To Upgrade or Degrade, That’s the Question…




Immagine1.png Upgrade Lips image by kiara20773

Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,

I’m a 32-year-old  woman whom has been married for almost ten years.  While I love my husband, I haven’t been in love for a very long time. In fact, if it wasn’t for our 3-year-old son, I would’ve already left.  Through the years, I feel as if I have grown and evolved, and my husband has basically stayed the same guy. That was fine at twenty-two, but not anymore. I’m the vice-president of a bank while he’s been working at the same local rock club since he graduated high school.  He has a lot of free time, yet I’m the one doing all the grocery shopping, cooking, and most of the cleaning.  He’s good with our son, but more as an oversized playmate than a real parenting partner. He has also put on at least forty pounds throughout the years of our marriage, which doesn’t exactly turn me on. We’ve tried counseling, but he just ends up shutting down and not really participating in the process.  No matter what approach I try, he’ll nod his head, says he’ll work on it, then basically do nothing. I know he loves me very much, and I wasn’t raised to break up a family, but I’m really starting to hate my life.

EMOself.jpg image by Sakura23_2008

Plus, there’s a man I’ve met through work (he’s one of our biggest clients) whom has really come after me. Nothing physical has happened – just a lot of lingering lunches and phone calls. He’s divorced with teenage children and wants me to leave my husband so we can make a life together. I know that may be affecting the views of my marriage too.

CheatingWife.jpg Cheating Wife image by janlyn_01

Try not to be too harsh on me, Ms. Mix. The reason why I’m writing to you is because I know you’re married, and have weathered some storms yourself. Thanks.    Signed – Wanting an Upgrade

Dear Upgrade,

 I never pretend to know it all, but one thing I’ve learned is that there are two sides to every story.  One of the only redeemable features of 50s-throwback magazine, Ladies Home Journal, is a section called, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Each couple writes out their version and then the counselor chimes in at the end with her view – and some helpful suggestions. I obviously can’t do that here, so I’m just going to be my usual sassy, smart-ass self.

Ms. Upgrade, I think you’ve already made up your mind and are writing to me to give you permission to leave. And of course from what you wrote, it certainly would sound justified. Your husband sounds more like an insolent teenager than a real man. 

HPIM1278.jpg LAZY MAN image by JACAM521

I know ladies, I know…take a number…

It’s a fallacy what they say…that couples grow together.  What actually happens more often than not is that one partner has an emotional growth spurt and then the other one races to catch up.  Those who do this dance usually stay together over the long haul and those who don’t either break up or live like roomates in loveless marriages.  Not appealing.

Add to the mix the allure of someone new. I personally think it’s impossible to be clear-headed about the one you’re with when you’re fantasizing about the one you want. Just know this: every partner comes with their trunkful of baggage. Your “top client” may seem like all that on paper and over the phone (interesting that you never mentioned anything else about him, except for his status, hmm?), but I promise he has his own problems. Instead of being an overgrown teenager with lackluster ambition, I suspect he may not be able to keep his dick in his pants (hence coming after a married woman, hint, hint) – or he’s more interested in the hunt than the hearth.

Player.gif I am The Man image by twangymusic

That doesn’t mean you should be resigned to a milquetoast marriage…and you’re right…my husband and I have been through a lot in our time together.  You need to give your man one last shot.

I don’t think what I’m about to say is something to use often, but in a case where you’ve got a partner closed off to counseling, it’s really your only choice: tell him you love him, but are not in love with him anymore. Then ask for a trial separation. Because what I think is that your husband has worn himself a too-comfortable groove and he’s tuned out to your pleading and proding. Tell him during that time, you hope he can work on himself – and that you will do the same. Then hopefully during that time, he’ll take that cue, get his shit together, and try to win you back. Then, find the best therapist in town – perhaps a male counselor would be someone he’s more open to (instead of feeling “ganged up on” by the women – sexist? True. But for many men, a reality). I think it’s important to enlist a therapist during this time, otherwise it’ll be too easy to cast adrift during this time. I also suggest you get some books on how you and the hubby can handle this crisis time in the best way for your son.  Because this will rock his world beyond anything you can imagine.

Never forget that.

 10. “Stronger Than Me,” [Amy Winehouse] Frank.

  9. “A Break, A Pause,” [As Tall as Lions] As Tall as Lions.

  8.  “I’ve Given Enough,” [Blue Six] Aquarian Angel.

  7. “Last Day of Our Love,” [The Bird and the Bee] One Too Many Hearts.

  6. “Lonelinest Girl in the World,” [Cary Brothers] Waiting for Your Letter.

  5. “Your New Twin-Sized Bed,” [Death Cab for Cutie] Narrow Stairs.

  4. “Road to Home,” [Girl in a Coma] Both Before I’m Gone.

  3. “Lions Roar,” [The Hush Sound] Like Vines.

  2. “Break of Day,” [Tina Dico] In the Red.

  1. “I Miss You,” [Kimya Dawson] Remember I Love You.


7 responses to “To Upgrade or Degrade, That’s the Question…

  1. Dear Upgrade,

    Where is God in your life. Or, in other words, do you have a relationship with Him, and does that relationship play in your decisions?

  2. Ms. Mix – It is good that you said to question the second male in this scenario. Usually they are carrying a load of their own baggage and they may be saying all the right things just to get in your pants… and there Ms. Upgrade will be, with her three year old and a broken heart with a broken marriage.

  3. Sigh – It’s true. You got it right, Ms. Mix-and-Bitch. No matter what kind of fool-headed, World of Warcraft gaming, lazy ass, whiny…ahem, excuse me…

    You got it right, Ms. Mix-and-Bitch. Upgrade – after ten years with the same person, and the same problems and the same old blah, plus a young kid and all the merry hell on your identity and personal freedom that entails – no wonder you want to run for the hills…towards Mr. Different. I hear you loud and clear – I’m there too.
    But, sadly, the truth is those people who say you should never compromise in a relationship are complete idiots who have no idea how much slack people are cutting them. Nobody is perfect. And while you shouldn’t let your husband enjoy the perks of his complacency, you shouldn’t make any irreversible moves until you see what he’s capable of when he clues in that you mean it.

    And after ten years, you do have to mean it. It’s not right to dip your feet in another pool without him knowing. That will only make you feel shitty about you, and he’ll be the only one around to take that out on too. Hanging in there has been worth it for me and my kids for a variety of pretty good reasons, that tend to outweigh the bad, and I still love him and it comes back in waves if you let it.

  4. Dear BrokenIn2,

    On this site, there is a God, but It’s certainly not a him…

    Sincerely, The Pronoun Police.

  5. I still can’t believe you didn’t put in the Beyonce song “Upgrade” in your mix… when it looks like you used her picture at the beginning of your post….. tsk tsk

  6. Oh I knew it was her picture…I just love my readers too much to inflict Beyonce on them – even in jest.

    Friends don’t let friends listen to crap.

  7. Guy Perspective

    Hello, hope I can still throw in two cents’ worth:

    There are four people who would potentially get hurt in this thing:

    First and foremost is the kid, since Ms. Mix is right that it will so affect him that he’ll subconsciously look for targets of blame and hate. Divorces and separations affect children so readily.

    Second is the hubby. Guy is complacent, and all the vices… but whatever happened to the “through the thick and thin”? And the fact that you’re celebrating a 10-year anniversary is a feat of accomplishment! Many marriages don’t even last less than 10 years. You will throw all this emotional investment away?

    Third is Mr. Different. That’s right. He’s pushing you to find a new life, maybe because he might be trying to get into your position but maybe ALSO (please don’t discount this possibility, people) he’s seeing you suffer and need escape. HOWEVER, he might not know what he’s talking about… the collateral guilt of breaking a happy relationship, the alienation of a hostile-isolating kid (who’d probably already be on the beginnings of inner shake-ups), the constant fear that maybe you would break there too… Ms. Mix is right about his credentials. Is he really in there? Or is it all the stuff of idealists?

    Finally, and this is the MOST important person that would get hurt, if you let yourself get swayed in a hasty, uncontemplated decision: you. You’re placing yourself from a point of stability in your life to something unknown. You’d tear yourself apart from a person you’ve poured so much emotional investment into. You might not feel it now, but all the hell of guilt, loss and separation will haunt that new relationship, and would you repeat the cycle?

    It’s not easy to maintain a relationship; the fact that you’re seeking advice here now and not hastily “burning bridges” means that you still love the guy. Try as much as possible to keep the relationship, even to the point of counseling and trial separation.

    Only when the differences are woefully irreconcilable, only then do you CONTEMPLATE the possibility of this radical decision.

    To those who think that marriages should stay intact whatever the cost: that’s not an absolute truth, if the guy is a wife-beater, or any other kind of abusive spouse that would not, or cannot change. It cannot also be an absolute truth, when the marriage has become so loveless as to be irreconcilable. To maintain a strained, cold relationship redounds… to the kid. A kid will be equally as affected by a strained relationship that should have broken ages ago as a kid would be affected by a suddenly broken one.

    That goes to the other camp (of which, I believe are not here): marriages and relationships should not be cut or broken because of petty reasons: differences in religious/political opinion, choice of whether having a children or not, him looking at another person flirtingly, or money… most especially the finances. I’ve noticed many break-ups because of finances. If things are permitted to go this way, we have a sort-of relationship “anarchy”, and the whole marital institution would be taken for granted.

    In the end, I think the two cents really come down to this: take a middle ground, weigh the options. Exhaust all options, and if it’s REALLY that bad… then it’s much more healthy to break it than keep it. If it’s not that bad… you know where I’m going with this.

    Oh, and God do help you make a decision.

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