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I am hoping to gain encouragement and perhaps some insight/advice from those who may be or have been in similar situations. I have been married for almost 15 years, with my husband for almost 19. On the outside we have a pretty great marriage, two kids, three dogs, a comfortable lifestyle. We’ve always had our arguments (what marriage doesn’t), but over the past five years I’d say the tension has become more frequent. I’ve made the comment to him many times that his outbursts are not normal, he’s too quick to anger, we walk on eggshells, etc. I’ve become more sensitive to this as our kids have gotten older (they are 12 and 10) and can sense the tension. Any misunderstanding or disagreement is my fault. He’s a bit jealous. He’s only been physical a couple of times (grabbed my face, once in front of the kids). We don’t share the same sense of humor and we don’t communicate well. Arguing has become a normalcy in our marriage. In addition, intimacy is more of a chore for me. It’s been that way for most of our marriage. I find my husband attractive, but am in no way interested in sex with him. And it’s not a lack in my drive (see below).

I am not innocent in this either. I’m very strong willed and don’t typically back down from things I feel strongly about. However, I found myself checked out and slowly stopped engaging in arguments so not to expose the kids to it and because I was tired and just didn’t care. To make matters more complicated, I became involved with a coworker about a year and a half ago. We were both married at the time, though he is now divorced. He is not pushing me to leave, and honestly as much as I like him I don’t see him as someone I’d have a life with. But he did open my eyes to a compatibility that my H and I don’t have. I’m very well aware of affair fog, rose colored glasses, etc, but again, I’m not looking to leave my H and run away with my AP.

I am in individual counseling to try and understand myself. Through this I have realized that I love my H, but am not in love with him. It makes me so sad. I have guilt and depression from it all. And I am by no means seeking sympathy.

My H doesn’t know about the affair, but we have talked about divorce many times over the past 6 months or so. Neither of us are happy. And this stems from years of tension like I mentioned at the top of my post. We have tried to work on better communication but we always fall into the same rut after a few weeks. I am at the point where I envision myself out of the marriage and feel a sense of relief. Not free to be with someone else, but free to be me and not have to be a version of myself just to keep the peace.

My biggest fear is how a divorce would impact the kids. In addition, I’m 42 years old. I have a good job and am very independent, but the thought of starting over is paralyzing at times. Has anyone been in a situation similar to this? Am I crazy? Should I just accept a comfortable marriage, even if I’m not completely happy?
 

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So just divorce him already, you are so unhappy.

And, frankly, his outburst while not really "Normal" could kind of be based on you pulling away before and during your affair. His anger and abuse are bad behaviors, I get it. But do you think your affair is better behavior and that you have the high ground here, because you don't.

Look, marriages end. But, I would like to say, make sure to examine yourself because when you get a divorce, you are left with you? Do you make you happy. Are you a good person???, Yeah maybe, but not really though because you had an affair. So you need to fix that.

And how in the world are you so sure that his wife will not find out and tell your husband? Because he has her so well controlled that he can divorce her, she will never find out and never tell your husband??? Maybe...

You are done with your husband. You had what sounds like an exit affair, but you did not have the balls to divorce.

And while you read about the fog, do you realize the your great compatibility with your AP was based and built on fantasy, faeries and unicorns???

I am sorry, you write like you are so thoughtful brave and courageous... But if that was really true, then have the balls to get a divorce before your next affair...

And your kids will be fine, better than living with two miserable parents.
 

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Ok.

On the one hand he's been violent with you and makes you walk on eggshells. So he's abusive.

On the other hand, you've cheated on him and are checked out. Cheating has an emotional abuse aspect to it, and being checked out can feel like abuse, too.

You're not in love with him. You're not happy with him. He's not happy with you.

If I've ever seen a marriage that should probably end, this is it.
 

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So just divorce him already, you are so unhappy.

And, frankly, his outburst while not really "Normal" could kind of be based on you pulling away before and during your affair. His anger and abuse are bad behaviors, I get it. But do you think your affair is better behavior and that you have the high ground here, because you don't.

Look, marriages end. But, I would like to say, make sure to examine yourself because when you get a divorce, you are left with you? Do you make you happy. Are you a good person???, Yeah maybe, but not really though because you had an affair. So you need to fix that.

And how in the world are you so sure that his wife will not find out and tell your husband? Because he has her so well controlled that he can divorce her, she will never find out and never tell your husband??? Maybe...

You are done with your husband. You had what sounds like an exit affair, but you did not have the balls to divorce.

And while you read about the fog, do you realize the your great compatibility with your AP was based and built on fantasy, faeries and unicorns???

I am sorry, you write like you are so thoughtful brave and courageous... But if that was really true, then have the balls to get a divorce before your next affair...

And your kids will be fine, better than living with two miserable parents.
I am not brave or courageous in this. I recognize my contributions to where we are today. Our issues started long before the affair but I regret the decision I made to do what I did and am not happy with myself as a result of it. i do realize that my AP is a fantasy world, not real life. I’m not looking at leaving my marriage to pursue my AP. I’m just tired of the contentious relationship with my H. Yes, I checked out, but I tried for years before that to keep the peace. I tried to enjoy intimacy. But I got tired of walking on eggshells. Nothing excuses what I did. Maybe I do just need the balls to pull the trigger.
 

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I agree with the previous posts.
Not a rosy picture here.
You need to pull the plug on this marriage.
It is toxic all around. From your description, there isn't much love.
Husband is mentally and physically abusive.
On top of all that, you went out and had an affair.
The kids are basically collateral damage. Actually, they probably would be better off with the two of you apart.
There doesn't appear to be much to salvage here. Even if there was, it would take years and tons of work neither of you appear dedicated to embrace.
Go your separate ways, work on being good co-parents.
Both of you need to work on yourselves before you can find happiness.
 

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I am not brave or courageous in this. I recognize my contributions to where we are today. Our issues started long before the affair but I regret the decision I made to do what I did and am not happy with myself as a result of it. i do realize that my AP is a fantasy world, not real life. I’m not looking at leaving my marriage to pursue my AP. I’m just tired of the contentious relationship with my H. Yes, I checked out, but I tried for years before that to keep the peace. I tried to enjoy intimacy. But I got tired of walking on eggshells. Nothing excuses what I did. Maybe I do just need the balls to pull the trigger.
Do you see how what you wrote is more honest that your original post.

Look I get it. You are tired of the marriage, you are tired of his anger, I get it. But you are right, you checked out, and you had and affair, both not cool things.

And really, some of what you say.. Some people will say that you are re-writing the marriage. And you might be. But at the same time, no one wants to be around someone that is angry all the time.

Curious, did you REALLY talk to him about his anger. Did you talk about him getting therapy? Did you insist? Or did you just go along with it until you were so disconnected the you had an affair and don't enjoy sex with him.

And you miss my point about the fairies and unicorns... The actual compatibility and ease of being together in the affair... You know it was not real, OK. But you should also know that the "compatibility and ease of it" are not really what happens in a long term marriage. That is the point as well.

When you are married, life can creep in and make everything suck. Those that really work, not to just raise kids, but work to enjoy each others time, those that WORK for the marriage and the relationship, those are the ones that usually stay together. Those are the ones that actually enjoy the love and marriage that they pursue with each other.

Things thrive when you water them...

Now don't think that I am dogging you for wanting out of the marriage, I just want you to think about what you want.

Has your husband really worked on his attitude, have you asked him to get therapy, have you had marriage counseling, have you done anything to help the situation? If you have fine. If you have not, then you lose even more moral high ground, like you did when you had an affair.

Now, if you want out, then yeah, you need to have the balls to divorce him. And maybe you should. Frankly when a woman loses attraction to her husband, through his fault, of through her own fault, she is usually done. In that case it is really more honest for everyone to divorce.

But, if you don't fix what might be wrong with you and your part in the marriage, your next marriage or relationship will probably not be much better.

So, yeah, I agree, if you can't or don't want to work for real on the marriage, then get out.

But just do it the right way so that later you can hold your head up high. Frankly, from what you write, I am betting that your Husband wants out as well, he just does not have the balls to end it like you don't...

Hang in there...
 

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So just divorce him already, you are so unhappy.

And, frankly, his outburst while not really "Normal" could kind of be based on you pulling away before and during your affair. His anger and abuse are bad behaviors, I get it. But do you think your affair is better behavior and that you have the high ground here, because you don't.

Look, marriages end. But, I would like to say, make sure to examine yourself because when you get a divorce, you are left with you? Do you make you happy. Are you a good person???, Yeah maybe, but not really though because you had an affair. So you need to fix that.

And how in the world are you so sure that his wife will not find out and tell your husband? Because he has her so well controlled that he can divorce her, she will never find out and never tell your husband??? Maybe...

You are done with your husband. You had what sounds like an exit affair, but you did not have the balls to divorce.

And while you read about the fog, do you realize the your great compatibility with your AP was based and built on fantasy, faeries and unicorns???

I am sorry, you write like you are so thoughtful brave and courageous... But if that was really true, then have the balls to get a divorce before your next affair...

And your kids will be fine, better than living with two miserable parents.
It’s extremely sad that someone turns to cheating before allowing the chance for things to change. Then when the cheating is exposed it becomes the fault of the person being cheated on. I’m with you on this.
 

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It’s extremely sad that someone turns to cheating before allowing the chance for things to change. Then when the cheating is exposed it becomes the fault of the person being cheated on. I’m with you on this.
But, just understand... I am not saying that what you wrote is what will or has happened. And she knows that the cheating was not cool, and I get that.

I am just saying the if you are unhappy with the marriage, you try and fix it, really try, or you get out. Having an affair is crappy for anyone to do.

And painting a picture that your H is a POS and angry all the time, so I checked out and had an affair, really makes you a POS. Like it or not.

It is best if we can all be honest with ourselves and if we are not happy, and if WE REALLY did our best, and we are still not happy, the get a divorce.

Don't be a cheater. You want to be able to look yourself in the mirror every morning....
 

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But, just understand... I am not saying that what you wrote is what will or has happened. And she knows that the cheating was not cool, and I get that.

I am just saying the if you are unhappy with the marriage, you try and fix it, really try, or you get out. Having an affair is crappy for anyone to do.

And painting a picture that your H is a POS and angry all the time, so I checked out and had an affair, really makes you a POS. Like it or not.

It is best if we can all be honest with ourselves and if we are not happy, and if WE REALLY did our best, and we are still not happy, the get a divorce.

Don't be a cheater. You want to be able to look yourself in the mirror every morning....
Agree 100%
 

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Kind of ironic. I'm 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything) and my divorce was final March 3. (1st date 1997, married 2002, she moved out 2018, and we were divorced a year and a half afterwards).

My ex and I basically followed the Conscious Uncoupling Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After - Google Search steps without really knowing about it before hand. The main takeaways are
  1. Being angry is normal but that doesn't mean that you have to act on that anger. You should think before you act because there is no reason that it has to be contentious.
  2. Don't take the breakup personally but do recognize your personal role in the end of the relationship.
  3. You should examine what it was that made you choose that person if they were wrong for you or how the decisions and habits that you developed negatively impacted the relationship.
  4. Forgive them for what they did to you.
  5. Forgive yourself for your failings.
  6. Be generous and not entitled.
  7. Especially for parents the end of your marriage is not the end of your relationship. You are no longer spouses but you are coparents and probably always will be. You need to approach each other with that in mind.
As far as the practical concerns, splitting assets should be basically equal. The higher earner often feels that this is unfair but that doesn't matter. Half of the home equity, half of the 401k, half of the bank account, half of the car value(s), half of the furniture, etc. At least of what was accumulated during the marriage and given the length of your marriage, that probably means half of everything. Everyone's standard of living is almost certainly going down. It is very rare that the marital home stays with one of the spouses because of home equity and expense considerations so don't make sentimental decisions that destroy your financial security. As long as you keep the divorce cooperative or at least civil, the kids will likely be better off after it is over than what they are now. As co-parents you have limited say in how the other parent handles their time and spending time stressing out about it is not going to be productive. If there are going to be conflicts over expenses and decision making for the kids, who pays and who decides needs to be in the divorce agreement. Fighting over marital property and spousal support is generally more expensive than the stuff or income so don't. You should probably aim for 50/50 custody to minimize child support conflicts and to keep both parents engaged / involved.

There is probably a bunch of stuff that I'm forgetting but that's what comes off the top of my head.

Edit: spelling.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Do you see how what you wrote is more honest that your original post.

Look I get it. You are tired of the marriage, you are tired of his anger, I get it. But you are right, you checked out, and you had and affair, both not cool things.

And really, some of what you say.. Some people will say that you are re-writing the marriage. And you might be. But at the same time, no one wants to be around someone that is angry all the time.

Curious, did you REALLY talk to him about his anger. Did you talk about him getting therapy? Did you insist? Or did you just go along with it until you were so disconnected the you had an affair and don't enjoy sex with him.

And you miss my point about the fairies and unicorns... The actual compatibility and ease of being together in the affair... You know it was not real, OK. But you should also know that the "compatibility and ease of it" are not really what happens in a long term marriage. That is the point as well.

When you are married, life can creep in and make everything suck. Those that really work, not to just raise kids, but work to enjoy each others time, those that WORK for the marriage and the relationship, those are the ones that usually stay together. Those are the ones that actually enjoy the love and marriage that they pursue with each other.

Things thrive when you water them...

Now don't think that I am dogging you for wanting out of the marriage, I just want you to think about what you want.

Has your husband really worked on his attitude, have you asked him to get therapy, have you had marriage counseling, have you done anything to help the situation? If you have fine. If you have not, then you lose even more moral high ground, like you did when you had an affair.

Now, if you want out, then yeah, you need to have the balls to divorce him. And maybe you should. Frankly when a woman loses attraction to her husband, through his fault, of through her own fault, she is usually done. In that case it is really more honest for everyone to divorce.

But, if you don't fix what might be wrong with you and your part in the marriage, your next marriage or relationship will probably not be much better.

So, yeah, I agree, if you can't or don't want to work for real on the marriage, then get out.

But just do it the right way so that later you can hold your head up high. Frankly, from what you write, I am betting that your Husband wants out as well, he just does not have the balls to end it like you don't...

Hang in there...
I have tried to talk to him about his anger since 2015. Typically he would deflect and/or turn it back on me somehow. It’s not just me. I’ve seen him this way with his family and coworkers. He does not admit any wrongdoings. I have mentioned MC in the past and he wasn’t interested. He doesn’t see the need for a third party to help us. So I am in IC to try and help myself, because I do know happiness starts within. I also caught a lot of heat from him when my Dr prescribed a low-dose anxiety pill for me last year. He said that I shouldn’t need a pill to make me happy and that it would only lead to dependency.

I understand that nothing about my affair is real, even the compatibility part. And like I said, I’m not considering this in hopes of the whole grass is greener thing. The affair is something I deeply regret, but has little bearing on me contemplating divorce. Yes, I checked out from the marriage after tiring of the tension and feeling as though I was damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I will admit we got lost in raising the kids and not making time for us. We’ve talked about that. We’ve talked about his anger. We’ve talked about my emotional distance. And despite efforts we fall into the same rut. I know a marriage takes work, continually. But I don’t believe it should feel hard and like a struggle. I don’t think it should feel like we’re not compatible. I don’t mean to sound flippant, I just know we’ve been in this routine for years.
 

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Agree 100%
I didn’t mean to paint my H as a POS. He has good qualities. I was only writing about our issues, while taking responsibility for my part, because I thought that was the point of the thread (to present my situation).
 

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Kind of ironic. I'm 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything) and my divorce was final March 3. (1st date 1997, married 2002, she moved out 2018, and we were divorced a year and a half afterwards).

My ex and I basically followed the Conscious Uncoupling Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After - Google Search steps without really knowing about it before hand. The main takeaways are
  1. Being angry is normal but that doesn't mean that you have to act on that anger. You should think before you act because there is no reason that it has to be contentious.
  2. Don't take the breakup personally but do recognize your personal role in the end of the relationship.
  3. You should examine what it was that made you choose that person if they were wrong for you or how the decisions and habits that you developed negatively impacted the relationship.
  4. Forgive them for what they did to you.
  5. Forgive yourself for your failings.
  6. Be generous and not entitled.
  7. Especially for parents the end of your marriage is not the end of your relationship. You are no longer spouses but you are coparents and probably always will be. You need to approach each other with that in mind.
As far as the practical concerns, splitting assets should be basically equal. The higher earner often feels that this is unfair but that doesn't matter. Half of the home equity, half of the 401k, half of the bank account, half of the car value(s), half of the furniture, etc. At least of what was accumulated during the marriage and given the length of your marriage, that probably means half of everything. Everyone's standard of living is almost certainly going down. It is very rare that the marital home stays with one of the spouses because of home equity and expense considerations so don't make sentimental decisions that destroy your financial security. As long as you keep the divorce cooperative or at least civil, the kids will likely be better off after it is over than what they are now. As co-parents you have limited say in how the other parent handles their time and spending time stressing out about it is not going to be productive. If there are going to be conflicts over expenses and decision making for the kids, who pays and who decides needs to be in the divorce agreement. Fighting over marital property and spousal support is generally more expensive than the stuff or income so don't. You should probably aim for 50/50 custody to minimize child support conflicts and to keep both parents engaged / involved.

There is probably a bunch of stuff that I'm forgetting but that's what comes off the top of my head.

Edit: spelling.
Thank you for this input. May I ask what led to your ultimate divorce? Do you share children?
 

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Thank you for this input. May I ask what led to your ultimate divorce? Do you share children?
This got long, sorry.

We have a 6th and a 8th grader. As for what ended the marriage (besides my wife, that is) the list of "reasons" included:
  1. I am independent. I don't rely on her. (Never mind that she had gotten mad at times and had basically gone on strike, "not lifting a finger for the last 3 months and you didn't even seem to notice" so I was used to it.) I've rarely relied on anyone, really. For instance, when I was a senior in HS I did my parent's taxes so that I could have the information to fill out the FAFSA.
  2. I would rather read a book than watch reality TV or Wheel of Fortune / Jeopardy. I would generally do my reading in the same room but I wasn't really interested in Survivor or The Amazing Race and she wasn't interested in what I was reading.
  3. I wait until the other person is done talking before deciding what to say and sometimes deciding what to say takes a couple seconds. This sounds like a good thing until you realize that almost everyone is waiting for the other person to stop talking to say what they want so the breaks in the discussion are noticeable and uncomfortable for her.
  4. I make so much more than her that she didn't feel like her financial contribution mattered. Never mind that she could use literally 100% of her income for whatever she wanted as well as all but a couple hundred a year of my net after bills income. She didn't like that I sometimes asked that we pay off credit cards or save money instead of buying nonessential things (not that she actually did what I asked but whatever).
  5. She moved out of her parent's house to move in with me when she was 19 and had never lived on her own. She didn't feel like she had been an adult since I had taken care of things more or less since then as well. Its not like I was that much older since when we moved in together I was also moving out of my parent's house to go to college and was only 21.
  6. I'm in too good of shape (I **** you not), so when we're lying together she's more aware of her extra pounds. Her extra pounds have never, ever dissuaded me from trying to get in her pants (whether she got in to mine as well or not) but being pushed away, smacked, or yelled at has.
For about a month after moving out she paid some lip service to a possible reconciliation at some point in the future but then she said, "There is no point in going to marriage counseling or talking about reconciliation because after all of that talking you would still be you." It was never brought up again.

For a bit of a reality check here are some real things that she said and did that gives me clues to the actual reasons she left. I had trouble getting a job in my field after getting out of college so I joined the military as essentially a 4 year internship. While there she told me that lifestyle wasn't the one she felt she had earned by putting up with me going to engineering school. In 2013 (just before going back to school) she told me that if she could afford to move out she would and I have some evidence that as soon as she got out of school in addition to paying off car loans she started buying furniture and storing it at a friend's house. Shortly after she moved out I said something about when it was okay to start dating meaning for our kids and she immediately started talking about her decision process for having sex with who she was on a date with.
 

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I have tried to talk to him about his anger since 2015. Typically he would deflect and/or turn it back on me somehow. It’s not just me. I’ve seen him this way with his family and coworkers. He does not admit any wrongdoings. I have mentioned MC in the past and he wasn’t interested. He doesn’t see the need for a third party to help us. So I am in IC to try and help myself, because I do know happiness starts within. I also caught a lot of heat from him when my Dr prescribed a low-dose anxiety pill for me last year. He said that I shouldn’t need a pill to make me happy and that it would only lead to dependency.

I understand that nothing about my affair is real, even the compatibility part. And like I said, I’m not considering this in hopes of the whole grass is greener thing. The affair is something I deeply regret, but has little bearing on me contemplating divorce. Yes, I checked out from the marriage after tiring of the tension and feeling as though I was damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I will admit we got lost in raising the kids and not making time for us. We’ve talked about that. We’ve talked about his anger. We’ve talked about my emotional distance. And despite efforts we fall into the same rut. I know a marriage takes work, continually. But I don’t believe it should feel hard and like a struggle. I don’t think it should feel like we’re not compatible. I don’t mean to sound flippant, I just know we’ve been in this routine for years.
Well, if you talked to him then you should file for divorce. Be aware that he will act like he is changing, but according to you he will not.

Listen you are way younger than me, but understand this. Be real with yourself, this is not all his fault, it cannot be.

You need to look at yourself and be real with YOU about YOU.

You are probably just as responsible as he is for the marriage going south. I know you don't believe that, but loot at it rationally...

The only reason I am pushing these points is that if you don't fix you, you will repeat the same marriage. THAT is something that you do not want to do.

So, file for divorce, get a job if you are not working and move on.
 

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Kind of ironic. I'm 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything) and my divorce was final March 3. (1st date 1997, married 2002, she moved out 2018, and we were divorced a year and a half afterwards).

My ex and I basically followed the Conscious Uncoupling Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After - Google Search steps without really knowing about it before hand. The main takeaways are
  1. Being angry is normal but that doesn't mean that you have to act on that anger. You should think before you act because there is no reason that it has to be contentious.
  2. Don't take the breakup personally but do recognize your personal role in the end of the relationship.
  3. You should examine what it was that made you choose that person if they were wrong for you or how the decisions and habits that you developed negatively impacted the relationship.
  4. Forgive them for what they did to you.
  5. Forgive yourself for your failings.
  6. Be generous and not entitled.
  7. Especially for parents the end of your marriage is not the end of your relationship. You are no longer spouses but you are coparents and probably always will be. You need to approach each other with that in mind.
As far as the practical concerns, splitting assets should be basically equal. The higher earner often feels that this is unfair but that doesn't matter. Half of the home equity, half of the 401k, half of the bank account, half of the car value(s), half of the furniture, etc. At least of what was accumulated during the marriage and given the length of your marriage, that probably means half of everything. Everyone's standard of living is almost certainly going down. It is very rare that the marital home stays with one of the spouses because of home equity and expense considerations so don't make sentimental decisions that destroy your financial security. As long as you keep the divorce cooperative or at least civil, the kids will likely be better off after it is over than what they are now. As co-parents you have limited say in how the other parent handles their time and spending time stressing out about it is not going to be productive. If there are going to be conflicts over expenses and decision making for the kids, who pays and who decides needs to be in the divorce agreement. Fighting over marital property and spousal support is generally more expensive than the stuff or income so don't. You should probably aim for 50/50 custody to minimize child support conflicts and to keep both parents engaged / involved.

There is probably a bunch of stuff that I'm forgetting but that's what comes off the top of my head.

Edit: spelling.
Platinum level advice right here. Kudos @Hiner112 .
 

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jnj, I too think you should just end the marriage. Your affair is important in some ways, but the marriage sounds unrepairable regardless.

To answer your specific questions, sooner is better for your kids. They do see what is happening, and they are very much affected by all the tension and bad behavior in the house. Divorce will be harder on them in a few more years. There is no perfect age for a child when you divorce, but the difficult teen years are worse than where they are now.

They probably have a lot of friends and classmates who's parents are divorced or in the process. These days it is common, which at least means your kids will have support from friends and they won't feel like outcasts.

Your age will not be an issue. We all think we won't have so many options for new relationships, but every year you wait you'll be another year older. But that doesn't mean you're ever too old, and you are actually in a pretty prime age for being attractive in the dating world. You won't be wanting to have more kids, but you're not collecting your pension yet either! You will be in high demand. The challenge will be selecting out the good men to date.
 

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IMO: you are not ending a marriage--that is already gone. What you have now is a miserable legal relationship. What do you wish to do with the rest of your life? What example do you want to set for your kids?

Doesn't sound like there is the energy or desire to try to find or restore what might have been. BTW: Be wary of jumping right into another relationship with your AP. Do not think you are ready for that.
 
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