A disgruntled wife recently took to Reddit to complain about how her husband took himself out to dinner on their 27th anniversary while she spent the night alone. And yet, I wonder why she’s so upset. Sure, one would think that this would have been painful had their marriage still been viable. But it is really just a marriage on paper.
The wife admitted herself that she and her husband have been living separate lives for some time. She simply assumed that on the 27th anniversary of their wedding day, they might at least share a nice meal together.
Yes, she came home from work early for the occasion. Her husband didn't show up till late though. When she asked him where he’d been, he said he'd already eaten. Not only that but he'd dined out at a restaurant with friends, and told his wife he'd had a great time.
She was furious when she heard this. He had a great time on their anniversary, but not with her… The nerve!
In his defense, he said that they hadn't even made plans. What was the fuss? But that's the thing when a couple is still living together even when their marriage is just on paper. The parameters of the relationship can become confusing.
I should know. I had a similar marriage of convenience.
My ex and I stayed married even though our relationship was over.
My now ex-husband and I were happy for a time until our relationship broke down after years of arguing over our differences. We began to live separate lives even though we remained man and wife. But we were distanced emotionally from one another.
We even opened our marriage. We slept in separate bedrooms and dated other people. Though this might seem strange to many, my ex and I stayed married for many reasons.
We had two children together. We wanted to keep living under the same roof for them. Plus, living together was a financial necessity. Neither of us could afford to keep our house if we split up.
My husband wasn't working. I was waiting until he was in a better financial position before I divorced him. I wanted to make sure I could secure enough child support to survive, as I knew I would bear the greater burden of caring for our children.
This situation would seem untenable to many but we were upfront with each other about why we were doing it.
Sure, I know a part of my husband wanted us to be closer but things were the way they were. We didn't celebrate our last couple of wedding anniversaries. Why should we? We were no longer together in that way.
Still, the boundaries of our relationship became sticky. Though we’d agreed to see other people, my husband became angry when he realized I had a boyfriend. But what did he expect? Of course, I had a boyfriend. He was dating other women, too.
He had no right to get mad. But as we were still married, the confusion easily happened.
The moral of the story.
I think the moral of the story is that if your relationship is over but you’re still married, you should just end it. You should stop pretending that you're anything other than roommates and business partners in home ownership, and/or colleagues who are caring for children together.
There is no relationship, so you have to take the plunge and set up separate households, no matter how difficult this may be. In my case, I had to downsize to a much smaller apartment after having lived in a big, four-bedroom house with my husband. Was that comfortable? No.
I was broke and scared. I spent a couple of uncomfortable years trying to build my life again, but I'm better for it. Now I'm in a great relationship with a man who always remembers the important dates and wants to spend them with me.
My ex-husband is also happily remarried. We both came out ahead. Had we remained married, we would have stayed rotting in the same situation.
No wonder one of the commenters on this woman's Reddit post admonished her for "putting up with this for 27 years and letting your kids see his behavior as a relationship model."
Another commenter asked, "Don't you know you deserve better?"
I agree. I'd say this woman should see this event as a blessing in disguise. Maybe she now finally realizes that her husband cares nothing for her and this knowledge will push her to do the difficult thing of leaving him.
She'll divorce him and find a way to be happy alone with no more expectations of holding onto a marriage that is already over.