Re: How to let her go?
originally posted by carmen ohio:
While I greatly respect the other posters on this thread, I believe many of them, like you, are missing the big picture here -- namely, what should you do to regain your happiness.
From reading your notes, it is clear that you were absent from class the day they handed out the "how to be happy" instructions. So let me fill you in on The 10 Rules for Happiness:
Rule No. 1: You only get one life; never forget that. Corollary: You don't know how long you will live, you could live another 50 years or you might die tomorrow; never forget that either.
Rule No. 2: Deal with things as they really are, not as you would like them to be. Face up to your problems rather than pretending they don't exist or hoping they will simply go away.
Rule No. 3: You are solely responsible for your own happiness: don't expect or look to others to make you happy.
Rule No. 4: Your decisions and actions will have the greatest impact on your happiness. If you do the right things, your life will be better and vice versa. Corollary: Be honest with yourself about your failings and genuinely seek to improve yourself.
Rule No. 5: There is no guarantee that you will always be happy: some people win life's lottery, most don't and some people get the shaft. Corollary 1: Don't complain about the cards you are dealt or wallow in self-pity. Instead, focus on what you can control and learn not to worry about the rest. Corollary 2: Understand that it sometimes takes time and effort to regain your happiness.
Rule No. 6: Understand what makes you happy and what doesn't. Corollary 1: Since you will change over time, reconsider from time to time what will make you happy now and adjust your decisions and actions accordingly. Corollary 2: When something happens that makes you very unhappy, consider the totality of the situation: sometimes cutting down a few trees is the answer, other times you need to look for a new forest in which to live.
Rule No. 7: Do what makes you happy. Don't do what others (parents, friends, bosses, spouses, even children) want you to do unless it is what makes you happy. This might sound selfish but it's not. Some people are happiest when they are serving others (e.g., firemen, Mother Teresa).
Rule No. 8: If you are unhappy about something, eliminate it from your life or, if that is not possible, minimize the degree of unhappiness it can cause you. If it's a situation (like a bad job), change it. If it's a thing (like a poorly operating car), get rid of it. If it's a person (like a wayward spouse), stop interacting or least minimize contact with the person. Corollary: When something or someone starts to cause you unhappiness, take action immediately; don't wait around hoping things will get better.
Rule No. 9: You don't apologize to anyone for doing what makes you happy. Corollary: You have no obligation to explain yourself or justify your decisions or actions. If you choose to do so, it should only be because it is to your advantage to do so.
Rule No. 10: Be the best person you can be, as you measure things. For most men, this means being fit and attractive to members of the opposite sex, being financially successfully and being emotionally strong and independent. But if you measure life success differently (e.g., displaying Christian virtues, gaining notoriety, acquiring power), then make these the main focus of you efforts.
If we apply these rules to your situation, it become readily apparent that you are breaking all the rules. For example:
☻ You are focused in the moment rather than thinking about how you want to live the rest of your life (violation of Rule No. 1).
☻ You are more concerned about what your W may or may not have done rather than dealing with what you know she has done (violation of Rule No. 2).
☻ You seek affirmation from your W of your self-worth and the guidance of strangers as to what you should do, rather than taking responsibility for yourself (violation of Rule Nos. 3, 4 and 9).
☻ You are reluctant to take steps to improve your situation and instead are wallowing in self-pity and shame (violation of Rule Nos. 5, 7, 8 and 10).
☻ You seem not to have thought deeply about what you really want out of life (violation of Rule No. 6).
☻ You reject the notion that your life may have to radically change in order for you to (eventually) be happy (another violation of Rule No. 6).
Based on the facts as you have recited them, I believe you have ample reason to be unhappy in your current circumstances and sufficient justification for taking action. So let me offer you an alternative approach to your problem that is consistent with the Rules of Happiness:
1. Sit your W down and tell her that you are so unhappy with your marriage that you are prepared to end it. Explain that, given what you know (OM's note, her hiding her phone messages, etc.), you can only conclude that either she is having an affair or that she doesn't care about you (as these are the only two reasons why she would not have taken steps to address your concerns when you first raised them). Say that, in either case, you would rather end your marriage than continue it since you deserve and are confident that you can have better than what you have right now.
2. Tell her that, out of love for her and your children, you are willing to give her one last chance to save her marriage and prove to you that she is a worthy wife. This requires her telling you everything that has happened between her and her boss, showing you all of her e-mails and text messages, giving you access to all of her communications in the future, immediately terminating all contact with her boss, demonstrating by word and deed on a daily basis that she loves and respects you and doing whatever else you require for her to prove her worth.
3. Tell her that it is her choice whether to do these things or not but, if she chooses not to, you plan to hire an attorney and file for divorce.
4. Stay calm and collected and don't argue with her. If she questions or challenges anything you say, calmly reply that she now knows what you expect of her and it is up to her to decide what she wants to do. Repeat your message as many times as necessary until she realizes that you mean what you say.
5. Give her a very short period of time to consider this. For example, tell her that you plan to speak to an attorney the next day so, if she wants to save her marriage, she has but a few hours to accept your offer.
6. If she refuses, immediately speak to an attorney and commence divorce proceedings.
7. If she agrees, continue to monitor her closely to make sure she does not go underground. Don't tolerate her complaining or pouting for more than a couple of days. If you get any indication that she is not serious about following through with her promise, start divorce proceedings.
8. For the foreseeable future, be cordial toward your W but nothing more. Don't initiate conversations, compliment her, argue with her or do anything else that would lead her to believe that she is anything special to you. Act at all times like a man who knows what he wants and knows that he can get what he wants, if not from her, then somewhere else.
9. Begin to take steps to improve yourself (exercise, work, activities). Make this -- along with your kids -- the focus of your life for now.
10. Start to educate yourself on what it takes to be a man in the 21st century. A good place to start is to read "The Married Man Sex Life Primer" by Athol Kay.
If you take these steps, I can't guarantee that you will end up in a happy marriage with your current W but I can promise that, eventually, you will give yourself the greatest chance of finding true happiness. The key point is that you can't control your W but you can control you. Hence, you should be doing the things that will eventually make you happy, whether your W wants to be with you or not.
I'm not saying any of this will be easy; it may be the hardest thing you will ever have to do. But unless you do it, your life will likely only get worse.
Wishing the best for you.