Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “I Got Married At 18 and Now I Want Out”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

Three years ago I married my husband. Our situation is definitely weird. I had just turned 18 when we met. He was 20. We only dated about a month and a half before we got engaged. He asked me to marry him a week or so before he left for basic training in the army and he was gone the first few months we were married so we never spent time together. He shortly realized he didn’t want the army life and got out.

Since then, we’ve been living in a one-bedroom apartment over my grandparent’s house. He’s had iffy jobs and I’ve been trying to finish up school. He supports both of us. We have no kids. I am extremely unhappy. He constantly lets me down — broken promises all the time. I am constantly wondering what my life would be like without him. I don’t see us being together forever and I feel like the only reason I stay is so not to hurt his family. We don’t “date” anymore. We just sit at the house and watch TV. Drinking has become a huge part of our lives and that seems to be the only thing we do together.

I want out but don’t know what to do. — Married Young and Fast

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

85 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary June 26, 2013, 9:04 am

    Unfortunately, your situation isn’t that weird. A LOT of people get married at 18/19 before basic training. One of their motivations is that they get higher BAH, and they have someone who is waiting for them at home. These people also get divorced by 20-21, because they barely know who they were as adults at 18 or 19. They dated for a short amount of time. They didn’t consider many of the more serious questions about marriage such as long-term compatability, finances, values, etc…You don’t have children, so cut your losses and get a divorce. There doesn’t seem to be much worth salvaging here. You say he supports both of you so don’t let that be a reason you are stuck in the marriage. Move home with your parents if you can, or start getting a PT job on top of school to save up some money for yourself.

    As a side note, it’s not easy to just “leave army life” unless he waited until the end of his contract. I hope he didn’t cause himself to get dishonorably discharged or anything.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs June 26, 2013, 9:10 am

    LW please do not consider staying in this marriage simply because you don’t want to hurt him or his family….you need to be honest, you aren’t happy, you have your whole life ahead of you….lots of people get divorced, it happens, the relationship did not work out, its no ones fault….but think about your happiness….you have the right to live the fulfilling life you deserve

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  • Nookie

    Nookie June 26, 2013, 9:10 am

    Yikes, just cut your losses and go. You’re only 21, as Kerry says you can get out of this and start making your own way in life.

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  • avatar

    Nadine June 26, 2013, 9:16 am

    Find a place to move to, in with a friend, back home with parents, your own flat… then move all your things. Thats the first step. After that, you tell people you are no longer together. Then you find out how to get a divorce. Its a few steps that seem difficult when you look at them all together, but very simple if you separate them out.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie June 26, 2013, 9:29 am

      I like it. It bet it seems so daunting, being 21 and divorcing. Get out of there first and foremost, and take it one step at a time.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite June 26, 2013, 9:16 am

    Start planning to get out while you still have an independent vision of yourself.
    -Think legally, consult with some lawyers to see who’s the best option.
    -Think financially, he supports you right now. How are you going to support yourself? What money can you save up and how fast?
    -Think safety, how is he going to react? The apartment seems more likely yours, can you still afford it?
    -Cut out the alcohol for a little bit. It’ll cloud your interactions, ask him to too.
    -Figure out activities for yourself or the two of you together in the meantime so you’re not as bored.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser June 26, 2013, 9:17 am

    I’m surprised your parents didn’t intervene when their baby decided to marry a stranger. I generally don’t take marriage lightly, but in this case I don’t think either of you were mature enough to understand the promise you made.I would advise you to get out before any children are involved, and see this as a learning experience.

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    • avatar

      bethany June 26, 2013, 9:39 am

      Yeah, I’m with you. If the LW had been even 5 years older when they got married I would have suggested working on it- at least giving it a fair shot, but in this case with the age issue, and the “get married before basic training” issue… I think they were young, immature and impulsive and really rushed into something they shouldn’t have done.

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  • avatar

    oldie June 26, 2013, 9:25 am

    Get out ASAP, before you get really trapped by an unwanted pregnancy. If you know now that you don’t want to be with this guy and he has already shown hinself to be undependable, then there is zero reason to stay. It sounds like he is dragging you deeper into a binge drinking lifestyle. Save yourself now. His family will get over the divorce.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 9:35 am

    I’m actually sort of surprised so many people are jumping on the “just leave” boat. Have you tried talking to him or couples counseling? You say he supports you- have you looked for a job or volunteer opportunities that would give you some fulfillment out side of the home? What about YOU taking him on a date?

    Based on your short letter – it seems like you’re both just being passengers in this relationship and not actually working to make it worth anything. Marriages are hard work.

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    • avatar

      Nadine June 26, 2013, 9:40 am

      I guess my first instinct is to say find a way to leave, because… she doesn’t really say why she would want to stay, besides ‘his family will be sad’. Thats a terrible reason. he adds nothing to her life, in fact may be taking away from it, no doubt she adds nothing to his either. They dont have a strong basis of love and commitment to build on, as they got married and quickly and for a specific reason not relating to being wildly in love (or if so, she doesn’t mention it).
      I took her at her word on this, and her word is ‘I want out but I don’t know what to do’……pretty clear.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 9:45 am

        It’s fine to take it that way. I just have a more permanent view on marriage- no matter how fast you rushed into it. Unless their is abuse, I really believe it’s forever and you have to fight for that forever. Obviously not everyone believes that, and that’s 110% good (to each their own right?). It just seems like they both gave up with out trying, which I think is pretty sad.

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      • avatar

        Nadine June 26, 2013, 9:47 am

        Oh it is sad. But I think that marriage has to serve the individuals, you know? The net worth has to lead to happiness, and in this case, it doesn’t seem to be.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 9:52 am

        But if they haven’t tried at all- I mean of course it’s not going to result in any happiness. Having a wedding doesn’t automatically equal happiness, and it’s on BOTH of them to create that happiness as a married couple. And marriage is going to have it’s ups and downs, and both people have to adjust when things are bad to get back to a happy place. Neither of them are adjusting right now.

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      • avatar

        Nadine June 26, 2013, 9:57 am

        You may be right. But maybe they have tried? It doesn’t sound like it, but maybe this is her last resort, asking for advice.
        I juts think that a marriage based on mutual love and respect and shared goals etc is not equal to a marriage based on immaturity, haste and the timeline required by a military career that has now been abandoned.
        Ok that sounds harsh. I’m just trying to explain that I, too, think marriage can be hard work, and that it is worthwhile work. It just doesnt seem like she wants to work at it, which is her choice.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. June 26, 2013, 10:34 am

        I also take marriage seriously and believe you should go into it thinking it will be forever. But, I think she should get out. Sometimes, you just know. I was in a situation like this once. Not marriage, but a committed relationship. I knew it was over; there was just nothing there. He wanted to go to counseling, I went just to please him. I knew I wanted out and I subsequently left. In my case, the counseling was a waste of time because I knew what I wanted. I’m not saying it’s always a waste, but sometimes you just know what you need to do.

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      • avatar

        oldie June 26, 2013, 10:47 am

        There is such a thing as rushing into a bad mistake. Too young, too fast, didn’t really have a strong enough relationship, weren’t in a place in their lives for the responsibilities of marriage. Just void it. It is a mistake to cling to an awful marriage because marriage is supposed to be so special and forever. This marriage isn’t that. She should MOA, finish her education, grow up, give herself enough time to know herself before even considering marriage again and then wait until she knows her partner well enough to know it will work. Have all the discussions first — finances, kids, beliefs, where to live, how to live. Then do a forever marriage. I don’t think counseling is a good idea when there is nothing to save, the marriage is fairly new with no kids, the couple is very young, and counseling will just cause more grief by delaying the inevitable split. Some marriages are not worth fighting for. This appears to be one of them.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger June 26, 2013, 2:31 pm

        In their case, a divorce would almost be an “annulment” (but not legally) — if they dated for a couple of months and then weren’t ever together until now, they weren’t ever really living as husband and wife until now. I don’t mean in any technical sense, or whether the marriage was consummated, or like that. I too believe (for myself) that marriage is a forever thing. But I kind of don’t think they really have a “marriage” — they have a terrible unsuccessful idea with a piece of paper from their state that says they can file taxes together. They don’t have a partnership of mutual love and care that took a wrong turn somewhere which is you say vows instead of just saying “until I get tired of you.” If they could get an annulment, I would tell them to do that; if they can’t (which they probably can’t) get a divorce and kind of treat it like an annulment that you learn from as you live your life, not an albatross weighing her down forever because she made a mistake when she was a kid.

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      • Miel

        Miel June 26, 2013, 10:04 am

        I feel like a marriage that was once happy and is becoming not so happy should be worked on. It’s the “for the better and for the worst” thing, but I see it as in “You’ve been in love and happy for 10 years and now your husband lose his job and you think of divorce just because he’s not as much fun unemployed ? Think about your vows and work on the marriage !”

        The current situation feels different. There was no bases to this marriage, no happy time to hold on to during the hard time. This looks like two people that got married for scholarship, but instead they got married for the military. I don’t think they have anything to work on to, because the marriage seems to be pretty much like a legal contract binding them, and not the vows they shared.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger June 26, 2013, 2:31 pm

        exactly, see above.

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    • avatar

      JudgeSheryl June 26, 2013, 9:47 am

      yeah, i agree, too. She was still a legal adult, and there was a real wedding with vows and stuff. Leaving now without really trying seems just as irresponsible and hasty as how it was started. Except now you are MARRIED.

      It also sounds like you are just expecting your husband to make you happy, rather than trying to make happiness for yourself. What do you think would be so different if you were to divorce? What would you be doing differently? Unless the answer is only “dating other men”, why don’t you try doing those things without getting divorced? get a hobby, get a job (even if you are finishing school) – having a life outside your husband will help give you a new perspective, get a pet (they tend to boost moods and make you more active), go hang out with friends.

      Also, talk to you husband. Maybe he feels too much pressure being sole supporter. If he does promise something, call him out and demand an answer why it wasn’t kept. But it seems like you just are waiting for him to fix everything, when i think both of you can try a little harder.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 9:54 am

        Yes! Take some control over your life! Getting a divorce likely isn’t going to equal happiness. She needs to get happy with herself.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones June 26, 2013, 10:35 am

        Oh, please… the guy is an irresponsible alcoholic and they were just kids who barely knew each other when they married. This was clearly an impulsive, youthful mistake. She needs to find herself and get her own life and career path together before she should even consider marrying again. I do not believe that marriage is forever. (and FWIW I have been married for 17 years and plan on staying that way, but I was 35 when I married) Obviously it isn’t with our divorce rates. And what is there to save here? Sounds like a whole lot of nothing. With women’s opportunities these days, and his drinking/maturity problem, and their young age and lack of kids, I would say the best course is to MOA before she gets pregnant by this dude and really gets trapped.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 10:56 am

        Not sure where you get that he is an alcoholic as she says “Drinking has become a huge part of our lives and that seems to be the only thing we do together. ” OUR being the key word.

        Also “I do not believe that marriage is forever.” is a fundamental difference in the standpoints. It’s great you view marriage that way, but it’s also okay for people to have different views AND to share them with a LW who is asking for advice.

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      • avatar

        oldie June 26, 2013, 12:17 pm

        ‘Has become’ being the key words, as in she, and perhaps he, were not that into drinking previously. This is a spiral down the drain if she sticks with him and they continue to use alcohol to anaesthetize themselves from the pain of their bad marriage.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 12:25 pm

        Well previously they where 18 so…

        And I’m suggesting they FIX their marriage (or at least work really hard to see if they can) not to sit on their hands and let life pass them by. Divorce won’t necessarily fix anything either.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 June 26, 2013, 11:34 am

        It is kind of crazy how you lable him an immature drunk, when they drink together, and he is the only one working to support their family.

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      • avatar

        ChemE June 26, 2013, 11:57 am

        She said they both drink.
        And I guess I made an impulsive, youthful mistake at 19 and I’ve been married almost 9 years. I do think marriage is forever. What’s right for you isn’t right for everyone.

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      • avatar

        oldie June 26, 2013, 3:51 pm

        But from LW’s post, her marriage is not right for her.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna June 26, 2013, 9:56 am

      I guess I just don’t see the point of appealing to someone to stick it out in a situation that they should never have entered in the first place when there’s also the option of getting out and starting over – even more so at age 21. Yes, they slapped a “permanent” sticker on their relationship by getting married, but let’s face it, that was a really dumb decision to make at age 18 and if she’s now realizing that this isn’t working, what’s the use of putting more energy into a dead relationship? We would all say MOA if they weren’t married, and their being married shouldn’t change that.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 10:01 am

        Well, in my opinion being married DOES change it. Marriage isn’t to be taken lightly, in my eyes. And even if it was a dumb decision to get married, it’s still the decision they BOTH made. They both need to live up to it. But we’d give different advice.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 26, 2013, 10:12 am

        For a good relationship, the marriage is like a seal that confirms it and it should give you extra reasons to work on things if you have a crisis. Put if you put the marriage seal on a shitty relationship, it’s still a shitty relationship and you better rip that that seal of ASAP.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 10:20 am

        That’s perfectly fine you believe that- I don’t. In my eyes, unless their is abuse or cheating or maybe a few other things, it’s not something you just walk away from after 3 years when the going gets tough. In my opinion, if they are adult enough to get married, they are adult enough to work through their issues. Divorce isn’t something to be taken lightly, IMO, and I don’t feel from this letter they’ve tried to save the marriage (foundation aside). Divorce should be the LAST resort, and based on this letter, I don’t think they’ve gotten there yet. In my opinion.

        Just to be totally clear- I think it’s great people have different views on this. I think they are all valid views. Just offering my view and what my advice would be. Take it or leave it LW.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 26, 2013, 10:37 am

        We can say “agree to this disagree”, but I was trying to engage you in a debate about what the disagreement is based upon. I mean we can talk about whether an opinion is justified or not, right? If marriage has special value, I think it’s because the couple has made a promise to each other. Promises should usually kept, that I accept. But what if both people would rather back out, for example? Then certainly outsiders to the relationship should have nothing further to say on that. Or what if the promise was made by someone who didn’t know what they were getting into? Maybe they should regret breaking the promise, but I don’t think they should regret it more than staying out of mere obligation. What if circumstances changed in a way that wasn’t predictable, but it’s not abuse, addiction or anything really bad, but they’ve just evolved in different directions? I guess my point is that if the promise doesn’t reflect who you are anymore, and staying in a relationship would force you to be inauthentic, then breaking the promise is the lesser evil.
        Sorry for the length, not trying to attack you btw, I’m just interested in this debate.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 10:53 am

        Well, a few things. She wrote to an advice site asking for advice. Mine is to continue working on the marriage.

        -“But what if both people would rather back out, for example?” Well obviously that is their choice.
        -“Then certainly outsiders to the relationship should have nothing further to say on that.” I agree except when you write into an advice column asking for advice. I wouldn’t just walk up to an acquaintance and offer the advice unsolicited. I also don’t judge or look down upon those who have divorced. I’m sure they have their own, very good reasons.
        -“Or what if the promise was made by someone who didn’t know what they were getting into?” Well, I don’t think people should hastily marry, as this couple did. I’m much more an advocate for long term dating and doing a lot of work as a couple BEFORE marrying. On the flip side, if you’re grown enough to say the vows, apply for the license, have a ceremony etc etc- I mean I don’t really know what to say about “you didn’t know what you where getting into” unless one person has some huge life change. But I don’t think that happened here.
        -“What if circumstances changed in a way that wasn’t predictable, but it’s not abuse, addiction or anything really bad, but they’ve just evolved in different directions?” I think part of the vow is learning to evolve with your spouse and love their evolutions. And if you’re exploring life together and actually communicating, I think you can work around those “different directions”. (Like that bald Democrat and his Republican wife.)

        Yes, breaking the promise is the “lesser evil” than having to live your life an inauthentic. I agree. I guess in my view point, when you make those vows part of it is promising to love the different “versions” of your partner of the years and your partner will do the same. I’m not really explaining it well, but in my eyes it’s about unconditional love and support and partnership, even when you don’t like them for a week or month. It’s pretty final. (Thank goodness my new husband sees it the same way! And yes there is a very good chance I’ll eat my words one day.)

        And I think a big part of why I said for this LW to do counseling etc is because they are still so young, they can learn and grow so much together, if they choose. Being younger could actually be to their benefit because they aren’t set in their ways etc and are more formidable. I’m going to guess they don’t have great communication skills yet, maybe both are unsure of themselves, etc and getting divorced isn’t going to fix either of those problems. So I say work on those problems together and then see if the marriage is still worth it.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 26, 2013, 11:18 am

        I have a similar view as far as recommending longterm dating before marriage. I also think it’s smart to wait until you’re at least over 25. It should be a well-considered decision where you assess whether you and your partner are really compatible enough to be happy together. Also agree that once you have decided that you want to marry this person, it’s best to assume unconditional love from there onwards and approach all problems as problems that can be worked on as a couple (excluding abuse, severe addiction, repeated cheating and other major dealbreakers). Our disagreement is concerning marriages that were not well-considered decisions. For me, in that case, the commitment is essentially void from the get-go, because it wasn’t done for the right reasons. It’s a marriage in name only, not in substance.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 11:21 am

        Yeah, I can sort of get behind what you’re saying. Sort of. I’ve always been baffled how easy it is to get married (and have a child for that matter). It’s a BFD that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it’s really surprising to me how many rush into it. But, to each their own right?

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      • avatar

        SasLinna June 26, 2013, 11:37 am

        Yes, agreed. If I could dictate a cultural shift it would be for people to stop thinking that marriage & children are “achievements” that should be made as soon as one has the opportunity to. It leads to a sort of fake “milestone lifestyle” that is based more on outward appearances than on true happiness IMO. (Of course marriage and children are great if you want them and are ready for them. I just think lots of people aren’t, decide to get married & have kids anyway, and then essentially deal with the fallout for decades).

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 11:40 am

        And everyone wants their Pretty Pretty Princess Day!!!! OMG!

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 26, 2013, 11:31 am

        I agree with you, SasLinna. I guess I don’t feel that a married couple has anyone to answer to besides themselves. If you break a commitment, the only thing that really matters is the person with whom you broke it. I don’t really feel like what other people’s opinions on regarding when and if one should get a divorce (especially just based on their personal value) should have any bearing.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 11:38 am

        I do want to point out I agree. My view has no bearing on their relationship- but it was asked for, so that’s why I’m giving it. They only have to answer to themselves, but by writing into Wendy she is asking for all of our opinions.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 26, 2013, 11:42 am

        I know, and I think it’s good for the LW to get multiple opinions.

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      • avatar

        JudgeSheryl June 26, 2013, 1:10 pm

        I definitely still agree with GatorGirl.

        I think because they are so young, they could actually grow together. It seems like a lot of people are saying it won’t work BECAUSE they are so young. I don’t buy it. They could really be compatible and going through an extended rough patch. I started dating my husband at 19 — and there were times when we were *just dating* and I considered walking away. But guess what, we learned to talk to one another, and worked out issues. Now, we are married, going on 6 years.

        Since they are already married, i think they owe it to themselves to try to work it out. There is no guarantee that she will find someone ‘better’ or one she is more compatible with.

        After really working at a marriage, and still making no progress, yes, by all means, get divorced. But even when divorce is mutual, its still really hard to go through.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger June 26, 2013, 4:11 pm

        But you loved your husband and wanted to be married to him. (I assume) you didn’t say to yourself 2 years after your wedding “man, I am so unhappy with my life. and I don’t even know why I married this guy, who I didn’t spend any time with or really communicate with the first years of my marriage, and now that he’s back, I can’t stand spending time with and who I have nothing in common with. I totally regret getting married to him at all, but marriages are forever, (and that fact just makes me feel hopeless about my life in general) so I’m going to expend much effort, tears, time and money into making it work with him, even though I feel like we are not meant for each other in any way. But I married him, so I have to suffer through.” I’m sure you loved him and he loved you and you both were young and had growing pains but both wanted to make it work… maybe some days you had doubts but you signed up for the long haul and you wanted to give it all you had. That just doesn’t seem to be the scenario here.

        And you seem to have married your husband after dating him for a decent amount of time, when you considered walking away, but didn’t because you clearly thought that you and he had enough communitition, attraction, love, respect, and happiness to support built a stable enough relationship that you wanted to get married. She didn’t do that — she got married super early in the relationship and never got to really examine if they had enough to build a solid foundation — she examining it now, and it sounds like she has come to the realization that she doesn’t think they do. If you were still dating, and you came to that realization, then you WOULD have walked away, and not continued to “work on it” futily because you felt you were obligated to make THIS relationship work when it was clearly broken.

        I just think that your situation isn’t enough of a parallel to point to and say “see? it works!” Should LW talk to her “husband” about her feelings, concerns, etc.? Sure, if she thinks that it would help. However, if she looks at the man on the couch with her and her overwhelming emotion is resentment bordering on revulsion, you think it is worth expending the time, effort and mental energy into a relationship that — but for getting a marriage of convenience– we all would probably be telling her to MOA from?

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      • avatar

        oldie June 26, 2013, 5:04 pm

        Yes, and the marriage vows are taken in a societal as well as an individual context. At the middle of the twentieth century, marriage was pretty much for life, with a few exceptions, at least in quite a few states. Divorce was difficult and only available on certain grounds. A contested divorce was difficult to achieve. That is no longer the legal context in which marriage vows are made. Most states have some version of no-fault divorce and even a contested divorce, although far from painless, is not that difficult to achieve, especially for a childless, recently married couple like this one, with few financial and material assets to split up and zilch likelihood of any spousal support. All couples enter marriage hoping it will last happily forever, but they are also aware of the possibility of and availability of divorce. That does change things a bit. Yes, a marriage vow is a promise to your spouse, solemnly taken in the presence of family, friends, and frequently clergy. Still, as adults, we learn that not all promises are possible to keep and some are best broken, to the benefit of all.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie June 26, 2013, 9:59 am

      You’ve got a good point… I just wonder if someone who marries at 18 after a short time together, would they really have a chance or would it just be prolonging the inevitable? It would be wonderful if they could grow and learn together but she seems so unhappy.

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  • othy

    othy June 26, 2013, 10:01 am

    I had a friend in a very similar situation a few years back. She met a good guy, fell head over heals in love, and got married at 18. I think he was 19. Then they both joined the army. Neither one of them could handle the stress of being an adult, combined with school, basic training, and being stationed far away from each other. She was very unhappy and ended up cheating on him. He then decided to divorce her. He wasn’t a bad guy, and neither was she. They were both very young when they made the commitment, and couldn’t make it work when the realities of life hit.

    Fast forward 10 years (has it really been that long?) they are both happily married to other people. And they are both in a much better space than they would have been if they had stayed married to each other.

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    • avatar

      rachel June 26, 2013, 12:01 pm

      Yep, I’ve got a good friend with a similar story.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson June 26, 2013, 10:02 am

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about getting divorced it’s that you can’t predict how anyone will react. It sounds like you’re scared of his family and him not liking you. First, you don’t know that they will hate you. They might be really understanding and feel like you’re making a good decision for BOTH of you. And second, even if they do hate you, so what? Is that really the worst thing in the world? Do you want to live an unhappy life just so that no one ever hates you? Because you can’t avoid that anyone – you’re fighting a losing battle.

    The other thing I want to tell you is that you might be doing him a favor in the long run. People are extremely resilient. Shockingly so. He will be fine. He was fine before you and he will be fine after you. Sure there will be some sadness, but that’s life. Life is sad sometimes.

    It seems to me like you’re focusing on this whole “I might lose his family” thing as a defense mechanism. Because then you don’t have to think about the real issues. Which is: why did this happen? What can I do to avoid this mistake again? What have I learned? What do I want out of my life? What do I want out of a partner, etc. Those are all the things you should be worrying about right now, not whether or not someone will hate you for making yourself happy.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 10:10 am

      I love your last paragraph IWTTS. If divorce is the right path, it needs to be a big learning opportunity.

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    • Nookie

      Nookie June 26, 2013, 10:15 am

      ‘He was fine before you and he’ll be fine after you’. More people need to read this. It took me a long time to work it out for myself.

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      • avatar

        Kate June 26, 2013, 11:24 am

        Honestly, he may not be fine… He may be an acoholic who never moves beyond where he is right now. He may even go on a further downward spiral, but if so, that’s his problem, she doesn’t need to feel guilty or responsible for him, and she doesn’t have to feel like he’ll be fine as a condition of her being able to walk away. On the other hand, her ending the marriage could be a wake-up call for him to get it together. Either way, doesn’t matter.

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        SasLinna June 26, 2013, 11:40 am

        So maybe, “he was himself before you, and he will still be himself after you” would be more accurate.

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      SasLinna June 26, 2013, 10:19 am

      YES to the resilience thing. Making a big change to your life is scary, but you will get through it and adjust. It’s much better for your psyche in the long term than being trapped in an unhappy situation.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray June 26, 2013, 10:03 am

    Are we allowed to say “just get a divorce”? Because every which way I look at this, divorce just seems like the best and happiest and most promising option! Do it! Then go to school and/or get a job and make friends and figure yourself out.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary June 26, 2013, 10:11 am

      Yup, you can say that. I’m a big proponent of working things out in a marriage, but these kids were 18-19 when they got married. Even if they were legally adults, they made a dumb mistake.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay June 26, 2013, 10:04 am

    I think you should get a divorce, LW, if that’s what you want. But you also need to make a plan of how you’re going to support yourself. Of course, your husband will be upset, but you have to do what’s right for you.

    If a person wants to make it work, then that’s their business, but I don’t think that a person should feel forced to stay in a marriage until society deems that they’ve tried hard enough. Your vows are to the other person, not to strangers. Plenty of people who marry young and then divorce go on to remarry and find happiness and longevity in that marriage.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones June 26, 2013, 10:09 am

    MOA, you were too young when you married, and you have no kids, which is great. So you can make a clean break and have a fresh start. Chalk it up to youthful naivety and move on.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser June 26, 2013, 10:22 am

    I understand those of you who feel she made a commitment and should stick with it, but I don’t see a real foundation for this marriage and fear for the children they may bring into it.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth June 26, 2013, 10:26 am

    I am not sure how divorces work with military, I think they are just the same across the board. If he is still enlisted, you may be able to get help through JAG, if you are both amicable to the divorce and know how you want to split assets and debt.

    Your situation is common. I am sorry that it did not work out for you. I honestly think if you don’t want to try counseling and you absolutely cannot stand the guy, then divorce may not be a bad option. But, if you are just tired of the same ol’ same ol’ couples counseling might be a good way for you to communicate and work on issues in the marriage that could allow for you to stay together.

    If you are in school, can you afford to live on your own? Do you have a back up support system? That is where I would start, after discussing everything with your husband and seeing if counseling would be an option.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary June 26, 2013, 10:39 am

      My sister is JAG and she has the craziest divorce stories. She hates when she is in a rotation where she has to counsel divorcing couples. People do the stupidest things.

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    • avatar

      oldie June 26, 2013, 10:51 am

      LW said her husband is no longer in the military.

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Michelle.Lea June 26, 2013, 9:53 am

    you’re married with no kids and you don’t have a job? if you’re not disabled in some way, get a job. get out of the house. you might find that helps you feel a lot better, and takes the pressure off him.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones June 26, 2013, 10:41 am

      She is in college. Some programs are so demanding that a part time job on the side is not an option. I say, MOA, finish school even if LW has to borrow more money right now, and then get full time employment with a degree behind her. I wonder where her family is in all of this? Perhaps they can help. It sounds like perhaps she is from the South or an impoverished area where girls marry young and men join the military because of lack of opportunity and cultural norms. LW needs to know that there is a bigger world out there.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger June 26, 2013, 2:36 pm

        And she lives above her grandparents. Maybe she can figure out some sort of rent arrangement with them, or maybe she can live for free while she finishes school, or take out loans and pay whatever they need, etc. She should ask her family for help.

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  • avatar

    Nico June 26, 2013, 10:56 am

    I think you need to address that all you guys do is “sit around and watch TV and drink” Please see some AA meetings and try and understand why you are “numbing” your unhappiness with alcohol. That is not the answer. Ask yourself some questions:
    1. How will you take care of yourself/pay bills?
    2. How close are you to finishing college?
    3. Are your finances 100% separate?
    4. Do you have the money for a lawyer?

    If you have concrete answers to those questions, and you’ve tried talking things out with your husband, and you think you will be MUCH better off without him, then the answer is to leave so you can start living the life you want. Prepare yourself for hard work. “Hurting my husbands family’s feelings” does not sound like a good reason to stay.

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    • avatar

      Kate June 26, 2013, 11:08 am

      Just a note here – she doesn’t necessarily need a lawyer… Assuming he’s not going to contest anything, she can just do the divorce papers online. Particularly if there’s no property to divide and she’s just willing to walk.

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  • avatar

    Kate June 26, 2013, 11:06 am

    Yup, like others have said, I’d just think of this as a mistake you made, and move on from it quickly. If you felt there was something worth saving, I’d suggest taking advantage of whatever counseling you can get through your husband’s health insurance, but it doesn’t sound like you had any solid relationship to begin with, and given how unhappy you are now, I’d just get out.

    You’re living in your family’s house… will they allow you to keep living there once you ask your husband to leave? Will you be able to find a means to support yourself and have somewhere to live? You can download divorce papers off of the internet, but it costs money to file them. I wish I could remember the details of the cost from when I did it 10 years ago, but I think it was around $500. Not bad, but not free either.

    At this point I think you have to let your husband know you want a divorce and then just work out the logistics. You’ll have to do a lot of tactical stuff, but I feel like you’ll be ok emotionally, and you can start the process of moving on in life as an adult.

    I was in a similar situation as you, by the way, although we did date for 3 years before he proposed (while he was in Basic Training). He completely fell apart after he got out of the military, went back to his old drinking / weed-smoking ways, AND just up and quit the very very good job he had gotten as a civilian using his Air Force experience. After a year of him showing less and less likelihood to ever pull it together or even give a crap, I told him to leave and go live with his family, and figured out how to live on my own (with a lot of initial help from my parents by the way). At that point I had a grad school degree and had just entered the workforce. I’m not sure where you are with your education and employment. It may give you some comfort to know that my ex never did pull it together. At 41, he’s still doing the job he did back when he was 18, which is minimum wage and a tragic waste of all the opportunity he was given in the military.

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    • avatar

      Nico June 26, 2013, 11:29 am

      Execllent points Kate, and either a lawyer or 500 bucks she will need for the divorce might not come quickly.

      I have a funny note, a friend of mine married a complete loser, and everyone was supportive of her, not what she was doing, but she recently announced that she’s finally getting a divorce. Her and her (soon to be) ex were renting their apartment from her parents, and her mom has put EVERY PENNY of the rent money the couple gave her into an account for the daughter for the day she said she was getting a divorce. So she’s got this great cushion and a nice support system from her family. I though that was so smart of her mom to do that.

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      • avatar

        Kate June 26, 2013, 11:40 am

        Yeah, awesome mom. My parents helped SO much too. I don’t want to make light of what the LW may have to deal with here financially.

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  • avatar

    Christy June 26, 2013, 11:30 am

    Ok, you need some concrete steps for divorce here:
    1. Talk to your grandparent. See if they will let you live there if you divorce your husband. See if you’ll need to pay rent. See if they can help support you for a short period of time.
    2. Get a job. Retail, food service, anything to get you some income. Lots of community colleges, colleges, and universities have plenty of jobs for students. Apply for one of those: they’re really flexible with student schedules.
    3. Separate your finances from your husband. Open your own bank account and deposit the money from your job there.
    4. Kick your husband out. I’m not sure of the logistics for this, but since it’s your grandparent and not his, you should be able to stay in the apartment.

    Good luck!

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 June 26, 2013, 11:42 am

    LW: You guys married young, and have both given up for some reason. You both either need to talk to each other, and make an effort, or if you just don’t care anymore, and you are starting to hate him because of it, you need to just MOA. Marriage is a big deal if you treat it that way to begin with, you guys didn’t so if you need to get out, then just do it.

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  • avatar

    Angie June 26, 2013, 11:11 am

    Do you think you might just be bored and dissatisfied with your own life rather than your marriage. I’m not saying you should stay with him, I’m saying maybe you should be proactive and work on yourself first. If you’re not happy sitting around watching TV all day and not going out, change that. Volunteer, get a part-time job where you can get to know co-workers, take up a hobby that might lead you to some friends (there are knitting clubs, athletic clubs, all kinds of ways to meet people). And then try laying out some expectations for your marriage, not necessarily for your husband. Say things like, I want the kind of marriage where we go out once a week, I want the kind of marriage where we have an electronic-free night once a week, I want the kind of marriage where we both are working toward building a future together. Once you try all that, then maybe see if you still have those same feelings of dissatisfaction.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 11:35 am

      Love. And I think that’s the point I was trying to get at. I think LW is unhappy with herself and that’s got to be fixed (in addition to or with out fixing the marriage).

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger June 26, 2013, 2:48 pm

        See, I agree with this, but I think that it is a very real possibility that regret, loathing, frustration and feelings of helplessness about the marriage is contributing to her unhappiness with herself… which is why I think she should leave the marriage. I don’t think its enough for her to join a book group and start doing zumba when what she wants (and probably needs) is a re-boot to her life, to “start again” at being an adult. I feel like some people’s reasoning for why she should stay in the marriage (not necessarily you GG) is that “she dug her bed, now lie in it” — but an illconcieved marriage at 18 doesn’t need to be something she does penance for or should somehow have to suffer for. Divorce as an institution exists for good reason; otherwise people would be forced to stay trapped in miserable lives. Again, I typically think marriage is forever, but I don’t necessarily think that them getting a piece of paper before his training means that they are “married” in all senses of the word. (Forgive me, I just read the entire 77 page DOMA opinion, so I have a lot of hyperbole floating around in my head). And I think marriages need tending to and need work and should not just be discarded provided they ever were a source of joy and love and happiness. Otherwise, it’s just a piece of paper tying your hands at having the life you actually want (and need). If we can consider that people who do NOT have that piece of paper are “married” (think commitment ceremonies before gay marriage was legal anywhere), can you see we can consider people who DO have the paper to not really be married, or at least, not in the way you mean?

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        GatorGirl June 26, 2013, 3:02 pm

        I think, in simple terms, you’re saying the marriage might be a big contributing factor to her unhappiness- and I agree. I guess I feel like I would want to know I really truly tried everything to make it work, before walking away. But that’s me. And she needs to make her own choice.

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        6napkinburger June 26, 2013, 3:43 pm

        I guess I wouldn’t feel the need to make sure I “tried” if I regretted everything about it in the first place . But I agree that it’s her call – only she knows if she feels like she has a marriage that might be able to be salvaged or a notorized bad idea holding her down.

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      • avatar

        Boosker June 26, 2013, 10:11 pm

        I definitely don’t think she should stay married just because “marriage is forever” or she made a commitment and needs to stick to it. I just think that if some of her complaints are: I’m bored, I don’t want to watch TV all the time, I want to go out, etc. Well, those are situations within her control. It kind of seems like she’s dissatified, wants things to be different, but hasn’t actually verbalized those needs to her husband or tried to take what action she could from her end. Why not at least lay it all out on the table, get some fresh air, and reassess how you feel. The whole staying inside watching TV and drinking just sounds really depressing. I don’t blame her for being dissatisfied by that routine, but I think she should try to change the routine first. Maybe they need to get a divorce, maybe they don’t. But she absolutely needs to get out of the house and build an interesting, active life for herself since she’s not happy with the one she’s got.

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      Bunnycsp June 26, 2013, 12:15 pm

      I think that this is dead on. LW, in every relationship, you need to shake it up a bit. My husband and I will have television free weeks sometimes. We aren’t crazy about it or anything but try and think of fun things to do. We took classes through the community center, we would bike to a place for dinner, took spin/boxing classes at the gym, there are free movies in the park near me in the summer so we grabbed a blanket and headed out. No matter how big or small the town you live in is, there are community/park events out there that are cheap and fun. I am sure your college has a ton of stuff too. When I was in school the planetarium at school had events that cost a dollar a person. Tell your husband that you want to be excited to live and see if he agrees. I say give yourself a chance to shake this rut out. Also, Pinterest has a ton of ideas.

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  • avatar

    TheGirlinME June 26, 2013, 12:17 pm

    “Marriage is a big deal if you treat it that way to begin with, you guys didn’t..” I think @bagge has an excellent point. There is no shame in correcting the mistake you made very young and divorcing. Learn from the mistake and try to do better moving forward.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark June 26, 2013, 12:39 pm

    Yeah. His career sounds lame… Especially when compared to yours… Which is basically sitting at home doing nothing. Oh. right. you are in school. which HE pays for. How are your grades? Stellar, I bet.Yeah. Somehow… I suspect he’s equally thrilled by this brilliant marriage of strangers. Really. What do you two possibly have in common other than being foolish?

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ June 26, 2013, 12:42 pm

    This is actually all too common.

    You need to be prepared. List out all assets, all property, joint or otherwise. List out the bills and debts. List out other expenses. Put them somewhere safe (a flash drive that’s hidden somewhere is best).

    Now, ask for couples counseling. Could it be that he’s staying with you because he doesn’t want to hurt YOUR feelings? Possibly. Going to couples counseling can help you both decide whether or not this marriage is salvagable (I doubt it), or help you find a decent mediator to help you work out a dissolution. Much cheaper than a divorce.
    If he refuses counseling, then find your way to a legal help clinic and discuss your options. A dissolution is when both sides agree on everything in the divorce. A divorce is when the sides can’t even agree on a divorce, let alone the “assets”. If he doesn’t want a divorce, you can’t have a dissolution.
    You will need to start working. You need to be able to support yourself without him.

    Next time, please know/date the person for at least 18 months before you even discuss marriage. I’d recommend a little bit of individual therapy for you, just to help you cope with the stresses of a divorce/dissolution (coming from personal experience, it is always helpful to have a neutral 3rd party to unload your problems onto).

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    • avatar

      Kate June 26, 2013, 1:02 pm

      AKChic, are you sure about this: “A dissolution is when both sides agree on everything in the divorce. A divorce is when the sides can’t even agree on a divorce, let alone the “assets”.

      I got divorced in MA, and we both agreed to get divorced and how to split things up. I downloaded divorce papers online, filled them out, signed and notarized them, and filed them, then we had a court date after several months, again specifically for divorce, the judge looked at our papers, found a couple things he said were wrong, sent us downstairs to the “attorney of the day” who I guess was a volunteer… he fixed a couple things in our papers, sent us back upstairs, we finished up, and then were granted a divorce. I never heard the term “dissolution.” Is that what I actually got? Or is this something that varies from state to state?

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay June 26, 2013, 3:32 pm

        I think it varies among states. From what I understand, some states don’t differentiate, specifically ones that offer no-fault divorces. Though even ones that don’t differentiate may use “dissolution” as a legal term.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ June 26, 2013, 4:07 pm

        I’m not sure how it is in other states, but in Alaska, we have a no-fault divorce. Period. This is for when only one spouse wants the divorce, both want the divorce but can’t agree on property/financials, or you can’t FIND the other spouse. Dissolution is done when both parties WANT the divorce and agree on everything. I’ve had both. 1st was a divorce because my ex did NOT want to divorce. He was so against it that he refused to answer my original motion/claim, and kept trying to convince me that if he didn’t show up, the divorce would be thrown out of court (he just didn’t want me showing up so the case would be dismissed). I got a default divorce because he never answered any of the claims/motions I filed.

        My second one was a dissolution because we agreed on everything. We knew that neither of us needed the other’s retirement, we didn’t want alimony, we agreed on custody, agreed on debys, and all of our possessions were easy to divide up (either it was mine, his, or we could replace the joint stuff and anything in NJ that was joint stayed with him, anything in AK that was joint stayed with me).

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