A place of my own

Two months ago today, I asked my wife for a divorce.

I won't be writing about the personal aspects of the divorce at Get Rich Slowly. In fact, other than some brief background at my personal site, I don't intend to write it about it on the web at all. Kris and I are both emotional wrecks right now; the wounds are fresh and raw for both of us.

Note: 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. So far we've been successful.

That said, I can no longer avoid sharing the truth with GRS readers. Too many of my financial decisions — present and future — are tied to the divorce. I'm hunting for health insurance, for instance, and I'll have to re-evaluate my asset allocation. And ten days ago, I moved to a new apartment.

Living Small

For the past eight years, Kris and I have lived in an 1800-square-foot house on three-fifths of an acre. The place also includes a large garage, a workshop, and a couple of out-buildings. Plus, I've been leasing an office up the street. Despite working to reduce clutter in my life, I have a lot of Stuff. I've written a lot about wanting to simplify, about wanting to live in a smaller space, but I've been reluctant to take the necessary action.

Now, though, I'm moving. And because I'm moving, I feel obligated to practice what I preach. While part of me wants to find another house (Kris is keeping ours), I know it's better to find a smaller space and to adjust my life to fit it. Thus, I've been looking to see how some of my friends manage to live not-so-big lives.

For instance, last fall Tammy — who writes about simplicity at Rowdy Kittens (and who shared a GRS reader story about the benefits of biking) — moved into a tiny house. The entire home is only 130 square feet! She and her husband had me over for dinner recently, and I shot some video of the space:

I loved Tammy and Logan's tiny house. The floor plan is well-designed and functional. Still, I'm not ready to live that small just yet.

Instead, I opted to rent an apartment.

The Apartment

While most folks were spending Thanksgiving week, well, giving thanks, I was hunting for apartments. Some might consider going from house to apartment a step backward. I don't mind. In fact, as I've mentioned before, I actually believe renting can be a great choice for the right person. In this case, I think I'm the right person.

While searching for a place to live, I tried to take a lot of things into account. Price was important, obviously, but so was the age of the place, the layout, and, especially, the location. Over the past five years, I've come to place a premium on walkable neighborhoods, and I know I wanted an apartment with a high walk score.

I found a place I liked in a good location near downtown Portland — the biggest drawback is that it's right next to a donut shop (danger! danger!) — and signed a lease. But then I started to worry that I was paying too much. By comparing notes with other people, I've since decided that while I'm not getting a bargain, my rent is reasonable.

Best of all, the apartment has a walk score of 88 (very walkable) and a transit score of 73 (excellent transit). And because I'm an avid walker, I can reach neighborhoods that the Walk Score app doesn't consider. (As a comparison, our house has a walk score of 49, meaning car-dependent, and a transit score of 32, which means it has some transit.)

I've been in my new place for ten days now, and I like it — but it doesn't feel like home. Still, I'm trying to make the most of these 705 square feet. Instead of just talking about how much I want to cut back on clutter, I've been faced with tough decisions every day. Which books do I keep? Which comics? How many pairs of shoes? How many jackets? Do I really need (or want) my records and record player?

By making judicious choices (and with the help of some new furniture from Ikea), I think I've reached a good balance. My new place contains the things I need — but it's not filled with a lot of clutter and junk. It's my hope that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

Fear of the Future

Now that I have a place to live — and now that I'm mostly unpacked — there are other problems to tackle as a result of the divorce.

For one, how do I handle health insurance? For eighteen years, I've been on Kris' policy. Not anymore. After the divorce is final, I have only a few weeks (or maybe even just a few days) before my coverage with her carrier lapses. I'm the sort of guy who might risk going without health insurance for a few months or years, but Kris won't have it. “We are not getting a divorce until you can prove to me that you have health insurance,” she told me the other day.

Meanwhile, what do I do about my office? Does it make sense to continue to rent that space? Should I find someplace closer? More importantly, what about day-to-day stuff like laundry and groceries. Obviously, I'm capable of handling these chores on my own, but due to the division of labor within our marriage, I've always relied on Kris to handle most of these chores. Now I'm going to have to budget for food, plan meals, and buy supplies on my own.

Kris has lots of questions about the future too. She's still in the house, after all. How will she handle the yard work? Who's going to take care of her car? And so on. But she too is capable of handling these things on her own. Besides, we both agree that figuring out the chores is inconsequential to figuring out the big stuff, the emotional stuff.

For now, Kris and I are still in constant contact. We had dinner Friday night, I drove by the house yesterday, and we'll have dinner together tomorrow night. Plus, we still plan to share a vacation to Argentina in a few weeks. If one of us gets into trouble, the other will be there to help. Our marriage may be ending, but our friendship isn't.

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Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

I’m so sorry to hear this. Best of luck to both of you going forward.

jack foley
jack foley
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Its great that the two of ye have a good friendship going forward.

She speaks volumes about ye both..

Molly
Molly
8 years ago
Reply to  jack foley

I have to agree. Kris is a truly awesome lady who cares about your health and that’s how divorce should happen. In a way that both can still care about the welfare of each other, especially since you guys have kids.

I’m sorry to hear about the divorce. Best wishes to both of you guys.

Janette
Janette
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Many 15+ years relations go through a period of separation/ divorce. I always urge legal separation over divorce for at least five year UNLESS there is another person in the picture. There is a period of shake up. It is a growth spurt. About 75% of my friends who separated are together again now. The other ones have moved along to another relationship. Those who started with divorce have never gotten back together. Having a parent or partner in crisis often starts the relationship flaws coming to light- pushing the “I have so much to do…” Think about it. Slow… Read more »

elisabeth
elisabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Janette

Hi –I agree with Janette and others that you can’t know what the future of this relationship will be, and it is great that you are currently working on keeping a friendship if not a marriage. What two people who care for each other need in/from a relationship can change over time, and it’s not always necessary to try to use the names and definitions that are the most visible/dominant in the culture. Many years ago Crystal Eastman wrote an essay titled, “Marriage under two roofs” in which she described one ideal situation — which allowed the partners a lot… Read more »

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  elisabeth

Wow! My wife and I have been separated for 7 months now. We still love each other but a suicide in our lives changed the way we look at things and what we want in life. I’ve been thinking about writing to J.D. about how this and it has impacted my financial decisions. I still hold hope that we can end or separation and continue or marriage. J.D.’s note: Mark, a very astute long-time friend today noted that many of my values seemed to shift when my best friend committed suicide three years ago this week. She’s right. I can’t… Read more »

MF
MF
8 years ago
Reply to  elisabeth

I agree with Janette and Elisabeth. Give it a little longer with a separation, think, meet and talk, and see what happens.

Here’s an Authors @ Google talk on marriage that I recently listened to and found helpful. Perhaps you will as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9THu0PZwwk

Betsy
Betsy
8 years ago
Reply to  Janette

“Having a parent or partner in crisis often starts the relationship flaws coming to light- pushing the “I have so much to do…” ”

Having lost both my parents within 9 months, I can relate to this statement. One benefit to having kids in a relationship is that it slows down your reaction time. I agree, take it slow. Great advice on the health insurance, also. It would be a much better deal to pay the wife a premium on her plan than to get an individual plan. Who wants to make the insurance companies richer?

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

As a long time follower, and not that I know you personally, but I can’t say that I’m totally surprised by this news. You have had huge changes in your life over the last few years, changes in your career, changes in your personal finances, changes in how you live your life and how you spend your time, it only makes sense that all those changes might cause a disconnect or a separation with your significant other. Change is going to happen over one’s lifetime, as I say change is the only constant, but you have had a ton of… Read more »

slug+|+sunkcostsareirrelevant.com
slug+|+sunkcostsareirrelevant.com
8 years ago

Changes happens. It’s how we react to them that matters. Best of luck to you and Kris.

Becky
Becky
8 years ago

I wish you both the best of luck. I know it can be difficult making decisions right now, so the best thing may be to not make any major decisions (as per Dave Ramsey – give it 6 mos. before making major decisions after a life changing event). Just “be” instead of “do”. You will end up where you need to be, but maybe not where you intended.

Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn
8 years ago

Good luck to both of you.

Rail
Rail
8 years ago

My condolences and wishes of best luck to both Kris and JD. My thoughts go out to both of you.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

Hoping for eventual peace and happiness for the both of you.

Sarah Anderson
Sarah Anderson
8 years ago

I’m a on and off reader of your blog.

I have to say that I’m a bit surprise about the turn of events for you & Kris. Divorce is never a good thing unless there is violence & potential for physical harm involved, IMHO.

Things & circumstances change over a lifetime & I guess couples have to adjust to these changes which causes friction.

Do hope that both you and Kris can work things through.

Becka
Becka
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Anderson

Things other than violence or danger can make a marriage untenable. To assert otherwise is a tad judgmental.

Hermes173
Hermes173
8 years ago
Reply to  Becka

To call another person judgmental is being judgmental.

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Hermes173

Completely, completely wrong.

judgmental: Having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.

We usually say someone is being judgmental when they are criticizing someone without a sufficient understanding of the situation. As in this case.

It is often helpful, and correct, to point out when someone is being judgmental. People love to play holier-than-thou, until it’s their turn.

Jade
Jade
8 years ago

Wow… that was an unpleasant surprise to wake up to. I’m sorry for both of you. Best wishes.

Maureen
Maureen
8 years ago

Thinking of you. I’ve been there. A “successful” divorce is one where you can still co-parent. And if you can remain friends? That’s an even bigger bonus.

Maureen
Maureen
8 years ago

Oh dear, after writing my comment, I seem to recall that you and Kris don’t have children. Oh well, my advice applies to pets as well! Perhaps someone else will see my comment and benefit.

SB @ One Cent At A Time
SB @ One Cent At A Time
8 years ago

Sorry to hear. All the very best to your future life, both of you. Would miss GRS garden project but looking forward to see some apartment projects in this space as we also are an apartment living souls.

Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Man that sucks. I’ve been going through the same myself. I went through a serious financial crisis after the divorce that I’m still recovering from. It’s hard to budget after being used to a two income lifestyle for years. I spent more money because I found I had much more alone time where I got bored. I know you think about your finances all the time, but a divorce can really make you change some of your preconceptions. Also, my ex and I tried really hard to remain friends also. That can get tricky. We’ve done the back and forth… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
8 years ago

Honestly, I re-read that first sentence more than once before looking to see if it was actually J.D. that was writing the post and not a guest post. On the one hand, I’m deeply saddened to hear the news. On the other, perhaps a congratulations is in order. Lots of people stay in relationships they shouldn’t and maybe this was the case here. While lots of readers may want to know more details, always respect your right to privacy and especially that of Kris. In either case, I do commend you for posting this and wish you BOTH the best… Read more »

Cheryl
Cheryl
8 years ago
Reply to  Stephen

I too, had to reread the first sentance more than once. I read your blog/posts everyday. I don’t know you personally but was momentarily sadden by the news. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to facing your future. I wish you and Kris happiness in your new normal.

Roberta
Roberta
8 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl

Add me to the list of people who did a double take to make sure it was J.D. writing this post. What timing, too… my husband and I just split, and I moved into a place of my own one week ago, so I can really relate to where you’re at. My best wishes to you and Kris. That you’re remaining friends speaks volumes about both of you.

Sue
Sue
8 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl

I’m saddened, too. Condolences to you and Kris, I’m certain this decision was not made lightly and you both will end up as better people a few months from now. I started reading your blog a couple of years ago after my divorce, and it’s been such a help and motivator for positive change. Be good to yourselves.

Tom
Tom
8 years ago

BUT WHO WILL DO YOUR LAUNDRY!?!?!?

(Ditto on you have my condolences and best of luck)

J.D.’s note: Okay, this comment was hilarious, and a good inside GRS joke. I forgot to ask Kris what she thought of it, but I’ll be she got a chuckle too.
tjdebtfree
tjdebtfree
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

This made me LOL! This was my #1 huge pet peeve about my ex – well aside from the excessive spending, cheating, spending, cheating; etc etc etc – the fact that he couldn’t/wouldn’t do laundry infuriated me every day of my life…I still hate doing laundry to this day!!!

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I suggest finding a laundromat with a fluff and fold or wash and fold service as a trial while you have bigger things to worry about doing your laundry. If you’re in a walkable neighborhood there’s probably one around, or certainly near any student neighborhood. A good price is 1 – 1.1 $/lb, but I’ve heard of up to 1.5 $/lb. 10 lb minimums are common and a good place should offer same day service if you drop it off in the morning. It may not be economical long term, especially if you work out a lot. The balance changes… Read more »

Allie
Allie
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I shouldn’t laugh, but that was my first thought too!

Tootie
Tootie
8 years ago

I’m really sorry to hear that. I wish you both the best.

honeybee
honeybee
8 years ago

You’re both in our thoughts. Best of luck to you both.

Wes
Wes
8 years ago

Sorry to hear it, JD, though not really surprised – while reading some of your travel writing (when you wrote about how much you enjoyed traveling alone), I thought to myself, “I wonder how his marriage can hold up if he’s thinking like that?” Regardless, good luck in whatever comes next.

Ohplease
Ohplease
8 years ago
Reply to  Wes

Funny, I was thinking that too.

I am very sorry this has happened.

Ben
Ben
8 years ago
Reply to  Wes

+1
Thinking the same thing also. I don’t know anybody who takes multiple vacations/work trips alone for weeks at a time without it impacting a marriage.
Nevertheless, I was saddened by this news but hope some good comes out of it.

margot
margot
8 years ago
Reply to  Ben

It’s very possible to have a healthy marriage with people in the marriage taking solo trips and each person doing what he or she loves on their own or with friends. I know dozens of examples like this, especially in a town like DC where lots of couples both have exciting, demanding jobs or both people love to travel but might prefer different locations or different travel activities. There are many models of marriage that work well.

Janette
Janette
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

Thirty years and going strong. I travel for business and pleasure all the time. My husband enjoys wood working at home. We love it. Lots of things to talk about when I get home!

Diane
Diane
8 years ago
Reply to  Wes

Good job, Chris Guillebeau.

Chickybeth
Chickybeth
8 years ago

Although I wasn’t so surprised, I am thinking good thoughts for you both. I hope you both find a place that makes you happy.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

J.D., i’m sorry to hear your news. My thoughts are with you and Kris during this difficult transition.

This may sound strange, but as an apartment dweller I suggest putting up pictures on your wall as soon as– maybe some blown up shots from your trips or friends and family? I found that one thing added some personality to my otherwise generic apartment and helped it feel more like home.

Best wishes for you both in the future.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

my momma read somewhere to put up at least three photos: one with you and your family (maybe parents/siblings) having a good time, one with you and your friends having a good time, and one of someplace you love to go.

condolences to you both; best wishes for the future.

also, you’ll come to love an apartment. anything happens at all ever? not your problem, call the landlord.

BIGSeth
BIGSeth
8 years ago

As it sounds like something you both want, I say “Congrats on the divorce!”.

That said, I too recommend going small and slow for the next 6 months or so. Don’t make any wild moves with your finances until this wild move levels out.

Thanks for the Walk Score link – 98!

Angela
Angela
8 years ago

I am very, very sorry to hear this. For regular readers, this is still a surprise though perhaps not a shock, given the subtext of some of your recent posts. I can only join the chorus of well-wishing for you both. Best of luck to each of you during this difficult time.

Cynthia
Cynthia
8 years ago

I’m so sorry to hear the news. All the best to you and Kris as you find your way forward.

rai_dai
rai_dai
8 years ago

Sorry to hear about your divorce. Wish you both the best, and kudos for remaining friends. Things would have been a lot better if my parents did the same thing …..

Pamela
Pamela
8 years ago

JD, I am so sorry to hear this–even if something is the right thing to do, it can be very painful. I hope you and Kris both find the happiness you deserve.

Trisha
Trisha
8 years ago

It doesn’t make good financial sense to continue to rent an office space when you have a good sized apartment. The money you save on rent can go towards your insurance. I am sure there are other considerations, but 700+ sq.ft. is a good amount of space for one person.
I follow the Tiny House blog and there are tiny homes out there for a weekend rental-so you can try it on for “size”. Just an FYI for the future.
Life goes on and so do we.Best wishes to you both.

Deborah+M
Deborah+M
8 years ago
Reply to  Trisha

Double-take. Wha’ the heck? Sorry to hear this news, J.D. and Kris.It is true there’s been more than a little subtext of issues, but one always assumes that if the couple is able to articulate the issues that they are dealing with them. But I see now, that articulating them can help in other ways… in that you’re remaining friends. I agree with Trisha that for the moment, especially as you’re in such a walkable part of Portland, that you should try to work from home, JD. You shouldn’t run from one cubbyhole (home) to another (office), for a change… Read more »

BIGSeth
BIGSeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Trisha

I think right now there might be some value for JD in getting out and about. I also think separating work and home can be a very good thing. In spite of the whole I-blog-in-my-sweatpants image, GRS is a serious endeavour and should be treated as any other business.

Margo
Margo
8 years ago
Reply to  BIGSeth

I agree – keep the office for 90 days. JD just moved out of his home, is setting up a new one, and the hours away from the apartment could be valuable for sanity’s sake. Don’t change everything about your life all at once.

Lynda
Lynda
8 years ago
Reply to  BIGSeth

I’d keep the office for 90 days to provide continuity for “this is where I go to work” space. Not sure if you have acquaintances there, or how the building is set up, but having familiar faces around is always a good thing when working alone.

And Good Luck to both of you.

Davina
Davina
8 years ago
Reply to  Trisha

When you work at home you can also write off on your taxes a portion of your rent, utilities and upkeep as a business expense.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Davina

I just read that you need to be EXTREMELY careful about that, because depending on how/what you write off, you can’t actually do anything but work in the space you claim to work in. I’d be very careful about following this advice.

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Ditto on the home office deduction. I heard it’s also a red flag for an audit. I’ve spoken to a few accountants about it, and they have all said that the time you invest in filling out the forms, etc., isn’t worth it for just $100.

But back to JD: I’m sorry to hear about your divorce, and I wish you both the best.

Isela
Isela
8 years ago

It´s a though decision, but hopefully it will end being the best one for both of you.

One therapist told me that if you still care deeply for the other person and want the best for him or her, then that was true love…and that love just evolved into a different level.

Just hang on there and let the grief pass. Change is difficult, but also make us grow and mature.

Un abrazo.

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago

While I was very sad to read that first statement, I can’t say I am surprised. As a long time reader, I’ve caught several references to your desire to change your living arrangement. Kris likes the big house. You don’t. Kris seems to be happy with the status quo and you are wanting to shake things up.

It’s just sad you can’t find a way to change together. Or maybe you can and this is just part of that.

In any case, best of luck to both of you, especially as you navigate these turbulent waters.

Mary+Kate
Mary+Kate
8 years ago

I’m not surprised but I am saddened. I hope that Kris is as happy about this as you are. I hope everything works out for both of you.

mom of five
mom of five
8 years ago

I’m very sorry to hear your news. Condolences to you and Kris.

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

If this is what comes of self improvement thank goodness I’m still fat and poor.

I won’t wish you the best. You had the best life could offer. Tiny houses are not needed to house tiny hearts.

Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Well that was rather nasty, don’t you think? Unlike Anne, I know that sometimes life changes and we change, and that sometimes what worked great for 20 years doesn’t work anymore. Sometimes it’s best to end situations which aren’t beneficial to those involved, including divorce. Only you and Kris know if that applies to you here, and I do wish you the best in this journey. I wish you both the strength to make decisions, the patience to think things through, and the foresight to know if things are right for you (whatever those ‘things’ may be). Both of you… Read more »

Beth
Beth
8 years ago

It saddens me to see a comment like Anne’s and even more so that people “like” it.

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

While Anne could have worded it much more judiciously and kindly, I certainly understand her sentiment. I don’t know J.D., nor Kris, so the question I ask here is not for them but rather one I ask myself as a married woman after reading this blog and watching (in very subtle ways) the progression towards divorce:

What is the point of success, money, or personal enlightenment if it leads you farther away rather than closer to the ones you love most?

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Money, success, and personal enlightenment may have nothing to do with the distance between us and the ones we no longer love, continue to love, or will love in the future.

Beth
Beth
8 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I can see both sides of this issue, and it’s not up to me to choose one.

I just think it’s sad if we only offer understanding and compassion to people when we agree with their actions. I’m not saying people have to agree with those actions, but there’s something to be said for not adding more hurt to an already painful situation.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Why does it *always* have to be so cut and dry; one or the other? It is possible to have both, even if the person we in some ways look up to does not *seem* (from our own narrow eyes) to have it at the moment.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Anne, given the unpleasantness and lack of charity in your comment, I can only conclude that the “tiny heart” you speak of must be your own.

Ohplease
Ohplease
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew, I agree.

Furthermore, we have no idea what motivated the divorce, so lets not jump to conclusions as to why JD and Kris have chosen this option.

Anne’s comments are narrow-minded and yes, nasty, but what really bothers me is that at the time I wrote this 47 other people liked them, so I`m with you Beth.

How can one not wish the best to someone who is going through something so devastating? Where is your compassion?

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

People change. Sometimes this can be worked through and sometimes it can’t. It is no one’s business but his.
No reader is entitled to judge J.D.’s actions. He is doing what he needs to do — and don’t for a moment think that this is easy for him.

Davina
Davina
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Back on ya, fat poor woman.

sharon v
sharon v
8 years ago
Reply to  Davina

Pardon me, Davina, but your comment is out of context, with nothing whatsoever to do with this commentary thread. Why attack someone for being supportive?

Katie S
Katie S
8 years ago

To address the health insurance question, you need to go see a health insurance broker. A broker will shop all the available plans and is paid a commission by the insurance company, not you. (I am dear friends with a broker in my area.) If you do not develop a good relationship or the vibe is wrong from who you went to see, find another one.

AuntJenny
AuntJenny
8 years ago
Reply to  Katie S

A lot of professional organizations offer health insurance to their members at a group rate. Maybe check that out too.

Sandi_k
Sandi_k
8 years ago
Reply to  Katie S

JD, I’m so sorry to hear this. Having been with my DH for more than 20 years, this hits close to home. I agree with other posters that the tone of your posts for the past year have been emphasizing the “me” rather than the “we”, so it’s not as much of a surprise as you might think. In regards to the health insurance and divorce, keep in mind that a divorce is considered a “qualifying event”, and you should be eligible for COBRA coverage in Kris’ policy for 18 months post-divorce – for a hefty sum. It might be… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago
Reply to  Sandi_k

I have never been through a divorce, but my understanding is that you can get COBRA from your former spouse’s health plan. I think you pay them directly. It doesn’t solve the problem long term, but it does buy you 18 months to find another option.

Mike Piper
Mike Piper
8 years ago

Wowzer. I hope this goes as well as possible for both of you.

*hug*

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago

Oh man, sorry to hear it. All the best to Kris as well.

Brian @ Progressive Transformation
Brian @ Progressive Transformation
8 years ago

Please make sure you take care of your self. In all of this hullabaloo there is a large risk for getting lost in all the details. Thank goodness you both have remained friends and i commend you on this.

Best advice is to just slow down and take it easy. Reevaluation is about transformation and change. This doesn’t come easy but it does come naturally. One step at a time.

Best of luck and we are all rooting for you.

-Brian

Kristia {Family Balance Sheet}
Kristia {Family Balance Sheet}
8 years ago

I’m really sorry to read this and like a previous poster I did a double take to see who was writing it. But I have to tell you, I’m not that surprised. There have been many clues in your writing over the past year or so that had me wondering about the state of your marriage. Honestly I really enjoyed when you wrote about your life with Kris and when she wrote about gardening and canning. Best of luck to both of you. J.D.’s note: I asked Kris tonight if she’d still be willing to contribute posts about gardening and… Read more »

Sandy
Sandy
8 years ago

JD, having gone through a divorce myself in the last couple of years, it’s my thought that given the fact that Kris didn’t want the divorce, perhaps this isn’t the time to be asking her to do things for you in the future, such as contributing to your blog. Hopefully this doesn’t come off as too harsh, but I think it would be more appropriate to separate yourself and let her soak all of this in and deal with it, rather than asking for possible commitments that will keep her tied to you. I understand that you’re both still “friends”… Read more »

saro
saro
8 years ago

Sorry to hear it but good on both of you for handling it like adults. I wish you both the best.

my honest answer
my honest answer
8 years ago

All the best to you both at this difficult time.

Jimmy M
Jimmy M
8 years ago

Best of luck to you and Kris, J.D.

Jill
Jill
8 years ago

So sorry. I, too, did a triple take. Good luck to you both as you face this difficult transition.

David
David
8 years ago

I, too, am sorry to hear this. Allow me though to wonder if there’s a higher incidence of divorce between couples who maintain different accounts or who treat their relationships as sort of a business arrangements. Nothing personal against JD, his persona comes through this blog as a “good guy”. But I can’t help but wonder if those who go into a relationship with a yours vs. mine approach typically don’t have as much chance of sticking together through the rought times. This is the contrast to the more “traditional” approach of melting together your lives in every way, including… Read more »

skeptic
skeptic
8 years ago
Reply to  David

I don’t think there is a correlation between separate accounts and divorce.

For every divorced couple that you might claim had too much separateness, I think I could show you a divorced couple that jumped wholeheartedly into the idea of togetherness without actual shared values or other solid foundation to warrant it.

(and the same applies, I think, for prenups)

and I say this from the perspective of having shared finances and no prenup… but that doesn’t make us a stronger couple than those who differ, it’s just how our personalities approach these things.

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  David

I thought the same thing but didn’t post it in my earlier post. For purposes of divorce, separate accounts don’t matter, but I wonder too if having separate accounts leads spouses to think separately about their finances and to further think separately about their life. I’ve asked JD about this in the past and about their retirement plans since they divided their shared costs. I never got a clear understanding about this issue and one that I always wondered about. I have a dear friend who has a prenup and keeps her finances separate from her husband and we’ve discussed… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  David

I’m still going through all 280+ comments on this post, but would like to add my $0.02 to the question on how much separate financial arrangements might affect a marriage. I’ve been married to my DH for nearly 26 years, and from Day One we have kept our money in separate accounts. When we became parents, money that was “ours” vs. his and mine did become more fluid, but we still don’t want or need a joint account. While I would never say never to the possibility of a divorce, it doesn’t seem likely (or desirable) in our case. DH… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

I think a lot of your points are valid. Even though we have joint accounts, we also have our own checking accounts that we use for day to day spending, i.e. our allowance money, as it would be too difficult for us to work from one account. But I wonder, and perhaps you’ll share, how you manage the joint planning for retirement, for your kids’ college expenses, etc. if your finances are totally separate from each other. Mr. Sam wouldn’t be able to max out his 401k or his IRA if our finances were separate, but b/c I make more… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Retirement savings are our employers’ 401K plans so those are also separate. We have one child with no plans (or ability, at this point) for more. We both work at Boston-area colleges that grant tuition remission for children of employees if accepted (and DH’s college also grants limited tuition remission for certain other colleges), so as long as DS is accepted into one of a handful of local schools, we’re using that loophole. He can live at home (which he wants to do) and we can afford fees and books. As long as we continue to be frugal and don’t… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
8 years ago
Reply to  David

I’ll be honest, I thought the same thing. I’ve always thought the separate accounts advice JD gave was bad. It implies a lack of unity and trust with respect to shared goals, and tends to cultivate the idea that marriage is, in your heart of hearts, not REALLY permanent. Having separate accounts serves no practical purpose, other than to encourage the idea that you are separate … not a unit, not partners, but two individuals who just happen to live together. You never fight about money, because you never have to talk about money. Such a deeply flawed strategy. Dave… Read more »

Holly
Holly
8 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

I wholeheartedly agree. I also feel that having ‘his’ and ‘hers’ in regards to money can lead to bouts of resentment, jealously, competetiveness (which may or may not be good for a marriage), one person feeling less competent (respect issues), and often a lack of trust.

Ida
Ida
8 years ago
Reply to  Nathan

I couldn’t disagree more. I have been married for 53 years and we have always had a his/hers/ours arrangement. I think that in my case, it helped to strengthen my marriage. We have always considered ourselves a team and have developed and worked toward our goals together–mortgages, 5 children, college, retirement, and now spoiling our 17 grandchildren and 5 great granchildren. The separate accounts is nice now because it makes Christmas and Valentines a little easier since we don’t see each others purchases on statements. I got married at a time when single income families were the rule instead of… Read more »

Bonnie
Bonnie
8 years ago
Reply to  Ida

Ida – Most people wouldn’t consider your financial structure as “separate finances”

Bonnie
Bonnie
8 years ago
Reply to  David

I wondered the same thing, not because keeping separate finances makes couples keep the rest of their lives separate, but because I’ve noticed that couples who have completely separate finances seem to have those separate finances because they don’t want to combine their lives completely. IMO couples who keep completely separate finances either have the idea in the back of their minds that the separate finances will make it simpler if they ever decided to divorce (not that they ever think it’s likely to happen when they get married) OR there’s something wrong with their marriage that makes them not… Read more »

Surani
Surani
8 years ago

So sorry to hear that. I feel like I’ve known you both for the last 3 years. Best of luck in getting through this and in maintaining a good relationship.

Karen
Karen
8 years ago

Oh, I read this with a heavy heart. My husband passed away more than two years ago and when I hear of people separating I always see it through my own filter of missing my partner. It’s been so hard to adjust to not having that rock-solid relationship with the person who knew me best. But I’m sure it is easier to heal and move on when voluntarily chosen. Best of luck to you both.

shash
shash
8 years ago

I wish the best for Kris. If the subtext of your prior posts did not sound like every other man’s justifications (hint: cliche) for leaving a long marriage, I might wish the best for you, but I cannot. Shaking my head with a sigh, over here. I can only hope that Kris is going to have as much support or more than you, who has so many people on the web to pat you on the back and hold your hand. J.D.’s note: Kris is fortunate to have many fantastic friends who are lending her support during this process. We’re… Read more »

Barb
Barb
8 years ago
Reply to  shash

I have to agree with this comment as well as the separate but equal comment. While I would say it asaburbtly as Anne did, my sympathies are all with Kris. This is not a joint decision, it’s your decision. You’ve decided to leave her behind as far as I can see. No sympathy here. Frankly, it sounds like typical middle aged stuff, and I suspect youll regret it in a couple of years.

You, not Kris, have been making I decisions instead of we decisions if this blog is any indication for quite some time. Selfish? You bet.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Barb

You have no evidence to back this up. You are not a mindreader, and yet you presume to state that this is “not Kris’ decision?”. What a slap in the face to Kris, whom you see as a passive victim.

The fact that J.D. writes about his life in a public forum and Kris does not is irrelevant.

sasha
sasha
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Andrew
If you read the link JD provided to his other blog – you would see that indeed, this is a JD decision. Kris doesn’t want the divorce, JD asked for it.

Wes
Wes
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

You should read the post JD links to on his personal site; he makes it very clear that the decision is his and that Kris “disagrees” that it [the divorce] is in their best interests.

John
John
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Committment means just that, not one is commited until they decide not to be. All the support should be going out to Kris, not another selfish middle age guy who doesn’t go through every last effort to try to make it work. And yes, I don’t know you or your situation, but I didn’t read a thing about finding a way to make things right.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

You guys are right–I hadn’t read the other stuff available through the link. I’m sorry I didn’t look before I leapt!

Jenna
Jenna
8 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Barb read my mind in regards to feeling more for Kris. Interesting that JD’s insights come after he is doing well financially, traveling, working on health, etc. All things that Kris probably encouraged throughout their long marriage. Perhaps we don’t know the whole situation but what we do know screams cliche.

J.D.’s note: You’re making an assumption. My decision came after all these things, but that doesn’t mean there’s any sort of causal relationship. Yes, I know it seems like there’s one on the surface. But there’s not.
Dan
Dan
8 years ago
Reply to  Jenna

Jenna’s assumptions, J.D., and those of many who think like her, presumably come from a careful reading of the blog in recent months. Your decision to ask for a divorce would have come not long after a vacation you took without Kris (which was the subject of much debate in the blog comments at the time), and in the comments of the “Big House, Little House” post that raised some giant red flags back in June, you yourself conceded: “But I seem to be going through some sort of minor mid-life crisis.” No one wants to see himself as a… Read more »

Lydia
Lydia
8 years ago

I am new to your blog, as of last week, and am sorry to hear of the divorce. Never easy. I went from a 4 bedroom house into a 1 bedroom apartment with my office in the living room. It was very “cozy”. I really loved that apartment, I put a few things in storage at my dad’s place (mostly sentimental items – photos, etc.). But other than that, I really didn’t take much from the house (which my husband kept). It was great. A fresh start. I never considered moving into an apartment a step back, just a step… Read more »

Kym
Kym
8 years ago

I, too, had to verify that you were writing this, JD. And I have to admit my eyes misted up a little.

I wish true happiness for you both.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

While I am saddened by this news, I am not the least bit surprised. In addition to the more obvious subtexts in recent posts, the first red flag to me was the separate finances. I never bought the argument that “it works for us”. Well, I mean I guess it did “work for you”, but, to me, separate finances is just an indicator of not being committed “til death do us part”.

Rail
Rail
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Keeping finances separate does not bode disaster for a marrage. My grandparents were married 1940-2008 when my gandmother passed away.They had separate checking and savings accounts since the early 50’s. They always said it was easier to keep track of a checking balance that way, since they didnt have to wonder if one or the other had a check out that wasnt reconsiled.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Rail

Your grandparent’s reasoning sounds very logical and practical. But different from the mindset of JD and Kris keeping their finances completely separate and each paying their fair share of everything. Check reconciling isn’t an issue for most people these days, and I”m sure doesn’t apply in this case.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

I doubt that check reconciliation is no longer a problem. Sure, you can check the balance online, etc., but the checks you see online are only those that have cleared. The online account will NOT tell you about the outstanding checks your spouse wrote.

I imagine if I got married we’d have one joint account for common expenses, but keep our own accounts. And while we’d try hard to keep goo record keeping on the joint account I’m sure there’d still be a few oopsies.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Rail

Thank you. That bit of magical thinking – follow the script and nothing bad can happen – is bad enough on a regular day, but jumping on a personal post like this to score “I do it better than you!” points is just rude.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Per my post #296, I respectfully disagree that separate finances necessarily mean lack of full commitment to a marriage. In my case, it means lack of compatibility in one area so we have a way around it. The rest works very well.

lineargirl
lineargirl
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

To me separate finances are one of many ways to work out the difficulties of merging two lives. It’s naive to think that there is only one way to be married.

NZChick
NZChick
8 years ago
Reply to  lineargirl

Sorry to hear the news JD, but best wishes in this hard time for both you & Kris. I believe you have the support you need to get yourselves through this! Regarding separate finances, my partner & I maintain separate finances, other than those directly related to goals & expenses we are both working towards. For instance we have an expense a/c which we put in a set amount each month which covers food, gas, power & internet (& other misc items). We also have another a/c for work done on our house (joint purchase of house), and then other… Read more »

Bonnie
Bonnie
8 years ago
Reply to  NZChick

Nzchick – You don’t have separate finances. You have a combined finances mindset, but use various accounts to accomplish those goals. Just because you have separate slush funds for work lunches, hobbies, etc. doesn’t mean that you have “separate finances”. If you read back on J.D.’s posts about how he & Kris structured their finances, you’ll see that they actually had “separate finances” (to the point that he paid her to do his laundry because it was a chore he didn’t like to do).

LisaNewton
LisaNewton
8 years ago

At first, after seeing 45 other comments, I thought you’d already heard enough, but then, because I have been where you are right now (except for the “friendly” divorce part), I can relate. It was scary for me to move out of a 2,000 square foot home into a much small apartment, but I actually found it very rewarding. It was difficult to choose the difference between “need” vs. “want,” but not as hard as you might think. Upon reflection, I found it rather refreshing. It won’t take long for your to find your way, and come up with answers… Read more »

Marie
Marie
8 years ago

I think that maybe you didn’t need to tell us that “you” asked for the divorce. That could have been left unsaid.

J.D.’s note: Kris wants this to be clear, and I feel it’s my responsibility to own up to this.
Betsy
Betsy
8 years ago
Reply to  Marie

A gentleman does not relay that information. Neither would a lady, by the way.

April Dykman
8 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Maybe a lady doesn’t want tons of advice about how she needs to save her marriage or to not be a quitter (the kind of stuff here in the comments) when the divorce wasn’t her choice.

Ohplease
Ohplease
8 years ago
Reply to  April Dykman

Exactly.

A true lady and a true gentleman will not judge someone based on limited knowledge of a situation.

tboofy
tboofy
8 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Good for you, J.D. I would feel the same as Kris on this. Of course, in my case, my ex’s new wife being 6 months pregnant (four month after our divorce was finalized) made it obvious which one of us wanted the divorce.

Becka
Becka
8 years ago

Oof. I see the more judgmental GRS readers are crawling out today.

I’m very sorry to hear the news, but glad that your friendship is remaining strong, and you’re still taking care of each other. I hope you manage to remain good friends. Divorce was the best thing my parents ever did for their friendship.

greg
greg
8 years ago
Reply to  Becka

“judgmental GRS readers”,

Becka,
Jesus Christ was judgmental. He told all who would listen not to sin or kill or commit adultery or steal…… Would you look down on him for being judgmental?

In a word, and I’ll only say it in one word because it can simply be said that one word covers it: SELFISH!

barnetto
barnetto
8 years ago
Reply to  greg

No more so than I would look down on Yama, Hades, or Osiris for being judgmental.

brooklynchick
brooklynchick
8 years ago

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. Although we’ve never spoken, somehow I feel a connection to you. Some might argue it’s a fake internet connection, but I like to think it’s real if odd.

I am sending both of you my best wishes and light (atheist version of prayers).

I hope this process is minimally painful. I hope you both reach out to friends and family for support.

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago

So sorry to read this, J.D.. I’m saddened, but not shocked. As others have noted, there have been a few signs, such as the independent travel, and the decision to keep your finances separate. I really admire your desire to keep things friendly, but I hope you take steps to protect yourself anyway. I’ve seen divorces that start out amicable, and they can turn adversarial in the blink of an eye, over the smallest things (who gets the cats? What if you don’t approve of the new guy she starts dating? What if a relative trash-talks her in front of… Read more »

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