1. Health Problems: My wife, “Cheryl,” has more health problems then my 92-year-old grandmother did before she died. Cheryl has some real legitimate problems like a minor case of Cerebral Palsy (bad enough not to get a drivers license, but not so bad that people can tell without being told), migraines, and bursitis with arthritis, which I knew coming into the marriage. While prescriptions and known problems were bad enough, it’s the constant illnesses that take it out of me. I can’t rouse any feelings of sympathy any longer for congested chest, sinus infections, continuous colds, and other minor ailments.
2. Fetch!: I am very tired of being her little fetch boy. She tends to stay in her bedroom most of the time, and is constantly yelling for me to get this or get that. I can’t sit and watch a movie in the living room without pausing it like 5-6 times before she is yelling for me to get something for her. The thing is that part of me feels that because I would rather avoid confrontation and just get the thing she is asking for, that I am enabling her to continue to take less care of herself.
3. Opposite Cicada Rhythms: I’m a winter/morning person, and she’s a night/summer person. When we got married I didn’t think that would be a big deal, but nowadays I find myself waiting until noon or later before she wakes up on my days off to start doing things like shopping or arranging things for our kids. She’s a terrible morning person — the absolute worst — and the first two hours that she’s awake, you can’t talk to her — its all swearing and anger. The first few years of our marriage it caused far more then its share of issues, since I reacted poorly to being shouted at. It’s now progressed to the point that while I gladly get up and get our three kids out the door and to school, but I worry that she’s not going to be awake when the kids are done with school. Every day I call to make sure that she’s awake for our kindergartner to get home. The two in middle school can take care of themselves, but they come home later then the little one.
4. Finances/Chores: I am tired of being the only person working in the house. We’ve narrowly avoided foreclosure a couple of times, mainly because she never wants to even look at getting a job (even when comparatively healthy). Again, I feel that I am enabling her to keep not working or doing household chores. I’m not locked into the “man is bread winner, woman is homemaker thing,” but if you aren’t working, then shouldn’t the bulk of the household things fall to that person, simply by virtue of them having more time to do them?
Those are the major issues, but I think the straw that broke the camel’s back is;
5. Sex: We haven’t had sex since 2/14/11 (and it is not looking likely in the foreseeable future). The time before that was sometime in June/July of 2010. I’m not horribly obsessed with sex; I knew that with her health problems sex would be less then many of the people we knew. I’m just not sure that twice in two years is even enough to be considered a sex life. I feel really bad that this is even one of the reasons, like it shouldn’t matter in the long run, but the fact of the matter is that it does matter. To answer questions before they are asked: Her health problems do not prevent or make sex more difficult. Maybe its growing up in these more open times, but I was under the impression that one part of a good marriage is sex. Sex, honesty, and compromise.
I guess at the end of the day, I’m tired of it all. I’m emotionally drained with all this. I still feel like I’m the one in the wrong. Everything on this list, I’ve talked about with her at length. Things might change for a bit, but in the end, it always comes back. It’s been an ongoing cycle for years and years. I’ve even tried to get her to go to therapy, but no dice (you can’t help the unwilling). I don’t want to be the bad guy here, and the thing is that I am worried that regardless of how good my reasons are, I will be the bad guy in this situation. I don’t like being the bad guy. I am probably setting myself up to be savaged by your commenters, but I think that I’ve reached the end of my ability to deal with it. I knew coming into this that there would be difficulties, and I was prepared to deal with the major health issues — it’s mainly the other stuff that is grinding me down now. Part of me feels that just writing this is a bad idea. I feel guilty for wanting someone else to validate my decision. The other part of me feels that the act of telling someone besides my idiot friends and my family about the problems has helped me crystallized my thoughts on the matter. — Dude and Confused
Well, I sincerely hope that writing this letter did help you crystallize your thoughts on the issue and I hope this will help, too: You aren’t the bad guy, and you aren’t disloyal for wanting out of a bad marriage — one that it sounds like you’ve invested quite a lot in and sacrificed a lot for to make work. You should not feel guilty for feeling the way you do. I’d think most sane people would feel equally frustrated. And since you didn’t ask whether you should get a divorce, but whether your reasons are enough to MOA, I’ll say that yes, they are (including the sex part! Yes, of course sex is part of a healthy marriage and you aren’t “horrible” for expecting/wanting more of it).
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should throw in the towel just yet. You could have perfectly good reasons to MOA, but with kids involved, it’s always a wise idea to make sure you’ve exhausted every avenue toward help. Have you reached out to your wife’s family and friends? Have you talked to her about the possibility that she may be depressed and need medication to treat said depression? Have you stopped enabling her and forced her to be more independent and to adapt to your (and your kids!) needs for a change? Have you told her you are completely at your wits’ end and are seriously considering divorce? Hearing you say that may be the wake up call she needs. You could tell her that you will be talking to a lawyer and beginning the process unless she agrees to go to counseling (both with you and on her own). This is definitely a case where some ultimatums are in order. If she won’t even attempt to meet you halfway, then she doesn’t leave you much choice, does she?
But protect yourself. Find a great attorney. Speak to him/her before you even discuss any of this with your wife. Make sure you don’t say anything in the heat of the moment that may hurt your chance at getting what you want in the divorce, whether that’s full custody, paying minimal alimony, etc., etc. As I’m sure you’re aware, courts favor the mothers. You will be seen as the man who is leaving his sick wife, but you know and now we know that there is more to the story than that, so find an attorney who will hear your story and advise you (and possibly represent you) appropriately. Good luck.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.