it is entirely my problem - I am ADHD and an actress/writer/singer (in my spare time - more on that in a minute) who spent my youth traveling around Europe thanks to the wonderful opportunity provided to me by my dad's company moving us out there when I was young. I caught the travel/see the world bug early and hard.

About a year ago, after our first, god-awful year of marriage, we bought a house. I say god-awful because it was - I tried to put it down to the fact that we were broke, crammed into a tiny apartment where everything broke all the time, and living on top of each other. My husband suffers from anxiety, and I do try to be understanding, but as selfish and awful as it sounds I have a really hard time with it. Partly because I am the kind of person who absorbs someone else's mood and lets it affect me. I try to "fix" everything and make it perfect, but it gets exhausting walking on eggshells and never knowing quite what is going to trigger a freak out.

Anyway, back to the house: I thought, naively, that if we bought the house and had more space, things would be better. I have known for a while that I was seriously on the fence about kids, but before getting married I didn't know that, so my husband went into our marriage thinking kids were in our future. By buying the house I was trying to "just do it" - live this life and see how it feels. BOOM! As soon as we got the house I wanted to backpedal the hell out with every fiber of my being. I started having anxiety attacks, my hair turned white, I wasn't sleeping. It was awful. I realized then that we were living my husband's ideal life, but there was nothing of me in it, except me physically. I had let go of everything that was important to me - my friends, my need for change, my desire to move out of our small town, my creative dreams. I don't blame anyone for that except myself, and I brought it up immediately. I decided to find something that re-lit my fire, that made me feel whole again. I started reconnecting with old friends, going out more, going to concerts again, and the big one: I rediscovered acting. In a big way.

Since then, my life has changed so much. I have made wonderful acting friends, around whom I never feel like the oddball, I never feel like I'm being judged, who share that same creative fire that I have, and who are all working towards a common goal - to be a working, happy, talented, successful actor. I feel like I am living in color again when I am with them, or when I am on set, or on stage... and then I come home and it's all grey. There's pressure from all sides to conform and to start having kids and to give up on my dreams (which I already did once, I started college in theater, but stupidly let myself get talked out of it and regretted it every day since), and to not want anything other than the life that was prescribed to me when I got married. While I get that that is fair, the fact that he told me he didn't believe in me, that I should give up, that I should "be practical" burns me every day. I feel the resentment and bitterness growing, and combined with the lack of physical spark, my growing panic about the pressure to have kids, and our other issues (our sets of parents, finances etc) I am ready to explode.

I finally told him all of this two weeks ago. He responded that if I wanted to stay with him then I would live this life, maybe do some regional theater, but start having kids and keep my full time job. End of story. No flexibility. Since then, he has steadfastly ignored the topic and refuses to speak about it. Every time he talks about our future or buying another house in our small town in 5 years etc something inside me screams "Did you not hear me?! Does my unhappiness in this life not matter?!" I'm 100% sure it's because he knows where the topic is going to go if we discuss it, and I have been afraid to bring it up because it's awful and I don't want to hurt him like that... but it has to come up! It's too big to ignore. I realize it is a HUGE thing to ask someone to move to California and live that crazy lifestyle, but I did suggest multiple plans of action that would try and compromise between both of our needs. All were rejected, with good reasons from him.


***One quick note - the acting came out of my initial unhappiness and has made me happy. My desire to pursue it with intent has caused problems, but the reality is that the same problems were there before acting, it just put a face on them.

I know that I am notoriously restless, but I am also an over-thinker and over-analyzer and I try to evaluate my feelings to see if they are stemming from ADHD restlessness or something more serious at all times. I have talked to my husband repeatedly about how I feel and he just kind of blows it off (or ignores it), which is infuriating and hurtful all at the same time.

So... the nutshell version: My husband is a great man, but I have no physical feelings for him and I feel very trapped and unhappy in our life together. Talking and suggestions and ignoring problems have not worked and I am ready to ask for a divorce.

Two things: one - am I crazy to feel this way? I mean... marriage shouldn't feel like this, should it?

Two - our anniversary in in a week. Christmas and my birthday are coming up. My timing is freaking terrible, but do I fake it through all of that? Through our anniversary when I I know he's going to want sex? Do I turn him down? Not show emotion? Do it and then hate myself even more than I do (and that's a LOT right now). I'm not a big gift person, so it's not like I want to stay with him so I get gifts - in fact I have been trying to get him to not buy me anything. I also talked to my stepdad about this because he's always my voice of reason. He agrees that I am doing the right thing, which gives me courage, but again, timing - do I take my husband to my parents' house as planned for the holidays knowing that my dad knows this?! Which is more hateful and awful - before or after? I am losing my mind with self-hatred and agony at what I am going to do, but I can't pretend anymore. I think he knows, I have become more and more detached, I practically leap out of bed if he touches me, and I have become a nitpicky, irritable B (where I'm normally laid-back and goofy). This has to stop somehow... How do I start? When do I start? Please help!!
 

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I should add that I feel that he deserves a better wife - one who shares his goals and dreams and isn't do driven in a different direction. His parents deserve grand kids. I want more for him than I can give
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I think my wife may have felt a lot like you in some ways. She wanted to fake it through the holidays, also, but I caught her cheating so that ended that. She's also told me and I can now recall where she said she was unhappy but it didn't really register as bad as it obviously was.

I can probably write a bit more (it touches a nerve to see some of the feelings of the 'enemy' in a similar situation to mine) but for now I'll say I don't think you are doing anyone a favor faking it for longer if you've already given it a shot. Just my two cents. Be crystal clear as it does seem to me that you've made up your mind that you need a divorce -- and do it. He might be deluding himself (like I did) that these are day to day marital issues, but if there's no hope, then he too deserves to get his life back to start over.

The only question I'll pose to you is it does not seem you guys have anything in common. Was there a reason you got married in the first place?
 

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Thank you for responding... and I'm sorry that I made you hurt more :( To answer your question, we knew there were big differences, but we genuinely had a great time together and have been best of friends. It was the longest relationship I have ever had, and everyone kept telling me I needed someone calm like him to balance life out, that opposites attract, so I thought it would be ok. That if I loved him enough I would change and it would be fine. Even though our conversations about things as mundane as where to go on vacation (the same place every year for life or to different places etc) gave me a niggling sense of anxiety, I figured once we weren't broke anymore (finances have also been a huge stressor) we would start to do more, start to travel and build our own wild ride. Instead we've begun hurtling away from that ever happening, which has put me back into the state where I don't sleep (haven't slept more than 3 hours a night in over 3 months), my hair is turning white, and I have daily panic attacks. Truthfully, I ask myself that question every day, and I still can't come up with a reason that doesn't make me feel like the world's biggest a-hole. I screwed up. I royally, royally screwed up, and now in an effort to fix it, I have to hurt some truly amazing people :(

In case anyone was wondering (and sorry to rub salt in the would Devotion!) I have never cheated on my husband. I am attracted to other people, but have never gone further than those "Oh, he's cute" butterflies.
 

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It seems you and your husband have very different values and unfortunately this makes it extremely hard to create a fulfilling relationship.
You also are not in love with him so you need to face the difficult questions about why you are staying. In particular, think - what are my fears about leaving.
Sorry, but the truth is you won't be happy until you are honest and accept that you will never have a fulfilling marriage with this man.
 

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I did not mean to shame you from sharing - every situation is definitely different and I also did not mean to imply in your situation you went too far (ie cheating) as my wife did.

However, what is in common is that my wife also felt that there was nothing there and nothing worth saving, an also thought about keeping me in the dark for a while. I'm suggesting that if you are as certain as it seems that its best for both of you to stop living the lie.

I'm not here to judge your relationship, and that won't help any because what's done is done, you are now married, and maybe you shouldn't be, maybe you expected changes that were not realistic. You'll have to think about those issues as you move forward with your life and future relationships, but you owe your present relationship and yourself what may be a very difficult confrontation with the truth. I will also tell you that you may have thought you were very clear with your husband, but us men can be very, very dense.

If you take the advice I'm giving, make sure its crystal clear and be ready to follow through. Both of you should hopefully try the divorce 180 process. Then you can really know if your life will be better without the guy, not just the grass is greener on the other side.

Just my two cents. There is usually no right answer, but I tell my friends the truth that this forum helped me understand that some marriages can't be saved, and that is a good thing, even though the short term pain may seem to be overwhelming.
 

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I'm with devotion.

It's going to suck. If you're anything like me, you're fond of your spouse and don't want to see them suffer, at the same time, you're extremely miserable in the relationship.

In the end you're just going to have to (wo)man-up and have a sincere conversation. Funny thing is - there's a possibility that your other half will end up here, and we will sympathize with him and demonize you.

It sucks I tell you.
 

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Coming from the other side...

MOST IMPORTANT DO NOT HAVE KIDS WITH HIM!!!!!!

That will complicate everything...so if you end up being intimate with him again be extra super duper careful.

Now my STBXW has alot of similar feelings that you have described (no spark, "karmic" brother-sister, fond of spouse, don't want to hurt other people, etc). Here is what I wish she would have done in our situation with 6 months hindsight:

1. Do not involve another person before divorce was filed. Do not keep involvement with other person through the whole mess.

2. After making the decision to "live her own life" actually start making the split and being independent. I still pay for everything (mainly cause the kids) but I cannot live my own life because she is still so dependent on me and I am too much of a nice guy (I know it's my fault I don't have good boundaries yet, but I have loved this person for 7 years and mother of my kids).

3. Do not give me false hope. Be strong and do not show 2nd thoughts/mixed messages. That totally is a mind f*$%. Even if she feels bad or sad or wrong, but not enough to stop being an idoit and actually commit to reconcillation. Stoic but respectful of the other person's hurt.

4. Actively try to help him get on with his life...that means be independent and do not rely on him. Postpone actively dating for few months to help him adjust. Make a clean financial break as much as you can. A two year marriage to me should mean no alimony for you. Give him some time to heal before you try to be friends. It is not fair to expect him to still be your buddy through this. Do not rely on him for emotional support (if you want to be on your own you should be strong enough to be on your own).

5. Own that you f&^% up. Own your mistake. Tell him you are very sorry for agreeing to something that you shouldn't have. Let him know he is very special, but you want something different. Don't expect him to believe you now, but he will appreciate your honesty in a few years when he realizes that you really didn't mean to hurt him even though you did.

So maybe some of these apply to your situation and some don't...if my wife had went about this differently, I know it would have helped me get to a better place quicker. Good luck with your goal of being an actor.
 

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Coming from the other side...

MOST IMPORTANT DO NOT HAVE KIDS WITH HIM!!!!!!

That will complicate everything...so if you end up being intimate with him again be extra super duper careful.

Now my STBXW has alot of similar feelings that you have described (no spark, "karmic" brother-sister, fond of spouse, don't want to hurt other people, etc). Here is what I wish she would have done in our situation with 6 months hindsight:

1. Do not involve another person before divorce was filed. Do not keep involvement with other person through the whole mess.

2. After making the decision to "live her own life" actually start making the split and being independent. I still pay for everything (mainly cause the kids) but I cannot live my own life because she is still so dependent on me and I am too much of a nice guy (I know it's my fault I don't have good boundaries yet, but I have loved this person for 7 years and mother of my kids).

3. Do not give me false hope. Be strong and do not show 2nd thoughts/mixed messages. That totally is a mind f*$%. Even if she feels bad or sad or wrong, but not enough to stop being an idoit and actually commit to reconcillation. Stoic but respectful of the other person's hurt.

4. Actively try to help him get on with his life...that means be independent and do not rely on him. Postpone actively dating for few months to help him adjust. Make a clean financial break as much as you can. A two year marriage to me should mean no alimony for you. Give him some time to heal before you try to be friends. It is not fair to expect him to still be your buddy through this. Do not rely on him for emotional support (if you want to be on your own you should be strong enough to be on your own).

5. Own that you f&^% up. Own your mistake. Tell him you are very sorry for agreeing to something that you shouldn't have. Let him know he is very special, but you want something different. Don't expect him to believe you now, but he will appreciate your honesty in a few years when he realizes that you really didn't mean to hurt him even though you did.

So maybe some of these apply to your situation and some don't...if my wife had went about this differently, I know it would have helped me get to a better place quicker. Good luck with your goal of being an actor.
Brother, this is an amazing bit of wisdom.

Thank you so much for this...
 

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Thank you all for your honest advice. I am somewhat prepared to be demonized, but I won't know until it happens. I hate that it will happen, but it's either now or in a year after another year of this and then dropping the "I don't want kids" bomb... So I guess now is better...

To wtf2012: thank you for giving me your side. I can't tell you how much that means to me. These are all things that I have thought of and wondered what I would do and how I would react.

For now, I have to stay in our town (city) - my job is here and I need to save money to move. That said, I am financially independent - sometimes fiercely so, another issue we have had - and make decent money from my jobs to live on my own (as I had done prior to our relationship).

There will be no other person involved. Not now, not any time soon. As a child of 4 divorces total, I have seen what it does to people emotionally and the leverage it gives in court (though the first part is the one that would keep me from ever doing that).

As for giving false hope... Maybe this makes me a good person, maybe it makes me cold-hearted, but I have never gone back on a decision like this, no matter how much it has hurt someone I cared about. Never had "just one more night" or anything like that. I've been on the other side of someone who was indecisive and gave me false hope and it destroyed me. As hard as it will be, and as much as I know it will hurt him to turn him down or cut off conversations that head that way, it's what needs to happen. It's what I would want to have had happen looking back on when that happened to me.

I will lose him as a friend. There's no question of that, and it's one of the things that has kept me from this point before. He made it clear very early on that if this were to ever happen he would never speak to me again. It kills me, but I also have to accept that if that's what he needs to do, then it is what is best.

To myself, I own that I f%&$#@ up... Telling that to him is something entirely different. I don't want him to think that I have hated being married to him, I really haven't, I just can't make myself be who he needs.

Thank you again. I live in fear of him finding this thread, but it will keep me honest. If he finds it I don't want there to be any surprises that will hurt him more.

This sucks. I am truly sorry for anybody who has gone through this - on either side :(
 

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I will lose him as a friend. There's no question of that, and it's one of the things that has kept me from this point before. He made it clear very early on that if this were to ever happen he would never speak to me again. It kills me, but I also have to accept that if that's what he needs to do, then it is what is best.
Definitely make peace with this. My wife still doesn't understand why I can't be 'nice' and be 'friends' .. while the person doing the breaking UP has their own cross to bear, the person being BROKEN up with I think may naturally feel more anger and build walls to protect themselves. She also complains that I never, ever, want to talk to her or see her -- basically I try to force EVERY conversation through email -- but just like it was her decision to break up, it is my decision on what (ie no) relationship there will be afterwards.

And good for you that you will not complicate things by getting another man or kids involved in your life. If I had to guess my wife had similar feelings to yours six months ago, did nothing to confront it, and instead let her feelings grow for another man by which point I knew she'd already moved on, and rather than just the knife about seeing your world implode, she twisted that knife in the wound by knowing she was cheating (or near to cheating in my case -- stopped trying to verify one way or the other once I knew emotionally she was already there).

It'll be a tough time for both of you, but I hope you understand that this tough time is coming one way or the other, and the sooner you go through it, the better the chance for BOTH of you to come out ahead on the other side. If you do own up to YOUR mistakes then that is doubly beneficial too.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Well... last night we had "the talk". I told him everything I said in my OP, I owned up to having really messed up in thinking that I could change and going through with the marriage despite my reservations, everything. It was by far the most awful discussion of my life. I would rather have had to call my mom and tell her my aunt had died again than to do that to my husband(to put that in perspective she was in hospice after a long fight with cancer and it was kind of a relief, but still incredibly difficult - I'm not just cold-hearted!). He said he felt like I was coming to him at the end of our relationship - which makes me feel that no matter when you start this conversation it will always feel like it's coming at the end of the relationship for the other person. We talked for a long time, and he asked if I thought counselling would help, and I said I didn't think so because we wanted such fundamentally different lives. He went into practical mode and started talking logistics, how we were going to handle the house, me moving out etc, with a few barbs towards me thrown in there, which I expected but they were certainly effective! We had decided that I would stay in the house at least through the end of the year, we would move to separate bedrooms, and that we would start telling people in the next few weeks. It was beyond sad and excruciating, but a part of me was a little bit relieved. It was out there - I didn't have to hold it in and pretend everything was ok anymore, even though it was awful to say it out loud.

And then I screwed up big time... We were both so devastated and going to sleep in separate rooms without our usual goodnight routine was so hard that I started thinking "Maybe it could work, maybe I could give up on my dreams and fall in love with him again"... I wanted, selfishly, desperately, to curl up with him and make it all go away... So I told him I would try counselling. I regretted it the second it was out of my mouth, because he made it very clear that the only life we could live together would be here, no acting etc (though he did say he could live without kids), and I still want to move, I am still suffocated by this life here, and I will still end up bitter and hateful if I don't pursue my passion - which he thinks is a cliche and ridiculous. I know I have to re-break his heart, and I'm not sure how I honestly thought I couldn't hate myself any more than I did, but I certainly do...
 

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My wife made the same mistake, agreeing to go to counseling. Don't worry. It doesn't add too long. Just be honest and clear to the counselor, and hopefully he'll be honest and clear to you both -- that there's no hope. In my case there were three sessions - 1 joint where my wife basically was in a rage the whole session and it was pretty clear there wa sno hope -- 2 individual sessions where I tried, but she basically told him the same stuff - and 1 last session where I was there on my own and he told me its a done deal.

Sometimes it does help to hear it from a supposedly neutral third party.

Good luck.
 

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Well... last night we had "the talk". I told him everything I said in my OP, I owned up to having really messed up in thinking that I could change and going through with the marriage despite my reservations, everything. It was by far the most awful discussion of my life. I would rather have had to call my mom and tell her my aunt had died again than to do that to my husband(to put that in perspective she was in hospice after a long fight with cancer and it was kind of a relief, but still incredibly difficult - I'm not just cold-hearted!). He said he felt like I was coming to him at the end of our relationship - which makes me feel that no matter when you start this conversation it will always feel like it's coming at the end of the relationship for the other person. We talked for a long time, and he asked if I thought counselling would help, and I said I didn't think so because we wanted such fundamentally different lives. He went into practical mode and started talking logistics, how we were going to handle the house, me moving out etc, with a few barbs towards me thrown in there, which I expected but they were certainly effective! We had decided that I would stay in the house at least through the end of the year, we would move to separate bedrooms, and that we would start telling people in the next few weeks. It was beyond sad and excruciating, but a part of me was a little bit relieved. It was out there - I didn't have to hold it in and pretend everything was ok anymore, even though it was awful to say it out loud.

And then I screwed up big time... We were both so devastated and going to sleep in separate rooms without our usual goodnight routine was so hard that I started thinking "Maybe it could work, maybe I could give up on my dreams and fall in love with him again"... I wanted, selfishly, desperately, to curl up with him and make it all go away... So I told him I would try counselling. I regretted it the second it was out of my mouth, because he made it very
clear that the only life we could live together would be here, no acting etc (though he did say he could live without kids), and I still want to move, I am still suffocated by this life here, and I will still end up bitter and hateful if I don't pursue my passion - which he thinks is a cliche and ridiculous. I know I have to re-break his heart, and I'm not sure how I honestly thought I couldn't hate myself any more than I did, but I certainly do...
Dont beat yourself up... At least you didn't sleep with him as that would be a mistake unless you clearly indicate it is one last hurrah With excellent birth control. Counseling could be good for him and you, just stay honest an strong. If this is what you really want, then be strong, clear, and consistent. It should be easier for both of you because you are presenting a clear and strong desire for something that is a deal breaker for him. What a great thing to blame on the end of the relationship, and you won have to demolish his self esteem with ILYBNILWY or that you aren't sexually attracted.
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It's been the strangest, most awful, but also most relieving and weird time.

We spent the weekend in this awkward buddy/not buddy/married/not married state. He would call me baby and say "I love you" and I would try and say it back, but then not try to say it back because I was so confused and didn't want to mislead him but wanted to figure out how to say what I needed to say. It sucked. Finally Sunday night we couldn't take it anymore and he called me out on not really wanting counseling etc... and then told me he also wanted a divorce, that I had been kind of a sucky wife etc etc (which is somewhat true because I wasn't happy, but not entirely true -it's not ALL my fault, though he thinks so right now), and that he actually wanted to be friends.

WHAT?!

I was so stunned I let the insults and barbs he threw at me roll off, but we have a tense but friendly situation going on right now. I have to stay in the house for a few months so that he can afford to keep it, and I sleep in the spare room - which is not a problem for me, it's actually kind of... nice? That's not the right word, but it avoids any mixed messages. We are friendly to eachother and have even had a few laughs, though it stings a little when we talk about how we need to divide things - phone bills, selling my engagement ring etc (that one hurt more than I thought it would). I'm sure it won't last and am braced for bad days, but for now I am completely overwhelmed with the sense of relief and HOPE for BOTH of our futures - for the first time in a long time I am excited to plan for the future because this horrible, awful thing that needed to be said and done is getting done. I am going to be moving home to chicago in a few months, and then on to LA after I have saved some more money, and he gets to keep the house and the life that he loves, without the stress of knowing he is in an unhappy marriage. We will probably file in the new year after we get our taxes figured out, and have already started talking about how to divide things - we haven't accumulated much, so it's not hard.

Now... he is telling his parents on Thursday, and today is our wedding anniversary, so it's an awkward time and I am dreading the nastiness from his sister, the guilt from his mother, and the disappointment and anger from his dad (I do love his parents, even if they drove me insane) - but in the end I hope that everyone will see it is for the best.


I realize that this is not fun or helpful information to those of you who are on the other side and have kindly given me strength and wise advice over the last week, but I am trying to stay as honest as my OP. I also know this is the rose-colored glasses view and there will be times when things get real and maybe ugly - though we have agreed to try and avoid that at all costs. We are mature adults and deal with people and bad situations daily - he is in sales and I work in direct healthcare - so I am hoping we can apply the same sense of ethics and respect to eachother.


Any thoughts on what to expect/not expect from here on out?
 

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Nothing really to add other than thanks for sharing. I depend on friends and family (and yes, a dose of posting and listening here) to make it through my divorce. One of the best advice a friend gave me is that the other person will be LOOKING for faults and will say MEAN stuff. (I believe this is true for ME too). In the situation it is natural for it to stick to you a lot worse than before, but you have to steel yourself up and ignore (at least for now) the barbs and move towards the destination -- which is a new FUTURE and the new HOPE that you feel.

The SO family situation was different for me; I proactively broke off contact with her brother and sister and also reached out to her mother on my own, who is a little bit on my side but doesn't see it in her place to say anything (my STBXW and her have a weird relationship). A few of her secondary friends are my secondary friends but otherwise there's very little overlap so I just see my slice of the world and she sees hers. You probably do owe his family a small conversation if they want to have it, but if it gets nasty or confrontational just end it. That part of your life will soon be over and you have toss some good with the rest of the bad.
 
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