Divorce

My wife told me at the end of June that she wanted to separate.

This wasn’t the first time she’d said that.  This time was different, though.  This time she wouldn’t be talked out of it.

She felt like she couldn’t trust me anymore.

I’d lied to her about watching porn.  That was worse than the fact that I’d been watching porn.

Six months earlier I’d decided to come clean to her.  We’d been going through marriage counseling, and I started feeling a lot closer to her.

I knew my lies were getting in the way of us getting closer.

One night she confessed something to me.  So I confessed to her that I’d been lying.

At first she seemed ok.  By the time I came home from work the next day I could tell she wasn’t ok.

She went into a deep depression for several months.  I was worried, but I didn’t know what I could do.  Most of the things I tried to do were mistakes.

We went through cycles.  She’d let me know she wasn’t happy with me.  I’d work hard at being the best husband ever.  After a while I’d slack off.  I couldn’t stick with it.  She’d get upset again.

She was gentle when she told me.  More gentle than I expected.  I cried.  She comforted me.

I told her I was really going to change this time.  I meant it when I said it.

Eventually I got used to the idea.  She was going to divorce me no matter what I did.

I decided once we were divorced I’d change.  I’d become the best version of myself, and hope she’d like the new me.  Then maybe she’d want me back.

Later it sunk in that she was probably never going to take me back.

Now I’ve accepted it.  I’m ready to move on with my life.

I think…

I want to have more kids

My wife doesn’t.  At least that’s what she says.

Since she’s divorcing me it doesn’t matter.

I don’t want to get married again right away.  I want to become the man I know I have the potential to be.  The wife I find now may not be compatible with the man I want to become.

I love babies.  Whenever I see babies or toddlers it makes me want another.

It’s not because I don’t love my boys.

They’ve been asking my wife for years when she’s going to give them a little sister.

A few weeks ago they told me Mommy didn’t want to have another baby.  I reminded them about the divorce.  They seemed sad.

I told them I was probably going to get remarried, and when that happened I might have another baby.  They were happy about that.

When my oldest was born I wasn’t excited.  I’m ashamed of that.

He showed me how wonderful being a dad is.  He made me want to have another.  Now I have two wonderful little boys.

They make me want to have even more kids.

I was secretly relieved to get kicked out of college

I didn’t want to get stuck in a job I hated.

I didn’t want to be mistreated by employer after employer.

I was a computer science major.  I was planning on becoming a programmer.  Then I read this:

Now let’s talk about death marches, mandatory uncompensated overtime, the beeper on the belt, and having no life. Men accept these conditions because they’re easily hooked into a monomaniacal, warrior-ethic way of thinking in which achievement of the mission is everything. Women, not so much. Much sooner than a man would, a woman will ask: “Why, exactly, am I putting up with this?”

Eric S. Raymond, Women in computing: first, get the problem right

For those who are unfamiliar with ESR, he is sort of the godfather of the open-source software movement, and a master programmer.  He knows what he’s talking about.

I wanted to be able to be a family man.  That blog post didn’t give me a lot of confidence I’d be able to do that, or much else I wanted to do.

My enthusiasm about school had already started to cool.  I had to take classes I wasn’t interested in.  A lot of the work seemed like busy work.

I talked to my wife about the doubts I was having.  She left me know she would be very unhappy if I quit.  So I tried to soldier on.

I didn’t do a good job of it.  I wouldn’t do assignments.  If I did them it would be hurriedly, at the last minute.  A lot of times I skipped class altogether.

This went on for a few years.  Then when the university told me I had to switch majors it ended.

I was disappointed, but also relieved.

A few months before the end of my last semester of college, I discovered James Altucher.  Glenn Beck had him on his show to discuss an article he’d written, called 10 Reasons Why You Have to Quit Your Job This Year.

I started reading through his blog and listening to his podcast.  Among other things, he says he regrets going to college:

When I was 19, I won some money in a chess tournament. So instead of using that money for my college tuition I decided to drop out of college and buy a car.

I bought a used 1982 Honda Accord. I drove it around for a few hours since they let me drive it right out of the lot.

But when I saw my girlfriend and everyone else taking their classes I got a little jealous. I returned the car and cancelled the check and entered my sophomore year of college. But I regret it now.

James Altucher, 8 Alternatives to College

James was a college graduate.  A computer science major, like me.  He graduated college and did programming work for them for a few years.  When he got a programming job in the real world, and he couldn’t even program.

I was more conflicted that ever.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish school.  I wasn’t sure I wanted a programming job anymore.  I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to get a programming job if I finished school.

But I didn’t want to upset my wife.

That summer the university gave me a reprieve.

I didn’t finish college

I went to college right after high school.  It was a little college in a rural town.  I didn’t know anyone there.

Before long I made friends.  I started dating for the first time.

I worked hard at first.  I took seventeen credits my first semester.  I practically lived in the library.  I didn’t shower for a week.

After a couple of weeks I burned out.  I started skipping classes and not doing assignments.  I hung out with friends instead.

Or I played on the internet.

I never really used the internet before college.  Once in high school our class went to the library to do research on the internet, but I had no idea what I was doing.

In college the internet and I became best friends.  I’d spend hours in the computer lab looking up everything I could think of.  Sometimes I’d take CDs and headphones so I could listen to music while I surfed.

As the year went on my grades got worse.  After going home for the summer I got a letter saying I would have to take a term off.  I decided not to go back .

A few years later I tried teaching myself Japanese from a book I got from the library.  That wasn’t very effective, so I decided to take a college class.  Then I thought, “If I’m going to take one college class, why not take a few?”  So I signed up for several fun classes.  After a couple of years I started feeling burned out.  I didn’t know what I wanted to major in.  So I stopped going.

A few years after that I was married and had a toddler.  We were living in my in-laws’ basement.  Then I was laid off from my job and having trouble finding another.

My wife suggested that I go back to school.  She suggested that I go to the small-town school I’d gone to previously.  I’d dreamed about going back, but I didn’t think it would happen.

I jumped at the chance.  We moved just after Christmas and I started school in January.  I was going to be a serious student and get good grades this time.

I did really well the first semester.  After that my enthusiasm waned.  After a year or two I had a conversation with my wife about whether college was right for me.  She was working to support our family while I went to school, and she let me know that my degree was her hope for the future.

After five semesters at the small-town school I decided to transfer to a university in a larger town.

I was at the university for a year.  When I attempted to sign up for computer science classes for the next fall semester I got a message saying I needed to be in the computer science program.  I was already a computer science major.  I emailed my adviser to find out what was going on.

My adviser informed me that I had taken Calculus II too many times without getting an acceptable grade.  I wouldn’t be able to take it again.  I had to change majors.

I wasn’t interested in another major.  I had gone back to college to get a programming degree.

I left the university.  For a while I thought of other ways to get my degree, including online courses.  I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do.  There were other paths to success, and I wanted to pursue one of those.

It broke my wife’s heart when I told her.  She had pinned all her hopes and dreams on my degree.

Things haven’t been the same since.