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Divorce: Ever the Optimist
Old 12-24-2013, 12:12 PM   #1
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Divorce: Ever the Optimist

I'll start off by saying I don't desire to be single, and I'm sure I'll find a new wife soon, better able to identify what I really want in my life. I've learned a lot about myself in the last few months... and I know I have a lot more to process in this. Everyone has a story, and I'll try to keep this more facts than emotions. That said, I was dealt a pretty shitty hand with this one (some would say I chose a shitty hand, guess I can't argue that).

Another statistic of marrying too young. For sure.

The short of it:

I found out months ago that my wife of 8 years was in an emotional affair - for a period I rationalized this was a product of our youngest daughter having a medical condition - she spent a lot of time at the ICU in the first 6 months of her life and had open heart surgery. A few months after that I stopped suppressing my intuition about things and searched for answers to questions I'd always had about her unusual behavior. Found out there were 2 others, confronted her and she admitted to it all (she was juggling all three at one point none of them aware of each other), two of the three were physical and these affairs started while we were engaged - 10 years ago! So this isn't the 7 year itch. I found out not long after that that my wife has borderline personality disorder and a bit of narcissism. She's also on depression meds. I've been beating my head against the wall for years trying to understand why we weren't closer. I'm definitely a romantic... I would always do things or try to find more time for her and was pushed away. Told I couldn't fulfill her alone and that she needed space to do her own thing - so I found other things to do (coaching, hobbies, more work). I started to think marriage was more about commitment and in that department I was fooled. I started to equate love to doing everything I could to please her... codependency. Until a few months ago I thought I was just in a loveless marriage but that we worked well as a team. I knew my wife came from a broken home and her father cheated on her mother when she was young... she despised him and I thought that was a sign she'd never do the same. We have two daughters, 5 and 2.

I took my ring off 3 months ago... this all came to the surface 1 week after we moved into our dream home. A $850,000 place and we put $200,000 down on. I suddenly realized how shitty this marriage made me feel. I know I'm a great guy and when I started reconnecting with all of the friends that had been pushed out of my life I noticed something funny. I felt happy. Confident. Good about myself. My wife doesn't work... she is college educated but always desired to stay at home with the girls. I supported that thinking my daughters were getting a better childhood. I know now she took my 5 year old to meet these men at times... ugh.

Last week when we both sat down to tell the 5 year old we're separating... midway through explaining to her that "Daddy has two rooms... here and at grandmas and grandpas... and mommy has two rooms, here and." She spoke up "Mommy, like when you go with your boyfriend to the beach?" - (over the summer while I was away for work she took the girls to the beach about every weekend... this all prior to my knowledge of the affairs)... an epiphany in that moment was that despite any efforts on my part to hang in there for the girls. Pointless. My own 5 year old is learning behaviors from her mother. That fact that a child with such an innocent mind would equate going to the beach with mommy having a boyfriend there is just beyond wrong. I'm so glad they'll now at least grow up seeing half of a normal life. I'll hopefully show them what a respectful marriage/relationship is like.

Anyway... on to the financials. We are splitting everything and the house is being sold. Met with a realtor last week and it sounds like we can sell for slightly more than we bought it at... of course we'll lose about $40,000 to realtor fees.

401K is at about $250,000... she will be getting about $100,000 of that.

My salary has jumped significantly the last couple years. I made $201,000 last year. Crazy to make that much money and feel like we were living paycheck to paycheck. I see the silver lining in this all...

I'm about to leave this marriage with close to $100,000 cash from sale of the house. I'm moving in with my parents for a few months until I see where my ex (can I call her that yet?) moves so that I can find a place half way between there and my work. I'll also have my 401K cut down to about $150,000... but that's still good for a 31 year old. I'm going to increase my contributions significantly.

I'm feeling optimistic about controlling my own money for the first time since graduating college (we got married a month after graduation). A 6,500 square foot house seemed nice but only because I thought that would make my wife happy... it seems absurd to me now. I'm almost embarrassed at the idea we bought a place that large.

Tough road ahead protecting my girls from this all. Financially I can't help but think I'm going to be way better off. Despite the fact that I can take her to court filing fault for infidelity, I know that is a difficult and damaging road to go down. I've offered her 2 years of $2,000 a month spousal if she signs and makes this easy. A bit of leverage that our girls won't have to look up the court records and see what comes out if we go to litigation. Some are asking why I'm doing this... may be a losing battle but my hope is to focus on the girls and not make this a war between us. I desire to move past this and have a half decent relationship with the mother of my girls. The two of them need that. I've been reading a lot, and I know how damaging it can be on children to see their parents hating each other... they won't get that from my side.

Child support is around $1,400 until she starts working.

I suddenly feel like I'll have more money than I know what to do with from a monthly cash flow perspective. Planning to funnel it all into investments and beefing up the 401K.

Focus is on my girls from this point forward. I'm feeling good. Liberated for sure.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:34 PM   #2
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You tell a sad story at Christmas time. But, you've got a great attitude and future to look forward too. And, I'm glad you've got a place to stay with Mom.

I wouldn't be thinking about another marriage, yet. I've had two married lives, eight years single between them. And, when I did remarry it was to my best friend. Yes, I lusted her but more importantly I could talk to her and love her. We've now been married 20 years and I'm just as in love with her as I was 20 years ago. I'm really lucky the 2nd time around. The 1st time I was too insecure and young.......it sounds like you were in your early 20's the 1st time for you as well.......now, my hope is the 2nd time both you and your ex have grown up and do better than the 1st time.......that's what will be best for your kids.......and, any more kids you may decide to have. Glad to hear you'll do well financially.....sounds like you have a good plan.

All in all I both feel very sorry and very hopeful for you and your girls. You really are thinking straight, doing your best and deserve the best in the future. Good Luck!
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:54 PM   #3
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Yeah Evr, you sound good. You were lucky financially. Just be careful. Try to live at least 6 months with no sexual relationships, and a good while longer, dating and whatever without even looking for another woman. One thing you said that struck me is this:
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I'll start off by saying I don't desire to be single, and I'm sure I'll find a new wife soon, better able to identify what I really want in my life.
Dangerous to let someone else identify what you really want in life. If this means what it sounds like, promise yourself some therapy for at least 6 months and be careful to choose a therapist helpful to you. A good men's group, or men's divorce support group can be very good too.

As to your daughters' mental health, a non-custodial father can easily make a fool out of himself to very little effect so try to realize, Que sera, sera. Job #1 with your girls is to try hard to stay in their lives, and to be liked by them. You are at a large disadvantage there because they are with mom, and she is in charge of the daily history lesson.

Edit- I also am divorced. I've been unmarried now for 14 years, and have found that it suits me very well. You can always find women, no need to put your life or bankroll on the line for this ever again.

Ha
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:20 PM   #4
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Sorry you have to go through this Evr. I agree with Ha.

Also, I hope what you outline happens - if so, you have got off easy. A good friend of mine divorced and the ex got way more than half of what they had plus he had to pay her alimony for 20 years and child support while the kids were at home. In short, he got hosed.

Take a break from women and then let fate play its hand.

Hopefully your girls will learn from you and others in their lives about fidelity (both physical and emotional) and decide their mother's choices are not the best way to live.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:55 PM   #5
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I agree with Ha.
+1
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Take a break from women and then let fate play its hand.
+2
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Old 12-24-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
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Ive been thru a divorce so I feel for you. If there's any silver lining, be glad you dont live in Texas. Child support for 2 kids is 25% of your after tax pay which would probably be closer to $2500+ per month until the kids finish school (not just until she starts working).
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:06 PM   #7
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It is hard for me to see divorce from a man's perspective, since I am not one. However, I have been divorced and I just wanted to reassure you of this:

There is life after divorce!

And, life can be very, very nice following all the misery one goes through during divorce. Divorce is hell just by its nature. Enough said; you are going through that part now.

Many people told me after my divorce to wait a couple of years before dating, but I didn't. It was a TOTAL waste of time until I had been divorced for a couple of years, though. So like others, I would recommend waiting if you can bring yourself to do so, and not marrying or committing yourself to another person right away.

My sympathies for what you are going through.
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:07 PM   #8
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I was in your shoes 12 months ago, and am spending my second christmas away from my 5 year olds.

Take it easy and try not to make too many decisions now, wait 12 months and see if life looks the same way (I might undo a few of my financial decisions if I could...) If you can be seperated for 12 months, it might help you make better financial decisions. Most courts don't recognize infidelity (inadmissable), at least that is what my ex- girlfriend experienced. That had more to do with other civil matters, so what do I know?

If you want dating advice, PM me.
Life can be better, it will take some time to discover the new normal.
If you can get out of paying spousal support, do it... I don't pay my ex a dime, and that is a GREAT feeling.
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Old 12-24-2013, 03:43 PM   #9
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Another statistic of marrying too young. For sure.

...

My own 5 year old is learning behaviors from her mother. That fact that a child with such an innocent mind would equate going to the beach with mommy having a boyfriend there is just beyond wrong. I'm so glad they'll now at least grow up seeing half of a normal life. I'll hopefully show them what a respectful marriage/relationship is like.

....

Focus is on my girls from this point forward. I'm feeling good. Liberated for sure.
My sympathies to you, Evr. I believe something like 50% first-time marriages end in divorce. Awesome that it didn't impact you financially, as it does many people. What's disconcerting is that your girls have learned inappropriate relationship behavior directly from one of the very people we all learn how to behave in relationships: our parents.

As to dating, I'm not one to comment as it took me 15 years before I had what might be called a fairly successful dating relationship again. In that time I learned the greatest lesson of my life: the gift of learning more about myself than I ever thought possible, about how to be alone and independent, while having a blast doing it. Divorce is a life event, and in my case the separation though painful was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
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Divorce: Ever the Optimist
Old 12-24-2013, 04:01 PM   #10
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Divorce: Ever the Optimist

I'm sorry to hear you are going through this painful experience. The impact of the divorce and the events leading up to it is potentially damaging for your children and you will have to tread carefully to maintain their love and trust and help them learn responsible behaviour. It's probably best to take your time before embarking on any new relationships. I wish you well.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:08 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear about what you are going through, EvrClrx311. I can relate to what you said about the house. Our house is smaller than the one you are selling, but now that I have started reading simple living books and blogs it still feels way to big. It was expensive and time consuming to keep up over the years. We are looking forward to the time and money savings of a much smaller condo or townhouse in a few years.

Good luck. I think now that you have made your decision you will feel better as you can move on with your life.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:27 PM   #12
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I'll start off by saying I don't desire to be single, and I'm sure I'll find a new wife soon, better able to identify what I really want in my life.
I am troubled by this sentence, or perhaps it was simply not worded to convey the thought you intended. Assuming it is correct looking for a wife to identify what you want is a mistake. A great wife is wonderful to have in one's life but she cannot be telepathic and won't be able to tell you that. In fact she will be disappointed if you don't already know.

That said, to repeat, there is life after divorce. Been there, done that.

While there were no kids involved in mine it is still traumatic. You seem to have your head on mostly straight and financially you are in a position to easily recover from this. Well, at least more easily than most people.

The only caution I have to offer (worth exactly what you paid for it) is to not be in a rush to get involved with someone else. It won't be doing either of you any favors. Further, I'd recommend planning on staying single. If you happen to find someone along life's path that's great, but be prepared to go it alone. That way if you do happen to stumble across "the right one" it simply adds to the discovery.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:31 PM   #13
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Gosh, that was terrible. I'll echo earlier posters about not getting involved in a new relationship while your life is still in turmoil.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:38 PM   #14
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You are going to be very busy because you already have two females in your life who will be needing a lot of your attention for at least the next 10 - 15 years!
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:31 PM   #15
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I'll start off by saying I don't desire to be single, and I'm sure I'll find a new wife soon, better able to identify what I really want in my life. I've learned a lot about myself in the last few months....
Re: the words in red above - IMHO, the absolute last thing you need to be thinking about at this point is a new relationship, let alone remarrying quickly. You have a long road ahead, and you will have your hands full for quite some time just focusing your time, emotional energy, and attention on your girls. Any divorce is disruptive to children, and expecting the children to cope with a new relationship while they are still trying to sort out what happened between mom and dad would be asking more than they are equipped to deal with at their ages.

Re: the words in blue above - the first time I read this part of your post, I thought you were saying you would expect a new wife to identify what you want in life. However, after giving it some thought, now I think perhaps you are saying that after some self-reflection, you are now able to identify what you want in life, and that you will keep that in mind when evaluating potential new relationships going forward. Is that what you were trying to say? It is a bit confusing.

I wish you the best of luck going forward. I agree with previous posters that you sound as though you have the best possible attitude, under these difficult circumstances.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:32 PM   #16
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You've been handed a betrayal and yet you are taking the high road for your girls. You're a good guy.

I wish you happiness. You deserve it.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:33 PM   #17
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I know now she took my 5 year old to meet these men at times... ugh.
For the most part, courts don't care what a lousy wife you had, but if it comes to negotiations about custodianship, child support, spousal support etc., you may have a good card in your hand here. The state has to decide who gets the kids, so if you are not too quick to concede exclusive custodianship, a good female attorney might be able to make wife look like the slut of the century, which matters not at all EXCEPT in deciding who is fit to be the custodial parent.

Like others I am sorry you got blindsided by this, but remember life is always in the future. Many men discover that their wives did them a huge favor by opening their eyes to the joy of being captains of their own ships. We mostly have life programming to take responsibility for too many things.

Ha
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:43 PM   #18
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For the most part, courts don't care what a lousy wife you had, but if it comes to child support, spousal support etc., you may have a good card in your hand here. The state has to decide who gets the kids, so if you are not too quick to concede exclusive custodianship, a good female attorney might be able to make her look like the slut of the century, which matters not at all EXCEPT in deciding who is fit to be the custodial parent.
Having funded your wife's lifestyle of staying home and pursuing her various romantic adventures, are you sure you want to concede custody and continue to pay her way in doing whatever she wants? Courts do like to preserve status quo and will often assume a stay at home mom is a more active and involved parent than a working dad, but you may want to consider if it is the best interest of your kids to live in that environment or not.

Sorry you find yourself and your kids in such a mess.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:46 PM   #19
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Marriage can be like the lottery: you gotta play to win, and you may not win on the first card you scratch!

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Old 12-24-2013, 08:43 PM   #20
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I'll start off by saying I don't desire to be single, and I'm sure I'll find a new wife soon, ....
Admittedly, having been happily married 25 years I've never faced this type of situation, but .... are you wanting more children? If not, why are you already contemplating marriage again? You already have two children & due to that will be legally, financially, and emotionally tied up with them (& your ex) for a very long time yet. My suggestion would be to spend a few years on your own before deciding you want to be married again.
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