What You Get When You Try to Change Your Husband – a Divorce

What You Get When You Try to Change Your Husband - a Divorce

(My apologies for the original stock photo posted with this article. It wasn’t approved by me and I had it removed as soon as I saw it. Very sorry if you were as offended as I was.)

Today I want to share a first-person piece on RedTri.com by Kate Chapman. After a long marriage where Chapman repeatedly tried to change her husband, he put his foot down.

“I’m tired of changing to try to please you.  I am tired of not being enough.  You knew who I was when you married me.  It was good enough then, it should be good enough now.  I’m not changing.”

I blinked and swallowed, trying to buy myself a minute before responding.

We’d all be better off asking ourselves whether we can 100% accept our partners before we tie the knot, instead of thinking that he’s your work in progress and that he will change to your liking over time.

We’d had this argument a thousand times, me shouting for something new, chasing change and him quietly saying no.  It was the central source of tension in our relationship. Usually, I overruled him, talked him into submission.  This was a bit of a stunner – to say no to working on us was a powerful statement.”

It was then she realized, for the first time, they were not meant to be married. To her credit, through therapy, she learned their deteriorating relationship wasn’t all his fault. It was that they wanted different things out of life.

In her words, “The partnership I envisioned was not the one he wanted. I didn’t have to explain myself differently – he understood me. He simply disagreed.”

In a perfect world, these are the kind of discussions that take place before marriage and before children. It is not a perfect world. I think we’d all be better off asking ourselves whether we can 100% accept our partners before we tie the knot, instead of thinking that he’s your work in progress and that he will change to your liking over time.

The last thing you want to do is become his consultant instead of his wife.

Concludes a humble and self-aware Chapman, “The idea that I alone knew what was best for us, never incorporating his viewpoint or acknowledging his dissent was commonplace rather than noteworthy. I’d become Billy’s manager rather than his partner. His steadfast refusal to change or visit a counselor belied the years of built up anger. My controlling behaviors and his resulting resentment were threads woven as consistently through our story together as our memories of travel and our little ones, love and laughter.”

It’s a foundational principle in Love U. You can’t have a relationship with a man dependent upon him changing on your behalf. If you can’t accept and appreciate him as he is right now, let him go and find a man you can accept and appreciate. The last thing you want to do is become his consultant instead of his wife.

Have you ever had a relationship with a man that was dependent on him changing for you? How did he feel about that? How did that work out in the end? Your thoughts below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Roxy

    Evan my ex cheated on me and instead of doing the sensible thing of letting him go since I no longer trusted and accepted him I instead agreed to make it work when he said he would do what it takes to rebuild my trust. Well the things I needed him to let go of were things he enjoyed before he cheated and before meeting me. So knowing our relationship was doomed post cheat I still agreed to this and sure enough it was months of arguments of him going back on his word over his promises of getting rid of Social media, getting rid of female friends, etc. the only reasons these things became a problem for me was because the root cause was when he cheated and I stopped trusting.  I also realized I stopped accepting him. I don’t accept him because he cheated. It had to end. I was like “you have to find someone else who trusts you because I just don’t and I don’t accept the fact that your going to continue to hold on to the things that makes me feel uneasy behind my back”. It hurts and I love him and I believe he loved me too despite this vice. I forgive him for not being able to rebuild my trust and I forgive myself for trying to stay when it was time to go but never again!

  2. 2
    S.

    Does it work the other way as well? That we should find someone we shouldn’t have to change for as well? I asked that in one of the podcasts comments’ sections about the highly sensitive person.  I think you said yes, we should change things we could but we should also try to find someone we shouldn’t have to change for.  You just said, “yes.” But I took it to mean that. 🙂

    Sigh.  It’s hard sometimes to know what to change in one’s self and what to just accept.

    As for marriage: isn’t it supposed to grow and change as the couple does?  I guess the fundamentals should remain the same, but I thought some growth was necessary. It also reminds me of what happened with Katherine Woodward Thomas and her husband.  She wanted to continually grow and change and he didn’t.  It’s sounds simplistic, but she didn’t give much detail so that’s all I know.

    In Kate’s case above, she admits to being very controlling and didn’t allow her husband input on their marriage.  I see it as her trying so hard to fix it and it’s interesting that I don’t understand her husband’s pov.  She thought her marriage was a B and wanted it to be an A. Did he think it was already an A?  Should she have been happy with a B? I wish I understood his POV more and why he didn’t want to do certain things but it’s so hard to glean the nuances of a marriage through a single article from one partner’s pov.

    Right now I’m at a place where I accept myself 100% and I know the things about me that won’t change.  Lately, I’ve become slightly more open in the areas I can change, though.  That’s an interesting place for growth.  But at least I can verbalize to potential partners the things that won’t change and I hope that they can verbalize that about themselves in return.  (And no, not early on but months into the relationship.)

    I’m going to share something from Kate’s second marriage.  She turned down the first proposal listing all the stuff that needed to be done first.  He calmly had her write it all down and waited until she completed the list and they married a year later.  🙂

    This what he said in that first proposal that she barely heard because she was freaking out over the possibility of marriage again and joining two families with six kids:

    “I love you too much to have you stay my girlfriend. We’ve spent too much of our lives apart already.  I want to live with you and raise our children as one family.  I want to come home to you every night.  I want you to be my wife.”

    “I love you too much to have you stay my girlfriend.”  He was calm, patient, rational, and responsive to her fears.  She’s still that woman that can be controlling.  She didn’t change.  She just found the right man for her.

    1. 2.1
      Jeremy

      Change does not necessarily equal “growth.”  Sometimes change is just change.  And given that both men and women subject each other to a rigorous vetting process before marrying, we tend to like the people we marry as they are (hopefully).  The more they change from who they were, the rockier the basis for the marriage.  That is why a person who wishes to change (and note, I did not use the word “grow” since the partner may not see it as growth) needs to take the needs of his/her partner into consideration.  Will my partner appreciate this change, or is this change just for me?  If both partners are willing to change together, it is mutual “growth.”  If it is just one partner who wishes to change, that person should realize that the change may put the marriage in jeopardy.

       

      You wrote, “She thought her marriage was a B and wanted it to be an A. Did he think it was already an A?” Likely not.  More likely, their marriage had always been an “A,” he was happy with an A and she was not.  She wanted to make her marriage into a “B” and didn’t much care whether he wanted a B or not.  She wanted what she wanted.  

       

      Tl:Dr version – you can’t enter into a marriage hoping your partner will change for you.  You can be willing to change to make your relationship better, but you can’t expect change from another person.

      1. 2.1.1
        S.

        This is a very interesting comment that I will freely admit I don’t fully understand. 🙂

        In terms of vetting: I never saw myself as a static person.  The basic personality? The same since I was six.  But experiences and stages of life  have changed so much about who I am and how I express myself.  I expect that if you are with someone for decades you expect them to change, both of you to change. Just you work on growing together and hope the fundamental things that brought you together are still in there somewhere.

        In Kate’s case, it’s difficult to know what she wanted. She was asking with help with finances, for alone time for the two of them.  But by that time, her husband was so done with not being heard. I don’t know what she really wanted from him, because on the surface what she was asking for wasn’t a personality change in my view.

        I can only say she said herself wanted it to be an A.  If her husband felt so stifled and angry over her being controlling or not listening to his needs, I can’t see how he was okay and that that was an A for him.   In the article, it seems they are much better apart than together.   Maybe he wanted some things too.  Anything we guess is just speculation since he hasn’t shared his POV.

        I don’t think you should hope your partner will change for you.  Or that the partner should hope that you inspire them to change.  But life . . . is life. I do hope both partners are graceful about accepting that over the years some things about them both will change and I hope they can live with that.  Forty or fifty years is a long time.

      2. 2.1.2
        KK

        “Change does not necessarily equal “growth.”  Sometimes change is just change”.

        I agree 100%, Jeremy. I know people who are constantly looking for “THE ANSWER”. They read the latest books, go to seminars, take classes… All of which are fine. BUT expecting your spouse to WANT to do those things with you is where the problem lies. One friend like this is constantly frustrated that her husband isn’t interested in “growth”. What’s funny is he’s one of the most laid back, happy go lucky guys you can imagine, whereas she always tends to find something to be unsatisfied with.

        For me, the most growth has always come from unexpected change or heartache. It’s an automatic motivator. And while I can appreciate wanting to learn something new or understand something better, I also see value in just enjoying what IS.

        1. S.

          It’s so interesting. I’m not a person who wants a dozen degrees.  But when my career demanded more training, I was willing to pursue higher education.

          I think you can enjoy what “is” if you are happy with what is.  Some women are continually into improving their looks. I’m happy with how I look right now.

          I think some things you are satisfied with and some things you want to grow.  I don’t think growth is bad but I also know you can’t force it on anyone else.

          But by that token, they shouldn’t force you not to grow.  It is what it is and it may mean that the people are just mismatched.

          I do find satisfaction in my pursuits.  Then I’m happy.  But I hope I never stop learning new things.  It’s part of who I am.  I need a partner to not have to be the same, but just really respect that part of me.  And to know as a couple we aren’t going to stay the same for 40 years.  I just don’t see how that’s possible with how life itself changes.

    2. 2.2
      Adam

      IMO there’s a lot of euphemistic language in the article. ‘Working on our marriage’ and all the weird grading stuff are just synonyms for an unhappy woman.

      Its a common theme in couples therapy that a womans desires change. What she wants from a man pre-children is very different to what she wants when she has young children. Then when the kids are older she wants something else again. This puts the man in an incredibly difficult position. He either acquiesces to her every desire (‘working on the marriage’), which inevitably results in her losing respect for him, or just says ‘no more’, and in this case that resulted in divorce.

      This woman will likely at some point realize her new marriage has A, B, C, D, and but she wants E, F, G and H and a smattering of Q and R as well. She’ll never be happy.

       

  3. 3
    SS

     

     

    ” isn’t it supposed to grow and change as the couple does?”  Maybe not the essentials of who a person is though?

     

    “She didn’t change.  She just found the right man for her.”  For now though?

    1. 3.1
      S.

      For now though?

      Who knows? I can only wish them well.

  4. 4
    SS

     

    Have you ever had a relationship with a man that was dependent on him changing for you?     No.

    How did he feel about that?   He was probably one of the most unappreciative people that I ever knew.

    How did that work out in the end?   Our relationship ended.  And, I almost lost everything that I knew in life.

    More:  He was a man that had a parent that was in his ear from the beginning, behind my back, trying to end our relationship.  She would talk about me in the worst ways, with me finding out much later after it had happened and therefore being unable to address the lies and destruction that had occurred and been told to pretty much everyone I knew. my friends included!  At the end of the relationship, I had lost money (he had taken what I had earned), my friends (after years of not being able to sort out all of the destruction that was happening behind my back it took a toll, and who I was as a person.  I got severe anxiety that is know a disability in my life.  I tried to get out, but I found that my support system and friends were gone, and I was only a young kid.  And, he still has everything.  No, I didn’t get the money back, the friends have been diluted even more over the years after I hid in a way to find myself again, and he has long since remarried and has children.  He found someone younger, tall, blonder, graduated from college as a teenager, two big masters degrees, a doctorate, and apparently not like me at all (i.e. accepting  of who he was, and encouraging.)  Men, don’t understand them at all.

     

    1. 4.1
      SS

       

       

      Typos.  Sorry.

  5. 5
    Yet Another Guy

    I appreciate your bringing this topic up.  It is an endemic problem in marriages.  Women marry men who are on the page (i.e., have the big things that they want), but not exactly what they want (lots of little things are absent).  Instead of accepting that the man a woman married is on the page and adapting, she starts to tweak until he goes into “brick wall” mode.  I do not know if it was posted on this blog or somewhere else on the web, but I recall what was written highlighted the fact that men often settle for less than they wanted when they marry as well (e.g., men often marry a woman who is significantly less attractive than most of the women they dated).  The difference is that a man usually makes peace with his decision.  Women who do not get exactly what they want tend to want to tweak until the relationship breaks (e.g., changes in his job, wardrobe, hair style, friendships, …).  Small changes add up over time.

    I was in brick wall mode for 15 years before I called it quits.  Having to deal with a woman attempting to change me for that long is large part of the reason why I  have the outlook on relationships that I have today.  After all, I was good enough to marry, but there was always something that I needed change during the marriage.  Let’s not forget the idiot husband of the week awards that my ex and her girlfriends would award to the woman whose husband did the stupidest thing during the week.   That is funny for about a week.   If husbands got together and did the male equivalent, they would be sleeping on their respective couches.  There is absolutely no way that I would repeat that experience.  I would have called it a day a lot earlier than I did had I not had young children.

    In the end, I do not believe that women are bad.  They just need to learn that most men will only bend so much before they break, and a lot of men will not bend at all.  Like you said, if a woman is with a man who is not exactly what she wants, she needs to let him go and find a man who she can accept and appreciate.

    1. 5.1
      S.

      It’s so interesting.  The one point that struck me is about the tweaking. I’m always tweaking myself.  I call it growth. 🙂 I’m always seeking to be the best S. I can be.  In some areas I find satisfaction.  But I love to learn new things.  I don’t think learning, growing, ‘tweaking’ is a bad thing.  I thought everyone would always keep growing and learning new things.

      Now, the difference is I do it for myself. No one is asking me to.  I understand that difference very well.  It’s just a new thought that another person wouldn’t want to grow and change all on their own.  Or that it wouldn’t just happen in response to different situations. Being 20 and being 60 are vastly different. How could one possibly remain the same even if they didn’t want to change?

      All that to say, maybe a woman starts to wonder if a man wants to change too as she’s changing.  She shouldn’t force it, but I will say in my case I honestly thought it was a natural progression in life. Kind of like the post on teenagers.  I thought about that in every decade.  The wisdom, the growth.  It’s a new thought for me to think that some people want to remain the exact same way for years.

      Speaking of hair I’ve had the same hair style for 14 years.  But even I’m finally getting bored and wanting a cut! LOL. So I get it. I can’t imagine if my husband actively wanted me to change it, rather than me coming to it on my own.  But I did come to it on my own.  I honestly just thought change was inevitable in everyone, even if it took time.  So I can see how it can come to a surprise in a marriage that the person actively doesn’t want to change.

      In Kate’s case: her husband was silenced for a long time.  Resentment built up.  She doesn’t get into the detail of the hows and whys of that. But he became resistant and I’m not sure if it was always that way.  So crux was, you’re right, he must not have been what she wanted from the beginning but she really didn’t know that when she married him.

      Women are not bad, no.  She really honestly didn’t know.

      1. 5.2.1
        ScottH

        This is at least the 2nd time you’ve agreed with YAG.  The first time was when he called me cheap for not taking a woman to dinner on the first meeting.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @ScottH

          It was not about dinner.  It was about setting a low dollar figure for the first date.  I never do dinner on the first date (I do not want to be trapped); however, drinks and appetizers runs at least $70.00 with gratuity where I live.

          With that said, I recently spoke with a woman on Match who admitted to dating a guy solely because he always took her to a nice place for dinner.  She was not the least bit interested in him.   Needless to say, I did not ask her to meet me.

    2. 5.3
      Marika

      Sorry to hear of your experience, YAG, I can relate to being in a marriage where you constantly feel like you have to measure up to someone else’s expectations. It’s not fun.

      Can I ask you this: if you met a fun, sweet, loving, kind, attractive 55 year old who accepted you as you are, would you dump her for a 49 year old with softer skin? You don’t even have to answer, but the point is what you say you want, and what would make you happy, don’t seem to align.

      1. 5.3.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Marika

        For me, it not just about skin.  It is about finding a woman whose family aligns with mine.   My daughters read me the riot act about dating women my age.  They both said that women my age were way too old for me (they put emphasis on the word “way” as only a high school-age girl can 🙂 ).  They know me with their mother who is 48 (we met when I 35 and she was 28).  A lot women in their mid-fifties have thirtysomething children with school-age children of their own.   That would be just too weird for my girls.   They would prefer that I meet a woman closer to their mother’s age who has children closer to their age.   I know that things just to seem to fit better when I am with a woman in her late forties.  The women to whom I was engaged before I met my ex was also seven years my junior.

        1. Marika

          Do you live in a really small town? For every 55 year old woman in your area to be a grandmother, both they and their children must’ve had children really early. I’m always surprised by this argument you keep making, as I don’t know anyone who will be in a position to have grandchildren at 55. Heck, even my parents were in their late 50s when they had their first grandchild. Maybe it’s a city / town thing?

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          Why are you letting your kids decide who you date?  In a few years they will be out of the house and how old your date’s/girlfriend’s kids are will affect them very little.  Heck, you could meet a woman tomorrow who’s kids are the same age as your girls and they may loathe each other.  If you meet a woman who’s kids are grown and out of the house, then there aren’t any scheduling conflicts when it comes to school events.  One of your girls has the lead in the school play, you all can go without any fuss.  Now if your girlfriend’s kid is in the state football finals a 4 hour drive away on the same night as the play, then you have to juggle.

          YAG, it really seems like you do what Evan tells women not to do.  You have a list with a lot of icky-picky things on it that don’t have anything to do with chemistry, character, and compatibility.  Like the women who just have to have a man who is over six feet tall, you are pre-emptively eliminating a lot of women and sabotaging yourself.  You appear to be overthinking yourself out of a lot of potential matches and patting yourself of the back for being so “logical”.  Is this true logic or logic as a cover for fear–I was in a miserable marriage so I’m never doing that again.  So here come the age restrictions, the age of children restrictions, the favored body type, etc.  Pretty soon, there are no women who meet your relationship criteria, and maybe that’s how your inner hurt self wants it to be.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Marika

          You would be surprised to discover where I live.  Let’s say that it is a large metropolitan area.  I am not a transplant.  My family has long historical ties to the area.   Most of the women my age married before age 26.   Many women married straight out of college.   A lot of women who did not attend college straight of out high school married before age 22.   It is not uncommon for young people where I live to have a couple of small children by age 25 today.  Marriage before children is no longer a requirement, and not everyone attends college.  In a nutshell, not all women my age are grandmothers, but the lion’s share are grandparents.

          The idea of dating a woman my age is very foreign to me.  These women had no interest in me when I was younger.  I have no interest in them today.  I did not trade a peer for a younger woman.  I had never dated a woman less than three years my junior until very recently.  Most of the women with whom I grew up dated and married older men, usually four to ten years their senior.  My parents were not peer age.  All of my sisters except for one has a spouse who is at least five years her senior (the one with a peer-age spouse has the most unstable marriage).  I left for naval basic training when I was eighteen years old.  I did not receive my discharge from active duty until I was twenty-three years old.   I did not date during those five years because I was working on my career and attending college at night (I was trained in computer systems and software engineering by the U.S. Navy and the National Security Agency while on active duty as a member of the Central Security Service).   I completed undergraduate and graduate (post-graduate for those outside of the U.S.) programs in computer science after leaving active duty.  I have dated women five or more years my junior since my mid-twenties.   I have been with women seven years my junior since I was 28.   Women my age are not a good fit for me.  They have lived their entire lives as Baby Boomers who were married to Baby Boomers their senior.  I have been with Gen-X women most of my adult life.

           

        4. Stacy2

          I gotta say that an expensive metropolitan area where drinks run at $70 and people have 2 kids by 25 today sounds like a load of baloney to me. I mean you can have one or the other, but in my experience the two do not occur in the same place at the same time.

        5. Yet Another Guy

          @GWtF

          No one bats an eye here when a woman voices her desire to date peer because she feels that she has more in common with a peer.  However, let a guy want to date a woman who is his junior because he feels that he has more in common with women a number of years his junior, and the female version of slut-shaming rears its ugly head.  Can we all agree that some men have dated younger their entire lives?  The concept of dating a peer is as foreign to these men as dating a man 15 years their senior is to many women who contribute to this blog.  It is not about being afraid.  It is about having little in common other than being members of the human race.

        6. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          Interesting how you go straight into a defense of dating younger women when that wasn’t my point at all.  That says something.

          It doesn’t matter if you say you will only date women who are 5 to 10 years younger than you, only 10 years older than you, or between two years younger or two years older than you, or any other arbitrary lines in the sand.  You are closing yourself off to women who are potentially a good match for you.

          The point is that when you have a list of arbitrary criteria to disqualify women, as you move down that list you will progressively whittle away more and more women until there is nobody out there you deem relationship worthy.  Are you doing this because subconsciously you really do not want to be with anyone, but your conscious self can’t admit that?

          It’s interesting how some men like to point out that women only hurt themselves by having lists of must haves in a mate, all while they ignore their own lists.

           

        7. Yet Another Guy

          @GWtF

          My list of “wants” is minuscule compared compared to the average woman’s list of “must haves.”  The list does not exist to help me avoid having a relationship.  It exists to keep me from wasting a woman’s time because she will never be able to arouse me, and there is nothing worse than the look on a woman’s face when she cannot arouse a man.  If you want to talk about a female confidence killer, that is a big one.  Most older women are already self-conscious enough without adding sexual failure to the list.

        8. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          “It exists to keep me from wasting a woman’s time because she will never be able to arouse me, and there is nothing worse than the look on a woman’s face when she cannot arouse a man.  If you want to talk about a female confidence killer, that is a big one.  Most older women are already self-conscious enough without adding sexual failure to the list.”

          Seriously?  You’re back to the why-I-won’t-date-old-women-spiel? Can you discuss anything else?  And please, don’t act like this is about sparing women’s feelings.  That’s patronizing.

          “My list of “wants” is minuscule compared compared to the average woman’s list of “must haves.”

          Your list not only includes your cherished and ego invested need to date women 5-10 years younger than you but also the following:

          Ashely Graham body type
          A “girly girl.”
          Doesn’t want or need to share emotions.
          Teenage kids only.  No young kids or adult children.
          Must be a both a slut you want to sleep with, but not a slut so you will have a relationship with her.

          That’s just off the top of my head without going through any of your old comments.  Like Evan reminds women, he’s not saying to go out with people you don’t click with.  The idea is to be more open to the possibilities around you.

           

        9. Yet Another Guy

          @GWtF

          Seriously?  You’re back to the why-I-won’t-date-old-women-spiel? 

          Older woman to me is any woman over the age of 40.   Since I generally do not date women younger than 45, all of the women I date are older women.  Like it or not, the majority women over the age of 40 have serious body image issues, especially those who have been through childbirth a few times.  Most will not even undress with the lights on the first time.  I may be firm in my desires and beliefs, but I take no joy in making a woman feel bad.  Women take it personally when they cannot arouse a man.  Since the arousal that starts the complex sequence of events that results in the hydraulic event that we refer to as an erection originates in the brain, no amount of physical stimulation is going to make that happen unless a man sexually desires what he sees.  The effect is even more pronounced in older men like me.   A man cannot reach for a tube of K-Y Jelly if he is not feeling it, which is why no one believes a man who claims that he was raped by a woman.

          Your list not only includes your cherished and ego invested need to date women 5-10 years younger than you but also the following:My desire to date a woman 5 to 1o years my junior has nothing to do with my ego (if this desire was driven by ego, I would go much younger).  It has to do with the fact that I have spent thirty years of my life with women in this age range.   Once again, women on this blog complain that they want to date a peer, but men their age want to date younger women.   Why does a woman want to date a peer?  Could it be that she was married to a peer?  I was married to a woman seven years my junior.  That choice had nothing to do with ego.  It had to do with availability.  Now, I am used to being with a woman around that age just as a woman who married a peer is used to being around a peer. Ashely Graham body type

          Having an Ashley Graham shape is not a requirement.  It is just that I would take a woman who was shaped like her over one that is shaped like a stick figure.

          A “girly girl.”

          This attribute is non-negotiable.  I am not sexually attracted to non-girlie girls.

          Doesn’t want or need to share emotions.

          This one is an impossibility.

          Teenage kids only.  No young kids or adult children.

          This one fits me and my children the best (no children also works 🙂 ).  I have lost track of the number of women my age who specifically stated that they are not interested in dating men with small children in their profiles.  I have exchanged messages with women who stated the same thing in messages (they wanted to know how old my girls were), but not in their profiles.  I have also lost track of the number of times that I have encountered “My children are grown.  It is time for me.”  That is woman code for I want an unencumbered relationship.

          Must be a both a slut you want to sleep with, but not a slut so you will have a relationship with her.

          That duality does not exist; therefore, I have conundrum on my hands. 🙂

        10. GoWiththeFlow

          YAG,

          “Like it or not, the majority women over the age of 40 have serious body image issues, especially those who have been through childbirth a few times.  Most will not even undress with the lights on the first time.”

          Maybe the situation is that the majority of women you are dating have serious body image issues. It might be worth your while to ask why that is.  Are they insecure in general?  Or were they having only lights out. blankets on sex when they were 20 year olds, so it’s been a lifelong, not an age related issue?

          And now for your but, but, but. . .  women do it too! deflection.  Yes, many women severely restrict the men they are open to dating by using arbitrary age and family status criteria.  All that says is that like you, they are severely limiting their pool of available potential partners.  In the long run is this an effective or ineffective strategy for them.  And is it an effective or ineffective strategy for you going forward.

      2. 5.3.2
        Yet Another Guy

        @Stacy2

        I live in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C.  Metro Area (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore%E2%80%93Washington_metropolitan_area).  The county in which I live has one of highest median incomes in the nation.  Five of the top six median income counties are in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C Metro Area (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-income_counties_in_the_United_States).   The median income, not the top income bracket establishes the cost of living.  We also have the highest overall educational attainment level in the nation.   New York is a backwater compared to D.C. when it comes to education (http://www.governing.com/blogs/by-the-numbers/graduate-professional-degrees-for-metro-areas.html).

        You need to examine population demographics before you start to make assumptions.  I am twenty years your senior.  You are assuming that my generation married for the first time in their late twenties.  Parents were starting to give up on their daughters marrying if they were not married by that age in my generation.   The average age at which a woman married was 20.3 in 1950.  It has slowly trended up to where it is today.  The median age at which women married was 22 in the 1980s.  It trended up from 20.8 in the 1970s.   This shift can be attributed to stagflation in the seventies and the shrinking of the middle class in the 1980s due to the loss of well-paying jobs that only required a high school diploma.

        https://www.infoplease.com/us/marital-status/median-age-first-marriage-1890-2010

        1. Marika

          Fair enough, YAG. But the point is, clearly you’re not happy with your choices as you complain a lot here and aren’t that open to suggestions or feedback.

          Maybe it’s kindest to you and the women in your dating pool to take a break and figure out what you want.

    3. 5.4
      Chance

      YAG, I agree that women generally have a harder time making peace with their decision on whom to marry.  Think about it:  how often is it that the woman “needs the work” in a relationship?

       

      That said, I don’t think the solution is to try to change women.  Rather, we should educate men about the potential for this type of thing happening when they decide to marry.  At least, then, they can choose wisely.

      1. 5.4.1
        S.

        The potential of what type of thing?

        Do men really expect a marriage and them both to be the same as when they married 50 years later?

        It’s just such an odd expectation to me.  And I just don’t see how that’s possible.

        I admit it.  I’m baffled.  It just seems a normal thing to me.   No relationship is effortless for a lifetime.  It’s a lifetime.  I thought that was obvious?  Someone feel free to clue me in because I’m definitely missing something here.

        1. Chance

          Hi S.,

           

          “The potential of what type of thing?”

           

          The potential of entering a marriage where the man thought he would be loved for who he is, but instead, is seen as a project by his wife.  Men often mistakenly believe that a woman’s love is much less conditional than it really is in reality.  Men need to understand that a woman’s love is contingent upon a man’s performance (at least, when couples are young or middle-aged…. this love does become less conditional – often times – as a couple ages).

           

          Also, some men do understand that their wife’s love is based on performance, but they mistakenly believe that they will be appreciated for the sacrifices and effort that go into facilitating their wife’s reality.  They won’t.  These efforts and sacrifices are only expected, and are rarely appreciated.  Men would be much happier in their marriages if they entered into them with a solid understanding of these points.

           

          Now, before we get the predictable (“but men”) responses from the predictable posters, this isn’t about which sex is better than the other.  Rather, it’s about men’s understanding of how the women in their lives will love them vs. how they would like to be loved.

        2. S.

          Hi Chance.  Thank you for replying.

          I think some nuance is missing here. You said: The potential of entering a marriage where the man thought he would be loved for who he is, but instead, is seen as a project by his wife. 

          I don’t think women see the man as a project. Just that the relationship itself is a living and breathing thing that will evolve and grow as they grow.  No one seems to really get that.  Things change. Whether we want them too or not.  I keep saying it but I feel it gets misunderstood.  Even the woman herself will change.  She doesn’t really want to be a project with herself, either.  But she changes too.

          You didn’t answer my other question: do men expect a relationship to stay exactly the same as when they first married?

          I will agree that men in general feel unappreciated and that’s something that wives, particularly over time, have to be reminded of.  Well, not all wives, hopefully!

          Most women I know aren’t willfully joining themselves to a man-as-project for a lifetime.  I think they just don’t really know the men they marry or more importantly how they themselves will change.

          I thought all people changed.  I never thought it was just women or just men.  The fact that people do change with life and time, hasn’t been addressed here.

          Ah, well. I tried to get at something subtle but maybe I didn’t explain it well.  Appreciate your response and all the responses.

        3. Chance

          Hi S.,

           

          I don’t think that men expect everything to remain the same throughout the course of a marriage.  However, anyone would naturally begin to feel resentful if he/she constantly feels like the change that he/she is expected to effect is unilaterally driven by his/her partner.

      2. 5.4.2
        S.

        I’ll try to answer my own question.  There is a difference between wanting to do some relationship maintenance and wanting to rehaul your partner’s personality.  A big difference.  It’s hard to cipher here because Kate went in thinking she was doing regular checking in about her marriage and it turned out that she wanted to rehaul her husband.  I don’t think she started out knowing she wanted him to change in a major way. I genuinely think that she wanted to improve her marriage.

        Their disconnect and where I’m getting confused: for him working on the marriage meant he had to change something fundamental in him that he didn’t want to change.  I don’t know what that was or even what that meant for him, but whatever it was he didn’t want to do it.

        I think there is more going on we don’t know.  I like to think that if your marriage is in trouble and you want to save it, you’d do whatever it took to try and save it.  But in this case, Kate was missing something key about who her husband actually was.

        Contrast it with second husband who was willing to allay her fears even when he wanted to marry her.  He waited.  That saved that relationship until she calmed down and was ready to remarry.

        First husband wasn’t bad or wrong.  Just wasn’t the right guy.  I think he too missed something about who Kate was.  She has her list.  She needs to work through that list with a partner willing to support her that way so she can feel safe.

        Not all women are Kate with the list.  🙂 So let’s not all paint them with Kate’s brush.  I still maintain that long-term relationships need maintenance, but both partners get to decide how that is to be done.  Goes back to Evan’s advice about waiting two years to get married.  So hopefully both partners are on the same about this before they get married.

      3. 5.4.3
        Marika

        It’s not as simple as that, Chance. Women aren’t caricatures of some sitcom or rom-com. It’s much more nuanced and subtle than some of you are making out. For instance, like the smoking example Stacy2 gave below, sometimes you’ll be crystal clear on what you want and what’s important to you and the man will pretend to go along with it (or doesn’t take your needs seriously) because he doesn’t want to lose you, wants to continue to see you naked or doesn’t really know what he wants in the first place. This certainly happened in my marriage.

        I wonder for every man who says ‘she wanted to change me’ it’s worth examining how clear & honest you were with her about what you wanted and who you were in the first place. Because men look for sex and find love and are more in the moment, they aren’t always self aware enough or transparent about their goals in a relationship. Some go with the flow up right up until marriage and only then make it clear that actually I don’t want x or y, or I was just putting on a show to impress you and here’s what I’m really like.

        I can give multiple examples if this doesn’t ring true.

        That’s why I implore you to figure out what you really want, YAG. Women hate being jerked around in relationships and dating as much as men hate being changed.

        1. Nissa

          I so agree with you, Marika. I’m the kind of person that say, ‘this is who I am, and if you don’t like it, thanks for playing’. But that has not been my experience of men. I keep getting, ‘tell me what you want me to be, so that I can be that…(at least until I get tired of having sex with you and disappear’.

          Um, no.

        2. Jeremy

          It isn’t just putting on a show to get sex.  Men show women that they like them by eliminating boundaries with them (as they hope women will do for them).  Women show men that they like them by establishing their boundaries and having them adhered to (as they hope men will do).  It isn’t that men are trying to pull a fast one on women by hiding who they are.  It is simply men’s way of showing affection.  It is a strategy that men are taught will curry favour with women.  And it is withdrawn when that affection no longer exists or when hedonic adaptation sets in.

    4. 5.5
      Prospect

      Why do men marry women who are significantly less attractive than the women they dated?

  6. 6
    SS

     

     

    “Let’s not forget the idiot husband of the week awards that my ex and her girlfriends would award to the woman whose husband did the stupidest thing during the week.   That is funny for about a week. ”  These are the mean girls.  They are the ones you shouldn’t marry.  This should be on the men that married them.    My ex made me realize that becoming a bi–h was the only way, and men marry bit–es.  But, it shouldn’t be this way.

  7. 7
    Stacy2

    It looks like what you get when you want your husband to change is – a divorce, and a better husband 🙂

    Perhaps, this article is titled provocatively on purpose (it sort of reads – don’t you dare to try to change your husband or else), but i think if you’re so unhappy in the marriage that you NEED him to change – a divorce is a good outcome, not a bad one.

    1. 7.1
      ScottH

      Doesn’t that depend on what makes you unhappy?  If something petty makes you unhappy, then the burden is on you to change your expectations.  If it’s something major that makes you unhappy (unrepentant infidelity, untreated addiction, etc.),  then I would agree with you.  It’s all about finding the right limit.

      1. 7.1.1
        Stacy2

        It’s all relative and subjective. Is smoking a “minor” thing? Somebody may not mind. Another smoker may even like it. Me, it irritates the hell out of me. I tried to get my ex to quit and we fought about it all the time (in addition to other stuff). Now I just don’t date smokers. my expectations are of clean and nice smelling house and car and a spouse who doesn’t sprint out of an airport terminal like a mad man because he needs a fix. I am not “adjusting” those.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy2

          Did he smoke when you married him?  I am assuming that the answer to this question is affirmative.  What you have written is illustrates what I said about women who marrying men who are on the page, but not exactly what they want.  If a man is not what a woman wants from day one, then she should not seek a commitment.  Close enough only works with nuclear weapons.

        2. Stacy2

          @YAG:

          he was “trying to quit” when we started dating and he was still trying to quit when we got a divorce. I made it clear from day 1 that my base case expectation was that he’d quit, and I would not tolerate any smoking in the house, car or when he’s with me and he went along with it, but of course couldn’t quite live up to it. Just another thing he failed at.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy2

          That is fair enough.  Smoking is a difficult addiction for some people.  It took my father having to undergo open heart surgery to get him to quit.  He use to smoke Pall Mall when we were younger.  That brand was just nasty.  I can remember riding in the car with him in the dead of winter.

    2. 7.2
      Emily, the original

      I wish the author had given a few more examples of how she wanted him to change. Ok, she wanted help with the finances and to do something with him as a couple, i.e. a dance class. Those two examples hardly seem reason enough to break up a marriage.

      1. 7.2.1
        S.

        It’s odd. She wrote the whole article but didn’t really get to the crux of it.  I got the feeling there had been a pattern of her being dissatisfied with him and him knowing that.

        I just don’t know why she was dissatisfied.  We are missing some info here. Heck, we may never really know.

        1. Emily, the original

          S.,

          I just don’t know why she was dissatisfied.  We are missing some info here.

          I agree. I mean … was his dismissal of the dance class reflective of the fact that she wanted him to be more extroverted? (I’m speculating, of course.) That could be an issue if she always wanted him to be more social, but she would have known he was introverted when she married him. My uncle’s first marriage broke up in part because she wanted the two of them to be very involved with her family, do things at least on a weekly basis with them. Family time/level of involvement can be an issue in marriage, but, ostensibly, both parties would have gotten a feel for how the other felt about this issue when they were dating.

        2. S.

          I think she was trying to reconnect. Once you disconnect with someone it’s hard to build that connection again.

          I wish we had Billy’s (her husband) POV.  My question to him would be, didn’t he know who she was when he married her?   It’s both their responsibility.

          They seem to have a good co-parenting relationship now. You marry in your early twenties, I would think you’d both expect change.

          Like I said, we’ll never really know.

        3. Emily, the original

          S,

          You marry in your early twenties, I would think you’d both expect change.

          True, but I feel like a very different person at 45 than I was at 35. I think people change all the time.

        4. S.

          Agree.  I said above somewhere that I believe people change with every decade. Men and women.

          But especially if you meet your future spouse when you’re 19. 🙂

           

  8. 8
    Stacy2

    I recall from my days of couples therapy that the therapist said, one of the foundations of a solid relationship is willingness to accept influence of your spouse. Does any change have to be so painful that we need to resist it at all costs and be 100% not malleable, or is there actually room to positively influence each other in a marriage/relationship? I would definitely think it’s the latter.

    1. 8.1
      jeremy

      Within limits, Stacy2.  We should all be malleable to some degree.  But when one partner is constantly advocating for change and the other partner acquiesces to the point where he can no longer bear to continue acquiescing, the relationship falls apart.  At that point, the person advocating for change needs to introspect as to how important these changes actually are.

       

      The overwhelming majority of men get married, hoping their wives will make their lives more pleasant.  They don’t marry women in order to be constantly challenged by them.  This can be difficult for some women to understand, especially those who specifically seek out challenging men and see a challenging nature as sexually desirable.

      1. 8.1.1
        Stacy2

        Agreed, though wanting to go together to a dance hardly seems like an example of a heart-wrenching change that would merit a divorce. There must have been more there, but the examples given just make me want to shrug.

        The problem, i think, arises when one partner desires continuous growth (whatever that means – more money or doing spiritual retreats in Indonesia) while the other is content where he is or is even wanting to downshift. Men tend to get lazy when they get married I think… and that’s a problem for a lot of women. Women don’t expect men to “change”. They expect them to continue to try as hard as they have been trying before! Men think “my job here’s done”, put on sweats, break out beer and turn on football.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          It was more than likely just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It is in a woman’s nature to want to tweak a marriage.  That is what Kate was doing.  She was not happy with a “B” marriage.  She wanted to tweak until it was an “A.”

        2. S.

          YAG

          She wasn’t happy with him.  That’s what B means for her. He wasn’t quite the right fit.  She found a better fit.

          If you’re not happy, you’re not happy. B might be okay, but all those little things that didn’t make it an A mattered to her.

          I don’t want to be with a man who thinks I (or our marriage) a B if he wants an A.  He ultimately won’t be happy with me.

          It’s not ‘woman’s nature’.  It’s just Kate’s nature.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @S.

          It’s not ‘woman’s nature’.  It’s just Kate’s nature.

          It is in a woman’s nature to tweak; otherwise, we would not have sayings such as “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change.”  Quite frankly, the average man does not put a lot of thought into “growing” his relationship.  It never crosses his mind.  As long as the bills are paid, his children are fed and clothed, sex occurs on a somewhat frequent basis if he still desires it, and money is being put away for retirement, he keeps on keeping on.

          Evan is definitely right about moving on.  That advice goes for men as well.   If you are a man who is in a relationship where your wife is constantly attempting to “tune up” your marriage to your dismay, it is time to move on.  You are with the wrong woman.

  9. 9
    DS

    Unless personal growth involves the following, it doesn’t do any good:

    1. Increasing your level of tolerance for things that normally irritate you

    2. Recognizing your own behaviors that cause conflict, and learning how to not act on those instincts even in heated situations

    3. Learning relationship elasticity – don’t be too intense all the time, or too distant all the time. Don’t let your character and instincts rule your way of being all the time. Step into your partner’s realm every now and then – into their shoes and into their minds. Feel the world from their heart.

    These are my insights from 2 years of painful self reflection.

    1. 9.1
      DS

      And let your partner know you are trying to do all above, so they can, too. It never works if only one person keeps this going.

  10. 10
    Marika

    Well, now I just want to know what the original photo was!!

  11. 11
    Henriette

    You know that old adage: When men marry, they expect their wives to stay just as they are and are disappointed that they change.  When women marry, they expect their husbands to change and are disappointed that they remain the same.

    1. 11.1
      DeeGee

      Truth.
      And that is also my personal experience.
      My first LTR after my divorce was bad this way.  Six months into the relationship, out came the demands.  I had to change my hair style, change my clothing style, get new glasses, get a better house, spend more time with her friends (instead of seeing mine), and on it went.
      The relationship ended when she cheated.  My guess is she found a guy who she thought was closer to her ideal.
      My feelings on this are, if I am not what you want at the beginning, then why did you agree to date me.  No one, man or woman, should ever date someone else with the goal of changing them to become what you want in a mate.

  12. 12
    John

    My last girlfriend tried to change the words I use. I am not politically correct and never will be. I told her that she could not tell me how to speak. She looked shocked. She told me no man had ever said that to her. I broke up with her eventually because she was obsessed with making me over into a sanitized, girly man. I kept my sanity and my balls.

  13. 13
    Chris

    I’m scratching my head at the linked article, as I’m sure many people are. Their marriage, by her admission, was solid, but she divorced him because he wouldn’t help her balance the checkbook and take dance lessons? Because he wouldn’t exactly follow this vision she had in her head of what an ideal husband should be like, she couldn’t stand be married to him anymore? Some of the blame seems to lie with him too – he could have compromised a little (although perhaps he tried, but it wasn’t enough).

    This seems to be no major problem that could’ve been easily detected at the start of the marriage. Just niggling personality differences that added up over time. How do you reliably detect such differences? Marriage just seems like a huge gamble to me.

    1. 13.1
      Henriette

      I was curious about this, too, @Chris, so I followed Evan’s link and checked out her blog.   Turns out that Kate and her first husband got together at age 19 and married not long after college.  Divorce rates for people who marry young are significantly higher than for those who wait til they’re 30.  Marriage is indeed a gamble but you will improve your odds if you wait until you and your partner arent practically children when you wed.

      1. 13.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        Waiting until one is at least thirty is no guarantee.  My ex and I were both in our thirties when we married.  Marriage is hard work that is made intolerable when a woman is constantly tweaking her husband.  The fact that he said “I’m tired of changing to try to please you” tells me that she was constantly tweaking.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Nothing is a guarantee, YAG, but between having a 20% divorce rate for college educated couples and a 75% divorce rate for couples who marry before 25, it would seem that you may, in fact, make better decisions when you’re more mature. Which should be shocking to no one.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          There is little doubt that people who marry at an older age make better decisions.  However, the flip side is that people who marry at an older age also tend to be more set in their ways.   It is the little things that a couple overlooks while courting that can often be the most damaging to a relationship.   It does not matter how great a person makes you feel if one cannot ultimately survive day-to-day life with him/her.   That is definitely a part of compatibility, but there are compatibility-related things that do not show up until around year three.

        3. DeeGee

          @Yet Another Guy said:

          “However, the flip side is that people who marry at an older age also tend to be more set in their ways.”

          I don’t believe this to be always true.  It will depend entirely on the person and their personality, at pretty much any age.
          Older people who have experienced more of life should tend to have more of their sharp corners rounded off by life’s hurdles; they should hopefully be more patient and centered; they should hopefully be secure in their house and job, and not burning the midnight oil trying to get their life established, leaving more time for each other; they should hopefully be more mature and experienced, so talking about relationship goals and issues should be easier; etc.

        4. Henriette

          Great point, @DeeGee.  I suspect many of us know ourselves better when we’re a bit older, so are more set in our ways about certain things that we know will simply not work for us, whereas we’ve relaxed a lot about pretty much everything else.  Surely, this is a positive.

  14. 14
    Jeremy

    I read the original article and was very disturbed by the author’s attitude. Given that this is a site for women hoping to improve their relationship skills, I wanted to offer a bit of advice. It pertains to the misuse of the word “we.”

     

    I understand that when women enter a marriage they often like to use the word “we.”  They like to think of themselves as being in a partnership and that the decisions they make are not just made by them but rather together. The problem is that sometimes thinking in we- terms can change the way we perceive things. I’ll give you some examples from my own marriage from my wife’s perspective.

     

    If “I” would like to go to a party, I need to ask jeremy if he wants to go too. But if ”we” would like to go, I need not ask.  If I would like an  expensive kitchen renovation, jeremy needs to be on board with it. But if “we” would like the renovation, any disagreement from jeremy is confusing. If “WE” can afford something then I shouldn’t hesitate to buy it.  But if jeremy is paying them the question is not if “we” can afford it but rather if “he” can. If we are paying I am more comfortable buying something  than if he is paying. The difference between I and We totally changes the way we see things.

     

    In this article, every time the author describes what she wanted from her ex, she talks about working on “us”. But what she means is working on “HIM”. As long as she uses the term “us” she has no qualms about her behaviour. If she were to acknowledge that she is talking about him, she can no longer white wash her controlling behaviour. She wasn’t looking to improve her marriage, she was looking to change HIM.

     

    Be careful with  the word “we.” Only use it when you mean it.

    1. 14.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      Jeremy,

      It shows you how much language matters.  It both reflects and creates assumptions and expectations.

  15. 15
    Marie

    I think people need to think hard before marrying someone about whether the partner’s ability to change or adapt matches their own desires and needs.  This was one of the fundamental needs that I knew I could not compromise on when looking for a husband.  I could not be with someone who had an inflexible personality, who could not adapt to changing life circumstances and more fundamentally could not innovate when the relationship reached a plateau or if their partner needed to think outside the box.  My husband and I are multipotentialites meaning that whenever we hit a plateau where we are doing the same things over and over again without any new learning (personally or professionally) we get very bored and usually try to enact a seismic shift sometimes completely abandoning the current model for a new one.  As you can imagine if we had picked someone with a very conservative personality there would be no way it would work.  We couldn’t be with someone who couldn’t take risks and didn’t have the ability to reinvent themselves at the drop of a hat.  Thankfully we had the good sense not to pick someone like that but to pick each other and that has worked out very well.  In the 5 years we’ve been together, we have made decisions as a couple that resulted in us moving three times and changing careers twice, all having worked out for our benefit personally and professionally.  My husband is now in the process of founding yet another business because he’s bored with the last one and I’m totally on board with that.  Many women would object because they want stability etc but I don’t care.  The pace of it, and the intensity of our relationship I’m sure would have been unsustainable for anyone else who did not have our personalities.  Our philosophy in life is that life is always changing and you adapt or die, or better yet get ahead of the curve and you change your life in the way you want it to go.

    Dance lessons, by the way, especially hard core ballroom dancing type classes, are great to gauge someone’s personality on change in microcosm.  You have to constantly communicate nonverbally and change every movement to correspond to your partners, sometimes with very little warning.  You can tell right way someone’s personality by how good they are at dancing. The fact that her husband didn’t even want to go is telling.  My husband was skeptical at dance lessons to begin with but because he loves doing new things, went with it and became a huge fan.

  16. 16
    carolina

    I find it difficult to understand when you are abusing “change” or wanting him to change himself rather than you compromising and letting your limits be crossed.  If there is an issue, even though its someone’s nature, that actually affects your tranquility and well-being, im pretty sure its fair to ask to change and not compromise on it. If the person can not make an effort to change this, then one should consider leaving, why compromise yourself? I definitely think you should ask, and leave it to the other person, instead of trying… if the other person is not making an effort then you might want to consider leaving, and not compromising either.

    I just think there will always be differences… Im just not sure what is a difference you accept and what is an incompatibility? And when there is an incompatibility how should you handle it? Its not a matter of control but rather seeking harmony and feeling good in the relationship. If a certain dynamic is making you uncomfortable and to feel bad, why should you stay quiet? why should you not suggest your husband changes a certain habit? for example, what if he is rude in his treatment to other people? Why should you not want your husband or SO to change these kind of traits?

  17. 17
    Morris

    I think finding someone you can accept is just generally good advice. Reminded me of an article a while back on why lesbian marriages have such high divorce rates.(It wasn’t just this. Women tend to want to marry before they’re ready/sure. Societal issues. etc)

     

    I guess I’m curious as to why a woman would want to marry someone they want to change to begin with. It seems futile and we all change as we get older anyway. Women want to marry more/sooner than men. Yet file for divorce at a much higher rate.(I realize it’s not all because of this issue.) From a mans perspective it’s just confusing.

    1. 17.1
      KK

      “I guess I’m curious as to why a woman would want to marry someone they want to change to begin with”.

      Change the word “woman” to “anyone” and I’ll agree with you.

      “Women want to marry more/sooner than men. Yet file for divorce at a much higher rate.(I realize it’s not all because of this issue.) From a mans perspective it’s just confusing”.

      Morris,

      I’ll partially agree with you. On average, I think men are more likely to wait until they’re ready for marriage, whereas more women are more likely to rush in whether they’re actually ready or not.

      The divorce issue, however, is not that difficult to understand. If you run into someone at a red light, you are at fault. The person you rear ended can choose to sue you… or not. Divorce is nothing more than a lawsuit. (Yes, there are divorces that take place because BOTH parties decide to end their marriage. Yes, there are divorces that take place when there are no major grievances). But…  the majority of divorces are due to one party being wronged by the other. That explains why the majority of divorces are filed by women. For the record, I am NOT saying that most men are adulterous or abusive. What I am saying is that MOST of the time when the woman files, it is for a serious grievance.

      The woman in the article above is a flake. Anyone that would throw away a marriage (with children) due to her reasons, should never be married in the first place IMHO.

       

      1. 17.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @KK

        But…  the majority of divorces are due to one party being wronged by the other

        I do not believe that that is a universal truth.  Women may want out for many reasons, but “no-fault,” for “irreconcilable differences” is the most common complaint when filing for divorce in my state, and I suspect that it is in most areas of the United States.  The word “wronged” is pretty strong in this case.  When I think of being wronged, I think adultery, desertion, conviction of certain crimes, insanity, cruelty, and excessively vicious conduct.  Any of these reasons qualify for “at fault” divorce in my state.  The petitioner can bypass the 12-month mandatory separation period in my state when he/she has a spouse who is as at fault.  The most common complaint I hear from divorced women is that they got rid of an extra child when they divorced their spouse.

        1. KK

          YAG,

          Were you the petitioner or the respondent?

        2. Marika

          Australia got rid of at-fault divorce in 1975. It’s too difficult to prove ‘fault’ in a lot of cases, it turned even relatively amicable break ups adversarial, people stayed married who were deeply unhappy as it was too hard to arrange a divorce, it impacted negatively on the children and the one with more money and a better lawyer won (the movie Intolerable Cruelty covers this idea in a very funny way).

          So all divorces are ‘no fault’ according to our court system. The idea is you can use the legal system to divorce relatively painlessly, and then separately figure out the monetary settlement based on income, child support, who owned what initially etc.

          I would’ve benefitted greatly from at-fault divorce, personally due to my exes behaviour, but on the whole I think at-fault divorce is a tricky concept.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @KK

          We agreed that she would file the paperwork because she lives in the county in which the divorce hearing was heard (it is where the former marital home is located).  We did not use attorneys.  We used a mediator to draft our separation agreement and appeared before a magistrate pro se.  Divorce had been imminent for a long time.  It just took one of us having the courage to move out of the house because the state in which I live has a 12-month mandatory residential separation requirement in order to qualify to file for no-fault divorce when a couple has minor children in common.  We are still friends despite the fact that we experienced many challenges as partners.

      2. 17.1.2
        Chance

        “What I am saying is that MOST of the time when the woman files, it is for a serious grievance.”

         

        Evidence, please.

      3. 17.1.3
        DeeGee

        @ KK said:

        “What I am saying is that MOST of the time when the woman files, it is for a serious grievance.”

        I would say that statistics and divorce information seems to disagree with you.  Google “top reasons for divorce”.
        – Money
        – Lack of communication
        – Arguing
        – Weight gain
        – Unrealistic expectations
        – Lack of intimacy
        – Lack of equality
        – Infidelity

        Most of those don’t seem like “serious grievances” to me.  Most of them sound like the couple needs some professional counseling.  Or to learn to be more appreciative/selfless/caring/understanding/longsuffering/etc. of each other.  I am not saying that a woman may not be justified in her choice to file for divorce, however, going by the divorce cause information, I would not classify many of those as “serious grievances”, like abuse, infidelity, etc.

    2. 17.2
      Henriette

      @Morris, I agree it’s foolish and unfair to marry someone with the hopes of changing him.  Perhaps some women (people) do this because they appreciate not only the partners as they are, but also the potential they see in them.  I Think it’s equally unkind and unjust to wed someone, expecting that she’ll never change; all of us grow, develop and age.  For every woman trying to get her husband to change, there’s a man wondering why on earth his 50 year old wife can’t still be the firm, frisky filly he married 2+ decades earlier.

      one interesting conversation I had with a NYC divorce lawyer: in her practice, she said almost all the men already have their next girlfriend by the time the wife files for divorce.  So, yes, on paper the wife is initiating the legal split, but the husband has long since checked out.   Of course, it’s only anecdotal (who really knows how many wives file just to nail shut a coffin that’s long been closed!?) but a good reminder that the party who files does not necessarily = the person who killed the union.

  18. 18
    Morris

    I agree that nobody should marry with the intent to change the other person. I focused on women because of this forum and because it reminded me of the lesbian marriage article I read.

     

    But I think you’re ignoring the second issue. The propensity to do this clearly slants female. It was part of the reason lesbian marriage have like 2-3x higher divorce rates. Unless what you’re implying is women have a lower threshold for what they believe is a serious grievance against them.

    1. 18.1
      Morris

      This was suppose to be a reply to KK above. My apologies.

    2. 18.2
      KK

      Morris,

      I haven’t read the article and I have zero insight into the issues and complexities of lesbian marriages.

      I haven’t seen stats on the propensity for women to try to change their husbands. Personally, I think anyone who gets married wanting to change their spouse is just dumb. Period.

      What I’ve seen happen that is more common is that one spouse changes and the other doesn’t. For instance, a couple that goes out 4 times a week gets married and that slows to a couple of times a week. They have their first child and it drops to once a month. One spouse is perfectly happy with going out less and the other is unhappy about it. Neither is wrong and as long as neither plays the blame game, it’s an easy fix. But all too often, one spouse wants to lay blame on the other and something that could’ve been easy to resolve becomes a major point of contention.

      1. 18.2.1
        Emily, the original

        KK,

        What I’ve seen happen that is more common is that one spouse changes and the other doesn’t.

        Yes, but I think the change one of the partners undertakes could be a big one: a disinterest in a religion that was one very important to both, a major change in values, such as one spouse suddenly prioritizing an upwardly mobile lifestyle and keeping up with the Joneses. If one partner becomes a very different person, that usually becomes a problem.

        1. KK

          Emily,

          I agree. I think some changes are harder to accept than others and I would imagine that most reasonable people (maybe I’m wrong) would know when to let it slide or work around it vs saying, “What the hell’s going on? I didn’t sign up for this B.S.” And hopefully, the person who has made some radical change, would be able to understand where their spouse is coming from and work through that as well.

      2. 18.2.2
        Morris

        KK – First if was because of serious grievances done to them. Now it’s because people change? So men change in a way that forces women to divorce them more than the other way around? Have you never heard of the saying, “Men Marry Women with the Hope They Will Never Change. Women Marry Men with the Hope They Will Change.”? It’s a saying for a reason.

         

        And I was just wondering why that is. Societal? Evolutionary? I’ve had discussions in the past with friends about many topics. Why do men resort to physical violence a lot?(There’s a reason. Still not good but there is.) Why do women gossip a lot.(There’s a reason. Still not good.) I know it’s normal to get defensive, but I don’t think what I’m saying or asking is coming out of the blue. Women often look at men as projects. Women often want to change men. I’m failing to see why that comes as a surprise.

        1. KK

          “First if was because of serious grievances done to them. Now it’s because people change”?

          Morris,

          Two different topics… and I’m pretty sure you know that. One topic was regarding your statement about women filing for divorce the majority of the time. The other topic was regarding your statement that women try to change men. So… NO… I did not make a first statement and later make a different statement. I made two separate statements about two separate issues. Please re-read our exchange and you will see that if you are truly confused.

          “So men change in a way that forces women to divorce them more than the other way around?”

          Never said that. I used the term spouse (which means either gender) when talking about one changing and one not. Nor did I say that I thought that was a reason to divorce someone. I think when two reasonable people are truly committed to their marriage, they’re able to find a way to keep each other happy regardless of what changes may occur.

          And yes, I’ve heard lots of sayings. Doesn’t mean they always ring true.

        2. Morris

          KK – Not sure how you can say they are different. Both were about why divorces happen. It seems like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. Just because you use gender neutral terms doesn’t mean you’re not saying what I said.

           

          If people are mostly filing for divorce because of serious grievances against them. Or because one spouse changes and the other doesn’t.(Both are what you said.) And if women are the ones overwhelmingly filing for divorce. What exactly would that mean? No need to reply.

        3. Morris

          KK – Ignore my ‘No need to reply.’ That wasn’t necessary. It’s late here and I’m a bit cranky. We seem to see things differently and that’s fine. I don’t think we need to continue this specific topic.

        4. KK

          “And if women are the ones overwhelmingly filing for divorce. What exactly would that mean?”

          Look at YAG’s response. It’s a perfect example of why sometimes the woman files instead of the man. Both parties are done with the marriage and want a divorce.

          I don’t know how long you’ve been reading here but there have been lots of women who have given other reasons as to why they divorced. Husband became an alcoholic and wouldn’t get help. Husband became emotionally or physically abusive (or both). Husband became unfaithful. In a lot (most?) of these marriages, there was no reason to believe that their husbands would become any of those things. (Yes, there are women who stupidly marry men who cheated on them while they were dating, engaged). But most of these women who have very legitimate reasons for wanting a divorce, had no idea that their husbands would become abusive, unfaithful, etc. So there’s your “change” or more likely a bait and switch, pretending to be something they’re not.

          It’s quite annoying when men come on here (Not you, by the way) and cite the female initiated divorce statistics and ignorantly correlate that with “women are trying to rob a man and benefit financially”. To that I say, “get the hell out of here!”. That is so stupid! An intact family is much better off financially than a divorced mom going it alone. It’s completely illogical. No matter how you split the pie, it’s less. Period. Women DO NOT divorce to MAKE MONEY.

        5. Emily, the original

          KK

          I think women file for divorce more often because they tend to have more of a support system in place. Maybe a few close friends or close family members. They don’t fear being alone as much because they have other people in their lives they can rely on.

        6. Yet Another Guy

          @KK

          An intact family is much better off financially than a divorced mom going it alone. It’s completely illogical. No matter how you split the pie, it’s less. Period. Women DO NOT divorce to MAKE MONEY.

          I do not believe that any rational man who has been through the process believes that women divorce to make money.

           

        7. Russell

          Maybe not, but I have been witness to several women leaving their husbands…good men…because they found a better deal.  Some of these couples were high school sweethearts, and one such couple had been together since she was in 6th grade.  Her classmates tried to get the school to relax the rules to allow her and her boyfriend who was 3 years older, to be the Prom King and Queen.  They got engaged a few years after she graduated, and had a one year engagement.  She had gone to college.  He did not.  But he made decent money.  2 years later, she filed for divorce.  She had met a bigger and better deal, and she jumped at the chance.  I’ve no idea how that turned out long term for her.  I do know that he has serious trust issues with women, and refuses to invest in a long term relationship.  He’s quite mercenary in his attitude and dealings with women.

           

          Moral of the story is that I agree that women do not divorce men to make money, when they are looking at being single for the foreseeable future, but when a wealthier man is the reason she is leaving, then I would say that this is exactly what she is doing.

          And yes, even if the guy makes the same amount of money, if she has a couple of kids, then her life gets instantly better when she divorces, and moves in with the new guy.  Same income in the home, plus the money she is now getting from the ex.  This can be significant, and I know men who pay significant amounts of child support, even though they are not wealthy.  One E-6 I knew in the military was paying almost $1,000 per month, for two children.  That was a significant portion of his take home pay.  Almost half.

        8. Chance

          Hi Russell,

           

          “Maybe not, but I have been witness to several women leaving their husbands…good men…because they found a better deal.”

           

          This has been my experience as well with the people I have personally known.  I’d say that the wife left the husband for another man in, at least, half of the divorces where the wife initiated the divorce.  Not saying this is how it happens across the board, but this has been my experience as it relates to the people I’ve personally known.  These men were generally not bad men at all.

        9. KK

          “Maybe not, but I have been witness to several women leaving their husbands…good men…because they found a better deal”.

          Russell, do you know any men who have acted similarly?

        10. KK

          “These men were generally not bad men at all”.

          Lol! I’m sure they’d be flattered by that description.

        11. KK

          “One E-6 I knew in the military was paying almost $1,000 per month, for two children.  That was a significant portion of his take home pay.  Almost half”.

          Russell, I’m interested to know what state this is in. I have never heard of anyone paying almost half of their net income in child support. It’s usually less than 20% for one child. In some states it’s 20% for one and 25% for two.

        12. Emily, the original

          Russell,

          The example you gave is of a woman who met her first husband in the SIXTH GRADE. That is why the marriage broke up. Please provide examples of couples in which the man and woman are 2 successful, reasonably emotionally adjusted people who not only MET but also MARRIED in their 30s where the wife left for a more financially successful man. That would hold more weight.

        13. KK

          “The example you gave is of a woman who met her first husband in the SIXTH GRADE”.

          That was the first thing that caught my eye as well, Emily. It’s just silly. A female commenter could give 20 examples of a man behaving badly and one of the male commenters will respond with, “oh yeah? Well 30 years ago, my cousin’s ex-husband’s sister in law was abusive and cheated on her husband. Took his life savings and the kids. She lives in a mansion and he’s living under a bridge. Women suck!!!”

          Lol

        14. Emily, the original

          KK,

          Oh, yes there’s always that one example that must be written about ad nauseam! But I think Evan’s cited this statistic before — people who marry in their 30s have lower divorce rates. These are people who have decent jobs and can support themselves (thus no one is marrying because they are in dire financial straits) and are self-aware and together enough to know who they are and what they want. A thirty-something woman who lands a good partner isn’t going to chuck him over and go through the trauma of divorce because another man who makes a bit more money starts talking to her. It just doesn’t make sense. OMG … we’re moving into the hypergamy conversation again.

        15. GoWiththeFlow

          KK & Emily,

          Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the guys who argue on the blog that women’s SMV takes a flying leap off a cliff after age 30 are the same ones who say huge numbers of women leave perfectly good husbands to trade up financially?  If the latter is true, and these women were in long first marriages that produced kids, they would certainly be over 30 and yet their SMV must be really high if they are landing wealthy men while still married.  Yet how can this be when they are dried up old prunes?

        16. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,

          If they are over 30, they are indeed dried up old prunes. Your observation is correct. The only thing I can think is that they are leaving their first husbands for men in their 90s ?? Nothing else would make sense.

        17. Chance

          GWTF,

           

          ‘”Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the guys who argue on the blog that women’s SMV takes a flying leap off a cliff after age 30 are the same ones who say huge numbers of women leave perfectly good husbands to trade up financially?”

           

          I don’t recall anyone saying that huge numbers of women are leaving perfectly good husbands to trade up.  I could have missed it, though.

        18. KK

          Emily & GWTF,

          Consider the source(s). Negging is a technique used by insecure men with an inferiority complex. Maybe it’s a (pathetic) way to fight back against all the women who have ever done them wrong; real or perceived.

        19. DeeGee

          @ KK said:

          “Russell, I’m interested to know what state this is in. I have never heard of anyone paying almost half of their net income in child support.”

          Come to Canada.

          Here in BC a few years ago a judge ruled that a man had to pay alimony to his ex-wife in an amount that exceeded his total income.  For him it was get a high paying job or go to jail.  The man hung himself.

          It is also common in Canada, that if a man marries a woman who has sole custody of her children from a previous relationship, and the couple then later divorces, that the man now has to pay child support for her children from her previous relationship.  And they are not even his kids.  This may also come into affect in some areas under common-law (living together) relationships.

          I am also divorced (in 1995).  Before I got married I already owned the house, car, furniture, business, etc.. My ex-wife came in with only her clothes.  After 9 years of marriage, when I filed for divorce, I had to sell the house, sell half of my business, buy her a new car, pay off all debt including her credit card debt, pay her lawyer legal fees, pay either 10 years of alimony or a large lump sum, and 30 years after our divorce when she turns 65 she gets half of my pension.  She got way more than 50%.  I am lucky that we didn’t have children, my lawyer told me that if we did she would get 100% of everything plus alimony and my pension, I would get out with just my clothes.  I am not exaggerating one bit.  I will never get married again to someone who is lower than me on the financial earning level and never without a prenup.

        20. Henriette

          @Emily the Original, Kk, GwtF, et al… you have not been hanging around this site long enough to know Russell (formerly known as Rusty) and his verbose yet one-note posts.  He has some fine qualities: bravely served his country, seems to have genuinely cared about the guys who reported to him, not a cheater.  However, his lengthy comments tend to describe fat, slutty, entitled 1st-world women, whose eyes narrow as they spew venom at wholesome men.  Luckily, modest, slim women can still be found in second- and third-world nations *Phew* and with these sweet ladies he laughs about  the afore-mentioned fat, slutty entitled first-world women.

  19. 19
    Luka

    Dating sites (eHarmony, Match) will ocassionally reject a potential paying customer. They aren’t forthcoming with their reasons (or they were not the last time I was really following this a few years ago, it may have changed) or open about how their matchmaking algorithym work exactly, but the speculation is that as part of their personality tests they use their own tailored version of the psychometric test for neurotic personality types. The reasoning is that people with high neurotic personality indicators tend be unhappy in life in general, unsatisfied in relationships and passive-aggressively abuse their partners. Its easy to see why a matchmaker would rather not take on such clients.

    The author of the article is quite apparently an extremely neurotic person. These people are not bad people, and they’re not stupid; the woman who wrote the article is articulate and can say a lot about her feelings and the relationship dynamic. But this ability to say a million rather discursive words about a topic and conclude with a neutral sounding ‘bit of this, but maybe a bit of the opposite’ doesn’t conceal the fact she was emotionally abusing her partner. This euphemistic use of the words ‘we’ and ‘the marriage’ is just bullying and emotional blackmail.

    Highly neurotic people are not bad people. It’s not their fault. These major personality traits are shaped in our formative years. But be aware, man or woman, gay or straight or other, these types of people are not good candidates for a relatinship and will likely never be happy. The poor partner in the article knew if he surrendered again and went dancing etc, the next day there would be another example of him ‘not working on the marriage’ sufficiently. Ladies/guys – if you find yourself in a relationship where you feel you are constantly being jabbed at, there’s no major issue that your partner can verbalise, and it just seems like nothing you can do will make them happy…you are being emotionally abused by a neurotic person. Leave. Save your heart. These poor people don’t change.

  20. 20
    Suzannne

    I had to end a friendship because of this. The conversations between me and a longtime friend were all about the things her husband wouldn’t do differently to make their marriage better. It ranged from her not wanting him use certain holiday decorations to the kind of job he had (she wanted him to have a better one).

    I told her she needed to accept him for who he is. Never once did she critique her own role in the marriage. I think she was pushing 40, wanted kids, and he was there and seemed to go along for the ride. It happens, but she wanted to change every aspect about him.

    And I also pointed out complaining to me wasn’t helping their marriage either.

    1. 20.1
      alex

      The problem is, men just don’t listen lol

  21. 21
    Emily, the original

    Suzanne,

    I think she was pushing 40, wanted kids, and he was there and seemed to go along for the ride.

    This may be the crux of the matter for people who want to change their spouses. Maybe they weren’t super impressed with them (for lack of a better description) to begin with.

  22. 22
    Suzanne

    Marriage is the only relationship in which people are expected to live together happily ever after. Parents and children rarely live together. Friendships change all the time. You gain and lose friends over then course of a lifetime because people change. People may be sad about this but we don’t write fairytales about it. We say mRry your best friend, but people dump best friends all the time.

    Yet, when we marry, we’re expected to tolerate a lot of things we’d never tolerate in other relationships. If we have a friend who doesn’t change, we often end the friendship.

    Its a huge act of optimism and hope that we will marry someone we can be with for decades and  not expect to change in some way.

     

    1. 22.1
      Emily, the original

      Suzanne,

      You gain and lose friends over then course of a lifetime because people change.

      I think you can have lifelong friendships but they are rare, and you can usually count on your hand the number of real friends you have. Most friendships are situational. You meet people at a certain time in your life — maybe you are going to college — but those friendships often fade away when one’s life circumstances change.

  23. 23
    John

    I keep reading about how people change over the years. There’s a big difference between trying to change somebody because you don’t like the way they are and people naturally evolving and changing over the years. Just saying.

    1. 23.1
      Suzanne

      This is so true and another reason couples split up. Maybe one person’s evolution is too much for the other.

       

  24. 24
    karen

    John, Suzanne,

    I believe both of your comments hold great validity. I met my ex husband at 20, had a baby at 21 and was married at 23. By the time I was 30 I had had 3 children. I was a stay at home mother we both agreed to that. But something was shifting in me after the last baby. I was feeling restless I told him I wanted to go back to college. I was 34 and it was truly wonderful. I felt I had a new lease on life. In truth I was changing a lot but it made him uncomfortable I believe. I was no longer looking to him for validation, my mind was expanding and I soaked up that experience like a sponge.

    I was changing my outlook on my life. I began running and gave up alcohol and was slimmer and stronger than I had been when we first met. He didn’t like it. He especially didn’t like attention other men started to give me. In truth I never really noticed that per se, I was way too focused on me! I noticed I was being neglectful towards him so weekends I would take out the kids and ask him to join us, he always declined. Our relationship went into decline over the next 6 years. It was not all him, I began to feel stifled and began to withdraw and he in turn began to try to assert more control over me. Inevitably it turned into a tug of war, wherein I left the marital home at 45.

    I suppose he wanted the previous woman he had married but she was gone forever. For myself I just wanted to be the best person I could be.

     

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