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Thread: What's your "last straw"?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Upstream from the Big Apple
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    Post What's your "last straw"?

    Recently, a few friends with long term relationships have walked away. These are people who have been together for decades, raised kids... the whole thing. Now, when things are supposed to be getting easier, they've had enough. So I'm wondering, what happens to cause a split after all that time? And what would be your last straw. As a side question, do you think it would be easier to handle an emotional affair or a physical one? Could you be more forgiving of one or the other? Are either of them deal breakers? Other than the really obvious (abuse, criminal actions), what would mean The End for you? Or maybe people just aren't 'made' to be together for life, now that we live longer than when the 'rules' were made.

    What do you think?
    Only an expert can deal with the problem

  2. #2

    Re: What's your "last straw"?

    Heavy duty question Annie, for a nice summer day. Well, let me first say I've been married to my pal for 44 years. Obviously, I haven't came across the ol' deal-breaker, AKA The Last Straw and I'm a fairly tempermental gal. I told my roomie somewhere in the midst of our wedding vows that I didn't iron jeans, wouldn't tolerate infidelity and physical abuse would find him sitting on the curb putting his body parts back together post haste. He's never been abusive, never objected to his jeans not having creases and if he's strayed he's been smart enough to be extremely discreet. To answer the side question you tossed in, I think I'd be perhaps more forgiving of a physical affair then an emotional one. If he was ever impacted by someone else emotionally, it would be a much stronger "affair" than a physical side-step, unless the get-together was ongoing. Don't know as I could get over either 'cause I'm really owly when it comes to committments and what they mean. So...hmmmmmmm. What would've meant the end for us? I think perhaps if he'd been abusive with our children, either mentally or physically, that may have made me bolt. It's terribly hard to know what one would do unless they're walking the walk. We haven't been married this long without a lot of highs and lows, which has included separations in the early years, a trip to a marriage counselor at one point after 20 years, and some very loud discussions that may or may not have included somethings becoming airborne (a plate of spagatti perhaps, possibly a glass of iced tea poured over someones head.....but, nothing that could break.) I've known people personally that divorced after 40 and even 50 years and have wondered what could've happened that late in the game that they hadn't already overcome at some point. Very curious thing. Maybe some people simply aren't made to be together just like some couples seem to get through disaster after disaster with everything intact. Human beings are strange critters, eh?

    On a personal level, my guy and I sometimes are amazed when we look back at some of our marital trials and confess we haven't any idea what carried us through. But, we're glad we stuck it out because we're enjoying each other and our life together so much now, and have for a bunch of years. Maybe both of us were just too darn stubborn to give up. Who knows, but......aren't we lucky?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sarasota, FL
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    83

    Re: What's your "last straw"?

    I don't know if my marriage (almost 13 years, knew each other for 10 years prior) is more troubled than any other marriage but we have both wished many times over that we could be out ... frankly, shared custody of our son isn't acceptable to either of us and we've agreed to stick it out at least until he goes to college. My husband saw a new counselor for the first time earlier this week and of course, our marriage came up. She said she feels a main reason we've stayed together is that our parents have stayed married (his for at least 35 years, mine for 47) and that without us even knowing it, that's a strong factor.

    As to what could make a marriage fall apart after 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ... I think kids might be a strong factor in the 20-30 range. By the time our son goes to college, we will have been married for about 25 years and I'm sure many people will be shocked because we will have been married for so long. I think it happens a lot - the kids are gone, see ya later!

    As for the 30-50 year range, I think at some point one or both of the partners says "Enough, I've been miserable my entire adult life and I'm going to spend whatever time I have left on this planet without this millstone around my neck." Is that brought on by an affair (or finding out about one from years or decades before), a health scare (I thought I had cancer and now that I know I don't, I'm going to be happy so I'm hitting the road), or abuse (physical, sexual, financial)? Hard to say but for me any of those could be crystallizing (is that a word?) moments. I know that when people retire that can kill a marriage because they find they can't handle spending what used to be the 40-hour work week under the same roof. How about finding out your husband/wife likes to dress as the opposite sex? That is something people find easy to hide for decades and I can imagine it would be pretty devastating to the other person in the equation, especially after several decades. Or was a child molester or committed a murder in the past?

    For me, a physical or emotional affair would be equally offensive. I'm not getting either from you, so how dare you give it to someone else? Especially knowing that I never would have either type of affair, because I want my son to see his mother as a person of virtue, I would be offended by either type of affair. Either type of affair would be deeply hurtful to me but not something I would end the marriage over before my son reaches adulthood (i.e., share custody of my son over).

    I probably have revealed too much about "my so-called life" (now you know why that's my signature) but this really hit a nerve with me. Good topic, Annie!
    My so-called life...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Posts
    14,676

    Post Re: What's your "last straw"?

    In terms of the severity of betrayal, I put emotional and physical affairs on an even par. They are both betrayal. I expect fidelity from my husband on all levels, and he expects that of me.

  5. #5

    Post Re: What's your "last straw"?

    First of all, I have to say I'm quite surprised there weren't more post to this question you tossed out Annie. I thought it was an excellent one and very thought provoking. It could also be a good source of insightfullness to ones inner thoughts to start typing and suddenly realize they had thrown out a thought and stumbled over it as they realized, "Hey, where did that come from? Had no idea I felt that way!" (Which is why journaling is soooooo beneficial.) Ok, where was I? Oh yeah.....I did expect lots of our coffeeroom commades to jump on this one.

    Thought Sabine brought up some excellent points and stats. And yeah, really like her word, "crystallizing" whether it's real or one she made up. I'm already added it to my memory banks for something to toss out in a future conversation when the opportunity presents itself. Where is your response to this topic Annie? Can your roll it out again in hopes that others that didn't see it can get a chance to respond?

    Ta ta! Kay

  6. #6

    Post Re: What's your "last straw"?

    I myself have been recently seperated. His choice, not mine. But after sitting back and viewing the situation...I'm glad he's gone. We were married for 4 years, he left the day after our anniversary. He basically left myself and my 8 year old son with nothing. But I'm keeping my chin up. I've got a bit of writers/typers cramp from all the applications I've put in recently. But I know things will be okay. I'm glad that this all happened 4 years in and not after 25+. I have 2 aunts that both divorced within the past year that were both married 25+ years. I think the reason you see so much more of this lately is because it's not so taboo to get a divorce after so many years.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 1999
    Posts
    249

    Re: What's your "last straw"?

    Funny, a friend who is thinking about divorce asked me this very question a couple weeks ago. My last straw came when my daughter was being bullied in school, and he wouldn't come to the meetings with the principal, and told me to just forget it and let it go. Not protecting us is a deal breaker for me, tho there was a laundry list of things that I was unhappy with...

    Things WILL be better than OK. Thank god there is not a taboo to keep us in bad relationships.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 1999
    Posts
    249

    Re: What's your "last straw"?

    Sabine,
    I'm interested in that you said if your husband cheated on you, although you would be offended and hurt, you would stay with him. Can you explain how you could do that? Just curious. I understand that you would want to stay with your child and respect your decision, just wondering what else goes into that thought. Living with that could be really tough.

    Also, I think the 40's are the killer years. Everyone I know in their 40's is either cheating on their husbands or contemplating or getting a divorce. Every one of them.

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