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reasonable compromises?
June 18, 2009
7:27 am
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bonni
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for those who know me, you already know that my marriage has suffered damage in the last 5 years. I feel like I have had to give up alot of what I wanted in the process. A new issue has arisen. Since we began living together, I have been clear that I do not want guns in my home. My husband has guns he keeps with his family and that has been fine for almost 20 years. Now, it looks like my husband is going to have to get the guns. He plans to keep them here.

So, do I concede to living with guns in my home or do I consider that I should find another home?

I don't want the military to be part of my life, but he has refused to let go of that part of his life. The military comes before his family. I don't think I'm going to get over that.

I didn't want to be a mother. When we married, he was going to be superDad and I was going to work. We were going to be partners. Now, I'm superMom with a stressful career and he's mellow dad with a military career. I'm single mom about 20% of the time, except when he's gone for a year. And, I still have that stressful career. If I give up my career, I give up significant retirement benefits and financial independence.

Financial independence is extremely important to me. I grew up poor. My parents were poor, as were theirs. I have always wanted a career that would give me a comfortable life.

I can't in good conscience abandon my children. I have to TRY to be a good mom. That's a reasonable sacrifice. I can't live without financial independence, so I have to accept the stress of balancing career and near-single motherhood.

Is there a point when I am asked to give up too much and have to draw a line? I have a friend who wants me to go on a cruise with her. I don't want to do that. She's convinced that she has to broaden my horizons and force me to change my mind. Why do I have to change? Is it a major sin to not want a gun in the home you live in? Is it a crime to choose other ways to vacation than a cruise? there are so many things that I WANT to do, but I have to be forced to do things I don't want?

I understand having to be a mom and sacrifice my dreams to train my kids. I had them. They are my responsibility. But, at what point do I get to say that I deserve to have control over other parts of my life?

on the other hand, its not fair for me to dictate that my husband can't have what he wants either. He wants the military as a major part of his life and he wants his guns. I can respect that. I just don't see a compromise. I don't want to live with the guns and the military and I don't want him to give up what he loves. He either gives up his loves or I have to move out. Moving out is bad for the kids.

How could it take almost twenty years to see how different our values were?

June 18, 2009
10:50 am
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lovin life
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hi bonni:

as you know, i began posting here over a year ago because i felt connected to you in the way we viewed our lives, our husbands, our children.

again i feel compelled to reach out to you. i know you are still hurting. i also know you will continue hurting until you make that all-important break.

it's so hard to see things clearly and as they actually are when you are IN IT. but once you are OUT, it will all be so obvious. i speak from experience as you know.

i want you to know that i am rooting for you..and whether the final straw is the guns or something else...i hope that you know that it will be the RIGHT decision. and believe it or not, your kids will thank you someday. you will thank yourself when you are out and learn what happiness actually is. i did.

all the best,

lovin

June 18, 2009
11:04 am
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CAMER
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Bonni, you know what you want and don't want...the guns issue is a huge red flag, and if your hubby chooses to bring the guns into your home, he basically doesn't care about how you feel. Why can't he just put his guns in "storage" somewhere else, and not bring them into your home.

You have choices, stick by what you feel is right, do this for you.

(((camer)))

June 18, 2009
1:12 pm
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bonni
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It will be interesting to see what he decides. Its weird, because emotionally I support his wanting to get the guns. They were his grandfather's. He doesn't hunt and doesn't plan to use them, its just a piece of his history that he values. But it is two guns. He knows how I feel. It may be I can live with them in the house if there is never any ammunition, but still. Maybe he will get a storage space? I'm just going to wait and see. for now.

more in a bit. I'm at work.

June 18, 2009
1:58 pm
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bonni
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dear LL,
It is nice to hear from you. Things are mostly more pleasant, but its still hard because in my heart, I know what's probably coming.

hope you are doing well

bonni

June 18, 2009
1:59 pm
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bonni
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((Camer))

-bonni

June 18, 2009
3:37 pm
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Shaney
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You say that you don't see any compromise with the gun issue, but maybe you're just using this as the final draw and a reason to leave? You've been talking about leaving him due to how miserable you've become, for a long time now. You seem to have compromised in other areas (for example the fact that you refuse to give up your career, and he refuses to give up the military) - why is the gun issue any different? It seems to pale in comparison to the other issues, especially since they're a family heirloom. Gun safes are very secure. My husband collects guns - all kinds - it's a big part of his life and an interest that he's had long before he met me. I can't imagine asking him to give it up. Just like you can't see asking your husband to give up what he loves. Do you somehow associate the guns to his connection with the military?

June 18, 2009
3:46 pm
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bonni
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To me, guns symbolize death and destruction and I think they will bring that feeling into the house. We don't have room for a gun safe. We don't have much room at all.

I don't trust my children to not mess with them and I will not feel comfortable with other people's children here, so no more sleepovers or play dates for them.

I'm afraid of guns and I just really don't want to be around them. I don't want my home to become even more uncomfortable than it is.

bonni

June 18, 2009
4:28 pm
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bonni
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I guess this is just one more thing. Sadly, its the result of nastiness between his brother and his soon to be ex-wife. I'm appalled at the behavior. I don't want to hurt my husband and I don't want to hurt anymore. Its like his happiness is at my expense and mine is at his. There is no win-win. really, its more of a lose-lose. we both deserve better.

June 18, 2009
5:46 pm
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Shaney
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Honestly, for the longest time bonni, it just seems that you've been hanging on, no matter what type of frustration or misery that you experience. Are you waiting for a change? Have you asked yourself, specifically, what is keeping you there? I'm sure you have - but it may be time to be brutally honest with yourself, and your family. This gun thing just seems like one more item on the "con" list which serves as a reason NOT to be with him. The cons just seem to be increasing in number. Are there any "pros?" Do you honestly see that there could be a total flip from what you've been living with, to a better situation? Or are you still in "hopeful" mode and waiting to see what happens? I'm not challenging you, I'm just throwing some food for thought your way - because I just don't think that the guns are a big enough issue to leave. I don't know - I'm just sad that you've been miserable for so long.

June 18, 2009
6:11 pm
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bonni
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I guess I'm scared. But not scared enough to give up any more on what I'm willing to live with.

June 18, 2009
6:45 pm
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Shaney
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Understandably. I'd be afraid too. It's scary to leave, but equally as scary to stay - at least staying is familiar. Maybe a dull ache is easier to stomach than the pain of leaving?

I never wanted kids, and thank goodness I met someone who didn't want them either. It's not that I don't like kids, or that I wouldn't be a good mother, it's just that I don't need or want another project. I have a career as well, a husband and a home - they're enough work, mentally, physically and emotionally. I can only imagine your struggles. I hope that you find yourself in a place, soon, where you can make a decision. Best of luck either way.

June 19, 2009
2:00 am
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fantas
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Bonni, I really do not think this is about guns. It's a cover for other things that are going on. In all honesty, you married a military man and guns are their livelihood. I agree with you that you shouldn't hurt your husband but asking him to give up the thing he loves. Have you shared your concerns with him? I think you can tell him why you feel the way you do and both of you can decide how the guns care be safely kept in the home.

You say that he has put his career first before his family. I think that those in the forces go when they are told to which makes it difficult for their families. I do not think they have a choice in this matter. My friends in the army have to go when they are asked to.

All in all, I do not think this is a fair request on your part. It's reasonable but not fair.

June 19, 2009
7:07 am
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bonni
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you are probably right Fantas, but I have always been consistently clear that I don't want to live in a home with guns and that has been respected for almost 20 years.

Yes he was in the military, but it had always been asserted as temporary. He has always known that I didn't like the military and he used to share that dislike.
Its only since he returned from Iraq that he has stopped trying to make a career outside of the military. Well at least that I realized he wasn't really trying.

I couldn't defend myself against the deployments and the frequent trips because of the threat of prison and job loss. I couldn't insist on keeping my career and phd dreams and abandon my children to their own devices, because their father left us. I do not have to live in a house with guns, just because I've conceded so much and what's the difference of one more thing? Its the difference of starting the resentment simmering again. I was accepting the other things as best I could.

I've chosen to stay for alot of reasons that are in the best interest of our children. Maybe I'm looking for a reason to leave. Maybe I'm trying to figure out if that's what he really wants. Certainly bringing guns into my life after knowing for the entirety of our relationship that I don't want that in my life and not having the excuse of the military to trample me makes it really clear that we just may be incompatible.

bonni

June 19, 2009
10:04 am
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Hi Bonni,

I can hear pure frustration in your post. Learning to compromise is a tough one for me. It's tricky because I have trouble measuring if I'm giving too much because that's what I tend to do.

I agree with Fantas. There's other stuff going on with you. Tell me if this sounds right but it sounds like you feel that he doesn't listen to you anymore.

As for the guns, I'm no expert in this area (I share your ideas) so let me know if these are farfetched ideas. What could you do to make yourself feel better about having them in the house? Would it be possible to keep them unloaded with the ammunition placed in a locked cabinet? Are there gun safety lessons for children and yourself?

June 20, 2009
9:25 am
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bonni
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the proposal on the table is locked in a trunk in the attic. No ammunition in the house.

he's having a crappy day. they changed the rules at work at the last minute for an exercise. I'm having to fly through hoops to get his father's day breakfast to him.

I think I'm going to make dinner and stuff. Is that caring or guilt?

bonni

June 20, 2009
11:42 am
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atalose
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bonni,

I think the current proposal on the table is reasonable. If these are antique type guns that have some type of sentimental attachment for him then locked in a truck in your attic is reasonable.

Now, do you want to make dinner and stuff or do you feel compelled to do it?

If you want to then it’s caring if feeling compelled to do something then it may be coming from guilt.

How about another compromise and go out to dinner!

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 20, 2009
1:23 pm
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bonni
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I actually feel like it, cooking a nice dinner for him and going to some length to make a nice father's day. can't eat out again. we had a big dinner out last night.

sigh. have to clean house. feel compelled to do that. Not from guilt so much as can't stand the disorder.

bonni

June 21, 2009
12:30 am
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atalose
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I’m glad it’s something you want do and not something you feel compelled to do.

I hope you enjoy fathers day as well!!!!

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 23, 2009
6:21 am
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bonni
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Now, his family's crisis is just getting worse. His niece sent him a really nasty message. Her mom is really a piece of work. What kind of parent uses their kids as tools to hurt the other parent? She has filed a false police report too. When I think about all the actual violence going on in the world and how she is abusing the system to hurt everyone around her, it makes me really angry. When I think back to the early days of their marriage, she was always the one in control of everything. Now, he's decided he wants to have some control of his life and not live with an alcoholic, she's taking her revenge.

My husband is reliving his own ordeal with his parents' divorce because he's being dragged into this. His mom had a total breakdown and his dad just left him there. The damage is still there, over 20 years later.

i'm angry that this is happening and I feel really bad that he is having to deal with this.

And there is nothing I can do to make it better.

bonni

June 24, 2009
8:56 am
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caraway
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bonni,

Just saw this for the first time this morning and not sure where you are with things. The only thing I can say, from personal experience, is that people don't change.

We can sometimes change some of our behaviors, but rarely who we are. One would have to ask why guns are so important to him? If his wife is uncomfortable then why not just get rid of them? On the other hand, why is it so difficult to just say, "I am not going to live in a house with guns and children. Either the guns go, or I go."

I am not saying it't easy.... I am in the same situation over spoiled grown step-children.

Life is short; what are we waiting for?

Cary

June 24, 2009
6:26 pm
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bonni
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these three guns are primarily sentimental pieces and quite old. He has kept them with family for some time and he may need to take possession or risk losing them forever. I am considering allowing them to be in a locked trunk in the attic, as long as there is no ammunition in the home. I think that may be reasonable. He has said that he wouldn't bring them here if we couldn't find a compromise.

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