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Author Topic: Book research: If you had a do-over, would you select divorce again?  (Read 998 times)
Randi Kreger
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« on: December 21, 2018, 11:43:36 AM »

This is research for an upcoming book and I'm asking fr your thoughts to a specific question.

For many, many years I have been hearing awful tales of high conflict divorce. I even edited SPLITTING (try editing an attorney. It's madness). Attorney fees. False accusations. Lies. Deliberate legal crap designed to string things out. Custody disputes. Post custody defiance. GALs. Wanting someone to believe you.

And all these years I have wondered--would you do it again, despite the arduous, expensive, and painful process it can be? Especially those of you WITHOUT kids?
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 09:57:42 PM »

I’m not really sure but think this question is a little naive.  There’s good and bad that goes with any choice in this situation.  Why look back in this way, it’s not like you can change your decisions.   We do the best we can and move forward.
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2018, 10:13:24 PM »

To answer your question, I would do it a million times again.

I'm actually only part way through the process. It all started when I began to see the Cluster B in my wife and the doormat in me. So I started to set boundaries.

Long story short: she left me, kidnapped our 5 y.o. son, won't let me see him and is accusing me of child sex abuse. She has also been alienating my son against me.

I'm going to fight this with everything I've got and then some. She had viciously and maliciously wronged me, and also our son in the process.

I will never regret my legal action. My son is worth much more to me than money or effort.
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2018, 11:46:37 PM »

I think that this is a question which is personal to whoever asks it. 

When my ex told me,  "kids belong with their mom," I told her that I would liquidate all of my assets to make sure I got equal custody. I found out later, that I bluffed since I couldn't access my retirement account (401k) for another 15 plus years. But I had equity in my home. I would have taken advantage of that I'd needed.  We weren't married.  We worked out CS according to the law.

I was serious, tough.  I would have liquidated everything i could  to keep access to my kids. 
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2018, 08:32:11 AM »

Well... .

Personally I think if you went through the divorce and also worked on your own issues then it is impossible to regret having gone through with it. By this I mean any healthy adult with safe boundaries would never allow themselves to be put back into a situation where they felt that they couldn’t construct these.

As an interesting side note... .my stbex BPDw’s mother and I have had some very open talks over the last years since I told her I was wanting a divorce. Stbex BPDw’s father is obviously NPD and who knows what else. Mother is the typical 50’s wife who takes care of him as if he were a child and never contradicts him. The mother has said to me that she always felt the father was very severe but that he had the kids best interest in mind so she supported him 100%. She said if she could go back she would have divorced him over 30 years ago.

THAT is one regret I never want to have... .

LAT
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2018, 10:38:23 AM »

I guess I'm coming at this from a different perspective.

My BPDexh instigated divorce proceedings during an insane psychotic rage almost a year ago.  I clung and fought so hard to save my 21 year marriage for several months before conceding defeat.  At the time, my therapist said that my ex was doing me a huge favor.  I resisted this idea wholeheartedly.

So I'm almost a year out now.  I've spent a lot of time grieving and ruminating and finally, I agree with my therapist.  I'm so glad I'm out of this relationship despite my initial 100% reluctance to get divorced. 

There's a story about an elephant who was chained up for decades to a post by one of his feet.  He could only circle around the post for a little bit before the chain was yanked.  One day, someone undid the chain and the elephant was finally freed.  However, he still continued to circle the same perimeter around the post because that's all he knew, that was his comfort zone.  I've spent this year like this elephant but slowly and surely, I'm learning how to widen my perimeter bit by bit.  As dysfunctional as my relationship was in hindsight, it was familiar and within my comfort zone.

I don't regret my divorce a bit... .it's been the hardest, best thing.  I consider it my final gift from my ex.

Warmly,
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2018, 02:48:04 AM »

Some excellent perspectives here.  Sadly, if the behaviors are extreme and there's no indication the problem person will change for the better, then yes, "It is what it is.  Do what you have to do."

I was too embarrassed to tell others what I was dealing with.  Since the rants and rages were only now and then, months apart, I kept hoping the last incident was the last.  But the episodes became increasingly more frequent.  Just getting worse slow enough that it fit the "slowly warming water until the frog is cooked" analogy.  I barely jumped out in time.

My experience was seeing my spouse morph from a loving best friend into a suspicious critical person.  It was a slow change over years.  At first it was internal distress (I assumed it was pain over her past abuse) but over time she started being more and more critical of her friends and others.  If we had separated or divorced at that point before we had children then I'm sure the process would have been much simpler and quicker.  (I have since commented to those without children that having children does not fix the problems and dysfunction, it makes problems vastly more complicated and harder to unwind.)

Having a child ramped up the pace into full-blown PDs.  Professionals always studiously avoided diagnostic labels but she fit Paranoid and most of the Borderline traits.

We were married for more than a decade before we had a child.  I naively hoped she would be happier watching a new life innocently exploring a world full of discovery.  No, she relived her childhood through him.  More and more she became a different person after he was born.  Once our friends and my family had been driven away and we were effectively isolated, then the only one left to blame was me and she started looking sideways at me as though I too was a "probably" abuser.

Court of course defaulted to mother in control (despite her case in another court facing Threat of DV charge).  It took 8 years in incremental steps 2 to 3 years apart going from alternate weekends to equal time to Custodial Parent to majority time during the school year.  My son was 3 when we separated, he was nearly 12 by the time we had an order that worked.  It crushed me, I long to be married and have someone to hold and cherish but for some reason I'm still single.  I call it my Lost Decade.  Imagine what it was for a child during the formative years.  (Courts don't try to protect children except for 'actionable' incidents.)

Do I regret separating, divorcing and seeking as much parenting as possible?  No!  I did what I had to do.  Friends assure me that there was little I could do to avoid the implosion of our relationship and marriage even if I had sought help sooner.  But sometimes I wonder... .
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2018, 02:20:49 PM »

My UBPDex initiated divorce in one state where we lived 3.5 years after she moved three states away. I moved to where she had moved to be with our children. We ended up dismissing that case and she began talking about reconciliation. This was about 1.5 years post separation which had given me enough time to see more clearly and worked on myself through therapy. I then initiated divorce in the state we now live and everything was final as of this past summer.

To answer the question, I would make the same decision given the factors were the same. Without a moment's hesitation.
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2018, 09:49:07 AM »

I asked my H your question.  His exwife is diagnosed with lots of things but not a personality disorder, even though she fits 8 of the 9 criteria for BPD.

He said he would ABSOLUTELY initiate divorce again.  He divorced her when their daughter was 2 because he realized his wife was not going to get better and he felt his daughter would be harmed if she had to live with that level of emotional instability all of the time.  He insisted on an even split of parenting time (although she had primary custody and more overnights).  His ex is a waif/hermit, and their divorce was relatively amicable.

H went back to court this summer to get primary custody of his daughter (now 11), as her mom's dysregulations were causing SD lots of stress. 

He has told me and his daughter and his exwife and pretty much anyone who asks that his primary job in life is to protect his child, and he will do whatever it takes to do that.  That's what parenting is.
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2018, 11:37:04 AM »

I am also the partner of a SO with an uBPDxw, and my partner would also do it all over again if he had to... .he had an awful 2 year divorce.  He was married 17 years, his daughters were 15 & 11 when he and their mother separated. 

Over the years his ex's behaviors gradually got worse and really blew up after her mother died (death the ultimate abandonment). Her issues revolved around money and appearances... .she stole money or made financial promises she couldn't keep for example.  I could tell a bunch of stories here but some short examples are a family trip with no return tickets, an arrest for fraud, and a call to the local news channel about money she stole from parents at her daughters school, promises of money to the Rabbi... .

My SO took his vows seriously, tried his best, put her first, and burnt himself out doing everything.  The final straw was emotional abuse towards his daughter.

He separated and then the real fun began.  His ex initially had primary custody, there was neglect, she used the girls to spy on their dad and report back to her, parental alienation and finally false allegations of abuse.  It was truly awful and probably one of the hardest things my SO has ever had to go through. (His daughters now year later call those 2 years "the dark times") He fought for 50/50 custody and ended up with more once everything shook out in court.  By the time the girls were 14 & 18 they voted with their feet and moved in with dad full-time.

His daughters are now 18 & 22.  D22 just graduated college and D18 will be graduating High School this spring.  D22 is no contact with mom and D18 is low contact. 

Like I said his divorce was horrendous and he would do it again in a heartbeat.

Panda39
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2019, 06:15:07 AM »

Yes, I would do it again.  I would likely be dead from the escalating abuse had I stayed.  My children now have a safe home when with me. Had I stayed they would never have a break from the chaos and abuse. Their father is more calm with me gone.  He is currently taking me back to court for the 4th time and it sucks, but that's OK. I will do anything to protect my children and help them to have mental stability.
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2019, 08:03:38 AM »

Like BagLady, my STBX initiated the divorce. I was against it. I'd always thought that he and I, for many reasons, were better together than apart.

For nine months after he left, I was devastated, and I would have taken him back even though at that time he was really scary. By the time he left, I could no longer "read" him. I was no longer able to tell how he was feeling, and that inability made him a huge threat to me. If you don't know an animal's going to charge, you are in danger.

So nine months went by, and little by little, I began to feel better. Stronger. My life was calmer. I no longer had to lock my bedroom door for fear he'd bang into the room, throw himself diagonally over the bed where I was working and keep talking, chewing tobacco and spitting, even though I had a deadline.

Then a year went by, and I felt better still. I started and stuck to a diet. I lost weight. I went out more with friends. I returned to my writing. I could read a book again. I watched movies not afraid he'd interrupt, telling me it was "a stupid Hollywood movie" and he could write better.

Now 18 months have gone by. I'm still not divorced. Figure I won't be divorced for another 6 months because every legal delay that could be used has been.

I now, like BagLady, am grateful that he left. I am grateful that my FIL cut me off from any financial support for six months. I am grateful for every last part of my marriage and the interaction with my STBX's family of origin (they are not really functional, in my opinion). I am grateful for their cruelty. I really am. Their cruelty, that of my STBX, has finally made me realize (and I'm in my 60s) that people are not the same, and people are not a reflection of who I am.

Because I am not cruel, it was always easy for me to explain away people's cruelty by saying, "Oh no, that's not what they meant. They just didn't know."

Because I lie very rarely and only to spare people's feelings, I have rarely been able to believe people are lying to me. Now I trust my gut: "Does it feel like a lie? Then it probably is."

So, like BagLady, I am grateful I am out of the marriage, and I am grateful for the marriage. Without it, I'd never have grown the way I have these past 18 months.

I even had a dream where I saw my FIL and MIL, and I thanked them: "You have taught me so much. Thank you. Really. Thank you." And then I added, "And please tell STBX I will love him forever. He, like the two of you, taught me what I needed to know."

Thank you!
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2019, 04:38:02 PM »

Divorce is a terrible process. I held onto my marriage until it was starting to seem dangerous. I tried everything not to get divorced. The problem with BPD is, it's hard to cure. If it was a case of my ex finally admitting he needed to take meds etc., we could have stayed a family. But he never quite got help to stop the behaviors that made me nervous. That said, there are people who leave and their kids are abused by the other parent, or worse, and they wish they'd found a way to stay married. It's really hard to know how it will work out. We had some relatives around to help, not everyone does. I had good credit and could hire an attorney, not everyone does. And in the end, it was impossible to stay in a controlling marriage with threats and so much else. Even when he finally promised to change, he didn't really do it.

One thing that makes me sad is, it's hard to be alone. I see so many happy families and partnerships and get tired of raising kids on my own, with a BPD ex who has them sometimes. When he's not triggered, I remember why I was in love with him. I'd give anything for him to get the right help and get our family back together but if he goes downhill again I can't go through all that twice. And I don't see evidence that he's changed.

SPLITTING is a great book. It has helped a lot of people.

I wish BPD people would be encouraged by family and friends to get the right treatment, same with abusers. But it doesn't always help.
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 05:28:12 PM »

Yes I would. As said here, it was the hardest thing I ever did but the best thing I ever did .  I felt it was a do it or die situtation.
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2019, 08:55:14 AM »

This is very thoughtful.  I'm still married and regret it.  Maybe your question isn't for me to answer. But, I thought I mention my thoughts since the fear of divorce has kept me married.  Not fear of divorce anymore, but the horror stories of BPD divorces.  "Splitting" and books like it, sort of scared me into staying married.

Hindsight can teach us.  Unfortunately, it can lead to beating ourselves up too.  I look back and can say that getting married was my very poor decision, following not paying attention to my heart or the red flags waiving in the air.  I guess I thought there was enough good, or enough in common, to make a marriage.  So, that was the error, just an error.  We can't regret an error, especially a well-intentioned and holy one like getting married and starting a family.  The regrettable mistake was not getting divorced.  Right away. Or in the first year, or the second, and so forth. I know better, but can I do better? Now, each year I regret more and more staying married, and each year, another layer of thinking it's too late.  That last year would have been better. 

As an aside, I noticed that as I put myself back together - morphing from a victim into a survivor - I have improved a lot of things around me.  As a result, it seems like my wife's behavior has gotten better too.  Although a lot of damage has been done, and she's still the waif hermit BPD type under the sheen.  So, my impetus to divorce now usually is fairly low.  It feels some days that I've just lost the battle, and I'm in it for the long haul, like it or not. 

In hindsight, I would suggest to myself, and probably others, to be aware, and look deeply if things don't feel right.  I'm not saying don't get married, but to maybe have a lower threshold of tolerance to misbehavior during marriage.  I wish I had a more worldly view of quick and easy divorce two decades ago.  I waited 17 years unhappily married to let myself look up the word divorce and think about it.  I was dogmatic and stubborn, and I pay for it. As do my kids.
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2019, 08:58:55 AM »

Another thought just came to me.  I read on another divorce forum that the cure for "never should have gotten married" is divorce.  Since toxic relationships never should have started, one could infer that divorce, at all costs, is worth it.
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2019, 10:11:13 AM »

I think you're right, Sam.  The answer is divorce in that case.

In my case, it was my wife that took the step to separate, which led to me filing for divorce.  I am very glad she took that step, even though it was by making a cruel false accusation against me and denying me access to our son, in order to devolve her responsibility in a clearly failing marriage by painting me as the badder than bad guy.
I, myself, should have taken that step of separating when I realised that I had made a mistake in marrying her. 

However, I would probably have gone on for years in the marriage feeling unhappy and oppressed. 

That's no way to live. 

But I guess that's the codependent in me - willing to bear intense personal suffering so as not to upset others.
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2019, 01:24:54 PM »

Would I do it again, despite the expense, the drama, the angst?

Yes, in a heartbeat. My only regret is that I put up with so much during my first marriage: repeated infidelity, violence, financial irresponsibility, drug use, criminal behavior.

If I had a re-do, I'd be out the door when the first sign of any of these behaviors occurred, which was almost at the very beginning of the relationship.
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2019, 02:20:56 PM »

well... .having 4 kids in the picture... .after 18 years ( was only 15 when i met her )
2 kids are with me and the other two want to come home... so yeahh... .
even after these 3 years in HELL since she left... .i´d do it again!
She´s dragging me into court just to get all the kids... .that is ... .more money!
no matter what they really want.

in the world of BPD ... .there is only one!
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2019, 06:16:04 PM »

I did not know about borderline during my marriage. It was only years later that I determined that that was what was really behind the horrible behavior. So, would I start the divorce procedure today? It depends. I would fight really hard to get him into treatment and me into counseling. Only if the situation did not improve would I file for divorce. But I would not let him become physically abusive. I did not tolerate that and would never have tolerated that. I would be an advocate both for him and for me. I would learn to speak up clearly and find the words to describe clearly what was happening. I would not allow him to manipulate the people around me into criticizing me for something that never happened. And if necessary, I would lie to the police or the psychiatrist to have him placed into inpatient care, for his protection and for mine.
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« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2019, 07:59:33 PM »

Yes. Definitely. I would do it much sooner.
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2019, 04:36:44 PM »

I've had court since last July to get my D13 back home after my exuBPDw was trying to alienate her from me because the child support for her is going to go down she makes more money than she did 6 years ago. That's still not settled I'm filling out a case management for it. I went to court at least twenty different times when we were divorcing and within the first 5 minutes of the first appearance the judge ordered what I would be paying for child support. Why can't I have that if the child support is changing, it's seven months and it's still not settled?

I'd rather get my teeth drilled from the dentist than make an appearance in court, I can see why some guys walk away from their kids, would I do it all over again? I would without a doubt when it comes to the kids - I hope that they appreciate that later on in life.

I remember all of the faces before court was in session, I would see a guy with a woman and another woman looking at guy and it was like she was shooting lasers from her eyes, so the guy was probably with the other woman. Anyways know what I know now about divorce court, I think that before you get married go to a court session for an hour an hour and half and watch the drama. You don't know what's in store for you when the marriage is over.

I don't want to generalize, some people have divorces that are not as difficult they can relatively get along with their ex and they'll look at what's best for everyone, divorce is not always as difficult for everyone but it's really tough when it's a pwBPD/NPD.
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2019, 12:46:06 PM »

Yes, I would.

I would have done it differently -- in hindsight, I learned a lot about the divorce process and how high-conflict people divorce. Perhaps I could have used that knowledge to save time and money in the process.

But it was really worth it.

I'm now four months "officially" divorced, and three years separated (most of which was spent with her dragging out the divorce I initiated).

I spent a year just healing. Reclaiming my life, enjoying peace and calm, being a great dad, going to therapy.

Then I spent a year stretching myself. Trying new things. Exploring who I could be rather than staying in the ruts I had fallen into or trying to revert to a younger single version of myself. I really liked feeling that I didn't have to follow the old comfortable patterns.

Then I started to explore dating. Figuring out what I wanted. Figuring out who I was. Tentatively poking the old scars to see if I was still in pain from my marriage or able to be a healthy person in a healthy relationship. I've started seeing someone -- taking it slow, but I like who she is ... .and most importantly, I like who I am with her.
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« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2019, 10:45:27 AM »

Thank everyone for their input. What really surprised me that even the people who were left felt it all worked out well in the end. It would be great if that message got out to people who have been left.
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« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2019, 01:44:37 PM »

Yes, I would.

I would have done it differently -- in hindsight, I learned a lot about the divorce process and how high-conflict people divorce. Perhaps I could have used that knowledge to save time and money in the process.

But it was really worth it.

I'm now four months "officially" divorced, and three years separated (most of which was spent with her dragging out the divorce I initiated).

I spent a year just healing. Reclaiming my life, enjoying peace and calm, being a great dad, going to therapy.

Then I spent a year stretching myself. Trying new things. Exploring who I could be rather than staying in the ruts I had fallen into or trying to revert to a younger single version of myself. I really liked feeling that I didn't have to follow the old comfortable patterns.

Then I started to explore dating. Figuring out what I wanted. Figuring out who I was. Tentatively poking the old scars to see if I was still in pain from my marriage or able to be a healthy person in a healthy relationship. I've started seeing someone -- taking it slow, but I like who she is ... .and most importantly, I like who I am with her.
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« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2019, 03:04:19 PM »

I would have done it differently -- in hindsight, I learned a lot about the divorce process and how high-conflict people divorce. Perhaps I could have used that knowledge to save time and money in the process.

I would have liked to have spent a half day in family court before getting married. Spend a half hour in the court lobby before court is in session watching someone give scathing looks to their ex and the new lover, observe everyone and how distressed and hurt that they look and watch the rest of the drama in court unfold.It would have been a deterrent for myself, I was thinking that they should make it mandatory before before getting married.
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