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How I Demolished My LIfe

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 Thumos (original poster member #69668) posted at 2:39 AM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

My concern was that BS HERE that identify with her in part (or even that don’t) will read our commentary on this woman (who is not a cheater as far as we know), and see all the judgments made about her readiness to divorce, and feel dissuaded from doing so (when perhaps that is the best choice for them) because of the concern that they will be judged for their parenting.

I think I understand better, E8. I've avoided this thread the past day or two because I really didn't want to lend any more to the gender conflict, and I felt I had tried to dissuade that. I realize I started the thread laugh Just to be clear: I hope that is NOT the takeaway any has from this thread. I was not interested or had any designs whatsoever in making BW's feel guilt about leaving their marriages. That's a completely different situation! I've been sitting on the horns of a dilemma about potential divorce for really two years solid, and it's painful. I hesitate because of my son, primarily. Not dismissing my daughter, but she's 20 years old now and very much successfully launching into adulthood. I DO NOT want any BW (or BH for that matter) to feel conflicted about divorce only over the issue of kids. If the toxic radioactive dirty bomb of infidelity has created a Rubicon moment for a BS, they should leave. Full stop. I see Honor Jones in a very different light.

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4598   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8708453
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 4:00 AM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

For all I know she’s a giant asshole who divorced her H on Tuesday without a second thought, because it occurred to her on Monday that being single might be fun - children be damned.

Correct or not, this is the impression I take away from the article. I don't need to be right or wrong nor am I making an argument for my interpretation...it makes no difference to me in any way. But I do find it off-putting because the author seems so blasé about both the decision and process to "demolish" her life. My resistance to that is not because I think people shouldn't divorce - for the kids or any other particular reason - but because it makes the decision/process of divorce sound so trivial and simple...the way one would simply change out their countertops. It actually minimizes the real struggle people have when deciding to divorce. I see the issue here as being less about acceptable reasons for and more about attitude towards.

As an aside, I think the infidelity trigger is that many of us had WSs that demolished our lives for less than understandable reasons. (Understandable not necessarily equating to acceptable.) The reasons were vague, often nonsensical...and rarely a clear idea of what they hoped to actually accomplish. Pretty much what we also see in this article.

[This message edited by truthsetmefree at 4:12 AM, Saturday, January 8th]

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8870   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8708466
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rambler ( member #43747) posted at 6:03 AM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Honor Jones is an editor and contributing writer for the Atlantic. The article is very well written as you see it got the women to give her the big "you go girl".

Since her divorce is not final she can not trash her husband in an article in a national magazine. If her husband is as selfish as she is then the kids can suffer.

Right now her husband and marriage is in her way of happiness.
As she continues her new lifestyle the kids will fall on the wayside too. Selfish people only become mire selfish.

making it through

posts: 1327   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2014   ·   location: Chicago
id 8708475
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 6:11 AM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

The article is very well written as you see it got the women to give her the big "you go girl".

Show me on this thread where one woman has said 'you go girl'.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3517   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
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DigitalSpyder ( member #61995) posted at 8:30 AM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

We’re not the same person at 30 as we were at 20. Same for 40, 50, and now 60. Older and wiser. I’d love to get all versions of me together in a room and have a discussion. Guess who would have the wisest counsel on picking a mate? Guess who actually picked the mate?

I'd love to do something of that nature myself. That said, I'm not drastically different from where I was at 20, as opposed to where I am at 44. Looking at my 20 year old self, I'd still make the same decision with her (at that age), even knowing the outcome.

I'll say this, to me wisdom isn't experience. It is the ability to learn from others, their actions, experiences or perceptions. Your average person can sometimes learn from their own mistakes (that would be me). The wise can look at others, their situations, the things that encompass them, and learn from it without ever experiencing it first, or second hand. In other words, sticking you hand into a fire once and never doing it again, without reason, is average. Watching someone else do it and saying "That looks like it hurt" and never doing it in the first place is wisdom.

Are we displaying wisdom here? Or are we just leaning into average and expecting the world to follow?

Post Tenebras Spero Lucem

Into fire, you can send us
From the fire, we return
You can label us a consequence
Of how much you have to learn

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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 1:35 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

The article is very well written as you see it got the women to give her the big "you go girl".

So you completely dismiss her situation or feelings as something women can relate to and attribute it to her writing skills? That is so insulting to every single woman and says so much about the way you view--and dismiss--us.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 2:06 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Idk - but I think what rambler may have been trying to suggest is that because of the WAY it was written (the vagueness, all those reasons unstated/left to supposition) it is a skillful invitation (maybe even manipulation?) for readers to take this up as a woman empowerment/feminism/patriarchal mantle.

Which would not be an unfounded perspective considering that is exactly what has happened here in this discussion.

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

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id 8708499
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NotMyFirstRodeo ( member #75220) posted at 2:09 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

It appears that she has a similar hole in herself as many WS's do. And just like WS's, she's seeking external, harmful action as the way to fill the void. She describes wanting happiness and supposedly the only way to achieve it is to "demolish" herself, and subsequently her M and her children as well. Just as a WS does.

She literally acknowledges awareness of the harm she's doing by her title. Even if she was intending to be sarcastic, patronizing to anyone who would judge her choices or be self depricating in some twisted way. She's simply stating it before anyone else can to steal the weight of the words. She's basically Eminem at the end of 8 Mile. lol

She's using divorce in the same way a WS uses infidelity without first attempting to resolve the real problem that lies within her. To me, this is why I wouldn't be surprised if she were involved with someone outside of her H. She appears to have the exact same rationale as someone who betrays their spouse.

I'm not saying she's an adulterer. But I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if she were.

Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.

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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 4:02 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Looking at my 20 year old self, I'd still make the same decision with her (at that age), even knowing the outcome.

Yes, but my 60 year old self would have a line of cold buckets of water to throw into the face of my 20 year old self. And then my 100 year old version would look at the 60 year old version and say, "told you he wouldn’t listen".

DDay 1986: R'd, it was hard, hard work.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

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rambler ( member #43747) posted at 7:45 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Not dismissing at all. Very surprised that people who have fought so hard and done so much support someone who has not.

Honor Jones does not hold a candle to any of you who work so hard everyday. The person who is dismissive is Honor Jones, do not let her play you.

making it through

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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 7:57 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Honor Jones does not hold a candle to any of you who work so hard everyday. The person who is dismissive is Honor Jones, do not let her play you.

I read this and I hear: "You ladies are the good ones, don’t listen to that nasty woman who will fill your silly little head with bad ideas."

A little paternalistic, no?

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

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Repossessed ( member #79544) posted at 10:11 PM on Saturday, January 8th, 2022

I read this and I hear:


And I read this and hear "cynical." Maybe we can take Rambler 'thinking out loud' at face value?

Here to keep myself mindful that I don't always see what actually is. I certainly didn't when I married her.

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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 12:00 AM on Sunday, January 9th, 2022

When I finally had kids, after years of infertility treatment, I lived the exact life that Honor Jones is describing. I'm older now, but I remember the endless slog of spending all my waking hours with small children. I remember constant games of Candyland that always ended in a squabble between toddlers; the marathon push to keep the kids active outside the house because they'd drive me crazy inside it; the one afternoon every two weeks -- after the cleaning lady came -- when my house looked like civilized people lived there. And the judgment. Oh, the judgment, the anonymous collective judgment if you chose bottle instead of breast or let them watch TV instead of taking them to an art museum or fed them mac & cheese instead of an organic bento box. Because if you weren't earning a living, you'd better be knocking every last detail of parenting out of the park. The pressure was on to raise your kids more effectively than a daycare ever could. Otherwise, why did you give up your earning potential and professional advancement? Why sign up for a life where your tiny bosses scream at you constantly and you aren't even allowed to take a bathroom break in peace?

And of course, the working mothers had to believe the exact opposite, that their children lost nothing from being raised in daycare. Otherwise, they felt like inadequate earners who had children they couldn't provide for, or greedy assholes who value money and self-fulfillment more than their kids. More defensiveness, more exhaustion, more self-doubt. I'll be honest, I think I'm still recovering from the burnout of those years a decade later. I chose that life with open arms, even begged God for it, but I chose it without the faintest fuck of a clue what it would really take out of me.

So I get what you're saying, emergent. And I would empathize with Honor Jones if she focused on those feelings -- that she had bitten off more than she could chew and was overwhelmed by the collateral damage of extracting herself from it. But if that was what Honor Jones meant to say, I don't think she succeeded. What I got is that she's not struggling. She vaguely knows she ought to give a damn about someone but herself, but she just couldn't work up the juice, any more than she really cared about dumping cleaning chemicals in her children's laundry. She likes the rawness of suffering, of tearing apart her family life without exploring options for how to improve it.

I don't see how her husband was an impediment to her goals. Why can't a married woman "think about art and sex and politics and the patriarchy?" Why can't a married couple move back to New York City to find new jobs, especially if they did it anyway after divorcing? Why can't a wife have drinks with her friends? The truth is, her essay dances around the real issue, the one that would have taken true courage to confront. Her husband is just the patsy. She wants to divorce her kids.

It's possible to write about the darkness in a mother's soul without making it sound like you don't have a soul. If you want to see it done well, Google Anna Quindlen's piece "Playing God On No Sleep," which she wrote shortly after Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the bathtub. Quindlen had the courage to talk about actual murder in the context of what is demanded of women with small children. Even I found it relatable, and Lord knows, I was a tough audience for it. When the piece came out, I was pregnant with my sixth child, the first that I would carry to term.

I can empathize deeply with the people you want to protect and still think that Honor Jones is reprehensible for the casual way she swung that wrecking ball. Despite sharing a common experience, she doesn't remind me of myself at 33. She reminds me of myself at 13.

WW/BW

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humantrampoline ( member #61458) posted at 6:39 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

Note: Possibly off topic

Thumos,

The article was published by researchers with academic credentials in an academic journal. Actually, I think it was a pre-print somewhere in the review and publishing process. The data was collected through a FB poll, and FB provided a grant for their research.

It was a very interesting article, and I appreciated you bringing it to my attention. I personally have no problem with the methodology. The results were counter to what I have experienced first hand.

posts: 560   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2017
id 8708881
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 7:13 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

I don't see how her husband was an impediment to her goals. Why can't a married woman "think about art and sex and politics and the patriarchy?" Why can't a married couple move back to New York City to find new jobs, especially if they did it anyway after divorcing? Why can't a wife have drinks with her friends? The truth is, her essay dances around the real issue, the one that would have taken true courage to confront. Her husband is just the patsy. She wants to divorce her kids.

I had the thought of maybe she just wanted half the time with the kids and divorce can definitely provide that. I certainly didn't divorce my 1st husband for that reason, but after a couple of years I found myself really looking forward to my summers off when he had them. I felt so much guilt for feeling that way. I did miss them, but I also luxuriated in the freedom and the break from being responsible for so much at all times. But as a mom you feel like you're supposed to treasure them every second and never want such time apart. We're supposed to be too self-sacrificing for that. I don't care how much we love our children whether we're moms or dads, being a parent is a seriously hard and demanding job and it really does take a lot out of you, especially when they're younger. It's scary and fun and exhausting and exhilarating and great and horrible all at the same time. So hell, maybe she really did want to just not do so much parenting. It would have been a huge thing for her to admit to and no doubt such an admission would be awful for her kids to read or hear about.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

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humantrampoline ( member #61458) posted at 7:22 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

emergent8 and grubs:

I think these points are at the heart of my feelings about the article. I DO sympathize with new mothers. I DO sympathize with societal judgement of gender roles in marriage and parenting. However, I think people change society by changing themselves and their situation.

My experience has not been that there is general support from other women in careers and work. I've seen that support among my husband and his peers (male military college).

Now, I am contemplating whether this is just me. My first professional job out of college was at a federal lab on a university campus. I was sexually harassed (told to quit by my boss if I didn't want to have a "special friendship" that would help my career). A female co-worker that I approached for advice asked me if I was being harassed before I even told her the situation. My boss had done it to my predecessor. She refused to give any statement or testimony, instead telling me that it was my problem because I was his type and she wasn't.

My WH's AP was also clearly trying to start their relationship, even though she interacted with me and knew me. There's no sisterhood there. My WH is fully responsible. AP was trying to get what she wanted and didn't give a crap about me, women's and mothers' issues, or my children.


This is an Opinion Editorial. It is meant to convince me of her point. It doesn't. The author doesn't discuss how she tried to stand on her toes and peak over him. I think the writings of many women here are convincing. But they aren't her words.

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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 11:48 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

I don’t think she loved him enough to be married to him frankly.

If you think about it we have the weirdest idea about families in the west. My mother grew up with her grandmother in the house. I grew up with my grandparents in the house. Now my children live all over the country and nowhere near me. When they were young I had grandparents to help me out. We did not live together, but a few houses apart, but once we moved I was on my own. That’s not normal human behavior. We are tribal. We like living in groups. Instead we now have to own McMansions or at least a house with a roof over it and Call it our castle.It never has made sense to me.

She might have just been stir crazy. It happens.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

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HouseOfPlane ( member #45739) posted at 2:26 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Instead we now have to own McMansions or at least a house with a roof over it and Call it our castle.It never has made sense to me.

She might have just been stir crazy. It happens.

I always remember my father saying about how their best times were when they were fighting and struggling (and succeeding) in their early days. You have purpose, goals, and satisfaction while you work as a team. But what happens once you have the brass ring, or the dog catches the car? You can only stare at it for so long.

DDay 1986: R'd, it was hard, hard work.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

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AbandonedGuy ( member #66456) posted at 3:10 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

I agree completely with BraveSirRobin. The writer comes off like an entitled bougie hipster who's hung up on the responsibilities of child-rearing more than the trappings of being her husband's wife. She barely mentions him other than to caveat that none of this was his fault. Then she hypes the idea of big city living which to me implies she had a chip on her shoulder about living in the Pennsylvanian suburbs. She sounds like she wants to get wine drunk in a big buzzing cityscape so she can post about it on Instagram. And all of this regardless of how it might impact her children (saying you worry about the outcome doesn't absolve you of choices, sorry, worrying about things is cheap).

Some of her reasoning for this decision ("So I could put my face in the wind. So I could see the sun's glare.") sounds like a middle school diary excerpt. To me, this is a classic mid-life crisis. Like she feels trapped in a mind prison of her own making. I've seen this countless times with too many people. They'll take drastic, destructive action thinking it's a panacea for their largely unexamined short-term dilemmas. I'm convinced that unless there are strong social, financial, or psychological chains keeping someone tethered to reality, affording them the time to put things into perspective, they'll do whatever they want to pursue whatever pipe dream they cling to at the moment. Waterfall chasing 101.

How does she hope to mend whatever negative consequences befall her children as a result of breaking up and uprooting her family? "There was nothing I could give to them to make up for it, except, maybe, a way of being in the world: of being open to it, and open in it." So her plan is to instill a sense of bohemianism in her kids so she can project her own justification onto them with no regard for whether or not this sets them up for future success? Got it. Maybe that's a harsh interpretation, but this is not something I expect to hear from a grown woman who wants to protect her kids' futures, it's something I expect to hear from a teenager who dyes her hair purple and follows a band around Europe for the summer.

"Out in the city, I felt solid: a capable woman taking care of her family." And there it is, the smoking gun. This makes me think it's all about keeping up appearances and living the Instagram big city lifestyle. She can't be a "capable woman" anywhere else besides NYC because that's where she's anchored her identity and self esteem. She can't even fathom pushing for this move while keeping her family intact because it'll be the same crumbs-on-the-floor problems in her ideal setting and she wants to have NEW problems in that setting, some maybe SHE can control (because she caused them), even if they're much worse than before. Or maybe there are better career opportunities there and she's afraid of explicitly stating that lest her readership see her as prioritizing career over family?

Just my two cents. I might not agree with her decision, but I get it. Such are the problems of the modern well-off neurotic person in an environment which is increasingly hostile to collectivism when it comes to matters of the family (but not when it comes to society...).

EmancipatedFella, formerly AbandonedGuy

posts: 1069   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018
id 8709246
Topic is Sleeping.
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