Support/Help with divorce after 1 yr marriage (29 y.o.)
November 14, 2012 11:07 AM   Subscribe

29 years old and divorcing after 1 year of marriage- looking for support/help with my decision.

I will try to keep this as short as possible, but there is a lot to this situation. I am the wife and the one initiating the divorce after 12 short months of marriage. We dated for 6 years, and were engaged for 1.5 years, we are both 29 years old and have owned a home together for 4 years. Here's the kicker, I never wanted this divorce but have come to the point where I need it now for myself. Since I started dating my husband he would always "doubt" our relationship, saying things like, I'm not ready for this or I love you but I dont want the committment (I know this should have been my first red flag, but avoid comments like that because I know I was blinded by "love")- we would always walk away from each other, but of course he would call me crying saying how dumb he was, that he has "issues" and that I'm the perfect/best thing that has happened to him and we would try to work on it. Instances like that happened in the first couple years a few times and sort or died out, and then about 4 yrs ago I found him e-mailing a random girl on faceboook saying how she was beautiful and would take her to dinner (nothing physical ever happened, the girl actually emailed me everything because she felt bad and was not trying to communicate with him). I lost trust, and it took us 1-2 yrs to rebuild our relationship. I told myself (and him) that I would never be okay with him reaching out to someone else, even if he was just looking for "reassurance" or "attention".

Now fast forward to a couple months before the wedding, he started doubting our relationship again saying he wasn't happy I told him to figure it out and we both decided counseling was the best option. we sort of worked it out on our own, as my husband always complaint counseling was boring, so he never gave it any effort. Everything was fine for a while, then 1 month after and again 2 months ago he told me he didn't want the resonsibility of marriage anymore, he literally said he wants to get more tattoos, have a motorcycle, not worry about me, our dog or house, would be gone every weekend and feels like he married too soon and wants to experience what life has to offer.

I went to a friends and we left eachother for a couple weeks to get our minds right and figure out what was going on. THEN I find phone calls to a suspicious number, he lied for a whole day and eventually admitted he was calling someone "from his past" but to confide in about our marriage issues (BS). So, I came back home, kicked him out and started the divorce process. He told me he was going to see a therapist because he knows he has issues (he does), but I find out he went once and cancelled because it was "boring and expensive". He has since been emaling/texting how amazing I am, how much he misses me etc etc. I just want to assure I'm not giving up on a marriage too soon, if I was still just dating this man I wouldn't put up with it and I have realized our values and goals in life aren't the same- I can't waste anymore of my time on him. I get in moments where I remember the good, but then I remind myself of the bad. Doesn't a girl deserve someone who knows they want to be with them, and sees how amazing that person is, and respects them? I gave all of myself, my trust and everything to this man for 6+ years all in hopes he (we) would be what I pictured in my head- I have nothing more to give as he. He violated my trust AGAIN, and has put so much doubt in my mind that there is no coming back from it. I'm sad to lose someone I called my best friend, but I also feel a sense of freedom knowing that I can worry about myself. There's just a little voice telling me this can't be true and reminding me of how scary life is alone. I thought I would be happily married with children at 29, not I am starting over :(. I have drafted all the paperwork for the divorce and met with an attorney, we can submit and be finalized April 2013. Any advice/encouragement would be helpful. Thank you :)
posted by love2much to Human Relations (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly he sounds like a douche. I know plenty of guys who have tattoos and ride motorcycles and are perfectly responsible. He's finding excuses for why he cannot commit to you. IMO, you're better of getting out of it sooner rather than later.
posted by ethidda at 11:12 AM on November 14, 2012 [15 favorites]

29 is quite young to be starting over, so don't worry about that much.

Here is the encouragement I have for you:

Life alone is scary because it is unfamiliar - but you will not be alone. You will have the support of everyone else you know, and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them are very happy to see the back of this guy.

Somewhere out there is a guy who thinks you're amazing and tells you so all the time - not just when he thinks it'll stop you from leaving. Take some time to breathe and establish your own sense of self (it'll take a while) and then go find that guy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:14 AM on November 14, 2012 [10 favorites]

Girl, you need a new best friend. It sounds like this one never gave you the support or respect you deserved, and that he was never really committed to the relationship (from what you have relayed, he straight-out said as much, on several occassions!) Your biggest regret now seems to be "throwing away" a marriage; you admit if you weren't married that you are at the point where you would call it quits. I suggest reframing it to yourself that you just never should have gotten married to begin with. You deserve much better and staying with him just to avoid being alone will not make you happy.
posted by Eicats at 11:15 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are doing the right thing for you, love2much. Don't let him or that little voice tell you otherwise.
posted by royalsong at 11:17 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your husband is a flake who clearly values himself more than the relationship. Marriages are built for two people who will be there for each other. He hasn't been, so you're right to move on even though it's been painful.
posted by inturnaround at 11:18 AM on November 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

Doesn't a girl deserve someone who knows they want to be with them, and sees how amazing that person is, and respects them?

Yep! Work on being that person for yourself, and don't settle for other people treating you like less.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am usually the last person to recommend that a couple divorce. However, based upon your question, I think it is the proper decision. In a sense, your husband's attitude makes me question whether you were ever married other than as a legal matter. Thankfully, no children are involved.

Yes, I think this is the correct thing to do. He will never stop betraying you. I do not doubt that you have myriad bad feelings about how much of the past decade may have been wasted, but I think this decision, while sad, is the proper one. I am sure that you are fearful of being single but you seem lovely and are still at a marriageable age. You will not be alone if you do not want to be.

I sense from your question that your husband is a bit of a "bad boy", or at least is one in his own mind. If so, you have probably already figured this out, but I recommend that your next choice for marriage not be such a man. Nice, low-key provider types are worth a look.
posted by Tanizaki at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Doesn't a girl deserve someone who knows they want to be with them, and sees how amazing that person is, and respects them?


It sounds to me like you keep trying to make things work and he is not really interested. He also seems to equate a certain lifestyle with being single, which is not true at all. You can be married and still get tattoos and ride motorcycles. In any case, from your description it sounds like you want different things out of life right now. You should get on with living the life that YOU want, even if that means it comes with a divorce and selling your house and stuff.

Have you tried counseling on your own? You might want to look into it so that you can start to deal with these feelings that single life is scary and that you feel like you're starting over. As you have learned, life doesn't follow a set path, and maybe you need some help deciding what is next for you.
posted by cabingirl at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

When I was around 26, I moved in with a guy I had dated LDR for 3 years. We lived together, fairly content, for two years, and then got married. It lasted 6 months, ended with a fairly unhappy (but not desperately unhappy) divorce. We were both way too young. I got married for the wrong reasons (my parents thought I should, if I was living with him) and it turned out that he wanted someone who was really nothing like me, and was trying to make me fit the bill.

I found that the hardest part was not losing him, but losing the fantasy of what my life with him would be like. But my life with him never would have been like that - I was missing something that could never have existed. You can't put your life in neutral, or worse, reverse, because you think you can catch up to that fantasy. The only thing you can do is move forward and find something actually real.

I'm not 26 anymore, and looking back on that relationship, I can't express how happy I am that it ended. My life now is worlds better than it ever could have been with him, mainly because in my twenties, my fantasy life was the fantasy life of somebody in their twenties. It's not just that I wouldn't want to be stuck with the reality that relationship would have been; even the fantasy of what that life would have been would not be a good thing for the person I turned out to be.

I think you're doing the right thing for yourself. Don't be suckered in by the myth of unconditional trust/love. Love that's unconditional is blind, and trust that's blind is stupid. If you can't trust this guy, you absolutely should not be with him. So good for you for realizing that and taking action. What's scary now is something you'll thank yourself for every day, later.
posted by kythuen at 11:24 AM on November 14, 2012 [15 favorites]

It's not just your husband - it's both of you.

6+ years, with all the options for both of you to wise up and bail did nothing. And, now you are married. You are bad for each other, and at the same time, can't live without each other. That's understandable - you have spent your most formative years with each other.

I suggest final counseling before divorce (divorce aftermath is a big fucking deal) - it will at least help you come to terms and evaluate, and if he agreed to participate, help both of you reconcile. You can always just as easily file papers thereafter.

Reason why : you are honestly "kid lovers" turning the corner to adulthood. If he and you can get your shit together now, the marriage can be saved, because you have a better chance of getting wiser, together.
posted by Kruger5 at 11:29 AM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

He walked away from you. Over and over again. Save your sanity and make room in your life for someone who values you. Get the divorce.
posted by cecic at 11:33 AM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read and respond. Everything you are saying is spot on, and sometimes I just need to hear the words to remind me what I am doing is right.
posted by love2much at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Trust your gut! You absolutely deserve better than this and you are right to be standing up for yourself. Congratulations are in order -- you are about to start your life afresh and anew and it's going to be awesome.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:35 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Dude, good job. Kick this douche to the curb.

If at times you feel like you are being the aggressor, remember that you are not; or if you feel that a divorce will leave you all alone, just don't forget that's an illusion. That's not how life works. Sometimes the world is counter-intuitive. That's why listening to "what a guy promises or says" is unreliable.

Sure, it can be challenging meeting a great guy. That's part of life. But that doesn't mean you settle for the village bicycle.

And speaking as a guy, any other guy that doesn't deliver but is full of apologies and compliments is bullshitting you. Any guy who uses the phrase "I want to experience what life has to offer" - if this is what he actually told you - I promise you this is actually "I'm currently banging and/or am about to bang other girls." Men edit. They don't tell women the whole truth. This is an edit.
posted by phaedon at 11:36 AM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]

I think sometimes people are too quick to give up on troubled marriages. I only mention that so that you can understand where my advice is coming from.

I think you should divorce him. Even the usual advice to first try couple's counseling doesn't sound like a good option, as he can't even be bothered to go to his own therapy. To me, it comes down to the fact that he just isn't acting like he is married to you or even ever wanted to be. Given that, you are better off divorcing him and moving on with your life.
posted by Area Man at 11:41 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Given that you have attended joint counseling and suggested counseling for him, it seems that you're open to the process and see the potential benefits. So why not go yourself, alone, before making any final decisions? I'm glad you are finding the responses here helpful, but unlike a therapist, we don't know very much about you, and you don't know us. Very likely, therapy will simply help you become more comfortable with your decision, in which case it will have been worth it. And there's some small chance you will, after further careful consideration and discussion with someone who knows you well and whom you trust, change your mind, in which case it will also have been worth it.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:48 AM on November 14, 2012

Therapy is boring? What is he, seven?

Yes, you are absolutely making the right choice.
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:51 AM on November 14, 2012 [14 favorites] are very right but I find sometimes the best advice comes from those that don't know a lot about you, your partner, or the situation- sometimes people can see more clearly knowing the true facts and can help at least provide good insights. I have been in therapy actually for the past 6 months, and she has even asked me to bring him along (before these problems), but he would just sit there as she would have to basically force him to talk. I love therapy, and it has helped me through this time. My therapist basically says the same things that everyone on here is... i just look for support/advice when I'm questioning/doubting myself. Thank you for your advice.
posted by love2much at 12:01 PM on November 14, 2012

Here's the thing: a marriage takes two people. You can be in this with the best will in the world, and all the understanding and 9th chances you can bring to the table, but your husband clearly lacks the maturity to be a good partner. He may grow into it next year, in 20 years, or never, but you are not obligated to bet the rest of your life on that.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:03 PM on November 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

You are not a yoyo. Time to cut the string.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:09 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

He has since been emaling/texting how amazing I am, how much he misses me etc etc.

So, he wants you back on a part-time basis, only when he feels like it? When this has happened to me or my friends, I find that the phrase "sorry, it doesn't work that way." helps a lot. Repeat as necessary.
posted by Melismata at 12:10 PM on November 14, 2012 [6 favorites]

I admire the hell out of you for your insight, and for your strength. Your children will be lucky when you have them with the right guy, who knows he wants to be there and have a family. Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:13 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

You are not too old to start over, and it won't be as scary as you think. Trust your gut and hang in there! The only think worse than doing this now would be doing it in another week or month or two years.
posted by mrs. taters at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2012

He may grow into it next year, in 20 years, or never, but you are not obligated to bet the rest of your life on that.

Quoted for truth. I'd like to point out that even if he does eventually get his act together, that doesn't mean you will have made the wrong choice. It sounds like he's shown and even explicitly told you what he is and isn't willing to do for his relationship with you. His future relationships' success or failure won't have any impact on the rightness or wrongness of the decision you're making.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

When I was 26, I divorced my husband. He is a dear, sweet man who never did anything to hurt me or betray my trust. The decision to leave him was a very difficult one to make, since nothing was really "wrong", but I still left him. I mention this because although I understand how tough it is to give up on a marriage, it is easy to see (as an outside observer) that you are absolutely, positively doing the right thing.

This man is an immature, selfish, inconsiderate liar and does not deserve you. I'm sure he's got some good traits, otherwise you wouldn't have stuck with him for as long as you did. But I don't care if the guy can spin straw into gold: his appalling behavior negates any redeeming qualities.

And I completely understand about feeling like 29 is late to start over, but I assure you, it's not. After my divorce, I waited for the right man to show up and enjoyed the hell out of my late twenties/early thirties. I'm now 39, happily married, and a brand new mom.

You don't mention much of a support network in your post; I hope your friends and family are giving you all the encouragement and understanding you need. Please feel free to memail me if you need a sounding board or a cheering section.
posted by Specklet at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2012

Go. Go now. It will be hard, scary, and painful. He will try to make you out to be a terrible person, say that you're abandoning him.

That's bullshit. You'll get through it, and you'll be happier than you've been in years. Yes, you invested several years in this relationship, but you have many many more than that ahead of you, and you owe it to yourself to make the best of them.

Look after yourself.
posted by dry white toast at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2012

I suggest that when he contacts you and tells you how much he misses you, that you tell him: one of the following (depending on your mood):

1. I can't help you with that.
2. I don't know how to respond to that. I think you'll just have to sit with that feeling.
2. I am missed the boat, buddy. But you'll be alright!
3. It's nice that you miss me. It's good to know that it pinches at least a little bit. Makes me feel like it wasn't a complete waste of time.
posted by vitabellosi at 1:23 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

My mother was a motorcycle enthusiast, helped run her local Harley chapter, went on rides every weekend (during the summer) and stopped just short of getting tattoos. But guess what? Her family still came first. She didn't do any of that until she knew her kids could handle themselves, she didn't resent us or our father, nor did she blame us for the time when she decided not to do that and instead focused on us. My parents didn't have a perfect marriage but they insisted on being equal partners within it regardless of their "if I were single" hopes and dreams.

Your husband sounds like he's struggling with what he wants and what society tells him he wants. That's not a bad thing and of itself, but he's handling it in the most childish of ways, and keeps hurting you due to his nearsightedness. He's not being an equal partner in your marriage and you don't need any other reason to leave him. Seriously. You can burn yourself into the ground trying to make a 2 person marriage happen with only 1 person, or you can save yourself the trouble and get out of there.

You deserve someone who makes you feel loved and supported. You deserve someone who will put you first (or damn close to it). You are allowed to call it quits when your partner repeatedly refuses to do that for you.
posted by buteo at 1:30 PM on November 14, 2012

how scary life is alone

I understand this line of thought. It kept me in a relationship far longer than it should have.

Here's the thing I learned after I finally gutted-up and left the guy: I was actually more alone and lonely in the relationship than out of it. There is a particular type of soul-suck in being involved with someone who is not fully present for you. It's damn lonely.

Another thing I learned: solitude can be quite lovely. It's so...tranquil. It's not scary at all to me now.

And ending that particularly relationship led to me making a new circle of friends, so I wasn't even alone all that long. You'll find your tribe, your won't be alone for long, unless you choose to be (which is a perfectly viable choice).

People are (correctly) stating that you are plenty young to start over, but I would add that *any* age is the perfect age for a lifestyle reboot. Please beware of falling into the false economy of sunk-cost thinking.

Be brave. You can do it.
posted by nacho fries at 1:38 PM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]

You're young and you've been letting "society" and others tell you how to run your life. You knew when he had cold feet before the wedding that you should have bailed, but you didn't because you would have been embarrassed.

Just because your husband misses you when you're gone, doesn't mean that he loves you enough to be married to him.

So now you get to be selfish. You don't have to worry about him anymore. He's free to ride his bike, get tattoos, eat ramen 5 nights straight, and stay up until 2 AM every night! Apparently you married a 12-year-old, but that's okay, you're not babysitting him anymore.

Set him up with his own ring tone, divert his emails to a special folder. Only talk to him or email him about the legalities of your divorce. Don't engage in his emotional games anymore. Defriend him on Facebook!

It's done, it's over, invite your friends and family for some comfort food and a commiseration party. Tell them you need their support. Change your locks.

Put the house on the market, take up a new hobby, take a class at the Community Center.

I'm excited for you, aren't you?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:51 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I disagree with just about everything kruger5 said. Sure, get some counseling to work out the issues surrounding your choice to stay with him for 6 years but I just don't think now is the time to be beating yourself up. As a matter of fact, I think now is the time to be kind to yourself. You are young. You made a mistake. That's called LIFE. People here on Metafilter always seem to want folks to start navel gazing right away.

FWIW, I have a friend who went through a similar situation .... except he was he first and only love. They met at 16. Married at 24. Divorced a year later when he began a relationship with another woman (who oddly had the exact same name as she did.)

What I remember from that time is that she surrounded herself with family and friends. I flew out to visit her and we spent the whole weekend laughing like crazy, eating and shopping. I left and another friend showed up. We just surrounded her with support and reminded her that there were better days ahead. And she thrived ... got a graduate degree and a new job and eventually remarried a mature, loving man. It will happen for you too. I promise.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 2:04 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Jane", the wife of my good friend "John" went through something similar - dated "Simon" for years, got married despite misgivings about it and then discovered he was cheating on her and ended up divorced after only a year.

The good news is that she met John soon after and is now very happily remarried with a baby. I know she felt embarrassed about being divorced at a young age and must have felt terrible at the time of her divorce, but it has all worked out so much for the better and I really don't think people remember or think about her first marriage much. Certainly I was nothing but delighted when she and John got together as he's so obviously head over heels for her and very happy.

Living alone is better than being undermined and tormented by someone who has no respect for you or your feelings, but there is every chance that you will not be alone indefinitely and will find someone you can have a healthy, happy relationship with.
posted by *becca* at 2:13 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't feel bad about the marriage only lasting 1 year. It may have 'officially' been one year, but you were together for a long time, owning a house together - that's effectively being common-law in a lot of places. People who matter won't think poorly of you if they know something about why you're breaking up. They'll also side with you because he's being a jackass. Confide in those close to you and you will have support.

My first marriage decayed within the first year, but I was so embarrased and ashamed I kept it from everyone. We stuck it out for another few years and had counseling, and I pretended to be ok, but in the end we still got a divorce. It was ugly, but the rest of my life was so much better for it. My only regret was keeping our problems from my friends and family until I'd decided to get divorced. Once they knew my side, they were very supportive and didn't judge me, I was surprised. Maybe I'd have left sooner if I'd not been so afraid of what they'd think.

That was in my early 20's, I'm almost 30 now. In your shoes, I wouldn't delay - time's on your side still. Cheer up about starting over, romantically. Just have fun with it and you'll enjoy the experience. Dating's a bit different now than from when you were 20 - people have money and good jobs and a bit more baggage, and you might have to weed through more "single for a reason" frogs to find princes, but that's for another askme ;)
posted by ergo at 3:19 PM on November 14, 2012

Girl, you aren't married now. Prune the withered fruit from the vine and make legality reflect reality.
posted by KathrynT at 4:46 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

« Older PS don't go to law school   |   Help my parents help themselves. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.