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salvage? scram? (why am I even confused about this?)


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When I was little, one of my favorite columns in my grandmother's Ladies Home Journal magazine was the "Can this marriage be saved?" series.


What if there was no marriage to begin with? Edited to add: both from extremely conservative families. I was expecting an arranged marriage and though I met him "normally", he visited my parents right off and set things up their way; he had more or less a list of qualities his parents expected him to find in a wife who would fill a certain role. I tried to back out at last minute but failed.


History: When we married, 7 years ago, I moved to his country and moved in with him. Lots of exterior baloney. Interior not great either. Lots of promises made and anger/hurt when wifey expected follow-through. I burnt down to pretty much non-functional. 2.5 years ago I moved out, but stayed in his country. Functionality increased. We've both seen other people but maintained regular contact. Employment situations and health improved dramatically for both.


Status quo: paperwork says married and living together. See each other weeklyish, phone pretty much daily. Share car. Talk about things both jobs actually don't permit disclosing, and respective families.



Now some external decisions (commit to 3 more years in a country I really don't enjoy?!) are forcing a relationship decision.



I'll start by listing arguments in favor of maintaining the status quo:


- taxes, to the tune of US$10,130.80/year PLUS same or more in benefits of combining expenses (different country, don't ask). You do not want to be the guy on a date with me, b/c what I'm sizing up is how my tax return would look with you on it.

financial stuff was so hard for so long, and I'm so screwed with my retirement savings etc, I =do= need to take care of myself in this area



um ...


- my mom thinks he's hot

that's only 1/2 joking. in her eyes, he's the only thing I've ever done right.


- he's made some huge improvements on himself over the past few years

but all of them under huge pressure from me, no initiative of his own. he dared to wonder what would have happened in one area if I'd put MORE pressure on him


- he manages my parents so that I can maintain contact with my youngest sibs (sect, don't ask)

this one has some actual weight - doesn't however require maintaining status quo



uh, I made a list this afternoon, lemme check.

DANG why did I make it in local language????! Ah, right, I was thinking we could see a counselor. The devil laughs ...


- I've already invested so much and hope to get something in return

and cutting losses only applies to corporate divestiture of unprofitable subsidiaries


- my life is a mess, I have no real direction, don't know where else to go

more time in this place will make me feel a LOT better about that


- am burnt out relationship-wise and this relationship is protection against further relationships

perfect - the status quo guarantees maintained burnout


- he knows me and there's a sort of trust established

which he dumps whenever a woman seems to match his fantasy of zero-conflict, and retrieves as soon as said woman makes demands



I was NOT when I wrote those last points. Frankly, I'm terrified of truly moving on.


Have been doing LC since Sunday/Monday.




Before y'all tie on your cleats and start kicking the baked beans out of me, do know that I =have= been working on myself, the whole time. I've conquered some huge 'ick'. If nothing else came from it, the relationship (and the context - his family, friends and country) forced me to develop some skills and confidence that were sadly, sorely missing, just to survive. I =know= I have tons of work ahead of me, most of it having nothing to do with him. Be somewhat gentle, okay?

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I'll be gentle.


I think you know this is not a real marriage. You both see other people and are not together any longer.


You say you don't like the country you are living in.


A major reason you are together is money.


Is money worth your happiness and a feeling of fulfillment, love, respect and mutual consideration that comes with a healthy relationship?


If it were up to me, I'd take my chances financially and go home to my country and start over. You do not sound happy.


How was that?

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I'm with Hope on this, you are missing out on the splendors of marriage and staying in for financial reasons is a big mistake. You're wasting your life away by doing this. Moving on does not require your mothers approval, I'm sure she wants you to be happy as well. Forget 3 years, where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Marriage is a life time commitment, a good accountant is cheaper than a bad marriage.



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a good accountant is cheaper than a bad marriage.


Amen to that.


Also, if you can get your financial picture in shape as a solo person -- not dependent on your current spouse or another man -- you'll be amazed at the improvement that will make in your overall attitude toward yourself, your level of confidence, and your strength/independence.

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I'll be gentle.

How was that?



You can actually be rough. It wasn't a real marriage to start with - I didn't want to marry, didn't even want to be with him in the first place, tried to call it off on day of, and he fast-talked me into it. There were so many things that were so wrong on so many levels. These days neither of us is seeing anyone else, and that's muddied things up quite a bit. Plus neither of us is really able to fake to our tax accountant so instead we slip back into married-roleplay during the months between sending her our papers and meeting with her to sign and submit.


Job-wise, I thought I'd found a situation that would have me back in the US 3 wks out of every month, which would in turn lead to work based there ... but the project turned sour, so I'm stalled and stuck here. Making good money, but what a mess. I've been having a horrible time with work and a couple of issues getting in the way, and asked X for some extremly simple support, but it's like pulling teeth. Meanwhile =he= has no problem asking =me= for help.


Part of me hoped (hopes?) that after all we went through, we'd be able to have an actual relationship. I also feel "owed" - I was there for him and stood by him when his family, friends, former colleagues etc. thought he was a loser, treated him badly, took advantage of him. I taught him to have a spine (he's thanked me for this - he feels I "saved his life", his words), shown him the value of surrounding himself with people who value him. He'd truly never experienced walking into a party and having people happy to see him until he got to know people he met through me.



@RC - nope, my mother does NOT want me to be happy ('nother story - she has very strong streaks of narcissism - and in a lot of ways, I married my mother), but I'm warming up to the idea of becoming more concerned with my OWN happiness.



I'm on the edge of depression right now, and don't know how to begin assembling the support I need. (On-line groups are a start, I suppose.) A fairly weathered shrink once told me that my best days would be most patients' darkest, and it had taken him a few months to see that. I've made a lot of progress, but still ... yeow, I have so far to go.



Sadly, all my lectures to X about the importance of a positive environment notwithstanding, I can't imagine there being someone out there who would actually support ME (emotionally and in job development). I'm pretty scarred by the coldness, the emotional stinginess, the fundamental inability to give.

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not dependent on your current spouse or another man



Just to clarify (point of pride on my part!), I now make more than double what he does. And I'm 11 years younger.





Edited to say: I can't, however, claim immunity from the dependency thing - separating officially would take a huge chunk of change out of every paycheck. Plus there are a lot of things we've been able to organize much more frugally by working them out together, like the car and some professional services. For much of the relationship I was living on next to nothing and in fact dependent, so I'm pretty irrational about money etc. now that things are going better.

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