T Nation

Problem in Paradise

I don’t usually post very personal information or probelms on the T-forum but I decided to do so for this instance. I’m currently going through some marriage problems and just want to ask others here to help me get through it. I have a hard time talking about this kind of stuff with my guy friends but have found that it is easier with my girl friends (read friends who are girls). Anyway, my 2 year anniversary is approaching fastly and I’m considering moving out and have been for the past few days. No adultery committed, no serious thing like that. Biggest problem is that we have an 18 month old son together and everytime I’ve tried to move out in the past (or she has told me to leave) I can’t b/c I want to stay with him. That is the dilemma. I care more about him than anything and sometimes I feel that I would rather sacrifice my own happiness and be married to my wife just for him.

Please don’t stay for the sake of your child. You need to make whatever decisions regarding your relationship based on that relationship - not based on other people, including your child. While it is indeed ideal for marriages to work out well, even more so for those with children involved, it is not always reality. Whatever the dymanic is between you and your wife, your son will grow up thinking that dynamic is normal, good and emulatable. It will color how he sees a man’s role and a woman’s role. Is that something you want? Is that something you want him to grow up and repeat? There are tons of different possibilities as to how your situation may or may not work out but the only one that is desireable is where his mom AND his dad are BOTH mentally/emotionally/psychologically/physically happy and healthy. And that may require mom and dad not living together, at least not for a while until things are sorted out. Figure out what is best for you and your wife - it will ultimately be best for your son.

Bud, I’m very sorry to hear about this. Normally, I don’t like to post on such topics, but seeing it’s you, I’ll throw in my 2 cents.

Never sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of your child. Children can sense when their parents are unhappy and that can make for more problems. The best thing to do is for you and your wife to accept the fact that you both have created this life, and make it so that even if you two are not able to reconcile, just try to be civil and remember - REMEMBER: you will always be his father, and she will always be his mother. Your son will always be the tie that binds you and your wife together - pretty much forever.

If it's time to take a break from this relationship between you and your wife. Then, it's time to seperate. It's hard. I know. I've been there. Have you folks looked into counseling? If you have, and it didn't work - then seperate for a time. If not, look into counseling. There could be alot of underlying issues brewing that both of you weren't aware of or couldn't communicate to each other about. Again, I'm sorry to hear about this. I hope it all works out.

The first 5 years of any marriage are very difficult. I would encourage you to get some marriage counseling and see if you have a marriage worth saving. If not, your son is better off with two happy but divorced parents than he would be with two married and unhappy parents. Good Luck.

Don’t ask me how they measured this, but recent studies show that kids from an unhappily married parent who stayed together were better adjusted that kids from parent who divorce. Doing what is best for the child is noble and all, but I think the best decision maximizes the overall happiness for everyone involved. So, the child might be slightly better off if you two stayed together, but is it worth throwing out your happiness altogether? If it truely is not working out, there is no other choice but to leave.

Before any rash decisions, seek counseling. It sounds like you got married because you got the woman pregnant (just doing the math). There was another study that showed that people who stay together report being much happier a couple of years later–with the unhappiest couples showing the most improvement. Though it is difficult to believe, simply getting past a hard period of marriage without getting into dramatic decisions often results in a surprising period of peace. Many people are led to believe that you need to talk things out and solve things. Well sometimes that is true, but most of the time, there is nothing to “solve” except your own intolerance for differences.

I second the counseling thing (if you have not done it yet).

I totally agree with the counseling advice, but I’m really disgusted by those you say don’t sacrifice your happiness for your kids. That’s bullshit. When your son was born, you’re whole purpose in life became raising that boy to be the best man he can be. You say “no adultery committed, no serious thing like that.” It hasn’t even been two years yet. Give it everything you’ve got. Don’t teach your son that it is alright to walk away from your commitments. You gave your word that you would stand by this woman, yet you’re ready to hit the door. Don’t set that example for your son.

I would look into getting some Christian marriage counseling. As I remember from a previous post, you are a Christian.

Sometimes the first couple of years of marriage is very hard (many friends of mine have had trouble). My wife and I have not had marriage trouble, but dealt with lots of issues prior to marriage.

I will pray for you. If you wish to discuss via email, don't hesitate.

Counseling is definitely being considered. Of course I will try to make it work and not give up easily. However, we have told each other recently that we both “feel” that we aren’t going to last. There is no reason to try to make something work if both people know it won’t. As a side note, we were together on and off for 2 years prior to her getting pregnant. However, for as long as we’ve been together we have had are fights. Fights can generally be described as her attacking me with fists, throwing my clothes, shoes, supplements out the door, not letting me sleep, loud yelling by her, and tons of statements that she later regrets. Meanwhile I sit there and absorb it, rarely getting a word in and preventing her from destroying my stuff.

That is irrational behavior on her part. If there is insurance, get her to a doc and let them handle the irrational rage. Why is it that you have to leave without the son? You can be the primary possessory custodian.

That just sounds crazy. I don’t think you do your son any good by leaving him with a clearly unstable woman. If you do leave, make damn sure you take him with you.

Mach – since Jason chimed in that you’re Christian (and I’m assuming that’s true), my advice is to not make any decisions now. Leave the decisions for at least a year down the road. Second is a question: is SHE willing to make it work? Even though you say counselling is being considered, if it isn’t supported by BOTH parties, then it’s over.

I’m also a bit troubled about your voicing (both of you) your opinion that it won’t last. Get those words out of your house. You’re programming yourself for failure already. Even if you THINK it, don’t SAY it, as that just reinforces those thoughts. There are many thought-control tactics to use (countering with positive thoughts, etc).

Next, do some reading:

The Art of Understanding Your Mate by Cecil Osbourne

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley

Fit to be Tied by Bill and Lynn Hybels

Letters to Phillip by Charlie Shedd (with a partner book for her titled Letters TO Karen)

Read and apply. Marriage is a commitment that takes work. You both need to read these and apply the knowledge gained. This is coming from some one who was unwilling to do the work (and had no mentorship in his life) the first time around, and IS doing it this time. My prayers are with you.

I’m of the opinion that there should be zero tolerance for abuse in a relationship. Zero. Let her know ahead of time (when she’s calm) that if she gets abusive again, you’re going to walk out on the conversation. Or she will. As soon as she hits or throws, leave the house. Not angrily. Not violently. Calmly. Explain that you’ll come back in a bit, and that she should be calm.

NOTHING gets done when someone is being violent.

The one thing that important is being able to agree on the welfare of your child. I have a child, and it didn’t work with the mother. We agreed to separate (read, she dumped me) but that we would never argue about the child. Luckily, I trust her love for my son, and she trusts my love for my son. So, if we do disagree, we both know that it’s just a difference of opinion and we work it out. I think that it’s most important to remain close to your child and to be able to remain civil wiht the mother. If you end up hating each other, things might be too late to repair.

I’m really sorry to hear that you’re having this trouble. I’ve very happy that you’re working to improve things. Thank goodness there are some moral people out there.

What I want to know is:

  1. why did you stay with her after the first fight or break up.
  2. What is she accusing you of/or what did you do.

I left. I can’t take my son with me b/c I’m back in school full-time (3 hours a day) and I work 20 hours/week (M-F 4 hours/day). She is an excellent mother to our son so there is no danger there. I’m at my parents house temporarily and fortunately my mother watches my son a lot so I will see him often when I’m not at school, work, or working out.

Is it bad that I walked out? She says I’m giving up but I told her I’m not. I needed to leave to show her I’m not playing games and that I won’t put up with this crap anymore. I needed to leave so I can get through the next few weeks of school. It pisses me off when she prevents me from getting sleep b/c 1) I can’t concentrate at school and barely make it there, 2) Usually miss a workout, and 3) I’m dead tired all day & at work. The yelling is also not good and she’s not afraid to do it around the baby. She complains that I don’t communicate and resist talking out our problems. The real thing and I’ve told her is that I won’t have a conversation unless she can be civilized and not yell. It never works. I don’t get a word in so it’s pointless.

Her main problem is that she has security issues. She is really insecure about our relationship and has no reason to be. I’ve never cheated on her ever (including the years we were together before marriage) and now we’ve been married for 2 years and she still has jealousy isues. It’s crazy. She goes through my cell phone to see if I’ve called my girl friends (read friends who are girls again) and told me she wrote down there numbers just in case she needs to call them. The other night she accused me of checking out the hostess while we were out celebrating my mom’s b-day. She did this of course in the confinements of our apartment where nobody else can see that side of her. I actually did NOT check this girl out but decided it would be futile defending myself. Ugghhhh! I’m going to go sleep it off…

Machine… I’m in agreement with Brider. A Christian based counlselor will do you some good. You might also want to consider a mediator so that you can both discuss your issues in a calm manner. As for thinking that it will not work out that is a set up for failure.Thats like telling yourself that you can’t do one more rep cause it’s too “hard” or you don’t have it in you. Think of a counselor as your spotter but remember you have to find one that has you, your wife, kid, and your marriage’s best interest to get up there, just like a good spotter. Building a good marriage is just like building your body you have to find something that will work for your “genetics” in this case what will work for both of you. Lots of articles in the web on how to build better marriages maybe not as much as how to build better bodies but they are out there.Start with marriage savers… on the search engine.I wish you luck buddy

Well, I’m coming at this from a decidedly non-Christian viewpoint, so my advice is going to differ from the Christians’ above.


Personally, having been through the experience of marriage at a young age (22) and subsequent divorce (at 25), I think that getting divorced was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. While we were in love and committed to making it work when we got married, the reality of the situation once we were in it just didn’t make it possible. We had counselling, tried to make it work, and it just didn’t.


People are throwing the word “failure” around a lot here - I don’t look at it that way. Okay, maybe the marriage failed, but my life (and my wife’s life) got better. So the decision to get separated/divorced was not a bad one, and did not lead to “failure” in any really meaningful sense. It was the right decision to make, and at this point (nigh on to 20 years later), I can’t even IMAGINE what it would be like to be married to my ex. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.


Scott, having met you in person, I can say that you seem like a pretty well-balanced and sensible guy. If you think there’s something wrong, there probably is. Marriage at such a young age is tough, mainly because you don’t know all of the things that can go wrong. (My case was much like yours sounds - very different levels of “security” were the main issue), and that’s not something that you’re going to anticipate or look for when you’re 20. Not a knock, just an observation.


Well, anyway. Just my perspective. Let me know if you want to talk more about it.

OK, I’ve got to throw my two cents in (and probably get flamed.) In my opinion, by all means see a counselor, but do NOT go to a Christian marriage counselor. For a Christian marriage counselor, there is only one possible outcome, and that is to stay together. A Christian marriage counselor is prejudiced that anyone who leaves the marriage is a sinner and evil. Do you really expect someone who is prejudiced like that to be a good counselor? Go see a secular counselor. I guess this is just my own prejudices showing.

These days anyone under 30 should not be married or a parent.(just my opp). What’s done is done, make the best of it and good luck. You should try counceling not nececerilly in order to get your marriage back on track but more so in order to have a civil relationship with your ex for the sake of your child. Your son needs a mother and a father.

I thought about that. I told my wife I want to see a counselor and she has agreed. I wouldn’t mind if we saw a Christian one at our local church (it is free) but I do agree that he or she will be of the opinion that divorce is not an option. Also, I would not want the counselor to start pulling out verses out of context form the Bible. It might be a better idea to see a “secular” counselor as you put it.