Give her "space" and potentially end the relationship, or try to compromise?
May 4, 2012 5:06 PM Subscribe
Wife wants "space" -- but we're supposed to move to a foreign country in a week. Give her "space" and potentially end the relationship, or try to compromise? There's more to it than that, so here goes:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going to be as vague as possible because I don't want this post to negatively influence either of our careers. I suppose that one could read between the lines and tease more things out -- go for it.
My wife (been together five years, married for one) will be deploying to a United States Embassy for a two year tour next week (less than a week from the time of this writing). I planned on accompanying her; I have an employment offer lined up. Our ultimate goals were to get into the US Foreign Service and function as a tandem couple -- we considered this to be our dream job.
Catch is, she got in -- and I didn't. I have a strong feeling that I haven't gotten in because of my lack of international experience -- I've never lived or worked overseas. Getting some expat experience is really high on my list of priorities.
Yesterday, she said we had to talk. She says that she needs space, and doesn't know what she wants or needs from the relationship. She said that she didn't think that we would "work" in this new place. This was an enormous shock to me, even though I know that she's not a person who can articulate her emotions as well as she needs. It's something we've both tried working on, and it's something I was much better at in the past. She knows who she is and how she behaves; I know who I am and work to better myself. There's a fine difference there.
Being the veteran of a number of really terrible long term relationships, I tried to find a compromise that would be agreeable to both of us, a compromise that involved me going overseas and getting some work experience, and her getting the space that she wants. She completely stonewalled me and said that she didn't think it was a good idea. When pushed about what was specifically wrong, she said she didn't even know, and couldn't give me concrete reasons.
My personal effects? Already packed and on their way somewhere as of last week. The round trip transit time is said to be between two and four months. It takes a while because the country in question is in a particularly "interesting" region of the world (just north of Iran). The car was set to be shipped next week, so at least that's not gone.
The country? Not conducive to conducting a long distance relationship. Internet service is spotty, and there's a ten hour time difference from the east coast of the US. Flights are exorbitantly priced. She is likely to use one of her home leave trips to go visit friends instead of family, because that helps her recharge and unstress.
So here's the nut of the question: should I keep pushing for a compromise, or should I just let this all drop? I want to be there for her. Working past this situation will take effort, but I'm willing to take on that burden because I care about her so much. I feel that I've already given so much by leaving relatively high paying jobs with future potential to follow her around; what I'd be doing in country would be a challenge, but, aside from getting international experience, not significant in the long term. (By the by, we met in college, and I gave up a job to follow her to a place where she could find work. This seems to be a repeating event, but I also seem not to mind, because a career is less important than my relationship with her.) My worry is that the relationship will just crumble given the distance (temporal and spatial both) if I don't go.
Alternatively, do I just need to grow up, get a divorce and deal with selling the house and our shared assets, and make a clean break? I don't want to do this for a litany of reasons, not limited to the fact that she's generally logical and loving the majority of the time. I am 33, so I'm not too old to get back out there and meet other people (and maybe raise a kid), but I'd obviously like to avoid all of that. Especially since I'll be wearing the scarlet letter of divorce.
Any advice appreciated, especially from those who might have gone through something similar.
Email for clarification or comments: email@example.com