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CiCi
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Reged: 03/28/07
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Happiness
      #267562 - 07/27/07 07:50 AM

So....I've been thinking a lot about happiness, and what it means in a marriage especially. I guess it's been on my mind because the more I talk to people, the more I hear that they divorced because they simply weren't "happy". I had dinner with a friend the other night who said he was married for 14 years and he was happy for 13-1/2 of those years until his wife told him they weren't happy...which he says was news to him. They had fertility problems, so I'm sure that was one of the big contributing factors....but I digress.

I know that I wasn't always "happy" with my ex, and he wasn't always "happy" with me. I know that in the last 6 years or so, I didn't express affection the same as in the beginning. I know that every time he didn't communicate with me about his emotions or whatever, it pushed me further and further away....and I'm sure that everytime I blew off doing the dishes so that I could re-charge my batteries, he was pushed away from me (it's relative to what is important to each person). BUT, even with all of those things, I had decided to keep a committment to our family - and if my husband wasn't "making" me happy, by golly, I was going to find things that would so that in the home, I could feel happiness.

Of course, I threw myself into parenting, which wasn't a stretch because I love it. I started taking more time to read books and I really loved that (I even joined a book club). I rode my bike a little more often; I took up an occasional knitting project; I had dinner club with my girlfriends once a month; I carved out time to nurture my friendships a little more. I welcomed my ex to do any number of these things with me, but these weren't the things that brought him joy so he always declined. What he felt was fulfilling was working on an inanimate project around the house; drinking a martini each night; riding his motorcycle; diving deeper into his work. OK - clearly, we are just different people.

My point is....we were each allowed (for lack of a better word right now) the space to do things like this and for me, I brought the joy that I gained from doing these activities into the home so that peace could reign. He could never do that...it's like, if he was never really happy....and I just wonder why he couldn't have made a choice to be happy or find happiness in the things he already had. I mean, he would get back from a trip to South America - where he was obviously having his needs met by another woman, and he still could not come home and be civil to his daughter (and she was the only one the coward took his unhappiness out on because she was more vulnerable - he didn't dare take it out on me, which is DISPICABLE!).

I think back 20 years, when I spent 3 months in Brazil. Each day, I budgeted a certain amount of money to give to the poor people of the streets. Sometimes, entire families would be begging....and I have to say, even these people expressed a certain happiness (Brasilians in general are a very happy people). There was a certain acceptance of their plight in life (which has good and not-so-good sides to it). I came across people who live in a hut with a dirt floor, only to see them sweeping that dirt floor as they do have a sense of pride for what it is they do have. Somehow, they chose to be happy with their lives - maybe because they felt it would never change and they needed to accept it...or, maybe because life is just more simple for them.

I just wonder (after this mini novel) if happiness is really a choice that people can make.

HUGS,
CiCi

--------------------
Remember: A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.


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matilda
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Re: Happiness [Re: CiCi]
      #267594 - 07/27/07 09:37 AM

That is definitely an interesting question. I think that there are degrees of happiness. I am happy living in my home with SO and our daughter. I enjoy the family together time and going places together. When we are doing these things I am truly happy.

My relationship with my SO has a HUGE hole in it though as he wants it to be platonic and he isn't self supporting. I resent the fact that I pay for almost everything and I can't get any affection from him. While I am busy with our DD3 I don't give my strained relationship much thought. It's at night when we both go to our own bedrooms and sleep alone that I become more unhappy. I was very unhappy sleeping in the same bed while having a platonic relationship, so I told him to sleep in the other room. And for those of you following my saga I gave him a Sept. 16th move out date.

I think it was Abraham Lincoln who had the famous saying that people are as happy as they make up their minds to be. I think you did the right thing by getting involved in life and finding hobbies you like that make you happy. Could you possibly have been more happy if you had had a spouse also involved who enjoyed them as well? I find your question interesting because what if we are giving up a relationship that makes us happy to a degree in the hopes of finding happiness at a higher level, but don't find it.


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Badasp
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Reged: 06/04/07
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Re: Happiness [Re: CiCi]
      #267622 - 07/27/07 10:19 AM

Great question CiCi. I think in todays environment with the ease of getting divorced alot of people are very cavilear about jumping out of their marriage or relationship if they hit that doldrum area where things get boring. I think we can all identify with times that you just have alot going on with rearing kids, the job grind, life in general becomes routine and you forget to take time, put your gripes on the table and talk them through when they are present instead of letting them grow on the back burner until some day it has become one of a few major issues in the relationship. I also think at some point people just say "it's not worth the investment to rehash all this stuff from the past and see if it will work again" it's just easier to cut and run with someone new.

So I guess to answer your question, and agree with others, there are many degrees of happiness, it's how you define it and what is important to you. Hopefully your definition of happiness matches your mates definition fairly closely or I believe you have trouble on the horizon.


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Patrice
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Re: Happiness [Re: Badasp]
      #267674 - 07/27/07 11:05 AM

I'm not sure it's a choice we can consciously make, so much as an outlook we have from within. Some people are optimists, some are pessimists. I think some people are easier to please than others and some will never be satisfied. I think of it as the person you are, your self.

In general I think of myself as a positive person, and was happy in my marriage. Not thrilled with every single thing, but still felt in love, loved, and secure in our relationship: I thought we were married for life. Ex eventually told me that he hadn't been happy for a long time and wanted a "fresh start". A major disconnect in the way we saw things, obviously!!

Could be that I was oblivious to his unhappiness, could be that he never let on. Probably somewhere in between.

I'm not sure I am really "happy" right now but feel like I have dealt with this life change (just about a year since divorce) and hope to find that happy state again. How do you know if you're happy???

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To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.


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Badasp
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Re: Happiness [Re: Patrice]
      #267681 - 07/27/07 11:13 AM

I'm just slightly ahead of you Patrice. It will be two years in December. I don't know how you define happiness. I think the first part is to get over the divorce and be happy with yourself and what you have, right now. Then you have to make some sort of plan as a guide of what you want out of the rest of your time. Obviously, no one wants to end up alone and we all are much more selective on who our match will be this time. I know I was like you, thought it was forever, had the plan neatly tucked away and was progressing along until I got hit by that bus called divorce. Now the happiness is judged day by day and it's still a little foggy looking into the future.

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rschiller
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Re: Happiness [Re: Badasp]
      #267871 - 07/27/07 02:55 PM

I think I was the one who just stated in a previous thread that the choice is ours and ours alone to be happy or not.

For me, in my marriage, I was so unhappy, but because I couldn't make the X happy no matter what I tried to do. It's still the same now, but now, I don't give a flying fudge.

What I mean is, too often we base our own happiness on others. The choice is yours and yours alone to be happy. No longer do I worry about things when they happen, what he is going to do or say to me. I don't have to worry about "pleasing" him nor taking responsibility for things I couldn't control. I would panic every night around six when the X was due home. Anything, any little thing at all could set him off. I would have the kids fed and in another room till I could gage what person we were going to get that evening.

Now, after five years of just me and the kids, we are most times pretty happy folks. We do as we please and don't get upset when things happen. Life happens.

Cici, I think you are talking somewhat about the predictability and boredom involved with marriage, and how some folks just don't want to stay and contend with it. They say they are not happy in their marriage when I believe it's themselves they are really not happy with instead.

I think when I do become involved with someone special, it will be that we compliment each other and are pleased with the "boredom" of being with each other. (Man it's hard to describe what I am trying to say here.......)

Contentment, really loving someone, and having the day to day grind, yet still being a "couple" and enjoying each other through good and bad. Happiness has to come from within one's self though, I really believe that.


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1004SRS
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Re: Happiness [Re: rschiller]
      #267953 - 07/27/07 04:26 PM

I understand what you are saying rschiller. I want someone who can be conent with the boredom.

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BeckaLeigh
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Re: Happiness [Re: CiCi]
      #268150 - 07/27/07 11:56 PM

CiCi, I have been wondering the same thing myself lately. I see people around here living way below our means of living and Dh still thinks we should have more money, more this, more that. I am content. He is not. It isnt a big thing to him, but every once in a while it bites him in the butt. I was raised dirt poor because my parents had better habits to spend their money on, so just being able to buy my kids new clothes for the heck of it, new videos, new bikes, is great to me. He wants more. We have a 3/2 mobile that we rent, for 3+ yearsd now, make about $60,000 annually, 4 healthy kids, 5 dogs, a horse, and a few fish. Everyone is healthy, happy and well-fed. To me, that is happiness. I dont know the jist of what I am trying to say, except I think some people are unable to be happy with thier lives, regardless of how well they have it. I dont know. My head is screwed up after the crap of the last few weeks. *Hugs*

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I tried being normal once. Worst five minutes of my life.


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Melanie1
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Re: Happiness [Re: CiCi]
      #268217 - 07/28/07 09:49 AM

Interesting question CiCi. Btw, you write so well... Ever think of a career that involves some writing in one form or another? Just a thought :).

Happiness... I can define it when I feel it. And I feel it when I'm out in nature taking photographs; I feel it when I print those photos and feel that I've captured a moment in time, nature's beauty, or something ethereal that can't be defined but causes a positive emotional reaction...

I feel happy when with my two sons and they're happy and doing well.

I feel happy when with good friends and walking, sharing a nice dinner or a glass of wine and we're laughing, communicating and just enjoying ourselves.

I feel happy sometimes just watching the birds outside my window or my cats snooze in the sun.

I'm happy when I have NO major worries ie about my kids, about my finances, my health, my friends or the people I care about; or about where I work.

I'm happy while reading a really good book, listening to music, or enjoying a beautiful piece of art.

The list goes on and on. So what I'm thinking happiness comes in snippets of time. Or moments at a time. There are days where I feel great and life is just going my way. Then there are days that are horrid...

Life is a combination of both highs and lows and of course that "somewhere in the middle". If I have more good days than bad for the most part, then I guess I consider myself happy :).

Melanie

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The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu


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CiCi
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Re: Happiness [Re: BeckaLeigh]
      #268221 - 07/28/07 09:54 AM

RS / Bad - I think you hit the nail on the head! This is exactally what I am talking about. There was nothing remarkable in our marriage to cause someone to be so unhappy that it would drive them to taking up with another woman. Sure, there were some basic needs on both sides that weren't being met, but there were resolutions to that - just that he didn't want to do the work (and admitted it). It then comes down to selfishness...it's that he is thinking that it's only his needs that aren't being met, never thinks about mine, and he strays to satisfy himself! Never once thinking that if he weren't so selfish, we could have worked towards getting back to a healthy place. I mean, there are people with irreconcilable differences - some on this forum have shared that...but in my case, I don't think that was the deal.

Patrice - I think you raise a great question. How does one know if they are happy....and what if they think they are, but go to a bar where some stranger tells them they aren't because he/she can see it in their eyes : -) (OK, that's a bit of a joke with some reality to it). I think that's a question I'll have to "percolate" on before I can post my ideas...I don't really know either.

Becka - I commend you for standing up for what you have and being content with it. I think you are teaching your kids to have a great sense of pride for what they have. I think in today's society, we value "things" (inanimate objects) because typically 2 parents are working and we feel "guilty" for not being with them more and make up for it in superficial ways. Either that or it's a keeping up with the Jones' thing....which is a game I never play. Either way - I think it's really important for us to show our kids that we should not define ourselvs by the superficial things of our world...rather by who we are on the inside.

HUGS,
CiCi

--------------------
Remember: A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.


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