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Parallax - Advice            October 16, 2000


  To Do or Not To Do?

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Decisions, decisions, decisions. They're hard to make when you're debating the issues by yourself. This week, our dedicated duo helps people at their crossroads - the martyr with a net-chatty hubby and an empty life…the break-up guy, who's looking to hookup with his ex for the sex…and a woman who seeks all the accoutrements of marriage, without the ceremony.


They once said, 'I do,' but now they don't.
Is this marriage worth saving?
 Date: 10/16/00

They broke up, but he wants sex with his ex.
Can he succeed or is this Mission Impossible?
 Date: 10/16/00

She wants to live with him - he wants marriage.
Do it...or don't?
 Date: 10/16/00

More from last week...
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They once said, 'I do,' but now they don't

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend I know that I should have left my husband long before now, but as a Christian woman, I've stuck it out. We started with a very good friendship, developed into romance, and then married seven years ago. Now, we seem to have drifted apart and barely have a social life together. He has many secrets, one of which is his obsession with Internet chat. I also have reason to believe that he has a three-year-old child outside our marriage (we have no children together). I guess I will now have to decide what I want to do about my marriage.


Her view:

Dear Stuck,

Wow, it's great that you have tried hard and stuck it out this long. I know that divorce is not a good option under any circumstances, and there's probably nothing more disappointing than divorce. After all, you're married, and ending a marriage should not be acceptable if both people agree to certain terms and live up to them (the last part being the toughest, of course.)

It certainly sounds as though what you now have is much less than a marriage. Suspecting that he has a child with someone else is huge, and the secrets part of this is, indeed, troubling.

However, all relationships go through bad patches, and it sounds to me as though you've not had a clear discussion. 'Drifted apart with barely a social life together' sounds as though you're living separate lives, and you've broken up without explicitly agreeing to that. Have a blow out discussion with your husband. Tell him everything on your mind - the child you suspect, living separate lives - everything.

After that conversation you'll know if you can work it out or not. If there is still love on both sides and a strong willingness to try, I think you'll have a shot. Although I have to say, if it is possible he has a child with someone else, I don't think this conversation will go particularly well and you'll end up having to leave. I'm sure it would not be against Christianity to save your self from what is a very unhappy and destructive situation. Everyone deserves more than where you are now.

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His view:

Dear Stuck,

Beyond the obvious suggestions - which you may have employed already - of trying to discuss your issues forthrightly with your estranged man, of seeking outside help in the form of counseling, of attempting a short-term separation prior to full-scale divorce, there's one thing I think you should consider.

If this man has a child floating around somewhere, hidden from you along with many other secrets, why hasn't he left you? Is there a strong economic incentive to stay married? Is he just too lazy, or too weak, to get up and go? Or is he still in love with you, but very withdrawn because of guilt from his extramarital indiscretions, and the inability to face up to them?

Perhaps he feels as trapped as you do, but is unwilling to take the initiative and drive a separation. This may be the right time to take out your prodding stick and start pushing.

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