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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start off by saying that prior to being served with divorce papers, my wife and I went to couple therapy. We were not making great progress there and during COVID-19 protocols, we just stopped our therapy. In hindsight we did not have the right therapist. I was aware that our marriage was in a bad way and we were clearly both unhappy with the situation.

One day she just handed me divorce papers and left the house without returning for several days. I was shocked. We had not discussed divorce. She did not tell me that she was going to be divorcing me. It turns out that she did meet with each of our adult children to tell them a few days prior, but not me.

I felt the the trust of our relationship had been betrayed by this surprise divorce. I had been working frantically on remodeling our home since losing my job. The plan was that we would sell the house and move out West together. The plan was not without risk since she had been out of work for six months. After I worked a month of 12-hour days on remodeling the house, she handed me the divorce papers, knowing full well for that entire month that we were not moving out West together. With the savings spent to remodel the house, I had no money for an attorney. She, on the other hand, had an inheritance she received three years prior and held out of the marriage. This gave her money for an attorney and to buy the remodeled home from me.

Her take on the situation is that she just had enough of the marriage and the timing was not some devious plan. She felt like she suffered in the marriage and now she was done suffering. She clearly has no interest in sharing half of her inheritance in the divorce.

Is my experience typical? Did most of you have a surprise divorce? If so, did you feel betrayed? If you were the person doing the surprising, did you do so in order to have an upper hand in your divorce strategy?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What were her concerns throughout the marriage, given she had never discussed divorce? What was she unhappy about, and was she 100% on board with the renovation or the move?
I feel like you are sidestepping my discussion and questions. Are you suggesting that I am hiding something? This was not some abusive marriage if that is what you are wondering. At this point we can say that she was not on board with the move. In all actuality, she would have been right to suggest that we call off the move because of our lack of employment, but she stated that calling off the move would not help the situation when I tried to save the marriage. As for the renovation, she loves it. The house is now everything we could not make it when the kids were with us still.

She felt marginalized. She felt barely tolerated.

I also had feelings. I felt pushed away. I felt emotionally abandoned. She had withdrawn herself from the marriage. She had not been intimate for two years. There was no attempt on her part to tell me what she needed and ask for change from me.
 

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Exactly what did her “suffering in the marriage” look like?

yes, I surprised my exH with a divorce. He betrayed me. Twice. At that point I was done.
I was not unfair in the divorce.

is she paying you half of the homes’ appraised value since she is buying you out?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No no, not at all, just trying to understand why the sudden decision on her part. It seems more calculated and that her decision may have been made a long time ago. I may be wrong about that too. Sorry you’re in this position.
We were married for 37 years. I definitely was critical of her at times. I have since learned that criticism is a destructive force in relationships.

She is a person who withdraws when she feels a lot of emotion. Just as the criticism is bad. Withdrawal and stonewalling are also a bad response. Over the years we were not getting at the emotional hurts between us and repairing them. We were not keeping the marriage healthy. We were no longer appreciating on another.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Exactly what did her “suffering in the marriage” look like?

yes, I surprised my exH with a divorce. He betrayed me. Twice. At that point I was done.
I was not unfair in the divorce.

is she paying you half of the homes’ appraised value since she is buying you out?
Her "suffering" was mostly through criticism. As we grew older, I wanted less processed and junk food in the house. I wanted to stay active and exercise. She was not interested in these things. She felt judged for her position. That is a fair assessment. I felt that she was not being concerned enough about health as her weight and sedentary lifestyle resulted in diabetes.

While she will pay me half of the value of the house, I would not have spent the time and money renovating it if she told me she wanted a divorce. I would have been out looking for a job. In addition, I always showed my love for her through acts of service. Serving the divorce papers after all of that work on our home felt like a betrayal, like she stole that work from me. In addition, she would not settle with me until I finished the renovation, so that she would not have to pay to have it done. It caused me great emotional pain to complete that work, but not completing it would not allow me to get to the end. She was going to subtract the cost of finishing the house from my portion of the house value.
 

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Let’s put aside what did happen on your part. This current part does sound calculated and cruel, I understand what you’re saying. We did know a couple in a similar situation and it was devastating for the wife. He basically renovated the house to get more sale value and then asked for a divorce. You must be feeling angry and used in this instance.
 

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What I find very surprising is that none of your adult children told you about your wife’s plans. Are you estranged from them, did your criticism of your wife extend to your children also?
 

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We were married for 37 years. I definitely was critical of her at times. I have since learned that criticism is a destructive force in relationships.

She is a person who withdraws when she feels a lot of emotion.
This couldn't be more true. My husband was like this, and actually has gotten better with it. It's a huge turn off. She probably got sick of feeling like she had to walk on eggshells all the time, if she did.

Everyone has their way of coping with things when their needs are not met. Mine is that I check out other guys, flirt a little here and there. Never went anywhere thank God, and I'm not sure why I choose this coping mechanism, but that's what I do. I guess your wife withdrew. Probably got tired of having the same discussions and it going nowhere.
 

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Her "suffering" was mostly through criticism. As we grew older, I wanted less processed and junk food in the house. I wanted to stay active and exercise. She was not interested in these things. She felt judged for her position. That is a fair assessment. I felt that she was not being concerned enough about health as her weight and sedentary lifestyle resulted in diabetes.

While she will pay me half of the value of the house, I would not have spent the time and money renovating it if she told me she wanted a divorce. I would have been out looking for a job. In addition, I always showed my love for her through acts of service. Serving the divorce papers after all of that work on our home felt like a betrayal, like she stole that work from me. In addition, she would not settle with me until I finished the renovation, so that she would not have to pay to have it done. It caused me great emotional pain to complete that work, but not completing it would not allow me to get to the end. She was going to subtract the cost of finishing the house from my portion of the house value.
It does sound mercenry of her to wait till you had done all that work before she gave you the papers. Also that she kept all of her inheritance for herself and didnt bring it into the marriage We have both had inheritances, not very large, but we always saw them as ours and not his or mine. Can you use a little of the money she gave you for the house for lawyers fees?
 

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Her take on the situation is that she just had enough of the marriage and the timing was not some devious plan. She felt like she suffered in the marriage and now she was done suffering. She clearly has no interest in sharing half of her inheritance in the divorce.
This was a lie. She’s a walk away wife. Google it For more info.

You do not matter to her except on what it’s going to take to get rid of you.

Sorry man but you are going to have to figure out your end.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What I find very surprising is that none of your adult children told you about your wife’s plans. Are you estranged from them, did your criticism of your wife extend to your children also?
She met with them over the course of three days and asked each of them not to say anything because she was planning to talk to me shortly. Nobody wants to see their mother unhappy or their father for that matter. Three of my children have a very similar interaction style to my spouse. They had seen our dysfunctional interaction. They could relate to their mother's emotional flooding and withdrawal because they each had their own anxiety and similar relationship experiences. The one child who has a different interaction style was still living at home. He made it a point to be gone on the weekend that the divorce was announced. He felt that his silence while living at the house was going to be seen as taking a side. He was visibly uncomfortable. I assured him that my only expectation was that he support, show respect and pray for both of his parents. I gave that message to all of my children. My son who lived at the house through the divorce saw how the demands for me to complete the remodel work tore me apart. I wailed and sobbed the whole time I did that work.

What I am trying to get at in this discussion is the aspect of the divorce as a planned attack. I guess it makes sense that I someone decides that divorce is ok as an option, then it is a weapon to be wielded against someone who is now seen as an oppressor, one who deserves to be held in contempt.
 

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She met with them over the course of three days and asked each of them not to say anything because she was planning to talk to me shortly. Nobody wants to see their mother unhappy or their father for that matter. Three of my children have a very similar interaction style to my spouse. They had seen our dysfunctional interaction. They could relate to their mother's emotional flooding and withdrawal because they each had their own anxiety and similar relationship experiences. The one child who has a different interaction style was still living at home. He made it a point to be gone on the weekend that the divorce was announced. He felt that his silence while living at the house was going to be seen as taking a side. He was visibly uncomfortable. I assured him that my only expectation was that he support, show respect and pray for both of his parents. I gave that message to all of my children. My son who lived at the house through the divorce saw how the demands for me to complete the remodel work tore me apart. I wailed and sobbed the whole time I did that work.

What I am trying to get at in this discussion is the aspect of the divorce as a planned attack. I guess it makes sense that I someone decides that divorce is ok as an option, then it is a weapon to be wielded against someone who is now seen as an oppressor, one who deserves to be held in contempt.
Bud, your kids did as she asked them. They had a choice and made it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'd use the work you did on the renovations as part of divorce negotiations. You should receive some sort of compensation for that.
I stated that in my hurt anger at first. I did not get an attorney initially. I tried to get her to attend therapy with me. I made many offers to resolve the divorce without further legal intervention. She was not interested in settling. I went through a difficult depression. After that cleared I got an attorney. We eventually came to terms. She got to keep the house without paying me for my labor. We each kept our own retirement funds that were of similar value. Because she spent ten years home with the kids when they were little, she received an additional $30,000 value of the house in lieu of spousal support.


Fighting her was going to end up in total financial ruin. I have no financial resources to tap into. She on the other hand kept her inheritance out of the marriage and is able to use it to pay her legal fees. I still do not have a job. I have three dogs to feed. By the grace of God and kind friends I have enough money to feed the dogs for now and my older brother found me an apartment that would allow me to have the three dogs. I do think that my spouse is bringing this to an end because she has want she needs and destroying me at this point does nothing good to the family unit. My children are well aware that the depression brought me very near to death.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It does sound mercenry of her to wait till you had done all that work before she gave you the papers. Also that she kept all of her inheritance for herself and didnt bring it into the marriage We have both had inheritances, not very large, but we always saw them as ours and not his or mine. Can you use a little of the money she gave you for the house for lawyers fees?
All of my money will come to me in the form of her retirement funds. i will be able to access some of that money in the next few months. The lawyer debt will get paid. Life will go on.

I am seeing how some people here who come from the side of bringing the divorce definitely see divorce as their weapon against an oppressor. I clearly see my criticism as a destructive force in our marriage, but I refuse to see someone who would not work in therapy to save their marriage as purely a victim. The fact that I am suffering should indicate that I care about my marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bud, your kids did as she asked them. They had a choice and made it.
If your point is that my children do not love me and see this divorce as good riddance, first of all what a callous unkind thing to think. Secondly, what difference would it make for them to tell me a day before the divorce papers were served? Would you do that to your mother if she came to you in her unhappiness and shared that she was divorcing your father?
 

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I am sorry for your pain. Do not let your anger eat away at you. It will hurt you, not her. She wanted out and it takes two to work on healing a marriage. Focusing on your losses is a dead end. Perhaps a new start will be a good thing.
 
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