All Good Things

1 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.

{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Baker 3 January 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.

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2 Becca 3 January 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!

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3 jdroth 3 January 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.

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4 Becca 4 January 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.

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5 Jenny Shaw 3 January 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.

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6 Procrastamom 3 January 2012 at 10:41

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

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7 Lane 3 January 2012 at 10:55

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

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8 Jess 3 January 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.

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9 k 3 January 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.

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10 jdroth 3 January 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.

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11 bethh 3 January 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.

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12 Matt 3 January 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.

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13 Jenetta 3 January 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.

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14 Crystal 3 January 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. :)

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15 saro 16 January 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

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16 Matt 17 January 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).

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17 jdroth 17 January 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 29 May 2012 at 15:29

Actually, there is nothing in the end.

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19 jdroth 3 January 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.

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20 Laura 16 January 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.

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21 Donna Freedman 16 January 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.

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22 butterandjelly213 17 January 2012 at 08:18

As always, well said, Donna!

23 Jen 17 January 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 20 January 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 25 January 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 16 January 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.

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27 Mike 29 May 2012 at 15:31

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

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28 cinnamon 16 January 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.

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29 SupportingParents 16 January 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.

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30 Matt 17 January 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).

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31 Chris Guillebeau 3 January 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.

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32 Crystal 3 January 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.

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33 Kay Lynn 3 January 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.

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34 margot 3 January 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.

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35 Linda 3 January 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.

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36 margot 3 January 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.

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37 Erika 3 January 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.

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38 Sally JPA 3 January 2012 at 21:39

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

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39 Courtney 3 January 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.

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40 UnlikelyLass 4 January 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

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41 Amy Jo 4 January 2012 at 11:24

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

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42 Mutant Supermodel 4 January 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.

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43 Crystal 4 January 2012 at 18:58

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

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44 Merinda 4 January 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.

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45 Tyler Tervooren 5 January 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.

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46 Quest 6 January 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.

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47 Tammy J 9 January 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.

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48 Colleen 15 January 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).

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49 Summer 16 January 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.

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50 Aimee 16 January 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.

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51 HiyaE 16 January 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.

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52 Glen Stansberry 16 January 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.

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53 Brian 16 January 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

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54 PJ 16 January 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.

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55 KWu 16 January 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.

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56 Henry 16 January 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.

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57 Lisa 16 January 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.

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58 elysia 16 January 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.

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59 Sharon 16 January 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.

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60 Melinda 16 January 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.

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61 sarah gilbert 16 January 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.

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62 Diane-Gay 16 January 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.

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63 Mike 29 May 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.

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64 eemusings 16 January 2012 at 14:49

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

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65 Peggy 16 January 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.

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66 Elaine 16 January 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.

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67 Trent Hamm 16 January 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.

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68 ali 16 January 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.

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69 Wendy 16 January 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.

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70 ali 17 January 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.

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71 ali 17 January 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.

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72 debthaven 16 January 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.

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73 SLCCOM 16 January 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!

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74 somsiah 16 January 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

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75 Carlyle 16 January 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.

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76 debthaven 16 January 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.

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