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Well friends, it's time I come clean about something that's happened in my life.

Really, it could be worse. But it's still not fun. My husband and I have decided to separate and plan on proceeding to divorce in about six months' time.

If I really face up to the facts of the situation, this has been coming about for a long time now. But, for whatever reason, neither of us was really ready to face it until recently.

As I've mentioned before, I quit my full-time job at the end of the year, and I've been working freelance since then. This is both because I was desparately unhappy at my job, and because I wanted to devote more of my time to my studies (I'm currently pursuing a professional certificate in Landscape Architecture at UCLA.)

For the last couple of years, I had been struggling with the fact that my career in publishing wasn't going anywhere and that I really needed to take a new career direction. But for a long time, I didn't quite know what that was. I considered going to a career counselor, but it turned out that through my own research and soul-searching I was able to serve as my own career counselor and finally settle on a new direction.

Although it's a career that will require considerable new training and a bunch of new skills, I haven't had a second's regret or doubt about this career change. [My only question was how I was going to pay for the necessary training. Well, for reasons that will become more clear during the week of May 24, the money side of the equation is no longer a problem. ]

But there was still something wrong. I *thought* that when I quit the job that was making me more miserable, and started working on something that would make me happy, and had more flexibility in my time, that my unhappy marriage would also improve. Turned out that the effect was somewhat the opposite.

It just became more and more clear all the time that our interests were widely divergent, that we didn't want to live the same kind of life, and that we were incapable of actually planning for a future together. After seven years of marriage you'd think that would have sunk in sooner. But I refuse to characterize the marriage as a 'mistake', and so does he.

Perhaps we could have been more astute about realizing that what we had was a love affair and not a marriage...but I also wouldn't trade the happy times for anything.

I realize how lucky we are. It seems (from totally unscientific anecdotal observations) that most separations/divorces are at least to some degree acrimonious. But once the decision was made that we needed to break it off, we found that we were able to get along very peacefully, and there are no major areas of disagreement to fight over.

No kids. No joint property apart from some consumer electronics and cheap IKEA furniture. No joint bank accounts, even. We have always kept our money completely separate and we both want to keep what's ours and not interfere with the other person's stuff.

(And yes, we are aware that California law does not regard our property the same way we do. But we know we can draw up a legal agreement that will break things down the way we want.)

I think we might even manage to stay friends, oddly enough. There is still love there, and mutual respect, even though it no longer takes the form of wanting a life together.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

I think the decision was reached around the middle of March. He started looking for his own apartment in April and officially moved out on May 1 (although most of his stuff is still here and he comes by often, to use the computer and pick up things.) I was suffering plenty of emotional trauma in the early days, and I'm sure it's not over yet, but I feel like I am adjusting reasonably well to his absence. After's not that different from how things were recently. He was rarely home.

I'm glad this is proceeding so peacefully, and I'm also glad that I have something to look forward to in my life does make it easier. If this had happened while I was still trapped in a dead-end, high-stress job, I shudder to think what my state of mind would have been. As it as, although I still feel pretty down at times, I also feel optimistic about the future. And I feel like my excuses are now gone - I have nobody but myself to answer to, and I know it's completely up to me to improve my life, now that I'm not waiting for some form of participation from my spouse that will never come.

The lesson, I guess, is that when you get your life unstuck in one area, all kinds of other, unexpected things also get unstuck....whether you want them to or not. Anyway, thanks for listening.


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Hugs to you, Nitpicker. I'm so sorry. Even when it all goes smoothly, I know there's some sadness and heartbreak that come along with such decisions.
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nitpicker, I don't really know what to say except I truly wish you well. My first marriage sounded a lot like what you described. I did not have a "bad marriage", it just wasn't right for the participants. We seperated our belongings quite easily and have no hard feelings to this day. I still respect him and only wish him the best and he is the same towards me. It took us 13 years to realize that we had spent most of our marriage as really good friends and roomates who cared deeply for each other. I know this may not be much comfort now, but time will ease things. Even when you know you both did the best thing, it still feels bad. I hope that you continue to keep an upbeat attitude and continue to have faith in yourself. Those things right there will keep you on the right path, which is your path.

Wishing you extra special well........

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It sounds like you have a great perspective on things, and things are going in the right direction. Hang in there.

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Oh, Anne.

I'm so sorry to read this. I hate it when bad things happen to Good People, and you've been one of my Good People for a long, long time.

If you're sure this is for the best and this is what you guys want, then I guess I'm alright with it, too, but I hate to see this kind of thing because there just aren't any great divorces. There are some very good divorces, but there aren't any great ones.

I hope you know how you've touched so many, posting here on The Fool. You've built up a lot of emotional capital over the years. If you need to spend some of that, feel free to bend my ear (eye?) any time you feel like it.

And, for God's sake, stay out of the ice cream aisle of the grocery store!
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On the one hand I am so sorry to hear your news. Divorce is never a fun thing to do, no matter how amicably it proceeds. It can however, be a good thing if it allows you to develop further into the person you want to be.

I applaud your self awareness in realizing the source of your unhappiness, and the honesty in dealing with it. I think as a nation we would be less in debt if we examined our inner demons and dealt with them directly instead of by going shopping. You are right not to characterise your marriage as a mistake, or something to regret. You could very well be a completely different person now without the experience, which would have been a loss to many of us. I was married for 6 years to a man who became increasingly abusive from the time the ring went on my finger. Today, I am a stronger, wiser person for it, and as such don't regret it, (though I do regret telling him as much.) We are a sum of our experiences.

I was suffering plenty of emotional trauma in the early days, and I'm sure it's not over yet, but I feel like I am adjusting reasonably well to his absence.

There is a grieving process that is to be gone through when a relationship ends. Do not push this process to the side, but allow it to happen. Because your relationship and the ending there of was not acrimonious, you may wind up grieving more than I did. The grief is normal, recognise it for what it is rather than as doubt that you did the right thing. From what I know of you from TMF, you have good instincts and the ability to analyze a situation. When you question your decision in the future, remember you have these skills.

Congratulations on your J******* winnings, and be sure to give us a reminder when your show comes on.

who still finds her jaw dropping at the memory of her ex saying, "Well, I helped you become a stronger person...what did you ever do for me?" De Nile aint just a river in Egypt. ;-)
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Sorry I can't say more than that.

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I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but I'm happy that you've thought it through and decided to make a change. Too many couples are content to remain miserable together rather than separate.

I hope that your hurt will soon be replaced with happiness as you open a new chapter in your life.

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Sorry to hear about this. I don't have much to offer, but I wish you the best success in your new path in life though. Heck, if you lived in MN, I'd hire you in a heartbeat to revamp my property. :)

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Others have said it so much better, but I wish you the best. Often one change dominos into many changes. Allow yourself to grieve the past and move on to the future.

Please remember that you mean a lot to those of us here.

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