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Divorcing My Wife(3 Posts)
I've long used MN for reference and now need some specific perspective advice, because I don't want to be unfair or unreasonable to my wife. Also, sorry about the length of the post, but I want to get the details down, to accurately set the scene.
As noted in the title I'm divorcing my wife of 22-years for unreasonable behaviour. We have 2 adult children 21 (at Uni) & 18 (starting Uni this Sept).
For the first 15 years of our marriage we had what I would describe as a typical relationship, ups & downs, good times and bad times, but on the whole I was happy and felt that my wife was as well. There was some trauma early in the marriage and I left for a year, and had a relationship with someone else in this period, but I wanted to come back and we worked it out. It was a mess and it was my fault, something which I accepted at the time, which I learnt from and something that I deservedly suffered a loss of trust for for some time afterwards. But we did recover, although in dips in the relationship after, this it was thrown in my face whenever it suited my wife to do so, which again I accepted as she was the injured party.
Then around 6-years ago my wife started to have mental health issues, anxiety, paranoia, signs of paranoid psychotic episodes leading to hallucinations.
This went on for 18months, during this time I was as supportive as possible, arranging with my employer at the time that I work from home 3-days a week, so that I could take over most of the child care as well as be there for my wife.
Unfortunately, I could not convince her to seek treatment as she was adamant that the trouble was all external, i.e. with those un-named people who were persecuting her.
This unsurprisingly effected our relationship greatly, and although I have always loved my wife, seeing her so disturbed was very difficult to rationalise.
Then there was a sudden change, literally overnight, whatever the issue had been went away. This came the day after a major psychotic incident.
That next morning she is was right as rain, no stress, no panic, no paranoia and over the following weeks I slowly realised that there had been a major shift in her psyche. Also, she refused to talk about the troubles she had been having, blanking the subject whenever it came up, like it had never happened.
Our relationship flipped 180°, we seemed to be back on track. She took up new interests including getting fit and although I'd always found her attractive, she got even hotter, but there was something off about her.
It's like the affection had died, first it was small things, she started refusing to hold my hand when walking in public, something we has always done. Then over the next year our sexual relationship, which had restarted after the end of her troubles tailed off, then stopped completely, then there was no touching allowed at all, then complete close down of all affection. That was 4-years ago.
With her new interests came new friends, then she started back to work, she had the opportunity to do this before, once our youngest had started secondary school but she had not needed to financially or wanted to.
This meant that I rarely saw her, I seemed to be at home working or with the kids and she was never there, either at work or at the gym or out with friends, or asleep.
I tried hard for about 1.5 years to discuss the issues, to get to the bottom of it and restart the relationship, but she simply ignored the matter. I suggest councilling or mediation, but was rebuffed every time.
When asked if she was happy she would simply say "yes, very", when I would counter with "well, I'm not" she would often just laugh or say something like "well then you should do something to make yourself happy".
I felt really bitter when I got this kind of response, but thinking about it, she should be happy, she lives in a comfortable home, drives a nice car both paid for by someone else, she receives a monthly allowance of more than double to triple the amount she pays in bills, keeps her own wages separately, knowing that I'm always here she doesn't need to worry about the kids and so can do whatever she wants whenever she wants.
Her behaviour hasn't gone unnoticed by the kids, about 2-years ago our oldest child said "mum lives like a single person" and it was true.
I have felt that there was always an imbalance in the partnership, I've always been the major bread winner but have also done most of the shopping, most of the cooking, in the past 6-years I've also done most of the child ferrying, neither of us are much for cleaning, but I've still always done my fair share.
But it is in the relationship stuff, I always am the one to apologise and make the compromise, just to keep things civil.
After 3-years of living the emotion & affection deep freeze I felt that there was no point in keeping up this 75/25% effort and simply gave up trying to please someone who showed me nothing in return.
Within 2-weeks the whole house of cards came crashing down and we've been sleeping in different rooms and barely speaking for about a year now.
So I've started divorce proceeding on Unreasonable Behaviour grounds.
I've done this because I can't and won't live the rest of my life without affection and feel that I deserve to be happy. The kids are both aware and support me in what I'm doing, the eldest is undecided who to live with when not at Uni and the youngest wants to live with me.
I've promised to give a fair settlement on the finance side of things, including maintenance payment if needed and am approaching the situation on a by the book basis, with the kids all grown up we need to base things on what we both need after the divorce.
But here is the thing, since I've started the divorce my wife has given up a job she was qualified to do and taken a minimum wage post and is now applying for further Uni courses related to her existing degree qualification.
Is this not a little unfair, as when it comes to a financial order, she will be given a better deal based on her circumstances when in reality she has far better earning capacity but is choosing not to seek higher earnings.
Also, she is suggesting that she should get the whole house because she paid the deposit 20 years ago, even though I've made 20-years of mortgage payments totally more than 4 x the deposit paid. Also our youngest wants to live with me, so at the very least we both only need a 2-bed house.
I'm just after some outside advice, anyone who knows me or my wife will only give a biased view.
Am I the 'Shit' in this situation? Have I done enough? Is it okay to desire affection?
Can’t offer any personal experience John but I think you seem brave, fair and going through a tough time . You sound like you’ve given this a good shot . Hope it works out and you can begin to rebuild your life and find future happiness
Your children are adults you've had a long marriage I think fair is a 50:50 split of everything- house equity, pensions, other assets and potentially debts...
Get yourself an experienced solicitor and try to resolve without going through the courts.
Who is to blame doesn't really impact on "reasonable" split of marital assets.
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