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Old 12-12-2015, 07:42 AM   #1
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Looking for advice. I daydream about divorce. Literally. My wife and I are going through a bit of a rough patch but it is more than that. I think I genuinely enjoy being alone. I am very introverted by nature, she is not. We have been together since age 16 (28 now, married since 22). We have never really experienced life without each other and I'm starting to think that was a big mistake.

Now we do have 2 very little kids. She stays home with them, and I let her know constantly how much I appreciate the hardwork that it takes for her to do that, however it is also her choice as I've told her if she wants to work I support her fully. The moment I get home I am fully in the mix and have no problem with that. I don't expect to come home and watch TV. I take the kids, feed them, baths, get them ready for bed, help with household chores. Lately she is so resentful that I go to work and it has caused tension with us. I am supposed to feel bad for supporting the family with the only income?? My job is air traffic control and also is very stressful and I feel I get no return of appreciation for busting my a$$ everyday with the stress and shiftwork. Every week I work night and day shifts which often leaves little time to sleep. I absolutely love my children and spending time with them and teaching them and being their father. However, I realize when she is NOT around (grocery store or something) I love it 10x more. There is less stress. I don't feel her eyes watching/judging me.

To clarify, with 2 little kids I DO NOT expect to come home and vegetate. I expect to come home and help, which I do fully! My problem is I know these kids won't be little forever, and eventually it will be just her and I again. Our life together before having kids, I never felt like I could relax. If I try to take a nap, she is upset. I am lazy. If I just want to watch a show, not go to another farmer market, it is a fight because I am lazy. I feel like down the road in retirement, I don't want the stress of living with anyone.

I daydream about retirement and being able to do whatever I want (that is the goal right?). After a career of inconsistent sleep and constant stress I'd like to stay up as late and lseep as late as I want. But in the back of my mind I know that won't be the case. I will be doing whatever it is she wants or plans for us to do each day. I also don't want to be a person who avoids going home or HAS to find some hobby outside of the house to avoid my wife. If I want to sleep until noon, I want to be able to do it guilt-free!

So here is the dilema. I have a great federal career where I can retire early with a good pension and good amount of retirement savings. Do I cut the cord early to minimize the bleeding on my retirement? She would likely only get half of my current earned pension and half of my current retirement savings. OR Do I wait until we are retired or almost retired to see if my predictions come true, which at that point a divorce would completely derail the type of retirement I want. The first sounds like a no-brainer but it breaks my heart for my kids sake and I'm scared to death about not being able to see them all the time.

In my dream world there is only my kids and I. I know she will never be out of the picture as she is their mother, but is this any way to live the rest of my life? Dreading coming home to her? I'm very confused.

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Old 12-12-2015, 07:48 AM   #2
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Have the two of you tried counseling? I've been through a divorce and am in a blissfully happy second marriage, so I understand that sometimes things are unworkable, but sometimes it's a matter of sitting down and communicating. This is especially important when children are around. Even if you stay together "for the sake of the kids", they know they're living in a hostile atmosphere and it's a bad way to grow up.

I agree- you've got a stressful job. I read the book "Airport" (the basis for the movie) decades ago and I still remember how well the author described the stress on one of the characters, an air-traffic controller.

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Old 12-12-2015, 07:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ATC Guy View Post
I daydream about retirement and being able to do whatever I want (that is the goal right?).
Get a divorce, and most of that federal pension is split. And you may owe alimony for her life. And child support for a long time. You will likely not get custody.

Good luck. You should have thought about most of that before you got married and had kids. Marriage is not a disposable agreement in the financial sense.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
And you may owe alimony for her life. And child support for a long time. You will likely not get custody.
I'm not a lawyer, but things have changed. There's very little "alimony for life" anymore unless it's a 62-year old wife who spent her whole career as a homemaker. Most courts expect the wife, at some point, to get on her feet and go to work. They may get temporary alimony while they get a refresher course in their field or finish a degree and yes, they'll get child support if they have custody.

The OP may want to consult a lawyer to see what's at stake if he divorces. It's one more data point in his decision. I still hope he and his wife try counseling first.
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:11 AM   #5
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There is no alimony at all in some states. It all depends where they live.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:01 AM   #6
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You describe a truly unfortunate situation. If there is any way to fix the relationship through counseling and what sounds like the need to open up good communication, it would seem far better for both of you, and certainly the kids and your future financial situation. While our 45 year marriage has been a great partnership we did have a rough patch around age 43. IIRC it didn't reach the level of divorce consideration (well, maybe on her part) but counseling really turned it around. Frankly, the biggest issue was lack of communication on DW's part. Good luck for all of your family...
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:01 AM   #7
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At a minimum you should seek counseling to try to stay together for the sake of the kids. However, there are some toxic marriages where the kids are better off with divorced parents than with married parents.

Candidly, it sounds like your troubles are relatively minor compared to what they could be. Maybe you could both agree on a "lazy" day a few times a month where other than just keeping up with things that there is no particular expectation to do something and you could all veg, read, watch tv or whatever without feeling guilty that you aren't "doing something". Also, I think it is helpful that you each have separate interests outside of your life together... IMO there isn't anything wrong with having a hobby that you don't share as long as the only reason for the hobby is to avoid your wife.

Raising kids is hard and stressful.. it was for us.. but it gets better over time.

So when you daydream about divorce... what is your life like?
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:17 AM   #8
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My advise is for you personally and it's not about divorce. I suggest you get in contact with the VA and get screened for PTSD, now likely you will say you can't do that because of the nature of your job.
The very fact that you are talking about imploding your marriage and your number one problem with it is the money aspect of your early retirement is a bit bizarre.

I went back and read of few of your postings, in August of 13 you say you are completely burnt out and exhausted. You say you had to move away from family years ago for the military. In October of 13 you say your wife is pregnant with your first child and 2 years later you have 2 children. You mentioned recently you will be moving shortly or have just moved again to be near family. You have started a high stress career full of shift work. This is a recipe for problems at home.

Your comment that it's okay with you if your wife gets a job, it almost laughable. She cares for 2 children under the age of 2 and you have to do shift work.How would you work out the child care schedule, who would do the housework. Does your wife get to leave the house to do anything besides "grocery shopping". Does she get to have regular contact with any grownups besides you, who are resentful of everything she says and wants to do. So resentful that you think it would just be easier to divorce her so she doesn't bug you.

As far a watching TV or napping maybe your wife is just lonely for adult company and it's not all about "controlling" you.

The fact that you are 28 years old with 2 kids under the age of 2 and daydreaming about retirement is a big red flag that you yourself are having some type of issue. It's one thing to live prudently and think about the day you might be able to leave your job, it another thing to daydream about it when you have just brought 2 children into the world. You haven't mentioned one thing about your wife and what the 2 of you might do to ease the situation, in fact you just said when the kids are gone she'll still be a Bi#$h and maybe you will dump her then. If your kids are your number 1 priority start working as a couple to figure this out. Maybe ATC is your dream job but if the stress of it is wrecking your family there are other jobs out in the world.

You know my Dad was military for 20 years and my Mom was from England, so I lived thru a situation much like yours. My Dad did not like the Army and was either grumpy, watching TV or sleeping when he was at home. Now I realize he was depressed but back then all it did was impact the entire family in a negative way.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:23 AM   #9
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I agree on the counseling also so both of you can talk. Even if it ends up in divorce, you know you have done all you could to save the marriage before throwing the towel.

Back to the original question, IMHO, I feel the sooner the better since alimony is often calculated based on the number of years married. On the other hand, the child care expense burden may be bigger if you divorce sooner than later, since your wife would most likely need daycare if she had to start working to support herself. Another thing - I don't know if your kids are male or female, but if they are female, you would most likely lose more and more emotional connection with them over time. You may end up feeling like you are just their wallet after a while. Like I said, this is just my opinion (from knowing a few people who went through divorce with small children.)

You sound tired, probably from lack of sleep having strange work hours. Maybe all you need is for your DW to realize that your work is hard and your down time is important for your job which enables you to provide for them (which can be done probably much more effectively via counseling)?

Good luck.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:23 AM   #10
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+1 agree with ivinsfan
at minimum, counseling seems to be in order for both you.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:26 AM   #11
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Does your wife know how you feel? Does she maybe feel unhappy too? I think you need to express your feelings to her and give her a chance to express hers as well. Then together decide if you want to save the marriage, and I agree counseling makes sense.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:32 AM   #12
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I've been friends with a couple of ATC guys and that job is pure stress. You may not make retirement age in that job. Think about that.

Your sig: Money is freedom - no it's not, money is money. If you were to get a divorce, pretty much all the money you make would be sent to your wife and children for the next 16+ years. You will have no life and probably be living is a small apartment with rented furniture. I have personal experience with that scenario and it's not fun, ever.

Go get some counseling like others have mentioned above. Make your wife your #1 in your life and your kids #2.

Good luck.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:52 AM   #13
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Don't do it.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:06 AM   #14
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With two very little kids involved, divorcing isn't just going on with separate lives. Have relatives that divorced, one with two little kids at the time. There's the custody battle and shuffling the kids back and forth and trying to get each side to abide by the rules or else a trip to the lawyers and court. I'm not saying divorcing isn't the way to go, but with the kids, that isn't the same as if you just are with someone, then break up.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:16 AM   #15
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There a so many times during a marriage to fall out of sync with your partner. The dynamics change through out the relation ship.
you have a kid, things change
kid turn 2 (terrible twos) things change.
job or position change, things change.
kids go to school, things change
kids move away, things change
retire, things change.
There are so many stresses in life. A partnership needs to have a good communication channel and a willingness to support each other. Your keeping this desire for the D-word (sorry, DW tells me I don't know that word) in your mind causes stress. You will be acting different in the relationship most likely.
I agree with trying some counseling. It is sometimes hard to understand what each other is feeling (justified or not), but that is what you need in a relationship. Being Sheldon and saying "there, there" won't solve the problem.
In the end if you can get to understand each other, the marriage may be stronger... or it may be over, but you may then understand why.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:43 AM   #16
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The OP mentions sleeping as a goal several times--you are both physically exhausted plus you have a superhigh stress job plus your wife went through childbirth and pregnancy twice in the last two years--bet the littler kid is still waking up at night so no one is getting a good night's sleep. Do you have any family near you now that can lend a couple hours of help here and there?

These are really tough years for a lot of people, probably the hardest you'll encounter. Hang in there and try to support each other (if you go first you might get it back in spades). At some point reevaluate all your goals but righg now you are in the zombie years so just try to get through them without making big decisions that are impossible to reverse. I feel for you!
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:46 AM   #17
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# 1 Counseling ,

# 2 Think about a career change. If you are sharp enough to get through ATC training and the first few years, you are sharp enough to make good money doing something else, without shift work. Were you ATC in the military?

Look at something else in the state, local or federal

Just focusing on the golden handshake of a federal pension can cost you all of the best years. I stayed at a megacorp for about 19 years, focusing on a pension , ended up separating from megacorp long before retirement. In hindsight, should of moved on and made better use of those years.

Wishing you best of luck in a very tough situation.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:29 AM   #18
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Thanks everybody. I think my mind is a bit cluttered right now and I'm sometimes having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We do have 2 kids under 2. Kuddos to those who did the background check to find that out.

We don't have a free second to ourselves let alone to each other. Sleep is very elusive and even more so with the shift work. A quick note, I wouldn't do any other job. I love this job, stress yes, but it is a passion of mine.

I have asked for counseling before but she thinks that is crazy, doesn't work, not for her... At least once a week I tell her to go do something (get a pedicure, go to coffee with a friend, go stare at a wall) I don't care what but to get out of the house. She has taken me up on it a few times. I really feel like I'm giving all I can and all I get back is resentment for going to work.

How I really feel is that I would do anything to help her with her workload or stress level but I don't get that in return. If she told me she had a headache, I would literally send her for a nap or to a coffee shop or anything she wanted. I'd take the kids and do my best. If I have a headache I get a look like I'm trying to get out of helping out and at best, a guilt-ridden "permission" to lay down for 10 minutes. When I bring this up to her, I am "whining."

I really wouldn't doubt I have some mild-moderate depression at times, but even admitting that to my doctor would make me lose my career. We have no family in the immediate area but have paperwork in for a transfer closer to family hopefully in the next 1-2 years.

Bottom line: I feel like I'm giving all I can but getting nothing but resentment back. I don't feel I can communicate with her, and probably have never been able to, but was too young and dumb when we first got together to realize it. I really try but I get a brick wall back.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:32 AM   #19
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She is extremely STUBBORN to the point of exhaustion. Always has been. Which is how I think I've got to the point where I don't know what else to do. I try to explain how I feel to her, I ask for counseling, I do everything I can to help her out and give her a break, but I get nothing in return.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:40 AM   #20
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If she's not up for counseling, go for counseling yourself so a professional can help you sort out your feelings and your options. Would it still jeopardize your job if you sought counseling for difficulties in your marriage? We know and you know that an extremely stressful job is part of the problem, but would that level of detail get back to your management?

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