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Direct Answers - Column for the week of March 24, 2003
My final divorce papers sit in front of me waiting for my signature. In fact, they've been sitting on my desk for five days now. It took me two days to even open the envelope and another full day to look at the actual documents. I still haven't entirely read through them. I cannot bring myself to sign.
Eight months ago, after months of emotional turmoil, we both agreed a divorce would be in our best interest. I was relieved at the time. I was tired of him drinking every night until he passed out on the sofa. I was tired of feeling belittled. I never quite healed from the affair I found out about, and I know there were others.
We were married eight years. I never felt I was his partner in life. I felt I was just another piece of furniture. We have two beautiful little boys who adore their daddy. They were a big reason for wanting this divorce. I didn't want them growing up thinking drinking on a daily basis is normal.
For years I wanted counseling. I would plead, "Let's go before our problems get out of control!" He insisted we didn't have anything we couldn't handle. By the time we made it to counseling it was too late. Besides, he refused to say he had an addiction.
I tell myself if he truly reaches out for help and remains changed for a year after our divorce, maybe we could try with a fresh start.
I heard a preacher say, "Fidelity is more than sexual fidelity. It is when every decision you make during the day is the best one for yourself, your spouse, and your children." Wayne and Tamara, that's the only relationship I want.
The papers still sit in front of me. How do I know I'm doing the right thing?
Felicity, what you are facing is the death of a dream, the dream of what your marriage was supposed to be like.
Faced with the choice of drinking or losing his family, your husband continues to drink. You may have every reason to hope he will change, but you have absolutely no reason to believe he will change.
Boys look to their father to show them how to be a man, and a drunk is someone who has clearly lost the way. Courts and the law have a simple view of the matter. They don't knowingly allow a child to be adopted in a family where one parent is an alcoholic. There are laws against drinking and driving. Perhaps there should be laws against drinking and parenting.
You cannot focus on your husband sobering up. That has always been only under his power, and never under yours. He may be 20 years from admitting his problem. He may never admit it. You can't put your life on hold waiting for someone to do what they may never do.
Tamara says she cannot even shop without having me in her mind. "Everything I lay my eyes upon," she says, "I lay my heart upon where lives my husband." Your mate has to be an enhancement to your life. It cannot be any other way.
I'm a 19-year-old male from Liverpool, England. I'm a decent looking lad, but since I broke up from my first serious relationship, I haven't met anyone else. Can you give me advice on meeting girls and actually asking them out?
Gunther, are you putting out vibes you are pining for your ex? Out with the old and in with the new.
Look around and start asking?to movies, to lunch, to a bookstore, to whatever you fancy. Follow your own interests and what you have a passion for, and remember this is not like school, where one grade follows another. Love doesn't follow anyone's schedule, and that is why it is so wonderful.
About The Author
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.
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