Separated 7 years
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Separated 7 years

My wife and I have been separated in the same house for 7 years. Married 19.

We have a 13 year old son.

The 7 years has never been a good environment but it is what it is.

I tried to leave 7 years ago but couldn't because I couldn't stand the thought of only seeing my son at best 50% of the time. Parents love their children, but my son and I have a bond like no other that I'm aware of. And please take my word for it, it's a healthy bond that is what I think would be ideal (not perfect) between a father and son in what you would want that relationship to be.

7 years ago, I was at a low that I felt I had no alternative but to separate. Since then, we have lived in our very small house together. My wife has the bedroom, my son has his room, and I have the sleeper in the living room. We don't talk. Almost never. There is a barrier there between us that is my doing as what I felt I had to do to protect myself from the mental control and abuse that I was feeling. I'm certainly not helping anything with that, but for me, it's the only way. While this is a Ďbadí situation and a difficult one, the separation gave me strength to cope and Iíve had some of my best adult years health & happiness wise.


The exceptions to the no talking are issues relating to our son. Anything parenting related it is my belief to do all we can to work together to do what is necessary to be good parents. Iíve not been perfect but I try hard to uphold this commitment but I donít really feel it goes both ways with my wife.

It has been and continues to be my strong belief that the more that our son loves his mom and the more he is loved by her the better off he will be. I'm committed to this and support this fully and actively.

My wife and I have not been intimate for 8 years without exception. I've flirted even hoped/tried for outside relationships during this time but nothing has ever happened. Ever.

I don't like the environment that we've created for our son, but it has been the lesser of the two evils for me. Not a good situation but better than the alternative. I know it's ultimately selfish, but living without my son half of the time is almost incomprehensible to me.

But here I am, feeling like the scales in balance are finally tipping. I've considered what is the best answer in this situation many times over the years but have always come back to the same conclusion. That as bad as this is arrangement is, it's still the best answer.

By now, you might be asking why isn't fixing our marriage one of the options. It's over. I hope the best for her, but in truth, I felt this likely to be the case 6 3/4 years ago that there was little hope. However, I didn't close the door because sometimes time and water under the bridge can help things but it hasn't in our situation. No I wasn't waiting for a magic solution. Just letting all hope fade I guess. It has.

For the last 4 months, things have changed. I've been depressed (and drinking) and wandering at the bottom of the well. I have fortunately not done real damage to my career or livlihood yet, but one can't live that way.

Why has it changed? Iím not entirely sure. But I think the environment and challenges faced in my home have worn me down and I add in to that that things are different now for my son as a 13 year old than back to when he was 5. Heís a teenager now and that of course presents parents challenges. I donít think our situation supports those challenges very well and have always been concerned at how my wife would handle those challenges given her own insecurities. Iíve already seen signs that are reinforcing my concerns.

I've been wearing my wedding ring all these years out of respect for the situation. About 2 months ago, I broke my ring finger and had to have it (the ring) cut off. I do not have the strength or inclination to have it repaired and begin wearing it again.

About 3 months ago, I began making a friendship through an online game with a woman in another state. Either I'm crazy and in a state of delusion or I have truly been blessed by meeting the right person at the right time. We've never met in person and there are many things we have yet to learn about the other. But her life too is following a path that makes me believe there is a reason why we met.

Sometime before the holidays, I decided to express my feelings for her. I had been thinking of her in this way but finally decided that I couldn't miss this opportunity. I had to tell her that I was falling for her.

If you've never played an online multiplayer game, you probably think this is crazy. But Ive spent a lot of time together with her, and getting to know her in ways that would be difficult to do in another setting. This woman is special and she sings to my heart.

But she spurned me. Graciously, but she made it completely clear that I was barking up the wrong tree and while she hoped to be friends, I needed to let this go. She was not looking for a new relationship and I should not wait for her to start.

About 2 weeks ago, I saw a light at the end of my tunnel. Divorce. The idea of a path out of the bottom of despair is what I needed. Or more specifically, to start down a path rather than wallowing in place. I have energy again. I'm now sad, not depressed. I don't need to drink. I have hope.

Now as of this week, my online friend has opened her heart to me. How can I begin to tell you how happy this made me?

I don't know what the path is from here. But I've been able to visualize my goal for where I would like things to be and I've come up with an idea for the first couple of steps for how I might get there. For everything else in between I haven't got a clue.

I've decided to separate these situations from each other. The divorce has to happen in and of itself first. Then, if things work out between us, my new friend and I can explore our potential. Thankfully she has made it clear she has no interest in getting involved with a married man so that will not so that ended that temptation for me. But I know that for me, the reason for my divorcing now has to be on it's own merit. That's the only real way I can be at peace with myself on how I might even begin accepting the idea of only being with my son half time.

Step 1 for me includes starting to prepare my son for this. He's old enough now and I feel like I need to help ease him in to this. There's no rush. I think that I can use time to our advantage and begin to talk with him about this. I think he will have a much easier time with handling it if he's given the opportunity to digest it and even perhaps by taking this in stages. If he deals with this well, it will help me incredibly. If he doesn't, I don't know if I can.

Step 2 will be to do the same for my wife. I can't reverse the two as it should be and talk to my wife first. The short answer is that I would do it this way to avoid difficult repercussions for our son. She is emotional and insecure. I do not believe it would be possible to talk with her first without a rapid deterioration in the home environment for our son and I feel he is my first priority.



So there I am. Or here I am. Sounds like I've got a good plan But I'm now looking down this new path and I'm completely and utterly overwhelmed. I don't know how I will do it. I really don't.

I can start step 1. Depending on how that goes, I think I can then start step 2. I believe now that the end goal of my new home at least being a happy and stable one will mean that my time with my son, even though reduced, will be much better for him and for me. He will see a healthy happy environment and there will no longer be the weight of the atmosphere that has been in our home all these years hanging over our relationship and proving an obstacle to our time and activities together.

After all that, I believe my new friend will still be there and we can then look at beginning a new chapter.

But I start thinking of the things between here and there and I just don't know. I've found a tremendous resource in an online article Divorce Helpline — attorneys that keep you out of court but I start reading that and start feeling overwhelmed again.

I'm not dealing with a rational healthy wife. I have almost 20 years of marriage to have an idea of what this process is likely to be and I don't know how I'll find the strength or resources to navigate. There's a chance that I could be wrong, she isn't predictable enough for me to be certain, but as I've said. She's very insecure, very emotional, and has issues with paranoia.

Facing the necessary path for a divorce and trying to find how I will cope with half time with my son is hard enough. But the truth is the situation is likely to quickly become completely unpredictable and I fear the worst though. I don't believe the worst includes the risk of any physical harm to anyone, but I do have to actually consider and watch for this. But thankfully, there's never been a hint that physical harm from her for me or my son. But the emotional harm has been significant and I am worried about how bad that could get.


I'm sorry to make such a long post. I've got friends and family but either am not comfortable with sharing with them or don't want to burden them. Just getting this out is really helpful to me. If you actually make it through all that, Iíd appreciate hearing your thoughts.

I think I would benefit from counseling through this as would my wife and son. But Iím in that income range that means I donít really have enough to pay for it (particularly under the circumstances) but I make too much for financial assistance.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separated 7 years

Scooter – I am sorry to hear where you are at, and the path you have been on for the last 7 years.
I want to start by first looking at why you are in the same house with your wife (separated and not talking). You say you are doing this for your kid. What you are doing, is demonstrating to him that marriage isn’t a good thing, that parents are unhappy, and it is ok to not deal with situations.
I hope that this response hasn’t turned you off yet. I strongly believe that the best thing you can do for your son is love your wife. I don’t agree with the thought of staying together for the sake of the kids. Kids are smarter than that.
As to your plan – you think you have to explain this to your son. Don’t you think he can tell you aren’t happy, that your marriage isn’t working, and yes that you are drinking????
I think the thoughts of someone else (your online friend) are a fantasy view of things. Before you do anything, I would look deep inside (get some help doing this – professionally) and figure out….are you a good person? What about you would you like to change to be good (in your own eyes)? What do you need to do to respect yourself (based on your comments I don’t think you do now).
This will tell you what your plan should be. It should be internally focused – what you need to do for you. This could be leaving your wife. This could be trying to reconcile – and being there for someone who has her own challenges. I don’t know – you have to figure it out.
If you jump onto your plan (step 1 and 2) what does that get you, how does that make you better?

Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck, and God Bless!
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Old 02-08-2009, 02:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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thanks for taking the time to respond and I think you are thoughtful in your points but I don't think we're on the same page.

I think that questioning why I've let this situation exist for 7 years and it's effects on my son makes total sense. But in response, I'd give you a lot of history on what lead up to that decision and why things are the way they are. We both of us are responsible for the situation we're in but I'm way past hoping or wanting to work things out with my wife. I DO want us both to get on a path to find a better level of happiness and that's why I'm contemplating doing what I am.

The plan does make me feel better and the hope is that it does everyone else too. What my problem with dealing is the path of where that divorce process leads. When you live in an explosive, controlling environment, you live in fear. Fortunately it's not physically threatening, but I have never learned how to defend myself from her attacks and the pain and insecurity they create in me are tough to bear. I look at what I'm likely to go through with this and well, it's hard.

It's rather hard stepping in to a situation that you know is going to incite the worst of the behavior for which you are trying to get away from. I know I'm not alone in knowing what it's like to live with someone who blows up unpredictably, can say the meanest things at will then blows up worse if you try to offer a defense, and blames you for being the cause of these actions. Everything she says and does is justified because I'm the one the one to blame.

What pushed me over the edge, well 8 years ago now, how I was being treated for an alleged affair that had never happened. This house was a black cauldron of anger and despair. She held full power over me and could threaten whatever she wanted because I was afraid to leave.

I stayed with my son because I love him, because I couldn't be a part from him, and because I was scared at what he would have to face in my absence. But I think he's emotionally mature enough now to handle what needs to be done and I think I've given all I can to get to this point. No, I don't think it will be easy on him dealing with her through his teen years, it won't for either of us. But I think we can survive and come through it ok. What alternative do we have?

With regards to my new friend, time will tell. I think it sounds pretty much like you describe as to the likelihood of being a rebound situation, an outlet, an emotional infedility or whatever.

Or you could see it as the tremendous blessing I needed to help get me through a hellishly difficult time that at the least has lead to a special friendship and at the most could mean a lot more.

But I think that I'm being prudent in removing that potential out of the decision process on when/why to press for divorce now. I spelled everything out in probably excessive detail to demonstrate how the timing of my decision process was made before there was any other relationship there. To hit bottom, then to finally find the strength to start on a path of healing, and then right afterwards find this great positive that comes in to your life that fits perfectly with where I'm heading? How lucky am I?
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Separated 7 years

scooter-

I don't know if you have done the best for your son. all the research shows that children brought up in an environment where there is little display of physical affection end up having problems with affection and intimacy later on.

They get married have sex, and then about 6-18 months after marriage, either stop being romantic and cuddly, or stop wanting sex, much to the frustration of their partner.

I hope you and your wife give have at least been warm towards him. I feel yours is the perfect example of how staying for the kids does not work.

I also wonder if the somewhat mirrors your childhood?
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well Mark, you very well may be right in more than one way.

When I decided to stay in the past, I really felt that it was selfishness that kept me here. People don't seem to understand that and tend to assume it as something more noble, but overall, I felt it would be slight better for my son for us divorce than stay together. As I mentioned, I think there were some pretty powerful arguments for why I needed to stay based on my wife's behavior and in hindsight, I now lean to thinking that it was best for him seeing how he's turned out and what he would have had to deal with otherwise.

But what you're describing weights heavy in my current thinking. Maybe I'd feel differently if I was handling things better. I think how I deal with the problem is a huge factor in how it impacts my son and if I'm not handling it well, then he suffers.

But the interaction with my son is very loving and very supportive all in all. And he is a very affectionate young man now that receives many compliments about how sweet and kind he is. I think that having encouraged him to love his mom and do as much with her in addition to me as possible has helped set a solid foundation of love in his life.


Now as to mirroring my childhood? Yes, it does. Very much so for me but fortunately my son is much closer to my wife than I was to my father who was playing the equivalent role in the household strife growing up. For my own part, I had mixed feelings on whether my mom should have divorced when she did. I was 18. In hindsight, I think it might have been better that she have done it earlier but then her second marriage was to an even more abusive man.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thinking about what I was hoping to accomplish by posting here. I needed to get things out that I was thinking and it helps doing it in a place to hear other people's thoughts too. Whether I agree or not, it is helpful hearing other perspectives since that just makes me think through my own more.

The other thing I think I was looking for, is hearing from others that have been through something similar. To start down this path in an environment like this, I was hoping to hear how others have made it through or are currently dealing with.

I sound pretty resolute and settled on what I'm doing I think but I'm not. I'm in much agony about this and just am not confident in what to do. What I've laid out I think is what is right, but I'm struggling with it.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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scooter-
It may well be that there was nothing wrong with your wife. Maybe you can't handle the closeness of marriage.
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Scooter:

Your situation sounds very similiar to mine. What kind of child hood did your wife have? and have you both been through individual and/or marriage counseling?
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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good questions still, but i'm not really ready to go in to all the details of why I think you're wrong Mark about my wife. But right about the connection wtih my own parents. The pain I went through growing up in an explosive household, is what I'm still dealing with now. I think that she does have the same problems but I have the problems of not knowing how to deal with it.

Her childhoold was far more unstable than mine Malibu. Divorces, bad boyfriend for mom, detached and removed father....

Yes, I've been through counseling as couple and individual, but not necessarily enough to say I gave it a fair chance. I couldn't get through the couple sessions because they would always start about these 'affairs' and other things that I was doing to her that were just purely made up out of her own insecurities. "He's been seeing another woman and I've got the papertrail and all the evidence..." and it's completely false. So with her, I'm stuck with trying to argue all the 'evidence' and there's no way to convince her it's not true because it wasn't based on fact to begin with.

I wasn't able to make it through counseling beyond 2 sessions because that seemed to be what the sessions were about.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter View Post
Yes, I've been through counseling as couple and individual, but not necessarily enough to say I gave it a fair chance. I couldn't get through the couple sessions because they would always start about these 'affairs' and other things that I was doing to her that were just purely made up out of her own insecurities. "He's been seeing another woman and I've got the papertrail and all the evidence..." and it's completely false. So with her, I'm stuck with trying to argue all the 'evidence' and there's no way to convince her it's not true because it wasn't based on fact to begin with.

I wasn't able to make it through counseling beyond 2 sessions because that seemed to be what the sessions were about.
Fair enough, I could see how that might be difficult. But the fact that by your own admission you selfishly stayed in the house is worrying. Perhaps if you give up doing what you know feels wrong, may help you.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It's not a clear picture MarkTwain and I think that going/staying can be argued either way. I'm more reflecting on my gut feeling at this time. This is the first I've felt this way since 7 years ago.

The thing I'm realizing now too as I'm working through all of this is that I'm probably not appreciating the impact that a particularly high amount of stress at work over the past year has had. Certainly not helping me to be at my 'best' for dealing with things here the way I should.

I'll give a little more insight on what it's like here....
this morning in fact, with me in close proximity, while lecturing our son about a problem he's having at school, she makes an offhanded comment out how she's treated like a doormat here. 7 years ago at age 6 my son didn't know what she meant by that, now he knows that she's referring to me. A little later, she says that he shouldn't be talking to her like 'your father does.' And how he needs to treat her better. The lecture was by the way an appropriate one, but not her remarks.

Now, this is where my own faults come in to play in not knowing how to deal with it. Actually, I take on the roll of the doormat because I don't say anything. When I have, rare though it is, it's like I just sparked an explosion and she goes off.

I've therefore almost always elected to avoid doing this in the past because it did no good and more than anything would just upset the environment for our son. But now, as he is older and more mature, I'm sending a different message to him by not responding. I'm not setting a good example for how to deal with things like that because frankly I just don't know how. Part of me says there isn't a way and that she's the only one who can help herself.

Last edited by scooter; 02-08-2009 at 12:22 PM. Reason: left out where i was encountering this stress over the past year... and other grammatical stuff
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Scooter – again I do have sympathy for you. You life has been a challenge. It appears that you are quite a strong person to endure what you have. I am glad that you have had the strength to deal with all of that stuff.
I hope that I can be a testament to a failed marriage that can be turned around. Each marriage, individual and situation is very different, and what worked for us, and what you need to do aren’t the same. With that said, please understand that people can change, usually through education, learning about themselves, and help from other people.
My wife was completely done….unhappy, depressed, not wanting to be married, and putting together her plan for the rest of her life. It was a kick in my but, and it hurt. I learned a lot, which gave me the power to change. I had good support (many from this forum) and we eventually turned it around to something VERY good.
Before you decide to end it, why not muster up all the energy, support, and strength to try to approach your problems again. Sound like both of you could use individual help (you admitted you didn’t give it your all). This time give it your all. Offer to take a lie detector test for your wife to put her worries aside. Focus on your son…out of love doesn’t this situation deserve just one more try, just one more day??? And not a “I am going through the motions” attempt. You have nothing to lose. If you try, and really give it your all – and fail, you are right back here.
At a minimum you will demonstrate to your son that fighting, really fighting for your marriage is how an adult should act. At best, you could start to reconcile.
I have faith!!!!
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails...
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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thanks TGolbus, you make good points and I will consider them.

And I appreciate all of the effort in your post too! Very thoughtful.

Hard to open that part of me back up for introspection but as I say, I'll consider your words.

Last edited by scooter; 02-08-2009 at 04:18 PM. Reason: needed to expand a bit more
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter View Post
I'll give a little more insight on what it's like here....
this morning in fact, with me in close proximity, while lecturing our son about a problem he's having at school, she makes an offhanded comment out how she's treated like a doormat here. 7 years ago at age 6 my son didn't know what she meant by that, now he knows that she's referring to me. A little later, she says that he shouldn't be talking to her like 'your father does.' And how he needs to treat her better. The lecture was by the way an appropriate one, but not her remarks.
Due to perhaps typos, it's not clear here who was being seen as the doormat by whom. Could you have another go at explaining this conversation? It may yield something...
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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She said she was being treated like a doormat directly to my son.


She feels justified in saying whatever she wants about me... how bad I am, how poorly treated she is, how I mentally abusive I am, laying blame on me for <insert whatever>, and on and on. This is done both directly but most commonly indirectly whether it be in passing or under her breath but intentionally done within earshot of me and usually our son as well. She usually tries to veil the comments in a way that he wouldn't understand but as he's gotten older it doesn't matter as he's able to figure things out.

If I respond to her, that's when I trigger her to blow up emotionally and verbally. Typically those blowups consist of completely false allegations or things that have happened. How do I defend against an accusation when it's very basis has no reference to reality?
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