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Need advice... considering divorce

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Need advice... considering divorce

Postby refrainfromrefrain » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:52 pm

Hello and thanks for your time. I am in my early 30s and have been married roughly a decade. Met my wife very young but was not my first relationship. We got serious fast and have lived together for a long time. We have step kids, none of my biological own. When my wife & I met we both were working and in school. I was with her through an extremely hard time of her life. There was a lot of fighting and even infidelity on my end (about 9 years ago, none since, not "all the way" though that doesn't really matter). For years we stayed together despite very regular fights and an unhealthy dynamic. At this point there is no more yelling and our fights are very manageable and less frequent. There is some stonewalling on both our ends but we also do have intimate and fun moments as well.

We went through a lot of couples counseling and church programs and improved our relationship substantially. I finished a rigorous school program which helped us out financially. However things have really changed and I feel beyond burnt out in our marriage.

I have read a lot of psychology and relationship books and do not want to be a victim here. I also however do not want to normalize and tolerate a lot of things I have problems with.

I work beyond full time. My wife does not work, the step kids are older and not with us that often, and she is not in school. She does not however do any more around the house than I do (arguably I do more). She is frivolous with money and indulges herself even though I have expressed to her numerous times (including in counseling) I want us to focus on paying off debt.

However my biggest grievance with her is her constant disrespect and micromanaging of me. The moment she hears the word "no" or doesn't get a desired response from me, she is very nasty to me in the way she treats me and talks to me. It takes little for her to go overboard. I have boundaries and know to stand up for myself but at times after a long day at work, coming home, cleaning, spending time with the kids, I just have so little energy to fight her. If she doesn't get her way she will go at length to block my electronics, take the keys even (though this is now infrequent), etc, so it's hard for me to just walk away and go do my own thing. I end up just walking away and reading on my phone but it frustrates me how she behaves, like a child. She doesn't understand that after a long day and coming home to clean and give her and the kids my time, I want to just sit down and watch my show for just an hour (and I am not exaggerating here).

We are actively in counseling. We have gone through couples books and rigorous church programs. I have asked her to return to work and she refuses. I ask what she would do if something happened to me and she admits she would go to work and stop wasting money just to please herself. But since she doesn't have to, she won't now. She plans to go back to school but she spaces her classes out and takes so few classes that for years she has just been taking classes that have amounted to nothing.

I have asked her, including in counseling, to stop disrespecting me. She feels I deserve it and, in my opinion, has unrealistic expectations that basically I am here to serve her and spend my life trying to make her happy, neglecting my own wants and needs. She is also insecure. I understand in the past I betrayed her trust but I know I have done more than enough to earn it back. However she wants me to fall into a dynamic of constantly proving myself to her, which I will not do. I will not accept that I am untrustworthy, because I know I am deserving of trust whether it's given or not. Same thing for respect.

I am beyond exhausted as I have stated. I am so tired of working all day, coming home and dealing with her problems, and having very little time to myself, which she then guilts me for. Even when I give her a ton of quality time first, she takes issue with me wanting to watch my show. If I even mention going out with the guys from work, she becomes livid. She states she can't trust me and if I do go out, she will do xyz (mess up my job, take away the car, etc etc). She has tons of alone time but I have none and she won't acknowledge that is an issue. I think if I could just have a day a week where she worked (or volunteered or went to school or did anything besides sit around the house on an electronic) I would be much happier.

I understand I can set firmer boundaries with her however at this point, I have really reached a place where I question if it's worth it. Setting boundaries with her on some issues she has explained will lead to a divorce, and others I have set, let's just say have been worthwhile but a painful experience. We own very little together, for example we rent, and the kids are hers. We talk in counseling but whatever she says seems to go out the window the moment we leave the office. I went from being untrustworthy to trustworthy, I have even done a lot of counseling on my own, and grown strides as a person. However she doesn't want to grow up, be a team player or respect me. She is happy with the status quo because she relaxes all day and then bosses me around the little time I am off.

The one thing keeping me is I love her and I trust her more than anyone else as far as her being faithful and having my back if I ever truly needed it. But at some point I can't take this quality of life. I have been fighting for this relationship for years and I don't have the energy to do this forever. I am a relatively young guy with no kids of my own and as much as I hate the thought, I could start over and would not marry someone who isn't respectful and a team player. My biggest fear is having a nasty divorce and not being able to find someone I am compatible with and can trust this late in my life. I really want kids which my wife is indifferent to but willing to try with me.

I have contemplated for over a year to post something like this for advice. This is not just a rant or something I take lightly. Besides my counselor I do not know who to turn to so that's why I am posting online.

I would appreciate advice from anyone who has been in my shoes, whether they went through with divorce or not. Thanks again for reading.
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Re: Need advice... considering divorce

Postby mf1438 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:50 pm

I feel for you. I too have a micromanaging wife and things have not been to good lately. She found out about some infidelity in my past and it's really eating away at the relationship. But I won't give up! This is my second marriage and we really love each other. Time heals all wounds.

"I understand I can set firmer boundaries with her however at this point, I have really reached a place where I question if it's worth it. Setting boundaries with her on some issues she has explained will lead to a divorce, and others I have set, let's just say have been worthwhile but a painful experience."

You have to set-up boundaries and when she crosses the line you have to reel her in. I know it's hard. I have the same problem. I let some things go. I have to pick my battles. But when she goes overboard, I have to speak up for myself. And the threat of divorce is overrated. Maybe you should take that off the table too. How can you trust someone to have your back if you feel threatened that they will leave you if you try to assert yourself?

Some thoughts are just too destructive.

You're in counseling and you're seeking advice. You are on the right track. Just stick with it and hang with it. Count your wins and your blessings. Today I almost lost it, but I calmed down and took a few deep breaths. Eventually things will get better if you keep doing the right things.
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Re: Need advice... considering divorce

Postby realityhere » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:19 pm

"Setting boundaries with her on some issues she has explained will lead to a divorce, and others I have set, let's just say have been worthwhile but a painful experience."

Umm, consider this: What would really happen if you set a boundary that your wife would regard as an ultimatum for divorce?

Just because you were unfaithful once early in your ten-year marriage doesn't give her the right to keep you on a tight leash forever. You've already proven your faithfulness over time but she's still using this one-time infidelity over you for every boundary you set. This is where she is being unrealistic here-- the punishment is overboard. You're still in the doghouse, as far as she's concerned. Her lack of respect and the micromanagement of your personal life, combined with her not working a job of some kind or not seriously pursuing an education, using your income like an ATM machine, not doing some regular housekeeping, etc all display her disregard for the hard work you have put into the relationship.

And you say she has your back here?

So you say she has not made any changes in the this unhealthy dynamic and even ignored such counsel and continues as-is. Then consider you have only this one life and how you will feel ten, twenty years from now whether you stay in the relationship and put up with her tearing you down or you divorce her, knowing you may have an alimony mistress but will not have to put up with the many negatives you've written about here.
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