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Help me get to January
December 4, 2012 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Marriage fizzling; need your best holiday coping methods to get through the rest of the year.

Marriage essentially over, 9 years later. We have both changed a lot since we got married and do not have the same goals/priorities anymore. I enjoy time most when he is not around. There's no one else- it's just not him anymore.

I do not see any scenario where we stay together. I want out. But we have not acknowledged any of it which is weird. It's like we both have tacitly chosen to ignore the enormous elephant in the room.

I know that something must be done. I can't live like this anymore. But the holidays are coming and it's not the time or place. All I can think about is how hard it will be spend time with family and act like things are fine when we are really just cohabiting strangers who have grown very much apart. Have you had to put up a front like this? What are your strategies?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know this doesn't explicitly answer your question, but you may find that actually talking about your feelings about the relationship as it stands at the moment may open you both up to being vulnerable and discussing your true needs, which may actually end up improving the relationship to the point where you dont want to leave.

Just a thought...
posted by softlord at 8:59 AM on December 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


You fail to mention an important point : what does he want?
posted by Kruger5 at 9:01 AM on December 4, 2012


I agree with softlord. Try talking about it. Also - have you considered marriage counseling?
posted by commitment at 9:03 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you discussed it with him? If not, get an exit strategy in place and be prepared to execute it. Start looking for housing, start planning what you'll do with your current housing. (Will you leave, will he? Do you have to sell?)

Do you have children, is part of your decision not to break up now based on not ruining their holidays? If so, it's valid, but you and your spouse need to acknowledge that you're breaking up now. Living a lie, isn't noble, it's just a lie. Sit down with your husband and discuss ending your marriage with him. If he feels the same way, it may be the best gift that you give each other.

If you're on good terms, it makes things so much easier.

You don't need to announce your split to the world until Epiphany if that's what you want.

As for dealing with all the holiday jazz, perhaps this is the year you each go see your own familiy individually. Perhaps you call off the holiday and go on a nice retreat alone, a cruise, an ashram, a spa, a week in a remote cabin, whatever it is that will soothe your soul and recharge your batteries for the new year and your new life.

Chances are you're not fooling anyone. You may be the last to know that you are unhappy in your marriage. If you're in a good space with this, your friends and family will be too.

Make an appointment with a marriage councelor, not to save your marriage, but to negotiate the break up of your relationship in a constructive and helpful way.

Good Luck to you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:07 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I recommend just dealing with it now. I ended my marriage in what sounds like fairly similar circumstances (no kids, finally just getting round to admitting it wasn't working) at the start of December a few years ago and with hindsight it was so much easier getting it done with and spending xmas apart, with our own families, than trying to negotiate whose parents we would see this year and all the usual bollocks.
posted by corvine at 9:28 AM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I want out. But we have not acknowledged any of it which is weird. It's like we both have tacitly chosen to ignore the enormous elephant in the room.

You say *you* want out but *we* haven't acknowledged it. If you want out, you need to be the one to say so.

All I can think about is how hard it will be spend time with family and act like things are fine when we are really just cohabiting strangers who have grown very much apart. Have you had to put up a front like this? What are your strategies?

I am not sure how this differs from what you've been doing up to now. But in my view, you don't have to act around others like things are fine when they're not. You also don't have to act that way around each other. In both cases, if there's significant tension, you're not fooling anyone and you can remove the discomfort of everyone keeping up appearances just by being honest.
posted by headnsouth at 9:38 AM on December 4, 2012


Are you friends? If so, maybe look at it as going to holiday events with a good friend. That can take the emotional drama out of it.
posted by Vaike at 9:42 AM on December 4, 2012


Knowing its over and going through the motions sounds worse than kicking off the seperation process now. Go visit family you want, not that you only feel obligated to.
posted by garlic at 9:47 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding corvine. Seeing family together is painful and awkward for all involved to include the family you're visiting (or that has come to see you). Swallow the tough breath and make a choice to bring it into the open. Talking about it may begin to heal your marriage or it may be the death knell, but either way it's in the open and you have a chance to spare everyone a lot of pain.

I did this, I had to put up the front in front of family (discovered infidelity just before a scheduled flight to see family) and no one survived unscathed. It's not worth it in the long run.
posted by skittlekicks at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2012


It's a little unkind not to explicitly tell him you think it's over and give him a chance to help make practical plans. There may be an amicable way to part but you both have to be able to discuss it openly.
posted by discopolo at 6:31 PM on December 4, 2012


Your question is about handling the holidays, no? I don’t see how anyone can give good advice without knowing your families, who will be affected and in what way. Only you and your husband know that. I assume since you don’t mention it that you don’t have kids, but do you have nieces and nephews that might be deeply hurt, your parents? Someone said upthread that you don’t have to act around others that things are fine when they’re not. Well yeah, sometimes you actually do have to do that. Sometimes that’s what being a grownup is. What the English call stiff upper lip.

The holidays are a very special time for many people, especially kids, so coldcocking your loved ones now may be a really selfish thing to do. Someone else said seeing family together is painful and awkward, well maybe only if you make it so. All I can think about is how hard it will be spend time with family and act like things are fine when we are really just cohabiting strangers. How hard for whom, you? Maybe I’d see your point if there were infidelity involved, but that’s not the case, you want out because you’ve grown apart, and as difficult and painful resolving that prove to be, you’re posting this 3 days before Hanukkah and 3 weeks before Christmas.

So think about all your loved ones involved and put them before yourself. There’s nothing dishonest about putting up a good front for the right reasons, it may be the kind and compassionate thing to do.
posted by PaulBGoode at 11:00 PM on December 4, 2012


It is the time and the place.

There is not a tax-free holiday for divorce out there waiting for you.

You need to say "I don't want to be in this marriage anymore" not just think it.
posted by French Fry at 7:36 AM on December 5, 2012


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