We don't want to divorce, but we do. What other options exist?

by BrianGreen 47 Replies latest jw friends

  • BrianGreen


    Ive been reading this forum for a long time, but this new situation has come up and now it looks like I need your help.

    I thought I dodged a bullet. My wife and I were both JWs, and we both left it together. After reading all your horror stories about leaving the truth and your spouse leaving too, I was amazed that things went as well as they did. But now, two years after we got free of that organization, were starting to talk about divorse.

    Actually our 15 years of marriage have been rough. divorse has been an issue thats come up before. Often. But as JWs, it was never really an option. With two kids, it seems even less of one. (We have a daughter 8 years old and a 2 year old baby boy) But were also not happy together. Weve started to actually admit it to each other and honestly start talking about what can be done.

    Currently, we dont sleep together. I sleep in the basement, ostensibly because I snore. But truth is, Im glad to have that time away, alone. And I think she feels the same. I could probably continue this way, but she feels that she needs to be loved. She told me tonight that she would rather move on, go get a real marriage. (Shes 36, Im 34). I would rather keep my children. If we divorse, Ill only have access to them half the time at best. Less, probably.

    Understand, were tried to make this work. All its taught me is that I would never, ever, EVER allow myself to become entwined with another person. I would love to have my life back as my own. If we do divorse, I would never marry again. She on the other hand seems quite interested in the idea. I suggested that she get a boyfriend, but she didnt think much of the idea. (Pretty stupid, yeah, but I was brain storming.)

    Heres the skinny: I dont want to divorse. I am happiest when were not together, but I dont want to be without my kids. She doesnt like the idea that Im unhappy when were together, and thinks divorse is the answer. But shes willing to entertain other possibilities. Trouble is I cant think of other possibilities.

    Can you? Is there a middle ground here?

    Thanks for your help,


  • Chimene

    Hey Brian

    If you stay together for the kids, they will know. They feel the tension, they are much smarter than you think. If you stay together the way you are living now, how will it affect your children when they are adults? I can sympathize with why you want to stay, but if you both want out, trust me, it is for the best.Sometimes you cannot fix what is broke. I hate to say that with small childrren, but sometimes people have to do, what they have to do. It will be hard, very hard, but everyone will adjust. However, if mommy and daddy are happy, the kids are happy, once again, trust me, I know from my own personal experience.

    I really wish you the best of luck, take care of yourself

  • FlyingHighNow

    Do you care for each other? Did you ever feel real love for each other? Be careful not to confuse apathy with lack of love.

    All marriages or relationships go through times when one or both feel apathetic. The thing is, if you're not sure you want to divorce, I'd recommend spending some time apart. You can learn so much from a separation. Spending time apart can help you explore your true feelings for each other. The old cliche' applies here: be careful what you wish for. The grass can seem greener on the other side of the fence and beckon you with allure. Whether the allure is freedom, solitude, someone or something else, a separation can help you figure it all out. I have personal experience with it and have watched others' experience with it. I highly recommend it.

  • lisaBObeesa

    Brian, you have a PM.

  • Super_Becka

    I know that divorce sounds like a rather unpleasant end to what has been an unhappy marriage, especially because there are children involved, but divorce is your best option, and I say that because of your children. My parents were married for 20 years (they separated less than 3 months after their 20th anniversary), but in reality, they had been unhappy together for the vast majority of their marriage, and growing up in a home like that, I could feel the tension. It's not that my parents were hostile towards each other, there was no loud fighting or violence, but there was always a feeling of malaise, like something wasn't right, there was always tension, and I could always feel it.

    My mother told me after the divorce that they'd been planning it for years - they split up when I was 18, and she said that they'd been planning it since I was very young, probably 5 or 6 years old, so it had been a long time coming. They stayed together so long for me and my brother (he's a year younger than I am), and as such, we grew up not knowing what it was like to have truly happy parents. My parents never laughed together, they didn't enjoy each other's company, they were never romantic, they never went out together or did special things for each other, so I have no model for what a happy marriage looks like. I would go to my friends' houses and see their parents laughing and smiling and even flirting and using pet name ("sweetheart", "honey", that sort of thing), but I never saw that kind of thing at home. My parents love my brother and I, that was never an issue, but they didn't love each other, and that was always so clear.

    Now, I'm 20 years old and while I am looking forward to finding "the One" and having a life with him, I am desperately afraid of getting married, because I'm sure that my marriage will turn out like my parents' marriage. Divorce is something I am very afraid of. I'm currently dating a great guy who loves me very much and puts a lot of effort into showing me how much he cares about me, but I find it hard to understand and accept the fact that he loves me, not because I doubt his feelings for me, but because I've always felt that "happy couples" only exist on TV or in other people's lives and not my own. I think that all of these feelings of doubt come from growing up in a home that didn't have a happy couple. My parents were never happy together, so I have always felt that I would never be loved and happy in my life.

    Of course, that's just how it played out for me and I could be the only person out there like that, but an unhappy marriage does affect the children involved. Children are smart, they're receptive, they will know that something is wrong at home and they will know that you're not happy. Don't assume that children don't know these things, because they're a lot more intelligent than society gives them credit for, and they are very observant. No matter how careful you and your wife are to make them happy and give them a happy childhood and lots of good memories, they will always feel like something is missing, and that thing would be love between you and your wife.

    Your children are young, they will adjust to having divorced parents, it's a very common thing nowadays and children are resilient. It'll be harder on them when they're older, believe me, it's been almost 3 years since my parents split up and I'm still trying to deal with it. It'll be very hard and there will be a lot of adjusting to do, but it'll be for the best, and it will work out in the end. You will be happier, your wife will be happier, and in the long run, your children will be happier and healthier.

    Think long and hard about what you want to do, and please consider the effects of this on your children. You have to do what's best for them, I know that you know this.

    I wish you the best of luck with your situation. It's not going to be easy, but I know things will work out for the best.

    -Becka :)

  • stillajwexelder

    welcome briangreen to the forum. Divorce/seperation is never easy and very rarely is there middle ground

  • FlyingHighNow
    Your children are young, they will adjust to having divorced parents, it's a very common thing nowadays and children are resilient.

    This is so not true. You may think this when you are in your teens and twenties. But hit your thirties and forties and you realize how much you lost when your parents divorced. Mine divorced. I wish they would have gotten counseling and worked it out. I still hurt. I'm 47. I was 9 when they separated and 11 when they finally divorced. Our family was fragmented, never to be the same again. All of my living siblings are very sad. And I feel my oldest brother's death at 22 really started with my parent's divorce when he was 16.

    Sometimes divorce is necessary. Other times it's very fixable, but parents choose to be selfish and end up hurting their kids far beyond any pain the parents feel.

  • garybuss

    Marriage is not for happiness. Marriage is a business, a partnership by definition. It's products are children and assets. Once a partnership produces children, the care of the children is the most important thing. A person who devalues a marriage to an avenue to self satisfaction and self satisfied happiness is a fool and cheating themselves and their family. Or they are sick.

    It's like complaining I'm hungry but I haven't eaten for three days. Happiness is a product of what I do, not a benefit of the marriage. There are three reasons to end a marriage, abuse, neglect, and addiction. Often people who say they are unhappy are really depressed, and depression is a mental illness requiring evaluation and treatment. Divorce won't cure a clinical depression.

    Some people have been depressed so long they don't realize they are depressed. I can't fix a sick mind with a sick mind.

  • deeskis

    Hi and welcome to the board.

    sometimes it is easier to walk away, and things do change. I don't think any marriage is always happy, (not in human nature to be happy all the time), but if you don't experience lows then you can't appreciate the highs. I don't think there is anything wrong in kids seeing parents argue, up to a point. as long as they see you made up too....................but when it's at the stage of separate bedrooms it's getting pretty drastic.

    have you been to marriage counselling? I would recommend that before you make any decisions. both of you need to go for this although you can have solo sessions as well as together.

    best wishes


  • garybuss

    Another thing, is the high control group history. It really is a good idea to get post exit counseling. We pack a LOT of wrong ideas and bad thinking patterns with us when we leave the groups.

    I'd make a goal to be happy first, then if I still want to divorce I'd get divorce counseling first. If ya think a marriage is hard, a divorce is much harder. A successful divorce requires much more work and cooperation than a marriage does. I see people have MUCH more trouble with a bad divorce than I see having trouble with a bad marriage.

    There's a big difference between a young couple with no children and no assets divorcing and a couple with children divorcing.

    I say if there is abuse, neglect, or addiction, document that and go for full custody. If not, deal with the problem in a rational way that's in the best interest of the children.

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