Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

Long time lurker, first time poster.

Sorry for another sad sack story, but I'll spare you most of the details.

I'm 40, she's upper 30's, small town ohio. Wife of 18 years sprung wanting divorce on my in Sept. of '16 and moved out the next week. Things not been great for a while, but I never thought that bad. She is bi-polar, but not super extreme (i think, although its certainly aged me). Been to multiple councillors with varying degrees of success. Both protestants who care about religion. Very ENFP, while I'm ISTJ, so issues already . Basically, it comes down to she has changed over the years and I have not. She wants new experiences and living that I do not. She bankrupted us (although, to be fair I did spend money trying to make her happy, so it's partly my fault) last year and i don't think she just wants to start over. We are both to blame for where things are (it's never one sided), but most people around us are not thrilled with her leaving, starting new life, and leaving me with kids and bills.

She left and went to the big city (1 hour way) and got a job (which irked me since she has been too sick most of our married life to get one). I spent what money i have saved up/borrowed to seer her up. She seems happy with new life for most part, although she may be finding that grass is not always greener all the time. 3 teenagers who live with me full time, they see her every other weekend at most. Older two blame her for most if it, youngest is more split, so that is tough. I never degrade her in front of kids, in fact try to cover for her and remind them that this is not their fault and that their mother still loves them, but they lived the bi-polar with me and older two have almost been more parent like than her at times, bearing much responsibility.

Issues I'm having:

1. She seems at times to waffle on Divorce, but I think she's misses the security net that I have always provided for her, not sure she misses me, if that makes sense.

2. At first, I was determined to get her back, but after having been out of the "Bi-polar" fog for the last few months, it TERRIFIES me to think of going back, but I believe it's my duty as a christian to make it work if it can. Everyhthing at the house works better/smoother without her outburst and needs. Kids have all told me same thing, which is sad. I've had 1/2 dozen people (that don't know we are split up) tell me/ask me why my kids are so much happier lately. So, I'm personally convicted about what I want.

3. I'm not a big change guy, and I hate the thought of throwing away 18 years of HARD work and memories. How do people deal with that? Even if I get remarried someday to a wonderful woman, she won't have any memories of my kids or vacations or etc.

4. Older two don't really want her back. She is spending Christmas day with us for the whole day, and kids are nervous and youngest one is physically ill being worried about it. How do I deal with that??

5. I'm reading "boundaries" and "Love is a Choice" and I am seeing where I was/am in a codependent relationship and how I caused many of my own issues with trying to save her/fix her, and putting her on a pedestal. I did these things with good intentions, but I can see now where it has lead and i don't want to make the same mistakes again. Other books I need to read to improve/fix myself?

6. Tips for dealing with embarrassment/social stigma? Not that people are mocking me, but it's embarrassing to me. Also, best way to tell people when they ask about her and don't realize she left me?

Thanks for helping another poor, lost soul!


Last edited by unhappyinohio; 12-20-2016 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Terrible speller!
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 10:17 AM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

You entertaining her waffling will enable her to perpetuate the limbo in which you find yourself.

Discovering the power of boundaries and the pull of codependency is very good. However, in keeping with the previous paragraph, still emotionally supporting her should be a clear violation of boundaries.

If I were you, I would proceed with divorce.

"Wife, your actions tell me you no longer want to be married to me. I am now healthy enough to honor your wishes. Any further contact between us will be limited to our children. I will be consulting an attorney on X day with the intent to file by X day."

Lastly, I am also Christian. However, do not let your faith cloud the decision by appealing to your codependent side. Your wife has abandoned you and your children. She has earned a divorce.

Lastly, you now have precedent for full custody. I would suggest pursuing that to the fullest.
@Uptown

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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 10:50 AM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

Counterproductive to set her up in her own place on your coin.

She needs to start managing her own life.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

You guys are right and I am working on establishing boundaries.

As far as money/divorce, we don't own much (due to her bankrupting us), and we are going for a dissolution, which is cheaper. She originally said she won't go after my retirement if i would pay for the bankruptcy. Sounded good to me over the long haul, so I am trying to play nice right now until we can get permission from the bankruptcy court to proceed with divorce.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 11:35 AM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

Bank on her going after your retirement. It won't be personal, although it will feel that way to you. It will be nothing more than her fighting to improve her future living conditions.

In fact, bank on her reneging on any promises she made that will result in her getting less.

"Our ability to feel joy is directly related to how much pain we are willing to feel." - Mavash.

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." - Bob Marley

Last edited by farsidejunky; 12-20-2016 at 11:41 AM.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 11:43 AM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

Curious... how was your sex life in the last 5 years? Was there much of a marriage or just roommates?

Anyways, I get being nice to try to get more than a fair settlement. That's what I did. I was ready to date immediately, so that helped with keeping my mind off of losing 50% of my assets and 50% of the time with the kids. Almost a year later after separation, I'm loving life. Get healthy, be there for your kids, and start doing things you have been putting off. Time to enjoy life.
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 11:52 AM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

If she agreed to not going after your retirement then you need to move as quickly as you can to get that in writing and signed and delivered to the courts. Get an attorney right now to draw up the paperwork and have it ready to file the second the bankruptcy judge approves it. My XWW said the same thing about not going after my retirement and I acted quickly enough that it actually happened. Had the divorce gone slowly and she got used to what living on her own actually cost, I wouldn't have been so lucky. What I'm saying is since she has checked out of the marriage, you need to sprint to the finish line and get the best deal you can. The longer you wait the more time she has to change her mind.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

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Curious... how was your sex life in the last 5 years? Was there much of a marriage or just roommates?

Anyways, I get being nice to try to get more than a fair settlement. That's what I did. I was ready to date immediately, so that helped with keeping my mind off of losing 50% of my assets and 50% of the time with the kids. Almost a year later after separation, I'm loving life. Get healthy, be there for your kids, and start doing things you have been putting off. Time to enjoy life.
Not great, I'm HD and she is... I'm not sure. With Bi-polar it can be anything/anyday. But it was an issue (at least on my part).
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

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If she agreed to not going after your retirement then you need to move as quickly as you can to get that in writing and signed and delivered to the courts. Get an attorney right now to draw up the paperwork and have it ready to file the second the bankruptcy judge approves it. My XWW said the same thing about not going after my retirement and I acted quickly enough that it actually happened. Had the divorce gone slowly and she got used to what living on her own actually cost, I wouldn't have been so lucky. What I'm saying is since she has checked out of the marriage, you need to sprint to the finish line and get the best deal you can. The longer you wait the more time she has to change her mind.
Good advice. I could see her new friends/co-workers encouraging her to go after more. Never thought about getting the paperwork ready before the judge gives permission. Thanks for the tip.

And as for kids, I am very happy that right now she is giving me custody of them. As long as she gets them every other weekend. Honestly, she couldn't take care of them herself anyway, so it works out well for them and me as I love having them around, we get along great.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:41 PM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

@Farsidejunky, thanks for the heads-up!

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She is bi-polar, but not super extreme....
Unhappy, was your W diagnosed as having a full-blown bipolar-1 episode in the past year? If so, it means there is a 47% chance she also has a lifetime problem with full-blown BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). If her diagnosis was bipolar-2, the likelihood of co-occurring BPD is 36%. See Table 2 at 2008 JCP Study.

I mention this distinction between bipolar and BPD for several reasons. One is that it is common for BPD behavior to be mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar. A second reason is that, even when a therapist correctly determines that a patient has both BPD and bipolar, it is common for the therapist to tell the patient (and her husband and insurance company) only about the bipolar diagnosis. For many reasons, therapists generally are Loath to Mention a BPD Diagnosis.

Third, BPD generally is far more difficult to treat than bipolar. Whereas bipolar sometimes can be treated quite successfully by swallowing a pill, BPD is very difficult to treat and medications will not make a dent in it.

Finally, the fourth reason is that, because both disorders are believed to be heritable to some extent, it is important to know what risks your three children may face. Whereas the onset of BPD typically occurs in the early teens, that of bipolar typically starts at age 25 (with the common range being 18 to 30).

As to bipolar disorder, a 2012 Systematic Review of 37 bipolar studies concludes, "The lifetime risk for bipolar affective disorder is 15%–30% in individuals with 1 first-degree relative with bipolar disorder...."

As to BPD, it is unclear how high that risk is because only a few studies (all with small sample sizes) have been done. Three older studies (1985 and 1988) found that "between 10 and 20 percent of first-degree relatives of people with BPD also have BPD...." See BPD Survival Guide (at p. 42).

A more recent 2011 study, however, estimates the risk at between 28% and 37%. It therefore concludes that "An individual with a first-degree relative showing BPD exhibited a statistically significant 3- to 4-fold increase in risk of BPD compared with an individual without a first-degree relative with BPD." See "Comment" section of BPD Family Study. Whereas the earlier studies had been based on self-reporting by the BPDer patient being treated, this 2011 study was based on interviews of both the BPDer patients and their affected family members.

The NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) reports an even higher figure. It states "BPD is about five times more common among people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder." See NAMI on BPD. Given that the lifetime incidence is 6% for the general population, this estimate would place the risk at 30%.

Quote:
With Bi-polar it can be anything/anyday.
Generally, no. Because bipolar mood swings are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry, it typically takes the mood two weeks to develop and then many weeks to disappear. In contrast, BPD mood swings can occur in ten seconds because they are triggered by events (e.g., some minor thing you say or do), not by body chemistry changes.

Quote:
Been to multiple councillors with varying degrees of success.
MCs excel at teaching communication skills. Yet, if your W exhibits strong BPD behaviors, her issues go far beyond a lack of communication skills. Until a BPDer has had several years of individual therapy, MC likely will be a total waste of time.

I suggest you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what you and your children are dealing with. When BPD is a strong possibility, it is important to consult with a psychologist who has never treated or seen your W. In that way, you are assured that he is ethically bound to protect YOUR best interests, not hers.

I also suggest that, while you're looking for a good psych, you read my description of the major differences I've seen between the behaviors of bipolar sufferers (e.g., my foster son) and BPDers (e.g., my exW) at 12 Bipolar/BPD Differences.

If most of those BPD symptoms sound very familiar, I would suggest you also read my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs and my more detailed description of them in Maybe's Thread. If that description rings many bells, I would be glad to join Farsidejunky and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, Unhappy.


Last edited by Uptown; 12-20-2016 at 12:49 PM.
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

Thanks for the info Uptown. I'll have to sift through it. My youngest daughter (13) is the only one that I think "leans" that way, as she is much more emotional/similar than the other two. I have worked very hard to help her understand herself and see what is going on inside of her. She has been in counciling for a year or two to help her with some of this as well.

All I know is that it has made life very difficult for me (and kids) over the years. It became the central overriding point in our life, the thing all else seemed to revolve around.
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:12 PM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

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She left and went to the big city (1 hour way) and got a job (which irked me since she has been too sick most of our married life to get one).
Don't be irked, be relieved. The more she earns the less support you'll pay.

My wife did what many ex's do- quit working or intentionally stay unemployed so they get more spousal support.
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:28 PM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

I am sorry your wife is doing this

I can't think of anyone I know where one member of the couple moved out and wasn't doing so in order to sow wild oats. Something to think about - have you explored the possibility she has another guy already or wants to?

I've been through one divorce and one split. The first was a long drawn out process because I wanted to make it work too. I had to be hit over the head multiple times before I understood he wasn't going to change. Once I realized that I was able to dissociate from him.

I found that just telling people bluntly what was going on was the best way to approach telling them. "We're split up. She moved to XYZ. Kinda came out of left field for me, but me and the girls are doing not badly. Working through it". With my second husband it was easy - he cheated and I told people he cheated.

As for the 'duty as a Christian' stuff, well, doesn't God want people to be happy? I struggled with that during my first marriage as well. I've worked at shedding the Christian guilt, but it sure can bog you down if you let it. I chose to think that God is loving and doesn't like it when we suffer, and suffering I was. So are you. Allow yourself to let it go.

People don't get a free pass to cheat just because their marriage sucks.

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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:38 PM
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

If she moved out and started a new life without you and your daughters it time to divorce her. Any time spent on trying to get her back is wasted, she'll just take you for what she can get you for. You have to show her that the gravy train is gone and she all by herself.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Need help/ideas dealing with separation/Divorce

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I am sorry your wife is doing this

I can't think of anyone I know where one member of the couple moved out and wasn't doing so in order to sow wild oats. Something to think about - have you explored the possibility she has another guy already or wants to?

I've been through one divorce and one split. The first was a long drawn out process because I wanted to make it work too. I had to be hit over the head multiple times before I understood he wasn't going to change. Once I realized that I was able to dissociate from him.

I found that just telling people bluntly what was going on was the best way to approach telling them. "We're split up. She moved to XYZ. Kinda came out of left field for me, but me and the girls are doing not badly. Working through it". With my second husband it was easy - he cheated and I told people he cheated.

As for the 'duty as a Christian' stuff, well, doesn't God want people to be happy? I struggled with that during my first marriage as well. I've worked at shedding the Christian guilt, but it sure can bog you down if you let it. I chose to think that God is loving and doesn't like it when we suffer, and suffering I was. So are you. Allow yourself to let it go.

She kind of admitted to an EA from fall '15, but it was only because I wasn't giving her what she needed. (Which may be true to some extent, not excusing her behavior). She has denied any kind of PA.

I guess I'll try the direct approach and see how it goes!

Thanks for the last part as well. Hopefully you are right. I feel like I gave this marriage everything I had, even though I am imperfect. I think I can let her walk away if that is what she wants and feel like I did what I could. Maybe not there yet, but getting there.

It's funny to me getting encouragement from random strangers on the internet, but I appreciate it all the same.
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