Question- looking back, would you have avoided divorce if you could? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-11-2009, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just need to ask this because I'm really second-guessing myself today. Would anyone go back if they could and avoid the divorce? I know your situation likely wasn't the same as mine is, but if it involved a compromise you weren't willing to make, have you had second thoughts about it?

My husband is the one who has chosen to move towards divorce, but only if I don't go through with having a termination. He wants me to understand and respect his feelings that he just doesn't want and can't deal with another child. The position he has put me in is not fair, but I'm really scared about the reality of going through a divorce with 2 young kids and then managing a newborn on my own. This wasn't the life I wanted- we had a pretty good life up until a few months ago that I was happy with. We had some problems, but our relationship was pretty good, we made each other laugh, still had a good sex life, the kids were happy. I wasn't wanting another child either. But then we got pregnant, and having a termination hasn't seemed like the right choice for me. I'm not even sure if we could ever go back to the way it was, but I just wonder if I am giving up too much by going forward with this pregnancy.

Thank you for your thoughts.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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I don't think I could ever forgive a man who would give me that kind of ultimatum. I also think it's normal for you to question EVERYTHING right now, your feelings about every issue are going to swing around, I think that's normal.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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nope.

i was a teenager when i promised myself i would never remain in a relationship if the other party was no longer interested in me.

when i got pregnant my then dh started withdrawing from me. 3 weeks before dd was born he asked for a divorce. i was devastated.

BUT i stayed in the marriage and tried to make it work till dd was 18 months old. my friends thought i was crazy. but by the end of 14 months i was sure that that was it. i was done.

after separation it took me another year to finally decide nope that's truly it. i am sooo done with this man.

yes its been a hard road with him as an ex and with me dealing with bringing up my dd by myself without a partner - but that was nothing compared to what it was before.

separation soon to be divorce is the hardest thing i have ever done. but it is the BEST thing that has ever happened to me.

i am so sorry you are having to make this decision. it just does not seem fair. no woman should ever have to be in your shoes. but stand with how you feel. it IS going to be hard - but its a bearable hardness. compared to giving up your baby.

sometimes the hardest thing we do is stand up for our values. and yet in another sense it is the easiest because you know for sure what you want even though you dont really realise it going thru it at that moment.

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Old 01-11-2009, 01:00 PM
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Nope. I avoided it once. The man did me wrong and I took him back.

Repeat performance seven years later. She can have him.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:47 PM
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bananabug --

Please understand that he put himself in this situation by putting his penis in you. If he really didn't want another kid, there were several options available to him, including abstinence, vasectomy, and several other forms of birth control. That he's shifting the blame to you, and making it appear to you that this is All Your Fault and that your decision is responsible for divorce and the breakup of your family, is monstrously selfish and wrong of him. Your husband is looking for a way out and has found a convenient one. Trust me, even if you had the abortion, six months later he'd find some other reason he had to leave.

If you want this child, and it sounds like you do, please do not have an abortion. You will regret it till the end of your life. Above all don't have an abortion to save a marriage to a guy who behaves like this. I'm a very big pro-choice advocate and frankly am aghast at the way young girls jump into motherhood these days, and I've had some scares where the first thing I did was turn to A in the yellow pages. (Which also shows my age.) But if a woman doesn't want an abortion, then unless she's floridly mentally ill or completely overwhelmed with other children and responsibilities, there's no way in hell I'd counsel abortion.

He will have to "deal with" another child whether he divorces you or not. Again, he was in full control of his own penis. Don't let him guilt you into thinking this is your fault. Please go ahead with what you love and feel in your heart is right with a clear conscience.

As for your original question: I didn't want divorce. My marriage was beyond dead, not to mention horrible thanks to my ex's mental illness and passive-aggressive horribleness, but it seemed to me that my kid would take the brunt of the divorce, and that I could tolerate being married-but-living-apart till she was grown. My ex divorced me in a miserable, chaotic, needlessly expensive way (and again, it was all my fault).

Result: Yes, I think my daughter's borne the brunt of it. However, you couldn't pay me to go back, and while she's paid, I think she's also gained a mother who's free to be herself and act with strength, which means there's a very different feeling in the house now. Let me underscore that it sucks for her in a great many ways, and that she hurts from it, even though she can't remember a time when we all lived together. But no, I could not go back, especially now that I can see more clearly how my ex treated me.

I still feel divorce is wrong and irresponsible. I go to synagogue and see family after family that does what I'd meant to do. However, I think not one of those people would tell me I should've stayed married -- given the problems, I think all of them would have advised divorce and felt there was something perverse in staying. Absolutely no one there suggested I try to work things out with him; all who knew me reached out to help. I know one woman there who deals with similar issues at home -- her husband's often profoundly depressed, and when not depressed, he flirts madly with other women. It's been hell on her, and I can see her determination in raising her three kids with him. But again, I suspect most people there think she and the kids would be better off without him.

A bigger problem for me is the question of remarriage. I really don't want to deal with another man, or take care of another man, and I'm happy on my own. However, I really feel dd lacks something here, and frankly as she gets older and more independent I think it will be very helpful to have another grownup here helping to raise her, keep tabs on her, keep her in bounds, help teach her and lead by example. I think she's going to be hard to handle when she hits teen, rebellious and smart -- and I fear that the lack of real attention she gets from her dad will lead her to seek out other male attention.

She spends quite a bit of time with her dad, but she's terribly quick on the uptake emotionally, and within a few years I think she'll begin to notice that his devotion to her is really all about him, all about having someone admire and love and validate him. And I can see her telling him about her achievements, and him undercutting her and jumping in to tell her about what he did, and isn't it wonderful. I don't think that strickenness of his about other people doing well is going to go away just because the other person happens to be his child. So I hope to have some kind of alternate father figure in there for her by the time she's old enough to get herself in trouble.

Anyway, hth. Answer is no, I don't regret it, but it does leave me with a lot of work to do, and some of the damage I can't do anything about. Don't let him make you believe you're the one choosing divorce.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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I'm going to agree with everything ginger said - I put up with a lot, but I would never be able to handle a man telling me what to do with my body or trying to control me. If you dh didn't want anymore children, he should have done something to prevent a pregnancy.

On a personal level - I did what I could to try and save my marriage, but my ex was not interested. He had checked out a long time earlier. I was unhappy in the relationship, but I wanted to save my marriage for my kids. The end result now? I would never take my ex back. It was hard for the kids initially, but they are young and are adjusting well. I am happier, healthier and have a great sense of pride now that I didn't have when ex was around. I'm motivated and proud of myself and he isn't around to hold me back. My current (well, since exdh left) dp is a much better match for me.

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Old 01-11-2009, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. It's helpful to have a reality check. I have to admit though that I have days where I don't want this baby at all. I was done with the newborn/infant phase, and it seems overwhelming to go back again, especially on my own. That being said, I've gone in to do a termination, and I just sit there and can't do it. It's not even about my H when I consider termination, it's about my two kids and what I'm taking away from them. And I know it's H who has put me in this position, but ultimately I will feel guilt about making a decision to continue a pregnancy that leads to our family changing so drastically. No matter how many times someone says "it's your H's fault, not yours", I will feel responsible because I did make a choice too. And will I even be a good mother to three? Is it fair to my two kids that I'm adding a baby to an already difficult situation?

Sorry, just having a really difficult day today. Pregnancy hormones don't help
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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It seems unrealistic to me to think that a good or even decent marriage could just end because of a decision that involved both people making a choice.

If he felt that strongly, I agree with ginger, that he had choices he could have made.

I would fear that your marriage will be in more jeopardy down the road if you agree to do this then live with the guilt of it or the shame of it.

Terminating a pregnancy is a personal choice. If you're not making it for you, it will undoubtably have very major effects on you, your relationship and your children down the road. You will likely end up in the same situation, further down the road so you won't have saved you or your children/family any heartache in the long run.

I cannot imagine this is an easy time for you right now, but do know that there will come a day when you will be proud of your strength and courage and you'll see how you are all better off because of the choices you've all made along the way.

I'm wishing you some peace & love.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:55 PM
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bananabug, what support do you have there?
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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Bottom line, he is giving you an ultimatum. An INSANE one. Do you really want to be married to someone who would try to control your body and your choices the way he is attempting to? I know I wouldn't.

As a child of divorced parents I will say that your children likely know the score (or will when they are a bit older), and that staying with someone so manipulative will do nothing but hurt them. I know I resented my mother for a long time because she waited until I was 21 to divorce my dad.

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Old 01-11-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bananabug View Post
And I know it's H who has put me in this position, but ultimately I will feel guilt about making a decision to continue a pregnancy that leads to our family changing so drastically. No matter how many times someone says "it's your H's fault, not yours", I will feel responsible because I did make a choice too. And will I even be a good mother to three? Is it fair to my two kids that I'm adding a baby to an already difficult situation?

Sorry, just having a really difficult day today. Pregnancy hormones don't help

Your pregnancy isn't what is leading to the change in your family. Your stbx's inability to act like a responsible grown up is what is leading to this change.

Yes, you made a choice. You chose not to give in to an unreasonable ultimatum.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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No, I wouldn't go back! I got left and divorced, but I am much happier now.

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Old 01-11-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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He could have chosen to have a vasectomy. Having chosen NOT to have a vasectomy, it's his job to live up to the responsibility of what he's done. Not your job to compensate in an unacceptable way (to you) for his failure to be responsible.

I am really not in favor of divorce, but there are times where it is necessary. And in your case, you're not doing the divorcing. He's divorcing you for getting pregnant accidentally inside the marriage. That is in no way your fault and not your responsibility to have an abortion.

I'm so sorry you're in this position. I would be scared, too. I think, though, that certainly for me, if I did abort and my husband stayed with me, I would hate him. Every time I looked at him I would think of our child that I terminated because of him. I would never want to make love to him again - EVER - for fear of being put in that position again. Not to mention that he thought it was okay to have sex but not willing to take responsibility for the consequences.

And I think our marriage would end anyway . . . and then I would REALLY hate him, both for the loss of the relationship and for the loss of the child. It would be unworkable for me. I would regret having terminated and staying with him every day. I don't know if you would feel that way, but I know that I would.

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Old 01-11-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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No, I have never, ever regretted getting a divorce. My son and I are so much happier and safer without his bio father around.

The only thing I regret was trying so hard to be the perfect wife and waiting so long to leave a man who clearly didn't care about me.

I've been reading your threads and my heart breaks for you... I am so sorry you have to go through all of this.

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Old 01-11-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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Is your dh still planning on leaving the country and abandoning all of you? I really sympathize with your difficult situation and I certainly have had second thoughts during all of my pregnancies but I am always happy with the result. I know that your decision is probably going to end your family and impact your children soon but if your dh is a person who is willing to walk away from his children then he would have done it someday for some reason.

*To answer your question....NO I do not regret kicking my x out at all. I have had moments where I second guessed myself but I do that about everything once in a while. I am in a great relationship now and even though we do have wounds we are happy. If I was going to be a regretful person I would regret not bringing on the inevitable sooner.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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I don't think you'll ever look at your 3rd child and regret his or her birth, but if you'd terminated, you'd likely resent your husband for the rest of your lives. It's understandable that he had strong negative feelings about the pg, but the position he put you in is truly reprehensable. I wouldn't have stayed in those circumstances either.

I do kinda regret my first divorce. We were friends who probably never should have gotten married, and our "bedroom" problems made our whole marriage unstable to the point where I finally decided I'd had enough and filed for divorce. But we're friends again now, and I can easily see the direction our lives would have taken had we stayed together. We have similar values and I really think that things would have been OK had we stayed together, and that, with intensive work, our intimate problems could have been solved.

Of course, if we'd stayed together I would have DS (different bio dad) but we might have had other children. I don't regret for one minute leaving DS abusive bio-dad. My only regret in that situation is that I didn't leave sooner.

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Old 01-11-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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No matter how many times someone says "it's your H's fault, not yours", I will feel responsible because I did make a choice too. And will I even be a good mother to three? Is it fair to my two kids that I'm adding a baby to an already difficult situation?

I will repeat what others have said: this is not a choice you are making, in any way. It is you h's choice. He is the one presenting the choice to you, and making it appear as though it will be your fault if you don't have an abortion. Yet the real choice is the one he'll be making, and the fact is, he's shifting the choice/blame situation onto you because he can't deal with taking responsibility for his choice to leave, should you not abort. It's not a real choice, it's a constructed one.

I did not make the choice to leave, but I would not go back. The kind of ultimatum your h is offering sounds abusive, and my xh pulled that kind of crap all the time. He gave me ultimatums and threatened to leave throughout my 6 years with him, and that is living hell. I am only sorry I didn't make the decision to leave first (right after dd2's conception and it would have saved me almost 2 more years of that hell). Another mama said that he'll just find another reason down the road. They are right. And then you'll have had an abortion and still have a divorce, not to mention a nasty situation in the meantime.

Please, do not allow him to push this "choice" on you. It's his choice, and he needs to accept that. You don't have any responsibility for what ultimately happens, because he'll be the one walking and it won't be your fault.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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he sounds completely cold-hearted, what's to miss.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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Just need to ask this because I'm really second-guessing myself today. Would anyone go back if they could and avoid the divorce? I know your situation likely wasn't the same as mine is, but if it involved a compromise you weren't willing to make, have you had second thoughts about it?
Caveat: My situation isn't at all like yours, so my post here may be worth less than $0.02.


I would definitely have avoided my own divorce. I loved my husband and my marriage and did not want the divorce.

HOWEVER, I would not want to be married to the evil person he became once he left me (and my unborn child). Now I know the disgusting depths in which his heart really lives.

I don't know why he left me (he skulked away during the workday with never a discussion - in fact sent me Valentine's Day roses that morning) so I don't know if any compromise was possible. To the extent he changed his mind and decided (without discussion) he didn't want our hoped-for, prayed-for, celebrated-together pregnancy, well, he got his new wife pregnant twice after me - so I think "I don't want a baby" would have been just an excuse for what he really wanted, which was to be married to someone else.

HTH. I know PLENTY of women whose husbands left them in pregnancy or shortly thereafter (often but not always with the first child). A surprising number of these same cowards go on to procreate with other women after teh divorce.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:00 PM
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HTH. I know PLENTY of women whose husbands left them in pregnancy or shortly thereafter (often but not always with the first child). A surprising number of these same cowards go on to procreate with other women after teh divorce.
Which speaks, unfortunately, to the desperation and gullibility of women, particularly young women.

I think something is lacking in our education. In my early 20s, I was also one of these women who got involved with family-abandoners. Twice. I really figured that the previous marriage had nothing to do with me, and that it was part of some chopped-off past -- and that in turn had to do with the fact that I'd had nothing to do with the world of babies and young children, or family-raising, in a decade or more. Mothers and young children were as invisible and devalued to me as they are to most of the rest of the world.

I think we need to do more to keep our girls in contact with young children and their families, so that they're talking to the mothers, and seeing what's involved in having a young family, especially as a single mother or a child who's been left. On its face, that sounds like a throwback sentiment, and not one that would be likely to come from a second-wave feminist. But without that connection and understanding, I think it's unlikely that young women will really see anything awry in these men's behavior. Which means that it comes as a big surprise when Mr. Wonderful turns out not to be so wonderful, even if he does stick around because he doesn't want to rack up another failure.

Both of the men I was involved with turned out to be awful people, of course. One was an abusive criminal who'd never been turned in, and the other...words cannot express the pathos of this bum. And yet the women kept following them and hoping to put the families back together. I saw on facebook the other day that the bum's ex-wife eventually followed him across the country and reunited with him. This is a guy who was a deadbeat dad, who had affairs and lied, who sat on a couch being unemployed insisting that manual labor was beneath him during a deep recession.

It occurs to me that I'm teaching my daughter this sort of thing isn't necessary.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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I am so sorry he is putting you through this. I can’t even imagine how hard this is for you.

I can certainly understand your own feelings of ambivalence about having another child and the temptation go along with his ultimatum to keep the peace. However, if you’re contemplating going through with an abortion you’re not comfortable with in order to “save your marriage” then I think you need to intensively and realistically evaluate what kind of marriage you have now and would have afterward.

Would your feelings of love and trust in him remain after he has coerced you into an abortion? What kind of man would abdicate responsibility for his part in this situation and then would feel comfortable coercing you in order to get his way? Is that the kind of man you want your life tied to? Could you really go back to “the way things were” before the pregnancy without this whole situation and everything he’s put you through tainting everything?

If he’s willing to coerce you in this most reprehensible way, could you really trust him to not use the threat of divorce later on in other circumstances? If his reasoning for not wanting another child is that it would make his life too hard, would you really be able trust in his support and love in the future if something terrible was to happen like you or the kids were injured or sick? Would you be constantly on edge that anytime life got hard that he would find a reason to abandon you and the kids?

Is your marriage worth trying to save if you can’t trust him to stand by you through both the good and the bad times? I think his ultimatum is more than unfair, it’s a betrayal of one of the core foundations of marriage in my opinion and I personally would not be able to get past that.

Whatever you do, it’s going to be hard road and I wish you the best with whatever direction you end up taking.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:52 PM
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Thanks everyone. It's helpful to have a reality check. I have to admit though that I have days where I don't want this baby at all. I was done with the newborn/infant phase, and it seems overwhelming to go back again, especially on my own. That being said, I've gone in to do a termination, and I just sit there and can't do it. It's not even about my H when I consider termination, it's about my two kids and what I'm taking away from them. And I know it's H who has put me in this position, but ultimately I will feel guilt about making a decision to continue a pregnancy that leads to our family changing so drastically. No matter how many times someone says "it's your H's fault, not yours", I will feel responsible because I did make a choice too. And will I even be a good mother to three? Is it fair to my two kids that I'm adding a baby to an already difficult situation?

Sorry, just having a really difficult day today. Pregnancy hormones don't help




Of course you'll be a good mother to three. And keep reminding yourself that you're not choosing divorce--your dh is.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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Your pregnancy isn't what is leading to the change in your family. Your stbx's inability to act like a responsible grown up is what is leading to this change.
Wise words. People change; people lose jobs, change careers, become disabled, become overwhelmed with care for their own aging parents, and sometimes become pregnant. Some changes are intentional; many aren't. Some changes are welcomed; many - like perhaps this pregnancy - aren't. For a spouse to throw a hissy fit and insist that his world and the people in it not change seems naive at best. For a spouse to instead say, as you have, "I'm ambivalent about this change but I have to accept its reality" is mature. I'm sorry he couldn't be your equal partner in this change to your lives.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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Sometimes I think about not going through with the divorce and try to win him back, but I come back to my senses. He had an affair and would probably
do it again and I have been called so many names and pushed a few times.

Things could never be good again.

I remember when I got pregnant with my last child accidently,There are 6 years between 3 & 4. He said I got pregnant on purpose to stay home for 5 more years and do nothing but sit on my butt..
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ginger_rodgers View Post
bananabug, what support do you have there?
My sister lives nearby and is my best friend. She calls me at least daily to check on me and helps with my kids. My parents alos check in daily, although they live several hours away. My mom is coming tomorrow though (staying at my sister's- she can't deal with my H right now). I also have good friends who are neighbors, they've offered everything from taking the kids to shoveling my driveway if I need help with that. I have a wonderful neighborhood (although only those 2 people know so far). I do have lots of good friends and supportive family members, but no one can take this horrible decision off my hands for me, unfortunately.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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Termination or not aside... I doubt you'd ever be able to forgive such a man.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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Oh, and huge
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so sorry he is putting you through this. I can’t even imagine how hard this is for you.

I can certainly understand your own feelings of ambivalence about having another child and the temptation go along with his ultimatum to keep the peace.
Whatever you do, it’s going to be hard road and I wish you the best with whatever direction you end up taking.
Thank you. At this point, I'm not even thinking about making peace with him as a reason to terminate. I don't think our marriage would be the same. But I just worry that I'm not doing what's best for my two kids. We may be headed for divorce one way or the other- does it make sense to go forward with a pregnancy when it will be a struggle already to care for my two kids on my own in this economy, not to mention help them transition through some hard times? I'm trying to take my emotions about the pregnancy out of it, and be realistic about what I can manage as a mother (and I do want to continue to be a good mother whether I am married or single). I'd love to have another baby that would be brought up in the context of a loving marriage and stable family....but being realistic given my current situation, will I be able to provide what this baby needs if I am doing this on my own?
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:58 PM
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Thank you. At this point, I'm not even thinking about making peace with him as a reason to terminate. I don't think our marriage would be the same. But I just worry that I'm not doing what's best for my two kids.


They'll have another sibling. That's a huge gift. (I'm not trying to influence your decision, but I just wanted to give you another perspective to think about.)

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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When faced with this kind of decision in the past, what really did it for me in terms of making such a decision, is asking myself; Is there any chance whatsoever I would regret NOT having this child? Because you can never really regret HAVING a child, but you CAN regret NOT having one. And just to give you some perspective, my answer to this question was "Yes" for DD #3, and was "No" for my last pregnancy. Which ended up ending in a miscarriage.
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