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Dealing with a Major Personal Crisis II

3 Post author: Gunnar_Zarncke 27 April 2014 10:20PM

This is the second post about Dealing with a Major Personal Crisis. The recount of the crisis is complete now. Please continue reading there but comment here.

The reasons for posting it this way are explained at the end of the link. I hope this approach does what I want it to.


Comments (9)

Comment author: mwengler 28 April 2014 10:23:21PM *  7 points [-]

I really liked reading your account, thank you.

My wife and I separated 1.75 years ago. This followed a few years where we didn't get along very well and it happened on about the third time my wife asked for it. We have two daughters who are 16 and 14 now, and that was a major concern for each of us.

The first time she seriously wanted out, she asked me to leave our house. I said no, told her she could leave if she wanted to. She was frustrated and looked into things, I think, and discovered she couldn't make me leave. I meanwhile discovered that the bulk of advice to men in my position is NOT to leave.

I talked her back in to the relationship I guess two or three times over the years. But it never got better, only more distant.

When she told me what turned out to be the last time, there was no anger on her part, just "this time is it." I recognized I could either fight it or join it and chose to join it, finally. I think the three earlier runs at it had helped change my mind sufficiently to make it much easier, and I suspect much of the success of our separation arises from her putting it off for a few years from when she first had the urge.

There never was another person, either for her, or for me, while we were married and living together. I think this is a feature, not a bug, that it contributed to the separation going very well. I like her new boyfriend well enough. My kids don't, and I think it is just the situation, I don't think there is a problem with him.

I kept the house thinking the kids would be more likely to spend time with me that way. It turned out not to be true. They went to the new condo with their mom and spent very little time with me in the old house, and told me I should sell it because it was too big for me to keep up.

I did buy with my wife the condo she bought, knowing she would never be able to get a mortgage without me. In our separation agreement I think she is "required" to refinance, but I told her as long as I am left on the deed and as long as she keeps making payments, she can keep the mortgage which has my name on it. She is grateful.

We did our separation agreement with only a mediator, who is an attorney who could write the necessary documents and get them through court as needed. We spent about 1/40th on the process as friends of mine i was talking to who were having a more typical divorce.

I did the property split myself, consulting her. She believed me and the mediator just put my split in the docs.

For child support/alimony I went along with 80% custody on her part to get the total I paid her up where she wanted it. I don't think having the kids spend 1/2 time with each parent is something that is done for the kids, I think it is done for the parents. But I could be mistaken. In any case at 14 and 16 years, I have made it clear my kids can spend as much time as they want with me. They seem to "like" me better but they still spend most time with mom.

I added about 8% to my weight pushing me from BMI 37 to BMI 41 or so. So wasn't good before consistently somewhat worse now.

I wound up with two dogs which probably constrain my going out more than they should.

Comment author: cousin_it 28 April 2014 11:54:25AM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, I noticed on Reddit that divorce is the most typical reason why men start to improve. For some reason, men in long-term relationships kinda forget to do many cool things for themselves. And when the relationship ends, they start doing all these things and become much more interesting. Looks like it worked for you too! Congratulations on the social exercises, sports and studying, and please don't stop :-)

Reading the first part of your story was really depressing though. Why did you endure so much, why didn't you just dump her immediately? Did someone advise you to be "understanding" in that kind of situation? If so, that person probably shouldn't be giving advice.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 28 April 2014 12:59:50PM 5 points [-]

For some reason

http://vimeo.com/12915013

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 28 April 2014 12:17:06PM 1 point [-]

Why did you endure so much, why didn't you just dump her immediately?

The easy way out isn't necessarily the best way out. Think about the consequences for all (!) involved. From a utility-maximizing point of view (weighted or not) this may make sense.

It can be worth it to make a desperate effort.

I wasn't advised to be understanding. I am understanding.

Human bonding can be very strong. It alters your (not so) terminal goals.

Comment author: cousin_it 28 April 2014 12:33:22PM *  3 points [-]

The easy way out isn't necessarily the best way out.

How so? You divorced anyway, and got a bunch of suffering and disrespect on top.

If someone advised you that a "desperate effort" of that kind (writing poems, etc.) would help you win back your wife, that person probably shouldn't be giving advice either. As a matter of fact, I think that my advice from the previous comment actually gives you a higher chance of winning someone back, though it's not viewed as a goal. Yes, dumping someone can be difficult because your emotions are strong. It's also a "desperate effort", but of a different kind :-)

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 28 April 2014 12:57:10PM 1 point [-]

'dumping' someone creates a forced choice; a symmetry breaking with all its consequences. The chance of winning her back that way (with all the consequences and further repeat risks down the line) has to be weighted against the consequences of entirely alienating her (which likely involves a break in the family and trauma for the children).

The divorce is real I agree. But it was no fight. We go along OK. Like friendly neighbors (who look after each others kids kind of).

got a bunch of suffering and disrespect on top.

Humans can take that quite well if it is limited and balanced by joy of achievement.

If someone advised you that a "desperate effort"

I wasn't advised to make a desperate effort in either direction. I got advice but wasn't urged. My effort stemmed from intrinsic motivation.

I agree that the effort to win someone back can be a desperate effort too. I didn't read your comment that way initially, but now it looks more fitting.

Comment author: V_V 08 May 2014 03:10:32PM 0 points [-]

The chance of winning her back that way (with all the consequences and further repeat risks down the line) has to be weighted against the consequences of entirely alienating her (which likely involves a break in the family and trauma for the children).

Since you are discussing your private life in public, would you mind if I'd ask why would you want to "win" her back? Seriously, she attempted to bring another man in your house.
And if you just dumped her, what would she have gained by becoming hostile?

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 08 May 2014 04:55:10PM 0 points [-]

Why would you want to "win" her back?

Because I was heavily in love with her? Because it could conceivably have been better for child children? Because I could see my failures in it?

what would she have gained by becoming hostile?

That is a question asking rationality from someone not known to follow such a course in an emotional situation...

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 08 May 2014 04:50:50PM 0 points [-]

Since you are discussing your private life in public.

That is a point I'm not really happy with. The personal crisis account took a life of its own. The border is slippery here on LW where openness is valued and personal accounts with lessons for others are frequent (rationality diary and such). I'm aware that the privacy separation of account broke down.