You know that for a long time I've been a big advocate of yours. For a long time I've been offering suggestions and encouragement how to deal with this. Sadly, because your wife has CFS she has decided to find some "self-worth" in being available to other men on the internet, and you know as well as I do that is NOT really a symptom of Chronic Fatigue! I know how debilitating CFS can be and I know that it is real and it is not just "being tired". My own Dear Hubby has CFS and yet he has not chosen to get his self-worth by looking to other women or by becoming a non-productive member of the family! My Dear Hubby coaches with me, creates websites, homeschools the children, and keeps the house...and he has freedom to do more on days when he feels well and do less on days when he's not feeling so good. He contributes to both the marriage and the family!
I think what is tearing you apart is that for the longest time you have desperately clung to the hope that your wife would come to her senses...and she's not.
I think what is tearing you apart is that for the longest time you have desperately clung to The Illusion you had that if you worked hard for your family, the pay-off would be a loving wife and happy kids...and it's not.
I think what is tearing you apart is that for the longest time you have desperately clung to the remote chance that your wife would snap out of it and care about the fact that she is dragging you and the kids down ... and she's doesn't.
I think what is tearing you apart is that for the longest time you have felt some anger building over being screwed like this (and make no mistake, you ARE being screwed) by someone who was supposed to love you, and you have yet to express the anger or act to protect yourself from being screwed.
NiceGuy, I know you are not perfect, but I also know you have been earning financially for pretty much the whole family, caring for the kids pretty much on your own, and caring the burden of this marriage and family by yourself for a long time now. You have been a noble man with character, and you've done the right thing. This isn't about "who's fault is it" but I can say that you have held up your end of the bargain! And now, because your wife choses to not pursuit income-producing options with her two degrees, she is on the brink of financial disaster. She can not just use the kids so she gets more child support because she has established a precedent of being "too sick" to work or care for them!
I do believe the time really has come to separate all finances, yours and hers, and let her sink or float on her own. Up to this point you've been willing to let her drag down you and the family emotionally and hurt you all without a cost. Now, if you do not let her sink on her own, you are threatening yourself and your children financially too.
The reasoning for doing this is not to "wake her up" because of finances. She may, honestly-I-kid-you-not, never wake up! The reasoning is primarily to protect yourself and the kids from being sunk due to HER choices! If she wants to sink herself, you can not stop her but you can stop her from sinking you and sinking the kids. Shoot, if you had to, you could be a single dad with a nanny who helps with housework and child care, and you can afford that without going under!
So I would strongly encourage you to PLEASE act on your behalf and for the sake of your children and protect yourself financially. I know you think "How do I untangle years of finances?" and it's easy, NiceGuy. What you make, you keep and use it to care for yourself and the children. What she makes, she keeps and does with as she sees appropriate. Plug in realistic numbers into the child support calculator for your state--your income, hers, and time spent with each parent--and that's roughly what your child support would be. Pay her that and not one red cent more until you hear otherwise. And if you need to migrate your cell phone...do it!
AC - I've done most of that already. My paychecks are now deposited in my account. I now have a separate debit card and separate checks. I'm just missing some of the billing info to make sure I can pay all of what applies to "me, the kids and the house" on my own.
In other words, she can't grab the money and run off to Mexico.
Hell - I'd pay her whats left in the account if she promised to go to Mexico and never come back - at least that's how I feel right now.
Child support in Indiana is based on "overnights" - I think the kids have stayed with her 3 nights in the last 3 months. Before she was losing half her income, the calculation showed her owing me money.
The alimony is the big unknown. And alimony - support - whatever - if she's going to watch money go out the door and not even attempt to replace it, or even worse, expect me to keep her 'whole" - no thanks. She can work. She needs to work regardless.
And I guess attorney's fees are another big unknown. The longer this stretches on - the less likely we'll be able to do this amicably.
By the way on a personal note, my own Dear Hubby is a lot like you. For years he worked hard to put his ex through advanced degrees in college. Very advanced. For years hoped and hoped for his ex to "come around" and she continued in her affairs.
It is heartbreaking that she walked away from her husband and the children who love her so she can chase men who will use her and throw her away. And yet she does it to this very day. To this very day she barely takes the kids for a visit once a month, pays no child support despite her earning potential, is not there for their first day of school or to meet their teachers, and really only wants them for one thing: as a dependent on her taxes (and I repeat, she does not pay child support or even keep them 50/50).
So yep--it is heartbreaking to see someone CHOOSE people who will use and dump them over someone who actually cares. And it is heartbreaking to see someone CHOOSE a life of flirting over being a good parent and providing for their own children. But in reality, sometimes people do make that choice.
Then you need some therapy of your own to start looking for half-full glasses!
Seriously, I'm not trying to denigrate your wife or your marriage.
I'm trying to save you pain. And continuing as you are keeps you in pain.
And guess what? Even if you separate or even divorce, there's nothing saying that by you taking this step, she will finally see the real you and realize her own shortcomings. And maybe even hit rock bottom, which is often what's needed in order to change and improve oneself.
She certainly won't see them if you keep up the status quo. But by respecting yourself and distancing yourself legally, she just may.
So, who knows? You just may end up together anyway.
It doesn't feel like a step forward - doesn't feel like I'm taking a stand. Feels like I'm giving up.
Certainly doesn't feel good.
And - in my head - I'm just likely moving from one type of mess (unfaithful wife) to another (divorce).
Someone throw a bucket of water over his head.
For goodness sake wake up and smell the roses. You sound like you're writing your epitaph.
At the same time you're writing a lament. Things in life die. Things in life blossom and grow. Stop pushing your rock up the hill Sisyphus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. You ain’t never going to grow until you let the rock go. Stop punishing yourself. You are the only one that’s doing the punishment. Ain’t nobody else doing it. Don’t give me no “buts”.
Hmmm...maybe you're just naturally a pessimist? Do you think you are? Some people just are. My brother. He was miserable on his freakin' wedding day. HAD to find something wrong with it; just how he is.
That's a hard thing to break, but it CAN be done, if you so decide.
"Every new beginning, comes from some other beginning's end."
- Semisonic 'Closing Time'
I can only assure you that the more YOU are choosing the course and flow of these events instead of feeling victimized by them, the better, and more in control you will feel. And importantly, the more you will see her, and her decisions as utterly unacceptable.
Yeah - I'm real excited about formally dividing up finances - especially now that she's lost a big chunk of her income.
And fighting about child custody - knowing she's likely just doing it for financial reasons - maybe we can do that over drinks, right? Keep it casual - just like people who've been best friends for 20 years would normally do.
And I have NO reason to suspect that she'll be anything but completely rational about the whole thing - its not like she's just recently gone crazy.
Yep - guess I'm just a pessimist! I mean some people get divorced 4 or 5 times they like it so much, right?!?!!?
Deejo - why won't "they" - meaning "our" spouses - help move the process along? My wife has said repeatedly that she WON'T file. Said it again during out knock-down-dragout therapy session.
Made the call to followup and schedule the 2nd consult - through my employer's EAP - but just got an answering machine. Yes - I left a message.
And one more thing - I will admit that I am in part doing this in the hopes that it will shock her back to "normal." That it will invoke some respect that has been missing.
I keep looking at the math. Anytime you take two people who have been financial partners - even if its uneven - and then divide everything up - buy a duplicate of everything - have two homes - its just a total lose/lose financially. Pisses me off!!!
You know what the fun is in dividing everything? Shopping. Taking your daughters with you and going to resale shops and antique furniture stores. I'm working on a business inside a building that is an 'antique' store. In reality, she buys old stuff, has her guys fix them up, and sells them. Right now, they have two Midcentury Modern square chairs that I'm just salivating over; she's selling them for $95 each! Headboards/footboards for $150, chairs for $35...just awesome stuff, for a steal!
Talk about creating some good memories with your daughters. And you can even pass some of the furniture on down to them. They'll remember it from the period in their lives when their dad started coming out of his shell and became a whole person again.