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Afraid of divorce, afraid of being alone after

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  • #222061
    Pedro
    Participant

    This is going to be a fairly long post, I fear. I apologize in advance.

    I am 55 years old, a double American minority male. I live in a tiny townhome in a very affluent area of a very affluent state with my wife and two teenage boys. My wife and I have been married for 29 years, and the marriage has been really bad most of the time because we both early on came to realize that we were not compatible in terms of personality or family background, and there has been palpable tension in my home and in my physical self almost from the beginning. We are at the point in which when my wife is not in the room with me, I actually get slightly ill with dread when I hear her coming up the stairs, because I know that nothing good is going to come from the encounter. I liken it to being on an island and seeing a boat flying the Jolly Roger coming up closer and closer, gradually, from a distance. I know there is no good outcome and that it is inevitable. As I told you before, my wife and I have completely different personalities. She is a maniacally driven workaholic who seems to believe that money and material success will ultimately make her happy. She is a classic narcissist (as well as acting paranoid and/or bipolar) who grew up in a violent home and area. She is quite capable of meanness and callousness and exhibits bullying and manipulative tendencies. She is pretty successful in her professional field and is a real go-getter, an extroverted networker. I am quiet, unassuming and somewhat childlike (but far from childish). A young lady of my acquaintance once told me that I had an “innocence” about me. I grew up in an all-male institution and as a result am very quiet and guarded. Many women who know me (including my wife and mother) say that I am secretive and somewhat sneaky. While I do not exactly agree with this, I do admit that I do not often reveal much about myself to anyone. I do not know why this is except that I find it very bizarre that anyone would want me to tell them what I am thinking deep inside, what someone said to me in a conversation not involving the questioner, or other random details about my life. I am not trying to hide anything from anyone – I am just a quiet, introverted person who is wary about revealing very much about my inner feelings and inner life (so why am I doing it here? I am at my wit’s end and have nobody to talk to).

    In any event, ever since I was about 48 or so, I have come to feel that I am a failure in life. You may or may not believe this from my writing, but I am (or was) a very, very intelligent person. I tested genius level on IQ tests as a child and could have graduated from high school and college very early. The reason I did not was that my school did not believe in this type of accelerated education. So, strangely, I was an indifferent student throughout my school years because I really never had to expend much energy to maintain an A average. While my friends and housemates went to mandatory study time, I read comic books or listened to music. I simply was not challenged at all, especially during my junior and senior years in high school. I pretty much didn’t even go to class senior year. Still, I graduated third in my class and was able to gain admission to an Ivy League school. There, I struggled academically at first but improved my concentration and work ethic. I was not an academic star but was able to graduate on time. However, despite having a few friends and being involved in some activities that I liked, I was extremely isolated because I could not find anyone to love or, failing that, anyone to have sex with. Pretty horrible situation to be in in college where guys and gals (at least some of them) hooked up with each other on a regular basis. Even though I was a musician and an athlete, I was overweight, ugly and clueless about how to relate to the opposite sex. Not a great combination. I don’t know if any woman was ever interested in me, but if they were, I had no idea and wouldn’t have known what to do about it. I considered myself a loser because I couldn’t get a woman.

    I didn’t have sex until three nights before graduation, and didn’t have a relationship with anyone until I met my wife three years after that. I was greatly attracted to her spirit and of course her looks, but doubted her motivation for wanting me. I thought she was very intelligent and personable, but the fact that she had been a teenage mom had given me pause. Combine that with her insane family and scary background and issues that rivaled mine, and that even from the beginning I noticed some things I just didn’t like about her, I continued to date and become serious about her.

    Why? Well, I was inclined to believe that I had to “settle” for her – note that this is in quotes. Even though I regret getting married because much about our life together has been hell, she is not someone I consider inferior. Just different. We came from different worlds. It’s just that I felt it wasn’t in the cards for me to find someone who might have been compatible. When you’re a man with a deep need for love and affection (as well as the sex drive of a jackrabbit) but don’t kiss a woman until you’re 22 and don’t have a girlfriend until you’re 25, you start to believe that if you don’t find someone – anyone, soonest! – you will be alone for the rest of your life. I knew lots of men in that situation, guys in their 40s and 50s who simply had nobody in their life, and they were sad, bitter, defeated people. I didn’t want to be those guys.

    Despite opposition from my family and meddlesomeness from hers, I felt that we could make it.

    But despite being together for almost 30 years – I don’t think we have made it. We have been at each other’s throats (not exactly literally) since the beginning, and I have grown tired of her domineering, bossy personality. She has gotten tired of my sullen, sometimes furious reaction to her personality. She usually sleeps downstairs in the living room. Our finances are in a shambles because although she makes a lot of money, I have been unemployed a lot, I am still undercompensated, and she likes to spend money. She has threatened to divorce me many times, and I have refused to cooperate because I want to raise my kids. While I would not ultimately mind a divorce after the kids are grown, I still fear the nastiness the process will unleash as well as the prospect of being one those lonely, bitter old men who have no chance for sex and companionship. It terrifies me, really, and I don’t want to be one of those losers. In my life I have already spent too much time there.

    I have had some really bad breaks in life, and I am angry and bitter about them. I have also squandered or potentially squandered opportunity. I recently lost my job, and feel as if I have no chance of getting another. I have tried counseling on and off for years with varying degrees of success. Right now I can’t afford it though. And the doctors won’t give the the medicine I think I might need because of another health condition. So I can’t even take any drugs (not that I want them, but I am so desperate I will try anything).

    But I can still see beauty and good things and good people. I am not mad at the world. But I am miserable. And save some time from about 1995 to 1998, I have always been miserable. I hate my life. I don’t have a marriage, I don’t have a sex life, and my professional situation stinks. If I didn’t have kids, I seriously would think about killing myself. I am not suicidal (yet) but I have definitely given up on life, because I don’t see any way out of this mess. I really do not care whether I live or die, because I feel like a useless failure who can’t get anything going. I feel my life has been a waste, and I don’t want this life anymore.

    Can anyone just weigh in here and let me know what they think?

    #222137
    Pedro
    Participant

    Any advice?

    #222161
    anxie1y
    Participant

    Hello Pedro,

    I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate and misery life. But it’s OK, you’re not alone, everyone in this world face difficulties and it’s all depend on how one face it.

    Your value towards “happiness” skewed, do you know why? Because you think that only you have “sex”, only you have someone loved you, then you consider yourself happy. This way of thinking actually reflected to your background; because you are extremely low-esteem, you need recognition from other people like “being loved” in order for you to feel happy. If you primary focus on ” feeling happy” is put under “love and sex”, that could be a problem. As long as you are having a dysfunctional relationship it will drag you down to the emotional breakdown stage.

    No, happiness/success is not gauged by love or sex, it’s about how much you appreciate and love yourself. But prior to this, you have a lot of works to do, you’ll need look for a full time counselor on daily or weekly basic to be able to give your guidance on how to function your life.

    Trust yourself, you ain’t a failure, you’re just unlucky at this phase of your life where you keep your career on and off. You are still doing great. Life is all about sometimes you fail, sometimes you win. The fact that you have to admit that everyone is unique, your wife has higher money making abilities and it doesn’t mean you are either. All you have to do your best to look for another job, and from there, you strive again.

    Reading from what you described that your wife has threaten to divorce it seems like you’re on the verge of the marriage now. Things gonna be messy at this point of time. As of now, could you discuss with your wife, amiably, that you would want to keep this marriage going and seek advice from couple therapist and do some adjustment to make the marriage working?

    Cheers,

    George

    #222197
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Pedro:

    “I feel my life has been a waste”- much of mine has been a waste. Most of the lives of most people is a waste, youth is wasted, years and decades, resources, tangible and non tangible, inborn intelligence and money misspent. Money not made. Look at the world and the waste of natural resources, mismanagement  in businesses, politics… oh, the waste is indeed massive, and it is here there and everywhere.

    And now, what? What to do when you realize so much has been wasted? My answer: you make a  little improvement and live the life that is available for you. Here is a little improvement that you can make in your life, to no longer be afraid (“I actually get slightly ill with dread when I hear her coming up the stairs”). If you live separately from her, you will no longer hear her coming up the stair. Wouldn’t that be a relief?

    By living the life that is available for you I mean, making your life better a bit at a time, so you live separately from her, no longer afraid of the next bad interaction with her. Another improvement: you can now meet women online. I will explain: before, when you were young and single, you didn’t have this option. But now you do. Looking at your post, you read interesting to me, your intelligence is evident and your honesty  is attractive. So you can communicate well online. You are no longer limited to your looks, which you described as unattractive. You have the written word.

    So you communicate with women online,  on a dating site, but you do it right, not getting too invested, keeping it honest, not expecting much, but you persist. You get to know women this way and then you arrange a meeting with one, to get to know her face to face,  in a coffee place, let’s say (any one of you can leave at any time).

    You wrote that you don’t like to share about yourself, to  open up, well right here is your opportunity to do a little of that. No need to share a whole lot, just a bit, but keep it honest. If you do, I will respond to you empathetically and respectfully, no danger to you communicating here with me.

    anita

    #222265
    Pedro
    Participant

    Hi George. Thank you so much for responding. Let me discuss and respond:

    No, happiness/success is not gauged by love or sex, it’s about how much you appreciate and love yourself. But prior to this, you have a lot of works to do, you’ll need look for a full time counselor on daily or weekly basic to be able to give your guidance on how to function your life.

    Yes, I get this, but it is hard to appreciate and love myself if I have no human love or affection. I have been alone most of my life and it is very painful not to be able to share your life with another person. I have a counselor and have been going for a while now, but frankly I haven’t really fixed anything. Going to counseling has kept me from killing myself, but I haven’t made any progress beyond that.

    Trust yourself, you ain’t a failure, you’re just unlucky at this phase of your life where you keep your career on and off. You are still doing great. Life is all about sometimes you fail, sometimes you win. The fact that you have to admit that everyone is unique, your wife has higher money making abilities and it doesn’t mean you are either. All you have to do your best to look for another job, and from there, you strive again.

    Yes, I have been looking for months now and have had a few interviews – and have been turned down for each job. I fear I will never find work again at my age.

    Reading from what you described that your wife has threaten to divorce it seems like you’re on the verge of the marriage now. Things gonna be messy at this point of time. As of now, could you discuss with your wife, amiably, that you would want to keep this marriage going and seek advice from couple therapist and do some adjustment to make the marriage working?

    Unfortunately, this relationship is irretrievably broken. She wants a divorce now – I want one when our youngest is out of the house. There is absolutely no chance of making this marriage work. She wants out, and if she wants out I want out.

    #222267
    Pedro
    Participant

    Hi Anita. I appreciate your responses.

     

    And now, what? What to do when you realize so much has been wasted? My answer: you make a  little improvement and live the life that is available for you. Here is a little improvement that you can make in your life, to no longer be afraid (“I actually get slightly ill with dread when I hear her coming up the stairs”). If you live separately from her, you will no longer hear her coming up the stair. Wouldn’t that be a relief?

    Yes, it would most definitely be a relief if I were not in the same house with her.  That will happen, but I don’t want to leave until the kids are grown and out of the house.

    By living the life that is available for you I mean, making your life better a bit at a time, so you live separately from her, no longer afraid of the next bad interaction with her. Another improvement: you can now meet women online. I will explain: before, when you were young and single, you didn’t have this option. But now you do. Looking at your post, you read interesting to me, your intelligence is evident and your honesty  is attractive. So you can communicate well online. You are no longer limited to your looks, which you described as unattractive. You have the written word.

    True, but women still value looks. When I was younger I got into this long-distance “relationship” where I was living in NYC and ended up talking to a woman on the phone. She had called my roommate and he gave the phone to me so we could meet. We hit it off immediately and talked intensely for hours. Long story short, after a couple weeks of deep, intimate daily conversations, I flew to her town in the Midwest to meet her. She didn’t like me at all – this is after she swore she wouldn’t care about my looks and after I warned her I was not attractive. No matter how much someone might like someone, looks are important. This is why I fear being alone forever.

    So you communicate with women online,  on a dating site, but you do it right, not getting too invested, keeping it honest, not expecting much, but you persist. You get to know women this way and then you arrange a meeting with one, to get to know her face to face,  in a coffee place, let’s say (any one of you can leave at any time).

    I am looking forward to this, yes, but as I said, I still fear the bad outcome.

    You wrote that you don’t like to share about yourself, to  open up, well right here is your opportunity to do a little of that. No need to share a whole lot, just a bit, but keep it honest. If you do, I will respond to you empathetically and respectfully, no danger to you communicating here with me.

    Thanks – I don’t mean I am totally shut off to others, no way. Just that on a daily basis I really don’t talk much about what I’m thinking or what’s happening……I just don’t know why there would be any interest. But here I am more open because I am asking folks such as you for advice about my problems. So it makes sense for me to want to say at least a little about myself!

    Thanks, Anita.

     

     

    #222309
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Pedro:

    You are welcome. That experience in the Midwest, did you send her a photo before getting together?

    Let’s say your looks are far from … classic beauty, the tall, muscular, zero body fat, man. And you are no longer youthful.. wait, I don’t know a single man that looks like that, maybe I saw one in a magazine in the supermarket check out, didn’t care for it, didn’t go: wow! look at that! Not at all. Personally what would turn me off about a man if I was to date, would be unpleasant body odor. Next turn off would be a very sloppy look, pants unzipped, shirt unbuttoned, long unkept beard and such.

    Why is it necessary that your kids move out before the two of you separated; don’t they notice the tension between the two of you? If they do, it may be better for them to live in a calmer home, one that isn’t occupied by you and your wife living together.

    anita

    #222425
    Pedro
    Participant

    Hi Anita. No, I did not send a photo, especially since I don’t really like to be photographed, therefore there weren’t any I had on hand..I don’t think I am hideous, at least I wasn’t as a younger man. But I was also not particularly handsome or well-built, and now that I’m older and much more beat up,  I don’t know how any woman could find me attractive. I dress very well, keep my hair and beard trim, and always smell great. But that’s seemingly not enough, is it?

     

    As for the kids, I agree that it would be better for them to live in a calmer home…..but that would have meant me being alone and never getting a chance to see them, much less raise them. And I could not live with myself if I had allowed that to happen.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Pedro.
    #222581
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Pedro:

    You asked, “But that’s seemingly not enough, is it?” – You only need one woman for whom it is enough, and since it is enough for me, there has to be another woman out there for whom it is enough as well. After all, you don’t look hideous, you wrote that yourself.

    I don’t understand why you would never get a chance to see your children if you didn’t live with your wife?

    Nor do I understand feeling “slightly ill with dread when (you) hear her coming up the stairs” being a preferable way to live than away from her?

    anita

    #222611
    Pedro
    Participant

    You asked, “But that’s seemingly not enough, is it?” – You only need one woman for whom it is enough, and since it is enough for me, there has to be another woman out there for whom it is enough as well. After all, you don’t look hideous, you wrote that yourself.

    Well, I would like to be able to know that there was someone else out there. But I have never had a relationship aside from my marriage, and that was a horrible choice I made because I was getting older and had never been with anyone. So I kinda panicked and married someone I wasn’t compatible with. But I know little about the dating/mating rituals and really don’t know what to do regarding romantic/sexual interactions with women.  I also have problems picking up if a woman is interested in me or not. Since the few times I expressed interest in someone I was pretty cruelly rejected, I don’t want to do that anymore.

     I don’t understand why you would never get a chance to see your children if you didn’t live with your wife?

    Because she is a vindictive, manipulative person who would keep them away to be spiteful. Now that only one is left in the house my fears aren’t as serious and I will be willing to break up after he is in college/grown. But that’s why I stayed, for the kids.

    Nor do I understand feeling “slightly ill with dread when (you) hear her coming up the stairs” being a preferable way to live than away from her?

    Well, it isn’t preferable – I put up with this so I could see and raise my kids.

     

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Pedro.
    #222719
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Pedro:

    I hope then that soon you will have no reason to stay living with her.

    You wrote: “I know little about the dating/mating rituals and really don’t know what to do regarding romantic/ sexual interactions with women”- you are not alone, not knowing. Human “dating/ mating rituals” are not as clear as other animals’. If they were, you would know exactly what to do. In reality, there really aren’t such rituals. The traditional rituals of  long ago, those specific to location and time, were such that the family chose a mate for their adult son/ daughter, had them meet under supervision, discussed the details with the parents of the other party, made the exchange (goats and such) and cemented the deal. Things change. And who is to say what is the… should-be ritual?

    This is why the human option of verbal, honest and clear communication comes handy. Ask, listen to answers, process the information, repeat your understanding, ask if you understood correctly. There will be women who will reject this option of clear, honest communication. Thing is you don’t have to pursue those women. Pursue women who are open, capable and willing to take in the human option of clear, honest and ongoing verbal communication.

    anita

     

    #222729
    Pedro
    Participant

    Hi Anita. Yes, I know that there aren’t formal rituals, but there are still cues men and women take from each other in the buildup to coupling (be it short- or long-term). I really don’t know how to participate in this, how to “access” women, so to speak. I have no problem making friends with women, talking with them, but I don’t seem to know how to take this to another level.

    #222739
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Pedro:

    The cues, body language in humans, because of the element of shame, self consciousness, it is not as clear as in other animals. Humans hide, control natural inclinations. This is why it is difficult to read people. People interrupt those natural cues, tendencies with should/ shouldn’t thinking.

    This is why honest communication is so important. In your future contact with women, it will not be you being the odd one, not knowing those cues. Likely she will not know either, just like you.

    I think this is the problem in front of you: you think there are cues all  others are aware of and you are blind to those, while in reality we are all blind, well, almost all. There are, I suppose, those few absolutely handsome men, full of self confidence whom women cannot resist. I think I skimmed through romantic novels describing such men long ago.

    (I am familiar with the reality of real life aggressive men who succeeded in have lots of sex with lots of women but that is perhaps a different story, not your aim, is it?)

    anita

    #222763
    Pedro
    Participant

    Nah, all I want, and all I ever wanted, was someone to love and someone who loves me. It just seems so far out of the realm of possibility. I haven’t even had a hug or kiss for almost 10 years now…….

    #222769
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Pedro:

    It “seems so far out of the realm of possibility”, but unlike us human flying among the clouds like birds, to love and be loved in return is a real possibility. None of us has wings, like birds do (which I wish I had), but many f us have hearts.

    anita

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