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Nellie,

I felt the same way you did about commitment and marriage. With both of my husbands, I was in it for life, no matter what. The only good reason I can think of for getting a divorce is if a person or their children are at risk of bodily harm.

If a person leaves their children on someone's doorstep, they can be prosecuted for abandonment. How is divorce any different? If you are the one left behind, then people say "oh, you'll find someone better", like the solution is just to keep swapping partners till you "get lucky" and find one that sticks around.

I went to a symphony last night with a bunch of friends. All of them were in "pairs" (dating, not married). It was wierd, I didn't really envy them. Most of them have had numerous boyfriends/girlfriends and it all just seems so ridiculous. More than half of these people probably won't even be talking to each other in a year. Even though I sound real bitter sometimes, I still have to think it is better to have a friend (male or female) for life than it is to be just another ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. Removing the element of sex has allowed me to really get to know the men I hang out with now. I think that at first a few of them wanted some kind of dating/relationship thing, but since I'm not up for that, they now know that they have no need to "impress" me anymore or just show me their good side. Every time I see this change occur, it convinces me even more that my choice is a good one. I don't have to find out months or years down the road that the "person" they pretended to be at first is not who they really are. Or to put it another way, I haven't invested myself in a so-called relationship or sacrificed anything major, so I don't care if they "change" somewhere down the road.

Choosing not to find another "partner" is not as depressing as some might think. Just wanted you to know that there are other options that can be quite fulfilling that have nothing to do with scoping out another person to marry. If I sound bitter, it is because I'm mourning my loss of innocence concerning most people's lack of commitment, not because I need to find a replacement. I happen to agree with you that the vast majority of people have no concept of what it means to be committed. I also believe that you don't need to find another mate to make your life worthwhile. I highly resent the notion that lessons learned from failed relationships (like the ones we've learned this year) mean a thing or even mean that future relationships will be better. All we can do is find some way to cope.


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TheStudent,

According to what I have read, children are generally much better off with a single parent than with a stepparent as well. About the only exception is when the stepparent comes into their life when they are very young. Adolescents find it particularly difficult adjusting to a stepparent. And then you have to worry about the relatively high risk of sexual abuse, especially of adolescent girls.

Not only would I have to worry about these factors, but with the knowledge that I know have that a new personality came emerge overnight 25 years later, I can not imagine ever feeling anything but terribly tense in a relationship. You can be as open and honest as possible, but it is likely that the other person is not going to be, and there usually is no way to tell.


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I'd have to agree. Having two parents that don't live together or communicate well is much,much more disruptive than having a single parent. Then people say "but the children need a father". I agree that both boys and girls need the influence of a good woman or good man around. This can be accomplished by having good male or female friends nearby while the child is growing up. And I mean *friends*, not the constant in and out of dating relationships. People's needs for companionship can be met in other ways. Too many people get married because they want reliable sex and someone to cook and clean for them, or alternately, someone to go make the money for them. It has nothing to do with how to best raise a child.

In addition, I believe that if men/women waited to have children until they could responsibly care for them by themselves (should the need arise), most dependency issues would not be a problem.

A few people here have expressed some concern about your (our) negative views about marriage and the message you are sending your children. I'm more concerned about the message that it is ok to glom on to someone else and call it commitment. Or that you have to somehow prop up their "hope" of finding someone worthy of commitment, when we both know that the statistics don't bear out this "hope". Furthermore, the costs of having this "hope" far,far outweigh any possible gains, as we've both seen. The children are the ones who suffer for it.


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Well, I've read through this post and it is very controversial. I will only say this:

Nellie, can I hit him with that bat now?
I'm sorry for your Pain.

TheStudent,

quote:
Marriage is not about commitment. It is a stupid legal framework

I would be very careful in calling marriage a stupid legal framework. It is a union that was established by God. Which is a covenant that includes committment. It is the individual who forgets about the committment.

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"If you can learn from the mistakes of others, you won't have to make them youself."

lady_divine77@yahoo.com


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Nellie,
Interesting post going here.It makes you really think about ever getting married again after a divorce.I don't know about you,but my whole concept of the definition of marriage has changed.Seeing my sister go through her divorce(her H got into drugs),several cousins and friends,and now probably me,makes me wonder if it's all worth it.When I took my W to the marriage councelor(for what that was worth)he told us something I'll always remember.He said most marriages today only last about 10 years or less.He said if we had managed to stay married for 22 years without killing each other,that we must of been doing something right or we never would of made it this long.I think that's a pretty good definition of a long-term marriage.Both my parents and my in-laws have been married for over 50 years.I've heard them fight and nag each other,and even though they aren't"passionately in-love"with each other,they are probably doing as good as it gets.Sometimes I think people expect too much out of a marriage or expect their spouse to constantly keep them happy.You know as well as I do,happiness comes from within yourself,not from another person.They can contribute to your happiness,but they shouldn't be the ultimate source of it,or you'll eventually be let down.I believe most problems can be worked out if both parties want to make the marriage work.My folks had problems you wouldn't believe compared to ours.I think some people just don't have a lot of tolerance for their spouse's shortcomings,or are opinionated in the way things should be.Unfortunately,these traits don't bode well for them in any relationship.Some people just aren't cut out for a 50/50 relationship.I realize now just how self-centered,and arrogant my W was.Perhaps your H is the same way?Anyway,something for you to think about.Talk to you later.Take care. --Murph

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Jamie-lee,
Well, if I was married to God, then I wouldn't have anything to worry about. Now that I'm celibate, you could say that I am married to God.

When I said that marriage was a stupid legal framework it is because that is how most people treat it. Commitment is in the heart, not on a piece of paper. The simple act of getting married does not symbolize commitment at all. Maybe in an ideal world, but not in ours. To risk sounding sacriligious, even marriage in the bible seemed to be more about property rights than the joining of two souls. That is why it was ok to have multiple wives in the Bible? As long as the H knew the kids were his, then it was ok. The wife was supposed to be obedient too. I guess you'd have to be in order to put up with all those other women hanging around and calling it legit. The way marriage is presented in the bible is not presented as a joining of two souls. It is one guy who has some obedient woman to do his bidding so that he can have some reliable offspring (preferably male).


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Murph,
Yes, it appears that my H did expect me to somehow keep him constantly happy, an impossible feat.

I read an article in today's paper discussing "positive illusion" - the characteristic of seeing their partner's good behavior as reflective of their personality, and their bad behavior as a function of external factors, even after the "infatuation" stage is over. Supposedly those who see things that way are more likely to be happy, even if it is not realistic. People who feel this way are also more likely to resist "alternative partners". People are less likely to be unfaithful if they see their partners as better than they actually are, and others as worse than they actually are.

If this theory is true, it would be great for those couple where positive illusion characterizes both partners. Relationships where it characterizes neither probably wouldn't last very long. The problem arises where one partner sees things this way (as I think I did, up until discovery), and the other sees things the opposite way. Then the more positive partner invariably suffers.

jamie-lee,

Go ahead - a bat, a frying pan, whatever...

TheStudent,

The article I was talking about above implies that one's chance for happiness is greater if you are unrealistically optimistic - but only if the other person is too. I suspect the chance of two unrealistically optimistic people finding each other is fairly slim - and the worse case scenario, the one that seems most likely to set yourself up to be hurt, is when you are the optimistic one and the other person is not.


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A woman in her late 70's said this to me (obviously, I can't quote exactly, but will attempt to at least get the gist... ):

The lifespan of people is growing longer and longer with each passing decade... used to be mothers died in childbirth or soon after, and fathers lived into their 50's, after fathering umteen children with several different women...

Marriage was meant to last an adult lifetime, to be sure, but an adult lifetime was much shorter than it is now. Also, women married at 15 at some times in history, and she was lucky to live to 30!

With this in mind, marriage was meant to last between 10-20 years, not 40-50-60 years that it does now that people are living well into their 70's, 80's and even 90's...

So, what do you think of that??


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TheStudent

Didn't mean to offend you, just thought your wording was a little tactless that's all. Didn't want anyone else to get the wrong idea. SORRY

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Jamie-Lee,
I wasn't offended. I'm frequently argumentative these days. What Nellie said about unrealistic optimism afflicts just about everyone on their wedding day. Everyone goes into it thinking it will last forever. I was just venting my frustration that more people can't stay the course.

Nellie,
I read something the other day that goes:
"if a man sin against thee...if he repent and confess, forgive him...But if he be shameless, and persisteth in his wrongdoing even so forgive him from the heart, and leave to God the avenging". I know it is a tough row to hoe when you are the one taking care of the kids. They really are a blessing to you, even if their father is an alien. Your H has made his choices. Maybe he'll feel remorse someday. Maybe he won't. I'm guessing if he doesn't, he'll never fully have the love and respect of his children, not to mention you. That is a pretty terrible thing to lose.


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Sheryl,

I read somewhere though that if you made it to your 40's, your probability of living to a ripe old age has not changed much since Revolutionary times. The average lifespan was shorter mostly because fewer people made it to adulthood, as well as the fact that more women died in childbirth.

TheStudent,

My H is certainly well aware that he has lost the respect of our two oldest, but he seems to see it as their doing, not his.


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Well, I still believe in the framework of marriage. I don't think this one experience could alter my perception of marriage as basically a good thing. People make marriage bad or good. It's all in the way they learn and grow together. I can understand the bitterness. Even my minister was very bitter after his divorce and didn't remarry for a very long time. Who's to say what's right or wrong? All I'm saying is that learning how to build a good relationship can only benefit you whether you decide to pursue one later on or not. Learn, and then teach your kids how to be a good marriage partner. That way if they decide marriage is the right institution for them they'll have better odds at success.

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Nellie

I didn't say we go into marriage just to have our needs met. That's ridiculous. But I thought having married for "love" and having found a true "soul-mate" that the love would carry us through. It doesn't. Meeting each other's needs is a learned behavior, and I did a really bad job because I did not understand any of this. I too thought of him as better than he was, and it wasn't good for either of us.

We all need to be loved and accepted as we are. While I loved him as this wonder-man, he found someone else to love him as he truly knew himself to be. He could tell OW #2 about #1, something he had been holding inside.

I'm not defending him, but I've been trying hard to understand better so we can get on with our lives.

I read a really good book the other day by a former divorce attorney - How to heal a painful relationship. It deals with letting go and making peace with the other person, even if it is to divorce as friends not to restore the marriage. It's by Bill Ferguson.


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Amazing, huh? Ah well, it will just take that much longer for him to recover the love of his children, if it ever happens. Even if he somehow manages to get on decent terms with them, there will always be a distance there until he can fully own up. Even THEN, he will have a tall mountain to climb. I know. My dad was a serious alcoholic throughout most of my childhood. Even though he stopped drinking about 15 years ago, it has taken this long for me to trust him. Even though he had started taking responsibility for his behavior at least 10 years ago. It is funny. I find that the men I tend to attract are those who cannot take responsibility for their behavior. If you teach your children anything, you need to teach them the importance of personal responsibility AND that it is perfectly acceptable to hold another person accountable for their behavior. I know they are getting a good lesson about what NOT to do from their father. Sometimes that can be just as instructive!!

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The statistics are such a devastation to our marriages and homes....
My WH justified his affairs to our teens by stating the statistics and trying to "normalize" his actions....he also told them that kids should have hardships in their lives to make them a better person, and that kids are resilient....all in attempts to minimize, legitimize his immoral behaviors...

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This tread is from 2000.

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Originally Posted By: Pepperband
This tread is from 2000.


So it's a re-tread?


Me, BW
WH cheated in corporate workplace for many years. He moved out and filed in summer 2008.
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LOL
I leave the typo for your enjoyment

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