separation and divorce

Introduction

We’ve been married almost 14 years. I’m 59 and she is 39.

I had two brothers and several uncles who had wives leave them after saying “I’m not happy”. I never wanted that to happen to me. Although raised Catholic I consider myself agnostic now. My parents were married until they passed. They had a traditional marriage- dad worked and mom stayed at home until I (the youngest of 5) entered high school. Dad was military (27 years Air Force) and taught me honor, respect, and duty. Both parents truly held sacred the sanctity of marriage.

I didn’t have many relationships. I found most women in the USA didn’t value marriage, which was reinforced by the rate of divorce here. The TV show “Friends” seemed to typify the lack of respect for relationships I witnessed in the USA. It horrified and disgusted me that it was so popular and normalizing the behavior to so many. I was very careful and had never married. I surmised I would only try it once.

We met when I was traveling regularly to the Philippines for work. We feel in love. The rate of divorce for Filipinos is much lower than Americans which was a plus. She assured me that the age difference didn’t matter. Through a fiancĂ© visa she came to the USA, we married, and she got her citizenship a few years later. I have a good job and she stayed at home for years. At first she liked the idea but 4 years ago she decided she’d like to get a job. She did seem much happier when she was able to get out of the house and meet new people. I kept paying the bills and mortgage and let her keep her salary. She makes almost double the national average income. She does pay for a bi-weekly cleaning service. During her stay at home days she rarely left the house. She still rarely leaves except to go to work. Early on she got her drivers license and I gave her my car. She has no hobbies and to this day she has made very few friends. She only cooks about once a month. I cook and when she gets home from her 3 PM to 12 shift she eats what I cooked.

I feel like I’ve always supported her. I’ve encouraged her attempt at engaging in hobbies and to spend more time with her friends. Financially the deal was I would completely pay everything and she would help out after I retire. I’ve actually sent thousands and thousands to her family before she came to America and continued to do so for years after.

We eventually brought her mother over from the Philippines. She has always had a bad relationship with her mother but wanted to rescue her from her situation. I have diagnosed her with “empathy deficit disorder”. She would leave my wife for hours at school waiting to be picked up- although she had no responsibilities preventing her from being timely. She kept her and her brother in the house at all times to keep her from harm. She wasn’t allowed to play with her toys so that she would not break them. The mothers husband left her after my wife’s brother was born. There is no divorce in the Philippines but that didn’t prevent him from starting a new family in a remote province. At that point she shut down. She stayed in her bedroom which she shared with her two children. She spent massive amounts of time in the bathroom doing who knows what.

When we brought her mother over things were bad. She spent hours in the bathroom, the rest of the day in the bedroom, and didn’t contribute to the very minimal chores we gave her. We own our ranch home and have all the responsibility for upkeep and maintenance. Labor is fairly inexpensive in the Philippines so they usually pay others to maintain the house. She got and lost several jobs here because she’s always late. My wife was extremely frustrated so we finally asked my mother-in-law to leave. She shacked up with an out-of-state internet ‘close’ friend. He kicked her out and since then she’s been kicked out of 4 more places. She is an extremely jealous person and has lost SOs for acting out on her unfounded jealousy. And yet I witness her having multiple close male friends at a time. I’m never sure who she’s bringing to dinner and often call them the wrong name.

Us: we have no children. We have 3 dogs who I consider mine. She complains that the dogs like me more. Everyone says my wife is a very sweet person.

Me. I’ve always considered myself a happy person. I used to have a huge network of close friends. Most of the closest were women so due to her jealously that closeness has waned. I delight in making strangers smile. I work from home as a computer professional. I’ve had the same job for 37 years. Before that I taught computer to K-8 in a Catholic school. I love to cook, garden, camping, music, and computers (I am not a gamer but I love learning new things and have 10+ computers). I consider my appearance to be average stout at 200 pounds.

I don’t just cook to eat – I cook to celebrate. I have everything to entertain 8 people. I like to research recipes and prepare new things. I’m the guy that makes the holiday meals for everyone and I loved to do dinner parties for friends. My wife doesn’t really like to host so dinner parties mostly ended after marriage.

I used to go out often to see music and would attend music festivals where I would camp in my tent. My wife didn’t enjoy this and I rarely do it anymore. I setup an entertainment room in my basement complete with microphones, audio equipment, and 2 cameras. Although I am not a musician and don’t play an instrument or sing, I would have friends come Introduction

My doctor loves my gardening. The exercise has helped me lose 2 pounds every 3 months for years now and I’ve dropped 30+ pounds. I have an extensive veggy garden, tulip plot, pollinator friendly plot, and just last summer finished digging and installing a small pond. I’ve converted almost all of my trees, bushes, and flowers to native varieties.

Recently. We didn’t fight or argue. She would be irritable often for things like me being in the kitchen wile she was preparing for work. Then she would apologize profusely saying “I don’t know why that happens”. She blamed it on stress from her family. We had talked about therapy especially to address her relationship with her family. I offered to go with her if it would help. She said she would do it.

Everything seemed fine to me before her recent month long vacation to the Philippines. Although right before her trip I did notice long conversations with a guy I’m convinced was not her brother and was a guy. She told me long ago about a best friend from childhood that she keeps in touch with. At first he was married but then divorced. Due to the conversation being in a language I don’t know I could never be certain of things and I sadly never asked. When she left for vacation she went dark with no communication for a couple of weeks. She usually texts or emails often when she’s away. Her excuses were always lame and the communications I did get became so short they bordered on rude. I even had to finally ask on the day before her trip for her itinerary so I’d know when to pick her up. She initiated a 1/2 hearted hug when I picked her up and slept in the spare room that night.

The next day, knowing that something was wrong I asked “do you love me and still want to be with me”. Her response was “Why do you ask me that?”. The next day she told me she had a great time on her trip – the food, the warm weather, her friends, the country. But it all reminded her of how unhappy he is and the answer to my question is ‘no’, She wants to separate. Her reasons for our incompatibility was our different interests and schedules. She plans to get her own apartment near her job. She is currently staying in the spare bedroom.

I’m still confused about her reasons for wanting to separate. My blame for her unhappiness seem lame. I’m not sure I’ll ever know for sure the real reasons.

I’ve asked several times if she still wants to separate or would like to try to work things out. The answer has been a nod. I’ve been doing this purposely to give things one last chance as it were. Yesterday she viewed a possible apartment. I think I’ve accepted as best I can that it’s truly over.

Now. I’ve already separated all the bills, phones, and car insurance. It seems to make sense to do 2022 taxes as usual and change our W-4 dependents in January. We’re planning on doing the divorce ourselves. Since I supported her this entire time she seems to be OK with taking the awesome car and leaving me the house and my old clunker van.

11/16

Was told on 11/14. Now I’m trying to get a handle on what it means. I still love her and was thinking I’d be nice but the internet says NO. 90% of separations end in divorce. The woman has considered all aspects of the outcomes and have definitively decided DIVORCE. I’m convinced she had an affair in Philippines.

Today I figured out some of the bills and informed her what she owes me and sent her email.

I’m still digesting what it all means:
will I be able to keep the house?
will I still be able to retire at 65?
will I want another partner?

I need to set my goals. #1 is get rid of her. Today I still love her and think I can keep it civil but who knows. #2 I need human interaction right away. Nothing else seems critical at the moment. I have my job, I have the van, my health is OK not great. I can manage my expenses just fine but I should try to cut things out with an eye on retirement.

11/19

After a week of digesting…

Asked if he still wants the divorce, answer was a weak yes

Some research revealed 90% of separations end in divorce.

I’ve come to accept it is happening.
I still love her but know I need to protect myself. I can’t be too nice. Especially I don’t want to be extra nice thinking it will change her mind. Maybe we can still be friends. Won’t I be disappointed in her challenges leading a new life knowing how good she had it? How do I forgive her for leaving me and blaming me for being unhappy?

I’m currently considering selling the house at 65. Time to start downsizing. Even if somehow I don’t sell, at 65 I won’t have the energy to maintain my fish tanks, server farms, electronics, etc. I also don’t need all of the decorations and entertaining items I’ve accumulated.

I’m taking care of me right now. Medical issues, reaching out to friends, visiting the Swink family. Researching divorce. Finances, taxes.

Questions I still have:
How do I want to change? I think I need more human interaction in my life. I gave up the closeness of my friends due to her. Going out is problematic- I go to bed too early and I really should drink zero. Maybe I’ll entertain. Divorce celebration? Dinner parties?

11/20

Everything going on and I broke my phone. Took a day to get a new one through the mail covered by insurance. I hate smart phones and apps. Being a ‘real’ computer guy I prefer my desktop. She handled all the apps. It’s been hours of work just getting texts setup for my meds, banking apps, veterinarian apps, and more.

Before I knew we were separating I had purchased everything for Thanksgiving dinner. It felt really good yesterday to give an elderly lady preparing to order an organic farmers market turkey my $20 deposit slip for an 18 pounder with a “happy Thanksgiving”. She was delighted. Even the clerk explained “That was nice”.

I have plans now to travel to close relatives for a visit and the meal. They are allowing me to prepare a few specialties. How could they refuse since some of them are grandma and Aunt Hazels recipes for rolls and sticky buns they haven’t enjoyed for years? I’m really looking forward to the visit. To forget for a while and to be around humans that love me. Especially since I don’t get out much (I work from home).

I feel that I have accepted that this is happening. Others have suggested I start feeling angry to make thing easier but that just isn’t me. I’ve been accused of being too nice in the past and perhaps I am again what with letting her stay in the spare room until she gets an apartment. I don’t believe in hate or wishing ill in another. I still have the hope that I can get through this and still wish her all the best in life.