Question: The last post in regards to single vs divorced is the impetus for this letter. I am currently separated from my wife and required to live apart for 1 full year before filing for divorce in my state with 6 months down and 6 more to go.
I have listed myself as divorced on my online profiles versus separated as there is zero chance of reconciliation, although I remain legally married. We have a separation agreement, so our assets are settled and all that is left is a court date in 6 months to tell the judge we’re done.
My problem is that being 20-something and divorced carries a stigma. I was married 5 years and my wife ended up buying a plane ticket to see another man and asked me for an open marriage. I told her to cancel the ticket and move out or she could fly out to see the guy with the expectation of me not being here when she got back, so she moved out and cancelled the ticket last minute, keeping her options open. A month later, she asked for a divorce, rebooked her plane ticket, and ended up moving in with the guy several states away just a few weeks later. I found her journal on the computer when I was sorting through backup files and figuring out what files I needed to get back to her and found out before we got married she cheated on ex-boyfriends, tried to break up engaged couples, and basically fell in love with every man she ever met and manipulated them for her personal gain. It turned out everything was an elaborate front and the woman I married never existed.
The bottom line is I was a victim in my marriage/divorce. Before I found out she wasn’t the person she claimed to be, I told my ex-wife I’d quit my job, quit grad school, go to counseling, and do whatever else it took to save our marriage, but it was all for nothing if she wasn’t willing to put forth the effort since I couldn’t save our marriage on my own. She told me not to do any of the above and gave up on me, which in hindsight was a good thing after finding her journal.
I live in the Bible Belt/South and the type of women I want to attract are those with strong values as my ex-wife turned out to not have any values at all. This typically means a woman who is religious or politically conservative (of which my ex-wife was neither), which I have no problem with, but I carry the divorced stigma and get judged negatively despite the fact I was willing to give up everything to make my marriage work. My parents are divorced and a “family history of divorce” seems to also be a red flag with women also.
Beyond the divorce stigma, I’m a catch: I’m good looking, work out regularly, earn six figures, own a house, finish grad school in May, and I’m obviously not afraid of monogamy or commitment. I realize that everyone my age has baggage and the key difference is how people have managed their baggage. The only thing scarier than a man with a past is a man with no past. I don’t want to tick the box as never married and be deceptive and I don’t think it is appropriate to go into divorce details on a dating profile, but it sure would be nice if the women who weren’t emailing me back because I ticked the divorce box knew the reasons behind it without sounding like a vindictive crazy man. If I would have had a church wedding, I’d have grounds for an annulment and would have never been married in the eyes of a church and could claim never married with an asterisk. What’s a guy to do to improve his odds without being a big fat liar liar pants on fire?
Here’s my question:
Do you want to date or do you want to bitch? Because it sounds like you just want to bitch. I’m not sure you should be dating at all at this juncture because you’re clearly not any where near past what your ex-wife did. This wasn’t really a letter seeking advice. You just wanted to vent. Which, I’ll tell you now, is unattractive. It’s unattractive in women and it’s unattractive in men. I understand that what she did was selfish, thoughtless and hurtful. I do and I’m sorry. But this woman didn’t become a shrew overnight. Nor did she hide it, as so many people like to say happens when they wake up one day and realize they dated an asshole. These people aren’t the cunning and calculated sociopaths we like to tell people they are. We refer to them as such because that’s a much easier pill to swallow than admit we were just blind or needy or lonely or desperate. And because it removes all responsibility from us for why we chose them. She always was who she was. You just chose to ignore it.
Sweetheart, you’re wife picked you for a reason. Yep. She carried on affairs and manipulated you behind your back. Do you know why? Because she knew you’d either never catch on or you’d ignore it and let her do what she wanted because you feared losing her.
I was married 5 years and my wife ended up buying a plane ticket to see another man and asked me for an open marriage.
Do you understand that by doing this she was telling you she couldn’t have cared less how you felt? No matter what you said, she was going to do what she wanted to do. I guess what I’m wondering is how you fell for this girl in the first place. You need to figure out why you married this woman or else you’re doomed to repeat this mistake.
As for the rest of your letter, TL/DR. I mean, I read it. You’re so stuck in victim mode that it was struggle to get through it. I’m guessing that this is just who you are: a professional victim. You’re whining about stigmas and your selfish ex-wife and society. People who adopt a victim mentality tend to get victimized. That’s how it works.
What’s a guy to do to improve his odds without being a big fat liar liar pants on fire?
Well, the first thing they do is to swear never to say “liar liar pants on fire” again. This isn’t about online dating and being divorced with an asterisk. What can you do? You can stop feeling sorry for yourself, take responsibility for choosing poorly, find out why you were attracted to your ex-wife and fix the problem. There you go. Boom goes the dynamite.