When I was a lot younger, I always thought that divorce was for losers. I naively thought that men and women that got divorced had not really tried to make the marriage work. Maybe it was a reaction to my parents divorcing after 19 years.
Most likely, I just did not understand life at the age of 27 years. That is when I got married. That is when I thought I knew EVERYTHING.
I cannot emphasize that enough. How foolish I was in 1985 to think that I knew it all. Was it my four years in the television news business that made me think this way? In those fifty months, I had seen the best and worst in people. I had been all over the state of North Carolina, covering the news for my television station. Certainly growing up in progressive Seattle had made me enlightened. Being a child in this country’s most European-like city certainly made me worldly.
Only time can make one understand life and relationships better. It also creates change in oneself. Though it took me a long time to realize this, I am definitely different today than in 1985. What I need and desire is different than three decades ago. Many of my liberal values have moderated. And, all of those material possessions that I wanted as a young man no longer appeal to me (I drive a 2003 Toyota Camry).
The same goes for my wife. When we met, everything about us was very similar. I am talking about values, views, education, and even sex.
Time changed that. She has grown on a different path than me. It may be a parallel path, but the differences are enough that my marriage is very stressful to me at times. I have been unhappy for a long time due to us growing apart. I hate that cliché, but we really have some differences. Communicating my concerns has not changed anything nor can it as we are different people today.
Despite these differences, I do not hate my wife. She is a good friend, but a good friend does not make for a great marriage. There are single women in my life that are good friends. I can confide things with them, but I would never consider them as my future wife.
It takes chemistry along with friendship to make a good marriage. Bluntly speaking, chemistry includes sex. Let’s be honest here. Most men and women desire and need to have this. The amount they need is an individual thing, but I do know sex in my marriage is unacceptable. I have a sexless marriage – having sex eight or less times in a year. Who is to blame? Probably both of us, but the fact is that I have tried to resolve the problem to no avail. And, it is just not a numbers thing! I am not that crazy husband that did an Excel spreadsheet of his lovemaking with his wife and emailed it to her to complain. What I desire and what my wife wants and likes are vastly different today than when we first met.
There I go again, talking about change.
All of this got me thinking about my marriage and was it meant to be “until death do us part.” Was marriage ever intended to last 60 or 70 years? Putting on my scholarly hat, I thought about marriages back in the ancient Egyptian times. I think that is far enough back in time for my scholarly thesis. The life expectancy of people was less than 40 years. So, society never expected marriages to really go beyond 20 years. Today is different. The other day I was talking to the company that is handling my 401(k) account. I needed to tweak my investments thus their representative asked me how long I wanted my funds to last. I replied that it need to be around until I am 90 years of age.
“Good!” she replied. “We are telling men 92 years of age and women 94 years of age.”
That really got me thinking. I was married at 27 years of age. If I lived to 92, my marriage would have to last 65 years! Is this realistic? The answer came back negative.
My happiness is too important to wallow through 36 more years of life or to be unhappy for such a long period of time. Life is too short to be miserable.
So, I finally concluded that divorce was the best course of action for me.
Do I feel good about this?
It is a mixed bag. I have to look out for my happiness thus divorce will be good for me.
But, telling my wife is a different story. As I stated, I do not hate her. I do not want to hurt her, but there is absolutely no way to soft pedal a divorce, especially after 29 years of marriage. Just thinking about my big announcement has my stomach in knots. There are times I feel sick because of what I have to do.
Divorce is NOT a failure.
It is the end of one chapter in our lives.
Divorce is also the beginning of the next chapter. A book is not one chapter long thus why should our lives be one marriage long?
It will be a tough road to travel, but the rewards are unlimited once I successfully traverse this highly stressful route.