I am 33 years old, I have two wonderful children and I have been married for almost seven years. The first time I thought about divorce was five years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband is a good, kind-hearted man, but I began to hate certain things about him and all I could focus on was the negative. His temper, his drinking, his need to go exercise alone for several hours a day, and most of all, our total lack of a sex life.
That was the first big dip in the personal roller-coaster known as my marriage. Here I am today, a second child later, and I feel closer to the possibility of divorce with each passing year. I don't consider myself to be unrealistic, impatient or spoiled. I know that all relationships are hard and that there are supposed to be ups and downs, especially with kids in the mix. But I am still young and I don't want to look back in 20 years and think that I wasted some of the best years of my life in a marriage without the passion, love and connection that I crave. I am grateful for the life my husband and I have together, but we have some serious incompatibilities that continue to dominate our relationship with every month that passes. I need to figure out if we can be "fixed." Is it possible for him to make the changes that I need for him to make? Can I be the kind of woman that he needs me to be?
In early 2013 I was feeling positive and hopeful about my marriage and I was ready and willing to get down and dirty and figure out what we needed to do to make each other happy. I interviewed therapists. I chose one that I felt my husband would open up to. We each saw her separately, never as couple. He claimed he was not yet ready for couples therapy. Life, work and travel took over and we both stopped going to our appointments. As time went on, I began to feel more strongly than ever that I married the wrong man. I began to fantasize about falling in love with someone new, and more so, having hot, passionate sex with someone new. But I was not even close to ready to act on it.
And we have children, so how can I possibly really get a divorce? Is it worth all of the joint custody logistics, moving from our home and making so many changes just because I don't have the sex life that I want? I think about my older child, who is the more sensitive one, and how a divorce could just destroy her and confuse all sense of order that she has in the world.
So I consulted my good friend Google. I typed in "how to get a divorce with kids." I was looking for advice on how to mentally and emotionally prepare to embark on such a venture. My results included financial planning tips and "do it yourself guides" about all of the legal paperwork. I weeded through the search results and finally saw something a bit more human that caught my eye: "The six signals of impending divorce." This is what I needed--someone to cut to the chase and tell me if we are going to make it or not.
Over the next few months I'll be delving into my feelings and concerns about whether or not to stick it out in this marriage. Follow along with me here.
Reprinted with permission from Elizabeth Street. Want more?