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How did it end and why? An opportunity to examine and purge  RSS feed

 
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The singles section has never been so hot. You're welcome. This thread is for us to examine what went wrong in a relationship, and why it came to an end.

Let's not use bad words to describe exes, especially if they are members of this forum. Remember the niceness policy.

I'm going to let someone else go first.
 
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I'll add a data point. The most important relationship in my life ended because, in the end, we and I did not have a good enough support group in place to help us patch it together after I screwed up. So it helps to do your Joe-loves-Sally show within and in front of as solid and full a group of friends as possible. They can, if they're generous, provide your net and ladder back into the side door of the relationship.

To shelve comments about "I screwed up": She wasn't any kind of angel (she was much MUCH more than that! <g>), but I was driving the cart and my move ended it. It could be said she could have come back (ball was in her court), but that's not how we built the relationship and, in fact, she had the right to that decision and it was probably a good one.


Regards
Rufus
 
Dale Hodgins
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You were fairly cryptic there Rufus. Did you run around with other women? Were you violent?

Whatever it was I'm glad you've taken responsibility for it.

The thing that I have been more than anything else in relationships that have ended, is dismissive. People just hate it if they really go at you about something and you are completely dismissive of their point of view.

Women often feel better about a breakup, if they have initiated it, so I have used this tendency to be dismissive, to move things in that direction. I get dumped, which I'm very happy about, and she gets to do The Dumping, which makes her feel better about the whole thing. I often wonder if anyone who has booted me out the door, has had a look at it later on and realized that I was holding that door open. I suppose that might have been a chickens way out of certain situations, but I told myself that I was softening the blow.
 
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Relationship 1: 2007-2008; We wanted different things in life. He left me for a girl with bigger boobs.
Relationship 2: 2010-2014; We wanted different things in life. He told me the truth after pretending to want to be with me for 3 years. I left.
Relationship 3: 2017; I was psychotic, and he was manipulating to get me to buy him weed. He left me for a girl with bigger boobs. Twice.
Relationship 4: 2018; We wanted different things in life. He punched me in the face and broke my jaw. I left. He texted me a hundred times saying If he couldn't have me, no one would. He's in jail now.

As you can see, all of these relationships had stupid foundations and were bad. Don't do what I did.

I get that girls with long dark hair and huge boobs are hot. Really. It's just... if that's your thing, don't go out with flat-chested curly-headed frumpy blondes. It's not fair. Damn you, Xena Warrior Princess. I'll never be that kind of woman.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It could be that the boobs had nothing to do with it. If you have really small boobs, most people are going to have bigger ones, including whoever your ex goes out with next.

Imagine if you were three feet tall. At the end of each relationship you could say, he left for someone taller.

My ex-wife had this thing about boobs. She had a perfect set of them, that were medium-sized. Every time we encountered a woman with really big boobs, she figured I was looking at them. The majority of the time, they were attached to a woman that I found too fat for my taste, and I wasn't looking at them at all. Her quite chubby sister had planted this insecurity during her formative years. She was perfectly proportioned, and I never had an issue with it. I thought she was hot.
 
Mother Tree
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My first husband developed a bad case of obsessive compulsive disorder and became obsessed with protecting me and the baby from 'germs'.  It got so bad he lost his job, spend all night in the bath, attempted to control every move I made, and ultimately wouldn't allow me to put the baby on the floor to learn to crawl/walk.  And he refused all help, emphatically.

Eventually I was forced to make a choice between my husband (with those words about 'in sickness and in health' ringing in my ears) and my baby, who absolutely needed and deserved my full attention and devotion.  Kicking my husband out was the trigger he needed to start to sort his life out and he is now in a commited relationship with another young son of his own.

My second husband was very much 'til death us do part'.
 
Rufus Laggren
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> cryptic

Nothing particularly noteworthy. I was pushing hard in the relationship in all the ways one discovers the other can be susceptible to, too hard, and putting up with stuff that I should  not have and making implied promises that I could only marginally keep. We both  _really_ wanted things to work and actually cared a lot for each other; in some ways from the day we met, throughout all our time together, and after, we were, and probably would remain today if we met, very _very_ good with each other. Eerily so.  But. When I finally got the real green light I realized that the road leading there had developed momentum but that in the current situation of job, friends, expectations, etc I could _not_ continue in the same way.  IOW, what I got, which I'd worked hard for, was not what was possible for me to be OK with, considering how we got there and how we related to our friends. I cut a shameful picture, I'm afraid. It took 5 years and we made every mistake in the book and left blood (figuratively, Dale! <g>) over every nearby surface. We did care a lot for each other and it was pretty bad for both. But, I was the one who freaked and ran the cart off the road at the top of the hill. We _could_ have continued to try - it was possible, just barely - but the vision was totally blown away and all resources were spent. It was a tipping point. Who knows... I still don't. There's a lady sized hole in certain parts of my life forever - and about that, I wouldn't have it any other way.

That's where friends and good "village" can help a lot. They can help enforce basic common sense along the way and patch you (both) up  and the relationship, too, and redefine things, if they want to. They provide the main characters an alternative way to communicate. The people we had at the time didn't want to and within ourselves, we had already spent it all.  By ourselves we were not a smart bet.

So I say, keep it public, all out in the open. Give your audience a show, let them share the ups and downs and put up with their opinions and advice. Your public is who defines, names and gives a venue for your relationship, extends it. No relationship exists simply between two (or whatever) people. It needs your people, to set down roots and grow strong. Also because we all come with a past that our friends can help our partner deal with.

Oh. And never, ever, trust an "old friend" of your partner. Not for one second. It's not proper or smart or honest, yourself. Get real - some things don't go away. I kid you not.

Rufus

p.s. Dales right, of course. It would be pretty surprising if "boobs" had much to do with anything. Just a kinda stupid talking point.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Burra

Totally, w/out question, you did right. It's really good to hear of somebody with the strength, guts and luck to charge forward through all their troubles onto the good path.

Really great.


Rufus
 
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Sarah Koster wrote:I get that girls with long dark hair and huge boobs are hot.



I don't see the allure of big boobs... Definitely not my turn-on.



 
Sarah Koster
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Dale Hodgins wrote:It could be that the boobs had nothing to do with it. If you have really small boobs, most people are going to have bigger ones, including whoever your ex goes out with next.



True. But what if he said it was the boobs?
Truthfully, I think it was the car and the checking account. By that time he'd already destroyed/emptied those. He would sometimes reminisce about the girl who got away, and his eyes would light up when he talked about her Dodge Charger.
I might have to start making/modifying my own clothes, store-bought ones look stupid on me, I think they're either whorish or dowdy with absolutely nothing in between. It would be nice to be able to look like an adult female without looking like a sex worker. Or a bag lady. The guys I've been with have sometimes been embarrassed to be seen with me in public, either because of the bag lady thing or because I look like a kid. It really has a LOT to do with clothes not fitting me right. My most recent ex was 8 years my junior and he was really worried about people thinking he was way older than me, but he's totally insane (and a pathological liar, literally made up having kids who supposedly died) so I can kind of discount everything he said/did.
Prettymuch all of my relationships have in some way been an attempt to put off/avoid dealing with suicidal thoughts and urges. There was maybe one guy I ever met who I genuinely liked, but he turned me down really nicely when I told him how I felt. The guys I went out with, I did love (I pretty well love all humans, I just modify this to incorporate eros when I feel it's necessary for the other human's well-being) but I never saw them as being anything close to what I would actually want in a mate. No one I have ever met, is. And I'm really not what such a person would want in a mate, truth be told. I get tired of wrestling with my lack of interest in life and allow someone to claim me, latch onto them ferociously and attempt to modify myself to accommodate them. I normally do this when I have totally given up on ever being happy or fulfilled. It feels as if I am sacrificing myself for their sake. Or just trying anything at all to get through one more day.

If I'm being honest, this is a cruel thing for me to do to whomever I end up dating. I know from the get go that I'm a deep sea fish and they're a guppy, and that their inability to connect to and correct my deep sea sorrows will make them feel like they are not enough. Because they're not enough. But I don't expect them to be. I don't want someone else to fix my broken heart or whatever, I want someone whose heart is also broken to hold my hand and not be ashamed of my sadness. But they just want me to be happy. And I don't.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Sarah

The smartest "cures" I've ever given myself involved finding a solid ordinary, nothing special group of people (5-20 persons, the bigger the better) and hanging out with them. Routinely at least once a week for several hours. I shamelessly bought my way in by participating in whatever brought them together. Pickup volley ball served fine for many years, Irish and English dancing for some more years. Singing, for a brief time. My contribution which I was comfortable with was as a warm body with moderate physical prowess which I was happy to throw into whatever game the group played. I trusted that role. The physical basis of the group also helped a lot - lose that always-over-thinking stuff. I never rose up in the group, I just had to _be_ there and rub against regular people doing something, whatever, that was fine with us all. I didn't want a grandstand, I wanted a place and I wanted it a _different place_ than where I was. But one I trusted - that was definitely important. That's why the larger the group the better because my own influence would be less, and that was important. I absolutely avoided getting intimate with anybody in my grounding groups in the time I was there. If I had stayed longer, I hope I would have "got to know" somebody(s), but that was definitely not the purpose of the group for me. I needed family and tribe.

One thing about a group is that in the normal course of events, things happen there. That means that just moving through the basic stuff of whatever you guys are doing, you talk to people and get to know them (a little) and have little simple basic relationships. Help start their car. Carry the extra beer. Clean up the place after. Bring some dip. Whatever. It's all grist for the mill, it's all healing. It's not direct. I don't think life is a vending machine where you put in coin and get what  you want from the bottom. Not. You live, best you can and care to, and at some point things come along or change. You change.

But we need a place to stand, a firm ordinary place that won't change much in our time. A place where we can relax as ourselves because in that place what we are and what we will do is pretty much "OK". Where things are ordinary and not hysterical or frightening all the time or stressed out all the time. No lottery to win, no big break coming to fix all our problems. We're just there and it's OK.

Why not look around. Find something you believe is OK and find the group you can hang with and pay your by joining what they're doing. Nothing miraculous will happen, so you don't need to worry about that. It's kinda like forcing a horse to walk slowly to avoid serious colick (which can kill). You "walk slowly" with the group. Breath, gossip a little, get annoyed sometimes, find yourself surprised a little, time passes. Things change and move on. Every group has the good, the bad and the ugly. If the group is "good" (the kind you're looking for) ie. mostly civil and decent, it will keep it's members in line. Just drift away from the places not good at the moment. If somebody is making life miserable, either leave or turn around and sock the mofo (figuratively or for real), right in front of the group. You could be surprised at the support you might get.

I like that you're about to attack your clothing.  Won't place any bets on who wins, but it sounds like a great challenge. <GG>

Best luck.
Rufus
 
pollinator
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This is an absolutely incredibly important thing to do, to examine why it went awry and purge those things that caused it. Even if you weren't at fault. Even if your ex was a complete jerk and cheated on you.

Because it ALWAYS takes two. especially when patterns repeat. It is so so so important to really self reflect where things went bad and to be able to honestly evaluate what things you might have done that contributed to the end... and then work through that baggage.

This is why we often end up with the same type of person. Not because we are intentionally looking for the same type of person, but because we tend to behave the same way in a relationship unless we really, really work hard at changing any unhealthy patterns within our own behavior. it always red flags me when I see guys who say "recently divorced looking to get out there" because that tells me they haven't dealt with their baggage.

My ex husband was neglectful, irresponsible and immature (there's actually a thread about my marriage right at the end here on Permies where I was asking you all for advice, called "is this normal" or something like that). If you ask him, he will tell you he is 100% responsible for our marriage failing. And I agree with him - to a point. But in hindsight, there were things I could have done differently in terms of setting boundaries and not tolerating his behavior early on that might have actually saved the marriage. It's too late now, but I spent several years post-divorce working through this stuff and re-learning boundaries and re-identifying what I wanted to be in terms of relationships before I was even willing to put myself out there again. I'm pretty confident now that I'll be a lot better at boundary setting and enforcing which for me is key.
 
Sarah Koster
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Rufus--
It's great that the group thing worked for you. I'm not really interested in hanging out with groups of people, never have been. I might hang out with one of my buddies, and on rare occasion she'll bring her friend Lydia along. That's as much socializing as I can tolerate.
I'm actually not lonely, in the sense of wanting to spend time with people. I don't get enough "alone time" as it is, since I'm back at my parents' house. It's a major stressor. I cherish every moment out of sight and earshot of other people, and sometimes have to go hide in the woods because I just can't deal with other people.
I would literally rather go to the dentist and get my cavities drilled with no anesthetic than be in a group of 20 people. That is like... hell for me. Do you know the part in finding nemo where the fish are surrounded by squaking seagulls? Yeah. I'm that fish, and other people are those seagulls.
As it is, I've distanced myself from my friend since she gets on my nerves and just wants to complain and act helpless. I think she's psychotic, she wants to ramble about the contents of her delusions as if they were real and it just isn't healthy for either of us. It's hard for me to find friends who aren't codependent and don't either want me to act as a stand-in parental figure, or want to tell me how to live my life/undermine my personality to make themselves feel needed and superior. I understand that if I had healthy interpersonal boundaries and behaviors, I wouldn't fall into these patterns. But I don't. And I'd rather just try to fix myself right now than be bled dry of all emotional energy by trying to socialize.

Places where I can Relax
*In the woods, alone
*any other setting
 
Burra Maluca
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Rufus Laggren wrote:Totally, w/out question, you did right. It's really good to hear of somebody with the strength, guts and luck to charge forward through all their troubles onto the good path.



I feel a little uncomfortable accepting that as I don't think I did have 'strength, guts' and whatever to charge forward through the troubles.  What actually happened was that I gradually got worn down and more dependent on friends and relatives for the support to carry on.  Gradually all my friends, and relatives, who had tired of telling me that it was time to walk out, withdrew the support and eventually I simply couldn't cope any more.  Each morning I'd wake up thinking 'How the hell am I going to get through today...' and eventually one morning I woke up and simply couldn't handle it any more and threw him out.  

Any 'strength' I had was when I was putting up with all the crap and thinking that I could fix things.  Unfortunately that sapped so much of my strength that by the time I acted I was a complete mess and needed huge amounts of support to pull myself back together again.

It was, however, totally the right thing to do.  In retrospect, I'm tempted to say I should have thrown him out earlier, but I'm not actually certain.  For my own long-term peace of mind, sticking it out until I had no choice left me entirely free of any feelings of guilt or failure, which ultimately probably helped and strengthened me and gave me huge life lessons.  
 
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Bethany Dutch wrote:

This is why we often end up with the same type of person. Not because we are intentionally looking for the same type of person, but because we tend to behave the same way in a relationship unless we really, really work hard at changing any unhealthy patterns within our own behavior. it always red flags me when I see guys who say "recently divorced looking to get out there" because that tells me they haven't dealt with their baggage.



For all of the incredibly important *technical* information that Permies.com provides,  I actually feel this to be one of the most important threads that Dale (and other parallel threads started by others) has initated.  Because "relationships", how the are founded and why they fail, is not just about that between humans, but also spills over into our relationship with our land/domicile and begins with the relationship we have with ourselves.  As Bethany alluded to, these relationship patterns set up early in life and we have to become aware of how they effect all other relationships as they develop.  In my own case, it's not "over"....may never be and yet it's probably in a shape that many would have considered 'divorce-worthy'.   IMHO, there are both good and bad reasons why that hasn't happened, but the upshot of the years that have led up to the present is that I've had to take ownership of what I brought into a marriage that itself was predicated on (warning: psychobabble ahead!) enormous amount of projection and transference from my family of origin and the relationships therein.  Many others that I've come in contact with have echoed Burra's and other's observation here that  "I woke up and simply couldn't handle it any more....  " -- and decided for everyone's mental health and wellbeing, it was time to end it.  I guess I haven't reached that point yet and suspect as with so many things, it's a personal decision as to where to draw that line.  I guess I'm more inclined these days when someone in our circle mentions a recent divorce with the phrase "I wonder what went wrong....." to come back with "I wonder what factors brought them together....", the latter not always the most healthy motivations even if satisfying the western romantic model of 'falling in love'.  Anyway, good thread and I hope the conversation stimulates many to examine their human and non-human relationships.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Burra

> sticking it out... left me entirely free
BTDT. Works, maybe necessary some times, but expensive.

>feel uncomfortable...
From what you relate, you had an awareness of what was what and, to the best of your abilities tried to make something work. And then when you knew you couldn't any longer, you changed things, still being aware of your situation. Right? Keeping aware like that and then doing what you had to, still paying attention and trying your best... That's  about a good as anybody can hope to do.

Or to say it simpler, an old buddy of mine likes to point out pilots have a  saying: Any landing you walk away from is a GOOD landing. <G>

Cheers
Rufus

 
Rufus Laggren
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Sarah

We certainly can't do what pains us all the time. But because there is much strength and interest to be found with others, please leave a door open and don't unnecessarily shut down connections that may come along. There are many "venues" in which people can relate and if some (like eg. "romance") spell huge trouble, there are other's that may not - like (for true but silly-sounding example) bird watching. People who are grounded and accepting of their situation and not fizzing around being needy are actually not that uncommon and they are the ones it's always most comfortable to be with.

Best luck to you.
Rufus
 
Bethany Dutch
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Burra Maluca wrote:  In retrospect, I'm tempted to say I should have thrown him out earlier, but I'm not actually certain.  For my own long-term peace of mind, sticking it out until I had no choice left me entirely free of any feelings of guilt or failure, which ultimately probably helped and strengthened me and gave me huge life lessons.  



This is also a huge part of why, I think, I stayed as long as I did. I am VERY committed to the idea that marriage should be forever and I think it took me ten years to get to the point where I knew, deep down inside, that I had already left no stone unturned and had done everything I possibly could to save the marriage and it was beyond saving. Huge life lessons, indeed.
 
Sarah Koster
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While I appreciate people responding to me thoughtfully with insightful ideas, I definitely do not appreciate it when people try to push their opinions on me and can't understand that what works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for everyone. I get that people are trying to be helpful but well... if it gets to the point where you're just insisting you're right and the other person is wrong, you're not being respectful of that person's free will to choose what works for them.
Thanks.
 
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Bethany Dutch wrote:

Burra Maluca wrote:  In retrospect, I'm tempted to say I should have thrown him out earlier, but I'm not actually certain.  For my own long-term peace of mind, sticking it out until I had no choice left me entirely free of any feelings of guilt or failure, which ultimately probably helped and strengthened me and gave me huge life lessons.  



This is also a huge part of why, I think, I stayed as long as I did. I am VERY committed to the idea that marriage should be forever and I think it took me ten years to get to the point where I knew, deep down inside, that I had already left no stone unturned and had done everything I possibly could to save the marriage and it was beyond saving. Huge life lessons, indeed.



This was my situation too.  Which is why it's so annoying when people are so judgey about others getting a divorce and spout off about the vows people make when married, you need to work harder at it, etc.  
 
Burra Maluca
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Bethany Dutch wrote: I am VERY committed to the idea that marriage should be forever



Maybe this is something else that needs to be discussed here.  I suspect that the old vows about 'til death us do part' might actually be a better thing than the idea that marriage is forever.  My second husband made it very clear to me that he considered that true love meant that you'd want your partner to find love again after you'd gone.  Which left me totally free to seek it out without any little niggles about 'would he want this?' or 'am I being disloyal?'.

To me, the commitment to each other is until one or other partner dies, only.  The love lasts forever, and any new partner will have to accept that.  But the commitment ends.  
 
Bethany Dutch
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Burra Maluca wrote:

Bethany Dutch wrote: I am VERY committed to the idea that marriage should be forever



Maybe this is something else that needs to be discussed here.  I suspect that the old vows about 'til death us do part' might actually be a better thing than the idea that marriage is forever.  My second husband made it very clear to me that he considered that true love meant that you'd want your partner to find love again after you'd gone.  Which left me totally free to seek it out without any little niggles about 'would he want this?' or 'am I being disloyal?'.

To me, the commitment to each other is until one or other partner dies, only.  The love lasts forever, and any new partner will have to accept that.  But the commitment ends.  



Oh yes - you know what, you're right. I do feel that if one person dies, it would be the right thing for the other person to move on once they have grieved appropriately. So saying marriage should be till death do you part would have been a better way to put it.
 
Bethany Dutch
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Sonja Draven wrote:

Bethany Dutch wrote:

Burra Maluca wrote:  In retrospect, I'm tempted to say I should have thrown him out earlier, but I'm not actually certain.  For my own long-term peace of mind, sticking it out until I had no choice left me entirely free of any feelings of guilt or failure, which ultimately probably helped and strengthened me and gave me huge life lessons.  



This is also a huge part of why, I think, I stayed as long as I did. I am VERY committed to the idea that marriage should be forever and I think it took me ten years to get to the point where I knew, deep down inside, that I had already left no stone unturned and had done everything I possibly could to save the marriage and it was beyond saving. Huge life lessons, indeed.



This was my situation too.  Which is why it's so annoying when people are so judgey about others getting a divorce and spout off about the vows people make when married, you need to work harder at it, etc.  



Yeah that's the other half of it. I think part of the reason I stayed half as long and I even THOUGHT that I could somehow work hard enough to wake him up to what he was doing, or something I could do, was because of all that "advice" out there.

"People just don't know how to commit anymore."
"Marriage is hard work, it isn't just fun and games all the time"
"You need to be doing everything you can and in time, he will follow your example."
"It isn't like he's beating you or cheating on you"
"People just treat each other like they are disposable."
"Unless he's cheated on you, you don't have grounds for divorce."

The funny thing is... I've become a pretty rebellious woman since the divorce. At least, against the churchification I dealt with before. One thing people often said to me is "if you get divorced now, just understand that makes your kids more likely to get divorced too." But the truth is, divorce improved our lives... and so if my girls end up in a position where they need to put their foot down and divorce instead of accepted being treated as someone unimportant by their spouse, I support that 100%.

I suspect a lot of the "increased divorce rates" people lament about isn't so much because marriages are worse (and somehow modern society treats people as "disposable"), but because we live in a society where it isn't frowned upon anymore. So all those marriages back in the past that people put on a pedestal... well, I'm betting a ton of them were unhealthy and unhappy but people didn't get a divorce because of a greater stigma back then. Plus, what woman would get a divorce when it would be just about impossible for her to make a living and support her family due to the current cultural climate?

That's just my theory though.
 
Sonja Draven
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About a year into my marriage, when things were already starting to fray, I started seeing a therapist.  I shared how tough things were and how frustrated I felt with myself that the fact that my husband didn't cheat on me or beat me wasn't feeling enough to fix everything else.  He felt frustrated that I wanted more from him than those things too.)  She told me that that was a pretty low bar to have and those should be very basic givens in a relationship.  That stuck with me.

As others have mentioned, since I thought marriage should be forever, I stuck it out for another 7 years.  I had believed in "the One, etc.  I wanted to do everything I could to make it work and be healthy.  I heard multiple times from different sources that you'll know when it's time.  I trusted that and eventually it was true for me.  I was completely at peace with the decision when I left.  Sometimes I wonder where I'd be if I left sooner but I learned from the trying and the growth I went through during that relationship and its end.

And I agree that finding another love if the first dies, when desired, is completely appropriate.
 
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For me it often gets back to a quote I have said in these threads before:
The hardest thing to forgive someone for is the very quality that made you fall in love with them.
I have fallen for men who are such clever geeks, and dumped them when they wouldn't get their nose out of a computer to help with the world. I have been the lady he was attracted to because I'm so unusual, then the one dumped because I just don't act normal. I had a man who had stories to tell, then we split because he wouldn't talk to me, like dialog back and forth, he'd just tell stories, that didn't relate to anything we needed to discuss, it ended up being a wall of non-communication, an interesting avoidance device.

What attracts you, you'll have to forgive. Look at a potential mate, and say "can I forgive them for this trait that I love?" Figure out how you could hate that trait, and can you forgive it? Because you probably will have to. Love it that she's beautiful? What happens when she gets older? Love him for having clever hands and fixing everything? What about when he won't call a plumber, and you have had no kitchen sink for a month, and he swears he'll get to it?
 
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Bethany Dutch wrote:
I suspect a lot of the "increased divorce rates" people lament about isn't so much because marriages are worse (and somehow modern society treats people as "disposable"), but because we live in a society where it isn't frowned upon anymore. So all those marriages back in the past that people put on a pedestal... well, I'm betting a ton of them were unhealthy and unhappy but people didn't get a divorce because of a greater stigma back then. Plus, what woman would get a divorce when it would be just about impossible for her to make a living and support her family due to the current cultural climate?

That's just my theory though.



I think there were a lot of different factors including different expectations and lifestyles. Marriage was often a contract to start a family, and if you have a bunch of kids then often the kids become your primary relationship and the marriage is secondary. Also historically most families lived agricultural lifestyles that often involved a lot of gender segregation especially in extended families, even social events involved gender segregation (husbands and wives were never seated next to each other during formal dinner parties, men went to the smoking room or hung out together outside, the women gathered in the kitchen to chat etc...)

That separation helped take the pressure off of less than ideal marriages plus with larger extended families people would develop close emotional ties with others in their family unit instead of relying on their spouse.  Now days people expect a lot more from a spouse, the spouse is supposed to be a great lover, best friend, primary emotional support etc.... and if people aren't getting that they think it means they need a new partner. Back in the day the reasons for divorce were often limited to insanity, physical abuse, adultery or alcoholism (big reasons, simply "not being fulfilled emotionally" wasn't grounds for divorce it was likely just considered normal).
 
Bethany Dutch
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

Bethany Dutch wrote:
I suspect a lot of the "increased divorce rates" people lament about isn't so much because marriages are worse (and somehow modern society treats people as "disposable"), but because we live in a society where it isn't frowned upon anymore. So all those marriages back in the past that people put on a pedestal... well, I'm betting a ton of them were unhealthy and unhappy but people didn't get a divorce because of a greater stigma back then. Plus, what woman would get a divorce when it would be just about impossible for her to make a living and support her family due to the current cultural climate?

That's just my theory though.



I think there were a lot of different factors including different expectations and lifestyles. Marriage was often a contract to start a family, and if you have a bunch of kids then often the kids become your primary relationship and the marriage is secondary. Also historically most families lived agricultural lifestyles that often involved a lot of gender segregation especially in extended families, even social events involved gender segregation (husbands and wives were never seated next to each other during formal dinner parties, men went to the smoking room or hung out together outside, the women gathered in the kitchen to chat etc...)

That separation helped take the pressure off of less than ideal marriages plus with larger extended families people would develop close emotional ties with others in their family unit instead of relying on their spouse.  Now days people expect a lot more from a spouse, the spouse is supposed to be a great lover, best friend, primary emotional support etc.... and if people aren't getting that they think it means they need a new partner. Back in the day the reasons for divorce were often limited to insanity, physical abuse, adultery or alcoholism (big reasons, simply "not being fulfilled emotionally" wasn't grounds for divorce it was likely just considered normal).



Very true! But I think there is a big, big swath of land between actual abuse and what people considered legitimate reasons for divorce back then, and not being fulfilled emotionally or "growing apart."

I didn't really care that my ex was not fulfilling me emotionally since I could get that elsewhere, but he was incredibly neglectful and left me alone to do all the "adulting" in life while he did fun things. It wasn't just that he wasn't "filling my bucket" but he was intentionally draining it, if that makes sense. Back in those days, women like me would have just shut up and dealt with it, limping along and shouldering that unfair burden because there wasn't really another option - if they got divorced, they would be stigmatized and shunned in many ways and it's not like they were able to go get a job or career that they could support a family with anyway. Nowadays, it's not as much of a big deal though, so I feel like there is simply more freedom to get out of a situation that is unhealthy (but not violent, cheating, etc).

The other thing though is again because things were different... I suspect men were often "taken to task" by the other men in their lives, and women taken to task by other women, if they abdicated their responsibilities to their spouses and whatnot and you are right, there was the larger extended family unit that I suspect kept people in check in many ways. It was definitely a different system entirely. I think people are less close in their other relationships and it's less likely that someone closely involved with the two  married people will take one person aside and call them out on stuff.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote: For me it often gets back to a quote I have said in these threads before:
The hardest thing to forgive someone for is the very quality that made you fall in love with them.
I have fallen for men who are such clever geeks, and dumped them when they wouldn't get their nose out of a computer to help with the world. I have been the lady he was attracted to because I'm so unusual, then the one dumped because I just don't act normal. I had a man who had stories to tell, then we split because he wouldn't talk to me, like dialog back and forth, he'd just tell stories, that didn't relate to anything we needed to discuss, it ended up being a wall of non-communication, an interesting avoidance device.

What attracts you, you'll have to forgive. Look at a potential mate, and say "can I forgive them for this trait that I love?" Figure out how you could hate that trait, and can you forgive it? Because you probably will have to. Love it that she's beautiful? What happens when she gets older? Love him for having clever hands and fixing everything? What about when he won't call a plumber, and you have had no kitchen sink for a month, and he swears he'll get to it?



Pearl, I think this is so important to think about. So many things can strip away something about a person. My husband's crohn's took away his strength and ability to run and lift things, for half a year. It was part of himself that he'd always valued: being strong and being able to run...and then he lost it.

Remembering that, I think it's also important in our love of ourselves, not to get love only certain portions of ourselves...because we might just lose them. I always thought of myself as a person who had a great memory and was a philosopher....then I had kids. I can't think deeply any more, and my brain forgets so much!

A person is not just a bunch of attributes. A person is a changing, aging, adapting, learning being. What we value in ourselves or in our significant other can be taken away in a blink of an eye. It's best not to get too tied up on one attribute or another!

It reinforces my thought that people shouldn't go looking for a significant other with a tight list of attributes: has to be strong, and a musician, with brown hair and green eyes and likes gardening. All of those things can change. If you don't marry someone FOR an attribute, you're less likely, I think, to be really annoyed by said attribute, or saddened if it goes away.

(Having said that, I love that my husband sings and plays guitar. But it sure annoys me when he sings "Come Sail Away" for the 12th time that day, after singing it daily for months... And, I love that he's funny, but MAN, some of thsoe jokes are waaaaay too corny!)
 
Dale Hodgins
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This is a very funny breakup story, but kind of sad too. I was going out with a woman named Ella, a very attractive Filipina woman. She was absolutely convinced that all other women wanted a piece of me. One particular piece. We spent every evening together, so that the only time I was really away from her was when I was at work or went shopping or something. She would phone to find out when I was done work, then if I went to the store she would call me while I was at the store. Then there would be in interrogation when I returned. Were there any attractive women at that store? Did I talk to any of them? How about the girl who put the groceries in the bag?

Her jealousy saw no bounds, and it was completely unfounded. I was quite pleased with myself, in landing Ella and ending her four year dry spell almost immediately. We had fun at everything we did, and everything was fine if I was with her. But she wanted to control when I went to work and to get me back in her possession within half an hour of leaving work. Absolutely not enough time to find and f--k anybody. And I had no intention of doing that. And even if I did have the intention, I might not have had the ability. Ella sent me out the door every morning, completely pumped out. She liked to have a nice romp every night and a quickie every morning. Every day without fail. At first I thought she was just really amorous, but then I realized that she really poured it on if I was going to be away for a bit longer than usual.

Then a call came and I had to do a job for three days in the city of Nanaimo, that is 60 miles away. I told her this and she was adamant that I should pass up that job and tell him to find somebody else. I had finished a job a few days earlier and I was therefore unemployed. I told her that I couldn't give up my job over her jealousy, and that I would call regularly. She agreed to this, but when I returned a few days later, she had all of my possessions packed into a couple of garbage bags. And that was it. I tried wringing her buzzer a few times, and she wouldn't answer her phone. I had to drive past my ex-wife's place to get to Nanaimo. She was convinced that I had stopped in there on my way to the city and on the way back again. I said let's call her, but she knew that she would just lie. And that's how it ended.
 
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Without derailing this thread, I would heartily recommend getting on to Quora and following

https://www.quora.com/profile/Franklin-Veaux

Franklin writes about relationships and communication in a direct and refreshing way.

One of his gems is to do with first dates.
"What can I do to impress on a first date?" He would say the first date is all about doing the opposite. You need to get all your dirty laundry out in public as quickly as possible, and if they are still into you after that you know you are compatible. The worst thing you could do is try to impress, because that is not being authentic. If the relationship does progress then it is starting from a unsteady footing. What happens in 6 months time when the shine has worn off, and no one is trying so hard?

Here is him writing about identifying unhealthy relationships:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-signs-that-your-relationship-is-not-healthy/answer/Franklin-Veaux
 
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In both cases both partners want the end results of a mortgage free permaculture paradise but realized within a few years there is work (a lot of work) involved in making that happen.

Sacrifices that involved working 7 days a week months on end at an off the farm job. Just to pay the mortgage down a year earlier.

No $20k vacations to far off lands.

One realized she was a subdivision type girl.
The other will probably find an older someone well off to take care of her that has already put in all the hard work.
 
Sarah Koster
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It seems like irrational jealousy or morbid jealousy is a pretty good indicator that the relationship will fail. If a person is so insecure, distrustful or anxious that they can't tolerate having you out of their sight, they inevitably become controlling, abusive and/or sabotage the relationship. Jealousy doesn't indicate that someone really loves you, either. A lot of times morbid jealousy (baseless, irrational or delusional) has its roots in the jealous party's infidelity or dissatisfaction with their mate. If you don't trust your partner, you shouldn't be with them I guess. Because if you really felt comfortable with them, you wouldn't be worried about what they're doing out of sight. When I was jealous and possessive, it was over someone I didn't really like and didn't really want to be with. When men were jealous over me, they were already sleeping with other women. I think they just assume that whatever they do, everybody else does too because it would be too much of a blow to the ego to admit you're the bad guy.
Anyway I used to find jealousy endearing, but now I find it downright frightening because I know it's a form of hostility and can lead to abuse. If someone doesn't trust me, it's because they lack the capacity to trust and everything I do to try and prove myself to them is just going to make me more vulnerable. In their eyes, the more I struggle to gain their trust the more suspicious my behavior appears. 'Cause they're psychotic like that.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Sarah Koster wrote:
Anyway I used to find jealousy endearing, but now I find it downright frightening because I know it's a form of hostility and can lead to abuse.



I would say beware of conflict in whatever form it takes. A whole lot of people need conflict in a relationship whether that takes the form of jealousy or arguments over stupid things or casual "funny degrading" insults. That is normal/natural/satisfying and required for many. Without it the relationship isn't satisfying or complete.

In my home I aim for 90% of everything I say to be positive. I love those I live with and want to show it every day.

Conflict/crazy CAN really amp up the sex...and that is okay just own that fact....don't go along happily and claim "victim status" later.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have a brother who must have conflict in all relationships. Driving down the road he comments on the appearance of women he sees, while his wife sits in the other seat. And it's not comments like that's a nice dress. It usually body parts. He can't talk about other people's relationships without going in the same direction.When he learned about my Kenyan girlfriend, he immediately went to breast and buttocks size.

His wife absolutely hates this, whether he's discussing something he has seen or the girlfriends or potential girlfriends of his friends and acquaintances.

The weird thing is that he has lots of good things to say about his wife. But the mate of anyone else he knows, is reduced to body parts. Perhaps he thinks this makes him one of the cool kids, and it might have when he was 14, but once you reach your mid-50s, it's hard to find a peer group to entertain with this stuff.

It gives him the conflict that he craves. His wife tells him he's an asshole as do I and most other people who hear him speak. And it makes him the absolute center of attention until the moment passes
 
Sarah Koster
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

Sarah Koster wrote:
Anyway I used to find jealousy endearing, but now I find it downright frightening because I know it's a form of hostility and can lead to abuse.



I would say beware of conflict in whatever form it takes. A whole lot of people need conflict in a relationship whether that takes the form of jealousy or arguments over stupid things or casual "funny degrading" insults. That is normal/natural/satisfying and required for many. Without it the relationship isn't satisfying or complete.

In my home I aim for 90% of everything I say to be positive. I love those I live with and want to show it every day.

Conflict/crazy CAN really amp up the sex...and that is okay just own that fact....don't go along happily and claim "victim status" later.



I would say at this point I want 100% to steer away from any such dynamic. If someone needs to put others down in order to feel good about him/herself, that person is not friend or mate material for me. I think we can do better than the apes at large and be satisfied with our persons without having to compete with or dominate others. Hierarchy is, in my opinion, a throwback that's blatantly maladaptive and disruptive to cooperation. The guys who were jealous over me both injured me physically, and were jealous over things like me painting my fingernails or brushing my teeth (i MUST be cheating if I'm painting my fingernails WTF) or the way I looked at some acquaintance of his. Yes that's right, over the way he thought I LOOKED AT one of his friends. And brought it up every few days for the duration of the relationship. Also he took money out of my wallet and insisted someone must have broken into the locked apartment in the middle of the night and taken it, every time I had money in my wallet. Now, I know that this person was particularly batshit. But I've learned that if someone is dependent on hurting me to feel good, they're not good peoples. I don't want this in my life. I don't want to make excuses for people. I'd rather be alone with a dog and three chickens for the rest of my life than be the host of an emotional or psychological parasite.
I think the "amping up" of sex is not all that great, it leads to injuries which make sex painful and unpleasant. It's a little disturbing to me that you implied that abuse victims are responsible for their partner's actions because they like the sex? I don't think it's accurate or appropriate. I kind of feel like you're accusing me. I think that kind of thinking is a way for abusers to rationalize mistreating and manipulating their partners. I'm not talking about sarcastic comments as abuse here, I'm talking about felonious assault that broke bone, kidnapping, death threats and the like.
 
Dale Hodgins
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So now something a little lighter.

About 15 years ago, I was dating the aptly named Barb. And she was getting under my skin in many ways. She did have some good qualities, but overall, she just irritated me. I knew that she would not take it well, if I dumped her, so I orchestrated my own dumping.

I was thinking about it at work, and I told my helper Ken, my plan. I said Barb has become so demanding and complaining lately, that I think I'm going to arrange to be free by this weekend. So, for the next several days, I deflected all complaints, and refused to hear nattering about it. I sometimes avoided the daytime calls, during work that I had asked her not to engage in. When she brought up her friend what's her name, I told her I didn't really like what's her name. At about 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, the call came. I was given a relatively soft dumping. I sat quietly on the phone, listening to the litany of reasons why this must happen. When it ended, I yelled out to Ken, 2 hours! I predicted it within 2 hours! I am a free man!   ☺  And Barb took it quite well because it was her idea. :-)
 
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