All Good Things

01 January 2012 · 120 comments

2011 was a wonderful year. I met some awesome people, visited nine countries (U.S., South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Canada, Peru, and Bolivia) and five states, accomplished some long-standing goals, and generally lived life to the lees (to quote my favorite poem).

Having said that, the last six weeks have been very difficult. In fact, they’ve been the darkest days of my life. And the start of 2012 is going to be a challenge. Why? Six weeks ago, I asked my wife for a divorce.

I’m not going to discuss the whys and wherefores of this decision on the internet. Kris and I are both experiencing enough stress as it is. I’ll only say that there’s no acute crisis here: nobody’s cheating on anyone, and nobody’s doing anything rash.

This process is harder on her than it is on my, obviously, since I’m the one initiating it; but trust me: the divorce is no piece of cake for me either. I’ve turned into an insomniac. I sleep maybe four hours a night. And three times in the past two weeks, I haven’t been able to sleep at all. It’s miserable.

Kris: “Those are the only two benefits of getting divorced: No clutter and I’m eligible for a Roth IRA again. Wait. Are you writing this down?”

While I’m not going to write online about my reasons for choosing this path, please understand that I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was in the best interests of both of us. (Kris disagrees, obviously.)

Also, it’s important to note that Kris and I are working together to build the best possible relationship going forward. We’ve seen folks go through bitter divorces, and neither of us wants that. We want to remain close friends. And so far — after six weeks — we’ve been able to do that. We’re still living in the same house (although I move into an apartment this weekend), and we plan to see each other regularly. We’re doing a “kitchen table” divorce, where we make the decisions and then have an attorney translate them into legalese.

Our biggest conflict so far? (Other than the divorce itself, I mean.) Who has to take the TV? Neither of us wants it. Not kidding. But that problem solved itself last week when it self-destructed while Kris was doing her morning exercise. Now neither of us has to be burdened with it!

This news comes as a shock to many people; others are unsurprised. My request is this: Please be supportive of Kris. She needs it. (I need it too, but I know many people aren’t inclined to support me right now. I get that.)

Some will probably view this divorce as a sign of failure. I don’t see it that way. I’m glad to have spent 23 years with Kris, eighteen of them as a married couple. But that chapter has come to a close. It’s time for us to start new adventures, both together — and on our own.

Though our real-life friends have known of this decision for six weeks, and Kris made an announcement on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, this is the first time we’ve put the news out onto the web. I’ll mention it at Get Rich Slowly soon, as I describe the process of hunting for health insurance and acquiring a new apartment.

1 Baker January 3, 2012 at 09:53

Know that Courtney and I are constantly thinking and talking about how much we miss J.D. – and can’t wait to we can get back together. :) We hope this transition is the start of a fantastic new chapter for both you and Kris.

2 Becca January 3, 2012 at 10:25

I hope both of you can weather this difficult time well, and I’m sorry your lives have grown in different directions. Good luck with everything, and remember that while you may have shared your lives with the readers, it is still your right to both the privacy you will need in this and to the lack of judgment that should and hopefully will come!

3 jdroth January 3, 2012 at 12:29

Becca, you’ve hit on one of the difficulties we’re facing: I’ve always been fairly open about my life, writing about it publicly on the internet. I don’t share everything, of course, but I don’t hold much back. In this instance, it’s tough to gauge what to share and what not to. I feel like I have to share some of it — the bare essentials — because otherwise it’ll seem strange that I’m moving into an apartment and hunting for health insurance. But outside the bare essentials, this part of our lives isn’t meant for scrutiny, debate, and judgment. There’s no way for readers to know what I am feeling (and what Kris is feeling). The day we changed our Facebook statuses was strange, too.

4 Becca January 4, 2012 at 07:59

I think most people are decent enough to realize that while they may be curious, you are not obligated to assuage them of that curiosity. Err on the side of privacy (other than the initial announcement) and I think as time goes on it’ll be easier to see where the line is. If GRS loses a reader because of some outrage over what they see as your obligation to share your life, I doubt that is the sort of reader you want to have contribute to the discussion anyway.

5 Jenny Shaw January 3, 2012 at 10:37

I support your decision freely, and I support both of you. I imagine that it must be an especially heartrending and frightening thing to have to initiate when you know the other person isn’t expecting it. People may think it’s selfish, but you have to take care of your needs before you can take care of anyone else’s. And sometimes it means being the brave one to start the ball rolling. I was in a long term relationship that I was afraid to leave, that I knew was not fulfilling either of our needs, but he wouldn’t pull the trigger either. It took me 9 months to get the guts up to leave.

I feel like I know you from reading your blogs for so long. I’ve been a GRS reader for years. I don’t feel as though I know Kris as well through your writing, so it’s harder for me to express my support of her, but she does have it. Her life is crumbling around her and she can’t stop it. What I can tell both of you though, is that it WILL get better. Until it does, the best thing to do is to have grace for yourselves and each other. Be as kind as you can, as much as you can.

My best wishes to both of you.

6 Procrastamom January 3, 2012 at 10:41

I’m sorry JD & Kris. Wishing only the best for both of you, going forward.

7 Lane January 3, 2012 at 10:55

JD, Kris, — I hope that you both find the strength and will to get through this difficult time.

8 Jess January 3, 2012 at 10:57

That must have been an incredibly difficult decision to make. I’m sorry that you had to make it, but know that I’m thinking of both of you while this unfolds. You both have my best wishes that this is as painless a transition as possible.

9 k January 3, 2012 at 11:01

JD, I don’t “know” you (longtime GRS reader, now mostly GRS skimmer) but I am just so sorry to hear this. From your writing about your life, I’ve come to think very highly of both you and Kris — you both seem like sensible, good-hearted, fair-minded people. This has got to be a painful time for both of you, even if one of you does believe it’s the right thing to do. I wish you both the best.

Though for what it’s worth — and please take this in the spirit in which it is offered — I hope you will get Kris’s OK to write about aspects of the divorce that involve her. I assume you probably have (see above: fair-minded, good-hearted, sensible). Maintaining a friendship through a divorce that one person doesn’t want is really, really tough, and divorce feels un-private enough as it is. I expect that is especially so when one person has such a big platform as you do.

Again, my very best to each of you.

10 jdroth January 3, 2012 at 12:31

K, yes, absolutely: I don’t intend to write anything about the divorce without Kris’s consent. Well, I might write about what it’s like for me to hunt for an apartment or to shop for health insurance, but I’m not going to discuss our relationship or the process unless she’s read and approved the post.

11 bethh January 3, 2012 at 11:11

Oh, wow – I’m like some of the posters above, I don’t know either of you in real life, but after years of readership I feel both you and Kris aren’t strangers, either. (Plus I got to try some of Kris’ amazing preserved foods when I sold you that bike trainer a few years back – I am certain I got the better end of that deal!)

I’m so sorry to hear this, for both of you. And I’m already wincing at some of the comments that are bound to come your way – I hope that on balance they are more supportive than not.

You both seem like really great people and I’m sorry your lives are moving in separate directions. I hope that you can recover individually, and I hope friendship is possible in the long run.

12 Matt January 3, 2012 at 11:48

I’m a stranger on the internet, so I know there’s no real reason to listen to me… but the fact that only one of you thinks a divorce is necessary (and there isn’t a crisis) seems rather unusual and perhaps a reason for (more) serious contemplation.

I’d simply urge you to listen to Kris, and to make sure you’re not undervaluing her presence in your life. When someone does a lot of new and exciting things – as you have recently – it’s easy to take other things for granted. A lengthy relationship is of huge value (who else has been with you through so many ups and downs?) but easy to take for granted… until you don’t have it. I know it doesn’t have to make sense to me (and probably won’t, since this is your private life and I respect that), but I’m not sure what you’re gaining here. All I see is loss…

I do wish you both the best, whatever happens. I’m saddened, as I am anytime I hear of people getting divorced. I’ve frankly lost some of my respect for you. But I sincerely pray that these darkest times are over – for both of you – soon, however that may come to pass.

13 Jenetta January 3, 2012 at 13:49

I agree wholeheartedly with Matt’s comment. This saddens me and I definitely feel less respect for you. I agree that doing many exciting new things can make you value the old things in your lives less. I feel that this is an incredibly selfish move on your part and it saddens me that you would make this decision absent of any major crisis causing such a move necessary. A quarter of a century is a long time to stick with someone through good times and bad and I can guarantee you there have been times Kris wanted to get out but she stuck with you because our relationships with our spouses are more important in this world than anything else. Family is all there is in the end.

14 Crystal January 3, 2012 at 21:49

This really makes me sad to see anonymous readers telling J.D. that they have lost respect for him now. Obviously J.D. hasn’t shared details with us and for good reason I’m sure. I think it’s shameful for you all to come on here and tell J.D. that you’ve lost respect for him, as if he should be ashamed of a well thought-out decision that has nothing to do with anyone but him and his wife.

We may not agree with people’s decisions in life, but they are their own decisions and not ours to make or pass judgment on. I wish J.D. and Kris could stay together, but it is what it is.

J.D. I have the utmost respect for you, because you wrote this post with such grace and humility. You haven’t bashed Kris in anyway, or tried to pass off blame. That to me proves what kind of person you are. You didn’t share details for a reason, and I’m sure whatever details they are would have made this easier for you to share but you didn’t give the details in order to protect Kris. Bravo! If anything I have more respect for you now.

You’ve got people praying for you both. :)

15 saro January 16, 2012 at 07:30

Crystal said it better than I could. Just wanted to add a +1

We support you both and respect you for handling it so gracefully

16 Matt January 17, 2012 at 10:00

Crystal –

I thought about whether to say that part or not. However – it’s true. I don’t really know J.D., but I’ve looked up to him for several years in not only finances, but what I perceived to be the solid relationship he and his wife had. They’ve gone through many changes and challenges together over the years – and that is not easy.

Now I can’t respect that spousal relationship anymore, because it’s not there. That’s really all my comment meant. I don’t know if I was making J.D. and Kris out to be more than they were, or if the relationship has simply changed over time. Looking up to people is a dangerous thing (see how many kids have been disappointed by their beloved sports stars!). There’s an offering of trust from a person to someone they look up to – and a bit of a feeling of betrayal when your understanding of that person is abruptly forced to change. Unfair, perhaps – J.D. didn’t ask me or anyone else to look up to him – but true nonetheless. I offered an honest reaction to this… I felt it appropriate given J.D.’s honesty with us. Perhaps my honesty was less gentle than ideal… but at least it was honest (and I believe J.D., like me, does value honesty a great deal).

J.D., I apologize if my comment came across as being judgmental. It was not meant to be. I’m not in your shoes and do not know what is best for you. Judging by your response, you’d already thought about the things I said (which were offered as food for thought, not instructions)… and are still firm in your decision. I’m still sad, but I’m not going to suggest that you should do anything different. I also still wish you both the best.

You DO have my respect for the gracious way you’ve handled many unkind remarks on GRS today. I know I would be an emotional mess (and perhaps you are, but you’re doing a good job of not letting it out in the wrong way).

17 jdroth January 17, 2012 at 12:31

Matt, thanks for your comments. I appreciate your concern for us.

Yes, many of the comments at GRS have been unkind, but I’m surprisingly okay with that too. The way I see it, people wouldn’t be so upset if they didn’t care. I’m grateful they care. They can’t possibly understand the situation, of course, because they’re not in my shoes. And maybe some people wouldn’t make this same decision. But it’s still comforting in a way to know that people care enough to be upset. Does that make sense?

There have been days recently that I wouldn’t have been able to take the negative feedback. If I had posted about this last Tuesday, for instance, the response would have destroyed me. But yesterday (and today), I felt strong. I’m in a good place with good friends. I’m able to take the negative feedback for what it is.

“I feel like world’s biggest asshole,” I e-mailed Kris last night before bed.

“I don’t think you’re an asshole,” she replied. “I just think you’re confused.”

Ultimately, I can’t complain that people are sharing their feelings with me. Their feelings are their feelings, and they’re not invalid. After all, it’s my feelings that led me to this decision in the first place. It would be hypocritical of me to judge others for sharing how they feel…

18 Mike May 29, 2012 at 15:29

Actually, there is nothing in the end.

19 jdroth January 3, 2012 at 16:51

Matt and Jenetta, I understand your perspective. I really do. There’s no way for me share my reasoning without causing additional pain, and it probably wouldn’t make a difference anyhow. And just because a crisis isn’t acute (by which I mean “sudden”) doesn’t mean it isn’t severe

In the end, this isn’t something that’s subject to referendum. I can only do what I believe is right, and I have.

20 Laura January 16, 2012 at 10:30

My dad did the same thing to my mom: asked for a divorce she didn’t want or expect after 22 years of marriage because of a “crisis” only he could see. It doesn’t matter what details you aren’t telling us. There is no excuse for causing someone else this much pain because you don’t feel like being married.

21 Donna Freedman January 16, 2012 at 13:34

“There is no excuse for causing someone else this much pain because you don’t feel like being married.”
But suppose staying in the relationship causes one spouse tremendous pain? Does maintaining the other person’s serenity trump his/her right to be happy?
None of us know the full story. It’s J.D.’s life. He gets to live it. We can either wish him well or wish him ill. But we cannot make decisions for him.

22 butterandjelly213 January 17, 2012 at 08:18

As always, well said, Donna!

23 Jen January 17, 2012 at 18:53

Thank you Donna! Amazing to me that people are so upset with JD, they know nothing about what really happened.

24 kc January 20, 2012 at 11:57

This is why I love Donna Freedman so much. She is absolutely right. JD has the right to live his own life.

JD and Kris try to remain strong amidst any negativity. You guys are great people who are human like the rest of us!

KC

25 Lisa January 25, 2012 at 15:23

Did JD say he was in pain? Is Kris causing him pain? “Growing apart” does not equal pain. I haven’t seen any hint of that in what he has revealed. And I never sensed an inkling of that in any of his posts for the last several years. It may well be painful to go through divorce. I have no doubt that breaking a 20+ year marriage is painful. And in a marriage, where both parties have taken vows of commitment, yes, the other person should absolutely be considered before your own “right to be happy.” That is precisely part of the magic that takes it from a relationship to a marriage. Very sad. Kris is an amazing lady to stay friends through such difficulty.

26 Sasha January 16, 2012 at 14:45

There’s no excuse for your comment or judgment, either.
Regardless of any other details, trust me on this: being married to someone who does not want to stay married is hell.

27 Mike May 29, 2012 at 15:31

Laura, how else do you get out of such a relationship?

28 cinnamon January 16, 2012 at 11:56

JD: please understand you have my support in this difficult transition. NO ONE knows the interior of a marriage or a person’s heart and certainly no internet observer who has only seen glimpses.
I dislike how society terms a marriage a failure because it does what life does: ends. It is not the when or that it ends that is failure – especially if the time together had much growth, happiness, kindness and love. It is the failure to let it end, and then grow bitter that can be the bigger failure. I too ended a 23 year relationship and got flack for it. I too tried to be friends and do the kitchen table but in my case, my X hired a litagator and fought over everything but the kids (tells you something). Be honest, be fair, be focused and be aware that this will hurt but this will be a time of growth for both of you than can create freedom to pursue new happiness again. Best to you.

29 SupportingParents January 16, 2012 at 12:57

Matt, though this is a very personal decision for JD and Kris I find it strange that you would suggest a crisis would make a divorce somehow better? Would an affair have added value to the announcement? I hope this is a case where two mature adults part ways amicably BEFORE a true crisis. It is a sad occasion and like the rest of you I feel like I know both of them through GRS, and I hope that both realize the only people who need to understand and be ok with their decisions are them.

30 Matt January 17, 2012 at 10:15

I don’t think divorce is ever good (good may come of it, just as good may come from any horrible or tragic event, but divorce itself is just NOT GOOD in my book). My comments were meant to elicit some thought about other, less drastic paths forward. J.D. has since made it clear that he’d already considered that… which I thought was probable, but didn’t know for sure. Sometimes people get tunnel vision and narrow in on one solution instead of considering a range of solutions – this can happen to anyone, especially if they’re in a difficult place emotionally.

I wasn’t suggesting there SHOULD be a crisis – I’m very glad there isn’t! – just that a crisis would have made this move more clearly necessary. I also though I made it clear J.D. didn’t need to explain everything to us.

I’ve apologized to J.D. above… I did not mean my comments to be as critical as some seem to have read them (or as critical as he may have read them). That said… I don’t take back anything (I’ve just clarified what I meant).

31 Chris Guillebeau January 3, 2012 at 14:05

J.D. and Kris, we love you both and so does the whole internet (some of whom are actual people, I’m told).

Wishing both of you every happiness as this new, unfamiliar chapter unfolds.

32 Crystal January 3, 2012 at 14:50

I’m sorry for the stress. I’m also sorry that this wasn’t a mutual decision, so someone will hurt more than the other. But good luck to you both and I hope you both end up happier overall.

33 Kay Lynn January 3, 2012 at 17:57

This was very sad news, but I know having been through it myself that sometimes is a necessary step.

No one knows what goes on in a marriage (nor should we) and so I hope people don’t make judgements. I wish the best to both of you in this trying time.

34 margot January 3, 2012 at 19:22

I’m so sorry for both of you. Divorce and breakups from long-term relationships are some of the most difficult things on the planet – like a death in a way, only more complicated because the other person is still around. And such a big life change in countless ways. It’s hard to grow and change as individuals, to go through life’s ups and downs, and to stay together over a lifetime (which is longer than most people realize when they marry).

I wish you both the best. You both seem like incredible people, though I haven’t met either of you.

I hope that this next phase of life brings you both unexpected adventures and happiness and love. Second chapters can be exciting. And years from now, I hope you both look back on this as a difficult and brave time that was worth going through because you’re both happier and more fulfilled in the long-run.

Kris: I wish you all the healing and support you need. Eventually, you’ll be much happier than you are today and much happier than you were in the later years of your marriage to JD. It’s so tempting to cling to what was, but be brave and know that you’ll be just fine and that there’s so much waiting for you in your future.

35 Linda January 3, 2012 at 19:27

Wow. Divorce is always hard to go through, and it’s difficult to remain calm and rational through all the stress. It sounds like you still care enough about each other to work through those difficulties and remain friendly. But don’t be surprised if it gets ugly at times; even when you are really wanting to be fair and respectful in your head, emotions can get in the way. Keep this in mind if either of you gets worked up. I know this because I’ve been through it myself. I’m still friendly with my ex, but we’re at a point now where we have little contact since our lives just don’t intersect very much anymore. This may happen to you, too. Wishing the best for you and Kris.

36 margot January 3, 2012 at 19:36

Also, for the future when you have to deal with judgment and to those who are being judgmental about this blog post: I long ago learned that it’s nearly impossible to accurately judge a relationship from the outside. You almost never know what’s going on – the good, the bad, the ugly. Some of the couples who seem the happiest on the outside are a disaster when they are at home together, and couples who seem like a disaster might actually be a great fit for meeting each other’s intimate and emotional needs.

Divorce happens. A lot. It sucks, and sometimes it’s done in haste, throwing away a relationship that could have been saved and taking the easy path out. But most of the time, I’d guess that both people end up happier and more fulfilled in the long-run. What’s even sadder to me is seeing older couples who have stayed together years (sometimes decades) beyond when they probably should have divorced – there’s no love, there’s no communication, and often, they don’t even share a life together other than sharing a roof. It’s even sadder than divorce. I often look at those couples and wonder what else might have come into their lives and what amazing adventures and loves they might have found if one of them had been brave enough to change their life circumstances.

37 Erika January 3, 2012 at 21:05

I’m also a longtime GRS reader and was sad to hear this, as I always am when I hear about divorce. It’s just sad all around, even if eventually it is for the best.

I am so glad you are handling this situation respectfully, both personally with Kris and publicly with your blog, because you do have a big readership. I won’t go into it, but as shocking as Penelope Trunk’s blog can be, her most recent posts have gone over the line for me, where she seems to care about readership, money and notoriety more than her actual LIFE.

In any case, it’s nice to see a higher level of respect in your blog, and I’m sure most of your readers will appreciate it.

38 Sally JPA January 3, 2012 at 21:39

I wish my concerns a few months ago had been unfounded. I am just so sad to hear this.

39 Courtney January 3, 2012 at 22:37

J.D. and Kris, the ripple effect of divorce is wide. This is a real loss for friends who have known and cared about you for some time. I feel truly sad about it. But I also know that you are making this choice, J.D., to move you closer to the truth you are seeking within and for yourself. You have asked me to support Kris, which I do and will continue to do. And I will also support you in any way that I can. You are both amazing people who have amazing futures ahead of you, though it may not seem like it now, especially for Kris who does not agree with your decision. But you do, and I will always wish the best for both of you.

40 UnlikelyLass January 4, 2012 at 11:10

JD & Kris — Both shocked and saddened to hear this. I hope you both weather what is undoubtedly a very difficult time for you, and that you both find support and peace with where you end up.

Take care of yourselves.

-Dana

41 Amy Jo January 4, 2012 at 11:24

And I will be standing by Courtney’s side, supporting you both.

42 Mutant Supermodel January 4, 2012 at 12:50

My first reaction was “I’m sorry” but being someone who initiated and went through a divorce herself, I know from personal experience it’s not exactly the right thing to say. “Congratulations” isn’t either for that matter. Really, the best I can do is this: Good luck to the both of you. May you both be filled with more patience than you have ever experienced before. May you learn to develop a deep appreciation and sense of gratitude for each other and end with respect towards each other. May the damage be minimal. May the pain be swiftly healed. May the future loom bright and hopeful. But really, good luck. Truckloads of it.

43 Crystal January 4, 2012 at 18:58

Very well said! That just seems to sum it up perfectly…

44 Merinda January 4, 2012 at 18:50

I am shocked. You don’t know me from Adam, but I did want to wish you both luck. There seemed to be a bit of drifting apart between you and your wife, just in the way you talked about things in your writing. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy decision, but I hope you both continue to be friends as you hope.

45 Tyler Tervooren January 5, 2012 at 10:03

To both J.D. and Kris –

You know that Jessie and I love the two of you, and we’ll give our support to both of you in any way we can. We really wish you all the best through this difficult transition and happiness in both of your new phases of life.

46 Quest January 6, 2012 at 18:00

Well, JD, I’m very sorry to hear that you are ending such a long term relationship (even though I don’t know you LOL but I feel I ‘know’ you if you know what I mean) but I am not surprised. Several times over the past few months or so you have dropped clangers over there at getrichslowly and I sensed that this announcement would be coming sooner or later. I applaud you though for making a courageous decision for it is indeed courageous to end a once loving, long term relationship when that relationship has changed for whatever reason. It’s sad, exciting, distressing, hopeful, fearful, refreshing all at the same time I would imagine. We all hit rough patches. Sometimes we work through them and sometimes we don’t. Good luck to both you and Kris.

47 Tammy J January 9, 2012 at 09:54

I do not think this is a good thing on any level. You two are on my mind all the time. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around it. There is a better way than divorce. I will always love you, but this just makes me uspet and a tad bit – no a huge bit – angry at you. Angry? No disappointed would be a better word – deeply and profoundly disappointed! I ask myself, will we ever get to see Kris again? Why, when you can find answers for everything else, why can’t you find a way to stay togther? Yeah, that’s not meant to be answered, but that’s some of what is going through my head. It is all so frustrating! I want to lash out at you and then in the next breath I feel the need to tell you how much I care about you and how sorry I am that you are in the midst of this hurt and darkness. I am just so upset. I’ll get over it and I promise that when I see you again I will never mention it. I hope this doesn’t mean that you will never come around again. We would miss you greatly.

48 Colleen January 15, 2012 at 13:55

Hey JD,

I’ve been reading for years, and emailed a couple of times about misc. things and am very sorry you are in this place. I’ve been there myself, and now very clearly see it as growing pains. Never easy, but the other side holds a lot of opportunity for both of you. Hold on to peace (and lots of deep breathing).

49 Summer January 16, 2012 at 06:24

I understand that sometimes, temporary separation can be very helpful and needed to heal from wounds and pain and give each other time and space to get counseling or wait for someone to change. However, divorce needn’t be the answer. When you got married, you made a serious commitment to love and cherish your wife till death do you part, through thick and thin, not till I don’t feel like being married to you or till I think we’ll be happier apart. No doubt it is hard to stay committed when there is disagreement/pain or when you don’t feel respected or loved for long periods of time, but the solution is often to stay patient and to hang on, love is patient. It is just so much ”easier” to start fantasizing about what life could be when you don’t see change, to give up and move on, and look forward to the lure of new possibilities (the grass can seem greener indeed). Have you considered taking classes in conflict resolution and negotiation in marriage and practice those skills with a professional counselor? What about the book by Gary Chapman “The 5 love languages” and learning how to best love one another. Those skills and character (perseverance) are essential for any intimate relationships now or in the future. People who choose to leave their spouse are more likely to divorce again because those skills are character have never been formed and the same thing will happen once the ‘honeymoon’ feelings fade (which eventually they will). Life’s not always rosy and no one’s perfect, but relationships have a way of growing deeper each time we choose to stick with our spouse and give them a chance to change (wouldn’t we want our spouse to do the same for us?). I urge you to keep fighting for your marriage, you can find free counseling at churches or invest in a marriage therapist, and you will discover that new adventures await you within your marriage that is richer and deeper than any new relationships and places you can experience. Our culture has a way of encouraging us to follow our feelings (whatever makes you happy, right?) rather than choosing selfless, mature, responsible and nurturing substantial meaningful love (which always require endurance of pain). Truth is, feelings are a terrible foundation to build life upon. I can only hope and pray that you don’t give up on such a significant commitment and I believe with all my heart that there are treasures within your marriage that are waiting for you if you don’t give up just yet. May God’s peace and love surround the both of you.

50 Aimee January 16, 2012 at 08:32

I really do not think anyone should spend their lives in an unhappy marriage – so do what you need to do to fix the marriage. It seems to me that it would be very difficult to find another who loves you so much that they are unwilling to let you go without health insurance!
I do not know you at all and am not judging you or this situation. I just want to encourage you to not rush the divorce process…take your time, do everything you can to make the marriage work if possible.

51 HiyaE January 16, 2012 at 08:57

JD/Kris:

I did not think that there was a “good” divorce scenario. I thought it could only be awful. To see you two being adult and still caring is something I did not even think was a part of human nature. As a married person, I know marriage is hard hard work and sometimes there is the state of impasse. I don’t know you well but have been reading every blog post. I appreciate the difficulty of being transparent as well. That said, all the best to BOTH of you and take your time putting the pieces back together.

52 Glen Stansberry January 16, 2012 at 09:38

Hey J.D.,

While I’ve only met you in person once, I still feel deeply sorry for you both. We’re thinking of you.

53 Brian January 16, 2012 at 09:49

Keep your head up J.D!
I’ve been reading your financial blog for a couple years, and just stumbled onto this blog from your recent post on Get Rich Slowly.

I just wanted to say that you aren’t alone. I just got out of a 7 year relationship and am too getting my own place, working on a future friendship with my ex, and moving forward. I know it’s not as long as your relationship but I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone with this situation at the beginning of 2012

54 PJ January 16, 2012 at 10:12

It is ironic and sad that you are contemplating the best way to “Get Poor Quickly”-divorce. You can change wives or lovers, change locations, change friends, change blogs but hey, everywhere you go, there you are. You can’t escape the spiritual crisis that midlife brings.Maybe it is time to change your objects of worship.

55 KWu January 16, 2012 at 10:13

I wish the best for both of you. As a newlywed it’s a little scary (if irrational) to read about divorces after being married so long, but I’m glad that you’re taking the attitude that just because you’re getting divorced now doesn’t mean the marriage was a failure. It’s one of Dan Savage’s platforms that I like best, actually. Truth be told I’d wondered a bit how you guys would sort it out when you posted on Get Rich Slowly a few months ago about the large house being Kris’ dream house but not the smaller place and life filled mostly with travel that you’d been getting towards. Good luck to both of you and I hope you both start healing emotionally soon.

56 Henry January 16, 2012 at 10:36

I think you need to take another look at keeping your marriage together. I don’t know what your marriage vows were but ours were “for better or worse!” Not “oh well, we are still friends but I want a divorice!”

I am not trying to be cruel but this does effect the way I see your blog and the information you post.

My condolences if you go through with this.

57 Lisa January 16, 2012 at 10:49

I am always sad when I hear of two people getting divorced… That said, I divorced my husband about 10 yrs ago for $75. I was so pleased that we were able to work out the separation of our finances amicably.

We also had no “crisis” but I wanted more. And while I was sad that I wasn’t able to make that relationship last, I have gained so much more.

Wishing both you and Kris the best with your new lives.

58 elysia January 16, 2012 at 11:01

J.D. & Kris – I was so sad to read this. It’s true, you never know what’s in someone else’s relationship, and there is no way to assess what will and will not work out. I’d always felt (purely as a reader) that you seemed to have a lot of patience with each other and knew how to spend time and compromise; things I would have thought could keep a marriage going.
My parents divorced when I was an adult, and I wish they’d done it sooner (though my mom initiated and I’m still not sure my dad thinks it was a good plan 12+ years later). But my in-laws remain married and that relationship baffles me; it seems so unhappy.
So I can’t say divorce is bad, and I can’t say your reasons are – let me just say this: it broke my heart a little. I’ve been married for ten years, and few are the examples I see of truly good marriages that last. I hope mine will, but if it doesn’t, I hope I can handle it with the courtesy and grace you’ve shown.
I wish you both luck, peace, rest and future joy, however you may come to it.

59 Sharon January 16, 2012 at 11:39

Wow. I read your GRS post this morning, twice, then came here to try to wrap my mind around your announcement that you’re ending your marriage. I have a knot in my chest and I don’t even “know” you. …I just feel like I do. I can’t imagine what must lie behind your decision? It must be one of great personal and private significance because from the outside you and Kris seemily have it all. I left my own marriage three years ago and was asked repeatedly by everyone I knew why I had waited so long? It was that messed up. I hope your choice helps you find the happiness you’re looking for. But some advice from the battle weary? Be prepared for the possibility that Kris may turn her back on you. For all the grown up, civilized planning and talking it still comes down to two very emotional hearts and pain is a hurtful playmate. I haven’t talked to my ex for three years now. We were married for 28 years and together for 32. I miss him sometimes. But he hates me now…and that ain’t gonna change. Be sure you’re on the right road, that’s all. There’s still an awful lot to lose. Still…it’s great out here. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I wouldn’t change that for anything…even his silence.

60 Melinda January 16, 2012 at 12:22

Ugh, JD, ugh. I feel bad for both of you; having gone through divorce myself a number of years ago with a partner who made the decision to leave, I wish others didn’t have to know the pain (even though it does subside and life turns out better in the long run but at the time that’s not really what you’re thinking). My ex and I tried to remain friendly too; it backfired because we tried too quickly when the wounds were too fresh. I hope you’re both able to remain friendly, but it’s also ok if there’s a period of time when you don’t see each other. You both just might need that. Thinking of you and Kris.

61 sarah gilbert January 16, 2012 at 12:56

wow, that’s an amazing poem — one that features centrally in an essay I’ve been reworking all month. Having spent all this time pondering the relationship between Penelope and Ulysses, it’s somehow easier to say that I understand how it can be, sometimes — that we look back on decisions and loves made in our early 20s and we see how different we are now. That people may or may not stay the same but relationships can’t; it is an enormous thing for them to grow in tandem with the people who are part of them.

I know this is a terribly hard time for you both and I think it is not wrong to look for support. though I have only known you “IRL” recently, I too feel that I know you both well virtually, and I hope I can offer my sympathies to you both and my support, in any way that I can provide it. I most of all offer you my sympathy for those who offer judgment. I know too well how it is to be judged.

62 Diane-Gay January 16, 2012 at 14:24

I am so sad to hear this news. My husband of 44 years and I are each others best friends, as well as lovers. We are committed to our marriage. We made vows before the God of Heaven and Earth, although we didn’t know Him at the time. We since have come to know and love Him and He (Jesus) has helped us in rough times (see end of sentence) and smooth and we are more in love now than ever and cannot imagine being apart, although early on in this marriage we had a 7 year separation! We each had lots of pain and baggage that had to be resolved and healed and with the help of God, and people, that has happened. We each can see so much more clearly with all that junk gone! Of course this growth happened while we were separated, and after we got back together over the years. Going through this together has only served to deepen our love and friendship and respect for each other. I am terribly sorry for the hurt and pain you both are enduring , but especially Chris. It seems like she had a bomb dropped on her. I wish you both the love and grace of God and that both your lives will be healed of the pain and that you will know freedom and love and joy again.

63 Mike May 29, 2012 at 15:38

Diane-Gay. Marriage has nothing to do with a god. You say you made your vows before a god, but I’m pretty sure there was no one there who claimed to be a god. Marriage is a legal contract that joins two people in a corporation, nothing more.

64 eemusings January 16, 2012 at 14:49

GRS reader here JD. Just want to offer my sympathies. It can’t be a decision you reached lightly.

65 Peggy January 16, 2012 at 15:11

J.D.–

I know you’re not into the religious stuff much, but I will be praying for you and Kris.

66 Elaine January 16, 2012 at 15:34

JD,
I’ve commented on your blog off and on again for years and have been a daily reader for as long as I can remember. I’ve always looked up to your advice and would often reference your marriage during discussions with my own husband. Of course, the public parts of a relationship are so different than the private. I wish both of you the absolute best during this time. Kris, stay strong – you may not have the blog following, but I have no doubt you have an equal number of people sending love and good thoughts your way.

JD, I will say this (in case you are actually reading all of these comments) — Let the “divorce” word sit in your mind for at least 6 months. Your life has gone through tremendous changes in the past 5 years and especially 6 months, with your new financial freedom and traveling. You are experiencing so many new things – and that can make marriage seem old and boring and stifling. Perhaps try a separate, date each other, be intimate when sensible, and continue to love. Live apart for awhile, hold off on the divorce paperwork, and just give time for everyone to think. No matter how it turns out, I think you’ll both have more peace with the decision. Best of luck to both of you.

67 Trent Hamm January 16, 2012 at 15:48

Marriage is like an overstuffed shopping bag: you can see the vague shape of the contents from the outside, but only the people involved know what’s within.

May you and Kris both find the path to whatever it is you need from life.

68 ali January 16, 2012 at 17:23

I posted something on GSR but I wanted to post something else here. This is a paraphrase of what Mom told me when we were talking about my parents divorce (which my dad initiated). It’s something that I think is applicable to anyone:

Sometimes you can love someone, care about them, cherish them, be friends with them but just not be able to live them. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person, or they are a bad person, it just means there are differences that can’t be overcome. And it’s better to have a loving relationship apart than an unhealthy relationship together.

This isn’t what she felt right away but it is what she feels and has felt. She didn’t want the divorce but now she will say, despite everything, she is happier divorced than if they had stayed married.

69 Wendy January 16, 2012 at 17:51

How does she know what it would have been like if she had stayed married? Sounds like she didn’t have any choice and is forced to live with the consequences of your dad’s selfish decision. And why is happiness the basis for marriage? I don’t think anyone whose spouse is sick/ill or dying is happy but the right thing is to stick around.

70 ali January 17, 2012 at 10:45

Of course she doesn’t know what it would have been like if she’d stayed married, they didn’t stay married.

I actually talked to her last night and talked to her about this and she said that while it was a hard, difficult thing and it was sad that the marriage ended, she thinks it was the right thing.

I know that right now, both my parents are at my brother’s house staying with him and helping him out while he’s going through a rough time.

If my dad hadn’t be “selfish” and stayed married out of obligation I don’t know if their relationship would be as strong as it is. They love each other and care about each other but they just can’t live together and share their lives as a couple.

71 ali January 17, 2012 at 11:38

I realized I should give you a little background – my parents have been divorced for nearly 30 years, they’ve been divorced longer than they were married.

My parents current relationship didn’t happen over night, it happened because they both wanted to keep a good terms. It took a lot of work, healing, and insight on both their parts but now they have a good relationship. But they wanted to have the best relationship they could despite the divorce and so they made it work.

I’ve been asked – if they have such a great relationship why don’t they just get married again? But their relationship works because they aren’t married and their lives aren’t joined together and they can each live their own lives and make their own decisions. I think a week together is about all they can handle before they each need a break.

72 debthaven January 16, 2012 at 17:44

I am sad but not surprised.

However, as the recipient of a supposedly well-meaning ex who decided that his desire to divorce was indeed the best thing for both of us, rather than just him, I feel that the comment “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was in the best interests of both of us” is insincere, pat and unworthy. The bottom line is you have decided to do what suits you, JD. That’s your right, but call a spade a spade, and don’t sugar coat it.

Happily that was a very long time ago, and things did work out. For the best? Who can know? But I felt the same thing reading your comment that I did 20 years ago when my ex told me the same thing: that my ex’s decision to divorce “for both our sakes” was fundamentally dishonest. He didn’t choose to divorce me for me, he chose to divorce me for himself.

Best of luck to both of you, and many hugs for Kris.

73 SLCCOM January 16, 2012 at 17:57

JD, Kris, my sympathies and I hope that you both end up much happier. People forget that in the “good old days,” death typically parted a couple long before 25 years of marriage. Ali had a great comment about having a loving relationship apart being better than an unhealthy relationship together.

You’ll both get through this, and be stronger and happier, whether together again or separately. As many have said, nobody can judge anothers’ marriage, and I hope that you have a thick enough skin now to realize that those who are disappointed in you are reflecting and reacting to their own pain and experiences.

Hang in there, put one foot in front of the other, and know that you have the support of many. And thanks for not asking people to choose between you and Kris!

74 somsiah January 16, 2012 at 18:41

JD, Kris: This is a heartbreaking news and an upsetting one. Still I’m glad you both are in support of each other. ~ S

75 Carlyle January 16, 2012 at 19:07

Life can be difficult. Relationships even more so. In some respects a divorce is like the death of a loved one. Time will ease your guilt and your wife’s pain but on some level you’ll both always harbor thoughts of what was and what might have been. But life goes on. Your future lives will be different than the one you both had once hoped and planned for but life will still be good for each of you. May you both reach that point in time sooner rather than later when the pain has faded and your new, now separate lives are again full and happy.

76 debthaven January 16, 2012 at 19:18

I’d also encourage Kris to think about whether she really wants to stay in that house long-term. I wouldn’t encourage her to do anything rash, but it may be better for her to let go and start afresh, one day, without the ghosts. Not anytime soon, but maybe in a year or two.

This said, I am still in the home my ex and I bought together. I always believed I hung onto this home for our kids, in fact all these years later, I know I did it for me, and the kids were an excuse of sorts. No regrets, I love love love my house, so I definitely understand that it can go either way.

77 Michael K. January 16, 2012 at 20:57

Last time I checked, marriage was not intended for personal happiness. Marriage is a contractual obligation–often with the promise made–“til death do us part.” It is a commitment not to present happiness, but to the future person of the other. The commitment is–“I’ll be there for you now, and in the future.”

Somewhere collectively we’ve decided marriage is about personal happiness–which is insane considering whenever you bind two humans together for life you are bound to have many peaks and valleys. In other words, I think we have come to expect too much from marriage. We wish it to provide more then what it can really offer–so we are disappointed with it, and we get rid of it.

That being said–I appreciate J.D. not beating around the bush and even publicly acknowledging what is going on. I also want to note that none of us know the full story of what is going on, nor should we, nor are we privy to that information. We should be slow to assume we know the motivates of others, and even pretend to know those motives. Lets remember that here. At the same time, I stand behind my general comments about marriage. I will pray for continual reconciliation during this hard time.

78 Thomas January 16, 2012 at 21:10

JD are you sure the decision to be friends is not selfish on your part? As you stated, Kris doesn’t want the divorce. Inevitably somewhere in Kris’s mind she likely clings to the hope that you will change your mind (even if she doesn’t admit to this).

Moreover, the decision to remain friends represents a safety net for you; denies Kris time to mentally digest what has happened; and perhaps makes her more agreeable to separating assets than she otherwise would be.

Finally, maintaining close contact right after a decision like this may stall her from moving forward with her life. I see very little benefit for Kris. If you really want to be friends, limiting communications at least for a while seems the way to go. Taking a trip with Kris also seems like a bad idea, especially when she disagrees with the Divorce.

79 Lucille January 17, 2012 at 02:34

JD, really feel for you. I’ve been there too. We were married for 22 years, together for 27 and I was the one who wanted out. My break-up was messy (3 kids + clutter!) but nearly three years later we’ve weathered the storms and are all in a better place. It’s good that you and Kris are amicable – I did not have that at the start. I was seen as selfish and, in a way that’s true, your self-improvement is a path that only you can forge. No one else can hear or even understand your heart’s calling. I live alone (the kids come and go) but I love the quiet moments to think and just be. I don’t regret a thing. I wish you well on your journey and you might like to dip into my blog (www.wisdomona.blogspot.com) for some “uncommon” relationship advice such as: “Divorce is the new marriage”. Lucille

80 Jaime January 17, 2012 at 02:55

Michael, marriage should be about happiness for both people! This isn’t the 15th century where people got married out of obligation and societal expectations. I think JD would be cheating Kris if he was staying in a relationship out of pity and not love.

Kris and JD both deserve to be loved. You know Thomas is right though JD, don’t make it hard on Kris, don’t string her along, don’t make her go on vacation with you. Give her some time to grieve. Its hard to move on if you see that person each week.

I hope you both find what you’re looking for. I can’t help but be on Kris’s side though.

81 Ros January 17, 2012 at 03:02

Just learned about this today through the GRS post, I’m sorry to hear about what happened. My mind is somehow too simple to comprehend how married people can grow on separate ways after 23 years of being together. Where the love goes then, that it wasn’t able to weather the storm…

82 Jen January 17, 2012 at 10:00

I wish you both all the best in the next chapter of your lives.

My only comment, and absolutely not meant judgmentally, is that I hope Kris truly is OK with you telling everyone that you initiated the divorce and not just being a “good sport” about it. That seems, somehow, just too personal.

83 Eddie January 17, 2012 at 10:04

Dude,

Been reading you a while at GRS and love the work and from the nuances of your writing I have gotten some flavor for you and your wife. I’m sad to see you throw away your marriage. I have been married for 25 years now and no single year has been easy but they have all been worth it. Getting over the rough spots whether they involve bad stuff (fighting, cheating etc.) or just lack of any personal feeling of “this isn’t the life I want” is important as a person. You made a commitment that you are now breaking for reasons that you haven’t explained but unless she hasn’t held up her end you can’t end this just because its not the life you want. You have to find a way to grow as a couple or you are failing as a person. Be open with Kris about why it isn’t working for you and the two of you come to an agreement about what compromise makes it okay for both of you.

Bottom line: divorce isn’t the answer unless she is cheating on you. Make it work or fail as a person.

84 Kate January 18, 2012 at 19:29

I dont think your argument is very thought out at all.
I completely agree that marriage is a committment and that getting through rough spots and changes of feelings is part of the journey.
But to say ‘you cant end this just because it’s not the life you want’ doesnt make any sense! That’s exactly why a marriage should be ended. Circumstances…cheating, fighting etc….can perhaps be overcome. But if a person ultimately decides that they want something different from their life, how can they continue in the marriage? It should require time and careful thought of course, but I dont believe in sacrificing one’s happiness and fulfilment in life for the sake of upholding a contract which, at that point when the emotional commitment is gone, essentially is just a bit of paper. We dont know JD’s thought processes, and I’m sure he didnt take the decision lightly. Nor should be know. But I’ve been really shocked at how critical and judgemental people have been with so few facts.
There are many married people who are miserable and merely go through the motions of their ‘married life’ with little desire to be there. We only get one life, and I believe that as long as we are kind, respectful and fair to others, there should be no shame in making the most of it and living how we wish. Sometimes we can compromise or find ways of making things work, but sometimes not. I dont say this lightly, as I believe that much effort should be made to preserve a relationship – but I believe that everyone has the prerogative to compromise only so far as they are willing, and sometimes not at all. Marriage is very important, but so are many other values, and who is to say which should take precendence in a person’s life?

It would be far worse for JD to stay in a marriage out of nothing more than duty. That would be terribly unfair on Kris, and I’m sure she’d be mortified and humiliated to find out years down the line that he was only there to uphold one vow made decades earlier. My parents divorced when I was young and I’m so thankful that they did. After trying hard to make things work they decided to split and it’s clear to everyone who knows them that they grew apart, and 20 years later are such completely different people who as a couple now would be absolutely incompatible. Could they have made it work? Perhaps….but to see where they have decided to take their lives of their own accord, it’s clear that their goals and ambitions grew into very different things. I’m glad they were both able to fulfil those desires, rather than ending up in some pale, second-rate version of their dreams somewhere in the middle, and resenting each other.

Life is not what it used to be. We no longer have a job for life, but now many people have multiple jobs and/or careers. We can travel all over the world. We can pick and choose what education we will receive. We dont live in small towns and villages but often in big cities and will meet so many people through our lives. And therefore we cant foresee the future – we dont know what will influence us or who we’ll be. We can only hope and try as hard as we possibly can to stay together. Funnily enough I am a bit of a romantic and do think marriage should be entered into with the commitment of forever, but realistically in this world, I think divorce will happen more and more.
It doesnt have to be a negative thing. People can go through divorce and move on to have happy, successful and enjoyable lives!
And after the length of JD and Kris’s relationship, I hardly see that as a failure. If this really is the end for their marriage, I’m sure they will be able to look back (once the dust settles) and be proud of the time they were able to be there for each other.

85 Lily (from Italy) January 17, 2012 at 14:07

Hey guys, I really hope you get through this in the best possible way.
Hugs

86 Ash (in US) January 17, 2012 at 14:23

Hi JD,

I thought it best to leave this comment over here instead of at GRS after reading all of the comments. My heart hurts for Kris and for you. I don’t know you, and I realize that. I only know what you’ve shown the web–as one of your other readers put it, “the character JD”. I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. I’m not going to touch what should be done for either of you–I have no personal experience with it.

What I will say is, “try meditation”. Or, “Try Tai Chi.” You mentioned yoga, but for me, Tai Chi worked better. I’ve not seen it suggested. There are calm movements and still moments, which works better for my active brain. There are also standing/sitting meditations, which helped me calm down and work through my stress.

For me, it helps me “still my soul”, as it were. I feel as if your posts have shown you are striving for something. Maybe this recommendation will help you declutter your mind.

Best of luck to you on your journey.

Kris, best wishes to you. Please take time by yourself to think and meditate. Listen to your support group, but make your own decisions.

I hope it works out amicably for both of you.

87 Edwin January 17, 2012 at 14:28

Hey J.D. longtime reader of your blog. I’m sorry to hear the news, I wish the best for both of you. I tend to see divorce as a major heart surgery, be careful and who knows maybe both of you will work it out in the end. Either way be strong.

88 crhage January 17, 2012 at 15:29

JD,

I am sorry to hear of your impending divorce. I am a long time reader and it made me sad to read your post today.

I went through a divorce in 2006 and it wasn’t easy. I initiated the divorce, but only because I couldn’t live with an alcoholic anymore. I personally do not regret the decision one bit.

It is good to hear that you are both going to try and remain friends. One thing to think long and hard about before signing your name to those final papers is the future. If this is some sort of mid-life crisis and you find yourself missing her desperately in a year or two, just remember that she may not take you back. How will it make you feel to see her move on with her life and find a new partner? What happens if she starts shutting you out of her life? Is that something you can handle? Remember that you are closing the door to the relationship, and sometimes, unexpectedly, those doors can never be reopened.

Like I said, in my case I’ve never regretted it. But, that’s not to say a lot of people do.

89 marriage is sacred January 17, 2012 at 16:04

It’s hard to see the honor in divorcing the woman you made a promise to 18 years ago. I strongly recommend you commit to marriage counseling before going through with this.

90 Jean January 17, 2012 at 17:06

Your decision to divorce your wife after 18 years of marriage is further proof that I should stop taking financial advice from you. If you can’t even protect your most valuable asset (your marriage), one that is shared with another (your wife), how on earth can you manage to think rationally about other decisions in your life? It doesn’t calculate correctly. I’ve always appreciated your honesty in your writing, so I have to be honest with you about how your decision may affect your readership.

91 amiable January 17, 2012 at 20:31

my husband had a fairly friendly divorce. it is possible. as a family we would be there for his ex if she needs us. she is a nice person.

92 Jason@Frugal Dad January 18, 2012 at 07:40

J.D, sorry to hear this news. Though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you after sharing the personal finance space these last few years. I imagine this was a very tough decision, and as a product of divorce, I know the raw emotions that come with it. I wish you and Kris the best as you move forward.

93 Ditto January 18, 2012 at 12:23

Society doesn’t make it easy to do what you have and for that I think it often takes more courage to leave than it would to stay. The energy I have put into creating the ‘happy’ front on a lifeless marriage for the past decade or more is exhausting so after 25 years I am on your path.

I haven’t had the courage yet to use the word divorce with my spouse, but we have talked about ending up apart, sooner rather than later. He’s no happier in the relationship than I am, but is less inclined toward change. I look forward to joy and celebration being part of my daily life, rather than a civil roommate relationship with his anger and resentment bubbling just below the surface. It’s the blowback I dread that is part of the reason for my deferring.

I support and admire your courage to be so honest in the most difficult situation, and to bare it to the fangs of the internet while you’re in the midst of it.

Know this: you are speaking to group of people who are taking heart from the fact that you’ve said the words and made the move and lived to tell the tale. I wish you both a happier and more fulfilling life together apart.

94 David January 18, 2012 at 23:26

JD,

I’m going through a divorce right now. I asked for it. I know how hard it is, being the one to leave. I understand, and respect, your desire for Kris to be supported through this. You need support, too.

I also understand some of the emotions you’re experiencing, some of the things you must be saying to yourself, and about yourself. Despite what some have said, there’s no “right” answer. There’s only what is. If the reality is that you can’t stay, you’re not choosing the “right” thing, you’re living in reality. Denying reality and staying in a failed marriage wouldn’t be fair to you. Or Kris.

I moved into my 700 square foot apartment in September. There have been ups and downs, times of peace and sadness. I’ve learned to experience these emotions, to breathe into them and accept them.

Finally, I learned to accept that even the things I was ashamed, the things that Made me feel like an asshole, didn’t define me. For me, this was freeing.

I know what you’re going through is specific to you, and your history. I know you don’t know me. And I know that being so close to your situation makes me feel a certain kinship with you. You’ll be in my thoughts, and if you ever need to talk to someone who’s walked the hard road you’re on, know that I’m available. I don’t offer that lightly, and I certainly don’t expect any response, but it’s available to you.

95 Mochi January 19, 2012 at 01:36

It’s always sad when good things come to an end, and perhaps this is for the best. But I can’t help but notice that you mention not once but twice (here and on GRS) that YOU asked for a divorce. Why not just say, “We’re getting divorced”? Why was it so important to you that complete strangers know that you were the dumper, not the dumpee? For all of your talk about compassion and doing the right thing and all of that, I’m not sure publicly humiliating Kris is the way to go about it.

96 jdroth January 19, 2012 at 08:37

Kris is the one who wanted it to be phrased that way. She wants it to be clear that this is my decision, not hers.

97 Mochi January 19, 2012 at 16:51

Ah. Well, it’s definitely a shame to hear about this whole thing either way! As a long-time GRS reader and relative newlywed, I was inspired by what a great team you and Kris were.

I guess I’m glad (?) to hear that the whole phrasing thing was her idea — it really made my heart hurt for her. Good on you, for following her wishes even though it made you sound like a cad on your own blog.

And thank you for explaining — I know you didn’t have to. Best of luck to both of you.

98 Mark Gavagan January 19, 2012 at 07:14

JD,

I’m sorry your family is going through this. Best wishes to all for the best possible outcome.

-Mark G.

99 Mike Holman January 19, 2012 at 10:27

I’m sorry that this is happening to you guys, but hopefully it will work out better in the end for both of you.

I can’t say I’m shocked however, since your lives seemed to be growing further and further apart over the past year.

100 kristi January 19, 2012 at 17:21

JD – Thanks so much for sharing this. This is something that me and my partner have been struggling with and its good to hear from someone going through the process with the goal of remaining good friends. We have the added difficulty of a kid and have not made a decision yet.
I know its emotionally draining to shift the role someone shares in your life. Wishing you the best as you follow your intuition and make each of your lives more full.

101 AnonymousToday January 20, 2012 at 08:16

Hi there — I was the one who, after 20 years of marriage, asked for a divorce and left my household. Lots of folks were as viciously judgmental as some of the comments I’ve read here: Telling me that I was a failure, a bad person, quoting the vows at me, commenting that marriage isn’t about “happiness,” that I must have come to the decision without the proper gravity, etc. It’s all bs, of course. Living within a relationship that has run its course is hell for everyone involved, and no amount of palaver will change that fact. You can’t make things the way they were through an act of will.

The experience taught me a lot about having the courage of my convictions, and that others’ opinions just really don’t matter when you’re doing what you know you need to do. When people in long relationships decide to end things, outsiders should hold their tongues. It’s hard enough as it is to untangle a long enmeshment.

Three years after the fact, I can say that, despite the pain of separation, I feel as if I’m living my own life for the first time in my adulthood. My ex says the same. The kids are thriving now that they’re not living in a household run by adults who are putting so much energy into making things work.

102 Dave January 20, 2012 at 09:49

J.D. I’ve been mulling your Monday GRS post over for a few days. I am reminded of a passage in Your Money or Your Life. There is an example about a man avoiding digging into his financial closet because that might mean he would have to admit remaining in an failed marriage, among other things. I frequently think about this with respect to my own marriage of 22 years. I married too young, didn’t leave early on when the opportunity was ripe, and now I’m in my forties wondering why I’m staying in this marriage. She is a nice person and we seldom argue (a lack of passion?). We’re effectively just room mates with diverging goals. Married and living single.

You’ve ripped the band-aid off and can get on with healing. So far I’m just prolonging the agony by ripping it a little bit and then pressing it back down. I wish you and Kris well, J.D.

103 marriage is sacred January 21, 2012 at 09:15

Oddly, you operate a website titled “Get Rich Slowly.” Getting a divorce has to be one of the worst ways to get rich slowly. I think it falls under “Get Poor Quickly.” Kobe Bryant just lost 75 million dollars in his divorce. I’m probably not the first commenter to point this out.

104 Karen January 24, 2012 at 09:56

JD, Wow, I cannot imagine living through a divorce on the internet… an image of an atomic bomb going off comes to mind. I think you are handling it with more grace than I could ever hope for. Try and make the supportive voices louder than the detractors, advice that I would find really hard to follow… a do as I say not as I do moment.

As an aside to those who feel free to throw around judgement, I judge you right back. It’s the end of a marriage not the end of the world, he didn’t ask you for a divorce, stop taking it so personally. The only one qualified to comment is Kris and she is showing more maturity than any of you.

Whew, I feel better now… All the best JD and Kris.

105 djswizz January 24, 2012 at 11:19

I would never quit my wife. My belief and my conviction. But sometimes it has to be done in order for others to move on. I wish the best.

106 Wes January 24, 2012 at 12:39

Sorry to hear this. You guys seemed to have a good thing together sharing life and frugality and I emphasize with my wife all the time how our living below our means is only possible because we work together. Obviously, being single you don’t have to work [deal] with anyone else. Maybe some day if you ever decide to write publicly about any of the whys you could offer some insight on how frugality may have affected your decision/ situation.
It seems like a number of success stories about frugality, wealth creation, etc. are about single people and there seem to be no end of arguments to fall into about money for a couple. I’ve always diminished those arguments and excused them with “I’d much rather argue about how much we are saving than how much we don’t have” but it can still really be a constant strain to want to make more, save more, spend less, etc. no matter how well you seem to be getting along.

Both of you take care of yourselves.

107 Sara January 25, 2012 at 14:23

I think it’s disgusting that you chose to do it in this way. You are making the mistake that celebrities and really tv people do, you believe you are obligated to your audience, and it gets to a point where it is over and above the obligation that you have to your wife. I also think it’s disgusting that you speak for her…”it’s harder for her..” and asking people to support her in your blog? I don’t know you or her, how many of your readers are people you actually know? How can we offer support to a woman we don’t know? And who are you to ask us to support a woman you are divorcing? Isn’t it up to her to turn to people she’s close to?? If it were me, I’d be angry at your presumption. It’s also condescending. I hope that she finds someone who values her in the way that you clearly don’t. Someone who won’t discuss her feelings with complete strangers. And someone who isn’t going through a classic mid-life crisis. If you ever get counseling, it’ll snap you out of it, and you’ll realize just how badly you screwed up, throwing away a 23 year long relationship. Hopefully by then, Kris will have moved on to someone better.

108 Tara January 25, 2012 at 16:39

I am so sorry to hear that you and Kris are getting divorced. I have been there twice, and it is extremely painful, and it leaves indelible scars, but sometimes it is necessary. I wish you both the best of luck and happiness for the future.

109 Tboofy January 28, 2012 at 16:53

I’m sorry about your divorce. Best of luck to both of you. Divorce sucks.

110 Amy January 31, 2012 at 15:24

It’s amazing how you can feel like you know someone just by reading their writing. I read GRS every day (but obviously not for the past couple of weeks! moving as well..) and your writing style is so open and conversational that I feel like I know you — I certainly get more updates on your life than I do some of my own friends! I’ve been busy with my own move and missed your post at GRS. So when you mentioned the divorce today, I was stunned, and have spent some time trying to catch up on what’s going on. It’s crazy since I don’t know you (I don’t even comment!) that I am so, so sad for you and Kris. I’ve so enjoyed learning from you, and learning about you, and I’m just terribly sad that this has happened. I do admit that I’ve been a bit worried with some of the things you’ve mentioned over the past couple of months — extended solo travel, the house, etc. But I was hoping that you both were working out a way to be more independent but still together. I can’t/won’t try to give any advice (I do actually realize that I don’t know you at all), but I will just hope for the best. Thanks as always for your honesty.

111 James January 31, 2012 at 21:11

JD, I’ve long respected you since the inception of GRS but I must say, even with your disclaimers about not really wanting to discuss the personal aspects of the divorce-why discuss it at all on the Internet? At least, wait until it’s over, not when things are still fresh and raw. I’ve seen your post over at GRS and also here and it’s self-serving and pity seeking.

Regardless of how this affects your personal finances, there are just some things better left private. Facebook was enough to your personal friends and family members, keep it there and save some dignity for yourself because you sir, have none.

I wish you the best

112 Zennifer February 4, 2012 at 13:32

I remember reading many years back about how you kept separate bank accounts. I am still hoping to get married at some point, and being fairly successful have wondered about keeping separate finances. I am conflicted about this, do you feel this in any way contributed to your deciding to end your marriage?

113 jdroth February 4, 2012 at 14:30

The decision to have separate accounts had absolutely nothing to do with my decision.

114 Dana February 5, 2012 at 09:04

Sadly, this is a very common scenario. The wife sacrifices to provide financial and domestic stability so that the husband has the freedom to make his dreams come true. Once he achieves financial and personal success, he sheds the old life in favor of exciting new adventures. It’s not fair but it is, unfortunately, not unique.

115 Chris February 6, 2012 at 09:41

JD,

Long time reader of GRS and GFS, sorry to read about the divorce — no fun at all I’m sure. I hope you continue to be successful.

I recently went through the same issue of hunting health insurance as an individual and I wrote about it, I thought you might find it helpful:

http://blog.christopherrcooper.com/the-best-health-insurance-for-self-employed-and-entrepreneurs/

Cheers and good luck,

Chris

116 Lura February 6, 2012 at 16:50

Hi JD– I am long time reader of GRS, and seldom poster…. I just today tuned back in after awhile away. Read how you sold GRS and the divorce too. Selling GRS, I should have know by all the Ads… The divorce, I just wanted to say makes you a more real person to me that I actually relate to a bit better. being a single Mom I feel that GRS is often dominated by the DINK– double income no kids. I often have to sort that out and just focus on all the practical stuff that I came there for. I often felt peoples comments were to make themselves feel good… “look how much we have saved” etc… more of an ego stroking thing. It takes a stronger ego to be honest with yourself no matter what the cost and I applaud you. You may have lost readers, but you may gain some as well. Congrats on you future!!

117 Tisi February 10, 2012 at 19:25

So this sounds weird even to me, as I don’t know you personally and have only commented once or twice. Somehow in the years I have been reading your blog (since 2007!) I began to look up to you and Kris as an example of a healthy relationship. I don’t have any real life examples of that, and the self-screening quality of blogging means that your audience sees only what you want them to see. Yet some quality of good writing makes an audience feel they have a window into your life. I’m surprised by how emotionally invested I have become in a relationship that I do not have any true contact with.

That said, no one really knows whats going on inside of a marriage except the people in it. If at some point you and Kris become comfortable enough with your new relationship with each other and the changes in your life the led to it to share with the internet, I for one would appreciate filling the holes in the narrative.

Sometimes you wonder – If a couple who seemed so great at working with each other couldn’t make it – what chance does my much less ideal relationship have? I think that may have more to do with emotional comments you have gotten so far than anything else.

118 Christopher Harley February 11, 2012 at 02:19

Your situation reminds me of Laura Munson’s essay that appeared in the NY Times; “Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear.”

119 Maria February 13, 2012 at 11:41

I support your decision for privacy and normally I would not comment on a personal issue. However I have 3 friends going through divorce now, 2 initiated by the husband and one by the wife. In all 3 cases the recieving spouse did not move on until the divorce decree. I find it odd that Kris moved forward after just 6 weeks. She knew. Better yet she knew and accepted it. Good luck to you both in your next chapter. Does Kris have a blog? Her perspective could help others. Cheers

120 Spiritmom May 24, 2012 at 20:12

Marriage is for keeps. You’ll be sorry. Wrong decision, buddy.

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