That was easy.

Move on guy, it'll get easier as you forget about her.
Sounds like no kids, thank goodness. I say he should look around and find some other part of the country to settle in, depending on his career, or his politics, or his allergies, or where his family or friends live -- anything to get out of the city where his ex lives.
"I'm a really great guy. I'm very sweet, handsome, smart, and charming." translates to "douchebag."

But she was too, so, move along.
Apparently he wasn't smart enough to immediately realize nobody intensely texts their 'scrabble partner'.

She's gone. Forget her. You deserve and will get better than her.

Although just after the divorce is final, if you are feeling vindictive, be sure to send her a copy of the column which describes her, quite accurately, as a dishonest manipulative piece of shit who mistreated the man who married her. Because she is. And she ought to hear it from Dan.

Also, grow some self-respect. She just shit all over you and your relationship. Stop mooning after her. Be angry, be hurt, but tell yourself enough is enough and move on.
Anyone who can attend graduate school yet write "her and her friend went out to a bar" is a going to be a problem for somebody. Sounds as though she decided it wasn't going to be her any more.
He lost me when he demanded marriage from someone who was pretty clearly uncertain about it.

Get some self-respect already.
She's the bigger asshole here, but this guy is not blameless, and I like him even less because he refuses to see that. He's not taking any responsibility for what's happened. His "proposal" to his wife was essentially an ultimatum, designed to manipulate her. He knew she wouldn't want to lose him entirely and that she'd cave even though she didn't want to, and he was okay with that because he feels he's entitled to a lifelong commitment. Now he's surprised that their marriage isn't great? Really?

"we started having some major relationship problems, but I never quite knew what to do because I was in graduate school and very busy." I've been to grad school. It's stressful. It is not an excuse to shrug and say "I dunno" when your relationship is in trouble. If you have a busy lifestyle, you should pay extra attention to the health of your relationship, not less attention.

"I feel like marriage just fucked us up." He neglects to connect this to the fact that HE was the one who decided that marriage was the only way for them to be together at all.

"I'm a really great guy ... I can have any girl I want." #3 already sized up this little gem.

Again, the wife is the bigger asshole and an enormous coward. But I don't see any reason to let this guy think he's an innocent victim. They're well rid of *each other.* I hope next time he waits for a woman who will marry him because she is eager to be married to him, not because she's too much of a scrotum to accept being dumped.
What Dan said.
I'd add, though, that you're partly responsible; for giving her the ultimatum of "marry me or I dump you".
you're not a whipped puppy.
you're a whipped pussy.
grow a pair and flush the slutty whore
out of your peanut sized brain.
Dear LAPM, life is going to suck for you for the next six months to a year, but you'll come out the other end a better person. You're already a better person than she is. It's over. Find something else to occupy your time, have a bunch of really good cries, listen to "Bye Bye Pride" by the Go-Betweens a bunch of times on repeat play, and get on with your life.

Maybe somewhere else. Maybe back where you came from. You will eventually learn how to say "oh my god, it was a disaster, she really screwed me over" when people ask what the hell happened in Seattle.

But people screw up. You are not the only one. You'll get over it. But do not under any circumstances have sex with her, or communicate with her in any way. She's OVER. No going back, only forward.
demanding marriage is the surefire sign of a problematic relationship... ESPECIALLY if it's coming from the guy. Did you ask and she said no? If so, trying to force it will only end in tragedy.
@6 In my computer science department there are a lot of quite brilliant illiterates. Math types, you know.
@7, I think he cops to the fact that he shouldn't have given her the marriage ultimatum, but in his defense, he was trying to get his needs met. It was up to HER to do what SHE needed, i.e. let the relationship end if marriage was not what she wanted. What I can't understand is why she tried to "open" the relationship. Why didn't she just end it? It couldn't have been to save his feelings; informing him via text the morning after that she was with her lover had to be terribly painful for the LW. It's incredibly hard to accept the end of a relationship that one intended to last for life, but that's what he needs to do -- no sex or contact with her at all except through an attorney if that's needed for the divorce. Time and distance from her and lots of make-out sessions with other women are the only cures for this broken heart and marriage.

I quibble with the notion that he was trying to get his needs met and stand by my assertion that he needs to gain some self-respect. Despite his claims that he's a great guy who can have any woman he wants (which is an absurd statement no matter who says it), I guarantee that he's the type of person who secretly knows or fears that he can't find a replacement for his current partner. Thus, his insistence on marrying someone who didn't really want him.

That lack of self-esteem also explains why he's still mooning over her.
@13, you're right, there could be something savant-y here. I'm sad to think he put off addressing his wife's obvious discomfort because he was busy in school.
Both of you sound crazy. I'm truly wondering if her hesitation to marry you was because you're related by blood.
I'm not sure what's wrong about a "marriage ultimatum" - if you want a longterm/lifelong relationship it's perfectly reasonable to make that clear at some point and to tell your partner that if she doesn't see it the same way there's no future. The same applies, e.g. for having kids. I would be curious what you think the alternatives would have been?
Dump her assuming she doesn't care enough to marry him? Be unhappy and hope the relationship doesn't end?
I'm guessing his grad studies were not in anything focusing on the English language or usage thereof. By "And, I have to say I largely feel responsible." I wanted to print the letter and find a red pen.
@18 If she's obviously made it clear she doesn't want to marry you (like, say, turning down a proposal to the point that you feel the need to make an ultimatum) then just fucking end it? maybe?
Look, she lied to you for about a year. During that time, she had mentally checked out of the relationship and had no consideration for you at all. Think about it, you made life-altering decisions at her behest, with her fully intending to screw you over.

She despises you, and you are better off without her. She is a real piece of shit.

As fnarf said above (and I can attest to, having experienced something similar when I was 28), your life will suck for about a year, you'll feel like someone kicked you in the stomach, but you'll start to grow as a person once again. Then, you'll be ready to move on and be mentally healthy enough to establish a new relationship.
I'm a little sorry that the default position on Slog seems to be that people who screw up their relationships, or panic under the pressure of a crumbling relationship and do dumb or counterproductive things (like "pressuring her into marriage", which is really a pretty harsh way to interpret the fumbling described here), are bad people. People make mistakes. God knows I've made enough in this area for at least a dozen normal people.

This couple started floundering probably well before the marriage and move. Floundering is what people do. So is digging the hole deeper. I'm not sure either of these people really deserve to be called douchebags. All I hear here is pain.

Get out and make it better, dude. Suffering isn't our lot in life; recovering from suffering is. But you can't start recovering until you get out of the fire.
DUH its over dude move on
seeing as how you're in seattle, LAPM, come to the next slog happy, where you will meet 100% guaranteed neat, smart people who will lend a sympathetic ear and maybe even buy you a beer. what say ye, fellow sloggers?
The sooner this guy moves on the happier he'll be. The wife sounds like a cruel, cowardly, nasty tw*t. He's better off without her. Good riddance to bad rubbish....
"can have any girl I want" - except the all the ones you give a marriage ultimatum to.

seriously though, the marriage ceremony should be to honor something that already exists. There's no magical superlove that comes with the wedding band.
@22: Thanks for being the voice of reason and compassion, Fnarf. Sometimes I feel the groupthink of Slog gets stuck on the "who's the douchebag" game too much.
There's two sides to every story. I bet hers would be that she felt very pressured into marrying this guy & then couldn't summon the nerve to break up with him.

Guy, these things happen. It's not that she's poly that makes this not work, it's that she lied to you. & you don't sound like you're gonna be happy in a poly relationship at all, to me. That's neither here nor there. This is a bad breakup, but it's a breakup. If you can afford to move, I would if I were you. & don't be afraid to be single for some time, either. Maybe you *could* have any girl - though I wonder about that - maybe you just want who you can't have. Why is that? Sort it out ala the Talking Heads. "How did I get here.." Don't be afraid to hear yourself & your own voice, for awhile.
@ 22: That's kind of you, but lying to your partner about who you're having sex with and refusing to be considerate of their feelings isn't floundering, it's total douchebag behavior. The wife is a cowardly, hateful piece of shit and he's well rid of her.
@ 28: True, but that version of things hardly exonerates her.

The poly thing is a red herring. When she said she wanted to open up the relationship, what she meant was "I want out of the marriage but I don't have the guts to tell you that, so I'm going to turn things into a massive flaming trainwreck and make sure you end up feeling responsible." If you don't love your partner, it isn't polyamory.
@26 Exactly. I don't want to say that it's an exclusively straight problem, but I think I'm safe in saying that straight people are more likely to believe that marriage can save an already crumbling relationship. As a gay man who has had to make relationships work for years without marriage, I think we're far more able to realize that at its core, a relationship needs to survive on it's own... marriage only serves as an extra set of legal rights- like the icing on the relationship cake. Entering into marriage when you have a dysfunctional relationship is like burying your relationship in the pet cemetery- sure it stills lives, but is that something you really want?
@26 that's a great way to put it,

I would add that marriage represents what should already be there and the commitment to changes that allow the relationship to continue.

To be dragged cross country in order to be dumped seems particularly harsh.

I was just thinking of how it's always interesting when the letter writer comes on here and opines/debates/argues... And in some cases how fascinating it'd be if, say, not only the LW, but other involved parties did as well. But then the more I think about it, the more I think it'd be horriblehorriblehorrible.
Tag me one for this:

I am not unsympathetic, but "her and her friend went out to a bar" annoys me every bit as much as it annoys gloomy gus up there at #6. Did he write like that in his thesis? I probably would have smacked him with a seventh-grade grammar textbook before I let my friend take me out to a bar.

Realistically, though, an entire series of mistakes were made here, and the guy should just cut his losses and call it a lesson learned.
"I'm a really great guy. I'm very sweet, handsome, smart, and charming. I can have any girl I want."


Or else drunk.
Damn, you guys are pretty fuckin hard on people...

This dude, and his soon-to-be-ex-wife, sound pretty nomally hapless to me. Cut 'em both some slack.
Before you ever think about getting married again, read this:…

And then read it again. And again. And again.

Sweet Jesus.
@15: You may or may not be right about his self-esteem, but that's a tangent.

He laid out what he wanted, a commitment or the end of the relationship, and she chose to make the commitment. Apparently, she couldn't foresee how she'd feel about this a year later, and if she couldn't, how could he?

She made a mistake, married someone she didn't really love, fucked him over, and now she's trying to cover her tracks. This is pretty straight forward stuff.

@3: A genuine douchebag would be fucking her over, not the other way around.
@ 30 Indeed, I wasn't letting her off the hook. Lying is lying, cheating (on whatever the agreement is) is cheating, & it sounds like the LW is going through genuine heartbreak. I wasn't trying to equate lying w/ polyamory. Her actions sound awful, & I'm seldom curious about the POV of the person being written about. But I did some unfinished, crappy, unkind things I regret in my 20's, you know?

This LW should move, IMO, & just take himself off the market while he straightens his head out. People like the LW's now-wife sound tend to burn bridges & not look back.
@15: I guarantee that he's the type of person who secretly knows or fears that he can't find a replacement for his current partner

You're describing a fear that has been experienced at some point or another by pretty much every guy on the planet who's been dumped. Of course he's afraid he'll never find someone like her - he and every other guy who was just abandoned by a woman he completely fell for. That's how it feels to have a broken heart.

Perhaps you're one of the lucky or wise few who've never experienced having someone you love walk out on you (my wife has never been dumped, either), but try to have a little empathy for those of us mere mortals who have.
@3, @15, et al.

How can you know that the "I can have any girl I want" bit isn't just a little bit of hopeful reassurance to himself? I've been in (roughly) his position, and it feels like crap. The one person who was supposed to want you, it turns out, doesn't. His confidence has probably taken a severe hit, and he needs to hear stuff like that, even from himself, to feel okay about the future. That, or, having just laid out the completely humiliating way in which his 7-year relationship ended, he feels the need to let anyone who reads the letter know that it's not because he's worthless or unlovable.

Cut the guy some slack. Not everyone with a little insecurity is a douchebag, and this guy pretty plainly came by his insecurity honestly, at least in the short-term.
Letter Writer, that "deeply in love" feeling that you describe is, at this point, just adrenaline from being yanked around by her, combined with a strong desire for her to come to her senses and treat you decently, the way you deserve and the way she used to.

She is not going to do that. Get clear on this. Once you are one hundred percent clear that this is the sort of crazy that people don't recover from, you can let go and move on.

Personally, I'm wondering why you were the one who moved out. You should have waited for her next disappearing act to change the locks and leave her stuff on the sidewalk along with the moving boxes. Unlike you, she won't be couch-surfing.
Don't forget to get that palimony, son!
@ 40: Didn't mean to sound like I was attacking you, so I apologize if it came across that way. And I agree with you.

Plenty of people have done stupid self-destructive things they regret in their 20s (or 30s, or 40s...). I wouldn't have been surprised to see a letter from the wife - in fact, I'm reminded of a relatively recent letter from a woman who got married, then immediately regretted it and started chasing another man, despite her husband's objections, resulting in the end of their relationship.
Agreed with @18.

In a sense, most marriage proposals are a type of "ultimatum". One partner is putting himself out there and stating that he is ready for marriage, hoping his significant other will feel the same. If the person being proposed to declines, the marriage-minded person can:

1) Wait around hoping his partner has a change of heart.

2) Resign himself to the idea of never getting married.

3) Break up with the person and look for someone else who actually wants to get married.

I think a break up is the most likely outcome in the event of a declined proposal. Marriage is a wedge issue.
@46: Hopefully, most proposals occur after discussions about the subject, when you already know your partner will accept and is on the same page.

@31: Unfortunately, now that gay marriage is becoming legal and accepted in more and more places, gay people will probably start growing up with the delusion that marriage can magically fix a broken relationship.
I just finished the article on marriage (@38),

People get into long term/deep sexual relationships without being friends first? Wow, I just figured out my only major dumping. It seems so basic that you would be friends, and yet..I just realized that we weren't almost 30 years later. We worked on creating things we had in common, but that isn't the same.

Anyway, about the LW. If his wife has the job, does he have health insurance through her, is she the type to run up credit card debt on the common account(s), who paid out the most into the common assets, etc. In Seattle how do you sell an apartment's worth of stuff? How about some practical advice for the LW from those that know?

To the LW: Get it together, you need to determine your fallback position and recover as much of your common assets as possible. Since your wife has the job you came to Seattle for, she probably carries your insurance: tell her to continue your coverage as compensation for her dragging you cross country, at least until you get your own coverage (given that you are a newly minted graduate, this could take a while). So, maybe hold off on the legal termination until you have the most benefit.

Right out of Grad school, and into the fire. Get a job (comensurate with your degree) ASAP, the search will be a good outlet to help you focus in a positive direction. Strongly consider finding a position as near as possible to friends and family, you're going to need them (loneliness is easy to ignore while you're focussed on a relationship's problems).

Good luck.

Yup, you definitely married a woman.

That is how they get rid of men. You were gotten rid of.

Oh, and all you un(der)employed English lit majors griping about his writing? It is a good thing the internet came along, so that people can no longer pants you for being a prat in person.
Am I the only one who gets the feeling this dude needs the "you're young, you need to eat a lot more pussy before you make any decisions" pep talk? Dude was with the girl for seven years! And she just finished grad school, which puts her at maybe 26-30 depending on her field, and assuming she went straight into it from college. He's also calling other men she's interested in "boys"! I stopped dating "boys" and went to dating men when I was around 21! I'm putting him at about 25 or so, and he's been with this chick since he was 18-20. I'm betting neither of them ever dated adults, or dated as adults, and just stuck with their 19-year sweetheart because they didn't have the gonads to explore what they wanted. He probably believed he would marry her from the first three months of dating. At 19. I think this dude needs a shellacking in other "girls" spit, and let's hope he actually dates some "women" in the mix and learns a little bit about love and adult relationships.
When the marriage contract is breeched by one person declaring it open in a unilateral sense, it is over then. The shame is that people have low enough self-esteem that they want to hang on to a dead contract.

I do not think I have enough data to judge either, but I feel bad for both of them (Based solely on the letter) for the lack of humanity displayed by the spouse and the lack of self worth by the letter writer.
I live in Seattle in the mid-90s, moving from an East coast city. I was quite struck by the number of relationships, straight & married or gay/straight & unmarried, that fell apart when the couple made a similar move.

Moving to a brand new place hundreds (or thousands) of miles from family, friends, etc., is extremely stressful, even when it is primarily positive - as mine was. Please don't discount this as a factor in this particular breakup.
It's either over or out, not over and out......
The letter writer's soon-to-be ex will tell her friends and family that the marriage broke up because he was too controlling.
Too many comments here chiding him for his so-called marriage ultimatum. A lot of marriages, including my own, started with the notion of "shit or get off the pot". (LOL, I guess I've been shitting for 14 years now).

His crappy wife just didn't have the balls to leave him when he gave her the chance.

I guess if a man does it, it's creepy and manipulative. But if a woman does it, she's just taking control of the situation and asking for a decision. Pretty sexist gang.

"Two months ago when she expressed her dissatisfaction I asked her what she wanted and needed. And, she said she wanted to see other men romantically. I started talking about divorce, but she assured me she just wanted to have some fun. So I said ok."

That's hardly controlling behavior on his part.
@51 "When the marriage contract is breeched by one person declaring it open in a unilateral sense, it is over then."

No. It's not over. The contract is still enforceable by the courts in the sense of "if we split up, this is how our stuff is divided." And if both people want to stay together, then they need to figure out how to talk to each other about their expectations. One person suddenly needing to open up the marriage is not so different from one person suddenly needing to give full-time care to a parent, or being transferred to another city, or getting called up from the Reserves, or becoming a paraplegic. In a long marriage, serious issues are bound to come up. The question is whether you can find ways to deal with them together. If not, you split up. But until the person honestly puts their needs on the table, you can't even find out whether you can find ways to come through it together.
@55: No, it's doormat behavior, unless his response was actually, "OK, I hear that you want that, and I'd like to hear more about why and what it means to you. Here's what I want, and what I would need in order to feel comfortable with letting you have that." Which I'm pretty sure he never said.

But 54 is right, that's likely to be her story. The "he couldn't handle an open relationship" line only works with people who are in open relationships themselves - ie, probably not their families.
Why do I get the feeling that her "boy" in Seattle is the reason behind pretty much the whole fiasco? The reluctance to commit, the problems that started right after making the marriage official, the new job ending up in Seattle, having to run off to him the very first night they got there.

I hope for her sake he turns out to be as wonderful in person as he was over the internet. (Okay, actually, I don't wish that at all. I hope she gets a rude awakening.)
Honestly, to me, I never took that "marry me or leave" advice seriously (for men OR women). If you have to lay it out like that, it's just ... what? Bad juju? I feel like if it can genuinely go either way -- either they leave you or love you enough to want to be with you forever (??) -- I'd rather just not marry.

If this person reeeeeallly loves you and really respects how important it is to you to marry (because you've told them, right?), he or she'd come around without a threat. Or, they sit you down and explain how really, really important it is to THEM not to marry. If you want to be with that person, sometimes that's something *you* might have to accept. (If we can strong-arm people into marrying, surely we can do the same for not marrying?)

What does it say when a person suddenly says yes after a deadline has been issued? Like, oh, I thought you were kidding; *now* I know you're serious!

I'm sure it's worked out for many couples, but myself, it's not something I'd go for. I can't risk believing it's "just jitters" for either him or me and that marrying might just fix it.
I have someone very close to me who is going through the same thing. I'm torn about them and I'm torn about this guy. First, I want to acknowledge that this is a one-sided story but I think the writer is humble enough to admit that. I certainly do understand the reluctance to be strung along by someone you're emotionally entangled with and I have to say that this guy was pretty adult, in my view, when he put his life and fortune where his mouth is and made it clear that marriage was what he wanted. I just think his wife didn't know how to say "no" to that and, unfortunately, she did the worst possible thing - she lied.

Gay or straight, when your relationship is opened up, the cardinal sin is lying, keeping secrets, deceiving. You cannot build a foundation of trust on lies. I don't disagree that marriage counseling is out of the question. It would be a last straw, perhaps, but it just might yield a way of gaining a sense of peaceful closure on a relationship that is going nowhere. There's an outside change that counseling could make things work, could turn it all around, but that takes the commitment of both people to show up at the counselors office and commit to a few rounds of professional intervention. Regardless of which direction you eventually take, a counselor can smooth it out and get your head into a positive frame of mind.

I really shudder to write this. I'm a parent of someone going through a similar situation and I am distraught beyond words over it. It hurts when two people you love deeply are in turmoil. You wish you had a magic formula to make it all better. There is one: they have to do it and they both have to want to. If one doesn't want to, the other one needs move on.

Last word: Five years from now, it might be of benefit to you to be able to say you at least seriously offered to go to counseling with your wife. I'm a big one for trying to live my life who I won't have regrets in the future. So, for what's it worth, consider the counseling.
That's just sad. I'm sorry for this fella.
I really don't understand these "marriage ultimatums". Don't they basically mean '"being married" is what is important to me, who I am married to is of secondary importance'? What does that tell the person who is receiving the ultimatum? That they are a replaceable pawn, I guess.
@63 - "being married" isn't necessarily the goal, but rather finding a life partner who shares my goals and is done looking for other partners. I hope it's you (not literally 'you'), that's why I'm suggesting marriage. But if I'm wrong, and you want your options open to go partner up and have kids with someone else, then be honest with me.

I don't think there's one person who is the perfect Prince Charming for each Cinderella. I think people have chemistry with quite a number of possible partners, and if in addition you live well together, then you can build a lifetime of love and passion on that. But only if you start by being honest about what you're hoping to find together.
(@64 - sorry for the sexism of Prince/Cinderella.)
@63: I think the reasoning goes something like, "We have been together for seven years now, but you seem to be still operating under the idea of keeping your options open. Keeping your options open means that you still entertain the idea that something better might come along. At very least it means that you have no qualms about walking if things don't suit you. Sorry, but that is no basis to build a life on. It's no basis on which to have kids together, buy a house together, build a financial future together."

Refusing to commit is fine if the two of you are happy idling in an apartment owned by someone else, with no kids to worry about, and separate checkbooks. Moving forward with some of life's bigger decisions, like the ones mentioned above, requires something more in the way of commitment, because they entail a larger degree of personal entanglement. Would you have a kid with someone who refused to commit to the relationship?

Yes, I know that marriage is no guarantee of commitment, and people can walk away from that too -- but at least it's a promise. When someone isn't even willing to promise, that says something.

@66: Thanks, understood.

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