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The Investment Factor - A Superficial Concern But Very Real

I cannot be the only one who feels this way. To many of my EP buddies, I am about to appear to be extremely shallow, but okay, throw those rotten tomatoes at me.

With my own money, hard work, and organizational skills, and a few inherited items from H's aunt, I love our home, an apartment with three bedrooms in a building owned by H's father, that my husband will inherit shortly.

Persian rugs of the Nain and Mir variety in the living room, red Lilihan Persians lining the hallway floors, Nepal carpet in our Baby Girl's room, Chinese silk and wool rugs in our master bedroom, lithographs of orchids at the midway point of our stairwell, and real orchids in every room.  Oil paintings in each bedroom, beautiful all of them, owing to my taste for the subtle but thoughtful use of light.  Did I mention those Florentine lace curtains, and the floral rollo blinds in our daughter's room?  And we eat off of Villeroy and Boch porcelain dishes from H's aunt.

Lest my EP buddies think I am a spendthrift, I should add that much of the stuff I got was from Ebay, but still good quality stuff nonetheless.

One of my American EP buddies in the ILIASM group explained one reason he does not leave his sexless marriage.  He wrote in one of his stories, "I like our stuff". 

Yeah, I know.  I know all about that. 
I put so much work into this whole setup here. So has that EP buddy.

Add that to the continental European lifestyle of 5-6 weeks of vacation and an excellent educational system, as I mentioned on one of my other stories "An American in Europe", and you might see why I am still here.

Sometimes, the thirst for love and affection is overpowering.  But not overpowering enough to overcome all that I have invested into this family and our nest.  It was work, a lot of work.
EinEngel EinEngel 46-50, F 27 Responses Dec 3, 2012

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If Angel in Europe isn't ready to make the move, understand that. Don't tell her that she is being less than a good mother for staying. I get tired tired of people pushing their opinions on others.

You are pushing your opinion (that she is NOT being less than a good mother for staying) on others.

The truth is, Engel is a loving mother and a good friend to me and others here. If friends who've been there themselves can't tell you what they see then who will?

I won't judge you at all.........................I totally understand your position. Some people would make comments. Ignore them and stick to those of us who are supportive of you.

We are supportive of her. We may not be supportive of her marriage. There is a big big big difference.

I don't think this is really about fear of losing your stuff, it's about fear of taking control of your own life. If you dump this dead weight, you won't have anyone to blame your unhappiness on any longer. It's easier to be passive and resentful than it is to take charge of the situation and therefore take a huge risk. But the thing is, it ISN'T a huge risk. You aren't happy, you aren't getting what you need. All you have are some tchotkes and lace curtains. Are they more important than love? Or freedom from carrying around all this sadness and resentment and pain? If you stay with him, you will feel those things forever, 100000% guaranteed. If you leave, at least you have a chance at fulfillment and happiness. Isn't that worth some club chairs?

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I don't believe that you are driven by materialism---I think you are driven by fear.

What helped for me was when my fear of being trapped in an unsatisfying marriage surpassed my fear of what I might lose.

PS: kids don't give a crap about curtains, they care about being in a happy home with happy parents.

Ee. Look at my pics on my profile. There is one with 3 houses in it. And read the comments.

Engel: Every single person who has commented on your story has faced this choice. It doesn't take a financial analyst to realize that in almost all situations,one's standard of living is better as a married couple than as a single. This has been statistically proven true in the US.

Here in ILIASM, you have gotten opinions from Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Australians, and the ExPats (Americans living in Europe, like yourself). To a person, they have either supported your right to set your own priorities, or they have shared what led them to making their own choice(s), or they have kindly pointed out another point of view or a percieved weakness in your thinking. Did you really think that anyone in this group would say "Yes, the accoutrements of your life matter...you must stay in order to maintain your standard of living?"

Many of us do choose to stay because of the "things"...or at least it slows our decision down. I have a lovely "McMansion", complete with a wine cellar I designed and built, customized closets, and a built-in pool with decking. It's a great party house, too. There is no way DH or I could afford the house separately, but we can easily as a married couple. I struggled with this in the early part of my emotional separation process: I whined to an EPeep that I didn't want to leave my houssseeeee! But I got over that. I am only putting a minimal amount of money/effort into our living accommodations. Now, I already know that if/when I leave, I want the vintage dining room set with the amazing upholstery, which I designed if I don't get it...well...I'll find another and just start again (which in and of itself is an exciting prospect).

And as another poster pointed out...you don't really get money from him; you are the earner. It sounds like the biggest thing he contributes Is there any reason why getting another in the building which he will inherit couldn't be what he pays for to support you and/or Baby Girl in the divorce.

I feel like your recent stories have been reflecting why you "can't" rather than what you can do. I maintain that there is much more control that you have over your life than you believe; you would be wise to read VBM's words to you multiple times.

-MR

PS Why wouldn't all the beautiful rugs and orchids come with you to your new German apartment?!?! Send him off to the pub for a multi-day bender and take what's yours.

Hell, I'd even bring the boze and the U-Haul!

If you time it right I'll be nearby with Thor visiting his family in Germany - same area of the country too... I'll bring the moving boxes! I've done it before, will do it again.

Ha, we can have a moving party!

Engel, my dear, you just do NOT want to leave. That is FINE!! It is your life and your marriage. Your choices must be what YOU want to do. The rest of us can advise and suggest, but only you can CHOOSE.

You do not need to justify yourself to us or to anyone. Focus on your precious daughter and ensure she understands that life is not only about "owning things" - I'm sure you will do that. Take what comfort you can from the situation - you deserve that.

And remember that what you choose today does not have to be a "forever" choice. You CAN choose again if (or when) the shelf-life of this choice runs out . . . {{{hugs}}}

THIS is the biggest realization I had several years ago (just before I found EP) - it is so empowering!

Today I *chose* to stay. Tomorrow I can chose to leave but today I chose to stay. Nothing is permanent but the choice is MINE!

Enna/ EIT: This is it, exactly. None of what I have chosen is out of my control...well, except for the cancer; that sucked and we sure didn't ask for it. I *could* have left DH while he was undergoing cancer treatment...I chose not to...and I own that choice; I don't blame the cancer. And for now, I choose to follow the loving feelings I have for him and for our life. After his next surgery and recovery (upcoming in Jan/Feb) I may choose, again, to leave. The exit plan exists...including an attorney on retainer.

(wish I could "like" your response to Enna, EIT)

OK, this is very cliche, but: Have you ever watched a news interview of people who have just survived a hurricane/tsunami/flood/fire in which their home and most of their possessions were destroyed? A few might get weepy about losing their designer whatnots, but mostly they're simply glad to be alive. If they were able to save the family photo albums, bonus.

I put a lot of money into fixing up the house, especially at the end in order to make it saleable. I got out of the SM with my personal investments, my personal vehicle, my "own" family heirlooms, and otherwise, only whatever stuff my ex didn't want. He took all the good furniture and appliances.

I am alive. Wouldn't trade it for all the oak dining sets in the world.

Not saying it's right or wrong, in your case. Each of us has our own priorities for our own reasons.

EE: i haven't read all the comments & your replies, but i think i get the sense here that you are positing that you won't be able to give your daughter a good life if you leave. sorry to be brutal & blunt: that's BS. and staying where you are, no matter how beautiful the surroundings? will actually damage her far, FAR more than growing up without the gold-lined cage with an alcoholic father who can't or won't express emotions, and a mother who is miserably unhappy but "making do" with beautiful *stuff*. i call this the tyranny of the stuff. y'know, my daughter & i will go from living in a huge house in a beautiful neighbourhood filled with beautiful stuff--to a 2-bedroom apt in a complex with a community pool & clubhouse. she'll probably lose an activity or two. and there'll be conflict, no doubt. BUT. and this is the biggie: she'll grow up in a home that is HERS, where WE decide together how to decorate. our arguments will be about "normal" stuff. not the fact that she can't watch fun tv for 30 minutes before bed because H wants her to watch *his* choice. she won't live in a house where her mom n dad are fighting--all.the.time. she won't have to listen to her dad constantly criticizing me, AND her, because nothing is ever good enough. ever. she will revert to her naturally optimistic personality, instead of constantly complaining about small details, she'll be HAPPY that she got to ride in the parade, instead of complaining about how the girl next to her kept taking too much space, she'll bubble over about how fun it was to ride thru main st, and sitting in the front row of the float, no less! she'll relearn the glass half full outlook rather than adopting H's glass half empty and hey while we're at it, lets complain about the glass itself, outlook. yes i sound vehement. your daughter would never dream f telling you if she's unhappy or hurting inside--but trust me, despite your beautiful home & the current "advantages" in your current situation? she IS hurting. and she IS being affected, in numerous ways that will have profound impact on the rest of her life. STUFF matters not. you can always get more, different, stuff. you can't and won't be able to get more *life*. sorry to sound brutal if i have--you need to reassess. i believe your priorities are off. IMHO, ymmv.

Smithy, I wish I could LIKE this 1000 times! And I wish it could be a "sticky" for parents who feel they should "stay for the kids". {{{hugs}}}

I learnt at a very young age - stuff doesn't matter - no matter how nice, expensive or rare. Your happiness and the life you live are more important. The stuff we have accumulated over the many years of our marriage - doesn't matter to me at all - I would leave it behind, if I could be convinced this was the right thing for me to do.

Maybe. I just asked my husband if we should separate. He said no way. Well, now we know his take on this.

What else did he say? Thats a pretty big question.

Engel: the follow-up question is: "Why do you think we should NOT separate? What are you getting out of this? What do you think is in this for me? Because from where I sit, this marriage is over."

Or maybe you don't want an answer to that. I sure didn't, at first.

Engel: Why does he get the choice? You get a say, too...

TOTALLY agree MR!!

as it's been said here before...he HAS the marriage he wants; a wife who subsidizes his standard of living and stays, despite being sexually deprived.

And Wisi...I know you're an expert on "stuff"...and I mean that in the best professional way.

In a way, you are now in a position of power. He says he doesn't want to separate. So, YOU hold the cards: YOU can dictate what needs doing to remain "unseparated", whether it's opening the marriage, agreeing on what you'll get in the event of a separation (if you agree to stay for x amount of time to "work on it"), or whatever.

Another great point Zsu!

Engel, Zsu is right. but ONLY if you follow through with consequences if he does not follow through with what he needs to in that regard. See the forum thread "a sense of entitlement". If you want to dictate what needs doing to remain "unseparated" then you have to be willing to follow through if HE doesn't do what you've requested to keep you there.

Why is it up to him?

My husband remarks on the children we have , the houses we own, the life we have built together, and that he does not want to start over again. He also says would you be happier? That is not clear yet to me. I am not sure romantic love exits anymore. So if I leave would I gain anything ? Not sure.. Still in counseling

Yeah, that is the question I ask myself. I am not one who easily experiences joy and exhilaration in the first place.

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Investment is about getting a return in value, not spending (tell that to governments!).

How is your stuff contributing to your current and future happiness?

No doubt you've heard of the sunk cost trap. The only difference is that you've made a gilded cage. Which is not an investment.

True. It is a small comfort whose effect will wear off in time, surely.

I will tell you, as a way of sorting my own thoughts on the matter...
Do you remember leaving your parents' home to get your first apt, maybe in school? Did you make do with less than what you had in that case?
What is your overall impression of that period? Comparative poverty and lack of comfort? Or freedom and propriety, even if it was over a garage sale futon and a milk crate shelf?

Probably only a very personal opinion and I am probably guilty of projecting badly on to you, but...

It's an awful cliché, as bad as it gets. There is only one type of life worth investing in and that is in you and in those who matter to you and should matter to you, not all this clinker and kitch that you surround yourself with. You have to worry about it. You have to insure it. You can't eat it. It won't cure you when you are ill. What really matters is that you can enjoy it, love it even, but it won't EVER love you.

If happiness and all that goes with it was a currency, what do you suppose you would be able to convert your Persian rugs, silks and fine porcelain into? I would suggest for very little.

If you see this stuff as ultimately being an investment into a financially secure but merely adequate future, a comfortable retirement and all that eventually, then I think I can understand. If it means more than that, well...

I would give it 10 years, 15 at the most. If you are still where you are now, then I would be surprised if you still feel the same way. We do change, we can change. At our own pace.

You sell yourself short. He has no money, you are the one making the money. Once you free yourself from the ball and chain, doors and opportunities are going to open. No one knows what they are, but I am certain you will find a way to create a life you love. I would lovingly suggest, that your future predicting capabilities contain certain per-determined faultiness. No where in your analysis, do you factor in your capabilities, your resilience, and your ability to craft and shape what you want, and yet, that is what you've always done. Your pragmatic assumption that the grass isn't greener, is severely faulted in this case, as a casual outside EP observer....

I bet you anything he doesn't give a flying F about those carpets and oil paintings. All the beautiful things in my house are mine. (barring one old box that came from his family - and I bet I even get to keep that - since it will go to my son) Even if he does want them - you'll get half of them. All of those things will be replaceable over the years. Window treatments....yeah...those probably wouldn't fit in a new place.

And wouldn't your in-laws perhaps furnish you with an apartment to keep their granddaughter in Germany?

Hi Elkclan, my mother in law died before I even met her son, and my father in law is near death. So no, no apartment from them.

<p>-----"I liken it to an artist who has spent a long time painting a huge masterpiece."</P><br />
<br />
<p>An artist never becomes attached to their work.</P><br />
<br />
<p>Because if they do they lose their drive to create more.</P><br />
<br />
<p>Becoming attached to their work is the kiss of artistic death.</P><br />
You can create more art in another location. Whether now or years from now.

That is my point, mvc

I think you are spot on is it worth the change to our comfortable lifestyles to get what we need and the answer for most is not really. The fact that your happy to admit that is very consoling.
But we only have one life to live

Interesting comment Jay:
"is it worth the change to our comfortable lifestyles to get what we need and the answer for most is not really."
Based on all the comments Engel has received, I would disagree with this statement.

Resilience can never be handed to someone on a silver platter.

I cheer you on for speaking your mind.

Now, if I may speak mine...I used to be wealthy. It was all an illusion. I bought things to prove my happiness to myself. When one thing didn't do it, I'd move on to some new thing I "had" to have.

We split our existing possessions 50/50. The things he took, I miss not.

The years we wasted, I miss terribly.

Yes, but not only do I love comfort but I love knowing my child has all she needs to become everything she wants to be. I cannot give that to her as a single mom paying for everything myself. Not unless I get a job that is double what I made previously. Odds are not very good for that.

I'll concede that with no kids, I did not have that concern. I admire your strong desire to protect her and lavish her with a comfortable lifestyle.

Bzzzzttt! My BS detector is going off Engel. No amount of piano lessons or soccer leagues would bring her to the point of becoming everything she wants to be more than having at least one parent who is healthy and happy and modeling healthy relationship habits. Are you saying that children can not be happy and well-adjusted if they come from less than perfect financial means? Besides, doesn't your H have/make very little money? All he provides is the rent and utilities. Child support would likely pay those for you as well so call that a wash. Does he really want the paintings, orchids and carpets? I doubt it. Sorry my dear friend, I am not buying it. And your daughter doesn't need it either. It would be nice, but it would be nicer for her to not grow up living with an alcoholic. Have you read books for adult children of alcoholics? You should. I've watched your blog unfold with worry over the last year or so and I see you really stuck, but only in your head.

He does seem to be getting better about the drinking but I worry that it is temporary. He has not been this self-controlled before either though, see.

Even if he never touches another drop, he is still an alcoholic. A sober alvoholic still is an alcoholic. That is why they always say you are in recovery, not recovered.

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"It is not money itself. It is that I have put so much energy into creating an environment of beauty and art. My investment in building this pretty little bubble."

I understand!

Try this: Go out and look at a new apartment for yourself and baby girl. Daydream! Make it an affordable place within the post separation budget. Since you enjoyed creating the environment you are in now, picture yourself creating a pretty little apartment for you and baby girl in these new apartments. Picture the things you would be able to take from your current apartment (you would take some), and then picture what YOU may want to add - without asking anyone else's opinion or caring about their needs during the new bubble making process (ie: perhaps a very feminine bedroom, don't worry about a recliner or couch, whatever it is Mr. Engel likes to have - you don't have to have it now!)

You enjoyed shopping online auctions for beautiful things for your room. Guess what - now you get to do it - all over again! for your new home! What fun!! Look around when you go out shopping, and pretend you are furnishing your new apartment. You don't have to wonder what to do with the old stuff because there won't be any to move out of the way. You get to create your new bubble!! What fun!!

Picture how you will feel in this new home. Will it be peaceful? Calm? Joyful? Good smells? Pretty things? Soft textiles? Beautiful lighting? Artwork by beginning artists? What possibilities! What opportunity! What a future!

It can be a beautiful bubble just for you and baby girl

I can assure you that a post-separation budget would not allow for that kind of environment.

I'm afraid you miss the point, Engel. The point is you can live with much less. It will still be an environment that you create. You said creating the home was what you enjoyed. You can do that again

EE, I absolutely see your point of view. It is mine, to a large extent. But for me the discussion of what money can buy needs more context. The money buys us access to goods and services for my little darling that, like you, I could not afford otherwise. I would trade it in a heartbeat for a strong network of friends and family who could provide a different sort of wealth, the wealth of connection, of companionship, of a built-in peer group of cousins to show my offspring how neurotypical kids live outside of school. . . you get the idea. My ability to built this network for myself is still nascent. And I already have half a century under my belt. I would probably trade my yacht for a pontoon, but I'm not going to give up my yacht on principle without so much as a life jacket to keep me afloat.

Yes, see. I do not have a strong support network here, in Germany. And yeah, no job equals no life jacket either.

Engel, I am struggling with the same thing you are, but I am a little further along than you. I have a beautiful home, furnished beautifully (fine rugs, antiques, etc) and I don't have a full time job yet. I am in the United States though.

As frequently as I can, I escape from my cage to visit friends and family, house sit, etc. I am much happier and carefree when I am away from my cage.

We are working toward a divorce. It is a very slow process with a passive/aggressive husband who doesn't want it and slow attorneys. But the divorce process has shown me even more why I need to leave for myself. During this time I took in mind the budget I will have and went out and looked at housing. It was very helpful for me to see where I could be living, walk through the place, and picture how I would live. I realized I could be happy in another environment. On a recent vacation I was shopping with friends in a nice furniture/house accessories store. I saw some pretty things that I thought I would like to put in a new environment. No, I may not be able to afford them now.

It was the visualization of the opportunity to create my own life and my own environment that helped me to see my future - and I liked what I saw!

You obviously are a visual and creative person. I thought the same process might give you some clarity, one way or another. Is it the process or the achievement?

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A guilded cage is very hard to leave... but a cage it is, and a cage it will remain...

Yes. As long as my daughter does not feel it is a cage, I am fine with it though. Sometimes I might temporarily escape for some hedonism, but will always fly back.

Ah, well, then you already have your answer, and you need not justify it to us.

Engel, we are friends. If I overstep here, I am sorry but someone needs to say it.<br />
<br />
As your marriage has become less and less something you can put up with over time, you have started looking for "reasons" you stay. I know you are trying to justify staying. I get it. I did it too for a long while. I had lots of reasons I just couldn't do this.<br />
<br />
It IS a huge change to conceptualize. Your whole world will be different. Your whole life. You won't have the free apartment and free utilities. You won't have the rugs and the orchids. You won't have 5-6 weeks vacation a year. You won't have the money to put your daughter in private school. I don't minimize any of those things.<br />
<br />
You have all the makings of an anti-exit plan. You have all your reasons why not. Have you really tried to open your mind to an exit plan or several exit plan possibilities?<br />
<br />
I am going to ask you again what I've asked you for some time now: How much money and material possessions are your sanity, your heart, your emotional and physical health worth? And with some of your activities, can you be assured that HE wouldn't end the marriage if certain things came out, negating all your efforts to protect the investment you've made? Without a doable exit plan you are not coming from a place of strength or even information - by exit plan, that means "worst case scenario, what could I do to mitigate the negative and create an entirely new life?" and "what do I want that life to look like, if I could pick anything and everything?" and then "how can I realistically get closest to that?" <br />
<br />
Not all the reasons you CAN'T. All the ways you CAN.<br />
<br />
I know you're struggling. You need a paradigm shift here. I hope you find it soon.

Yeah, all I see is this really uncomfortable, possibly even horrible life for my daughter. I will not have the resources to help her develop her potential, whether we are talking piano lessons or soccer team, nor will I have the time to see her play in her games because I will have to work. I remember what it was like to work in the States. No work/life balance. And if I stay here, all my money would get sucked into rent and utilities. To me it just looks like- comfort but no intimacy versus hand-to-mouth plus maybe, just maybe, intimacy. I see stories like yours and NYArtgal and then I turn around and read other stories of women who left and are lonely and crying or disappointed in how freedom feels. See, how do I know I would not be in the latter group? As for the exit plan, I have something in mind, but it is not too attractive.

I challenge this assertion about big numbers of women who got out of dysfunctional marriages being unhappy they did so. Can you cite anything to back up that contention ?

My sister-in-law, my husband's first wife, a few women I have worked with (before the days of EP and blogging). Even my grandmother, who is divorced, tells me it is a bad idea.

Some people marry for money.
Some people stay married for money.

What has me confused about your set up sister engel, is that Herr Engels set up seems to be a house of cards and he hasn't actually GOT any money.
There may be a chance of an inheritance of the building you reside in, but given what you have said abour Herr Engels family, you can bet there will be a **** fight over that and Herr Engel may be turfed out of the hacienda post haste.

Stay for money, by all means if that is what floats your boat - BUT BE ******* CERTAIN THAT THE MONEY IS ACTUALLY THERE - AND THAT YOU WILL GET YOUR RIGHT WHACK OF IT.

Tread your own path.

Yes, I know. But this post is not about money, but about spending resources and energy to create this pretty little fortress. The time I put in, the money I put it, the energy of planning and organizing details, like what kind of rug for the living room floor and what kind of lithographs do I want to have in the foyer. ....see what I mean? All these material things represent not only money I spent but time and careful planning. I liken it to an artist who has spent a long time painting a huge masterpiece.

Sort of like, "but I spent 15 years with this guy". It is a parallel line of thinking, but you catch my drift? 15 years of shared experiences, working on the relationship, being a friend to him, relying on each other. I cannot just throw it away so easily.

Tell me more about this concept of "easily" throwing it away.

There's an old story about monkeys. Some monkeys were causing mischief in a village. A trapper bore a hole in a few coconuts which he secured to stakes driven deep into the ground. He then partially filled the coconut with fruit and nuts. Soon enough, the monkeys arrived on the scene. They reached into the coconuts and closed their fists around the food inside. With food in their closed fists, they were trapped and all were caught. To escape to freedom, all they needed to do was let go but they could not bear to part with the food.

I cant stop being inspired by your stories..

excellent analogy, LaoTzu!

I found myself snapping at my kids "don't touch that!". I started to pile stuff up as he was doing, hoarding "my stuff". I couldn't save ENOUGH of my money. I wanted to pay off the house ASAP!!!

Then I lost my job. I think too when he DEMANDED 1/2 the house - after swearing up down & sideways he would NEVER take a penny from me - and I ended up settling on slightly less, but still a whack load of money - I realized, if that's the price I have to pay to start again, then so be it.

I'm still not out of the woods, but I too have started to give away "things". I've brought out the fine Japanese tea cups that my brother gave us for our wedding and we never used, and gave them to the kids to play with. I've given away the espresso maker, the fondu pot, the knick knacks. I'm slowly decluttering, knowing this phase of my life will be over - soon.

HIS clutter looks more incongruous day by day...

And every time I bring ANOTHER bag/box to the Value Village (charity) to give away, I feel a sense of lightness. I can concentrate better on my schoolwork. I can smile more at my kids. My attention is not divided.

In my Sexless Marrioage, "things" became very important to me. Both my Ex and I are avid collectors and we had some beautiful collections of things.

Once I was in a relationship where my personal, emotional and sexual needs were being met, my attitude to "things" changed . . . I found myself much less concerned about them. Instead of treasuring them in ways that made me feel they were an integral and essential part of my life, I began to see them as beautiful objects to admire, but not essential to my happiness.

You may find that your attitude to the lovely things you own changes if you are getting your most intimate needs met by personal relationships. I think this passion for beautiful objects is, in part, a substitute for our real needs . . . . .

Interesting. I wonder if that might also be happening to me. Sort of a substitute, as you say. As usual Enna, amazingly insightful.

Enna, that makes a lot of sense. When I was first in my marriage, I didn't really care about material things. Over the years they had become much more important, and I think they were a substitute for love. After all beauty is also to be admired. But now, as the relationship disintegrates, the material things have also lost their luster. I guess it is part of the scales balancing themselves.

I saw my husband's things as an indication of who he was--eclectic, interesting, pleasing--I saw the fact that we liked many of the same kinds of things (yes, literally, "things,") as an indication that we were compatible. I came from chaos, he seemed able to surround himself with beauty and order. Why would I not want in on that? I didn't understand that I would end up being the curator of all this "stuff" rather than at the center with him.

<p>I used to feel similarly in my story. "Husband makes it impossible to leave". I have been there done that. I still havent left yet. I used to think the same thing, but this is how I have started to think now, If I worked hard and accumlated all this stuff thats supposed to make me happy, why am I still so sad?<br />
So I made an exercise of giving stuff away, selling it off all that. Selling the houses etc.<br />
Everytime I get rid of my stuff, I realize I dont miss anything. I am not sad for anything.I dont have sex and love for last 11 years and I miss it tremendously, and it makes me very sad ..and it always will..</p>

Nothing wrong with enjoying those material possessions that you worked for.

Most people will keep the ledgers balanced and not make that move. It is the most difficult of moves and one can certainly find many reasons to not do it. You have provided a cogent list of reasons why NOT to make that move.

But remember, as you know too well - nothing is free in life.

Everything exacts a cost.

To include staying put to enjoy those material objects.

Hey like your new avatar MVC!

Thanks!

For me, I realised it was all dust. That I'd give up everything just to have someone touch, want, desire and love me. And I was right, it's worth it.

That's a difficult one for me. I'm certain that I didn't want my daughter to grow up watching mummy and daddy being dysfunctional. And she was seeing this, and was, even as a 3 year old, trying to mediate (she literally told us to 'play nice', and not just once), and it was breaking my heart that we were putting a truly lovely child in this position. Even more upsetting, is she's probably just going to grow up watching mummy being dysfunctional instead. I don't know what to do about this, and if you want to know the truth, inside I'm screaming about this.

Well, that is a good thing here. H and I are quite cordial with each other, most of the time. We are both very careful to not let Baby Girl see any kind of disharmoney.

Sure, there's no disharmony, but there's also no harmony, vitality, honesty to model for her.
One day it might be worth reassessing -comfortably numb- as a positive life quality. (Gotta take my own advice here)

Yes, dysfunction isn't just the occasional sharp words in my opinion, in fact I'd say they're just as much part of a functional marriage. And superficially this is all my daughter saw in terms 'disharmony' - but there was no balancing intimacy. Mummy and daddy didn't hold hands, steal kisses from each other in passing, touch each other in idle moments, hold each others gaze for an extra second and smile. So the 'disharmony' was the only strong emotion my daughter saw between us, it was unevenly weighted. And I think she was spotting this. It's one of the reasons I have no qualms about behaving affectionately towards my lover in front of my daughter: 1. because it literally doesn't cross my mind not to do so; 2. because I don't see it as anything other than positive for my child to see this (certainly, she seems unbothered by it, she's an affectionate kid herself).

But I'm not going to pretend that I'm not distraught about leaving my daughter. 'Staying for the kid', kept me held suspended for another couple of years - and I already knew, even from childhood, that 'staying for the kids' was nonsense. I now think I 'stayed for the kid', because *I* couldn't bear to part from her; so, strictly speaking, it is 'staying for the kid', but it's not necessarily for their benefit, perhaps it's for ours...?

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