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Thinking seriously of divorce after 35 years, but....

None of the things that are normally going wrong in a marriage are going wrong in mine. No infidelity. No abuse (anymore; there was some sexual abuse in the first half of our marriage). We agree on religion and politics. Even though we've had rough patches (usually due to his attitude toward me), I had been thinking that we'd gotten past all those issues. The kids are grown and out on their own and it seemed like we were really enjoying having time together again with just us.

But a few nights ago, we started quarreling. It seems to have started as a result of my getting angry about a trip he is planning. He has been thinking of taking a short trip to meet with his brother (who was making a short visit to a nearby state) and go over some of their Dad's affairs (my FIL is 88 and now living with us, since he has sufficient dementia that he can't remember to take his pills, get his own meals, or call for help if he's in trouble). But my husband had no idea what his brother's plans were or whether his brother would have time to do the things my husband intended. I told my husband that he really needed to ask his brother those questions before he made a plan that would 1) cost a lot in gas money, and 2) leave me on my own to take care of FIL.

I blew a cork when I heard my husband telling one of our sons that he was going on this trip, without ever having discussed it with me again. As it turned out, he had STILL not confirmed with his brother that it would be a necessary trip instead of a wasted one. And to make matters worse, my work days were recently changed on me (which I had already told my husband), with the result that I would be having to take care of FIL alone immediately after coming off my work days (I have fibro, so the days I work really take it out of me).

A lot of old stuff got rehashed in that quarrel. But for me, things came to a head when he accused me of treating him like a servant.

This isn't a new complaint, although it's one I have worked hard to mitigate over the years. I try not to ask him to do things for me unless I'm having a rough time, and I am ALWAYS expressing my gratitude for the things he does, including working to support us. But from very early on in our marriage he has blamed me that he has to work at jobs he doesn't like (he ends up never liking his jobs, no matter how enthusiastic he is to begin with, and nevermind that he would have to work to live whether we were married or not!). And I have actually been the primary breadwinner a few times in order to give him the chance to try to start up businesses of his own (which he never puts the necessary work into for them to succeed).

That's another old argument between us. When he fails at something, I get blamed for it. Even if I've been the one working my butt off to try to help his project succeed. Eventually I decided to stay COMPLETELY out of his projects so that he would have no excuse to blame me when they go wrong. And I rarely ask him for help with anything I'm working on, unless it requires brute strength or another pair of hands. I long ago gave up even sharing my projects with him, because he either had no interest or was critical.

The only "typical" issue between us has been money. He thinks I spend more than I should, even though I don't spend a lot (and even though he spends a lot, often foolishly, when he's set on one of his projects). We've been working together at budgeting and paying our debts down for the past 5 years or so, so I thought all of that was under control. But it's still something he throws in my face when we quarrel. And the sad reality is that I have always been the one to pay the bills and make arrangements for anything. He has attempted to do it himself a few times, but he always bungles it, then blames me for not giving him a chance when I have to resume doing it myself because SOMEONE has to.

But when he brought up the whole "treats him like a servant" thing again, I suddenly realized that the only way I could have any hope of him not feeling that way is for me to NEVER ask him for anything ever again (and of course, that wouldn't guarantee that he wouldn't find a way to blame me anyway!). And if I have to live like that--unable to ask my own husband for ANYTHING--there's really no point in not simply living alone.

When I told him that the next day, he decided he didn't want me to leave him. And honestly, I don't really WANT to leave. I love him, and I have been pretty comfortable with my life, even if it isn't all that I wish it could be.

But I keep coming back to the fact that I can't change how he sees me. And I don't want to be with someone who sees me as an awful person.

One more thing--while he has made a great many positive changes since we were first married (which I give him tremendous credit for, because most people don't have the gumption to change)--there is one really negative change: he now hates cats. Before we were married and for the first 2/3rds of our marriage, he seemed to love cats nearly as much as I do. But then he stopped even liking them. And the reality is that I wouldn't have married him if he didn't love cats. Cats are needful to my happiness, and his new dislike for them is a much bigger issue for me than he seems to think.

Anyway, I don't know what to do. I have started putting some things in place so that I am gradually progressing towards leaving him. But it's really, really hard to move out of a spot that has been comfortable, especially when I do still love him. And then there's the fact that if I leave, it will be much, much harder for him to be able to take proper care of his Dad (who really shouldn't be left alone for more than a couple of hours at a time).

I just need to talk about this with someone other than just my best friend. :(

Re: Thinking seriously of divorce after 35 years, but....

i went back and forth for 20 years of our 32 year marriage, thinking i still loved him, he treated me well, except for screaming at me every two weeks for little things and arguing.
but over time all those not so great moments rubbed away my love, then like, then after 2 years in counseling when his real feelings came out, my caring about him was gone too.

i'm glad you are putting things in place. when we had a 3 month separation and i really wrote down and saw how he had no respect for me and just wanted things the certain way he wanted them, including not allowing me to foster kittens anymore ( the thing that make me the happiest).

i slowly got rid of stuff and decided what i would take, and that i could go to my sister's for a while, i said i wanted a divorce. our marriage wasn't a good marriage, even though we loved, then still cared about each other.

i left 7 months ago and emotionally it's hard, but i would still make the same decision. think through what you need to do, how you can put a life in place for you after a divorce, what do you want your future to be?

is there anyway you can offer to help with the father after the divorce? our help your ex get assistance?