Divorce stuff
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01-06-2016, 11:19 AM
Divorce stuff
So, my life is in the blender right now.

My wife is a christian. Even though she said she respected my "decision" to be an atheist and that it wasn't a big deal, she constantly blames any emotion other than happiness that I experience on the fact that I am leaving god out of my life. Honestly, I could probably overlook that. But there are other circumstances that date back years that had already weakened our marriage to the edge of breaking.

She has had serious control issues from the very beginning. But, she was my first serious girlfriend in high school and I gave up so much of myself to keep her happy for fear of losing her. I had no idea what I was doing. Our early relationship was very one sided and the early years of our marriage was pretty rocky. We've been married for 18 years now. For the last several years, our relationship has been more like that of a parent-child, or at best roommates that occasionally had (totally uninspired) sex. She pities me for the things that have happened in my life and now for my lack of faith. We don't argue anymore, because I avoid conflict at all cost. But, we also have no affection, even though I have begged for it continuously and tried to explain how it made me feel to not be wanted by her.

Earlier this year, I was in the midst of a breakdown over the Christmas eve death (by overdose) of my little cousin, who was basically my little brother growing up. I was dying for affection, begging for affection, and being denied because she didn't feel loved by me. So, I am ashamed to admit that I spent the majority of the first part of this year being mostly intoxicated, taking extreme personal risks, and basically trying to sabotage myself.

And then, by accident, I met someone. We met online at first. After realizing there was chemistry, we decided to meet in person. It was supposed to a one time, strictly physical thing. She was also married and essentially looking for exactly the same thing, though her circumstances, it turns out, were much more dire than mine. Both of us were headed down a path of self-destruction. We were just going to crash into each other for a moment along the way.

The instant our eyes met, I knew things weren't going to go the way I'd planned. I saw in her eyes the same nerves and anxiety I felt. I saw exactly the same desire for release, the same craving for affection, the same fear of rejection, the same need to be wanted. Those things I expected. However, I also saw the same hidden pain just below the surface that I also keep hidden from the world. I saw the smile in her eyes that was barely veiling the look of a person that had experienced things that people should never have to experience.

From a physical standpoint, things were beyond amazing, like, 8 hours worth of ridiculously amazing amazingness. Though, I admit that as far as I know that could be normal in these sorts of scenarios. But, as we talked we realized that we had so many things in common. Not just our current circumstances, but significant life events that we had both experienced as well as just general interests, and things we like/dislike. I found out she is also an atheist, and also recovering from a strict religious upbringing. It is actually sort of serendipitous (and also a bit creepy), really, how much alike we are. It was terrible. And I fell madly in love with her. I tried to deny it. I told her goodbye. But I couldn't go an hour without contacting her again.

I waited a month before telling my wife. It was the hardest decision of my life.

My wife continues to beg for me to come back saying she would change, she started texting me pictures of herself and trying to flirt with me, which she has NEVER done before. She promises not to try to control me or manipulate me anymore. And, she finally admitted to a fling she had a few years ago. I knew about it but never confronted her about it. Honestly, I think that is the point that my heart was broken and I began to give up on being loved by her. Even so, I can't help but wonder sometimes what the hell I am doing to myself and to my family. I want to believe these things but...

Even in the midst of making promises to not try to control me, she has been secretly calling, emailing and texting MY family members. She outed me as an atheist to them, which completely broke my 80 year old grandmother's heart. She is telling them that the devil has a hold of me and encouraging them to pray for me and to talk to me about my relationship with god. All this while telling me during counseling that she respects my right to believe or not to believe and that it is not a big deal to her.

So, last week, after months of counseling with my wife, I filed for divorce.

I look like the asshole that is having a mid-life crisis and is walking away from god, and my wife after 18 years of marriage. She is taking the "moral highroad" and acting like the contrite and loving victim. She is happy to tell everyone about my infidelity, which I have been open about myself. But she is careful to avoid mentioning any of the part she has played in everything. And, other than here, and to my dad, I have avoided airing any of her dirty laundry.

I know I should not have gotten involved with someone before I left. But I just want to be respected, and to have the opportunity to love and be loved. I want to be happy without having to be someone that I am not and I want to be with someone that I love exactly as they are, not who they could be if they just changed a few things. I want to be understood by someone that I understand.

People are telling me and my "paramour" (who I call my angel) that what we have is only a temporary infatuation (some have used the term limerence), that if only we got right with god we would both see the err of our ways, and that we should stop seeing each other immediately and try to reconcile with our spouses. Even those who know the details of my angel's relationship with her husband (which was very, very unhealthy) are, because of their religious beliefs, encouraging her to go back to him and get to get counseling. Because of their overtly religious bias, I just can't accept their advice. I also readily recognize my own bias in the matter. But, I have examined every emotion I have felt and all the circumstances leading up to the decision I have made. While I could be wrong about my feelings for my angel (though I do NOT have any doubts, personally) I firmly believe that moving on is the right thing to do for me, my current spouse, and my family. The relationship my wife and I have had is so quietly toxic, and so devoid of affection, I am afraid that my daughters will grow up thinking that that is how a normal relationship functions. Whether they are on the controlling end or the being controlled end, I do not want that to be their model for a relationship.

How do I deal with this situation while simultaneously being outed as an atheist to my family? It is hard to explain to them how I feel without being perceived as attacking their own religious beliefs. And I am so much happier with my angel. I know it is new love, but does that mean it isn't real love?

I just wanted to let you know that I love you even though you aren't naked right now. Heart
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01-06-2016, 11:31 AM
RE: Divorce stuff
Hug
Wow, TB, that was really heavy. Thanks for sharing. I can't imagine what you're going through right now.

The only thing that I would agree on with the christians is that you are broken, but that you are taking the corrective steps to try to mend yourself. You are dong what you feel is right and that's all some one can ask. Had you stayed in a profoundly unhappy relationship, what message would that have sent to your girls? Just try to be the best father you can be. As far as your your angel, she is the best parachute you can have at the moment. Take care.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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01-06-2016, 11:34 AM
RE: Divorce stuff
Hug

Don't let those gnomes and their illusions get you down. They're just gnomes and illusions.

--Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

Alouette, je te plumerai.
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01-06-2016, 11:43 AM
RE: Divorce stuff
Sorry you're going through this.
Since she already took the liberty of outing you to your family, just own it. They know you and they'll see you haven't turned into some sort of devil spawn.
I think most people know there are two sides to the story, you can let others know this without giving details. Divorces can get ugly, don't be the one who takes it down that road. If you take the "moral high ground" people will see how she is behaving on their own.
Just my two cents, I've been in a similar situation. I hope you get through this as smoothly as possible.
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01-06-2016, 11:44 AM
RE: Divorce stuff
Don't go all batshit crazy with your new love - take your time, a looong time. You are both on the rebound - that doesn't preclude this from being your perfect relationship, but it somewhat reduces the likelihood.

So, just enjoy, don't rush. Do different things together. Explore. You both deserve to have a good time.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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01-06-2016, 11:52 AM
RE: Divorce stuff
I'm sorry you're going through this. I agree that it's good to take some time with your new relationship.
As much as you have good reason to be upset with your wife's actions so far, it's probably a good idea to try to be as amicable as possible in dissolving your relationship, especially with your kids in the picture.
I hope things go as well as possible for you during this difficult time.
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01-06-2016, 12:01 PM
RE: Divorce stuff
Sorry that it came to this TB.
Hug
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01-06-2016, 12:06 PM (This post was last modified: 01-06-2016 01:52 PM by carol.)
RE: Divorce stuff
(01-06-2016 11:19 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  How do I deal with this situation while simultaneously being outed as an atheist to my family? It is hard to explain to them how I feel without being perceived as attacking their own religious beliefs. And I am so much happier with my angel. I know it is new love, but does that mean it isn't real love?

Hi. I read your post carefully. I think that your religious beliefs and relationship issues are no one's business but your own, and if anyone ever has the audacity to question you about it, I would suggest telling them off if they are distant relatives and friends. Your extended family already knows, and so if they question you about your religious life or relationship, you can tell them you feel overwhelmed atm, and unable to discuss it. If they bring up your relationship, you would rather not discuss it. If church members bring it up, be more aggressive and rude- if you are willing. It may feel good. Smile As for your grandmother, I would be gentle, kind and likely misdirect her without outright lying. Something along the lines of "Don't worry, everything will be OK" without talking about god- gently change direction and intentionally misdirect enough so it does not have to be a huge issue. Why would anyone tell her? It seems needless and cruel.
I would not be able to know if your love is real but I can tell with some assurance that in any relationship people have they always carry their own problems into it. So, even if your love is real it is easy enough for people to mess it up. Here are some quotes:

(01-06-2016 11:19 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  We don't argue anymore, because I avoid conflict at all cost.
Something to learn in this new relationship- how to argue constructively.

(01-06-2016 11:19 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  So, I am ashamed to admit that I spent the majority of the first part of this year being mostly intoxicated, taking extreme personal risks, and basically trying to sabotage myself.
Something to consider and fix so you do well in the future. This is stuff you will bring with you into this new relationship. Your job is to make yourself well adjusted enough to weather it well.
(01-06-2016 11:19 AM)TurkeyBurner Wrote:  And then, by accident, I met someone. We met online at first. After realizing there was chemistry, we decided to meet in person. It was supposed to a one time, strictly physical thing.
A one-time thing as in a sexual affair ? If so, you owe any relationship honesty and fidelity ( unless it is open) especially this new one if you want to make it work, you are both starting from a position of cheating on your spouses. How will you be able to trust each other? It is important that going forward you behave in a way that would allow your children to get comfortable with your new girlfriend- and respect you both. You do not want to teach children that cheating and lying are acceptable in relationships. You do not want your girls to think that it is normal for men to cheat and to accept it in their future relationships . Work out a very gradual introduction to the new lady- separate legally from your wife first, get the kids used to it, slowly and gradually introduce her. If you force the issue, she may be seen as a homewrecker and your kids may blame her. I think that girls especially often have problems accepting the new lady- ( boys have trouble accepting the new gentleman) especially if your wife is still hurt and the kids can sense it. If you keep distance between them all it allows both the kids and your ex to heal and will make the kids a little more receptive.
Even though we all screw-up and are human beings, it is really important to examine what we do and fix the problems we have if we want to make new relationships better than old ones .
If it were me, I would stop seeing the new friend until I was legally separated and start new with them, just to keep the relationship in a new light and properly begun. I would take a long time dating the new woman - several years before moving in together or getting engaged. I would tell anyone who pushed their nose into my business to stay out of it, and would likely get some therapy and figure out where I could improve my habits and behaviors and attitudes, ( and learn to stop the self-destructive stuff) and make sure that I did not mess up the good thing that is starting.
Hope that you see this as helpful although blunt and forward. I thought it needed saying. It may come across as bitchy, but I think it may also be stuff for you to think about.

The biology of mind bridges the sciences - concerned with the natural world - and the humanities - concerned with the meaning of human experience. Eric Kandel
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01-06-2016, 12:11 PM
RE: Divorce stuff
Awww crap hugs.

It's amazing to me how people who can profess love, place conditions on it and when things don't go as planned seem to be the first ones who toss you under the bus.

Explaining your lack of belief can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. You can explain, without attacking their belief system, by just saying that you're an atheist. You still love them. You can say that it didn't happen overnight but you're happy and comfortable with your conclusion.

As far as your 'Angel' is concerned, has she left her husband? If so I wish you both the best, if not, would tread softly -- when people are in bad or even not too terrible relationships they'll often exaggerate. I'm implying she's done this, but over the years I know it happens.

It doesn't make the feelings less "real" it just makes less than what you hoped for. We tend to project a lot of what we see or think we see onto other people.

Most often we're wrong.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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01-06-2016, 12:47 PM
RE: Divorce stuff
If you think you're doing the right thing - you probably are.

....

Doubt is normal. Expect it. But, deal with it, don't succumb to it.

It does sound like your wife has control issues - and those are not likely to go away - ever.

The thing I've learned about break-ups - is that when it's over - damnit -- keep it that way.

You WILL get over it. You WILL adjust to your new way of life - and with just a bit of luck - it's going to be better than before.

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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