Gransnet forums

AIBU

Women who want a divorce but don't want to lose the lifestyle

(89 Posts)
MaryTheBookeeper Fri 03-Jul-20 20:47:35

I feel very sorry for women in this position. I have 3 friends in this position & another one told me the same last night. She wants to divorce because there's no love left & they've been living separately under the same roof for the last two years, but she won't go through with it because she still wants to keep full access to the holiday cottage & not have to think about the bills being paid.

It seems like such a common theme, women wanting divorce but often the man has the higher earning power & the woman is left looking at a step-down in quality of life. So they stay stuck in dead marriages for the financial security. It would be different if pay was equal, I still believe there's a long way to go there.

I just feel sad. 4 of my closest friends, stuck married to insensitive, controlling or disinterested men & no way out of it because they don't want to lose the financial quality of life.

Chaitriona Sat 04-Jul-20 10:10:55

I would never judge another woman either for leaving or staying in an unhappy marriage. Because I am not in her place and I can’t really know what it is like for her. I would say a home and money is important to most of us. I admire women who walk away with nothing. They are brave. And I am glad they are happy. But I wouldn’t condemn a woman who was unable to do that. After all she has to live with unhappiness. There are also issues of families being torn apart. We all make compromises of all kinds in life. I would feel compassion for any other woman who has to bear unhappiness. Whatever that unhappiness is. Life is not easy for many of us I think. And when it is easy or easy in some things, then we are blessed.

Izabella Sat 04-Jul-20 10:20:35

Been there and done that. The first step is the most difficult, but it is onwards and upwards after that. You cannot equate money with happiness - I know!

Chewbacca Sat 04-Jul-20 10:28:16

Oh Izabella, you're dead right there! That first step is terrifying! That first night of being on your own in a strange house with barely anything in it, with your few bits that you brought with you and wondering how on earth you were going to survive and whether you've made a terrible mistake. But there's never been a minute that I've regretted my decision and I'm proud of how far I've come, on my own, since then.

TrendyNannie6 Sat 04-Jul-20 10:34:52

I know of two people like this, and wondering if it’s more common than we think, there’s no way I could stay with a husband just because he provides a good lifestyle and be unhappy, life’s far too short, sitting thinking well I don’t love him but I enjoy the material things he provides, nah not for me, I’d rather have less money peace of mind, very selfish attitude

Davidhs Sat 04-Jul-20 10:37:15

This is a mainly female forum so it going to be biased, there are plenty of cases where it is the man being used and the man being made homeless and loosing his family.

The law is even handed as far as it can be a married woman has a right to half the married property including a share of any pensions accumulated. Maintaining lifestyle cuts both way there will be changes, family members even friends will take sides, maybe you move to a different area. The house may need to be sold, life in a flat or a rented property will be different, the change for a man is exactly the same.

Maybe your man is earning more, maybe you haven’t been working, that is your choice, if you leave, you have to support yourself. You won’t be homeless in reality, if you have money you rent or buy, if you don’t it’s social housing and benefits.

If you are unhappy and can’t resolve your differences get divorced and start afresh, happiness is priceless.

TrendyNannie6 Sat 04-Jul-20 10:37:27

Good on you Izabella and Chewbacca wishing you all the best

Lucca Sat 04-Jul-20 10:43:00

Davidhs. Totally agree. I left, with two teenage children and had some horribly sad times that I can hardly bear to think about, but gained independence And became a nicer person I think, and my son now praises me for having the courage to leave an Unhappy marriage.
I should add that ex and I were and are civil to each other. Actually we had a drink together the day the decree absolute came through !

Yellowmellow Sat 04-Jul-20 10:48:25

Ditto Isabella. Been there done it never regretted leaving nor giving it all up. Happiness and peace of mind is more important than maintaining a lifestyle

Cs783 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:04:24

I'm impressed by the recognition here of the very many different contexts that might affect a woman's decision.

In your friends' cases, MaryTheBookeeper I wonder if age plays into this? I think a relatively comfortable life vs risking a suddenly impoverished old age might be a difficult one to weigh up (though as some have said there may be enough money for a reasonable settlement). But I'm with you - I wouldn't judge and prefer compassion; it seems desperately sad.

Jane10 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:06:11

It sounds like something out of the 19th century when women married for a life of being provided for. I'm with paddyann in this though not against SAHMs. I've always thought that women are better off retaining their own financial independence so that remaining in a relationship or not is a matter of personal choice not compulsion.
Before people jump down my throat, I know that's not always possible but young women today should take of this and bear it in mind before falling into the same situation.

Jane10 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:07:01

Take note of this.

Harv1 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:11:09

I totally agree with Apple gran but with one point. What if the husband won’t agree or even talk to a councillor or even try and sort it out with his wife . Then what ? As what is happening with my marriage ..

halfpint1 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:11:45

Agree entirely with you IZABELLA, not to have that
daily resentment mess going on in my head is wonderfull.
Yes changes have to be made but the ones you keep are
because you can and want to and thats pure gold!

Jillybird Sat 04-Jul-20 11:11:51

I guess it's like staying in a job you hate because it pays well...

quizqueen Sat 04-Jul-20 11:16:57

If your friend and her husband own two houses, surely she'll just take one of them in the divorce settlement and likely some cash too if the marital home is worth more and a pension is involved, or both could be sold if neither of them wants to live permanently in the holiday cottage area and the assets divided 50/50. It doesn't sound as if she'd be that poor after divorce so her marriage can't be that bad and she is just looking for sympathy.

Chewbacca Sat 04-Jul-20 11:17:29

...... except you're there 24/7/365 jillybird. And there's no weekends to look forward to because they're even worse.

Doodledog Sat 04-Jul-20 11:20:45

The premise of the OP is very sexist. I wonder if it is a ‘common theme’ for men to stay with women they don’t love rather than split the family assets? Or is this just a thing that grasping women do?

The post doesn’t ring true to me. I apologise if I am wrong, but there is a sniff of journalism about it. Maybe the OP would like to share her own opinion on the matter? Are the 4 friends who have confided in her similar to one another in other ways, or is it just that they are women? Did they contribute financially to their marriages, or have they lived off their husbands for years?

It’s difficult to comment more specifically without more to go on than a broad brush picture of these people- and there is nothing about the men. In what ways are they insensitive and controlling, for instance? Could the relationships be salvaged, or do the men feel used and only wanted as meal tickets?

yorkie20 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:21:43

Jillybird.......For me yes it became a job....housekeeper (unpaid)

TwiceAsNice......SNAP....same here

I have no regrets in leaving my situation at all and for a very long time I felt 'broken' but things do get easier and the big house has gone, the holidays, the money etc....I feel 100% better now. Peace of mind is wonderful.

GagaJo Sat 04-Jul-20 11:23:55

I don't have a lot of sympathy. Too many women chose the 'easier' option of not having a demanding career, opting for being kept by their husbands. It's all very well but no one can rely on marriage being for life. Not to mention, the burden of an unhappy marriage can be greater than that of hard work outside the home.

I even had a 17 year old student tell me a couple of weeks ago that she didn't need qualifications because she was going to marry a rich man (father is exceptionally wealthy). She should know better. Her mother was the wife he left for a younger model and is now living in reduced circumstances.

Chewbacca Sat 04-Jul-20 11:24:07

So many of us! All braver than we ever thought we are or ever could be.

alltheglitterglue Sat 04-Jul-20 11:30:31

It’s a state of mind I sympathise with completely, I agonised about my comfortable marriage for years. That was by far the worst bit, the agonising.

In the end I left, there was enough money for me to buy a 3 bedroom cottage in a pleasant area and you know what? It was tiny but it was mine, it didn’t take long at all before I loved it there, it really was small but it was just as I wanted it. I still remember the feeling, I was so happy there.

Ultimately I only lived there for 6 years before I met my second husband and I’m back to the big house, the holidays and the luxuries. I love my new husband dearly but I still miss my little house to this day.

I put off leaving for so long but in the end it was a brilliant move. It’s the opposite of thinking that the grass is always greener, you think that the alternative can only be worse. In fact, when your life is peaceful and you have autonomy over it you don’t need a villa with pool to make you feel better because you already feel better, every day.

Bijou Sat 04-Jul-20 11:31:28

My sister was married to a selfish womanising brutal husband and stayed with him all her life because of the money and life style. Cruises, large house etc. She seemed scared of him but it made no difference.
My husband and I were poor but happy and when he died at the age of 67 my mother said the wrong one died.

nipsmum Sat 04-Jul-20 11:37:00

Being given a choice could make me envious. I got 20 minutes when my ex told me, after 20 years that he was leaving and wouldn't be back. It was 1985 and divorce law was different then. I was left with 2 daughters, a house I couldn't afford to live in and assets that didn't exist in real terms. Its not what I would have chosen.

songstress60 Sat 04-Jul-20 11:47:30

Do not under estimate financial security because lack of money can cause health problems. I have gone out with men because of the lifestyle they gave me. Hey I earned a low wage, so why shouldn't I! Love does NOT pay the bills. When poverty knocks at your door love flies out of the window.!

jaylucy Sat 04-Jul-20 11:48:39

Probably more marriages than many realise.
Sometimes it is a joint decision.
I have known several couples that live separate lives, to all intense purposes, just sharing a house for years.
In fact one of my friends were just like that when their children had left home - separate bedrooms and even bathrooms, each had a car, he travelled a lot with his work - had a mistress, that my friend was well aware of. Her attitude was that as long as she didn't meet the woman, she could pretend she didn't exist and in the meantime, she could carry on doing what she had done for the past 20 odd years - not have to get paid work, go for spa days, weekly hairdressers appointment, be a lady that lunched and supported local charities - basically on the same basis as the mistress without having to put up with him at bedtime with all his horrible habits!
When the husband died, he had made provision for both women - one got the house and his pension money, the other got the proceeds of one of his life insurance pay outs!