Brody Ekberg

+ Follow
since Aug 02, 2018
Brody likes ...
hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
Merit badge: bb list bbv list
For More
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Brody Ekberg

Julie Johnston wrote:Hi Brody,
I'll put this on the table in case it's helpful.

Philosopher Sam Keen used to advise this: "A man has to ask himself two questions. #1 Where do I want to go? and #2 Who do I want to go there with me? AND he has to answer them in the right order."

The unhappily married men that I come across are those whose wives don't support them along the path they (the men) want to take.

Here's my caveat: Once you meet the woman you'd like to accompany you, make sure — on a regular basis — that the path is still feeding your beloved's soul as well. For example, she might want to take a "side trip" — support her to do so, knowing that you're both still heading in the same direction.

p.s. Even in this kind of marriage, it's still hard sometimes. I've heard that research shows the 80/20 rule applies to marital bliss as well. It doesn't matter how the spouses fight, as long as it's not more than 20% of the time. The rest of the time has to nurture both souls. For that reason, it's important to make sure you find someone whose sense of humour matches yours!

Well, I messed that one up big time! I got married before I knew what was most important to me, what I wanted to do with my life, and before my life really had purpose. That all came crashing in not long after the wedding.

We had discussed a rough plan of traveling a lot for a year or two and then buying a house and having a couple kids. That was what the future looked like to us. Super vague…

I had a bit of a revelation or spiritual breakthrough around the same time I discovered permaculture (shortly after getting married) and knew that I couldn’t spend a year or two traveling around. I literally almost quit my job, gave away my car and completely restructured my life. I finally had the purpose that i had been searching for my whole life and I needed to get involved. I decided that I could probably have better relationships with the community, family, friends and my wife if I rode the brakes a bit and didnt dive in so drastically. I tried to get her onboard and tried to explain my feelings and reasoning with her. She held onto deep resentments about that situation for years because i “messed up our plan”.

So, where i want to go changed after already being married. And the person i married is a lot less passionate about where I want to go than I am. Actually, she would probably be perfectly happy if I never had my revelation and didn’t have anywhere in particular that I wanted to go anyway! I am not the person she married, i have changed a lot since then.

As for the 80/20, that would be a great improvement from where we’ve been for years now!
22 minutes ago

Kyle Hayward wrote:When someone puts a ball in front of me, I do not just see just a circle. I see a sphere because I have binocular vision. which gives me a 3D view. I guess if you only have one eye it could be argued to be a circle, but you will still see evidence of light and shadow, such as the moon exhibits in it's phases.

I do not take conspiracy type theories lightly or with good humor, I have seen first hand the damage and isolation they have caused to a family member and quite honestly they seem to be proficient among those with untreated mental illnesses, minor to severe.

Light and shadow are easy to fake though. A good artist can make very realistic 2d images look 3d just by shading carefully and realistically. Im just saying our eyes can be deceived quite easily, but its a lot harder to tell someone what they’re holding in their hands is 2d if they can feel its roundness.

So the only real proof to me would be for me to be God and hold the earth in my own hands. Short of that, i say it could all be a simulation. But that’s not helpful for life, and have zero issues with the globe earth model. So I personally believe it’s probably a globe. It makes sense that way, at least to me.
39 minutes ago

Angel Hunt wrote:I probably have no business intruding on this conversation as a person who has never been married and who has had few positive examples of marriage.

But I have had a good amount of experience dealing with my own attachment issues, and I don’t think that you two are doomed to be locked into the same toxic pattern forever if you are willing to work at it, which it seems you are.

Like you, attachment theory was a revelation for me. I came to see my anxious attachment issues not so much as baggage as an alarm system warning me that I am entering a dynamic that is unhealthy for me.  Previously, I would feel anxiety at someone pulling away and try to suppress my feelings about it to keep him from pulling away more. Or I would express my concerns and my partner would outright dismiss them, leading to me suppressing my feelings. But the more I tried to suppress my feelings, the more they would come out sideways as passive aggressive protest behavior.

These days I recognize the feeling of anxious attachment and can stop myself from heading down that path. Instead, I will reflect on why I feel the anxiety. It does not come out of nowhere. There is always a behavior that triggers the feeling, and I have to accept that if I am feeling anxiety that it is a behavior that I probably should not tolerate. So then I decide what change I would need to avoid that anxiety. It is usually something very small that has to do with communication. I determine that this is a boundary I have to draw and present it to my partner. I do not present it as an ultimatum—do this or else I walk. Nor do I accuse him of wrongdoing. I just explain that this is what I need in a relationship, and then it is up to him to decide whether or not he can provide what I need. As a result of this change, I no longer get sucked into these cycles of escalating toxic behavior. And the more I do it, the more I feel secure. So take heart; you are not doomed.

You mentioned childhood trauma, and I myself also attributed a lot of my attachment behaviors to childhood trauma. I found the book The Children of Emotionally Immature Parents very helpful in understanding why I react the way I do.

I think the tricky part will be empathy and communication. To avoid engaging in protest behavior that hurts each other, you each will need to not only understand your own feelings, but feel like you have a safe space to communicate what you are feeling without being invalidated. That means, for example, when she needs reassurance or extra time with you, you cannot write her off as being too needy. And when you need some space to yourself, she cannot dismiss you as being unloving. You will each have to accept that the other’s needs are valid even where you might otherwise feel they are excessive. You each need to be able to say what you need and then work together to find a compromise that works for both of you.

I think if you two can successfully empathize and communicate with each other, you can probably work through a lot of your differences. But it is possible that you may have some differences that are irreconcilable. If I were in your shoes, I would have my partner and myself each separately come up with a vision of the life we want in the long-term (values, family, work, money, social life, hobbies, travel, religion, etc.). Determine what are your must-haves—the things you will regret not accomplishing when you are on your deathbed—and which of those must-haves require your partner’s participation. Then come together to share your visions and figure out whether and how you can blend your visions together or whether there are some complete dealbreakers that might make continued partnership unproductive. If you guys can create a blended vision of the life you want, then when differences arise the only concern will be how it affects your blueprint for the future. As long as the shared vision is unaffected, you can freely revel in your differences.  

Whatever the outcome, I hope you two find peace and happiness.

Brody Ekberg wrote:My wife loves flowers and will buy them for herself if I don’t often enough. But I would much rather plant them or pick them than buy them. And if I was in her shoes, picked or grown flowers would mean much more to me than store bought flowers anyway. Just another difference in our perspectives!

I could be way off base, but I get the sense that you might be too fixated on your differences to recognize the overlap that might exist between you two, and you might potentially be making erroneous assumptions about what your wife wants or why she wants what she wants. For instance, you said your wife prefers store-bought flowers to picked or grown flowers, but is that accurate? Or is she responding favorably to the appearance of increased effort and forethought? If you just haphazardly cut some flowers on your way into the house—flowers that perhaps would have to be pruned back anyway—it may not feel as special as you taking the time to think about her far enough in advance to order flowers from a florist. The latter suggests that she was definitely on your mind and worth additional effort while the former may appear low-effort. But I’d wager that if you created a bed of flowers in the garden that each had a special significance to her (this one is your favorite color, this is the flower I gave you for a corsage when we first dated, this one I planted because I saw you admire it at our neighbors, etc.), she would appreciate that way more than store-bought flowers because it signals a higher level of effort and consideration for her feelings. The difference might not be so much one of materialism versus simplicity, but of perceived effort versus perceived efficiency.

Despite your lack of healthy marriage experience I most certainly value your opinion!

I think your perspective of warnings instead of baggage is probably more healthy and helpful, ill try to adopt that mindset. And i will check out that book, it sounds super relevant. Thanks!

I have tried to get more detailed information out of her about her views of the future, but they are pretty vague. She sees me, a couple kids (possibly homeschooled), a yard, probably a garden and she wants to be able to be involved with sports and be able to travel somewhat. I could paint a much more detailed picture of my ideal future and it likely wouldnt have sports or much for vacations in it. Not that im opposed to that stuff, but that i have more important things id prefer to focus on.

And you are probably correct about me being focused on our differences right now, but I feel thats a reasonable compensation for the fact that I’ve had rose colored glasses on forever and only would look at our similarities and strengths. She has always focused on our differences and it drove me nuts because it didnt seem helpful, but there are a lot of them and they’re worth being aware of!

I love your idea about the flowers. For me, its like “those are pretty flowers. She likes flowers. Ill pick her flowers.” Its not much more complicated than that. But I think if I proposed the idea of planting specific flowers that she likes for specific reasons she would be all for that. Whether i pick them and put them in a vase or she can just go admire them while they’re alive, either way I think she would appreciate that more than random flowers or store bought flowers. Good idea!
17 hours ago

Tereza Okava wrote:
This is such a good point. Frankly, Brody, I'm wondering what your motivation is for being married. What do you get out of this? What does she get out of this? If this was a job, would you still be there? If this was your brother, what would your advice be?

In a bad time like this I'd be getting out the old notepad and doing the old pro/con analysis list. And then I'd show it to her and say look, I am still here because I love you, but 100% serious, what do you think about this, and how can we move forward?

It's hard for me to imagine being married from a young age, since I was on my own very early to provide for myself. I know how it feels to make money from blistered hands and to eat lentils for the last two weeks of the month, and it's one of the things I share with my spouse (today, we each have our own businesses, it's hard to believe how far we've come). We also have all sorts of attachment and family traumas, which we are brutally open about (lots of therapy...).
But neither of us depended on the other for anything when we first met, we were totally equal and simply enjoyed each other's company. I think each of us being so independent and proud makes us respect each other. I don't think I'd be able to say the same thing if I hadn't supported myself.
I also have questions when I hear about couples where the provisioning and labor (of all types) is lopsided. Similarly, when enjoyment is lopsided (I'm reading about your anniversary with my mouth open). Where respect is lacking, there is resentment.

(I met my spouse in a reggae bar when we were both working in Japan, I was enjoying finally having a stable, enjoyable life after about 10 years of struggle, and he was pretty much in the same place. We also had inexplicable chemistry and a common language, plus a few hobbies and friends in common. We both had been so focused on trying to climb out of poverty that we never thought about marriage or family, and then suddenly it was a possibility. We actually talked a lot about having kids and our future lives at the beginning, which I suppose was natural as our backgrounds were so different. Everyone around us telling us we were making a huge mistake made us both more determined to make it work. We fought a bit, to be sure, and 90% of the time money was the trigger, I think that's not uncommon. But there was always the mission to come back to: it moved from having someone whose company I enjoyed, to having a kid in common whose welfare was more important than anything else, to supporting the other person when they needed it, to being a best friend. the kid is grown now, and we are closer than ever.)

Good question!😆 And my answer will probably be disappointing. I proposed to her for several unhealthy reasons: we had been together for years so marriage is the “next step”, her family was pressuring us to have kids (which I refused to do before marriage and before i was “ready”) and pressure from coworkers (what are you waiting for? You have the money. You’re practically married already anyway). So thats why we got married. Why were still married is another list of unhealthy reasons: obligation, fear of being alone, fear of making a mistake by divorcing, guilt and shame of being divorced or having a “failed marriage” and fear that me leaving would send her into a downward spiral (she was very depressed for several years). We really do love eachother, but we now realize that love is, contrary to the song, NOT all you need. And honestly, over the last few years the love definitely faded as well.

As far as what do I get out of it: someone to talk to a bit, occasional sex, a bit of help and opportunity to see all my flaws shoved into my face so that I have to confront them and grow. And I did literally sit down and make a list of pros and cons and that is what made me realize how severely unhealthy our dynamic was. I’ve basically been giving myself therapy based off of google, youtube, talking to people, thinking, feeling and writing things down. This is no exaggeration, but EVERYTHING pointed towards us needing to get divorced. It was obvious once I opened up to the possibility. But when she told me that she realizes how her resentment and actively opposing me is destroying her, us and her other relationships and that shes willing to do whatever it takes, to be her best self and does not want to lose me, I decided to wait and feel this out a bit longer. And it has improved since, but it isn’t perfect. We still have arguments several days a week they just dont totally blow up anymore. At least not yet!

Also, i agree with you about being independent and supporting yourself. I lived alone for years supporting myself and she has never lived alone and never really supported herself. I think that has led to her being dependent on me. She is becoming more independent now, and it is improving her life. And yes, the division of labor is lopsided and that is on the list if things to discuss this weekend!
18 hours ago

Matt McSpadden wrote:Hi Brody,
My heart breaks to hear your story... it is all too common. Please know, that having different interests is not the problem, it is very common for people to be opposites and have a great marriage. Also, for full disclosure, I have been married for 13 and 1/2 years, and separated from my wife for almost 2 years. She filed for a divorce that I am dead set against. I could probably write pages about this, but I want to try to keep this concise.

First of all, I do not think divorce should be an option, period. Divorce hurts society. Divorce hurts children. Divorce hurts both spouses. If you go into marriage as a lifelong commitment, you have a much better chance. If there is no escape, you HAVE to find a way. If divorce is on the table at all... my opinion is that the marriage is doomed, and its just a matter of when. Imagine putting together a model, and you glue two plastic pieces together, and let it dry. Then try to pull them apart. If you succeed in pulling them apart, neither piece will ever be the same again. Some people divorce for good reasons... most for poor reasons... but divorce is damaging no matter the reason.

Second, answer this question. Who is the tie-breaker in your marriage? While people talk about 50/50 marriages all the time, the fact is that those don't work. You cannot have two people with the same level of authority, because you will disagree at some point, and someone needs to be the tie-breaker. I think certain religions and our own human history point to which spouse makes the most sense to be the tie-breaker... but regardless, someone has to have the final say, or it will never work. If one spouse has the final say, and the other is willing to submit to that decision, a whole lot of arguments would never happen. Marriage is supposed to be two becoming one. The idea is that you now work together towards a common goal. A marriage without leadership won't go anywhere. Someone has to be in charge. I think in this day and age, people think that one and one becomes two. People seem to be focusing on themselves as individuals... when you are supposed to be thinking of yourself and your spouse as one unit now. You don't have to both like the same things, but you have to be dedicated to the marriage. In the marriages that I have seen work, its not the husband's goals and the wife's goals on separate lists, it is that the wife takes on her husband's goals. If two people want to go their own way... why are they married?

Lastly, from your description, you are at the end of your rope and your wife and counselors are making you feel like its partly your fault. And if you were ignoring her like you mentioned... then yeah, it is partially your fault. However, her actions are not excusable. The fact that she admits to being part of the problem is a HUGE thing. Many women (my wife included) cannot accept their part of the responsibility. The fact that you are doing all of these things for her and she is not responding, tells me a lot. There are really only two reasons she would not respond to your actions to do things for her. Either those things are not her love language, so she does not register them as showing love... or the more common thing (and what happened to me) is that she is emotionally checked out of the marriage and is gaslighting you for a variety of possible reasons. The first should be easy to sort out, the second reason is much harder.

You need to put her needs and wants before your own... that is called love. I see quite a few examples of this in your posts.
She needs to put your needs and wants before her own... that is called love. This is obviously a one sided story... but the examples are not showing this. Let us hope that she is actually doing this.
You two need to decide who is going to be the tie breaker.

If those three things happened, I think your conflict would shrink and allow the marriage to skyrocket.

Wow, I’m really sorry to hear what you’re going through. I hope that it however it works out, it leads to you both growing and healing without resentment in the end.

I totally agree that divorce shouldn’t be an option, and from childhood until a couple months ago, leaving her wasn’t an option for me. Not when we were little kids, not when we were teenagers and not as married adults. I was 100% committed and didnt even want to entertain the idea of divorce for the exact reason you stated. She’s a different story. Broke up with me twice before and since being married she had brought up divorce several times. It was always during a highly emotional argument and afterwards she said things like “i didnt really mean it, you just weren’t listening to me and I needed you to know how serious I am”. I understand that, but that is inappropriate and unacceptable to me and I told her that, eventually. To her credit, she hasn’t brought it up since. But now its my turn! I finally started looking into attachment theory, compatibility, narcissism, gaslighting, codependency and whatnot and realized how super unhealthy our dynamic has always been, and that is what made me realize that maybe this was not good. Maybe we were tormenting eachother so our subconscious could heal. Maybe this wouldn’t get better. Maybe we were just in eachothers life temporarily to learn and grow and them move on to bigger, better things. Maybe we never truly loved eachother for who we were but loved the idea of who we could become. This is what made me realize that divorce might be a legitimate option for me. Because our own health and well being is more important to me than a marriage certificate. Now, we dont have kids, and that would certainly change my opinion!

The tie breaker concept is interesting! I’m going to guess that you are a Christian of some sort, or at least subscribe to one of the Abrahamic religions based off of a few things you said. I am not by any orthodox standards but do value the Bible and its teachings. I agree that 50/50 doesn’t seem to work without constant compromise. And constant compromise can work if both feel satisfied with the situation, but how often is that the case? I think often times compromise leads to at least a bit of disappointment on both sides. Fair, but not ideal. Ill risk offending some, but am going out on a limb to say that you think it makes most sense for the man to be the tie breaker and that religions and human history would agree. I also agree that it makes the most sense, specifically because MEN tend to make the most sense, where women tend to be more emotional. Not that emotions are bad or less important, but they often dont make sense and are unhelpful in many situations, especially if they are overriding logic and reason.  My wife has made comments about how men control the world and women have always been subject to men, and that is precisely my response to her. Not that its right or ok, but that up until recently, survival needs were the most important thing in anyones life and your emotions have nothing to do with meeting survival needs. So naturally, society would be structured around logic and reason instead of emotions. The problem with that is that it has, in my opinion, led to a society of overly emotional women (compensating for not being/feeling heard or valued) and a society of men who are detached from their own emotional experience (Ive been there… for years). I think what would be ideal is a healthy balance of both. Embracing women’s emotionality and embracing mens logic and reason and using both together, not setting them at odds against eachother or one trumping the other, unless survival is at stake!

I know Abrahamic religions put men as the “head” of the family and the world is more or less structured around those religions. I would gladly lead or be the head if she would agree to that. I almost said “submit” but almost cringed at that. She isnt going to submit to anyone about anything, i know that much. So, in our marriage, i would say there is no leader. I have tried and been rejected. I have done my own thing and been told I neglected her. I have seen her lead and its self destructive. So I dont know where to go with that.

And yes, I am at the end of my rope, precisely why I almost left her. But I do have a lot of fault in this. I have lied to her more than once. I have neglected her. I have made big decisions without discussing with her. I have dismissed her feelings. But I also have admitted my faults and made changes. She did emotionally “check out” for like 2 years and what busted her out of that is realizing that I wont just stay no matter what. Unfortunately, it took me getting to the point of divorce to wake her up. That wasnt my intention and I refuse to use divorce in that way in the future, but it is true that bringing it up is the thing that at least, for now, seems to have yanked her out of her rut.

And yes, we have different love languages and that too has been a struggle dealing with. And neither of us have put the other’s needs above our own. Until a year ago or so, I didnt even understand what she meant talking about needs, because to me, needs are survival needs. Anything more than that is wants in order to thrive. But you need to survive before you can thrive, and so until recently, i always put survival needs as a priority over emotional needs. Now I see the consequences with that. I do still feel that survival needs are more important than emotional needs because one can be an emotional mess but still live. One can’t live without food, water, air, shelter and sleep. So i have always focused on meeting those needs before worrying about how me or anyone else feels about anything!
18 hours ago
Here’s my opinion:

Nobody knows the answer. Nobody could know. Obviously, nobody on earth could know for sure the earth is a globe because we’re standing on it. It seems like all you would have to do is get a view from space to know, but with further thought I would say it isnt that simple. Set a ball in front of you and what do you see? You see a circle. The only reason you think its a ball is because you put it there, so you held it in your hand and proved it was a ball. But if someone else puts a soccer ball in front of you and all you see is a circle, and you never held it in your hand, you assume its a ball because of familiarity with soccer balls. So, unless someone could hold the earth in their hands, they cant know it’s not a 2 dimensional circle instead of a sphere. Light and shadows come into play too but that can all be trickery and illusions with enough effort.

As far as I’m concerned, our life could be a simulation and the earth could just be energy. Not fkat and not a sphere, but just energy. But that is also something nobody can (and probably wouldnt want to) prove.

But for me, believing in simulation theory doesnt help with daily life. Flat earth doesnt make any sense to me for many reasons. The globe earth model actually does make a ton of sense to me. Granted I am not a scientist, astronomer or any professional with an opinion worth anything. But I have no conundrums with the globe earth model. It seems beautiful, fascinating, amazing and makes sense to me and so I have no reason to even try to convince myself it might be incorrect.

My wife seems to think it’s flat. Shes deep into conspiracies. I am open minded and believe plenty of conspiracy theories, but I am not even almost sold on flat earth. Cant talk to her about it though, its like talking to a child and that seems to be how talking to a lot of flat earthers is. Their logic and reasoning just is not sound. We watched a documentary on it from the flat earthers themselves and it made it even more clear to me. It was embarrassingly ridiculous in my opinion, and even my wife agreed. But she still thinks its flat…

Riona Abhainn wrote:I've only been married for almost 2 and a half years now, but I love being married, so I'm going to come at this with that implicit bias.  My husband and I are different, but mostly in ways that complament and balance each other.  We communicate a lot, try consciously to do things that fill each other's "love bank" even if those things don't really fill our own, but since we do it for each other both of us feel fulfilled.

I think modern society sees personal individuality as the be all and the end all, its all about the individual.  I think that there are things we can learn from more collectivist cultures, its not that people shouldn't enjoy their individuality, its that people should be balanced and be less hyperfocused on personal growth at the expense of something that could be even better, growth together.  Because your wife and you have both been learning a lot about yourselves, and mistakes in the marriage, I think now is the time to come together and do the work together.  She sounds like she's ready to work on herself and the marriage.  You sound like you're ready to work on yourself and the marriage, so if you're both doing it then I think good things are coming.  I'd suggest maybe starting with a new couples counselor though, one that won't be biassed toward you or her, that will get to know you both at the same time.  Makes sense for her to keep seeing her individual therapist though because good things are happening there.

So I did give you advice, didn't veil it or sneak it in.  Just gave it to you.

Very interesting perspective!

Marriage hasnt really been much different for me than before we were married because I was fully committed to her for years before anyway. All that changed was papers, rings and loads of debt!

As for filling eachothers love bank even when it doesn’t fill your own: that sounds like what a lot of successful marriages tend to do to work it out. But it just seems to me that somewhere out there, theres a couple where filling eachothers love bank DOES mean filling their own. That to me seems ideal, although probably hard to find.

I think youre right about individualism in our culture and I certainly am in that boat. I strive to balance myself and be generally self sufficient in as many ways as possible. It seems morally good, mature, honorable and responsible to me. But thats just a perspective and not necessarily true or even healthy! Im seeing that now.

As for counseling: she would gladly see a different couples counselor because she thinks our last one “ganged up on her” and only knows her at her worst. I totally see how finding a new person could be good, but also, since our first therapist has seen her at her worst, wouldnt she be best to notice improvements? She already has an understanding of the problems and their consequences, where a new therapist would need to learn all of that in order to understand where we are coming from and if we’re making progress.
22 hours ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I love the amazing and wise comments so far.

People grow together, or they grow apart. We all change with time.

But they can grow together! And they do! This is 26 years talking, and parents/aunts/uncles topping out over 60 years. And yes, I've been lucky to have these examples, and yes people do find a path forward in the hard times. It can be a pretty cranky and vigorous process, with hard headed individuals wrestling over the path forward. Take courage from this -- I have seen it with my own eyes.

I think the most powerful thing is to find common cause. This is not easy when values seem disconnected.  But these are usually social causes based on: we have the power to help others in a tangible way. We have these responsibilities as humans with the power to act in the human community! Not BS protesting and marching, but more like "delivering food for people who are hungry." And connect the dots from there, to the gardening and homesteading and soil building and the food production adventure that makes this all possible -- for a lifetime! .

Ask yourself, and your spouse, openly: What do we want to build?s Be open to the answer. It all flows from that simple question. Note the "we."

Luck to you!

Thank you for the encouragement!

If you dont mind, would you attribute your successful marriage to compatibility (differences that compliment eachother harmoniously) or compromise, hard work and stubborn commitment? Or all of the above?

Your advice about a common cause is huge here. We absolutely did not have that when we got married. Shortly after marriage I discovered permaculture and my life finally had meaning. This was my cause. This was my path forward. I immediately knew that it would change, and could end the relationship. But to me, this is more important. Im walking this path alone, with her or with someone else. But either way, I’m walking this path. And I told her that. I tried to “sell” permaculture to her a variety of ways but she was not receptive. So I started on the path without her and that just led to her feeling left behind (rightfully so).

On one level, we are so different. But we also do have interests that can work well together. She loves children and wants to educate and care for kids in the community. I see children as our future and feel a strong desire to broaden their horizons, educate them about permaculture and show them opportunities that i was unaware of and had to discover on my own in my 20s.

So, I have this vision of our property as a food forest, gardens, and small permaculture farm/educational facility. I would happily stay home to create that and she would happily go into the community to build relationships and bring kids and their parents back to me to show them the path. That is something we can work towards together despite our differences, and I do still have some hope that it could work out that way. Its just gotten very messy along the way! And I’m now questioning how much work the marriage should be in that whole picture. So far, its been a ton of work just to be unhappy and unhealthy and I can only imagine it taking way more to turn it around!
22 hours ago

Tereza Okava wrote:
I agree, every relationship seems to be its own case. We just celebrated our 25th. I married someone so thoroughly different from me my American friends were sure it was a passport scam, and my father didn't talk to me for years: different nationality, religion, language, background, education, everything.  

Yet despite the outward differences we are in some ways almost exactly the same. We are both hot-headed and have a deep sense of morality and rightness. We have been madly in love with each other, several times. Moved out a few times. Done couples counseling. Had amazing things happen to us we celebrated, and terrible things we cried together through. We've been mean to each other, and also have fought like bears to defend each other.
From the start, I decided I was only going to do the big things (marriage, kids) once. I had a lot to accomplish in life, and wasn't going to repeat. I needed it to work or else I was done. I made it work. Luckily I am very stubborn, and so is my partner.
We learned, together, that when things are really bad, we need to turn off everything else, sit down, and talk serious. We've gotten pretty good, but we still work at it, and both have room to improve.

Only in the past few years have we started sharing each other's hobbies. He's starting to enjoy birds, and I even let him in the garden now. I got an antique car, and will go to football games. I put up with these "weird things" because it made him happy, and then that made me happy.
But I don't need my husband to be everything to me-- he is what he is, and who he is, and that is exactly who I need him to be. I would change NOTHING. I have other people who fulfill other roles, to talk about US foreign policy or opera or art history with. If he starts to absorb some of my interests, great! That's sweet! But it's not what I need, and I respect him and love him precisely for what he is. I might grumble about his politics or silly things he does, but I admire the hell out of him, and marrying him was probably the best thing I ever did.

I think the shrinking of social circles and also changes in lifestyle put a lot of pressure on couples to be everything to each other. That's a heavy burden, and you don't even have barfing kids and sick parents and all that in the mix yet.
I hope you guys can sit down and have this conversation soon. Only you know if continuing this relationship and doing the work is worth it. But being able to sit down and honestly have the talk and say what you both feel is vital. If things are unsaid, then that resentment starts to ferment, and you can't have a healthy relationship with resentment. After all, you guys chose each other, and there must be something good at the base there.
The first time we did couples counseling started by explaining to the therapist why we were together in the first place. It was a good experience to remember, positively, how we ended up married, and to think that I would do it again. Maybe you guys can think about that, and how to move forward. Good luck.

Wow, that really is a lot of differences! I couldn’t imagine dealing with a language barrier with a partner!

I too really only wanted to do this once. Actually, for years I was opposed to having children and assumed I would die alone, but that has changed over the years. I do hate the idea of divorce and starting over, but also, I love change and am very aware of how limited our love lives have been. The idea of a clean slate with someone new and, maybe more aligned with my passions, goals and values is exciting to me. She has brought up incompatibility multiple times in the past and told me she thinks we both might be settling. I talked her out of it every time but now I’m actually feeling that way for the first time. Of course shes trying to talk me out of it now but I’m still on the fence.

In my experience, us doing things with the other because it makes them happy actually doesn’t seem to be helpful. When I go to sporting events with her, I’m going because she wants me to and because I think that maybe if I go she will be happier with our relationship. But she knows I dont want to be there and have other things id rather be doing. And so even when I go, she feels shes “forcing” me to. On the other side, if she helps helps me with a project or helps in the garden or with the chickens, I always hope that shes doing it because she wants to but she isnt, shes doing it because she thinks it will make me happy. Truth is, I’m happy doing the shit on my own most of the time anyway. Its nice when she helps but then she will say things like “I did this with you and now you cant to this with me?” Seems unfair to me. We both want the other to genuinely WANT to do the things, not to do it out if obligation, fairness or to make the other be happy.

Happiness is a whole topic in itself. I really think she expects me to be able to make her happy and I’m very aware that that is an impossible task. I’ve tried and failed for years before realizing on my own that happiness comes from within oneself and you cant force anyone to be happy under any circumstances. If someone is not ok internally, nothing externally will make them truly happy.

Your comments about shrinking social circles and being “everything” for eachother is definitely a factor. She grew up watching Disney and Hallmark and it contaminated her brain with fantasies of princes and princesses, glitter and sparkles, magic and unattainable romance. I think she expects me to be everything in her life, although she is realizing that now and is talking to her friends and therapist more which helps. I dont really have any very close friends. My closest friends live pretty far away and dont have a lot in common with me. But I do have a few people I can talk to about things that I cant with her, and that helps. This website had actually been very helpful in that regard being a community of diverse yet generally like minded people.

You saying you wouldn’t change anything about your husband is another sticking point here. This is something else I started really thinking and feeling into lately: do we love eachother for who we are, or do we love eachother for what we could be? To be totally honest, I have a list of things I would love to change about my wife. In the past, I openly tried to change them. That backfired so I stopped and instead went with the “lead by example” route instead, which also backfired. She also has tried and succeeded in changing me in multiple ways over the years. Even gave me an ultimatum at one point, and I bought into it. Now I realize that it isnt fair to either of us to try to force someone else to be what we think they should be. It usually doesnt work and even if it does work, the results wont be genuine or satisfying.

I am curious, since you brought it up, how you ended up married. Because that’s another thing I’ve been re-evaluating for us. Since 12-13 years old, I was drawn to her like a magnet. It didnt make sense. We didnt know eachother, she wasnt the most attractive person id ever seen, we werent very similar… but I immediately knew i wanted to be with her. And that stubborn, childish motivation stuck around for years. It disappeared after the 2nd heartbreak but came back as adults. I just fully committed to her, knowing it would be a struggle and not ever really understanding why I was so sure of her. I thought it was love because I couldn’t explain it and didnt know what else it could be. Now that I’ve learned about attachment theory, I really think that somehow, it was each of our subconscious’ bring magnetically drawn to eachother. Its like certain things needed to be worked out or resolved within us, and we were the best means to achieve that for eachother. Its very strange to think about, and I’m pretty open minded! But I dont know if that is true love, real compatibility or a healthy relationship. It might just be the universe working out past traumas for the progress of mankind…
23 hours ago

Jordan Holland wrote:Dating today, and at your age, is very likely very different from what the two of you remember, especially with such an entwined past. I get the impression that you lean more heavily to the side of believing that divorce will almost certainly lead to growth for both of you. If you divorce, will you not both still have the same baggage? Is it not possible divorce will add even more baggage?

From your description of the both of you, I suspect you (being more accustomed to being alone, a saver, less emotional, etc.) will likely be ok. You can probably throw yourself into your permaculture endeavors and even thrive. I fear she will not fare as well. I think I recall you have been the main source of income, she's a spender, wants to travel, is more emotional, etc. I feel she will be in for a much ruder awakening. Dating after 30 appears to be much more difficult for a woman, from what I've seen. If she ends up spiraling down the drain, will it affect you? If you divorce and make some lawyer very happy, will all that money be spent only to end up back together eventually? If both or either of you date other people in the interim, then end up getting back together, would it be better to have never divorced? Would it add a whole new load of baggage? Or perhaps it could even have the opposite effect and end up bringing you closer together than ever before. It truly is a great deal to consider.

Very interesting idea! Neither of us have really “dated” to be honest with you! I mean, we were school kids when we first got together. Then tried again in high school, but it was just going to whatever sporting events that were going on at the time. As adults, there still wasnt much for a proper date, just hanging out, going to the beach, watching tv and fooling around. Neither of us has ever really searched out a significant other or spent time going on traditional dates. We were either together or alone, and she had a couple very brief other relationships as a teenager but also didnt consist of legitimate dating.

I do definitely believe divorce would lead to growth for me, but not necessarily for both of us. I think it COULD lead to growth for her too but that totally depends on her attitude and mindset. I have a growth mindset and think growth is a main point in our life experience, so it’s inevitable as far as I’m concerned. The picture you painted of us is pretty accurate and I also think that divorce could be catastrophic for her. She’s never been alone, has insecurities, self esteem issues, can’t afford much based off of her current income and has the whole conundrum of wanting children but is losing eggs by the month which causes stress in her life. But all if that being true does not mean I should stay married to her. That seems like a very inappropriate reason to be married in my opinion. But yes, all of that would weigh in my and definitely would give me feelings of guilt if we split and she spirals downhill. Despite that guilt, I refuse to stay in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage to try to avoid feelings of guilt.

And I already told her, if we divorce we are done permanently. She broke my heart twice already and now that we’re struggling through a marriage, if this doesn’t work out I’ll take it as a sign to move on permanently. I would probably die lonely and resentful before remarrying her regardless of what feelings arose in the future.
23 hours ago