in FS, Home & Garden

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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      • 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.

    • 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 dow, Look at separation and keep the health insurance.
      Doesn’t sound like it is really over from here.

      • 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 more separate time while still recognizing an essential bond. I have a friend who has been divorced for many years, and yet she knows that her former husband (neither has remarried) would be there is she needs him (like when she was flooded out of her house, he and his brother arrived and spent months helping her rebuild) and she for him.

        • 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 say that everything that’s happened in the past three years is the result of Sparky’s death, but that one event has had a tremendous impact on my life and decisions.
      • “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?

        • 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 change in a short period of time and if you guys are not growing and changing in the same directions that can spell trouble.

          Best of luck.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

        • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 thing because we really do get along well as friends. Now we are friendly but keep a respectful distance.

    Good luck to you both!

  7. 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 of luck in life.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  8. 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.
    • 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!!!

    • 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 if you don’t have a washer dryer in your apartment and the building ones are pricey. It’s also a great trick if you’re traveling to avoid expensive hotel laundry prices.

  9. 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.

    • +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.

      • 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.

        • 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!

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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 …..

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    • 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 of pace. My advice would be to enjoy your new location and get out-and-about in it as much as you can, and put as much as you can of that $500 towards healthcare coverage.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    • 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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 lean on your friends, and like Becky said (comment #3) just be. Whatever is supposed to happen will, painful as it might be.

      • 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?

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

    • 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.

      • 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?

  19. 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.

    • 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 your best bet for some continuity, though.

      Lastly, I REALLY like the idea of a separation for you two, rather than moving straight to divorce. Taking it slow in the process is not necessarily a bad thing.

      • 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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 canning. She said “maybe”.
    • 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” but at this point it’s better to not rely on her for things that she did for you as your wife.

  22. 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 financials.

    And I’m certainly not saying that those who meld together completely don’t get divorced (and perhaps it’s messier when that do!) Rather, those older couples that I know who have been married for decades all tend to have the traditional approach of everything is “ours”. Sure, they may have some play money on the side, but the gist of it is “togetherness”.

    It’s the same argument peoople have with prenuptual agreements. If you’re going into it wondering what would happen when you get out, you’re alreay allowing for an “out”.

    Another question I have regarding the “business arrangement” type of relationship is what happens when you get older. Take JD and Kris for example. Let’s say they’re in their 70’s, and Kris gets a terrible disease that eats through her savings. Would the couple still take a yours vs. mine approach? Or if Kris’ disease (let’s say cancer, for example) made it so that she could not help with household chores. Would JD do them and take money for his piggy bank for doing the work?

    Again, nothing against JD or Kris. I’m just uncertain on how people keep “separate but equal” in a relationship. it didn’t work for the American population when it came to rights, and I don’t know how it works in a marriage.

    J.D.’s note: Kris and I want to assure everyone that the separate accounts had nothing to do with this. And, in fact, when it comes to divorce, separate accounts might as well not even exist because everything is treated as shared equally (at least in Oregon).
    • 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.

    • 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 this issue. She makes more, they split the shared costs in funky way (in my mind). She is responsible for more of their shared costs so he actually seems to end up with more un-allocated monies that he spends on toys. He does not max out his retirement accounts and since they have no shared plan probably doesn’t think he has the money to do so.

      I asked her what she is going to do in retirement, a similar question I’ve posed to JD, she is savings but he is not. I’ve said, you are not going to let him go hungry are you? She responds that she will pick up the slack, so don’t you want him to max out his tax advantaged savings now? She thought that was an interesting question so maybe she would fund his IRA.

      I just don’t see how a couple can plan for the future with separate accounts? Maybe they can but it seems like it would take a lot more work. I understand why my friend keeps her separate b/c she has a prenup and really has to based on the prenup but if she stays married to him I think this separate planning, or lack of planning, is going to cause more trouble in the long run

    • 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 and I definitely have different interests and desires to spend our time differently, but it works for us because (a) we’re both introverts and (b) while different, they’re complimentary. He likes to watch movies in the basement; I like to read. When we sit down to a meal together, he tells me about what he’s watching and I tell him about what I’m reading, or we talk about people we know or our jobs or the news. If he couldn’t relate at all to what I was doing with my life or vice versa, that would be an indication that perhaps there’s not enough common ground to build (or keep) a life together.

      DH & I like to talk together. We try to eat together, even if we fix separate meals (which happens often). We have the same sense of humor and our jokes are in the same vein. We like each other’s company, even though we’ll often spend time on different activities in different parts of the house. On the rare occasions we argue, we cool off separately, then come together to hash it out again, and continue until some resolution takes place (compromise, agree to disagree). We say “I love you” each day, and always before going to sleep at night. And we keep our money separate because we know in that area, we don’t get along well. We each have our space so we can breathe but our spaces aren’t so far apart from each other to estrange us. I think those things are what keep us together.

      • 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 than he does and b/c our planning is joint and b/c our expenses are handled in a joint fashion he can do so. As a result, he collected close to $6000 in company match last year. If he was on his own that is money that would be left on the table.

        • 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 lose our jobs, it should work.

    • 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 Ramsey has always warned against this. And while I’m not saying that it’s impossible to have a lasting marriage with separate accounts, I completely believe that it weakens the bond between husband and wife.

      • 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.

      • 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 the exception, so most of my friends had to ask their husbands for money. I have always appreciated the respect shown to me by my husband then by giving me money with no strings. Siince I began earning my own money, I like not fighting about how much I spend on lunch with my mah-jong group or how much he spends on lunch with his golf buddies.

        However, my point is really that he best money system (or any system really) for a marriage is whichever system works for both partners. Just because the system wouldn’t work for you or you can’t understand it, doesn’t make it wrong.

        I also know that what keeps a marriage going and what can take it apart are unique to each marriage. As little as we really know J.D. and Kris, it’s disrespectful and shortsighted to speculate in this way.

        J.D. and Kris, I’m so sorry for you both and wish you both the best in such a difficult time.

    • 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 want to fully combine their lives (often something that may not even be readily apparent to the couple or that they’d even be able to articulate). I guess what I’m saying is that it seems like couples who keep completely separate finances view marriage as 50:50, rather than 100:100 (or 95:95), which can lead to more score-keeping and an unhealthy relationship.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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 both grateful for that.
    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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!

      • 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.
        • 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 cliche, and indeed not everyone in your position ends up being one, but to those of us who’ve seen this play out time and time again within our own circles of friends and family, your story looks pretty textbook (and frankly has been paint-by-numbers predictable ever since you sold the blog and entered a new phase of navel-gazing).

          To be clear, I don’t for a second think that you’re saying anything about your reasons for requesting a divorce that you don’t, at the moment, wholeheartedly believe. But I would suggest that just as it’s possible that a year, or five years, or twenty years from now, you’ll feel as justified in having ended the marriage as you do today, it is equally possible that you’ll find your current angst was not particularly unique or any different than what some of your harsher critics in this thread see it as.

  26. 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 in the process of life.

    Best of luck to you and Kris.

  27. 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.

  28. 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”.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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 a/cs for other goals such as our annual beach holiday, other holidays or other joint purchases we wish to save for.

        This works really well for us and everything leftover after paying the joint amounts are deemed our own to look after. We offer comments on what we’re currently saving for (retirement, new car, new bike, girls only holiday, boys only holiday etc) but don’t criticise the others goals. I am a saver so am very happy with this arrangement, whilst he is working his way towards being far more financially savvy than when we met. He will ask for thoughts but will also offer comments if I ask for them.

        As other readers have said, people often have different hobbies, some more expensive than others so this also helps us as while I’m not a ‘shopper’ I still have a fairly chunky hobby that I like to spend money on. I would feel guilty if I spent ‘our’ money on that sort of thing.

        This may not work for everyone but I truly believe that you need to work through these arrangements together to find the one that suits you best, whether that be joint or separate finances.

        • 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).

  29. 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 to the questions you know have.

    Divorce is never easy, but I wish you both the best.

  30. 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.
    • 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.

  31. 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.

    • “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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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 you?).

    Take it slow, J.D., and watch out for yourself. Best of luck.

  34. Extremely sorry to hear about this. I have been with my husband as long as you and Kris have been together and I cannot imagine walking away from those years of shared experiences. Condolences to you both.

  35. I didn’t want to hear this. You both seem so reasonable in every way, and you also seemed to perfectly check each other. I hope a few months down the road, you both decide you need each other more than whatever it is you’re thinking you need now.

  36. As a long time reader of the blog, I’m sorry to hear this. The hints have been there for a while, but the two of you seemed happy – I hope you both can move on and find happiness again.

    I’ve been there, and for me, my divorce was a good decision, and after a few years of pain and anger, we even manage (now) to co-parent well.

    As for the comment earlier about self-improvement – well, all I can say is, you have to make YOU happy. I too have lost weight and changed my life significantly in the last few years, and my current spouse, instead of drifting away, has joined me and our relationship is better than ever. The decision to grow and change does not always lead to the end of a marriage!

    There are so many other, subtle things that go on under the surface, no one can know the true reason it ends.

    Good luck to both you and Kris.

  37. I am sorry to hear this and I wish you both well. My ex-husband and I had an amicable divorce and we still remain friends.

    I have one piece of advice for two people who are adamant about staying friends throughout this process – listen to your gut and not always the advice of well-meaning friends. It is entirely possible to have a divorce free of hostility and back-stabbing. Again, I wish you both well.

    • I second this. My ex and I get along SO much better now that we are not trying to live together. In fact, so much better that I have never wanted to make the separation “official” because he is the person I’d want to make decisions for me if I were incapacitated.

      J.D.’s note: Thanks, Lisa and Kingston. For the forseeable future, Kris will remain the beneficiary of my will (though I’ll have to get it redrafted), and the emergency contact on all my accounts. I’m divorcing the marriage, not the friendship.
      • I’m sorry but your emphasis on staying friends is wishful thinking at best; that doesn’t work when one spouse demands a divorce and the other doesn’t want it. Of course she’s going along with it now – probably because she’s heartbroken and hopes you’ll change your mind – but resentment and bitterness will come out sooner or later, unless she’s done something specific to deserve this that you haven’t shared. Hopefully she can move past that quickly, but she won’t be able to if you’re still randomly inserting yourself in her life yet refusing to be her partner.

        At worst your friendship pledge – including promises to go on a trip with her and have dinner with her and leave her in your will – are a cruel defense mechanism you’re using to try to assuage the guilt you feel for abandoning your spouse. Are you torn about your decision or are you dragging her along to ease your own guilt? Oh I feel sorry for Kris. I know you mean well – most men do, regardless of how hurtful and destructive their actions end up being. But this will be so much harder on her; you literally have no idea. And you don’t want to.

  38. P.S. On a more pragmatic note, as a New Yorker 700 square feet is PLENTY of space for one person.

    Also, my self-employed/remote working friends ALL rent a work space (here its more likely to be a cube in a co-working space rather than an “office”). It preserves their sanity and helps them feel part of a community. I would think that would be more important than ever during this time. I googled “coworking Portland” and found this wiki:

    http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/16583655/CoworkingPortland

    As an HR professional, will also echo what another commenter said about a broker for health insurance. They can really help re: price. Asking other self-employed folks (at a co-working space!) will also lead to some tips, I bet.

  39. While I understand the desire to remain friendly, I think it is harder on the person who doesn’t want the relationship to end. Taking a vacation together (somewhat of an odd decision viewed from the outside) is possibly unfair to and ultimately more painful for your partner than simply cancelling.

  40. I, too, read that first line several times to figure out if it was written by JD. So sorry to hear…such a tough decision. Best of luck to you both.

  41. I’m sorry about the divorce.
    I’ve been there and well…its tough but it can be a door opening to new things as well.

    Regarding health insurance. Years ago I separated from my husband, who had a myriad of medical problems and was unable to work. I stayed married to him to keep him on my health insurance. Then I learned that in the state I worked in (Massachusett) there was a law on the book that a divorced spouse could stay on an ex’s health insurance if there was a court order. (It depends on the state you’re employed in, since the court orders the employer to keep him on) This ability only works if you do not remarry however.
    I filed for divorce the next day. So when we had the divorce mediated we wrote this into the divorce decree. (no lawyers, divorce cost us $180 AND we had a child but no home, which had been sold years earlier when we first separated)He stayed on my health insurance until he died (from a heart attack, not his chronic illness).
    I don’t know about your state, but it may be worth your time to research this possibility. Currently I am self employed, and I purchase my insurance through my state’s high risk insurance pool for both myself and my son. (We both have chronic medical conditions and couldn’t get insurance any other way). It’s expensive and has a high deductible but we have insurance for catastrophic stuff.

  42. Hi JD –

    I just wanted to drop a note to say thank you for sharing and I’m sorry to hear the news. Divorces are never easy, and it takes courage to share what you’re going through with readers. I hope you eventually find “like” with your apartment. 8 years into my lease, I hate mine more every day but I deal with it – I find apartmenttherapy.com is a great resource – because the rent is cheap and the location is ideal. Good luck on all your new endeavors and keep us posted on how it’s going.

    Best,
    Nicole

  43. Sorry to hear this. Wishing the best for you and Kris.

    When you’re ready, look into collaborative divorce. It is less expensive than the regular method, and while both parties have a lawyer, the lawyers are not adversarial. It sounds like something that might work well for you.

  44. Kris, if you are reading this, I wish you the best of luck. We may not know you as well as we “know” J.D. from reading GRS over the years, but I can tell that you are a strong and good person and I know that you can pull through this.

    J.D., good luck with sorting out all of the changes that this will bring to your life. I applaud Kris for not allowing you two to finalize the divorce until you have your own health insurance.

  45. Not sure of laws in your state, but here in MD, unless there is violence or criminal acts, a couple must be legally separated for two years before they can divorce. Lots of time to give everything consideration and to get all your ducks in a row.

    Also, you don’t have to leave Kris’ health insurance plan. COBRA makes that clear. For I think two, maybe three (you’ll have to check) you can remain on the plan, but you will have to have a separate policy from Kris and you will have to pay the premium yourself. What’s nice about that situation is it gives you lots of time to shop for insurance and, during a time of radical changes, you don’t have to leave your doctors, etc.

    Wishing you and Kris all the best.

    • Divorce laws differ a lot from state to state. Oregon is one of the states with a “no fault” divorce law – you don’t need any reason to get divorced other than that you no longer want to be married.

  46. J.D.: Wishing you and Kris strength and support from friends and family as you two grow into another type of relationship. A counselor told me that love once given is never something to regret, and I must agree…love comes in many forms and friendship can be a strong and healthy one for you two. May you both move forward to happiness.

  47. First, I sincerely wish you well, and I agree with the other commenters that it’s wonderful that you and your wife have the maturity to go forward as friends.

    With respect to finances, the principal reason we save is to be able to weather unexpected storms. Living more simply is part of that, as is investing wisely. I have no doubt that the financial philosophy you have developed will serve you well through these difficult times. Good luck!

  48. Bigger changes happening in your life than I ever imagined out here in bloggerville. And there have been some big ones that you’ve shared since I started reading. SO much growth in a few years for you.
    I was with you for the very best stuff-paying off debt, quitting your job to blog full time, your first book, getting fit, the garden project, and the amazing travels this year.
    On the flip side, I definitely could relate to the posts about getting your mother into a more stable environment and cleaning up the finances afterward. And the headache of maintaining an older home (money pit). And wondering all the usual questions about whether or not we’re earning/saving/spending enough for everything we need/want( daily life,retirement, EF, pleasurable pursuits)
    for the life we want.
    We haven’t met, but we share our lives as though we were friends. I check in here daily and make the occasional comment.
    We share some of the same guilty pleasures: food, books and gadgets. (And a propensity to overspend at times on them because they bring us so much joy and pleasure.) Temper your anxiety with these things as part of taking care of yourself. As you can. Meditation helps too.
    My best to Kris, as she has been a favorite of mine here on the site. The occasional column, the food!:gardening/canning/preserves,
    practical organization and saving skills she has are all pure gold in my book. I’ll miss her presence here.
    My friendly advice: Be especially mindful and kind to yourself and Kris over the next year.
    Change, even desired change, is hard enough.

    J.D.’s note: Thank you, Elena, for your thoughtful message. We appreciate it. Kris and I are both going to seek counseling, and I’m going to look into yoga. (I’ll ask April for advice since that’s one of her passions.) And my hope is that Kris will still be a regular presence on the blog.
  49. I’m so sorry to hear this. I am “just” a reader, but feel I have come to know you and Kris over the years, and know how hard it can be to break up a long-term relationship, and my heart hurts a little for you both today.

    After a bad break-up a few years ago, I relocated from our shared apartment and got rid of a TON of my stuff. Part of it was practical, as it was easier/cheaper to ship less stuff to my new home, but part of it was an emotional cleansing of my “old” life. It felt empowering at a time when little else did. It was also nice to give some of my stuff to friends and colleagues and know those things would continue to be enjoyed.

  50. Oh, my heart breaks for the two of you. Whether it’s a mutual decision of not, divorce is never easy. My prayers go out to you both.

  51. How lovely and brave of you to be so vulnerable sharing the truth of your situation with your readers, opening yourself to both criticism and support. Thank you for letting us in. List me as a supporter of you and your journey, wherever that may lead you. I am sorry for the pain you are experiencing and wish you and Kris happiness in the future.

  52. So sorry to read this, I’ll be thinking of you both during this difficult time and wish you both the best in starting your new own adventures while maintaining your friendship.

    Know that you’ve told us (your loyal readers but still strangers) all we need to know, you both have a right of privacy in private matters like these and you don’t owe anybody an explanation, though knowing your readership I doubt many will pry for details.

    That being said I’m looking forward to your posts in regards to de-cluttering and starting your “new” life, as my husband and I will be getting rid of mostly everything and starting over in a new state in a few short months, so your information will come in handy and be very appreciated.

  53. Having been through a divorce about 5 years ago, I can say (for me anyway) divorce sucks. Starting over sucks too. Looking back, I would say: Do anything and everything you can to save your relationship. I mean everything! The investment both of you have made is far beyond anything financial that has been discussed on your blog. I know, I don’t know your circumstances, everyone is different. I am 5 years out and it still sucks! There is no “minimally painfull”, if you have a great “friendship” relationship now, that’s great…use that as leverage to “rebuild”. As investments go, don’t bail yet. Get solid christian counseling…houses, cars, investments, friends, portfolios, there is nothing more important than your relationship…nothing. You could live in a 200 sq.ft. box and eat cheerios…and it would be better. I do wish you both the best and hope your situation can change.

  54. Sorry to hear about the divorce. There were quite indications in previous articles like many others have mentioned?

    What good is it to “Get Rich Slowly”, if I end up in divorce, live lonely, and have no long lasting partner?

    Reading successful people’s autobiography, they always contribute their success to their spouse. Unless there is abosolutley bigger cause like cheating and violence, “divorce” is not essestial. It is a sign of failure.

    Generally, it’s “Me, mine, and mine only” attitude that leads to divorce. Compromise, Sharing, and Respecting each others needs never leads to divorce.

    Financially,people loss 50% or more of their net worth through divorce.

    • Your logic is bizarre and ridiculous. You have no idea if “get rich slowly” had anything to do with JD’s divorce. And it’s so weird to read people dissing personal growth, evolution and change because it might lead to divorce. That’s insane. If changing for the better leads to divorce, perhaps the original relationship wasn’t worth being in forever. And in what way does getting divorced mean never having love or losing all significant relationships? People who are committed to personal growth and to being mature in their relationships will most likely find another love (or many loves), might just be happier than they ever were before, and might indeed find a relationships that lasts until death parts them. This commentor and some others life such fear-based lives. Sometimes change, even radical change, is good. Sometimes there’s better stuff waiting for you that you’ll never learn about if you don’t take a leap. Sometimes you can change and the people you love go along with you. Sometimes they don’t, but how sad to be stifled in other equally important parts of life (emotional, relational, financial, physical, etc) just for the sake of hanging onto one significant relationship that might no longer be fulfilling.

  55. Wow, I am not surprised at all (I saw the writing on the wall in the “Big House, Little House” post from this summer) but I am surprised at how unsettled I find myself.

    My husband and I have been together for 12 years, married for 5, and during much of that time, we’ve lived in different states and different countries. And in a lot of ways, our life together now would be unrecognizable to our former selves (for instance, we met living in the suburbs in the Midwest and now live in 600 sq foot apartment on the East Coast; he had never left the country when we met and has now been to over 20 countries).

    We’ve actually remarked at how fortunate it is that we’ve always managed to grow together instead of apart. Whenever I hear about stories like this from people a decade or two ahead of us, it really makes me wonder what we would do if we found ourselves diverging…

    • I’m in a similar place in life to you, A, and I was first shocked that this is happening, and then surprised at how hard I took it.

      I have always enjoyed Kris’ guest posts about gardening/canning/food. Based on the snapshots of her that I’ve seen here, she’s someone I kind of want to be like when I grow up, and I have to say I feel miserable for her.

      I wish Kris the best… and I really hope J.D. knows what he’s doing.

      J.D.’s note: It’s possible that Kris’ posts about canning, etc. will continue here. Actually, I’ve been telling her for years that she should start her own blog. She’s not convinced though, especially now that she has Facebook.
  56. You probably have plenty of divorce comments, so here are some thoughts on easy/quick ways to make your new apartment feel more like a home:

    Get some plants – small and big, as big plants are good for filling up empty spaces without being imposing like furniture.

    Hang up some art and framed photos. A place rarely feels homey with all white walls. Ikea has cheap frames. You could do a wall collage with a bunch of travel photos in 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10 frames.

    Have a mix of furniture and include some older items you liked from your old house. It’s hard for a place to feel homey if the furniture is all generic and of the same style (like all Ikea, for example).

    Paint a wall a bright/fun color if you want to add some energy to the space.

    Make sure there are some other decorative touches out and about, like items you collected on travels.

    Invite over a friend (or two) who has good decorating sense/skills to give you advice and help arrange stuff. I can make a huge difference in someone’s apartment by playing around with their current stuff for an hour.

    It’s probably way too soon to consider doing this, but you could walk yourself down to the shelter to get a cat or two to warm up the place!

    Have comfy bedding – enough pillows, a fluffy comforter, nice quality sheets and duvet, etc. Some bachelors have the most depressing beds.

    Also, try to switch you mindset about the size of your new place. It’s huge for 1 person. No one needs more space than that, and 700 sf is quite big for a 1-bedroom. Lots of city dwellers regularly live in half the space, including couples. And I’ve found that the best way to avoid accumulating too much stuff (for people who are prone to do so) is to force yourself to curb that habit by limiting storage and living space. Your house with the barn and out-buildings and garage was a disaster for someone who is prone to gathering stuff, because there’s always somewhere to put the stuff or to get it out of sight for the moment.

    Alright, I tried to control myself, but I shall also leave one divorce comment/opinion… while doing what works best for you and Kris is always the best approach, do be careful about trying to have an extremely close friendship right after a divorce. And be very careful about things like still sharing a giant overseas trip right after deciding on a divorce. Like Kris, I was once on the receiving end of someone deciding to end a long-term relationship. It’s easy to continue to try to hang on and to postpone the inevitable if you don’t want the breakup. It’s easy to cling to the past and to hope that the other person will change his mind. Going on a trip together and hanging out really often could easily be confusing to both people, but especially to the person who does not want the divorce. It’s hard to truly sever the ties and let the reality of divorce hit if you’re still that connected, and it’s hard to start the process of moving on. But, I’m sure you’ll find your own way and that all will be fine…

    J.D.’s note: Thanks for your apartment tips, Margot. I appreciate them. And thanks for your advice about the trip. I told Kris tonight that although we planned this many moons ago, she is free to go on her own, if she’d like. She says she wants me to go because she wants to establish that she and I can travel together successfully in the future. But if she changes her mind in the next few weeks, she can have the trip to herself.
    • One more belated thought, and then I promise to stop commenting on the lives of others 🙂

      What “Kris wants” these days might not actually be what’s the least hurtful to her or the best for either of you. Just because you asked for the divorce doesn’t mean you need to keep doing whatever she requests. She is most likely currently motivated by hoping you will change your mind or convincing you to change your mind. She wants to believe that you are confused and that you’ll change your mind. She would not want this trip with you otherwise. And it’s a strange premise to do this trip so you can make sure you’ll be able to travel together in the future. Being true best friends after a divorce doesn’t happen. Sure, it’s possible to be friends and be civil. But you’re not going to remain international travel partners as soon as she actually starts to disconnect from you or as soon as one of you starts dating someone else. Your current method is one of pulling the bandaid off very slowly, giving Kris the hope that maybe the divorce won’t happen, and perhaps selfishly relying on each other as “best friends” when that’s not the reality. Of course, do what works best for both of you, but also don’t be deluded and don’t necessarily take Kris’ explanations at face-value. Also, don’t continue using Kris as your best friend in a way that might be selfish toward her – she needs to first truly accept that you are divorced and then draw her boundaries from there.

      Also, at some point your self-flagellation has gotta stop 🙂 I know you feel guilty for initiating the divorce. But given that you didn’t cheat and you didn’t abuse your partner, and assuming that you made a good faith effort to save the relationship before divorcing, you did nothing wrong. To actually move on as a non-married person, you’ll have to stop doing whatever Kris wants at some point. I hope the financial division ends up being fair eventually and not just whatever benefits Kris because you feel guilty. And I hope you eventually get to truly move on into whatever phase of life is next (which is hard for you or Kris to do while still acting like each other’s platonic husband/wife).

      Okay, I’ll shut up now given that I don’t actually know you and have little business weighing in on the personal lives of others. And yet I do it so well! 🙂

  57. Been there, done that. Ended a 15 year relationship/13 year marriage just over a year ago. We went to dinner and a movie after we left the divorce hearing. We still work together. Easy? No. Better than staying together and progressing to outright hatred? Yes. He wanted the divorce, I didn’t, but a marriage cannot succeed if only one partner is trying to make it work.

    On the finance debate, our finances were combined as soon as we got married. I doubt that played any part at all. Our issues were of communication and honesty. Life goes on.

    Best of luck.

  58. I am sorry to hear about this painful transition in both of your lives.

    Health Insurance
    I am around 40 and provide my own health care (and live in Portland). I decided on a Blue Cross HSA plan 4-5 years ago:

    http://www.or.regence.com/employer/products/group/medical/hsa.html

    My reasoning was that I would max my HSA, which is pre tax dollars I believe, and live with the out of pocket expense. Once I hit $5k in a year the insurance kicks in and I now have more than that in my HSA. If you have any chronic issues this might not be the right plan for you, however if you seldom need a doctor this works well. We also have zoom care in the area and they are a nice way to get to a reasonable priced doctor that you can use your HSA money on.

    Best of luck, and feel free to email me if you would like more details.

  59. I’m a bit surprised by a few of the comments here, mentioning that divorce is the best thing when you grow apart. If someone believes that you can just divorce when you don’t like things, then what’s the point in marriage vows?

    When we feel like we’re not happy anymore, shouldn’t we do everything in our power to find happiness with the person we’ve chosen? It can mean a lot of changes, but it can always be done.

    I realize that’s easy for me to say because I’ve been married less than 2 years, but don’t we all know that there will be very hard times to work through when we say our vows? I feel like “I need a divorce because I’m not happy” flies in the face of the purpose of marriage to begin with.

    JD, I’m not saying this as a reflection on your personal situation because of course I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t (and shouldn’t) judge. I’m referring more to some of the comments.

    I wish the best for both you and Kris! And I’d love to hear more about your new place. Glad you like the neighborhood. 🙂

    • Not everyone has the same idea about what marriage is for – most people would probably tell you marriage is for making both people happy, especially where there aren’t children. What’s the point of staying married if you make each other unhappy?

      • I agree 100% that marriage should make both parties happy. If you’re not happy in your marriage, it means you need to make some changes and sacrifices to get to where you both need to be, not get a divorce.

        What you’re proposing (staying together as long as both are happy) sounds more like a civil union, or maybe dating. That’s great and that’s valid and I’m all for it.

        But marriage is til death do us part. I understand many people don’t want to go through the sacrifice that often comes with that kind of crazy commitment. It’s understandable. But if you don’t want that, then don’t take vows that state otherwise.

        • If most people believed in the “death til you part” thing, we wouldn’t have amended our marriage laws. Instead, we first got rid of the idea that marriages had to be annulled, and went to “fault” divorce. Fault divorces got easier and easier, and more and more cooperative, through the ’50s and ’60s, until the vast majority of Americans voted for legislators who legalized “no fault” divorce – that is, divorce for any reason at all, including simple unhappiness, without the need to demonize one spouse for legal reasons.

          I just finished reading a great history of marriage by Stephanie Coontz, and she notes that an unexpected side effect of no-fault divorce was a lower rate of spousal murder.

        • “I understand many people don’t want to go through the sacrifice that often comes with that kind of crazy commitment. It’s understandable. But if you don’t want that, then don’t take vows that state otherwise.”

          Exactly so. So many people use the traditional marriage ceremony with the ancient vows, when they’re not actually intending to embark on that sort of intense commitment.

          As Rosa points out, not so many people want the lifelong commitment anymore. I have often wondered why each couple today doesn’t change the vows for their own wedding to reflect exactly what they are, in fact, promising to do. Or what they’re celebrating, or whatever.

          Why recite vows you don’t actually mean?

        • (this reply is to Teresa)

          Well, the vast majority of people who I’ve seen use the traditional vows (not everyone does) meant them at the time. But people do change their understanding over time.

          The of pressure to use the traditional ones “or you’re not really married” can be pretty intense – look at the comments from people who think they can judge your marriage by your checking account, and imagine the response of some people’s families when they vow “As long as love lasts”.

      • I think the big problem comes when one person meant “as long as we both shall live” while the other meant “as long as as are both happy with the arrangement”. That is pure tragedy for the spouse who thought they were signing up to have and to hold forever. It is a broken contract when one person leaves to be selfish, and that is where the moralizing kicks in (IMO). If two parties are just done and want to break up (and don’t have kids) more power to them. That isn’t the case here. This is one partner having a mid-life crisis and making a major life decision without the agreement of his life partner. Unfair and uncool.

    • “If someone believes that you can just divorce when you don’t like things, then what’s the point in marriage vows?”

      Inheritance rights, insurance rights, power of attorney, hospital visitation…when you own property together like a car being able to get joint insurance on the car.

      There’s quite a number of reasons to get married. The key being if something happens then we don’t want to be treated like a complete stranger.

      I’m not terribly interested in “marriage” and all the moralizing baggage that comes with it. I’m looking into cohabitation+springing power of attorney+wills with trusts to minimize tax issues. I’m glad the gays have been blazing that path, although its still a much more uncertain path. All stuff I wouldn’t have to worry about if we just went ahead and got married and stitched up a nice strong prenup.

      So don’t tell me what marriage should or shouldn’t be. Until society provides a cheap, easy substitute (like French PACS) then if I do eventually give up and we settle on marriage you can be sure I will bastardize (in your eyes) the vows however I please (with the willingness of my boyfriend/partner).

      • We gave up and got married after 6 years of civil union, because of the tax benefits.

        If people are serious about marriage being about commitment, love, and sacred vows, then they should be voting the government out of the marriage business entirely, because what marriage actually is on a day to day level is a legal agreement with HUGE practical implications.

    • Thanks to everyone for the replies. Interesting debate!

      I think everyone brings up a good point about the legal benefits of marriage only being available with the “old-fashioned” vows, and I hadn’t thought of that aspect.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see a solution to that in the future, even if it takes a few decades. As barnetto says, “I’m glad the gays have been blazing that path…”, which might lead to more rights and a more modern view on marriage (or something else entirely) for those interested.

      For religious reasons I personally will stick to the old-fashioned way (and I still wish more couples would take marriage vows more seriously), but I think the options mentioned by Rosa and others should be available.

      Thanks again for the perspective 🙂

  60. Like other regular readers, I’m surprised but not THAT surprised. You two seem like level-headed individuals who will find a way to work through what is needed. Best to both of you.

  61. My best regards. I’m going through the same thing: I asked my husband for a divorce and he doesn’t want it (and no other people involved). Just want both of us to have a chance to be happy. I can tell you it gets better: these last 2 weeks of living alone have been the most peaceful, relaxed and productive of my life. Freeing myself of the anxiety and guilt has left me feeling the best of my live. Good luck!

  62. re: “Compromise, Sharing, and Respecting each others needs never leads to divorce.”–What an ignoranat statement! L. O. L.

  63. I am so sorry to read this, J.D. When I read the first couple of sentences, it assumed it was a guest reader. 🙁

    As I mentioned here before, I’ve went through a divorce as a fairly young age (early 20s) and ended another significant long-term relationship almost two years ago so I have some experience with transitioning.

    In terms of getting a place of my own after being the one to leave, I’ve made some mistakes and also choices that worked for me in the long-run. I’m fortunate to have a beautiful apartment in a safe and fun area of Portland. Though I have a car, living in a walkable neighborhood is important to me. I can walk to two grocery stores (Fred Meyer, Whole Foods), coffee shops, great restaurants, bars and major bus lines within blocks of my home. I’m also on the heels of the Hollywood district which has lot of business and services that I frequent (gym, library, etc).

    I could go on, but I know you have a lot on your mind. I wish you and Kris the best of luck in this major life transition.

  64. I’m surprised you left this post open for comments. You trust your readers very much.

    Best wishes to you both in the next phase of your lives. It takes courage to recognize when a relationship has reached its natural end and to take the steps that are necessary for both people to grow in new ways.

    J.D.’s note: It was very scary to leave this post open for comments. Very. But I know that Get Rich Slowly readers are great. And even though many people are angry with me and some comments are based solely on assumptions and personal projection, I truly believe the commenters are well-meaning. I’ve had two entire months to prepare for this day, and I knew I’d take a lot of abuse. I’m okay with that. I believe that what I’m doing is right, or I wouldn’t be doing it. That others who aren’t in my shoes and who only know me from the blog disagree doesn’t bother me. In fact, I appreciate their concern, especially their concern for Kris.
  65. I had an “amicable” divorce after 20 years of marriage and 3 children. Jerry and I continued to have Sunday dinner with the kids, holidays and birthdays together etc. This lasted for 4 years until I realized that if I wanted to hang out with Jerry, I would probably not divorced him in the first place. I’m not sure this is impossible but I think we delude ourselves about the friendliness of our divorces, because we want to “good” people and do the “enlightened” thing.

  66. Oh, J.D., I’m so very sorry to hear this… You and Kris both have good heads on your shoulders and YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. You two are in my thoughts and prayers, that you may find peace, happiness, and balance. Sending out positive energy to you…

  67. Sorry to hear about it, JD. I understand your need to share this with us from a practical, blogging point of view. Sadly, so many people will make judgments about you without any further information about why this happened. I hope you make it through a wiser and stronger person.

  68. Wow JD, so sorry to hear this, and sorry you had to go public with what is a private matter. I’m a been there, done it (I’m the one that moved out so had to pay rent, etc). I’m currently coaching my fifth or sixth friend through a divorce, so they don’t make mistakes I did-mistakes that took me almost 10 years to recover from financially. I respect your privacy on such matters, but there is a lot of information that John Q Public could gain from surviving a divorce financially (amicable or not) if you ever feel like sharing those experiences once the emotional roller coaster is over with.

    Best of luck to you and Kris.

  69. Wow. As a long-time reader, this is a bit of a shock.

    I’ve been married going on 18 years, together with my wife for 22 years, with 2 kids, and marriage is not always easy. Sometimes it seems to brings out the best and worst in us, brings intense highs and lows, affection and hurt, confidence and doubt.

    For some, marriage seems to come easily, but for others–especially with old wounds from our own families–marriage can seem like a constant uphill slog.

    I can’t know what this is like for you and Kris, but I wish you the best as you work through this incredibly difficult time.

  70. Sorry that hear this JD. Hope you two will have a good relationship going forward, but I imagine that it will be difficult.
    Aren’t you worry about stalkers? Portland only has a few donuts shops and it will be easy to find you now with that info. 🙂

  71. I agree that the 15 year old mark is incredibly tough. At that point you are both solid adults and have the opportunity to reevaluate what you have done and where you are going and whether you would like to share that journey with the person beside you. It’s a hard but necessary moment of reflection.

    With that said, I think that you are sweating the small stuff because the bigger picture (being newly single) is still harder to grasp. You can obtain relatively inexpensive health plans and should do so now before you get a moment older. If you can piggyback you wife’s plan through COBRA, some companies allow that as you were her dependent.

    In the meantime, driving by the house is not something that you should do. Nostalgia romanticizes your view when you are apart. You need time to reflect.

    Good luck.

  72. This made me so sad this morning! I also had to double check the writer. I am so sorry for both of you. I know that the readers of this blog only know the “character” of JD that you have created and we can’t possibly know what is going on in your life and relationship, but I hope that you know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. I haven’t been through a divorce, but I met my boyfriend of 2 and a half years just after his divorce was final, and my heart goes out to you. It is a very painful process of loss and the judgement in some of these comments when no one even knows the back story can make it even more difficult.

    J.D.’s note: I love the insight about being a “character” because really, that’s what I am for many folks. (Although I think those GRS readers who have met me in real life will attest that the character on the blog is pretty much the person I am — at least that’s what people tell me. I try to be real and honest.) Because there are thousands of you who read this site but who only know me through my words, it’s almost as if this is some sort of slow-motion novel that had a set beginning, but who knows where it will end? Not even me…
  73. Sorry to hear this, JD. More divorce advice from an older person who has gone through it:
    1) Get a good lawyer for yourself, and Kris needs one too. Yeah, I know, you are going to go with a mediator and remain best friends forever etc. But the absolute best way to actually achieve this, and keep it going into the future, is to make sure that your separate interests are adequately and fully represented at the time of the divorce. Leave nothing undone that you can resent each other for later. Better to go through the angst now than create ongoing angst that isn’t easily fixable in the future.
    2) Don’t make any big decisions/commitments for at least 12 months. Do not buy a house, car, change your profession, move to another city, get married again (lol) etc. No matter how well you think you’re doing, you’re not going to be able to think clearly for a while. Suppress your urge to take actions right away as a way of defining your new life–you’ll probably end up doing something you regret. So if it’s not urgent, table it.
    3) Take the time to process the changes. It is OK to be non-productive because you probably will be. Feel free to stare at the ceiling for an entire weekend etc. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Let. it. be. You’ll come back to your normal self in time, but you have to process the changes eventually somehow and there’s no way through it but living through it.
    4) Just my opinion, but consider canceling the trip–because, yikes, how painful. You’re getting divorced remember? I do think that the least you can do is recognize that it’s a Big Deal. It’s not a wrinkle in your relationship even though you seem to think that if you keep saying that it doesn’t make it quite as awful. On life stressor scales, divorce is right up there with death of a parent or child, you should honor that, IMO.

    • Speaking from experience. Divorce is not fun, but you do recover. Points #2 and #4 are very good advice. Divorce has very real physical effects on the body. Weight loss/gain, hair loss, lack of sleep/too much sleep, etc. etc. The point is over the next 12 months neither you nor Kris will be mentally thinking straight.
      The vacation will be too fraught with emotions for either of you to truly enjoy, and may lead you to never return there. Just cancel for both of you.
      Best of luck

  74. Good luck JD.

    It’s got to be tough having focusing on your blog when your mind is other places.

    But you most of all realize the financial implications of getting divorced. Divorce is among the worst decisions one can make financially, and you above all know this. So for you to initiate the divorce tells me you’ve got a lot of courage.

    It’s easy to stay with the status-quo, it’s the courageous one who moves on in life. Kind of like Jacob at ERE going back to work.

    I’ve been divorced a number of times. It’s really not so bad. The one I’m with now is a real bitch, but she’s hot in the sack.

  75. On one hand, oh, that sucks and on the other moving on can be a good thing. I’ve recently watch this happen to someone close to me and it can be a huge change.

    Best of luck on your new life (as well to your wife). I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but I know that in some cases it just can’t continue. Not everything can be fixed with emotions.

    Tim

  76. As a regular reader of your personal blog, I already knew about the divorce.

    I don’t know either of you in real life, but after years of readership I feel both you and Kris aren’t strangers either. With that said, we only know a tiny tiny bit of your life, so I am wincing at all the judgmental comments.

    The only thing I want to add is, I hope you really appreciate how much Kris has done for your self-development so far and never undervalue her part of the contribution going forward. I know both of you have a lot of respect for each other, so I am sure you will not take things for granted.

    I wish good luck to both of you. May this transition make you appreciate each other more, respect each other more and provide a happier and peaceful life forward for both of you.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Suba. I am very grateful for Kris’s support over the years, and I’m grateful for the 23 years we spent together as a couple. I view this marriage as a success, not a failure. But I believe that remaining longer would have ultimately resulted in a failed marriage. (That comment is sure to spur sticks and stones, but I believe it.) Kris is my best friend. I want her to remain that way.
    • “Kris is my best friend. I want her to remain that way.”

      –Then you don’t ask her for a divorce. You don’t get both.

      • I agree with Joe.

        Part of the reason she is your best friend is because of the vows you took. It just seems like you are projecting failure into the future of the relationship to justify your current desires…

    • JD,

      As a long-time follower of your blog and one-time contributor, first I would like to say that I feel for you, and I sincerely hope that both you and Kris find happiness down the road.

      Second, I think your comment about your marriage being a success and not a failure is critically important. I believe people are generally hungup on avoiding a perceived loss. This is done to the detriment of people’s well-being. In your case (and mine for that matter, having divorced in 2005 after nearly 15 years of marriage), the only thing that was lost was your future together as a married couple. If that was likely to turn out bitter, then you avoided the loss by getting divorced. Said another way, by divorcing, you are preserving the wonderful, loving, marriage that you had.

      The same logic can be applied to financial management. The perspective of “the one who dies with the most toys/money/etc. wins” is the perspective of avoiding loss – this becomes a cheapened life through unnecessary conservatism. Similar to an ended relationship, when one dies, what they have lost is the future. They will always have their past. The best one can hope for is to look back and say that I lived my life to the fullest and I left no cards (or money) on the table.

  77. I’m glad to see the comments here are supportive, on balance. It’s not our business to know the back story, but I’m sorry this is happening.

    I admit I look forward to hearing more about your life as you progress through this – the most personal posts are always the most interesting! You may get some great material out of dealing with Stuff (storage unit, or a real reckoning?), cooking, laundry, etc. I’ve always thought that couples with a good division of labor have a pretty sweet deal.

    I’m a long-time apartment dweller and encourage you to give renting a fair shot; there are some great aspects to it! The recommendations to hang personal photos are right on; I find curtains make a place seem a lot more homey too. Oh, and I vote for keeping an away-from-home workspace, especially if you can build some human interaction into the mix. I was surprised to realize I get a little mopey if I don’t interact with people at least a little bit each day.

    This is an unexpected new adventure for both of you – I hope it’s more positive than negative.

  78. Hi JD,
    I too divorced after 24 years of marriage, that was four years ago. After a year I visited Argentina for the first time, kept returning, and have now been living here in Buenos Aires for two years. Don’t be afraid to consider similar ‘wild’ options. Life is short, and fear-not: the Spanish and friend-making will come. And with magicjack, smartphones, Kindle etc., and competitive airfares, it’s easy to stay in touch, as well as to return stateside periodically. Look me up when you come.
    Un abrazo,
    Jim

  79. The idea of divorce (in general) makes me queasy and sad. But I sincerely wish you guys all the best in this difficult time.

  80. I’m trying not to make this a negative comment, but I did want to say that the narrative you’ve given so far on your blog has been that Kris stuck by you in the early years while you had out-of-control consumer spending and were out of shape. I’m sure that had to hold her back, in some ways, when she was younger. And then now that you’re well off financially and are physically fit, it’s as if you’ve decided *she’s* holding *you* back…so you’re leaving her.

    Again…I just wanted to point out that this is the narrative I’ve gotten from the blog. I do realize there could be a million other personal reasons why divorce seems like the right path for you.

    It’s just sort of depressing to think of that storyline. The idea that one could support a partner through their financial turnaround, and then have that partner decide that they’re better off without you (or vice versa).

    J.D.’s note: For what it’s worth, this is the narrative that folks see in real life. It’s not what actually happened — there’s no causal relationship here but only a coincidental one — but that’s what people see, and I can’t help that. A close friend told me that I’m doing a piss-poor job of “selling” the divorce to people. I don’t want to sell the divorce. If people don’t want to believe me, that’s their choice. I’m not a Presidential candidate trying to create some sort of compelling campaign narrative. I’m a regular guy with real feelings. I’m trying to be honest about them. If people choose not to believe me, I can’t help that.
    • I think this hits the nail on the head of what seemed so sad to me, as well. That “storyline” of a patient, supportive woman hanging in there while her husband got his act together, only to be discarded once he was fit and successful and happy and traveling, does rub the wrong way. I agree with J.D. that there is no way of knowing, but from the outside looking in, it seems as though she really hung on and invested in the relationship and “gave up” her younger years, thinking it would be paid back in a stronger relationship with a more mature spouse… and then he leaves. Very sad.

      • But Courtney, it goes back to the fact that “we don’t know”. I do understand others here who’ve feel that the tidbits of his life we’ve been reading over the past year, the divorce announcement automatically means its ALL J.D.’s fault. That may be the case, but we still don’t know, it could be one of a million different reasons. For all we know, it could be Kris this whole time and he just doesn’t want to publicly vilify her.

        I left an abusive ex-husband and the way it looked from the outside looking in, I got bored with him, found a new man and wanted to be done with him though it could not have been farther from the truth. To this day, years later, many people including my family still don’t know the real reasons why I left him.

  81. Sorry to hear about the news. It is sad to see a marriage ending.

    Seems like Kris has a good head over her shoulders when she says you guys are not getting a divorce until you have helth insurance. I’m surprised you from all people might risk going without health insurance; a broken leg or a few days in a hospital with pneumonia can just suck your emergency fund and send you into debtland really fast.

    I really don’t want to comment on your personal life, since I know nothing about it, but please, don’t write things like the divorce being in the best interest for both of you anymore. It’s your desire to divorce, not Kris’ and you are doing what is in your best interest, not hers. You may think otherwise, but her best interest is to stay with you per your words.

    All the best.

      • Because j.D. himself said Kris didn’t want to divorce and didn’t agree with him when he said the divorce was the best thing for them.

        So, I’m not saying it is the best thing for Kris, just that what Kris thinks is best for her, per his words, is staying with him. Assuming he knows what is best for her is patronizing.

  82. Wish you and Kris the best.

    As if you didn’t get enough unsolicited advice I will just say that the vacation isn’t the best idea… from someone who tried to do it with an ex and it was miserable. If you truly want Kris in your life and respect her feelings, let her go on the trip with a friend and bow out gracefully. You don’t need to go and do you really want to spend a week or more with that much tension?

    J.D.’s note: At all steps along this path, I’ve done my best to give Kris everything she wants. I understand that I’m the one imposing this on her, and I want to make it as peaceful and easy as possible. To that end, I’ve told her that she can take this trip alone if she wants. I’m willing to bow out.
    • Agree wholeheartedly. I have been in this situation and it is incredibly painful — sharing a trip but having the awkwardness of saying goodnight and going to separate rooms/beds. Being in an incredibly romantic location and feeling the heartache of the impending separation even more acutely.

    • Don’t put the decision onto Kris!
      Stand up and take the tough decision yourself.
      You need to say “Kris, I’m not going on trip. I think it might not be the best idea. Here are the two tickets.” She can then go, not go, or go with a friend, as she chooses.
      I’ve been there with an ex, and it’s a bad idea.
      IMHO

      • I totally agree with this! Don’t wait for her to reject your advances. As someone who was unwillingly left in a past relationship, I can tell you that she will probably NEVER decline an invitation from you nor reject a phone call, email or even a text. That does not mean that you have the right to use her as your security blanket if you have no intention of rekindling your relationship.

        You’re leaving her. If you truly want to be able to be friends, you are going to have to first set some clear boundaries and give her space to move on – whether she wants it or you want it or not. I didn’t move on until my ex quit reaching out to me for a solid year. His early attempts to be friends left me in emotional tatters. After 5 years we can now meet as friends, but his reaching out periodically kept me hanging on in silent agony for 2-3 years at first. That’s time I could have been pursuing other relationships, but I truly thought he still wanted to be with me and just needed some space. He just reached out when he needed/wanted my shoulder though and even as he dated other people. Unfair, but I still couldn’t and wouldn’t turn him away. We both cared and care about each other, but just be aware that she may very well always retain some hope that you’ll come back to her – particularly if you leave your intentions as vague as they seem. It doesn’t mean that the trip is a good idea.

        J.D.’s note: Message received on this topic. Message received.
        • After 10 years of marriage, I have been divorced for three years, separated for two before that. Like you and Kris, we had no kids. I was the one who wanted the divorce; he did not. However, we made a mutual decision to respect one another throughout the divorce process, and to honor the things that would always bond us in some way. We remain friends. We see each other a few times a year to catch up and hear family news, and we have been there for one another when we really needed someone. It can be done. Divorce does not need to be angry and bitter. It can be between two mature people who continue to wish the best for one another.

          It may perhaps feel “confusing” for both for awhile, and yes, JD should be sensitive to sending mixed messages. On the other hand, a slower departure from one another offered my ex-husband and me a greater sense of security – that though we were moving foward apart from one another, we could still count on each other. And in some ways that was very helpful.

          He is now in a new relationship (I am not) and I am glad that he’s getting the things that I couldn’t give to him, and yet we still have a connection that is important, but very much secondary in our lives.

          I wish you all the best, JD and Kris.

  83. Hi JD,

    Sorry to hear about this situation, however I’m sure you guys will do fine financially and emotionally.

    Please let me know if there’s anything I can help you out with.

    Regards,

    Sam

  84. I am so so sorry.

    Regarding health insurance, I’m pretty sure that divorce is a qualifying event under COBRA. You should be able to continue for 36 months.

    I am also self-employed in Portland, and have an individual plan. All of the major players in town have their rates online. If you need help evaluating cost vs benefits of the various health plans, I am happy to offer my assistance. It is what I do for a living.

  85. My house has a walk score of 8. I was surprised it scored that high since I live on a farm in rural NH.
    (I have no opinion about your divorce.)

  86. I’m sorry that you two are going through this, but loving the ideas about tiny houses. both my dad and one of my closest friends have been working on tiny houses over the past several years (the friend’s house, up near Mt. Tabor, was a converted former garage, built for his mother-in-law; my dad’s is in progress out off Hwy 26 near the coast, built for a renter). I think you should really put a lot of thought into the idea of buying one — say, 300-400 square feet or so — when your lease is up. I agree with the “former New Yorker” on the hugeness of 705 square feet. and as a fellow clutterer, the concept of moving into a new space and being able to control what I bring in is intoxicating! (not happening, given my three delightful boys, but still heady)

    and I second the comment about Blue Cross’ personal health care plans — I’d used an insurance broker for my small company before going it on my own, and that was her recommendation. of all the available options, that one was the best value. You also might want to check out self-employment/small business risk pools.

    I hope you’re able to sleep, eventually. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to handle a very emotional time on so little sleep (well, I can imagine it, but the only time it happened to me was when my babies were tiny and I had the benefit of oxytocin!). Good luck.

  87. I can’t say I’m surprised at the news and I wish you and Kris well. I’ve been through it too about 8 years ago and it was as amicable as it gets, but it’s still hard.

  88. I’m very sorry to hear this, but not surprised.

    As far as health insurance goes, Kris is right. Do not try to go a few months without insurance. You may be super healthy, but catastrophic medical events have a way of happening during uninsured periods.

    Most health insurance is pre-paid, so it’s likely that your coverage will end on the last day of the month your divorce is finalized, but laws vary by state so consult with Kris’s benefits manager. Unless you have a very expensive medical condition, buying your own insurance will probably be much, much cheaper than COBRA.

    • The one and only time in my life that I was severely injured just happened to occur during the one and only time in my life when I was “in between insurance plans”. Seriously, do not chance it. It is very expensive and very stressful.

      So very sorry to hear of the breakup of your marriage. I wish for an uplifting future for each of you!

  89. I don’t have any financial advice, but I do have something to say as the child of divorced parents.

    I tell people all the time – my parents divorce is better than some people’s marriages. Their current relationship is better than their marriage was (except for the really early years). There wasn’t violence or anything like that. Just two people who love each other but don’t interact well as a married couple.

    It’s different for them because they had kids but they also both decided to work on their relationship and have a good divorce.

    And it happened, not in the first month or first years but it happened.

    I’ve even had people surprised that my parents are divorced because they get a long so well, and also ask me if I wish they would get back together.

    I don’t want them back together. They get along because they are divorced, not in spite of it.

    My parents love each other and care for each other, but they also frustrate and exasperate each other and just generally get along better when they don’t have to live with each other see each other every day. Or have to run their lives jointly.

    It happens.

    I don’t think divorce is a moral failing or a sign of not really caring or being committed to each other.

    I’m glad I grew up with my parents divorced rather than growing up with parents that didn’t like each other and didn’t get along.

    • +1

      My parents had a terrible divorce, but it was still better than their marriage; and now they both have great, long, happy, peaceful second marriages.

    • I had the opposite experience as this. My parents had (what we thought was) a terrible marriage. They fought, they slept in separate bedrooms. As their children, we always encouraged them to divorce. What did we know?? They finally did when I was 18 and my siblings were 16 and 14. Man oh man, that was (and still is) the worst. Their bad marriage was so much better then what they have now.

      Then, my mom managed the money and my dad hated it because he couldn’t buy what he wanted. Now, my dad has no money because he can’t manage it (and never could, which was why mom did it.) He sells pot to pay his rent, lives on ramen, and is inches away from bankruptcy (not the first one, either).

      Then, my mom was unhappy coming home to a man she wasn’t attracted to and didn’t love. Now, after several awful boyfriends, my mom is emotionally broken and terribly lonely. She is fed up with dating, but the only person she felt comfortable living with was my dad. He couldn’t be the perfect husband for her, but he was there to help her through her clinical depression. Now, she comes home to an empty house.

      They disagreed on religion. Now, both have lost their faith.

      My parents were miserable when they were together, but they are both SO MUCH MORE miserable now. Yes, they were more like roommates than spouses, and they should have stayed that way. They thought that divorce would make them happy and free, but it has only made them lonely, unhappy, and broke.

      Edit: I know Kris and JD don’t have kids, so this is purely in response to the previous poster and not to the original post.

  90. To paraphrase Tolstoy every unhappy family is unhappy in their own way.

    Kris: You have my heartfelt support I can’t imagine the pain if my husband of ten years were to drop something like this on me.

    JD: I sincerely hope that their is a lot more to your decision than the selfish comments you have made occasionally in the past several months – where many commenters told you to be careful and value your marriage. Remember that Kris stood by you as you made years as foolish finical decisions and that she is one smart lady. Her opinion on this should be valued.

    That said unless you have decided that you truly do not want a marriage with her hold off on legal proceedings and work with trial separation first. It is cheaper and easier to undo if/when you decide that you made a huge mistake.

  91. Seems that over the 4 or 5 years that I’ve been reading this blog, J.D has really forgotten where he came from.

    Thoughtful posts from the owner of the blog have been replaced by trash from “staff writers” who work for this now corporate owned blog while J.D. spends his time doing other things (fine with me, but at least don’t pretend to be the same person who could actually somewhat relate to the readers).

    Now it seems that getting rid of the spouse is the next step in the transformation.

    I don’t think I’ve seen a more disappointing transformation in all my life.

    As of 1-16-2012, I’m no longer a fan of GRS. It’s been a long time coming, really. Things have changed a lot around here, and it seems, even more so than I ever could have imagined.

    Adios.

      • My life is far from perfect, and that is the point.

        But last time I checked, most marriage vows say things “for richer for poorer, sickness and in health, till death do us part, etc.”

        I’ve never seen marriage vows that end with “unless I just don’t want to be married to you anymore, or unless I sell my blog for millions of dollars and decide to move out and do whatever I want now”.

        Someone said this above, and it deserves repeating. Kris supported JD through years of terrible financial decisions, and now after years of digging out, it seems as though JD has arrived in a very solid place financially. However, is he sticking around to enjoy the fruits of labor with Kris? Nope.

        It’s sad, and I really don’t know the situation, but almost all couples change as they age. That’s not really an excuse to just give up.

        J.D.’s note: Bogey, while I appreciate your righteous anger, let me point something out. You are 27 years old. Kris and I have been together 23 years. I’m not going to take relationship advice from you. Sorry, but it’s a fact.
        • I feel like JD’s response to this comment is a cop out. To say you’re not going to take Bogey’s advice simply because he’s 27 and you’ve been in a relationship for 23 years seems to be poor reasoning.

          *Note, I’m not commenting on whether any advice given by Bogey or anyone else is good or bad. I’m just saying that it may be possible for a 27-year-old to give advice that should be considered.

          J.D.’s note: Fair enough, Jeremy. If it were 27-year-old Adam Baker, whom I know well and whose advice I respect, that was giving me advice, I’d listen.
        • Ultimately what I really want from this blog are ideas I can take and apply in my own life — so I’m going to keep reading. But comments like JD’s response in #180 above certainly make me more skeptical about him and his own advice. Perhaps he doesn’t really mean that and he blurted it out and now regrets it, which we all do. But I’m usually pretty leary of someone who takes the approach of “I’m not going to learn anything from XX because he is YY.”

        • For the record, yes, I am 27 years old.

          I’ve also been with my wife for 10 years, married for 4 of those years preceded by dating her for 6 years (during high school and college).

          Perhaps I know a little something about relationships.

          I love it when people write me off as being “only 27″…

          That allows me to sneak up on people and become VP of a large bank at age 26 while personally managing over 35% of the bank’s earning assets by myself.

          Sometimes us young folks know a thing or 2…just saying.

          J.D.’s note: Fair enough, you young whipper-snapper… 🙂
    • AFter this news and the “recent sale”, i am never going to log onto this blog ever again. Good riddance.

  92. I used to look forward to your posts. Unfortunately, I am un-bookmarking you. Do you have any idea the life sentence you are giving your children, your wife and yourself? I do–I have personally lived it. Someone who doesn’t see how foolish divorce is cannot be too smart financially. Unless there is physical abuse going on, there is just no reason to blow apart your family — especially if it for the sake of your personal “happiness.” And check out the stats on second marriages. They are horrible. Sorry I can’t support your site anymore.

    J.D.’s note: Kris and I have no children.
    • Just FYI: J.D. and Kris don’t have any kids.
      You can choose to support the site or not. But you cannot make pronouncements like “there is just no reason” for divorce absent physical abuse.
      As someone who has also “lived it” — both as a teen whose parents split up and as a woman who filed for divorce after a couple of decades of marriage — I wonder how you or anyone else can presume to know whether or not J.D.’s “reason” is legitimate.

  93. Best wishes to both of you. Meanwhile, don’t be too hasty to throw anything out simply because space is an issue. You’re likely to make rash decisions and, a year from now, you’ll end up wishing you’d kept certain things. If possible, store the overage for at least a few months, and then review it all again with a clear head and see what you really CAN do without and what you’re happy you still have.

  94. I’ll echo the sentiments of others here. I’m sure this is a difficult time.

    On another note: thanks for the cool video! I’m a big fan of the Not So Big House book series, and this would definitely fit.

  95. I got a walk score of 23 and only 3 places on the list either A) still exist and B) are what they think it is. For example they cited the distribution of a book company’s warehouse as a bookstore. They also picked up on an ice cream parlor that is not nor ever actually existed. Perhaps someone registered the business but it never got off the ground. I also have doubts the place labeled “sell your stuff @craigslist” is a grocery store.

    Therefore I would put a caveat that anyone actually using this when moving do make sure to actually check out and make sure these places exist or are valid in person that’s for sure.

  96. and I can’t believe all the comments about “feeling sorry” for you! You are the initiator and yet you also want to continue to put Kris through the hell of dinners and a vacation with you?!!

    J.D.’s note: I’m not forcing anything on Kris. If she doesn’t want to see me, she doesn’t have to. If she doesn’t want me to go on vacation with her, I won’t. But she does want these things, and so do I, so we’re doing them.
    • Stop acting stupid JD – “not forcing Kris to do anything”. Most probably she looks at time with you as a chance to change your mind. If you’re set on divorcing her, then don’t give her false hope. Just coincidental you’re leaving now when you’re successful? I put the chances at near zero you’d be dumping her if your were broke, fat and struggling.

  97. This is the opinion of a total stranger, and you can ban me from commenting in the future if you like, but: You’ve mentioned before you have an obsessive personality (I do too) and get very invested in whatever you’re doing at the moment to the exclusion of other things. I understand this, but I suspect you might have a real tendancy to overvalue what could be over what is — meaning, I think you might be entraced by what your life could be if you were single to a degree that you can’t see what you’ll be missing out on without Kris.

    I don’t know you personally, but I sense that you might regret leaving in a few years when you’ve become bored with travel and flexibility and singleness (or fun new relationships) and realize you miss the true love, commitment, and stability Kris offered you. And, if she’s done right by herself, she won’t just be waiting there to take you back if that does happen.

    It’s not fair to remain friends with her. You’re stringing her along. You married her – you promised you’d stay with her until you died. If you break that promise, you don’t deserve to have all the benefits of her friendship without the responsibilities of being her partner for life.

    There’s a million cliches about exactly this kind of situation — the grass is always greener, “freedom, well that’s just some people talking, your prison is walking through this world all alone”, etc. etc. I think you’re giving up something tremendously valuable here to search for the fountain of youth.

    And you’re also being selfish. Life isn’t just about you and whether you’re having a good time and living out your dreams of the moment. It’s also about fulfilling your promises to other people. Again, block me from commenting in the future if you wish — this stranger simply suspects you’re making a huge mistake.

    • I went to your other blog and read the short entry about this awful news, and the thing that struck me hardest, after the gut-busting bitterness of Kris’ remark about clutter, was your quotation from Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” which you have taken as your motto.

      When I was in high school, that was my favorite poem. It seemed to me to express the brave spirit of an independent adventurer, being true to himself even in his old age, venturing courageously out onto the sea once more, inspiring others to join him.

      Then I got to college and learned that Tennyson’s inspiration was the figure of Ulysses as he appears in Dante’s *Inferno.* Dante was a very clever fellow, who populated hell with a mix of real and imaginary figures — some of them were Florentine politicians or real people who had insulted him, for example, so he clearly had some fun planning his revenge. But no matter what else they might have done, the inhabitants of Dante’s Hell all have one thing in common: they didn’t figure out the mistakes they were making in life, over and over again. In Hell, they are doomed to repeat them for eternity. (Forget brimstone and pitchforks. That’s *real* suffering.)

      Reading Dante made me look at Tennyson’s poem with new eyes. It’s hard for me to tell for sure whether Tennyson invites us to condemn Ulysses as clearly as Dante does. But I can’t help seeing now that Ulysses is utterly dismissive of his immediate family: he feels he is “matched with an aged wife” by a “still hearth,” among “barren crags.” (Remember, this is Penelope, who faithfully waited twenty years for him to come home, cleverly faking out the suitors who circled her like vultures.) He backhandedly belittles his son by not considering him worthy enough to accompany him on this final grand journey: Telemachus is “centred in the sphere/of common duties,” prudent, fit for the hard, unglamorous work of governing a brutish people, a good enough son to worship his father’s gods — but he’s not invited along. Ulysses resents his people for not recognizing how great he is: they “hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.” And he’s really stuck on the vision of his own history as a famous traveler with a lot of status:

      I am become a name;
      For always roaming with a hungry heart
      Much have I seen and known; cities of men
      And manners, climates, councils, governments,
      Myself not least, but honoured of them all…

      So I’m left with a very mixed picture. Is Ulysses valiant to keep pushing himself, even as a very old man? Is he an inspiring speaker? Yes. Is he a romantic figure? Absolutely. But is he a model to follow?

      I don’t know.

      J.D.’s note: I ♥ this comment. Thank you. I’ll be thinking about this for the rest of the night, and that’s a good thing.
  98. I am very sorry to hear this JD, though like some others, I am not totally surprised. I also hope that you don’t dwell too much on the negative comments.

    I obviously don’t know you personally, and after several years of reading GRS, I only know you through your writings. I hope things work out for you AND Kris, and would only caution you not to rush. Your decisions always seem to be VERY thought out, but sometimes rather quickly arrived at in terms of time sitting on the decision. I hope that you take some time before making everything final, and that you and Kris can come to a place where you are both happy with the outcomes.

    Good luck to you both.

    J.D.’s note: This is not a rash decision. In fact, it’s probably the longest, slowest decision I’ve ever made.
  99. @Christine–

    JD and Kris don’t have any children.

    Again, as the child of divorced parents I’m GLAD they didn’t try to stay together for “the sake of the children” or because “divorce is a life sentence”. My Dad wanted the divorce but both my parents are happier now and get along better and like each other better than when they were married.

    I know a few people whose parents stayed together because “divorce is wrong” and “they had an obligation to their children.” Their children were miserable. They grew up in a house where their parents didn’t like each other, show affection to each other, didn’t want to be around each other. Their parents didn’t fight in front of them but my friends weren’t dumb, they knew their parents were unhappy.

  100. Oh, that sucks. Divorce is awful. Apartment living in Portland, though, is exciting. I’m moving from St Johns to Ladd’s. Exploring new walkable neighborhoods will be fun. Just remember to be nice even when you don’t want to.

  101. You both seem to still care about each other very deeply. Re-visit your reasons for asking for a divorce again. Do both of you a favor and sit Kris down and tell her exactly what your thought pattern was and why you feel you want a divorce beause: 1) She deserves to know and 2) By saying it out loud, you both may realize that your reasons for it may not be valid or you may have had pre-conceived notions. Maybe neither is true, but do this anyway. It can’t hurt.

    One of the biggest reasons people get divorced is because of unmet expectations that are NEVER verbalized. For example, maybe you feel your partner should do X but she doesn’t; you never mentioned it, so it is never done which makes you resentful. Get it all out in the open.

    I have experienced a divorce once, but it was because of an abusive relationship; there WAS no fixing it or any other way out. As much as I was the one to initiate the divorce, I was still devastated and heartbroken. I wish you both the best.

  102. JD and Kris
    Sad! So sorry for this new crisis in your life. Feel I know the two of you, even though we haven’t met or even talked to each other. In my eighth decade, have been reading and learning from your GRS posts and comments for several years. Wish the very best to both of you. And JD, sure hope Kris will be sharing food related posts from time to time. Limited income and frugality go hand in hand and GRS fills the bill.

  103. I’m sorry to hear of this – we have dear friends also going through this process right now and it’s hard, regardless of reasons or anything else.

    I hope you can be amicable about your cats and your goods.

    I do want to point out one thing that hasn’t been touched on. If you divorce this year, your taxes will be “single” for 2012 – for the whole year. So as a self-employeed person, make sure to start doing that with your quarterly taxes so you won’t get hit with a big bill or fine.

  104. I’m so sorry to hear about your current situation and nothing but healing and happiness in the future. My husband and I have been separated for quite awhile now and have finally come to terms with the fact that we will divorce. I also downsized from a house to an apartment and while it was quite the change at first, I’ve really come to love it and the clutter-free mentality it has given me. Good luck.

  105. JD-

    I think it is so amazing that you and Kris are still remaining friends. I have so many friends that are envious of my parents friendship after divorce, in fact most people who just meet them think they are still married! I’m sure this will make the transition a lot more pleasant. And I’m happy to know the foundation to marriage still starts and ends with friendship, and glad you are able to hold on to that aspect.

    Good luck with everything!

  106. Strangely enough, I kind of felt this coming. She hadn’t been present in the blog for awhile (by you mentioning her or otherwise) and I felt with your recent wanderlust, something was amiss. Not that wanderlust leads to divorce, but the tone of the blog felt like something wasn’t right.

    I’m glad your friendship remains during this very hard time. That’s an important asset to cherish.

    Best of luck to you both.

  107. Was so shocked and sad to see this news. I do hope that whatever the outcome it is the best possible for both parties. Divorce is pretty tough on the finances and I’m sure there will be some good posts to come (trying to find a silver lining).

    For basic health insurance, there’s the Freelancer’s Union. I think they operate in Oregon. There are likely better options out there, but they might be able to provide a modestly priced stopgap.

  108. It’s the highest compliment I can pay you, J.D., that I was saddened to hear of the divorce of two strangers on the internet. I think that says a lot about how well and authentically you write on this blog.

    Best of luck to both of you getting through this.

  109. JD, I’m sorry to read of your change in circumstances. Change, whether good or bad, is often challenging. I wish you all the best and know that usually your own sense of self is better for the change. My thoughts are with you.

  110. I’m also sorry to read this, J.D. — but more than anything, I appreciate your willingness to be honest with your readership. That says a lot about your trustworthiness — and honesty on your website.
    Thank you.

  111. I heard someone say once that you should have to work your way out of a marriage (barring abuse). That the vows you made going in require that you exhaust all reasonable effort at working things out.

    I don’t know your situation, and perhaps you and Kris have already done this. But if you haven’t, I’d urge you to at least give counseling a try. I have seen it save marriages that I didn’t think would survive, and even if it didn’t for your marriage, at least you both would have a better idea what you really want moving forward with your life as singles.

    My thoughts are with you both during the times ahead.

  112. Like you and Kris, my husband and I come from very different financial philosophies; like yours our marriage has been unconventional in some ways (separate finances, no kids). I have looked to you and to the creative solutions you have come up with in your time together. No one I know has a marriage like ours; yours was the closest.

    I can’t help but lose a little faith in our future.

  113. I’m so sorry for what you are both going through. I went through a divorce initiated by my husband, so I especially feel for Kris. I am very hesitant to voice my opinion, since I don’t know either of you. But if Kris was my friend, I would caution her about spending a lot of time with you. She needs to move on, and I don’t mean move on to another man. She needs to build a life without JD in it, and spending time with you on a regular basis could make that difficult.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Renae. I think many of Kris’s friends are giving her the same advice. She may need (and ask for) more separation in the future, and I’ll give it to her if she wants. But for now, we’re trying to find the balance that works best for her.
    • I absolutely agree. I had an ex from a very long-term relationship who initiated the break-up, then wanted to remain friends. Despite knowing intellectually that we would never get back together, every time we caught up with one another stirred up hope. It was a crushing cycle for nearly two years, when I decided to (politely) cut him out of my life. I realized later on that he was checking up on me to satisfy his own desire to feel like the “good guy” (even if he didn’t realize it himself at the time). While I liked (and sought out) meeting up with him and being “friends”, I would have been much more mentally stable and have been able to move on much more quickly had we not tried to “remain friends”.

  114. I’m sorry to hear about this development in your life – and to read the nasty comments people have left for you!

  115. JD,

    I’ve been writing and deleting posts all day because I didn’t want to come across as “judgmental” or what not. It’s not politically correct, etc. But I can’t give you trite well wishes either. I mean, this has been bugging me all day and I need to let it come out.

    Sure, okay, as Donna said somewhere, none of us has the right to judge you, but a) you’re a public figure, unfortunately, and b) you’ve given advice to couples in the past. So it’s not like we’re butting into your life; you put your life up on a blog, so it’s up for judgment.

    Besides– some of us believe in judgment. I mean, without judgment, what are we? Vegetables? We judge all the time: is this a good investment? Is this good food? Is this the right action? Do these clothes fit me? When we follow GRS it’s because we “judge” it to be a worthy publication. When we refuse to ever eat again at some greasespoon it’s because we “judge” it to be not worth patronizing. Judging comes with the territory of being rational animals. Instead of “judge lest not ye be judged” I prefer “judge and prepare to be judged” (so I’m okay if people want to call me an ass in response to this comment).

    I know I am outside a certain mainstream when I advocate this path, and I’m not looking for people to agree with me, but I don’t believe that everything goes and we just need to let people jump to their deaths if they wish to do so. I know you’re an advocate of “do what works for you” and I believe the same… but only to a point. If someone thinks that drinking a gallon of gasoline works for them, I feel the moral obligation to say “hey there, wait a minute, you fool…”

    So I am not writing to you as your disgruntled reader, but as an online friend of sorts. Like it or not, this blog and the information that appears on it are a part of my daily existence, so it’s hard to take this as an impartial observer. And if you were my friend in “real” life I’d probably say the same thing I’m saying here– I’ve actually done it before, and it’s lost me a friendship to speak my mind before in a similar situation, but I have to operate on principle and I have no regrets. So here it goes. Pretend we’re in a bar after a couple of pints, and you can punch me in the face afterwards if you want, but I have to say this:

    You damn stupid fool. Are you nuts? You’re dreaming, and you need to wake up. You’ve been dreaming for a while– of…
    ‘world domination” and “awesomeness” and… childish crap. You need a frikkin boot to the head.

    If you think you’re going to find someone better than Kris in Neverland, you’re completely nuts. I mean, who except a wonderful human being would refuse you a divorce until you get health insurance while you jump around the world like some kind of internet puer aeternus? Some hot girl half your age may keep you entertained for a while, make you feel “young again” (good luck with that), but can she replace your family?

    Getting rid of the comic books is not enough. I hope you grow up and patch things up with your lady before you your family is FUBARd. Yes, you probably need to spend 3 months in a cabin in the woods, or take a long walkabout, or become a volunteer firefighter, and yes, you’ll probably need to fight for some change in your marriage if it’s ever going to work again, and yes, people maybe are not hardwired for monogamy and so it takes hard work to keep the flame, but nothing is going to make you 19 years old again, and if you feel you do maybe it’s time for therapy.

    I get that you probably have your head full of world domination awesomeness right now, especially living in Portlandia and all, and maybe you’re thinking that what +you’re doing is “being honest with your feelings” at the moment, but I’d urge you to keep your situation at the separation level for a moment and see if after some months you realize this was the bonehead move of a lifetime.

    It’s taken me many years of messing up and burning a path of destruction behind me to learn this, which I hope you don’t have to learn the hard way: A wife is not a girlfriend. Romance is an overrated mirage and everyone eventually farts in bed. Family is priceless and it’s forever. Match.com is not the singles paradise they make you believe in the commercials. Get some therapy–from a pro, not from an internet guru. And watch out for social diseases.

    Alright man, maybe I am completely off the mark and maybe people here will pelt me with rotten eggs and call me names for what I’ve said, tell me I have no right, that I’m making assumptions and projecting issues, but there, I’ve said my piece, and my wife loves me in spite of the disapproval of strangers, and I wish you well, I really do, and by this I mean I hope you wake the hell up and flee Circe before she turns you into a pig, lost traveler. I’m judging, but I’m not condemning, all I hope is that my “judgment” maybe illuminates something in your situation.

    And now you can punch me in the face if you want.

    Best wishes.

    Your friend,

    El Nerdo

    J.D.’s note: Gracias, mi amigo. I appreciate your comment, and I appreciate our online friendship. World domination has nothing to do with this. I haven’t given any thought to future relationships (in other words: I’m not expecting to find someone better). It’s true, as others have noted, that I *am* hoping for increased happiness — both for myself and for Kris. Am I fucking things up instead of making them better? I wouldn’t be doing this if I thought that were the case.
    • It is about time someone said it like it is. Having read the blog for several years, I thing I have at least some insight. First off, Kris stood by JD when he was depressed at the box factory, in debt, overweight, disorganized and generally unsuccessful. By the luck of good timing and, admittedly, hard work, JD entered the burgeoning world of personal finance blogging at just the right time and created a very successful enterprise. Fast forward to the present time, JD has sold his blog for who knows how much $$ and uses guest posters frequently and is somewhat detached from the blog. He has lost weight, is financially well off and has been bitten by the travel bug which helps him discover himself. What better time than now to ditch the woman who stood by you when you were a nobody going nowhere?
      This is all too common and unfortunate. All of JD’s faithful readers and staunch supporters should give pause to think about the agony Kris is enduring at the present time so that JD can chase his dream of running barefoot in the rainforest. As long as we are “being real”, as it were, I hope that Kris reads this comment because if she is I would advise her to hold her head high and recognize that she is a wonderful and worthy person. Secondly, after reading the article on JD’s other website, I would strongly encourage her to quickly dispatch the notion that the two of you should work this divorce out at the kitchen table. Do not allow JD to convince you this is in your best interest. As I see it, you have a long term marriage during which your husband has created an extremely successful personal finance blog, is an accomplished author and authority in the area of personal finance. I am not suggesting you pull out the heavy artillery and make your divorce a war of the roses, however, you are no doubt entitled to and rightfully deserve much more than you may think. See a good divorce lawyer. It will be worth it. You don’t have to force JD to read his comic books by candlelight, but you should know your rights.
      Also, don’t torture yourself by going on this trip with him. It is only designed to make JD feel like the divorce isn’t such a bad thing. “See, we can even go on a trip together.” The trip is all about him, not you.
      I know my comments are harsh. I am not a touchy feely type. What JD is doing is wrong and deep down inside, all of the commenters know it, whether they will state it publicly or not.

      J.D.’s note: Though I appreciate your intent with this comment, this is the one response that I came closest to trashing. It makes too many assumptions and offers advice that is totally counter to what Kris and I are trying to work for. The trip was planned long ago, and planned by both of us. She can go on it alone if she wants, but she doesn’t. I’m giving Kris what she’s asking for financially, and I think what she’s requesting is fair. To suggest that she go after everything she can get is asking us to destroy what we’re trying to build. It’s completely counter to the sort of relationship we’re trying to create after this. So, thanks for the advice. I’m sure Kris will read this, but I’m sure she’ll find it as extreme as I do.
      • I could not agree with this post or the one above more. When I guy tells me he’s doing what he thinks is best for both of us, run and hide. The Truth is here that Kris is getting the shaft, after she has stuck by through thick and thin. Absolutely unbelievable. A middle aged boy and he’s need to find himself…….what will you do in a couple years I wonder, when you want to go back to the staus quo and the woman wont have you.

        Time to grow up already.

        sigh.

        • Why do you people pretend you know what’s going on in their lives? He hasn’t given us the details, but should he? One of them could be gay, want children, are no longer intimate sexually, can have an uncontrollable, hot (but non-violent) temper, have a mental illness that is not treatable and that person is impossible to live with – anything. Don’t put words, thoughts and intentions in his mouth.

        • Yes.

          Good attorneys on both sides, for the money, property, etc – and good psychologists too, so they’re not stuck with only friends/family to talk to, because those people are all invested in the marriage.

          That leaves both people free to deal together with just the emotional parts, which is a big enough project for any two people.

      • J.D., by your responses to comments, you seem to be coming to realize that even though Kris may want all the “contact” and “friendship” you can give her, that it is not fair or right to string her along in that way, as she is likely too stunned and wanting to deny reality to see this for herself.

        Likewise, I would also suggest that it is not ethical for you to accept her “okay” with your doing a “kitchen table” divorce where she says what she wants financially and you give it to her. If she’s like most people who have this thrust on her, she’s not in a position to realistically assess what she wants–she just wants this not to be happening. Nor are either of you likely to know what she legally deserves. As the initiator, the ethical thing to do would be to insist that she get legal representation to serve her interests. (If you are honest about wanting to continue a friendship with her, this will also make that more likely as it mitigates and depersonalizes any nagging doubts about unfairness). While IMO Lowdown’s post is extreme and frames it in more combative terms than I would, your “golly-gee, I’m trying to be as nice as I can doing everything she wants in this divorce” stance comes off as blithely lacking self-awareness,maturity, and insight into how her emotions may impair her decision-making. I see your stance as putting you in a position where you may inadvertently be taking advantage of her being a supportive, good sport. (The “I got my divorce for $75” comments also make less sense when there’s been a rapid growth in assets and earning potential for the initiator in recent history, following a long history of poor financial choices).

        And, Kris, if you are reading this, it is no way intended to be a personal comment on your decision-making capacity. The little evidence I have suggests you are level-headed. This is situational and you are at a point where you are likely to be not thinking clearly yet are thrust into needing to make decisions that will affect your life. Depersonalize that process and get a mediator.

        (And, no, I’m not a lawyer.)

        J.D.’s note: Fair comment, Tamarind. Kris has legal representation to review the documents and give her advice. The lawyer we’re working with on the divorce papers is also clear about the laws and what each of us is entitled to (though he cannot give advice).
    • El Nerdo, thanks for this.

      I can’t help but note that JD avowed on the linked personal site that cheating is not involved…yet he made no such declaration on this site. I think there are underwater obstacles here that JD is trying to distance himself from, so he can say…”When I asked Kris for a divorce, I hadn’t yet cheated. So I haven’t lied.”

      Sophistry and self-deception, I suspect. I hope I’m wrong…

      J.D.’s note: Ugh. I hate hate hate when commenters construct fake arguments like this. Sandi, I can assure you that I haven’t cheated on Kris, nor am I casting an eye on anyone else.
      • Jesus H Christ! People watch too much TV. This isn’t an ep of your favourite series, the screenwriters aren’t giving you hints to help you understand what’s happened.

        Grow up.

        • I’m sorry, but I firmly believe that no one jumps out of an 18-year marriage without a soft place to land.

          Maybe he hasn’t cheated yet (or hasn’t done anything he *considers* cheating), but I just don’t buy the “don’t have my eye on anyone else”.

          I don’t expect to read about it here or in his blog, but I give it 6 months before he unveils a romance that just “happened”, but it was “definitely after the divorce”.

  116. I have read through most of the comments and have not read about many from people who have been ther and done that – long term. Sometimes things happen that truly show us the other person’s real interests and their heart.

    Staying too long in a marriage can be the wrong thing to do. Even when children are involved it can be harmful to them.

    I finally made the decision to divorce after 32 years of giving my husband the benefit of every doubt. I have never discussed the real reason I divorced. Not even with my children. It’s a private matter and all anyone needs to know is that the marriage, for whatever reason, is no longer workable.

    Stick to your guns and keep personal things personal. That way you won’t end up hating each other nor losing friends because they feel as if they have to choose between you the two of you.

    I can say that after 21 years of being single that I have a much better life than when I was married. I live in larger home with all the nicer things I wanted in a house but never had.

    I have learned that I make a better single person that I did a married person. I feel that I have grown by living on my own. I’ve had my own business for the past 11 years and am doing well for and by myself. There are no limits placed on me so I can work as many hours as I need to.

    The only drawback I can possibly see is that now that I’m in my 70’s, I don’t have anyone to grow old with someday – much later down the line when that time comes.

    I can only say to you and to Kris both; there are as many perks to a divorce as there are pit falls. You both seem to know what you are doing and you must follow your heart. May God bless both of you!!!!

    J.D.’s note: Thank you.
  117. I for one will be following this saga as it unfolds but good to hear you’re doing ok. Wish you both the best.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog

  118. I’m sorry to hear about this. Thanks for sharing with us so that we can be with you while you get on with the next chapter in your life.

  119. I have benefitted from reading your blog at the very time I have architected my financial recovery from my own separation and subsequent divorce. I do feel a pull at my soul to comment here.

    Lots of angles, judgements, advice, phantom needs to analyze. One central theme drives us to anger, spite and agression – The human condition teaches us that the sternest of words come from us when we are reminded of the very things that we despise about ourselves, when we see the hallmarks in others.

    It tempts me, too. Have I been in this very same place, done this very same thing? Yes. Alas, my applied advice is only fit for a past me of which I lose recollection of moreso every day, I’m afraid.

    Capital-T Time is the only thing that seems to hold any valid answers, I’m learning. Today is all we have within our grasp, with only a wish to receive tomorrow.

    J.D. and Kris, whatever the outcome, progress in peace and grace today, listen to the winds of time as they brush your ears, they might change song many times in the coming months, this I would say, and only an open heart can hear them.

    Namaste

  120. Quitter. Selfish freaking quitter. Yeah, yeah, we don’t know all the details, but that’s what this is… we can read between the lines. You are quitting.

    Except this isn’t a job at a box company. This is your freaking wife, man.

    I know the loss of one reader isn’t going to have an impact on you, but I can’t read a blog of someone I don’t respect. Enjoy your mid-life crisis.

    • What is wrong with you? You act like JD told you that he kills puppies for fun in his free time. Over HALF of all marriages end in divorce. Most of the people you run into in a day have experienced divorce. Do you treat all of them like shit, too? You have no idea what’s going on. Maybe JD and Kris have been trying to save their marriage for years and it hasn’t worked. Maybe they haven’t slept together for 2 years or maybe they merely coexist and effectively don’t even have an intimate relationship anymore. Lots of marriages are a disaster and lots of people are unhappy in them. You have no idea what you’re talking about, and you’re making so many assumptions about JD’s life.

      • Just to be nit-picky (and not because I don’t think the comment you replied to was awful – it was) the claim that over half of all marriages end in divorce is false. At one point the statistic almost reached 50%, but it has dropped down closer to 40% (and indeed, even that number is skewed because your likelihood of getting a divorce goes up with each divorce you have already had, so someone divorced once is much more likely to get divorced a second time, but someone who has never divorced in the first place is not actually 40% likely to have their marriage fail – the number is quite a bit lower).

        • Like Amy points out the # of divorces is increased by the individuals with multiple marriages to their name. Divorce rate for 1st marriages is closer to 40%. 2nd, 3rd etc, marriages have higher divorce rates.

        • So 40% of marriages end in divorce, not 50%.

          Break out the music! Three cheers! All’s right with the world!

          Have you ever heard the phrase “a distinction without a difference?”

        • @Andrew There’s no need to be snippy. I agreed with the rest of the comment. But it DOES make a difference to some of us: the phrase “Over half” is very different from “approx 40%”, particularly when that number is on the decline. That doesn’t mean that everything is rainbows. Just trying to be accurate.

        • And lets not forget – 100% of all divorces begin with marriage! (C’mon, we have to be able to laugh at ourselves!)

    • I broke my own rule and came back to visit the site.

      I humbly offer an apology for my post. It was out of my normal character to be so mean spirited.

      Do I agree with the basic tenants of my original post? Yes

      Do I agree with the attitude, and how I worded it? No

      JD, please accept my apology. I still will not be a regular reader of your blog anymore, as I can’t support your actions, but my comments were childish.

  121. I’m so sorry to hear this. I had a similar experience, and I moved out of my broken marriage 2 years ago. I moved into a house that I was re-habbing… I downsized from a 2,000 sq ft house in suburbia to a 900 sq ft house deviod of walls, furniture, and flooring. I gave myself a week apart, living in stark nothingness, to see if that’s what I really wanted. When people at work commented that I seemed much happier that week (even though I had been sleeping on a plywood floor), I knew it was the right move.

    Obviously, I learned a lot about getting by with minimal material possessions. Eating breakfast at a card table. Sleeping on a borrowed air mattress that had a slow leak. Going to the thrift store to buy a few plates and pieces of silverware. Wanting to meet friends at their house, so they wouldn’t see how I was living.

    The divorce took 18 months to complete, and one thing that I didn’t anticipate was that over those 18 months, I managed to re-create an entire household full of “stuff”, and when the divorce finalized, I got another 1/2 house full of even more “stuff”. I’m now swimming in extra clothes, housewares, furniture, etc. I swear I wont have to buy work clothes for at least 5 years.

    Some items I donated to the thrift store (paying it forward), some got sold in a garage sale.

    Again, I’m so sorry about what you are going through. Know that there will be good days and there will be bad days.

  122. This is extremely sad news and I feel horrible for both of you. Having been through similar I can imagine how you’re suffering. I guess all I can really say is chin up: it will get better.

    Peace.

  123. Hey, all. I’ve been reading the comments as they’ve come in today, and I’ve been approving them. I don’t think I routed any to “trash” (where I usually doom the comments that are off-base and nasty). When Kris got home from work, she read the comments too. She seems grateful for your support of her (and I am too).

    I’m not going to try to justify my actions or to provide more details. You’re all free to judge me based on the information you have, but as some have noted, it’s incomplete information. I’m not going to share my entire private life on the web. If you don’t want to trust that I’m making an honorable decision, that’s fine. But I’m doing what I think is best. It’s not a rationalization; it’s the truth.

    I’ll go back through and reply (in-line) to a handful of comments. I wish I could have done this earlier in the day, but I was busy with real life. Late replies will have to do.

    • No offense JD but when you make this huge announcement to your readers they will have opinions, questions, concerns, etc.

      To many long time readers, they feel “close” – its what happens when you’ve been reading someone for a long time. I wish you the best.

      But if you didn’t want the judgments, questions, concerns, condolences then you shouldn’t have talked about it at GRS or at your personal blog.

      J.D’s note: Fair enough.
  124. I commend you for your intention not to write about the personal aspects of your divorce and in that spirit, respectfully suggest you remove Kris’ quote from your personal site. Years from now it might seem like appropriate black humor, but right now when her hurt is so fresh it just seems heartless.

    J.D.’s note: Kris is reading and approving EVERYTHING that I write about the divorce before I post it.
    • JD – I never doubted you were running things past Kris, but that doesn’t mean putting her words into your story is the “right” thing to do, at least from this outsider’s perspective. I got a glimpse into the personal pain (and she was trying so hard to be brave and a good sport!) of a woman who seems to value her privacy, which she might not have wanted me (and others) to have had she been in a state of mind to really think about it. It’s a small thing perhaps in the overall scheme of things, but I’d just suggest you err on the side of overwhelming caution here.

  125. “We are not getting a divorce until you can prove to me that you have health insurance.”

    Wow. Only a truly exceptional woman would say something like that during a time like this. I really hope you know what you’re doing, JD.

  126. JD I’ve loved your blog ever since I stumbled upon it. You being a public figure, people will judge you. Its part of being human.

    Perhaps you should have kept the news to yourself?

    Like the others have written, there have been signs in blog posts about how you and Kris have been wanting different things. I really admire how Kris stuck by you especially when you were spending money like crazy. And I was impressed that you got out of debt too.

    I honestly would never stick by someone that had 30,000 in debt. NEVER. In fact money problems is the #1 reason for divorce. I’m surprised she stuck by you, oh man, she is a strong lady.

    Like others have mentioned, it does seem that now life is good for you, that you want to ditch her. It does seem that way. I know we’re not supposed to judge but I really can’t help it.

    Kris from what you’ve written about her, you made her sound like she had a good head on her shoulders, she sounds intelligent, she’s a saver, she stuck by you. She sounds like a good woman.

    Dude she stuck by you through all of your debt!

    She sounds very caring, she wants you to have health insurance, most women once they find out that the relationship is over, just want to kick their exes to the curb and find someone new, but no she is willing to keep you on the health insurance plan!!

    I just don’t want you to make a mistake just because you think you’re better than Kris, because that’s what it sounds like, you think you’re better than her because you got out of debt, because you save, and because you travel.

    But it seems that she put up with a lot of immature behavior from you for years. I know we’re not supposed to judge, but I can’t help it, people will have opinions, even when they’re doing their best to not judge. Its just hard because you were one of my favorite bloggers.

    Honestly, I was envious of what you had with Kris and your life. You’re a writer, not stuck at a 9 to 5, had a nice wife, in a nice house, etc. I don’t think its self-improvement that’s the problem.

    Just remember, traveling is nice, being healthy is nice, having savings and a nice house is all very nice. But its also nice to share all of that with someone. Look how many people are rich in Hollywood and have crappy relationships with their families and how many times they’ve been divorced.

    I know its not nice of me to judge you but at the same time, I do feel like you’re throwing away a great relationship. But I guess people divorce for all sorts of reasons. Anyway I hope that Kris finds someone that will appreciate her, and hopefully you will too.

    Maybe you don’t really know what you have. You keep talking about how you want a pastoral lifestyle, well why can’t you have that with Kris? Its your life, just don’t throw away the love of your life away.

    You don’t want to be 88 years old at the nursing home, knowing that you threw away the love of your life.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Jaime. Let me assure you that I do not think I’m better than Kris. That’s not the issue here.
  127. Longtime reader, although I skim the investment posts, because I really don’t want to be rich — just frugal. And why just frugal? Because my goal is contentment with what I have, not riches I don’t have. 

    This is the saddest news I’ve heard all year. 

    Since you’ve sought support from your readership, I’ll not pat you on the back and wish you the best like a bad friend, but tell you the truth, because it is what you need to hear, and because I wish I could have said it to the husbands of other friends I met too late: you are making the biggest mistake of your life. You have surrounded yourself with people who have given you lousy and self-defeating advice.

    El Nerdo had one of the best and most thoughtful posts, and I agree with him (and several others) wholeheartedly. Divorce is denial of We in favor of Me. Kris has my sincerest sympathies.

    Please, please, please go to counseling, even if it takes every dollar you have. Happiness is elusive — riches are nothing — but in contentment is great gain. And contentment isn’t getting everything you think you want, but choosing to be content with what you have.

  128. I can see that I’m in the minority here, but I’ve decided that today is going to be my last day as a reader of this blog. Losing one person isn’t going to matter to JD and that’s fine.

    I have no judgements whatsoever about divorce– it happens all the time, usually it’s sad but sometimes it’s for the best, etc.

    What I am really sad about here is the direction that this blog has taken over the last year– from entertaining, informative, fresh resource on personal finance to irritating chronicle of JD’s descent into every pathetic mid-life crisis cliche in the book. I half expect in a few weeks we’ll be seeing an article about whether to buy a red Mini Cooper convertible (not that I’ll be around to read it).

    It seems pretty clear that GRS has moved from being a personal finance blog to a “lifestyle” blog… and it’s not coming back anytime soon. I hope GRS decides to return to its roots, but I’ll be going elsewhere from now on.

    Kris, I wish you nothing but the best. JD, have fun “dominating the world”. I suspect it’s not going to be as fulfilling as you think.

    • Count me in, too- this blog is no longer offering much relevant advice to my life (or the life of anyone I know, really), and hasn’t for awhile; this post was just the final reminder.

    • I totally agree with your comments, Kelly. I have been feeling the same way about the articles that I read on here the past year or so. More “fluff” than “stuff”. Consider this my last visit to your “personal” finance site, JD.

      Best wishes to Kris and her future. JD,I don’t know what you are thinking. As the saying goes… “the grass is not always greener on the other side.”

    • Kris, Hope you find an adult to share your life. You raised this child for 23 years, flip him out of the nest. And since he is “of age” and now so bright, let him find and get his own darn insurance.

      You are being too kind, too civilized. Get over it! Toss the bum out. Knock the sand off your sandals and move on.

      Listen to your friends.

    • I agree. I no longer feel that I can relate to JD anymore. This will be the last post I read from the site. I say this not out of malice for his decision but merely as a heads up to his business.

  129. Best wishes to you both. After the initial shock of having to deal with the details, it can be a relief and allow you to embark on a new adventure. I hope that is the case for you and for Kris.

  130. I suspect this will be one of the most-commented posts of the year. I’ve been reading on and off throughout the day, torn about how to feel about this. I agree with many of the posts, both positive and negative. But at the end of the day I do hope that both JD and Kris ultimately find happiness.

    The narrative of the blog might make it seem like the result of a midlife crisis, but one question that came to my mind was — what if one of them changed his/her mind about wanting a family? There is so much we don’t know (and won’t know), and many reasons for divorce beyond the cliches.

    • I know, right? Thank you for your succinct, level-headed comment. I totally agree with you.

      What if he wants kids? What if someone cheated? What if JD’s gay? What if he wants to take a vow of poverty?

      Call me naive (probably fair), but there are a million reasons, and JD simply doesn’t have to tell us what it is. While I am inclined to agree with commenters like El Nerdo, who point out the possible foolishness and cliche of this decision… I suspect that if JD DID open up and tell us everything, most of us would be saying, “Oh, yeah. I see your point.”

  131. Man I’ll tell you what; I hate this (deeply) for you both. If I may speak candidly for a moment; I have really been “growing apart” for this blog for several months now as I have felt a shift in the core message and value systems. I have been reading GRS from day 1 — what drew me in was the classic story of “the underdog”. Against all odds, an average man stepped out to work @ the box factoring in a quest to eliminate his debt! I was deeply in debt at that point and it was so refreshing to read about an average Joe tackling debt with a vengeance and leaving a breadcrumb trail of actionable steps for the rest of us to follow. This blog (and truly remarkable community of commenters) helped me pay off all my debt (50+K). I lost a ton of weight and got into phenomenal shape (around the same time you did JD!). This blog has been a daily part of my life — as encouragement, motivation and a platform for financial ideas worth spreading.

    The reason why people love the story of the underdog is because when he wins, a small piece of us believes we can win to (I literally typed that with sincere emotion).

    I hate that you weren’t able (or unwilling whatever the case may be) to find a path towards success in your marriage like you did with your finances. Actually you know what? I hate it for ALL of us. That would have been a pretty freekn’ cool journey to take together…

    I hate (HATE) when a story has an unhappy ending. I will be praying for you and Kris both.

    I really do wish you would put in some serious time with counselor’s etc. before coming to such a conclusion. Actually I will tell you right now that you are being seriously irresponsible if you DON’T DO THAT (yes I just yell that at you — I care for you man). I mean what did you do when you couldn’t figure out how to manage money for all those decades? You started learning EVERYTHING about how to win with your money. Right? Well? Didn’t you? Why not apply that same vigor and determination to your marriage? Come on dude — do you have an answer for that?

    This was a great book that has taken me 5+ years to read. Like any great story I have learned a lot and been truly inspired. I will always be thankful for that. I do consider you a friend JD — though we have never met in person. However it is time for me to put this book down and continue my journey elsewhere. I need a platform for 3rd and 4th stages of finance where a man and his wife manage money together through life’s twists and turns (children, college savings, Christmas gifts for relatives, In-laws need a place to live etc.), because honestly that is where I am at. I know other GRS readers have to be feeling the same way here. I find it hard to relate to you as you are now globetrotting all over the world and living a mid-life bachelor’s lifestyle on the back of your (so to be ex) wife’s former support system.

    – Nate

    • Dave Ramsey says “Money makes you more of what you are” -I’m kind of wondering if JD is doing all the things that he didn’t get to do when he was younger and in massive debt?

    • Your comment, much like El Nerdo’s for me, resonated big time. It’s ridiculous, but it feels like we’re all getting divorced. I, too, have been here for years and am on the fence about staying because as the site has changed– it has not been as inspirational for me. Some commenters are not going to understand that– but then, we are all different so they are probably inspired differently and get different things out of Get Rich Slowly.

      So, as I mull over what to do with a bruised heart– I’m going to use this, possibly my last comment ever, to say thank you. Thanks to everyone– writers, commenters, etc., you have helped in innumerable ways.

    • I really really like this comment.
      I am not surprised by your announcement JD, but I am dissapointed. When I started reading the blog – it resonated with me. I wasn’t so deep in debt (I guess maybe I was but I dont’ like to admit it). But I was inspired, by the decluttering, the concious spending, saving, looking at the big picture, all of it literaly changed my life. It changed my framework for seeing the world, and for that I truly am grateful.
      I’m so sad that I no longer feel like you’re an inspiration. That you have become an example of what not to do. That your voice is no longer one that I want advice from.

    • Nate @#215 – why assume this is an unhappy ending? It’s an unhappy event on the journey, but it’s not the end of JD or Kris. Perhaps the most unhappy thing they could have done is stay together.

      It’s cliche, but it’s true that when one one door closes, another opens. I suspect that after healing has occurred, both JD and Kris will find something wonderful in their lives that would never have happened if they had stayed together.

  132. I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through a divorce. Breakups are always hard. Consider not announcing to the world that you are the one who asked for a divorce. It’s petty at best and mean-spirited at worst. All in all completely unnecessary.

    J.D.’s note: Kris wanted that statement, not me.
    • Looking through the thread it’s clear there is plenty of judgment out there for those that would give up on a marriage. I think JD prob knew that was coming and felt the additional info would be more fair to Kris by sparing her that.

      I also hope they have given counseling a shot. Relationships are not intuitive for most of us, Harville Hendricks and Marianne Williamson have some very helpful books on this.

      • I thought it was nice to know who initiated it – it kept a bunch of people from lashing out at Kris in defense of JD, which would have happened in a heart beat since many readers have been following JD for years (heck, I started my own blog because of FMF and GRS and I’ve only been tuned in since the end of 2009). That is probably exactly why Kris insisted on it – I definitely would make it very well known that I didn’t instigate something that would get everyone riled up.

  133. I did a double take when reading you and Kris were getting a divorce. Wishing you both the best of luck going forward. As far as the health insurance goes, from personal experience, buying your own plan through a broker rather than doing COBRA is usually a lot cheaper.

  134. All I can say is none of us really know what happens behind the scenes. Some of you may think you know what’s going on based on what you have read throughout the last few months, years even, but how much of a percentage of his life does JD share with us here?

    Yes, it’s possible some of the assumptions being made here reflect the truth. But it’s also possible that the divorce has nothing to do with anything we’ve ever read on this blog – it could be really, really personal stuff, like maybe one person wants to adopt a child, another doesn’t; or sexual intimacy has completely dried up despite all efforts; or whatever else… who knows for sure? I know I don’t.

    I do feel sorry to see the marriage end though. Best of luck to both JD and Kris. I hope you both find happiness, apart or together.

  135. I’m pretty sure my comment will get lost in the 200+ comments on this post.

    My parents legally separated after 30+ years of marriage last year (you might want to look into this option J.D, instead of divorce).

    The 26 years I have been on this Earth and I see all of this.

    My parents were no longer on the same page. They had different goals and ideas about their future.

    Well my mom had the same goals from when she first married him. Stick by him for life. I thought that was what marriage was. She stuck by him in bankruptcy, dozens of credit cards, cheating, etc., etc.

    My dad initiated the separation.

    Leaving your spouse is selfish. Somewhere in your mind you’re trying to make it okay, but it’s 100% selfish. At the end of the day all you’re thinking about is yourself and your own happiness.

    I still love my dad (wonderful father, lousy husband) and I hope he “finds” his happiness. I see that a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders, whatever it was it’s gone.

    And J.D, I hope you find your happiness too. But you are in the same category as my father, a selfish man.

    Kris I’m sorry.

  136. I’m saddened, but I’m not surprised. I was hoping it was just different strokes, but sometimes when things don’t feel right they aren’t right.

    It’s easy to want to project because I hate to even imagine how I would feel if my husband decided to leave me, but nobody really knows what someone else’s relationship is like on the inside.

    Even happy relationships have their down sides, so it’s hard to justify tolerating the little annoyances, extra work, the compromise etc unless you are very happy with someone and you feel you can please them without contorting yourself. Doing it when there are no kids involved is almost impossible to justify.

    Very sad, though and I hope you will both find a happier life when you’ve healed.

  137. Wow. I already knew about the divorce from your personal blog, I read your post today, and I just finished reading every, single comment. I am reeling and I’m not even involved – the amount of emotion from everyone is astounding and overwhelming. Good luck to you and Kris on handling your own feelings along with everyone else’s.

    I don’t have any great advice or words of wisdom about amicable divorces…my husband and I have been together for 11 years and married for 6. I think we’re still classified as newbies. We have had moments of complete frustration and a few days total of even considering leaving each other in the past, but it has always been emotionally driven drama that did not have as much thought involved as what you and Kris are dealing with. So I will wish the most happiness possible for you both and leave it at that.

    As for you initiating it – that sucks for Kris but being married to someone who rather not be married to you would probably suck more in the long run. So Kris, woman to woman, if/when you ever hit that anger stage that I seem to hit when crap hits the fan in my relationship, don’t do anything permanent. You don’t seem like a yeller, screamer, or thrower from your posts, so take it from someone who may have these tendencies – don’t do anything permanent. And I am so glad you have close friends to lean on. My friends are the family I have chosen – they are there for you and want to help. Good luck.

    As for your new apartment, it sounds great. I hate driving, so yay for a high walk score.

    For health insurance, I have found some awesome policies on Esurance.com for myself and my husband for the day he works from home with me…some of the policy options are actually better AND cheaper than the crappy policy that teachers get here in Texas.

    As for your office, I would stop renting a separate space myself simply since I have found that just having a routine in a home office can lead to the same quality of work that I got from physically leaving the house to work elsewhere. So, it’s less commuting, cheaper, and works just the same for me…maybe try it out and see?

    As far as chores and stuff like lawn and car work – outsource baby! My favorite splurges have been our housekeeper and lawn guy. Since neither one of us enjoys either thing, it just made sense to use some of the monthly extra to have someone else do them for us. It’s obviously not luxuries everyone should splurge on, but when you have taken care of your bills and saving for your future, using extra money to make yourself happier seems like a good idea. In your case, you seem to have something against laundry, so maybe you clean your own bathroom but hire a laundry service?

    My best wishes to absolutely everyone today – so much emotion, so little happiness. Good luck.

  138. Folks, let’s remember why we are here and what this man has done for many of our lives. Things change constantly, always, and this man has done nothing but help and inspire people for *years.* This approach of helping others is heroic. Think about that for just one second and then really see what dawns in your heart. Why not just let this whole thing develop as it is, as there could be a lot of magic for all involved due to this new development — very beautiful situations have developed out of initial chaos. The point is, none of us know really know what’s what, so what we end up with is nothing but ourselves bouncing back on ourselves. Why not just take an attitude of basic trust in the author that he is doing the right thing instead of trying to create theories or whatever? This attitude makes so much more sense than mere speculation, and it shows the proper respect for an author who has helped a great many of us w/ a number of different things, and not just financial things at that.

  139. It’s amazing how many people can read a few paragraphs and know everything that goes on in JD’s life.

    I’ve also been reading the blog for several years, but I don’t think that gives me some special insight into the day to day workings of their relationship. Too many of you are projecting you own issues onto the situation. If you just need drama (especially the “all men are all terrible” kind) you should try the Lifetime channel.

    I also don’t understand the comments from people threatening to leave the site because the author is getting divorced. This seems like exactly the kind of real world scenario that people can learn a lot of financial advice from. People get divorced… maybe we should discuss the financial side of the issue. I doubt you were reading this site for marital advice anyway.

    I hope JD and Kris both find more joy than they ever dreamed possible! Good luck to both of you!

    • Well what does he expect when he puts it out there? People are curious. When you read a blog that writer becomes a part of your everyday life.

      They’re like a neighbor, acquaintance, or co-worker. If he didn’t want people musing about his life then he shouldn’t have talked about it at all.

      This whole thing reminds me of people that lose excessive weight and sometimes their family and friends don’t like the new changes. Sometimes friendships and relationships are lost.

      I’m kind of wondering if that’s what happened here. That there was a shift in the relationship somehow with all the changes. Its common for people to divorce around middle age.

      A lot of marriages end around middle age, especially when the kids leave the nest, many people start over around this time, some people see it as their “last chance” to live the life they want before they become too old.

      They change jobs, start businesses, try to find new partners, etc. I do wish them the best though. My heart really goes out to Kris. I’m more on her side, lol.

  140. I’ve been reading this blog for 6 months and had thought of finally commenting on one of my favorite posts, when I came across this on the front page. I can only extend my general well wishes for the both of you, and the idea that you have both touched a lot of people and shared so much with us. I wish you both the best and while I am always saddened by the end of relationships, only you know what’s best for you.

  141. Kris, hopefully, will check with an attorney that she is receiving her fair due for her years in the marriage.

    Honestly it sounds like you are decluttering a wife in order to have a small home.

    My ex had a midlife crisis after 25 years and insisted on a divorce which I did not want. Despite his protests there was another woman in the wings. Eighteen months later he wanted us to remarry. I was no longer interested.

    Of course Kris wants you to go on the trip with her. She is probably hoping you will change your mind.

    I wish Kris well.

  142. 🙁

    Look after yourself JD. It is a shame, but if you both felt it was right, then it’s right.

    Is it bad my first thought was “who gets the cats?”

    • Haha. Just noticed this comment. Very funny. Actually, the split of the cats is welcome. Because we inherited two of my Mom’s cats, we were up to five. Five cats is too many cats. (Well, not really. I’d be the Crazy Cat Man if left to my own devices.)

      Kris is keeping Simon, her favorite, as well as Socks (the little imp from my mother) and Max/Meatball. She asked me to take Silver (also from my mother, and Simon’s blood brother) and Nemo (the neurotic Siamese). My cats just came over to the apartment two days ago, and they’re a little disgruntled about not being let outside…

      • Ah, good to know. I was concerned that either you or Kris would end up a crazy cat person with all the cats, leaving the other person with an empty house and no cats 🙁

        I do NOT envy you in an apartment with a Siamese who’s used to going outside! MEOW OW YOW YOW MEOW MEOW YOWOWOWOWOOOWWWW will be your feline theme-tune.
        Well, good luck not going crazy shut in with a Siamese, and with everything else (resist the call of doughnuts, Voodoo or otherwise!)

  143. I am so sorry to know about that big change of your life. I takes huge encourage to brake a marriage. You are brave! Getting single again is not a bad thing sometimes if you can have a better life. All the best!

  144. I have been sad all day since reading this post this morning. But in my own life, some of the best things have come out of the most painful, sad, and difficult experiences. I hope the same will be true for you and Kris as you work your way through this. You need to live your own lives, not the “shoulds” that come from other people. I don’t think it is an accident that you re-posted that troll article the other day. Do your best to work through this as honestly and transparently as you can with Kris — it is the fairest thing for both of you. And try to let the comments of people who don’t know the whole situation roll off your back as much as you can.

  145. My message to you both, but mostly for Kris, is to end it. Period. Forget the “best” friendship part and head directly to “cordial on the street”. Without children, as you move into your separate lives, the friendship you worked so hard to replace your marriage with, will also dwindle painfully…if you’ve grown so far apart as to not be able to save your marriage, the work of the friendship will not be natural and you most likely will cause more pain than you intended.

    Kris will simply become a person you have “friendly” feelings for which will cut her to the quick–whether she tells you or not–after having had much more from you. I know it doesn’t seem possible for how you feel about the person Kris–as opposed to the wife Kris–but trust me, it’ll happen. Alternate life paths have a habit of doing that when you don’t travel together.

    Are you a band-aid off quick person? Or a band-aid off slow? Either way it’s gonna end up gone and either way it’s gonna hurt. Do both of you want to spend another two years negotiating whether to send/receive christmas cards? Do you want to be invited to her wedding? Seriously?

    I speak from experience that can match your 23 years. And I speak to JD, because it is a future I imposed upon someone, for all the same reasons, and using many of the same verbal phrases…not had imposed upon me.

    I know she asked for it…but you might want to have discussion as to why. Both of you seem to be secretly hoping the other will come to their senses: she, that you’ll come back; and you, that she’ll let you go with as little quilt as possible. Detouring into friendship first, will not assuage the guilt. You’ll have regrets, even if you don’t regret ending the marriage overall, for the rest of your life.

    Remember, a lot of the commenters above who said their parents remained great friends were just that…parents. It won’t mean you end up hating each other, it will simply mean that you will end up not knowing where the other is, or what they are doing, or who in their family just died, etc. Calls not returned, or returned later; dates to catch up rescheduled indefinitely…it happens.
    This post has more to do with initial impressions garnered from years (the beginning) of reading this blog daily, then later meandering in to ‘catch up’ every week or two. The Blog is becoming no longer relevant to my life and not because of what other commenters suggest as far as becoming “life of JD and his pack of writers”, but politically–since I know (legal background) that most modern retirement and money management plans are skewed towards benefiting the offerer rather than the participant, and I’ve chosen not to play and therefore find no interest in keeping up with their doings…that said…I’ve continued to check in simply because I like JD…even if what he writes about no longer means anything to me.

    But eventually, I’ll stop meandering in to see what JD is up to….and so will Kris.

    • +1.

      It does seem like Kris is making decisions based upon hoping that you will change your mind JD. And while she is an adult and has that option – if you are truly convinced that you aren’t going to change your mind – allowing her to hope you will is cruel. It may be cruel with the best of intentions, but if you can recognize the cruelty – you need to stop hiding your actions behind “good intentions”.

      Don’t just be willing to not go on this trip to Argentina. You should step up and choose not to go. Then Kris can decide whether or not she wants to go alone, but she won’t have any hope that this trip will make you “look at her” and not want a divorce.

      And if you do have her best interests at heart – you would be pushing her to get legal representation. You would be saying that you aren’t stopping by for dinner or to check in (even if that is what she says she wants). You’ve already stated that you ultimately don’t care what she wants when you asked her for the divorce. Giving her crumbs in the form of dinners as a way to slowly part isn’t kind.

      I am trying my best not to comment or judge your choice to ask for a divorce. So, please don’t read this comment as telling you that you shouldn’t ask for or want a divorce. I am more trying to tell you that you are falling into the trap so many people do when they try to break off a relationship.

      And while you and Kris may have been together for 23 years and you know more about your relationship than any of us do – as someone who has been married for over a decade and dated more people than she could count before getting married – your choice of HOW to end this is one of the worst ones out there. That may not be your fault necessarily – it doesn’t sound like you dated a ton before Kris so you might not have a ton of experience with this part of a relationship.

      If something is over, it is over. No amount of caring is going to make the rejected party feel better or get “closure”. Having been on both sides of this equation – you need to cut it off and not go back endlessly.

      Will this choice make Kris mad? Will it hurt her worse than anything else? Yes, it will. But it will also make her face the fact that you’re not putting her first in any of these choices (and you cannot put her first in this situation. it is literally impossible with your choice to ask for divorce. Then she can really make choices based upon what she decides she wants – without your input.

      Do the right thing JD – stand by your choice and really make it. Let Kris go to make her own choices without you there.

      • Sasha, Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking as I read through all of the comments. You are so right that the focus should not be on whether or not there should be a divorce, because that decision has already been made. The focus needs to be on how things should look going forward – and JD, while perhaps trying to be kind (and maybe assuage some guilt?) is not being realistic and only making matters worse. There needs to be some separation and time apart before you can work on building the ‘new normal’, whatever that may end up looking like.

        J.D.’s note: This actually could be good advice. I’m trying to give Kris what she needs and wants right now, but many folks have pointed out that this might be doing more long-term harm than we realize. We’re having dinner tonight (and making a Costco trip together). We’ll talk about how much separation we need/want. Thank you.
        • +1more to this.
          A clean break is usually best. While being able to be friends afterwards is great, I’d only do so after a period apart, and after the one who got broken up on asked for it.

          As the one who initiated the break up, you’ve more solidly made up your mind that it’s over. But it’s not so for the other side. Often seperation is the only way for someome to realize that is a true and actual break and no longer seeing each other. They might feel pressured to accept the friendship from social pressure (to show that it’s an amicable thing, or that they’re not a cruel person since you’re suffering too), or they might still have some hope that it won’t end up truly over. Most of the time it’s not reall conscious, they’re still in love so they can’t see clearly that they’re not yet over it.

          It certainly is a hard thing to accept in the short term, but it’s less cruel than potentially strining them along indefinately. Just make sure they have a support network outside yourself.

  146. I think you’re being a bit of a tease here. We’re less interested in how to rent an apartment above a doughnut shop and more interested in how selling a blog for seven figures changes your life. I selfishly hope the answer isn’t simply the predictable “ditch your wife and travel the world” – we have all the mediocre location-independent-living blogs we need and then some.

  147. J.D. You and Kris have my admiration for having the guts to post about this on here. Writing about your private life to a bunch of (mostly) strangers takes a lot of balls. And it must be so exhausting reading the views of other people who think they know you and have a right to tell you how to live. I’ve read all the comments on this post and heck, I’m exhausted. Lord only knows how tired and drained you and Kris feel.

    After many years of blogging and building a loyal readership, I ended my own blog two years ago because I became so incredibly weary with well-meaning commenters thinking that they knew me and my family, and because they had been reading for so long, they therefore had a right to tell me how to live. Although I loved getting comments and I loved helping people even more, nevertheless living in the public eye all the time was leaving me a complete emotional wreck — it was like being put through the toughest setting of the washing machine in a never-ending cycle.

    I know you have a tough skin, so I hope it doesn’t get to you the way it did to me. But from one who’s been there, one thing I will say is please don’t be afraid to let your staff writers take the load for a few weeks while you and Kris step back and recover. I’m guessing you both need a bit of a break from cyberspace around now.

  148. I’m really sorry to hear things haven’t been going well for you and Kris, JD. I think it’s an honorable thing though to move on before things get really bad (to the point of not being able to be civil with each other or there’s cheating). I was just saying recently that I think it would be great if more relationships could end when they are really meant to and not dragged out which often creates more problems in the long run. Your’s is the first example I’ve heard of since I said that and I think the world would be a better place if people could move on this way.

    I understand how it goes downsizing and having to make all those decisions about your “stuff.” Many years ago, after my parents’ divorce, my mom and I moved out of the larger family home into a little bit smaller home and we gave away a TON of stuff. We didn’t have a lot of excess but after almost 30 years of marriage and 2 children, a lot of life had happened. Luckily, I’ve only regretted giving away a couple small things. No big deal. (It was perfect timing too, as our neighbor’s brother was holding a huge garage sale to help him raise money to buy a leader dog.) Best wishes with everything and thanks for sharing (as much as you did of) your story!

  149. Like other readers who have taken a day or two to chime in, I’ve gotta say this news impacted me more than I figured it would, as you JD are not someone I have ever met face to face. So chaulk this up as another comment from a stranger but….
    1) I’m sorry to hear this. From a 50,000 foot view, without all the details of your marriage situation – I always admired you and Kris, your choices and the way you worked together as partners – I liked her patience with you and your admiration of her (from what I read via GRS) 2) My sincerest well wishes go out to Kris. How painful and difficult. I am sending you hugs and will request peace and calm for your heart during this time 3) JD I am wishing you the best too. Not as freely as I do Kris, as I (an outsider mind you) can’t understand how/why this is a good move. Regardless, splits are hard. I hope you are doing OK and getting the support you need.
    Just a wild thought – You say your wife is always right. And she doesn’t seem to believe this is as good a move as you do. Please weigh that carefully.
    I hope, really hope, that you guys continue to move slowly and methodically enough to salvage what can be saved and avoid any majorly bad decisions. Again, as an outsider (and a single one at that), all I can think is that you don’t want to get into a situation one day where you wake up and think “what have I done??”. It seems to me Love is a hard, complicated thing to get, to have, and to hold on to. So all the best to you both. And please, each of you, take good care of yourselves emotionally and physically.

  150. As angry as I am that someone I look up to may be totally selfish….my heart wonders if there is more to this. If JD is coming out of the closet for example, than we really need to rally behind him and show love. I can’t help but be 100% supportive if this is the case. IF this is the case then this post is not really even about divorce.

    • What’s up with all of the JD might be gay comments? If that were the case, don’t you think Kris would most likely want the divorce? She doesn’t.

      • I don’t know about that. An… acquaintance of mine asked for a divorce from his wife only once he was ready to come out. She didn’t know he was gay until the day he served her with papers.

  151. JD,

    Long time lurker and sometime poster wishing both you and Kris all of the best. I can’t imagine what you both are going through as it is never easy to end a long term marriage or relationship, but kudos to you both for being civil and making it a priority to have a solid relationship your goal for what comes next.

  152. I’ve been reading GRS for several years, never met you in person, but for some reason I’ve been thinking about your announcement since I read it yesterday morning and it makes me terribly sad. Like others, I’ve been inspired by your story and looked up to you in both your professional and personal (what you’ve shared of it) life.

    Again, you’ve inspired me…but perhaps not in the way you might think. You’ve inspired me to invest more time, energy and learning into my own young marriage NOW. Just like no one taught me how to manage my money, no one taught me how to be married. I had examples to look at, but I never spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing how marriage works, how to communicate with my husband and how to continue to cultivate a deep friendship with the person that I’ve pledged to be with for the rest of my life. I know there are no guarantees in life but perhaps some study and planning will help me to avoid being in your shoes in 20 years; even though we are happy now, I suppose it’s easy to turn on the “autopilot” and forget to do the things in a marriage which makes one successful in other areas of life.

    I don’t know if what happened for you and Kris was a long, slow decline of growing apart, or a more immediate crisis but it certainly serves as a wake up call for me.

    I hope both of you find peace and happiness in the future.

    J.D.’s note: Jenny, I think it’s great that this inspires you to work at your own marriage. I met some other GRS readers about a month ago, and I told them about the divorce at that time. My top message for them was to work at their marriage as soon as they see problems instead of waiting. I think that’s important advice for everyone.
  153. Good luck with the split and the move.

    I suspect for the sake of your blood pressure levels you may have stopped reading this far, JD, but at some point I think it would be interesting to know your response to some of the concerns buried in the comments above about the site direction. Are you going to be continuing to write more “lifestyle design” pieces and are the new owners pushing for more “here is the best credit card” type stuff? I figure I’ll subscribe anyway, I’ve been reading since your posts were links to your book reviews on metafilter! but there seems to be a little anxiety about what will happen to GRS, which we love, with all of these changes.

    J.D.’s note: I appreciate the concerns over the direction of the site, and they’re concerns that I’ve harbored privately. Part of the problem is that it’s difficult to find new material for a site that’s six years old. But I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. It’s time to repeat stuff, and so I will. Another part of the problem is that it was difficult to be completely honest about what was going on in my life. Another is that I’m at a different financial spot than when I started. Plus, doing this for six years is more taxing than you might imagine. Still, despite these things, the site could and should stay grounded in its origins, and I realize that. My private (now public) goal for 2012 is to see Get Rich Slowly offer more practical advice to balance the philosophical and psychological bent it’s had for the past couple of years. Does that make sense?
    • I’ve seen a few posts in this (extensive!) comment thread stating that the blog has been sold/has new owners. I don’t think it’s true, because I think JD would have disclosed it, but a solid yay or nay would be nice.

      I imagine it’s very hard to keep things fresh, so you have my sympathy. I hope that 2012 brings new greatness to my favorite blog!

      J.D.’s note: Yes, Beth, the blog has been sold. Legally, I’ve been unable to discuss this. I still can’t discuss details, but I can say the blog has been sold. (Note, however, that *I* have not been sold. I retain complete editorial independence.)
      • I would bet that JD almost certainly signed some form of confidentiality agreement when he sold that would have kept him from disclosing aspects of the sale. JD was most likely not legally allowed to talk about it under the terms of the contract of the sale. THis is just assumption on my part but I’m pretty darn sure.

    • Thanks for the response JD. For the record, I do enjoy the psychology/happiness/etc posts a great deal and think you do them very well, although it seems I am somewhat in the minority.

  154. Although I haven’t experienced it myself, I understand from observation that divorce is never easy, always painful and usually expensive.

    I’ve heard that divorce is harder than death because divorce is a voluntary rejection and death is usually an involutary event.

    Congradulations to both of you for being determined to stay friends and remaining civil in your communications. That too is very difficult.

  155. I know this has nothing to do with me, but I feel let down. This was a marriage that seemed progressive, it seemed positive, it seemed able to shift with the changing winds of two individual desires linked on the platform of love. It was something to aspire to. Now I feel discouraged about deciding to ever get married. But I know, nothing to do with me.
    I wish you both peace with this decision.

  156. Oh, sheesh. I am glad I took a day to consider commenting. Like you said, life is happening besides blogging. Yes, you are a public figure, and yes, by posting about it and leaving comments open, you are up for judging. Very brave. Opinions differ. While there are plenty of “you’re leaving Kris while she stood by you” items, and “growing apart is not a reason for divorce” and so on, honestly, we don’t know Kris from Adam (or you, frankly, either), so none of us really knows what was/is happening in relationship beyond what you feel ok sharing from time to time. And if some of us suddenly feel like we are mind readers/psychologists who can “see through” some of your past sentences, you can dismiss that. That, too, shall pass. like soap opera, unless we are personally close to someone, we forget and go on, even if still chat occasionally about events. That said, only you and Kris can decide on your own path. And while you said that at the moment you and Kris have different opinions on that path, it is still you and she who is making decisions, not any of us “know it all”. I certainly asked enough opinions, shared enough events, and having being a somewhat “public” figure in my own much, much smaller pond, tried to hold majority of what’s going on inside my soul right there, inside, and sticking to the official content of my site (or related to it). So, read, sigh, agree, get pissed, and still do things you and Kris discuss without us.
    That said, from the less emotional perspective, someone may benefit from the posts about what to do with finances in this situation. So, yes, telling readers about it was kind of a necessity. And nobody knows how it would have been best to handle, so you handled it your own way.
    Heal up, both of you, no matter where you move from here. It takes far longer than anybody imagines, either side, either way. It never goes away. I am wishing you both patience.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Olga.
  157. In general I am against counseling, but I think it preferable to ending such a long relationship so suddenly.

    Surely it must be worth fighting for?

  158. Good luck. I can’t imagine what must be going on for something that makes this little sense to be the only way forward, so I wish you good luck.

    Hell, I wish us all good luck, with finance, with marriage, with career goals and life.

    Nothing I’ve ever done, that I am proud of, was ever easy. It was, without exception, the exact opposite.

  159. Sometimes people grow apart. It happens all the time, and I personally don’t believe people should have to stay together to fulfil an idealized concept of what a good and healthy relationship is. My parents recently divorced, and it was a very rocky time for both of them, but a year (ish) later and they are both much happier for where they are now than where they were in the final years of their marriage. One parent wanted it, and one parent didn’t. I believe that it is much sadder to witness the friendship within a marriage turn to something much more negative where neither spouse likes or respects each other.

    Not that I am in any position to say this (but I will anyway), but I would caution against the trip to Argentina together. To me, it sounds a but like “I’m sorry for completely sidelining your life by asking for a divorce, so let me soothe my conscience by offering you something grand in return.” Even while the divorce proceedings are going on, you both need time and space from each other to learn to build your lives separately. After all, they’ve been together for 23 years. Allow the friendship between the two of you to rebuild outside of the marriage. Kris needs time and space away from you, and support from some one else right now. I’m sure that you will remain friends, but the friendship is going to be different from now on. It is one of the things you’ll need to accept as a result of making taking this step.

  160. My wife divorced me several years ago (I wanted to stay married) so I feel most empathetic towards Kris. But whatever issues compelled you to a place where divorce was preferable to staying married to your gentle wife must be immense.

    After several years, I think I’m grateful for the divorce (we have kids, I see them or talk to them almost everyday which was my greatest concern). I would have stayed unhappily married forever to a wife who really wasn’t very nice to me – while it was painful and felt totally wrong at the time, in the long run I’m happier and more true to myself. I wish you both the best, especially Kris. I hope she has a handful of close friends to support her – I found that very helpful.

  161. I just wanted to offer a reading suggestion (not divorce self-help, either). My fav author of all time is Anthony de Mello. He was a Jesuit, but his writings transcend religion (I’m an atheist myself) Specifically, look up “Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.” You can find an excerpt here (I’m not affiliated with the site – was just trying to find the paragraph about the proper kind of selfishness to suggest you read it. It’s a bit more than halfway down the page) http://www.enotalone.com/personal-growth/20927.html
    In any case, best wishes to you both.

  162. As a 32 year old single, I have no marriage advice. However, I have found that within the past couple of years, most of my closest friends have went through divorces or the end of long term relationships. People are flawed, these things happen. Sure, I am a firm believer that marriage is for life. If I ever take the plunge, it will be until death. With that said, I understand that people change.

    I don’t know enough about your situation and I can’t say I’m ever excited to hear about divorce (unless it is a case of abuse or infidelity, in that case, I’m willing to help the person move). However, I wish you well and I wish Kris all the best that life has to offer. Hopefully, you too can remain the best of friends.

    I can relate with the relationship I had with my first roommate. We had difficulties living under the same roof (we tried three times) but then we’d get to missing each other when we went our separate ways. We were always much better apart. While a roommate relationship isn’t the same as a marriage (for obvious reasons), I can see where you are coming from.

  163. Maybe I’m more of a big picture person and I don’t dwell on the details of a particular person’s life, but for me, what this blog is really about is how to get rich slowly–but not only in terms of money but in terms of personal growth. Rich in spirit and purpose.

    Yes, we’ve watched JD be the underdog on his personal finance journey but we’ve also watched him pursue his personal development journey. Not enough people work on themselves and are truly honest with what they want out of life but the benefit is that once you are living your life with purpose, the relationships in your life become more authentic and fulfilling. Too many people want to box up their lives and their loved ones and keep them crystalized forever. The results are what many commenters have put forward about being married for 30+ years and miserable (“but hey, at least you’re married!”)

    Just as we’ve learned that the “keeping up with Jones'” strategy doesn’t work in personal finance, it also fails in genuine love relationships.

    Change is a constant. JD can’t be the same JD you met years ago. Get used to it folks.

  164. I’m always sad to learn of a marriage ending, particularly one I have admired. This blog saw me through the tail end of my own marriage, my divorce, the rebuilding of my single and financial lives, a return to school, and a new rewarding relationship. I’ve admired the marriage between JD and Kris all along. That they worked and played so well together was inspiring. So I’m sad. And I know that nobody sees everything in a relationship, maybe not even the immediate participants. JD and Kris, I hope this will be a good thing for you, however it washes out. So, while it doesn’t change a thing, I just wanted to throw in my two little cents for support and understanding. And friendship. May whatever is before you be the best part of your lives.

  165. I’ve read your articles and guest posts from other writers and found this blog pretty useful at times over the years. I am pretty shocked that you would end up requesting a divorce from your wife of more than two decades, I feel as though it seems like such a rash decision! Slow down! No one loses weight, makes more money, and finds new objectives in life in a span of a few months! I wish you the best in the future on any path you decide to take.

    • To those who keep talking about how “sudden” the decision was and how “rash” it might be, please consider: You have no idea how long this may have been in the works. For all you know, the two of them could have been in marriage counseling for a couple of years.
      The only thing that’s sudden is the change to your mental picture of their union — a picture that is utterly subjective, since you don’t really know what their lives are like.
      J.D. didn’t just get up one morning thinking, “Hmm, what to do today? I know: I’ll ask for a divorce!” It was not a decision made lightly. Those who feel personally betrayed are projecting their own issues onto the situation.
      And those who just feel sad or disappointed? Please let those feelings go. Although J.D. writes about his personal life, parts of it are none of our business. It’s OK to wish him and Kris well; I do, and I’d do so even if I didn’t write for him. But to second-guess his decision or call him names for making it is pretty pointless. He won’t read the comments and say, “Oh my gosh, the readers have spoken! I guess I won’t get divorced after all!”

      • Donna, I know I don’t really know JD, but my main thought as I read this post (and a few of his previous posts) was, “wow, I hope this guy is in therapy.” The changes in JD’s life over the last few years have been BIG…and the restlessness his recent posts have generally exhibited leads me to think there might an undercurrent of larger emotional issues that JD can’t quite see yet.

        I’ll admit I’m young, and my relationship has been 7 years instead of 15 or 20, but I went through a similar period. We did couples and individual therapy. What saved the relationship was not the couples counseling, but the work I did on my own. I almost ended our relationship because I thought the restlessness/unhappiness in my life could be remedied by changing my circumstances. I really needed to fix my own mental state. When I did, I realized the problem had nothing to do with the relationship, and that the relationship was actually the best thing in my life.

        I’m obviously filtering this through the lens of my own experience, but I sincerely hope that JD has tried individual therapy as he’s progressed toward this decision.

        J.D.’s note: I’ve promised Kris that I will try individual therapy, and I will. I was a little reluctant, but a good friend put it this way: “You use a personal trainer even though you’re fit, right? You have a Spanish tutor even though you could learn on your own, right?” Besides, my degree is in psychology, and I was going to be a therapist myself one day. I think it’d be a good experience for me.
        • J.D., I am glad to hear this. Becky’s perspective is valuable.

          Count me in with those who suggest counseling and legal separation for a trial period before taking the serious and irrevocable step of divorce. Divorce may indeed be the right thing to do, but separation and counseling will show beyond doubt if that’s indeed the case.

          Good luck to you & Kris.

        • Glad to hear it, JD. Good luck to both you and Kris in the future. I’m moving to Portland for the next 4-6 months, so maybe I’ll see you around. 🙂

      • Donna,
        You are correct, it is the change in our perception of what seemed like a very good relationship failing that makes it feel like it is a bad thing. We do not know what their marriage is really like outside of the posts. This couple has managed to deal with money issues and other life challenges together. It is very sad to hear this type of news, even if it was very well thought out.

  166. J.D., I’m also deeply saddened by the news, as everyone else is here. I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog, going all the way back to 2007. I can remember when you made the decision to go out on your own with GRS and how inspiring that was, and you’ve definitely inspired me as well.

    My thoughts go out to both you and Kris, as I know from personal experience how difficult and terribly dislocating divorce can be. It’s one of those events that changes everything in a life; though it will get better eventually, for now I’m sure you guys are going through something awful. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I had a question about your blog, however, from something a commenter wrote earlier — did you actually sell GRS (I’m assuming sometime last year)?

    J.D.’s note: Yes, I sold the blog. Legally, I can’t say more than that without permission. I will say, however, that I’ve made many broad hints about the reasons over the past few years. (Again, the death of my best friend three years ago had a profound effect on all aspects of my life.)
  167. I can’t imagine you having a good reason for asking Kris for a divorce, especially since she didn’t cheat on you AND she was willing to put up with you constantly traveling without her. I’m so sick of people who give up on marriage without a legitimate reason like adultery or abuse. Kris did not marry you because she wanted another “friend” in her life. She married you because she wanted a life-partner that would be there for her through better or worse. Not “when things get boring” or when your “feelings change” about her. Whatever your reasons are for divorcing her, I’m sure they’re very self-seeking, which is not what love is about.

  168. It makes me so sad to read some of these comments JD. I hope you grow some thick skin! It also hurts to realize I was one of these people just a few years ago automatically saying things like “we’ll i don’t believe in divorce.” and “they should go to counseling” every time someone getting divorced would come up in conversation (not that i’m against counseling or anything). That’s the toughest part about going through a divorce I think. Unlike other major losses of a loved one- death, severe illness- where society responds by embracing the person and just saying “i’m sorry”- with divorce everyone has an opinion and is happy to share their judgement of your “failure” usually without having any clue about the inner workings of your marriage (do the people married even really understand the subtle dynamics between them?). To people married, you are often a threat. Especially if they are unhappily married. They are quick to distance themselves from you. To your single friends, its hard to understand the pain and overwhelming loss of a marriage. If you are religious, your normal community of support and love can suddenly shun you or at least make you feel like an outsider. and the one person who knows you best is suddenly not there to turn to.. it’s rough, rough, rough. As a friend said, it’s like taking a breath of fresh air and drowning all at the same time. I really do wish you the best during this difficult time. Hold those close to you that love you and find a way to stay centered. Take things slow. I liked a book on Buddhism and divorce called “Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky”

    J.D.’s note: I’ll look up that book. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this publicly, though I’ve told some friends: I was raised in a culture where divorce was NOT an option. It’s been a huge mental barrier to overcome. Because of this, I don’t resent the judgment of others. As I’ve said, people wouldn’t be so upset if they didn’t care. I’m grateful that people care enough to complain. I don’t think they have the info they need to make the judgment, but I don’t resent the judgment. (Well, sometimes I do if I’m in a bad mood, but when I’m calm I’m okay with it.) I recently read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz (a friend recommended it). One of his rules is to “don’t take anything personally”. As I’ve read these comments, I’ve tried to take that to heart.
  169. I’ll be honest, I kind of feel like an idiot right now because of just how genuinely sad I feel after reading this post. I’ve never met JD, never spoken to him, nothing… Yet it feels like a good friend just gave me the news.

    Im not even going to pretend to know anything about why this decision was made or whose “fault” it is. I could speculate but I doubt I will be anywhere close to the truth.

    As someone who is looking forward to celebrating his 2nd wedding anniversary this spring, it scares me to think that one day a decade into the future I might go to my wife and ask her to end our marriage. Someone above commented about how this will help her to work on her own marriage, and I feel the same. I will be sure to never take my wife for granted, and always keep the communication lines wide open.

    It makes me uneasy to offer support to someone who asks to end his marriage without any verifiable cases of infidelity or abuse, but even if JD is making a mistake, that would only mean he would join the ranks of the rest of humanity with his imperfections.

    If both JD and Kris have remained cordial and even friendly during this time, that tells me everything I need to know. I doubt its a totally smooth transition(obviously), but the lack of(or maybe, lessening of) anger and bitterness during such a time shows alot about the character of Kris, and even a little bit about JD’s own character.

    I wish I could offer some sort of deep, philosophic advice, but I cant. I can only hope that this ends up working out for everyone. Id be lying if I said that I think you are making the right decision, but I would also be lying if I said I wasnt hoping for the best for both of you.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Brenton.
  170. I’m going to be what some reading have called “judgemental”. However, what those readers don’t realize is that you’ve given us all the information necessary to not be judgemental.

    1) Many moons ago you gave your fiance the promise that you would be with her forever–not until you’ll thought you were better off apart, not until you personally thought you both were better off apart, but forever. The marriage vow you gave was a *vow* (promise). You were speaking your committment and intentions.

    2) 23 years later, you are choosing (no adultury, no abuse, from what you’ve said), to break your word.

    The (unarguable) conclusion is that you lack integrity and are not a man of your word. Being a consistant reader of your blog, it hurts to know that about you. It may be helpful for you to understand that is where much of your readers’ anger is coming from in these responses.

    I will not be reading your blog in the future, because I do not take advise from people that I do not respect.

    • I believe JD is approximately 40, just a tad younger than me. If he and Kris have been together for 23 years, that means he was about 17 when they started, and maybe 23 when they married. I don’t care how strongly a 17 or 23-year-old wants to be commit to spending the rest of his life with someone; it is impossible for someone that young to truly understand what “life” is and what it means to share the rest of it with one person. If I were queen of the world (and I realize I am not), no one would be able to get married before they were 28 and had had some experience at having a life.

      I know that would have helped me out; I was just one week past my 20th birthday (and two months past our son’s birth) when I married and thought that the strength of our love would last for all time. 10 years in, everything was much different, and after 15 years of growing apart, I did what JD did and requested a divorce. If I had forced 35 year-old me to stay in a very miserable marriage because 20-year-old me promised “until death do us part,” I am fairly certain the promised end may well have arrived sooner than necessary.

      Obviously people get divorced who were married at various ages. My own experience tells me that committing so early in life, without really understanding what you are committing to, raises the odds of needing to break the commitment. How many other promises would one expect someone in their teenage years or very early twenties to make and keep for the rest of their lives?

      Just my two cents.

      • “My own experience tells me that committing so early in life, without really understanding what you are committing to, raises the odds of needing to break the commitment.”

        Certainly – but I think the key phrase is “without really understanding what you are committing to”.

        There’s no reason a 23-year-old can’t understand what his/her marriage vows mean, and consider carefully whether or not he chooses to make the vows.

        If he chooses to make them, and really mean them, it will affect all the life decisions he makes from that point onward. It’s a bedrock. The problem is that many 23-year-olds don’t put that kind of consideration into the actual vows.

        In the ancient churches, where marriage is still considered a lifelong commitment, a couple cannot be married before they complete marriage preparation – a months-long course of study about what exactly marriage is, coupled with education on how to build a strong marriage and how to cope with the inevitable bumps in the road (big and small). It’s sort of like proactive marriage counseling.

        I think it would be a good idea for everyone, not just orthodox Christians, to do something similar. With the differing conceptions of what exactly marriage is today, marriage prep would be a great idea to get all that ironed out – and make people sit up and think hard about what they’re doing, and what they’ll do when they run into rough waters.

        • I agree that the more pre-marital education one can get, the better. And I think one of the most important components of that education is to have some experience what life is really like as an independent single person. How can anyone possibly understand (not just “know” from understanding the meaning of words) what it means to share the rest of their life with someone, if they don’t really understand what it is like to first be independent?

          Maybe JD had sufficient independent life experience before making this vow. Maybe he did not. In any event, I thought it was unduly harsh of the poster to whom I responded to come to the “unarguable conclusion” that JD lacks integrity without knowing more about the totality of the circumstances, not just now, but from the beginning as well.

        • Susan, I think you’re right that that the poster should not have said that he’s positive JD lacks integrity. As many have pointed out, as readers we know very, very little about the whole situation.

          I’m intrigued by your assertion that one can’t understand what it means to share the rest of their life with someone, if they don’t first understand “what life is really like as an independent single person”. Why should one understanding be dependent upon the other?

          While many in our generation saw our parents’ marriages break up, many of us did not; we grew up with parents who did and still do share their lives successfully. Living in the same household for 18 years with those doing it is a great opportunity to learn about what things are really like, difficulties and all 🙂

          Also – for centuries, in fact for most of human history, women in particular have often married young and without ever having been economically independent or even lived away from their family of origin.

          NOT saying that’s any better than marrying later; just saying it doesn’t necessarily spell doom, either. The fact that it doesn’t always work well doesn’t mean that it can never work well; a lot depends on the particular people involved.

        • In the traditional marriage where women married young without any experience (or expectation) of independence, the man had the legal and theological right to beat her if she didn’t obey, as well, and she could be killed for adultery. Plus people had the prospect, in a bad marriage, of young widowhood – life expectancy was short enough that few marriages lasted more than 20 years anyway.

          Over the last few hundred years, we’ve changed our ideas about what marriage means and what a “good” marriage is.

  171. Really appreciate your honesty & transparency. You don’t owe us that. You’re a blogger. But I hope the both of you find the paths that are right for you. It won’t be easy, but life sometimes isn’t.

  172. First off, I want to congratulate you on your most successful post, atleast as far as comments are concerned despite the sad circumstances. Second, for those of us who have read your post for many years we have seen your development and how Kris was involved in that development, per the info you have shared. I’m not going to rehash the the accusations but the truth is over the years you have created this forum and this entity based on your life, much of which was based on your growth and the nourishment that Kris help provide over the years. It very well may be your right and also be reasonable to keep your divorce reasons private, but as readers your reasoning seems hollow based on past events and how you are currently living your life. There is no way to put any of this in perspective unless the reasons become clear but I’m not saying you should clarify them for us but in the meantime your readers are going to fill-in the gap however they choose or they may not even care. Truly if there isn’t any Earth shattering reason for the divorce, it could easily be stated thus resolving some of these issues unless the reason(s)truly do not support your request thus undermining your arguments. What further bothers me is that in your notes to comments you give ever reason why you shouldn’t divorce Kris. You mention causality (how its not the case) of events but just because one event isn’t caused by another doesn’t mean they are not significantly interconnected, especially when it is a series of events that are interconnected. You discuss making the honorable decision, divorce is rarely about honor unless you have some underlying medical issue and you are going to die in a year and perhaps you are trying to spare Kris from financial ruin. You say how she is good enough to be your best friend, but not your wife. While they could be mutually exclusive, they also can be a great foundation for a marriage. Your comments on selling the divorce and being a regular guy with real feelings is a little tame, you also have to realize that you are a public figure not unlike an candidate that has a growing negative perception problem. Because when your readers process the information from years past with the information you are providing us including Kris’ feedback and your notes from comments, it only leaves a couple of reasons why a divorce is being pursued. If one writes down all of those reasons, including any that can occur through individual growth and change, most of them don’t add up to divorce. I say that because all relationships go through this and usually by working together and with some compromise by all parties, the relationship can grow stronger through individual growth and change. Certainly your marriage isn’t a starter marriage and you have gone through this, I would say more than most and this is why something doesn’t smell right to the readers. What we have seen is that Kris has made many concessions (sometimes extraordinary) to you and your changing values over the years but we are not seeing the quid pro quo. Perhaps she has not changed nearly as much as you but that is not the total sum of what marriage is about. Its about supporting each other through growth, accomplishments, changes, adversity and all the other issues involved and still finding a common ground so you can communicate and move forward together. What I and perhaps others see, is a basic bailing out of a marriage for whatever personal reasons you have which comes across as selfish. We maybe wrong and there maybe valid reasons, but its not what comes across.

  173. Oh no, JD. I’m sorry for you both.

    I wish you and Kris the best working though this and going forward.

  174. You sold the site? As a long time reader of 5 years, it’d be nice if you confirmed or denied that.

    As someone who has followed the site for a while, opened accounts and bought stuff with your Amazon links, it’d be nice to know who now I am supporting now (if I am supporting someone else). Granted, you don’t have to disclose it, but I think its only fair to readers who stuck by you all those years.

    • Actually, now i see your comment on that.

      Good for you for selling the blog. Seriously – thats an awesome achievement (very well earned), and no doubt has provided you with financial stability and is a testament to all your hard work.

      That said, as a reader, I don’t know what to make of it. I enjoyed the blog when it was one man’s struggle vs debt and his take on personal finance. Now, I guess its a corporate site, with an editor and some staff writers? IDK, I’m always big on disclosure, and as you stated, you can’t legally disclose much, but it does make me wonder – who’s voice will these articles be in? is there a hidden agenda to the posts? is the editorial content being dictated by an invisible corporate party?

      it would have been nice if you negotiated to disclose this better with your loyal readers. just my two cents.

      J.D.’s note: Again, I can’t say much. I will say that I have editorial freedom — nobody can tell me what to write — and so far, I’m not aware of any corporate pressure to post anything. I’ll ask about what more I can legally say.
      • Thanks for the confirmation – it will be interesting to read if you can post more at some point. I don’t know the ins and outs of blogland but I imagine there are a lot of headaches with servers and advertisers that a corporate owner might alleviate.

  175. I’m guessing by the missing post #’s here that many posts are not being published. If some of you are being mean then cut it out already. I said before I don’t think this is really about divorce, so let’s be supportive! It’s not like he suddenly stopped teaching financial tips! Let’s turn the page with him and enjoy the next chapter.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks for the voice of support, but actually the missing post numbers are just because of the way nested comments work. The missing numbers are replies to earlier posts. I’ve actually allowed ever single comment through so far (though one or two were close calls).
    • Post numbers are missing because they don’t always go in order. If you reply to post number 3 with post number 7, then the post numbers will read like:
      1, 2, 3, 7, 4, 5, 6, 8…

      Look at comment number 1, the first responses to it are numbered 13 and 59, so you wont see those numbers after post 12 or 58.

      Edit: J.D. beat me.

  176. Okay, I havent read these comments but I want to say something here that bothers me tremendously.

    JD, you are looking at this from a mans perspective. There isnt a woman around that wants to be all friendly with the man who just told her she doesnt fit in his new plan for the future. You are doing this for you.

    Now listen to me on this one thing; every time you come around Kris is going to be trying to hide the hurt. She will be silently begging you for a hug and words of assurance that this is all a bad dream. Sure she is worried about your health insurance. The longer you are on her insurance the more normal it all feels.

    You are hanging around for you, not her, because if she had her way you would be there every day to come home to. She wants you in her bed and your feet under her table. You, on the other hand, have somehow decided you have outgrown this marriage. BUT.. the little boy in you isn’t really ready to leave the girl you married in your youth, the woman you loved in middle age. She has been your comfort in times of distress, your pillow when your tired and need to rest, your music when your hearts without a song, the one real thing in a harsh world of pretend and greed..Kris has been all of this to you and the deep part of your soul is still reaching out to her. If you really want a divorce be a big boy and do this on your own without dragging her along behind. If you can’t bear to do this alone then for heavens sake, go back home where you belong! Kris will be waiting for you.

    I can tell you one thing; what’s happening to you guys has made me take a new look at my marriage. Last night it was snowing. Greg came through the door exhausted from work and the commute. We spent the evening cuddled on the couch by the fire…content in knowing that whatever storm there is outside, in our home there is peace, in each others arms there is 25 years of contentment and there in that one word lies your problem. Contentment! There isnt anything better out there. You just got discontented. And no, dont be presumptious and say that this is a best for both you and Kris. It’s best for selfish you and that’s it!

    Man, I love you JD, I really do, but this is beyond understanding. You’ve lost your Dad, your mother isnt in a position to be there for you, and now you cut Kris out. Whatever is wrong with you? You are going to need her in the future and you know that. That is why you are hanging on.

    It’s like the little boy that sticks his unwanted Teddy bear on a shelf. He cant bear to part with him because he’s so much of his past, but he really doesnt want him in the present, so instead of giving him up altogether he puts him on a shelf so he can use him now and again. Kris is not a toy or a thing! You can’t do that to her. She’s either a vital, integral part of your life or she isn’t. Let her go or take her back. The twighlight zone is bad for her regardless of how you want to sugar coat it as a good for both of you.

    Oh boy, I have to quit. Just go home JD. Go home.

    J.D.’s note: Hugs to you, cousin.
  177. All the best to you (and to her) going forward. Life doesn’t always go as we expect it to, but hopefully you will be happy and thrive going forward.

  178. Hey,
    Blog Hijack — I have two younger sisters, one 19 and the other 22. They very little experience with personal finance and I want to help them on their way without coming off like I’m lecturing them. Do you have any old posts that lays out the foundational steps that I can email to them to get their feet wet and open lines of discussions between me and them. My youngest sister just opened her first savings and checking account and is looking into credit cards so I need something down to the basics but informative.
    Sorry about the hijack, but there were sooo many comments to this post, I thought I could get more feed back here from other commentors on other resources/blog articles I could send them.
    Thanks!

    J.D’s note: There’s nothing here with foundational steps. Well, maybe the annual New Year posts about taking control of your finances. This is actually something I’ve been wanting to work on: Creating a post that collects all the best intro material in one place.
    • If you can manage it, probably the best thing to do is get them to read a book. Ramit Sethi’s IWTYTBR is great for young’uns, and Suze’s Money Book for Young, fab and broke is pretty good, too.

    • Yea, I think it would be helpful if there was a tab for beginners with some resources to start. I actually posted the same hijack on 20somethingfinance.com and he didnt have any resources for beginngers either…

      To Jane : My sisters aren’t the type to just start reading a book on personal finance because someone recommened it to them. Well, unless the Kardashians were on it, but that’s a whole other can of worms. I thought an article would be a better start since it would be shorter and to the point and maybe could get them interested. Any other suggestions?

  179. This is for Kris: I was in a similar situation about 10 years ago (also was my husband who initiated the divorce) – things will get so much better than they are now! A few years later I am with an amazing man who is a much better fit for me. The time between the two really serious relationships helped me grow too, I felt like more of a complete independent person going into my current relationship.

    For now I suggest distance from him, moving away from where you both lived together, and indulging in the little things you have always wanted to do, but felt bad about. Please spoil yourself!

    Also – think very carefully about taking him back if he comes asking for that in 6-18 months time, I think this only works where the split was due to a specific and traumatic event. Someone who drifts off once will most likely drift off again – they are coming back to you because change failed for them this time and you are “safe and familiar”, and they WILL try again later. What they really need is a successful ending to trying again with a different person. Love means letting go sometimes.

  180. My condolences to both you.

    I agree with the comments about the house and especially travel differences foreshadowing this. (I do NOT agree with those who said the separate accounts had anything to do with it, even though I personally have joint accounts with my spouse). I have never known anyone who traveled that much alone, and stayed married. Still, “Do what works for you.” Who am I to judge?

    On the other hand, compromise and concessions are part and parcel of marriage. I have heard that 75% of marital disagreements are never resolved. There is disagreement in every relationship; long term marriages, I think, tend to learn to live with the differences.

  181. Congrats on being able to keep things friendly with your wife. I’m going through the same process (moved out in late 2010) and we’ve also stayed friends while we finalize the divorce. Hope everything works out for both of you.

  182. J.D., I am so sorry that you and Kris are going through this.Divorces and breakups suck. I initiated the breakup of a seven-year relationship with a man I thought I would marry. He was my best friend before we became romantically involved and he still is. I liked your statement about divorcing the marriage, not the friendship. To those who criticize from their place of fear and judgement, how nice that you are so sure about what’s right not only for you but for everyone else. How nice that you knew exactly what you wanted from life when you were 22 and got to travel and have fun experiences before settling down to the Very Serious Business of Adult Life where no one is allowed to make mistakes or change their mind about what they want. I am 38. What I thought I wanted when I was 28 was very different than what I want now. I hope some of the more critical younger readers will grow more nuanced in their opinions as they gain life experience. Take care J.D. I enjoy your blog very much.

  183. When I read the news on your personal site, J.D., I was legitimately sad. As many people here have mentioned, although we do not know you, it felt as if the news came from a friend, and it came as both a shock and a blow (though, as others have pointed out, there have been small hints with regard to the traveling, so certainly it’s not as shocking as it could have been).

    I think this is part of why some people are taking this so personally.

    From my own point of view, as a 28-year-old who is hopefully soon to be engaged, it triggers a base fear. What if, someday, my husband asks me for a divorce? Different people can feel very differently about what the appropriate amount of effort to put in to save a marriage may be. And so I, unfortunately, feel a sense of betrayal that I have no right to blame you for.

    Part of why this is coming as such a shock, despite the hints, is because for the most part, you have portrayed Kris so positively in your blog and displayed no actual conflict. Sure, the traveling seemed like a problem, but it seemed like a problem that the two of you were working to find a way to resolve. There was no mention of marital counseling or of conflict resolution.

    As a reader, it is hard to tell if that is because there WAS no marital counseling or if it was just kept private. Likewise, whatever the conflict may be, there is no way for us to judge whether it is resolvable or not from your post. The lack of information leads one to believe that the conflict was maybe resolvable, but of course from the outside everyone’s relationship seems fixable until you know the details. There ARE some conflicts that no amount of counseling can fix.

    So people are trying to understand how to feel. They feel sad, and maybe even a bit betrayed, because of how much of yourself you have shared on this blog in the past. It’s easier to be angry and place blame, particularly when the narrative being given here allows for it so easily (e.g. no mention of marital counseling, the clear statement that the divorce is your choice and not Kris’s). But the truth is, we don’t know you. We don’t know your life. We don’t know the conflict you and Kris have been having. And though you have invited us into your lives and minds from time to time on this blog, that doesn’t mean you owe us the whole story.

    So, with that said: I may or may not agree with your decisions, given the story you have chosen to present here, but regardless I sincerely hope that everything works out for the best for both you and Kris, no matter what the story was or turns out to be.

  184. My new husband bought me a book for Christmas called “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage” that the author, Tara Parker-Pope, wrote after her own marriage ended in an attempt to figure out what had really happened and also to gain insight on any future relationships she might have. She doesn’t dis her ex and the writing manages to boil down the science in a way that is very readable. You and Kris might find some good insights in there to understand what went on between you and move on (whether to another relationship or to being on your own). I highly recommend it.

    FWIW, I also wasn’t surprised by this considering some of the changes JD has been making (and wanting) in his life, but agree with those who say that we shouldn’t decide that we aren’t going to pursue opportunities for personal growth because it might change our personal relationships. That’s part of personal growth.

  185. I’m sorry to hear this news, but I wanted to commend you on the way that you’re using this as a teaching tool for your readers. It’s a brave and thoughtful thing to do. Thank you.

  186. Good luck to you both. It is a scary thing to do, hurting a loved one and facing so much judgment, but I think better than the path of least resistance which might ultimately lead to a life of quiet desperation and unwanted hopes that your spouse cheats on you or worse, dies, so you can get out without the harshness of others’ opinions.

    • I don’t know why he wouldn’t be permitted to say because legalese at the bottom of the page requires it.

      https://www.getrichslowly.org/termsofservice/

      Terms of Service — UPDATED September 15, 2010
      Please read this Terms of Service agreement (the “Agreement”) carefully. Your use of the Site (as defined below) constitutes your agreement to be bound by this Agreement.

      This Agreement is between you (“you”) and QuinStreet, Inc. (“QuinStreet,” “Company,” “we,” “us”) concerning your use of the website owned and controlled by us from which you are accessing this Agreement (together with any successor site(s), and all Site Services and Site Content, the “Site”).

      Google the name of the company and voilà

      http://quinstreet.com/

      Finding this took less than 5 seconds total.

      It’s not some deep dark mystery or something.

      PS- the company even has a wikipedia page and GRS is listed among its properties:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuinStreet

      all publicly available info, no cloak & dagger

        • neither did I…but there ya go. like another post said: some of the last year’s changes now make sense…

          there you have folks…the ultimate get rich slowly formula: start a blog, create an audience, get a brand, capitalize on the relationship in side contracts, sell the blog, travel to unusual and interesting destinations on proceeds.

          not too shabby and not too slow, only took him what…6-7years?

      • I’m *guessing* that JD signed a legal agreement with QuinStreet that required confidentiality about the terms of the sale. It was probably a broad confidentiality clause that basically said ‘don’t say anything’. Generally non disclosure agreements I’ve seen basically require secrecy in general and don’t spell out specifics about what you can and can’t say. Then QuinStreet elsewhere has made it public knowledge that they own the blog. But that didn’t necessarily remove the secrecy clause from the agreement JD signed in the first place. So to be safe JD would need to ask QuinSteet to know for sure if its now OK to say things to be sure. Of course now its really a moot point, you don’t have to keep a secret that the other party states publicly. But I assume JD is just making sure he does it correctly.

        I assume the confidentiality clause is more of a ‘standard procedure’ thing so that people don’t know the terms of the sale such as the amount paid, etc. Clearly Quinstreet is making it public knowledge.

        Honestly I bet they wanted to make the transition gradual. If JD & Quinstreet announced to the world abruptly that JD sold then the blog might have lost a flood of readers. Gradual transition gives them time to switch over things without the readers freaking out. Again just my opinion / guessing.

        J.D.’s note: Can’t write more because I’m already late for a breakfast meeting, but Jim has this EXACTLY right. Everything about this comment is spot-on accurate. I have permission to write a post about the sale/transition of the site, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. (I actually already have three posts written about this subject, but none are quite right anymore so I’m doing a new one.) Should go up Friday or Monday.
  187. I’m very sorry to hear this – it always saddens me when anyone breaks up. I’ve heard before (and witnessed) that breakups are contagious. Here’s an article with probably dubious statistics about it – http://www.newser.com/story/94753/divorce-is-contagious.html. The article talks about the likelihood of divorce increasing among friends, but I imagine the same effect would be observed between a person and someone they look up to. I wonder how many of your readers are freshly considering de-cluttering their emotional lives after reading this?

  188. J.D., I’d like to comment on the friendship aspect, because I’m in a similar situation right now. My husband told me he was unhappy three months ago, told me he was leaving two months ago, and moved a month ago. None of it was my choice. It was a unilateral decision on his part.

    He left me with almost everything – the larger house, the furniture, the dogs – and moved back into our little rental house. He says that the separation was his choice, and he doesn’t want me to suffer for it.

    We still live near each other, and we have mutual friends and activities. I maintained that I wanted us to remain friends, and that’d I’d be O.K. with our relationship transitioning to that level. I believed that this was what I wanted, and congratulated myself on how mature and brave I was for walking that high road.

    As the weeks pass, however, I’m realizing that this is very difficult for me, and my motives aren’t as clear as I’d told myself they were. In my heart, I think I do want him to see, through our continuing friendship, that he’s making a colossal mistake in throwing away an eighteen-year relationship. I want him to look over at me when we’re out with friends and wonder why he straight-armed me out of our marriage. I want him to realize that he should have let me support him while he went through his introspective emotional work, that we could have remained a team and come through it stronger together. I want him to come over and see how fabulous the house looks, how great I look, how everything appears to be working out for the better. I want him to see this because I want him to want all of it back.

    He was my best friend for the better part of two decades, and I thought I wanted to keep that as well. Lately, however, an underlying doubt has started to creep in. This is the same person who emotionally abandoned me and stepped almost completely out of the life we’d built together. They’re not two separate men, my best friend and the man who betrayed me by throwing up his hands and leaving when he started to feel unhappy. So, while I started off being generous and understanding, I’m now becoming resentful and angry.

    I’m not presuming that any of this is the same for Kris. I just wanted to put it out there, because I thought I wanted all of the things that you and Kris are saying that she wants, and now I’m finding those wants are subtly shifting as I recognize that the motivation behind them isn’t entirely healthy.

  189. Add me as another reader who is no longer interested in reading this blog. Like many others have said, I’ve disliked the direction you and the blog have taken over time, as I find the lifestyle design/World Domination stuff unrelatable, self-centered, and off-putting.

    Additionally, the readers don’t even know who owns the blog anymore or who really controls the content — is it still all you talking, or is it some of you and some of CitiBank, or PayPal? GetRichSlowly used to be a trustworthy, non-corporate alternative source of financial information. Maybe it is still, but how can we know?

    • While I certainly will keep reading GRS, I agree with this comment. This post is the first I’ve heard that JD sold GRS.

      Was there an announcement made about this that I missed? An article explaining the implications of it for GRS, plans to maintain the site’s integrity in the future, etc etc? I believe that a basic level of respect for the readers demands such a post.

      • And actually, having just researched the company, I don’t see *how* this could mean anything good for GRS. (perhaps that’s why they insisted JD not be allowed to talk about the sale)

        It looks like it’s basically an online marketing (ie advertising) company? Which means they want GRS… in order to make it a better place for their clients to place ads? I don’t quite understand it; the business lingo they use is gobbledegook to me.

        I encourage other readers to please check it out yourselves – quinstreet.com, specifically What we do / how we do it.

  190. JD & Kris;
    I’ve been through it too after a 30 yr. marriage, life goes on but there are a lot of adjustments to get used to. I wish you both the best and your great common sense concerning finances is a huge part of a sucessful parting. Please be patient with yourselves as you move into the new versions of your lives, the passage of time will help with all that you have to deal with.
    JD, shop well and get health insurance, don’t go without it even for a short time. The cost of health care is too expensive, especially for emergencies and serious conditions which hopefully you will never have.

    • it’s also sometimes nearly impossible to find insurance if your previous insurance lapsed. lapsang souchong.

      • Or they can argue that you had a preexisting condition and refuse coverage for a procedure, even if you get coverage.

        • Becca,
          You’re right, I am uninsurable and my state-mandated BCross/BShield policy costs me $854./month w/a $2500. deductible. My insurance also increases by about $100./yr. My total monthly health care costs are well over $1200, inclusive of insurance and out-of-pocket. If JD is healthy, he should be able to find insurance that is way cheaper than mine but will be obviously more expensive than being a part of his wife’s policy plan. Paula

  191. JD,
    I think many of us are sad to see the news about your divorce (especially those of us who fall more in line with Kris financially of dealing with someone who acts like you used to) because we had hoped if you could do it we could too (and figure out how to create the trigger). However, a divorce is not the end result most of us want.

    Just a comment on the sadness of this news for two people whom I have never met and had looked to for advice for several years

  192. I’ve read this blog since 2009 but never posted, so this is my first and last post. I read The Millionaire Next Door based on the recommendation from Get Rich Slowly, and among their many pearls of wisdom, the authors noted that the vast majority of millionaires they interviewed were married and never divorced. The authors posit that is no accident, as marriage creates wealth and divorce destroys it. For me, the very concept of divorce as a lifestyle choice (absent abuse or infidelity) is anathema to the idea of “getting rich slowly”– to say nothing of the broken vows and emotional and psychological costs– and therefore I think I’ll find someplace else to inspire me to live frugally and build wealth. This blog has lost its way.

  193. @ JD

    Okay, thanks for your reply to my previous post. I was looking for it to retort once more, but with 300+ posts I got lost in the pages. So here it is:

    Alright, since there is no triangle, then why be such a blockhead? You want to live differently, you want to try new things, whatever. Divorce over living quarters or vacation time or whatever is like burning the house to get rid of the fleas. That, and everything other people (especially women) said about you looking at this only from your own perspective while believing erroneously it’s for both of you.

    Anyway, you’re lucky to have such a great cousin. Maybe she can give you the boot to the head you so much require.

    I know you think you’re not fucking it up (your words), but there is such thing as being ignorant and naive or falling prey to wishful thinking– you were once ignorant about money and got into debt, now you’re being ignorant about relationships and how they operate and are about to plunge into full bankruptcy.

    Don’t fuck it up man. Go see a good shrink before doing something irreversibly stupid. Best wishes.


    ps- read this: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1996/06/24/1996_06_24_128_TNY_CARDS_000375157

    not the visible summary but the full essay. i read it in print ages ago. it’s damn good.

    • Why exactly is he about to plunge into full bankruptcy? Particularly if he has no debt and got what I surmise he got for selling the blog?

      • it’s a metaphor. maybe i should have written “you’re about to plunge into full relationship bankruptcy” so that the parallel was perfectly clear, but the editing runs out at 30′.

  194. I was afraid this was happening. Even the way you phrased things in your column I could see yourself distancing yourself from Kris.
    I know I should be supportive, but I’m more of the until death do you part, versus, until I don’t feel like it anymore.
    I think your mind is set so go ahead with your plans, but I think it’s a bit much to expect Kris to be friends with you after this, kind of like having your cake and eating it too. This is a deep wound you are giving her and asking her to overlook just to make you feel better.

  195. Amy wrote: “From my own point of view, as a 28-year-old who is hopefully soon to be engaged, it triggers a base fear. What if, someday, my husband asks me for a divorce?”

    Fortunately, you’re not married yet. That “base fear” can serve as sort of a wake-up call prompting you and your significant other to have the conversation that J.D. and Kris may wish they had had 20 years ago … indeed, the discussion that every single couple considering marriage today should have.

    What do you believe marriage is? If you’ve got a traditional understanding of marriage as a vocation, as a permanent act of self-giving (“through good times and in bad, till death do us part” and so on) … then you need to find out whether your SO shares that understanding. Find out whether that’s what he wants, too.

    The modern conception of marriage as an affectionate relationship between two people, which is not necessarily permanent (though it may turn out to be, so long as both people find it beneficial), is a radical departure from the older concept of marriage. Yet it has quickly replaced the more ancient concept, in huge swaths of western society. Many young people in the U.S. today may not ever even have considered the way the traditional institution was supposed to work.

    Yet for some reason, often people beginning this sort of “modern marriage” will go ahead and use the traditional vows. It’s almost like they see it as a ritual – reciting beautiful old poetic words, but without meaning behind them.

    This may be okay if both parties know that they’re not really taking vows, and they share the desire for the “modern marriage”.

    The devastating problem arises when one person really believes the couple is taking vows, and the other believes they’re just using a traditional ritual that hangs on from an outdated concept.

    So, TALK with your intended about marriage. Really it’s best to have this talk soon after a relationship gets serious, before becoming engaged.

    You, Amy, are in exactly the right place at the right time. You need not be afraid. 🙂

    • Thank you for your words, Teresa. In terms of my own situation, my boyfriend and I have had many talks about what marriage means to us. I have no intention of walking into things blindly. Unfortunately our situation is tough because he grew up in a broken home with no good male role models, so his own view of marriage is different than mine is. Hence the base fear triggered by J.D.’s post. That said, my boyfriend has already said that if things started not working that he would absolutely go to couples counseling with me and work hard with me on fixing things.

      Ultimately, getting married is an act of faith (even for the non-religious, like us) and hope. You can go into things with the best of intentions, with a strong understanding of your partner and a firm, deep commitment, and that doesn’t mean the marriage will work or that someday your partner won’t leave you. But you hope it will work, and you try your damnedest to make it work, because the commitment means something.

      I don’t have a very good understanding of what J.D.’s marriage to Kris has been like. I don’t think any of us really do. Maybe they did everything they could, and maybe they didn’t. I just hope that things work out the best for the both of them, regardless.

      • I think it’s good that you at least understand what the differences are between how you view marriage because of your upbringing and what your expectations are. This is a pretty common secular way to view marriage (i am not saying that in a negative way, i think secular marriage can work great if you both are on the same page. studies show it’s agreement over values, not particular value systems, that matter for the most part). In my case, my ex saw marriage as a partnership based on love that just had a legal seal and could be dissolved if one partner became dissatisfied, but not without an attempt to salvage it for the children and the “idea of marriage”. This is a perfectly normal definition shaped by a modern view of marriage as an institution dedicated to self-realization where you both come together to achieve personal happiness and achieve individual goals and dreams

        I promised myself with my next partner I would marry someone who shared my commitment to a Christian idea of marriage where it is really an institution dedicated to service to the other, a challenge to lose yourself for your husband and both of you to sacrifice yourselves for your children and family. This isn’t always a “happy” view of marriage- it means giving up a lot of things, putting yourself after others, learning to discipline yourself sexually, financially, personally. It means not always being happy, not necessarily achieving all of your goals and dreams. It’s hard, but like hard work it can be very fulfilling when you see the growth of what you have created together and how you have grown yourself. That’s why we end all of the vows in the Episcopal Church with “I will, with God’s help.” Marriage is rough, I don’t want to go into it without the image of Christ’s love, service, self-sacrifice and grace as the center of my union. I know that I couldn’t do it alone, and I wouldn’t want my husband to face it alone either. I am now dating someone who shares my faith and the difference is HUGE. I have so much peace knowing that the marriage wouldn’t just be about ME- am i making him happy? is he satisfied? is he getting everything he needs?- I think we put too much on our partners in modern marriage. there isn’t a perfect person out there who will completely fulfill your every desire and dream. we aren’t perfect people! we shouldn’t expect marriage to be either. I suggest Timothy Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” or the book “Sacred Marriage” if you want to understand the difference more.

        but again, its agreeing about the definition that matters and the values that shape that definition of marriage

    • i second that. make sure that you know what your partner thinks marriage IS exactly. would you go into a contract for a business with someone without discussing what your expectations were, what the contract meant, why it should be dissolved etc? NO. you should take marriage at least as seriously. I almost married my ex until the subject came up and he said something along the lines of “its just a legal contract” that makes a relationship official. For me, it wasn’t, and that conversation opened up a wide divide between us in terms of values. I want a partner who thinks of marriage the same way that I do and who shares my commitment to that definition of marriage. That’s what husbands, not boyfriends, are made of.

    • This!

      Now I just have to find a phrasing for “till death or whenever we want it to be over do we part” that doesn’t sound so jarring.

      • Our vows said something like “I take you, XX, as my (husband) (wife), from this day forward…”

        Neither of us vowed “till death us do part.” It IS possible to say vows you actually mean. 🙂

        • But “this day forward” INCLUDES every single successive day after the day you got married. If anything, your vows are even MORE perpetual than the standard “till death do us part!” At least with the traditional phrasing, you’re free to move on after one of you passes on. With your vows, you’re hooked for eternity, even BEYOND death.

  196. I would like to add my voice to adding some distance instead of hanging out and going on vacation together. Of course she wants to – because she still hopes. When she realizes that hope is in vain she will not feel good at all, and you can’t really stand around saying “it was your choice” or “told you so” without being a real nasty bastard. Distance now actually gives you a better chance of being friends later. Buying a ticket for a different friend to go with her on her trip would be a wonderful gift (not at all frugal, but very kind and thoughtful).

    You are moving on so move on already! Saying its not your fault she doesn’t want distance is cowardly and awful. Time for Get Rich Slowly to be Get Some Balls Now.

  197. Sorry this had to happen. Hope you can stay friends.
    Health insurance: Try calling her provider and see if they have something basic you can roll over to. It worked with BC/BS when my son left home.
    (Don’t know if someone suggested this. Not reading through 338 comments to find out.)

  198. Did you explore all avenues before asking for a divorce? Counseling? Talking things out?

    Reconnecting? I guess that’s why you went on your trip to SA alone.

    Try to explore all options before signing the dissolution of marriage doc

    Anyway, best of luck.

    To those that find it so quick to judge:
    “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
    The Alchemist.

    J.D.’s note: !!!!!!!!!! I am reading The Alchemist right now (in Spanish, though) and just highlighted that passage the other night.
  199. I’m sure this has been a long and painful decision on your part and I hope that you both come out the better for it.
    Since this is your decision and not Kris’, you need to stay away from each other for a long while. Complete your “table divorce” and walk away. You can’t leave the marriage and still ask her to remain friends it’s too soon. She needs to go through the grieving process, and right now she’s in denial and hopeful that you will come to your senses. Until she gets through the stages of loss, especially the hate, and ultimately acceptance, you will not be able to truely be friends.
    I understand it when you say it’s the best for the both of you, even though it’s a unilateral decision. It’s because you know the hurtful person you could become if you stayed and “made it work” if your heart wasn’t in it.
    Since you’re the initiator, and it’s not mutual you’re the “bad guy” so I’ll share this proverb:
    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
    Best wishes to you and Kris.

  200. As a long time reader of GRS, I have observed the creeping selfish tone of this blog over the past year. I am now unsubscribed.
    Middle age male crises are oh so boring. JD, you are a selfish, self-absorbed man.

  201. I had to do a reread of this post. JD you are so brave. Thanks for sharing!
    I am glad to hear your friendship will remain with Kris.

  202. I wish you both the best. With big transitions, where you end up is not always where you planned, so try to stay open. If it wasn’t working for one, and it had continued, it would have been unfair to the other, who would have been getting less than they deserve.
    Thank you for being brave enough to admit this in a public forum.
    Best wishes of health, hope, and happiness to you both going forward.

  203. I’ve been trying to figure out how to word this (and yes, I know you have gotten alot of crap from all of us here. I’m going to try and see if I can put into words what many here are trying to say. You may or may not agree.

    The thing is, even if I transcend everything, and accept that you truly believe this is for the best, that your motives are altruistic and this is hurting you as much as Kris (doubtful) there’s still this: Put simply, because you are the iniatator and the cause of pain, you have a responsibility, the only responsiblity here, to be the one in charge. YOU are the one responsible for causeing no more pain. Right now, Kris has the emotional intelligence of a split pea (and if youre reading this, I dont mean it unkindly-I’ve been a the leftee in a divorce, as well as a widow). She should not be making ANY, I repeat ANY emotinal decisons at the moment and only those financial ones as required. You know, the old change nothing for ninety days thing?

    what that means is in terms of travel, especially, YOU have to grow a brain, and a backbone. Think about what will happen in Argentina. YOu will a. sleep together, leaving Kris an emotional trainwreck, or you will b. Kiss her on the forehead and go to separate rooms. Seriously??? The woman you have been involved with for twenty some years? She CANNOT think for herself. for God’s sake, think for both of you. While SOMEDAY you may be able to travel as friends-seriously, on this one, you have GOT TO BE KIDDING? Has no one in your real life told you this? That you will tear your wife apart in firendliness? If not, you need some new friends and family. period.

    J.D.’s note: Barb, Kris and I are having dinner together in an hour. This topic is top on the list for discussion. You’re right. I don’t want to cause more pain. And if it’s better for her to go on her own, then that’s what will happen. Thanks for being firm (yet polite) about this.
    • “Discussion”? “If it’s better for her”? Get your head out of your butt and man up – do the right thing and don’t put this woman you used to love through any more crap on top of your selfish decision to leave her.

      J.D.’s note: Why shoud you, a complete stranger, get to decide what’s right for Kris? Why shouldn’t Kris get to decide that?
      • I’m actually replying to JD. You wrote:

        While I’m not going to write online about my reasons for choosing this path, please understand that I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was in the best interests of both of us. (Kris disagrees, obviously.)

        Then you wrote:
        Why shoud you, a complete stranger, get to decide what’s right for Kris? Why shouldn’t Kris get to decide that?

        You didn’t seriously type both of those statements after any thought, did you?

        You already decided what was best for Kris. Why not continue in that vein?

      • J.D.’s response to this comment hit the nail on on the head – there’s an undertone that has been going on with many of these comments that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

        Kris is fully capable of making her own decisions as to what is in her best interest. For J.D. to completely cut her off while she’s going through this without consulting her is paternalistic and could be cruel. She is not a child, she is not “emotionally incapable of acting rationally” because her husband asked for a divorce.

        The fact that J.D. recognizes this and seems to be getting a little offended on her behalf says more about his character than anything else I have read on this post or in the comments. It also says that some of these projections and soap opera narratives people are berating him for in the comments are completely unrelated to the actual situation.

    • Im trying to be polite and tell you that this is not a “discussion” issue. This is a “you man up and make the decision issue} because the other party cannot. One of the absolutes with it comes to make no decision that is not absolutely required for six months. Kris is going through that grief, and the same rules apply. While obviously some financial decisions have to be made other than that no onus should be put on her.

  204. While I’m sad to see a marriage of 20+ years ending; I’m glad you two are trying to do so in an amiable manner. I wish you both the best of luck and and I hope you two can find peace on your new and forking road. May you both be surrounded by people who care for you and support you through this difficult time. Finally, thank you both for sharing this intensely personal event online to strangers. That takes incredible courage and I hope you both can carry that courage into your new futures.

  205. I, too, am gracefully bowing out of this PF community. The direction of the site over the last year has left me cold, to say the least. The articles have been frivolous and boring, and the staff writers are frankly not that good. And now we find out that the site has been sold four months ago and nary a word to your loyal readers? Not cool.

    I’m saddened by the news of your divorce, and am torn between not judging and well, judging. I’ll just say this – I have been where Kris is now. It’s horrendous. It kills a part of your soul. And until you’ve been thrown away for a midlife crisis, a pile of money, a younger women, youth-chasing, insert grass-is-greener scenario, you have no idea how much another person can damage you. And it never goes away. Sure, she can move on with her life, but a part of her will forever be broken.

    I’m sorry, but reading about your new life of adventure (or whatever this is), coupled with the downhill slide of the posts, and now this corporate takeover…well, you get the idea.

    Best of luck to you, JD.

    • I agree with you lola, being tossed aside for something “better” is a horrible feeling, you feel lost and worthless. Only to emerge out of it later a stronger and harder person, knowing you were none of those things and the real problem was them. It takes a long time to convince yourself that. It is funny how you can say money doesn’t influence that but it does.

  206. All I can say is wow! As a long time reader and an infrequent commenter I feel I know you and Kris. In the past year I have noticed a difference in your plans for the future per your posts. But it breaks my heart to hear this. I always felt your advice was so spot on. Plus like me and my husband you and Kris are dual income with no kids, which is hard to come by in personal finance. I hope you both the best of luck in your future lives without one another. I. Please proceed with caution in regards to how friendly you will be together. And thanks for sharing!

    I do see how your blog has envolved as you have and I love it! I guess the reason is I have grown too so my interests and priorities have changed.

  207. One more thing, seize this opportunity for either Kris or you to talk about this situation from a financial point of view.

    I know I can relate to the pros and cons after a divorce.

  208. Looks like you’ve gotten enough sympathy, anger, and advice to go through the cycle of grief 50 times, so I won’t bother with all that.

    I wish both you and Kris nothing but happiness as you transition to a new type of relationship that will (hopefully) provide opportunities for tremendous growth for both of you.

    No matter how much we feel we know about you and your life, you’re the one who lives it.

  209. I know I am in the minority, but I am NOT in the camp of marriages are forever. Being 24, by the end of highschool it was weird if your parents were still together. I’ve seen cheating (my brother caught our dad in a mall with the other woman(About 400 miles away from home, isn’t that just good luck.(Long story))), to falling apart (parent completely changing from who they were when they met), to parent realizing that they married and had children because that was what they were supposed to do. On the other hand I’ve seen parent stick together through illnesses, parents still in love after 25 years, and even parents happy with their respective ‘other’ people who have a successful and joyful family gathering every single Christmas.

    I’ve been with my partner for 8 years, purposefully unmarried, as we both carry some emotional baggage, but we don’t carry logical baggage. Every single day is a choice. Does this relationship still work? Do I want to be with this person today? So far the answer has been yes. If the answer ever becomes no, then the emotional side will hurt, badly, but the logical side says that for how ever long a time we had, we both got things out of the relationship, that we would have been poorer without. On a personal (projecting) note, I have resented people getting angry because Kris ‘stuck by’ you, and that this decision to divorce is selfish. Having ‘been in Kris’s shoes’, sticking by my man through some very tough medical issues, unemployment and now being a sugar momma to a college student (he helped me while I was in school) I can say that I would not want to be with someone that felt the relationship was no longer working. I would cry, get angry for a while, and then realize that I had made the decision to stay as well, every single day. Both sides can take the responsibility for choosing to continue in the relationship. Doing anything else is assuming what will happen in the future, and feeling selfish themselves (I deserve something because I did…).

    JD, I am sorry that so many people are projecting on you, or that they have such moral views on marriage that they can’t see you being a person through it. I hope that Kris got as much out of the marriage as you did, and that you can both move on with what you have gained from each other.

    Good luck to you both, and yes, I still have you bookmarked. =)

    • Annie – I think the same way as you, that marriages are not forever, and I’m 30. I’m starting to think that this is a generational thing, as many people in this age bracket grew up with divorced parents. I recall quite a few of my classmates parents divorced after their kids went off to college. I think many couples of our parent’s generation got married after college because it was time.

      Granted, I have been married to my husband for 6(?) years, and we’ve been together for 12(?) – neither of us can remember because we don’t judge the quality of our relationship by the number of years we have been together. There are many levels of compatibility and I have never bought into the only one person for everyone. Perhaps if one doesn’t believe in one true love and for ever after, than you are more willing to accept the reality of life being two completely separate people choosing to go through life together for a period of time, rather than some type of unhealthy (IMHO) merging of two personalities into one personality with two heads.

  210. JD while I’m not happy that you’re divorcing your wife, I do think that she deserves to be loved and wanted by a man who is passionate about her, whom not only wants to be her husband but also her best friend.

    I wish you would think about this for at least a year before you file to divorce. Think about what you’re doing before you officiate the divorce. However if after counseling, considerable thought you don’t love her, then don’t stay married to her out of pity.

    She’ll probably resent you for not truly loving her. But if you’re going to ask for a divorce, get your own health insurance, don’t make her pay for it anymore. That’s abusing her kindness. Let her go on the trip with a friend.

    While some “rare” people are able to be friendly after the divorce, most people don’t end up that way. You should get someone else on your will besides Kris, because what if she gets married?

    What new couple wants to see the ex unless they have kids? Don’t make it any more painful.

  211. I’m not generally a commenter on GRS, but I’ve read your blog since my 2nd son was born. This post earned a rare expletive from me, and ended up waiting 24h before saying anything.

    You’ve had a lot of important people depart from your life lately, and now you’re systematically destroying the rest of your support system by distancing yourself from the blog&readers via the sale, and now Kris.

    I sincerely hope this period of being adrift lands you safely, and I don’t have to read an in memoriam page if I find my way back here.

  212. Just wanted to add my support. I moved out 10 months ago and our divorce was finalized 6 months ago. And while I have wanted to remain friends with my former husband, he wants a bit of time and space to pass before that can happen.

    I’m glad for making the decision, it has been one of the most difficult that I’ve made but it really was for the best. I also found a small apartment for myself and I’m much happier in a smaller place. I’ve also worked on taking control of my finances (hence why I have read your blog for the last several months).

    Oh, and one thing that my dad suggested to me that has helped. Make sure every meal that you have at your place is an event. Set the table, sit down, enjoy the food. I was in the habit of just grabbing something to eat and sitting in front of my laptop. Changing that pattern has helped my mood and attitude immensely.

    Good luck and best wishes to you!

  213. I’m terribly sorry to hear this news. I’m praying for you two and hope that your relationship with Kris can continue. Best of luck. I don’t know everything, and I’m not trying to, but I hope you don’t make any rash decisions without evaluating all the consequences and hurt feelings. I’m sure you won’t. Thanks for being open with us.

  214. J.D., have you tried _absolutely everything_ you could do, over a long duration, to make this marriage the best it could be?

    I am filled with emotion for you and Kris. I don’t know where to begin my thoughts.

    I accept the possibility that you are making a good decision here. Only you and Kris know what your relationship is like. But I still think the more likely scenario is that you’re making a HUGE mistake.

    However, I also think that the greatest success of GRS would be if you listened — really listened, with an open heart — to what your internet community’s collective voice is telling you in these comments, listened and reconsidered your decision, saved your marriage.

    Go home. Now, tonight, before it’s too late, if it isn’t already. And start a new blog, a new project, tonight. The new project should be:

    ***putting all your effort into making your marriage to Kris the best it can possibly be***. (Get Bliss Slowly?)

    You are clearly in some kind of relationship debt right now and have a LOT of work to do before you can even start building positive equity in the relationship.

    But you can do it J.D.! You are the guy who got out of debt and changed his habits and reached great heights!

    You know from experience that sometimes you have to put yourself out there, publicly on the line. Make this a public project.

    Instead of tracking your budget, track at least 10 things you do each day to make Kris happier. Do tons of research like you did for money management. And learn from the best — in addition to interviewing Awesome People, interview people who pulled their marriage back from the brink and are grateful for it every day. In addition to famous jugglers, talk to un-famous people who successfully juggle careers, marriage, [children], positive world change, etc.

    Become a world-class relationship partner. Bring her joy. Do small favors. Learn more about something that she cares about, even if you don’t (yet) care about it yourself. Find time to write her a letter everyday — even a short one — that comes from your heart. Make her something beautiful. Do one of her chores for an hour and give her some extra time to spend as she wishes. (Ahem, start doing all the laundry.) Listen to her. Then study listening and listen some more.

    From where I stand, you don’t know a damn thing about love. But you can learn with Kris — if she’ll let you.

    ————-

    Now the above is most likely true for your situation. But you don’t think it is… based on the secret knowledge of your relationship that only you have and will ever have. Thus you can safely brush aside this comment and all the others and go merrily on your reckless way.

    It’s true, only you and Kris know the inside of your relationship, and I admit I’m being presumptuous… however, the information available to me leads to these conclusions. You are privy to all kinds of classified information that we don’t have.

    But, J.D., let’s talk about that secret knowledge you have. It had better be EXTREME in order to support your actions here. There are some situations that could warrant your decision to divorce, for example:

    (1) One of you only has attraction to same-sex partners, this was not disclosed before the marriage started, and you’ve already put in 1+ year of counseling. What can you do, it just sucks.

    (2) You have some kind of bedroom incompatibility that is monumental and have been in counseling for years about it. This really strains the imagination but it is possible that one partner is just plain unwilling to accommodate in the slightest what the other wants/needs, and the other just can’t accept their partner’s unwillingness.

    (3) One partner is mentally ill in a particularly dysfunctional way and the other partner, despite their best efforts over years and with the support of counseling, can no longer cope and, in the situation, is not even staying sane themselves.

    (4) Emotional of physical abuse.

    (5) One partner exhibits a pattern of lying that can’t seem to be broken.

    (6) At least one partner no longer respects the other or cares about their well being.

    I could go on, but I hope you see the pattern of extremity here.

    Now here are some situations that I believe are insufficient reasons to ask for a divorce as you have, when the other doesn’t want it, and when you haven’t already made a GIGANTIC, LONG-TERM effort to fix and/or accept:

    (A) “We’ve grown apart.”

    (B) “We don’t have anything in common anymore.”

    (C) One or both partners aren’t attracted to the other anymore.

    (D) “I can’t forgive her for ___________.”

    (E) “We got married for the wrong reasons.”

    (F) “We want our lives to go in completely different directions.”

    (G) “I’m holding her back from being her best self” / “She is holding me back from being my best self.”

    (H) “I don’t like the person I’ve become with my partner.”

    (I) “I’m happier when I’m not around her.” (or vice versa)

    (J) “I’ve been thinking/wanting a divorce for a long time and just need to try it.”

    (K) “She doesn’t know/understand me.” (and/or vice versa)

    (L) Differences in politics, religion, belief in God.

    (M) “We disagree about everything.”

    (N) “We are always fighting and I hate it.”

    (O) “After so much fighting, nagging, ignoring, and hurting over so many years, there is just nothing left in this relationship to salvage. We are both miserable and we’ve tried too many times to fix it and it just needs to end.”

    (P) “Life is short, she is just not part of my dreams anymore and I need to pursue the life I want to live without her.”

    I’ll stop. There are a million more. While bad, the situations in the second list could still be fixable. Please look at the two lists and think about that secret information you have about your relationship. Either way, you have my condolences and best wishes.

    If things look like 1-6 or are similar to that vein, I admit you are most likely doing right, hard as it is.

    If things look more like any of A-P than they do like any of 1-6, then you should immediately contact Kris, beg her to consider taking you back, and begin your major project of becoming an amazing, Awesome, and selfless partner in your soon-to-be strong marriage. You will find the journey far more fulfilling than the GRS project.

    p.s. so many good comments here, many substantive. Thank you especially everyone who has shared their own experiences.

  215. My heart goes out to Kris – having to read about how strangers on the Internet “saw the writing on the wall” about the end of her marriage must be a winter’s worth of salt in a deep wound.

      • I skimmed some of these past posts, thanks to you, and yes, JD has to march to the beat of his own drummer, as he has changed, which will keep him feeling passionate and alive and happy. To sell his soul for others, even those he cares about, would result in him losing his essence, his spirit, his soul — who he is. No one should do that. It’s HIS LIFE. Many do though because to do otherwise takes so much COURAGE. I have done the same thing, marched to the beat of my own drummer, realizing that I would rather have others hate me than have ME hate me for not being true to myself. To honor your essence like that and forge ahead does take courage, and conviction; it takes an inner strength – it’s hard, but the reward is feeling alive and happy and passionate each and every day, with lots of healthy habits, as opposed to slowly withering away and dying a little each day, which in time would result in a lot of negative, unhealthy behaviors. Interestingly, as we honor our essence, we learn to become our own best friend. We love ourselves first ahead of anyone else, and that is the hardest thing to do too, and when we reach that state, then wow, do we have so much more to give. From this state where we are fully self-actualized and happy, we give to others with no hidden agendas or strings attached. And we arrive at a place of extreme peacefulness and contentment. (I’m always sorry to hear of a relationship ending, especially when such good people are involved, and yet for JD to not honor who he has become, by how he has changed, would result in him withering away and dying a little bit each day.

      • El Nerdo-

        I wasn’t saying whether those who foretold a divorce were right or wrong; nor was I questioning whether or not there were “clues,” as it were.

        Rather, I was expressing empathy for Kris (who, we are told, doesn’t think a divorce should be in the cards) hearing that total strangers knew her marriage was ending before she did.

  216. Wow. I was shocked and saddened to read this. Unlike some of the other readers who saw this coming, I never would have guessed you and Kris would get divorced. The kind of relationship you two appeared to have always appealed to me, as you seemed to be a strong couple but still had your individual identities. I considered Kris to be a part of Get Rich Slowly, and I sort of feel like I’m losing a friend.

    I’m sure this is a rough time for you, but I can’t help but have a hundred times more sympathy for Kris because this was your decision, not hers. Perhaps you will consider giving a bit more information about why you made this decision, because I know we are not seeing the whole story. With what little information you’ve provided, it appears that Kris stood by you while you made some irresponsible decisions, and now that you’ve improved yourself and built a successful career, you don’t think you need her any more. Perhaps we readers could be more understanding if you explained why you think this is best for both of you. It’s your life and your blog, so you can write what you wish, but it’s clear from the comments that some of your readers are pretty upset about this. I hope I’m not being too harsh because I can’t imagine that you are taking this decision lightly, but like it or not, your relationship with your readers affects your business.

  217. JD, Sorry to hear the news. I am an avid reader of your blog and comments that people people post. So wasn’t surprised after reading your note as many months ago, one of your readers did see the divorce coming and has posted it in the comments. Whatever you do , I hope works out well for both of you. All the best.

  218. Holy guacamole that’s a lot of comments!

    I’m only going to comment on finding health insurance since that’s the stuff I know about.

    You can stay on Kris’ health plan until the divorce is finalized. In fact, they probably won’t allow you to drop it prior to then. Once it is finalized, she will have 31 days in which to request the drop.

    From that point, you’ll be eligible for 36 months of COBRA. Depending on your age and health, it may or may not be cheaper than an individual plan. Additionally, you can drop COBRA at any time if you find something cheaper.

    In your case, you’ll have two choices for a health plan, an individual plan or else you could get a business plan as a sole proprietor.

    So don’t feel like you have to get everything figured out immediately. You have time on the health insurance front.

    Good luck to both of you with everything. No matter the circumstances, it’s never easy.

  219. I’ve been reading this blog since 2007, have never posted before. Just wanted to share my story that sounds somewhat similar to yours… and the eventual outcome.

    I was involved long term with a man who was in every way my “one true love”. We were best friends, connected in a way I thought could never be severed. During our relationship he underwent several personal hardships that drove him into deep introspection about the shape he wanted his life to take. I was privy to his philosophizing and personal development and emotional upheaval, but was unfortunately left out of most of the process. I should have read the writing on the wall, but stuck around to the bitter end out of unconditional love. When it finally came completely unraveled, his unilateral decision to leave was explained in much the same words you are using here. He continued to care deeply for me, but couldn’t complete his personal journey alongside me. He was doing this for both of us, as I deserved more than what he could give. As for me, I just wanted HIM, warts and all. I agreed to all the contact he suggested. We said we’d remain close friends. We had weekly lunch dates. We even went on a pre-planned trip together with friends 2 months after our breakup. It was awkward and horrible. I remember him saying at the end of this trip, “I hope I’m not just f*cking everything up. But I really believe that this is how things have to be.”

    Fast forward 1 year. After realizing I was torturing myself by trying to still give my all to someone who had turned down my affection, I cut out contact. I spent a lot of time doing my own self-reflection, coming to terms with my enduring, yet unrequited, love for this man. So after about a year, I ventured timidly back into the dating fray. And met my husband-to-be soon after(!) who DID give me what I deserved: an enduring, loving partnership.

    But 6 months into dating hubby-to-be… guess who showed up at my door? My old flame, whose year apart from me had not resulted in much revelation. In all his soul-searching, he had come back around to the one stable and enduring relationship he had known. But he had come too late. I now had two men that I loved, but one who had given me every reason to question his love for me. So, after many tears, we parted again.

    Fast forward 10 years. I’m happily married, with children. I think of my old flame from time to time, wishing him the best. We’ve seen each other a few times in the past decade but we have nothing like the closeness we had when together and certainly nothing like what we had both hoped for at the end of our relationship. He has yet to marry but has been wildly successful in his career and takes many exotic trips. He has a look of wanderlust in his eyes, wanting to find something out there to complete himself, to explain his existence here. I still wish that he would have let me support and love him as he struggled to find that inner peace that he is searching for.

    J.D., I don’t mean to project my story onto your life. I hardly know anything about you, let alone your marriage with Kris. But with many similarities, I thought there might be some lessons learned here, for both of you. I just hope that you understand what a big bet you are taking. Please don’t imagine what your new life will be like with Kris as a good friend, instead imagine what your life will be like without Kris in it at all. Because that is what you are risking.

    And to Kris: Knowing that you have not turned love aside is a powerful source of inner strength. There will be much grief, denial and anger to get through before acceptance. Please be patient with yourself, but know that it is possible to continue loving someone who has left you, while fully accepting the end of that relationship and moving forward with your own life and renewed happiness.

    Peace to you both.

    J.D.’s note: There have been many great comments in this thread, from all ends of the spectrum. But this, in my mind, is the best one so far. Thanks for sharing your story, May. I’ll make sure Kris sees it.

  220. JD, I’ve been reading since 2006. Looking at the archives, it was the Gasbuddy post that introduced me to your site. It has been great–really inspiring–to read about your journey out of debt for so many years. Getting to know Kris in a very small, filtered way via your blog was a delight. A dozen times or so, I have thought how cool it would be to meet up with you and Kris for dinner in Portland, as both of you seem like interesting people. So, alas, that will not be happening.

    My heart goes out to Kris, and I hope that both of you will find yourselves happier when all of the chaos of change subsides. Like so many here, I would love to see you two work it out, but it’s none of my business what goes on in your personal life.

    As to the direction of GRS, I was surprised that you had sold it, but then the trends I have been seeing for a while made more sense. The staff writing has generally lowered the quality of the site–a lot of posts are no better than what content aggregator sites have, and blatant errors and misrepresentations are pretty frustrating to see. It’s the GRS community and their comments that are most interesting now. I like to think in retrospect that your (reasonable) preoccupation with your personal life meant you had less time to exercise editorial control.

    I hope GRS keeps going, and that you reconnect in a way that is interesting and enjoyable to you. A few people have mentioned wanting to see some of the old-style personal financial advice from you as you navigate newly found singleness post-divorce. Even though that topic doesn’t apply to me, I’d be much more interested to read it than the vacuous drivel that makes up most of the posts here these days.

    tl;dr: best wishes to both of you, and I hope GRS returns to the level of usefulness it was at several years ago.

    J.D.’s note: I’ve always said that it’s the quality of the community that sets this site apart. You folks are awesome.
    • If we are as awesome as you say we are, and we add as much value to the site as we give ourselves credit, you owe it to us to us to disclose the fact that the site was sold and the implications therein.

      Absent of doing that, you are using us. We have a pretense of what this site is, who runs it, how it makes money, etc – all based on years of what you’ve posted and said. Then behind the scenes, all that changes… and we are left in the dark.

      Now my comments aren’t benefiting your site, but some unknown companies site. What do they do? Is my email address now going to the corporation? are they making money off the links? Are the links for banks and credit cards JD-approved (which i assumed they were), or now they just pretend to be so that the mystery company can make money?

      I don’t care that you sold the site. I feel used though that you did it without informing your readers and discussing the changes. No one forced you to sign a non-disclosure agreemment, and you should have said something to you readers

  221. I thought I’d leave some practical advice here for JD and Kris, in case it’s helpful. I’ve commented previously on this post about my conflicting feelings, but as someone who went through a divorce myself, I thought I’d try to be useful.

    1. Both parties should print out a current credit report to share with the other person. If there are any joint accounts, cancel in writing, or remove one party in writing. Then get another credit report in 30-90 days to confirm the cancellation/removal occurred. This can save a lot of headaches even years later.
    2. Get copies of tax returns and other paperwork for your files.
    3. Decide how to handle wedding photos and sentimental items. In some cases it’s best for the “initiator” to remove everything or box it up for later. It is so hard to stumble across a photo or memento in a drawer when you’re not ready for it.
    4. Forward your mail, change your address where applicable, and update your phone number if you have a landline — remember how many websites might have it. Don’t leave Kris getting calls for you months from now.
    5. You’ve probably already done this, but communicate with family and friends and let them know the situation, and how/when you want to be in touch. You may need a “quiet period” where people aren’t hounding you.
    6. Go on a trip, alone. This especially applies to Kris — doesn’t have to be exotic, could be a hiking trip, yoga retreat, renting a house somewhere to just BE. She needs time away, and you need to realize what life is like when there is no possibility of running into her, talking to her on the phone, etc.
    7. On a related note — even though (actually, *because*) you want this to be amicable, you need to cut off contact for set periods. No calling, no driving by the house, nothing. See each other once a month or only as much as needed to move the process forward. It’s the only way to make this a reality for both of you.
    8. I know you’ve moved to an apartment, but make sure you are 100% moved out of the house as soon as humanly possible. Don’t drag that out so that you “stop by” to pick up more stuff. I realize there’s a mortgage to sort out but if Kris is keeping the house, then the sooner your stuff is removed, the better. Yes it might mean a storage unit but do it. Until you’re really moved out it’s still a married house and Kris can’t start the process of letting go. Change the locks — not out of lack of trust, but because it will be *her* house now and that solidifies it.

    The process is so difficult and so much more complex than you probably expect. When I look back on my own divorce it is a bit of a blur. Holding it together all day at work, then driving to my (new) home in tears every night when any sappy song came on the radio. I couldn’t eat, felt scared and wound up all the time, drank a few too many glasses of red wine, and pushed myself too hard at work and at the gym. And I was the initiator. This was years ago now but I still carry it with me. Take it one day at a time and realize that it WILL take time, feelings you may not be expecting will come in waves.

  222. Women are the “leavers” seventy percent of the time. When men do the leaving, they rarely leave to be alone and usually have someone waiting in the wings.

    Kris might think she wants to stay married but end up much happier in the long run with someone else. The public exposure via this blog of myself and marriage would leave me ice cold–I’d want a partner who wouldn’t desire that.

    This comment section on their divorce is probably bringing tons of wanted traffic to the site.

  223. One comment that I think is worth making….

    You say that you disclosed the divorce because you would have to be making decisions (and potentially posts) that stem from your new situation and how that affects your finances.

    However, you didn’t seem to do a big post letting readers know about selling your blog to Quinstreet. Some commentators have implied that you made a considerable amount of money from the sale, yet you haven’t addressed that part of the sale, or how it’s affected your financial outlook/decisions.

    I’m frankly surprised that you would make a sale with these kind of conditions, given your apparent transparency with readers in the past.

    It’s this decision more than the one to divorce that leaves me feeling a bit confused. But then I guess you can’t address any of this given the apparent gag order that you are under.

    Do you find that chafing at all? Now that you are in a different life-stage of personal finance, is their less motivation to be forthcoming in the way that you started the blog?

    J.D.’s note: Yes, of course I find it chafing. I’ve always been forthcoming on the web, and I continue to be. I’ve told what I can tell in the way that I can tell it. There’s a reason I’ve written so much about the importance of increasing your income. I’ve tried to stress again and again that this has made a huge difference in my life — and that was even before I sold the site. The frugality and the conscious spending are (and have been) important, but nothing made so much a difference as increasing income. But when I write about this, few people listen. That said, some people DO listen. And they try boosting their income too. And then they write to thank me because it’s had a huge impact on their lives. That’s how we get reader stories like the one from Crystal last Sunday, in which she has managed to do amazing things by finding ways to make more money. So, even though I haven’t been able to give the details of my situation — and still can’t — I’ve done my best to share with readers what I can, and to encourage them to think about making more money.
    • I completely agree. I had no idea the blog was sold. This is relevant information in a way that your divorce is not. Like Christine I find it interesting that you would feel the need or desire to disclose something to your readers that is clearly not any of our business but would withhold more pertinent information. I have no idea what to make of that.

      No one should begrudge you professional success, but at some level don’t you think selling your blog to a marketing company is important information to disclose (and not just in the fine print but in an actual blog post)? Trent at the Simple Dollar did so, and from what I understand he just hired someone to help him manage his site.

    • Reading between the lines, I have to wonder if the sale and the divorce are related. As part of any divorce settlement, Get Rich Slowly is an asset that would be difficult to divide without selling it. By selling it, it will make sure that Kris gets her fair share of this valuable asset.

      Considering everything going on in JD’s personal life, I think the readers should forgive JD for not being as transparent as we are used to with regards to the sale of GRS. With the context we now have on what is going on in his life, it helps shed some light on why he might have sold the site without being more upfront about it.

      That being said, I wish JD and Kris well, but feel that this blog does not speak to me as it once did. Over the past year I have found the posts on the site not connecting with me as they once did.

      I wish you well JD on your journey, but I will not be able to continue on with you. Right now, my concerns focus around my wife and young son and leads me in a different direction.

  224. It’s terribly difficult to comment on this type of post without seeming either nosy, presumptuous or judgmental. I didn’t get to read every single comment here, but of those I did read, many were focused on the (possible) financial causes/implications of J.D.’s situation (obviously – as this is a personal finance blog!) But I’ve been reading this blog for some time, and it seems to me that J.D’s journey to health, fitness, weight loss and – this is going to sound odd – general attractiveness has also been a profound one for him.

    A couple of years ago I lost quite a bit of weight, and for a while I was really preoccupied with how much more “attention” I was getting from men. I have been happily married for 17 years, and I did not succumb to any temptation (and I am not suggesting this about J.D. either!!!) But I did see myself in such an entirely different light – all of a sudden, I was much more conscious and aware of my looks, other people’s looks, how they looked at me. It was a strange time. Again, I am trying not to make any presumptions about J.D. – just seeing it “through the filter” (as one reader aptly put it) of my own experience.
    I am glad, though, that I stuck with my marriage – – – looks fade, pounds can be regained, we all end up the exact same way. But a good, strong, loving marriage can help weather the inevitable ups-and-downs of life. I wish you and Kris the best possible outcome in all of this, whatever that may be.

  225. I have never read your site before, but came through a link called The Simple Dollar. First, let me say that I have been married for 30 years and have been through some of the rougher patches that a marriage can encounter. I was not prepared (as a young woman) for the changes that happen to people as they age. There is a lot of STUFF, pain, experinces, etc. and it happens to us as individuals as well as marriage partners. The road block comes when one of the individuals feels alone with their pain or experience and an emotional separation begins to occur. I went through something that my husband could not understand and he trivialized it (not purposely) time and time again. He is a very loving and kind man, the best of providers, and, generally, very unselfish and supportive of anything that I want to do. He just did not know how to help me. We have raised 3 children together and, yet, I wanted to leave. This has was about a 3 year process. We were very fortunate in having close friends (some in counseling) who came along aside of us and gave us new perspectives. Our old minister from Germany even flew here to meet with us. A very wise older man, I will never forget when he looked me in the eye and asked me what I really WANTED in life? He told me that I had to figure this out. After much time went by (as I said, 3 years), I tried to move out, but did not, and ultimately, I decided that I wanted to be married to my husband for the rest of my life. NOW, we could begin rebuilding. A marriage is a very long adventure, but the things that you gain are immeasurable and so very worth the HARD work. We are trying to stay committed to the other persons happiness and sometimes (no, often) someone must give up something in order for that to happen. I do not know why I am sitting here with my coffee writing to a perfect stranger, but there is something in your story that begs fighting for. I hope that you two choose to fight for each other. Blessings to you both!

    • +1.

      IMHO, if you’re in the right relationship, marriage is a fulfilling adventure that surpasses anything to be found in travel to exotic locations – perhaps because its happiness comes from a place within each person that fills the space between those people, rather than from an external location or external circumstances.

  226. I am a relatively new GRS reader, but I have seen my parents and friends get a divorce. No matter who is responsible it sucks for all parties involved.

  227. My sincere best wishes to both of you. Though we’ve never met or even spoken directly, I’ve read pretty much every word you’ve written on GRS in the last 5 years. I feel closer to you than to a lot of my family. I hope everything works out for the best for you and Kris, I’m sure you’re doing what you think is right.

  228. A non-divorce comment that is based on the information gained from other comments: I, too, am a daily reader, but I also didn’t know that you’d sold your blog. In a future post, it would be nice to understand how this has affected your finances (though I’m sure you can’t disclose specifics, like the exact selling price). Based on some of your recent blog posts that talked about things like cutting back on comic book spending, having a decreased income for next year, maybe dropping your office space, etc, I’d assumed that you were living on less income and a tighter budget. I also assumed that you were slowly saving for things like travel and a new car. But if you’ve sold the blog, I now wonder if you are very wealthy and perhaps in a very different financial reality than right before you sold the blog. I know we aren’t entitled to know the exact figures of your finances, but given how much info you’ve shared over the years, I’m curious to eventually learn more about this huge financial move. Thanks!

    • While no exact dollar number has been reported, google it and you’ll find the sale price estimated at over one million dollars. Reach your own conclusions about the authenticity of JD’s “burden” of dealing with additional expenses.

      • Keep in mind that >$1 million estimate is really just pure guesswork by another blogger. The blogger who made that guess doesn’t even know when the sale took place and is guessing on that too. He based his guess mostly (I think) on the publicly disclosed $3 million sale price of another blog. So it seems like a reasonable assumption to make the educated guess that GetRichSlowly would have fetched 7 figures too. But we really do not know. We don’t know when GRS sold. WE don’t know how it compares financially to the other blogs that have sold. We don’t know the terms of the sale. That blogger could be right to assume GRS fetched >$1m or they could be wrong.

  229. I wish the best to you and Kris. Having followed your lives sporadically for the last few years I feel some pain and loss for both of you. I’ve just gone through (and initiated) the end of a 20 year non-marriage relationship that avoided acrimony, but we haven’t been able to find our footing as true friends. I hope you and Kris do better.

  230. First of all, I am so sorry to hear this! My heart melts for both of you at the loss of what was once a great marriage.
    Here comes the unsolicited advice, but sometimes it’s much easier to see things from the outside. It sounds like Kris is a mature woman who knew that she’d found what she wanted. Things were content for her and you are still looking for something to complete you.
    Travel and experiences and smaller and smaller houses and less things won’t do that for you. Clearing the clutter just reveals what you are. Clearing the financial woes does the same.
    I don’t think it’s the marriage that’s the problem; it feels to me like you’re running and searching, but not after the good things of the world. As soon one thing is over, you’re asking ‘what’s next?’. While having goals and plans is a good thing, it shouldn’t be the only thing. Consider that you might be filling up your life to cover a hole in yourself.
    There’s been a whole lot of change for you. Now is not the time to add major decisions and stress to your life. JD, what is it you’re hungering *for*? It may take years and the help of the church, counseling, Kris, your family and friends to find it, but I think discovering the true answer to that question will greatly help both you and this situation. I must admit that I’m a nostalgic romantic, so I’m hoping it’ll help your marriage too. The fact that Kris seems to think it’s not best for *you* when she insisted you have health insurance says to me that it’s important for you to take some time.
    Much love and hope and prayer for the future for both of you!

  231. Hi J.D.

    I have been following your blog for months and had to leave a comment on this post because it really touched me. It sounds like you are handling thing well and I just want you to know that people are there for you. Your blog is one of my favorites. I enjoy that you talk about finances but try to focus on true wealth. Best of luck. I am just about to launch my own blog called Lotusmother.com . It is about all aspects of life and raising children. Anyway, I look forward to many more posts from you and wish you all the best.

    Frances

  232. I have been reading your blog for over a years and a couple of months ago in noticed what a lot of other readers noticed; a subtext of “de-coupling”. Nevertheless, your announcement brought a stab of pain to my heart. I remember going through my own divorce 8 years ago (unfortunately not amicable) and the ensuing financial devastation. I am a believer in “happily ever after”, though I know how hard it is to achieve. I hope you and Kris find your own version of it.

  233. Like so many others, I found myself surprised at how sad this post made me when I first read it a couple days ago. I’m not even that regular a reader of the site. I find most of the “staff writer” content pretty uninteresting, but always enjoyed reading the posts by JD about his life, including/ especially with Kris.

    I’ve felt conflicted about the nature of the comments — on the one hand, some of these comments are quite presumptuous and downright mean. That said, I think some level of commenting is understandable, because it was the precisely personal connection to JD that made this blog popular and thus a major income source for him, and later an entity he could sell profitably. JD seems to recognize this as well, as he’s been extremely gracious in responding to the comments about his divorce, and I think deserves credit for that.

    I should say at the outset that I differ with the commenters taking a hard line that divorce should never happen in the absence of infidelity or abuse. I’ve seen how wrong self-righteous absolutes can be, and I don’t really know that it’s my place to say who should and shouldn’t stay married, or how much effort they have to put in before they decide to call it quits.

    But I just wanted to note to JD that — building on May’s point — you really do need to envision life without Kris, without a connection to Kris, and potentially without an amiable relationship to Kris.

    It’s one thing when a decision is mutual. But when the parting stems from unequal feeling, it’s a different animal entirely. I lived through a situation not unlike yours and May’s. It was so difficult for my then-boyfriend to understand that ultimately, there could be no in-between. He wanted to hold on to some of what made our interactions wonderful, without the constraints that committing to me brought. But if you play it out, how exactly does that work? In most monogamous relationships, it doesn’t. Even if I don’t come to resent you, which is a big if: (1) if I’m still in love with you, then our friendship isn’t serving me; and (2) if I need to learn how to not love you or how to move on from loving you, then I need to stop giving you real estate in my life. There’s sadness, pain, and eventually distance.

    Perhaps your outcome will be different in the ways you hope. But it would be prudent not to assume that your situation will somehow defy the odds. Walk forward knowing that Kris will *not* be your dear one, your best friend or even your close friend, forever. You will both move forward on separate paths, and that is life.

    Kris, you have won the hearts of many.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, AV. Your great comment is filled with good advice. Thank you.
  234. Kris, think long and hard about keeping the house. I know you love it but it could become a cement block around your neck, for the rest of your life.

    This blog is about money. -Not letting money or things(bills, houses) run and ruin your life. Using money to improve this short time we have on this Earth. Sometime possessions tie us down, tear us down. We love our home, but it IS just a thing. Remember Suze’s mantra. People First (Kris that is YOU, not JD, not the house, not even me in this case), Money Second, (Financial Security for the rest of your life, Financial power to do, learn, see, experience this life as you want) and then “Things”.

    Kris, you need a great lawyer. Someone to guide you through the legal, money mess. The great ones will help guide you through the legal mess, while ensuring no emotional or foolish money errors are made while you regain your balance.

    This is a bit like being very sick, not able to think or care for yourself as you, an adult, normally can. You’d need a Dr, a medical professional, to care for you, your well being, until you got back on your feet and able to make normal life choices.

    This is a Money Blog.
    You need a lawyer to ensure you, Your Money and even your things are taken care of to your benefit until you can again do so with a clear mind.

    Stop being The Good Girl. This is emotional and financial Hardball. If you were a guy, I’d say -Man Up. Maybe it’s -Woman Up!
    Females in all of life are tough and fierce. With or without male assistance they hunt, feed them self, raise, feed and teach the young. They do the things to continue life on this earth. They don’t give up, they fight for life.

  235. Yikes. So much judging going on. Good luck to you both. Divorce and separation can be good things. Why force something that isn’t working? It’s your relationship to decide what to do with, and you’ll both be o.k. with time.

    • Divorce and separation can be good things it is true. But those “can be” times are by far the minority says research (www.americanvales.org/html/r-unhappy_ii.html)

      After reading many (but not all) of the comments it seems that there are very few just rude or nasty ones. The “judging” ones are people who care (and probably people whose opinions differ from yours). They are the result of people who care enough to try to correct what it is bad situation, like what any good friend should do for you if they think you are going down a dangerous or destructive path.

  236. I hope that you do not believe that a divorce will make you happy, the chances of that are small. And please also be aware that most (2/3) unhappy marriages will get back on track within 5 years if the couple can stick with it. This is not just my opinion but the result of research that you can find at http://www.americanvalues.org/UnhappyMarriages.pdf

    I sincerely hope that you have tried everything possible to save this marriage and fight to keep the person that you vowed to love. A marriage vow doesn’t say that you’ll love the person when you get married but that you will do you best to continue to love then, a commitment. To beak that vow is a breach of trust and how can you maintain a real friendship with anyone you can’t trust? Maybe you’ve seen this work but I never have.

    I am truly saddened to hear of anyone asking for divorce unless there are extreme circumstances. I don’t know the details and don’t need to know the details but am unaware of a circumstance where marital counseling has hurt so…. Please please please go to marriage counseling.

    I hope that all of these comments spur you on to fight for your marriage. To fight against whatever issues are separating you, distancing you. I have to agree with earlier commenters who said that to ask for a divorce is, at it’s core, selfish (barring extreme circumstances). Make your marriage an “us” rather than a “you and me” mindset.

    My heart goes out to Kris. There is no one who can hurt you deeper than a spouse. I hope that she has the support that she needs.

      • Published by an organization with this agenda:

        Our current work focuses on four goals.

        To increase the proportion of children growing up with their two married parents.
        To renew the ethic of thrift and replace the culture of debt and waste.
        To help turn the intellectual tide against extremism in the Arab and Muslim world.
        To improve and civilize our public conversation.

        You can hardly expect it to be neutral and unbiased.

        • Strengths of the paper you cite: At least one of the authors (I didn’t look at more than one) has previously written peer reviewed articles in the same field.

          Weaknesses of the paper you cite: It is not peer reviewed.

          A search on google scholar found this paper (which cites the one you mention)
          http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/84/1/451.short

          It appears to be a direct response/refutation to the paper you mention and has been published in a peer reviewed journal. So I believe it over the paper you linked to.

          http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2007.00396.x/full
          The above paper indicates that divorcees in high conflict marriages had their happiness increase while divorcees in low conflict marriages were not any happier. This paper may be a better one to use as an argument that JD should not be getting a divorce, but I would point out that the average person does not exist. JD and Kris are free to do better or can do worse than what the average indicates.

  237. Quote from C.S. Lewis, take from it what you may…

    What we call “being in love” is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us … It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last; principles can last; habits can last, but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense–love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parties ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other, as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

  238. Sad. Sad. Sad. I feel for both of you but especially Kris since this was not her choice. Please understand that being friends may not come very naturally for her given the wide range of negative emotions she is likely going through now. While being “friends” may be desireable and extremely evolved/self-actualized, it doesn’t sound realistic in the short-term. She is going to need to separate her needs from yours as you’ve alredy done. I think the goal of civilized and respectful would actually be quite healthy in these situations.

  239. She won’t give you a divorce until you find affordable health insurance? You’re going to be married a long time. I’m a successful small business owner who has for 15 years been trying to find affordable health insurance and disability backup (to pay your premiums when you are too sick to work). Right now the cheapest I can find for my husband and I has a $5,000 (annual) deductible for each of us and when we add in the disability coverage the cost comes to $1,250 per month – thus $15,000 per year. We have no health problems. Maybe you should just live apart and stay on her insurance. Wishing you both the best.

    • Is that a small business plan? Might be more expensive to get a business policy than an individual policy. Plus it depends on what state you are in cause state rules and insurance systems vary.

      I just got a quote for a HSA / HDHP policy covering a 40 year old man in Oregon with a $6000 deductible, 0% coinsurance for about $200 per month. Other dozens of other plans with various deductibles and terms ranging in price from $66 to $409 a month.

  240. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, hang in there! And please just ignore the more negative readers, no reason to take that kind of thing seriously.

  241. JD – so sorry to hear the news. I’m glad you’ll both be seeking counselling, which my husband and I did during a rough spot in our marriage and now we’re looking at 30 years of marriage by year-end. No matter how it works out, you both have my best wishes. I think it’s even harder when you’re “webrities” or whatever you want to call web celebrities! I wouldn’t have wanted to have my personal life publicly commented on but I completely understand why you needed to let your readership know – it totally affects what you blog about.

    Kudos to both of you for your fortitude and best wishes for charting your future course.

  242. Like the rest, I was surprised at how sad I was to read this post. And as another said, it’s in large part due to the fact that out here in the interwebs and our various parts of the country or world, we stop in once a day to catch up, and our assumption that you and Kris were pretty solid was just flipped on its head all of a sudden.

    One more inducement to try counseling (couples and individual) before officially pulling the plug (if you haven’t tried already) is that after some real serious effort and trying with the help of someone who isn’t emotionally invested in your relationship and is therefore only trying to help you two figure out what you really ought to be doing–if after that you still feel like this marriage isn’t for you, then you can know that you did absolutely everything you could have before it ended, and you can hold your heads a little higher. Knowing you tried, REALLY tried, helps with the healing.

    I’m being married soon (like, in a week in a half!) and this encourages me to make sure my almost-husband and I commit to “marriage maintenance” which we’ve discussed before. A car won’t run forever if you never even change the oil. You have to tune-up, take it to the shop, keep gas in the tank, and run it through a car wash occasionally, and insure that baby if you ever get in a crash. However, I was engaged once before and my then fiance called it off a few months before the wedding would have taken place. We’re relatively friendly now (as in, “Happy birthday” texts–sometimes, and the rare “knew you’d like this article” forwards) but there was a complete break that had to take place first. As long as he continued to talk to me, and was so caring in handling things however I wanted (like you’re letting Kris do), I was sure he’d come around. “How can be this attentive to me and still not want to be with me? He obviously cares! He just needs to remember that.” I went through the stages of being (I thought) mature and understanding, then depressed and mopey, then a little aggravated and not so inclined to take his phone call, then pissed off. “What did that asshole propose to me for if he didn’t even want to marry me?! He never really gave a crap about my interests, unless they were his interests too! What a selfish shit!” You get the idea. You have to let Kris get pissed (if that’s her style–it happens to most but not all women in a break up) and then get beyond being angry and hurt, before she can approach you from a place of, “Well, alright. So you broke my heart. But I can see now I’ll be okay, and I guess I don’t hate your guts, so we can catch up over dinner some time.” And then maybe friendship. For your sake, and hers, I hope its easier than that, because that takes a long time.

    Now more to the point of your telling us this information. While your life doesn’t match mine, I’m very curious to see how things change for you as you learn to be completely independent again (again? for the first time?). What financial struggles you find yourself dealing with, and what perhaps has been surprisingly easy for you. (Maybe it turns out you love to shop for your own supplies now.) I’m sure I can learn from your new experiences and insights in some way.

    Whatever happens, best of luck to Kris and to you. I’ll be here to follow your journey, wherever it takes you.

    J.D.’s note: Independent for the first time. I’ve never lived alone. Ever. In some ways, it’s very very scary. In some ways, it’s liberating. But it’s always much different than anything I’ve ever experienced.
    • Personally, I loved living by myself (though I’ve happily traded it to live with my fiance). I mean, I LOVED it. I can see how it can be intimidating if you’ve never done it. You’ll find yourself surprised at all the little things that used to seem to take care of themselves that actually don’t. New toilet paper rolls don’t magically jump on the tp holder, and kitchen counters aren’t self-cleaning after you’ve cooked dinner, etc. And obviously, laundry still needs to be done! And you’ll find yourself missing having company at times (speaking in general–no more marriage comments!) But if you enjoy your own company, as you must, if you’re willing to travel solo, then I think you’ll come to (mostly) enjoy it. Tip: When living alone sucks the most, besides when you’re bored or lonely, is when you’re sick! That’s when you definitely need friends or family you can call on. Make sure you have that network and someone you know you can call when you need them! And beware falling into a spending trap because you’re lonely and/or adjusting to single life. “I just need to get out of the house…” easily leads to wandering into comforting old haunts (that you somehow leave with a bag full of stuff.) It’s an easy one to fall in to.

      Again, all the best to Kris and you, and I look forward to seeing how this affects your personal finances and your perception of them.

  243. So sorry to hear this JD. It sounds like you are handling this as well as can be expected. Thinking of you and sending good energy your way. It’ll all turn out, even if it’s very hard right now.

  244. This post brings back bad memories for me–my husband of twenty years telling me that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. And then the jerk wasn’t man enough to do the filing; I had to do it after several months of living in a fog. Then he had the nerve to whine that he was “losing his best friend.” Yeah, right. That was thirteen years ago. As my sister would put it, “with friends like that, who needs friends?” I haven’t seen or heard from him since. I’ve never wished him ill, but there’s no way that my ex could ever have been my friend.

    J.D., telling Kris that you wanted a divorce was cruel, regardless of whether or not you wanted it to be. Ask yourself: would you want to remain friends with someone who treated YOU so badly? If you care for Kris at all, don’t encourage her to remain your friend. For her sake, not yours.

  245. JD I found my health insurance provider through http://www.ehealthinsurance.com You get a bunch of results and you can compare without buying right now. Also try Zander Insurance. http://www.zanderins.com

    I don’t work for them, but there are many affordable plans on ehealthinsurance. I’m not a smoker so my plan was affordable. I saw every sort of plan, for as low as $38 to as high as $300/month. Something is better than nothing.

    I’ve been really interested in this post the past 2 days, everyone has so many opinions, and advice, its just really weird to see one of your favorite bloggers divorce. I’ve had many conflicting feelings about this post and your divorce.

    One thing I still don’t understand is why did you do this before the holidays? I just don’t get it, why didn’t you do it around early Autumn or late summer? Or did you just move out around the holidays?

    • I’ve used ehealthinsurance before myself. They have a lot of providers in our state and pretty competitive rates. Its a pretty good site to quickly compare health insurance options.

  246. I’m very sorry to hear of your divorce. On reflection, the seeds of division have been showing in your blog for some time. I have appreciated your advice and your blog, but I will no longer be reading. I appreciate that you have started to take a more giving approach to your money, but I think this new action has shown how much you are only focused on yourself and your needs. Your money choices and life actions no longer help me see how to be better. Best of luck going forward.

  247. “Please, my friends, always remember that true wealth has nothing to do with money. True wealth is built from friends and family, from experiences and relationships – it is derived from a life filled with meaning. Without these things, money means nothing. Do me a favor this week, and spend some time with the people you love.” J.D. Roth

    QED

    • The quote is from the conclusion of the post of JD’s reaction to Sparky’s passing.

      The original post doesn’t say anything about suicide, just that Sparky passed. Re-reading that, knowing it was suicide instead of a sudden aneurysm or being hit by a bus, brings questions to mind. If it was unexpected then Spark wasn’t ill, wasn’t suffering physically (granted, chemical imbalances in the brain are physical, but hard to spot).

      But emotionally? Despite all the money he saved, the experiences he’d had, and his friendship with JD (the only relationship we as readers know about).

      The original lesson of that post was to live life to its fullest, the way Sparky did, because you never know when your end might come. But Sparky did know when his end would come.

      I’m rambling now so I’ll stop. I’m just confused.

  248. You sold your blog 4 months ago and never told us? If this is true then I am truly hurt J.D. I’ve been following your blog for years. In fact during a recent attempt to control my inbox I unsubscribed from all blogs except yours and Frugal Girl’s blog (the two I couldn’t stand to miss a post). I can understand not being allowed to disclose details, but not telling us you sold your blog 4 months ago?? Please tell me this isn’t true.

    And then to make it worse you’re divorcing Kris? And she doesn’t want a divorce? None of this sounds like the J.D. I’ve admired for so long. Of course it’s silly to feel this way since I don’t even really know you, but honestly, I feel both deeply concerned for your well being and future (please please agree to marriage counselling, if only for Kris’ sake), and I feel like you’ve let us (your internet friends) down by not sticking to the values you seemed to espouse. It’s because we care for you J.D. that we are all taking the time to post (and wow have there been some good ones).

  249. In regards to the trip to Argentina, you speak of staying home and Kris going alone, but maybe she doesn’t want to travel alone. Perhaps the most honorable thing would be to offer to pay for another friend to go with Kris.

  250. Man, we depressive types make life hard on ourselves don’t we JD? If you’re not tired of total strangers sharing their stories, here’s mine.

    I’ve always seen a lot of myself in your writing. I’m restless too, always searching for something. I find long periods of happiness hard to come by, contentment even harder.

    I ended a 12-year marriage several years ago when I was 39. I won’t go into the details but there was no crisis, no adultery, addiction or abuse. I suppose it boiled down to feeling like we’d grown apart and weren’t the best versions of the people that we could be while married to one another. He didn’t understand or agree, and it was a very hard couple of years while we untangled ourselves and tried to come up with a new relationship. I had a vision of what that should be like that never quite came to fruition.

    Fast forward to today: I’m not unhappy now; in fact, I’m exactly the same level of happy (not very most of the time, but not miserable) I was when I was married. Leaving the marriage made me feel changed and purposeful for awhile but eventually I leveled back. I still feel like something is just around the corner but I’m somehow missing it. My ex is also just as happy as he ever was; which is to say, much more so than me. He always had a higher capability for contentment than I do and the divorce didn’t rob him of that. But he’s not my best friend anymore. And I have found, after living on my own for almost four years, that I undervalued the comfort of having a partner: that person who knew you when you were young, who plans to grow old with you, and has your back when it matters. Sometimes when I travel and the plane lands, I look around at everyone pulling out their cellphone and realize, there’s no one who can’t wait till I get off the plane to hear from me. I’m not staying I should have stayed, but I now longer think leaving was my only option. I hope, after all this, you and Kris end up with a better outcome than just a different version of your status quo.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks for a great comment, Cameron.
    • I found this comment interesting because it really seemed to be congruent with the prevailing research on happiness.

      I don’t have the exact citation at the moment, but from what I’ve read and heard about happiness research, people are not very good at telling what will make them happy. That is, they think they want/need X or Y and that will make them happier, but if it does at all, it is not sustained. The collection of research suggests that people generally have a happiness “set point” that they will tend to hover back to over time regardless of any acute events that might change their happiness level temporarily.

    • Cameron,

      There have been many thoughtful replies on this thread but yours has really stood out to me. Thank you for taking the time to post and share your experience.

      Sara

    • I love this comment, Cameron. I mean, it breaks my heart… but oh does it ring true. There was definitely a depressive element to my break up as well. It began with my ex and wormed its way over to me – how could it not when the love of your life threatens to leave you for months on end? And what a feedback loop that was – he saw the anguish he was causing me, which made him want to leave all the more, which made me more depressed, and on and on until we couldn’t pull ourselves out.

      J.D., I’m glad my story spoke to you. I wanted to clarify a point, in case there was ambiguity. While I AM happy day to day now and could not be drawn from the family and life I have created since my break up long ago, let there be no doubt that I have been permanently wounded. To love from afar is the definition of bittersweet. If you are truly leaving Kris because you think her life will be better without you, and she disagrees, please consider other alternatives. What probably would have been best for us would have been a trial of true separation (e.g. no contact for at least 6 months), where we could both get our heads above water, work on rebuilding self-confidence, and contemplate what life would be like without each other. Not easy, but better than closing the door on reconciliation, which is what you are doing now, although you might not believe so.

      Again, peace to you both.

  251. I wish both of you tremendous happiness and fulfillment in your respective futures. Been reading this blog for so many years that I feel like I’m in a one sided window. I’ve had a glimpse into your lives from the outside. I think it shows a lot of courage to let the public in on your situation. Certainly one thing positive that will come from this is a new insight to a common financial dilemma: divorce.

    • If Kris doesn’t want it, it is not amicable by definition. It may not be hostile but it is not amicable – whatever JD may want.

    • Fascinating! Thanks for the link. Completely revolutionary compared with the typical party line.

      And in some way it suggests we are born to be happy if we’d just let ourselves be so. No special book, course, trip, conference or activity required.

      The quote from Adam Smith was particularly poignant for me!

  252. Hi, JD

    I’m very sad to hear about your divorce. I wish you the best of luck, and hope that you and Kris are able to get through this difficult time with a minimum of pain.

    I’m also in the process of going through a divorce. In my case, my wife of 11 years announced she was divorcing me. As I’ve learned more about my ex-wife’s behaviour (both before and after her announcement) I’ve moved from feelings of hurt and pain to feelings of anger and outright hatred. I truly hope that you treat Kris with respect and consider her feelings as you move through this process if you want to keep her in your life at all in the future.

    As to the selling of the blog, I have enjoyed reading it over the 2 years, and have faith in your ability to keep it a great place to visit, even if it has to evolve a bit. I do fear that as you grow and become more interested in the problems and opportunities of the financially independent, you may lose interest in this blog as you grow other projects. I’ll be very sad if this site devolves into just another ‘MSN money’ clone like so many financial sites. You’ve certainly earned my trust by maintaining a great site over the last few years though, so I will remain cautiously optimistic.

  253. JD, I have never been to your site until today and read all of the comments. So many people chiming in, mostly trying to help by sharing their thoughts and experiences. Have you ever thought that so much of what we do is shaped by societal norms? We are socially conditioned to want to meet that special someone, get married, have children, etc. BUT, we are also socially conditioned to leave partners when things are not working out well, get new living spaces, and start a new life, many times with a new partner. I am not saying no one should ever get a divorce. I am saying it might be worthwhile for people (you too) to try to think about how choices that may seem very heartfelt are really prompted by social norms. I agree with the others who suggested a prolonged separation, counseling and some (additional) soul searching before taking such a drastic step.

  254. Okay I’m not divorced and instead am married, but I *have* been dumped twice before, leaving me brokenhearted. Both times I felt like they were my best friends and I really wished I could still maintain that friendship.

    Guy no. 1 cut me off completely. He was civil, but he didn’t make it a point to phone me up, never said he’d always be my friend. At that point, I thought he was cruel for just leaving me down with nothing.

    Guy no. 2 did the opposite; he said we could still be friends if I wanted that. I thought I could be friends, but that situation is so unrealistic. If he were really just another one of my guy buddies, I wouldn’t get jealous, I wouldn’t care if he didn’t call for two weeks, he wouldn’t know me inside and out. No, I wanted more than a friendship, and the break-up extended for years of pain for me where I wasn’t able to move on. How difficult it was that the one person I wanted the most was sitting right next to me, and I couldn’t have him.

    In hindsight, guy no. 1 did what was best for me because he let me go and allowed me to move on without holding me back. Guy no. 2 held me back tremendously and hurt me so much more because of the friendship we were hoping to maintain.

    Now, I’m not friends with either of them, which if you had told me that back then, I would have cried and wallowed about for a bit. “How can I *not* be friends with you?” I couldn’t imagine a life without being friends with them. But hey, I’m living it now, and living it for the better. I also think that they are happy where they are in their life without me as well.

    As for your divorce, it’s no easy thing I can imagine, and best of luck to you!

    • You are so right! I feel as if I have wasted 8+ valuable years of my life trying to get over 2 exes (one a husband & one a boyfriend) and “trying” to remain friends after the fact. So not worth it.

      I have read all of the comments this week as this has played out. I empathize with Kris. I am a little disappointed in JD but at the same time…in the big scheme of things…NONE OF THIS IS MY BUSINESS and I really don’t know all the details so it’s not for me to judge.

      And yet again I am reminded that Nothing Is Forever….

  255. My comment is not intended to pass judgement; it only caused me to wonder about things.

    I followed the link in today’s article regarding the three questions, and it took me to an article posted on February 15th, 2009. In it, J.D., you said “And if I only had a day left? I’d miss not having traveled with Kris, not having spent more time with her.”

    As I said, I don’t mean to judge, but this passage caught my eye. I don’t expect a reply, as in, it’s not my place to expect it. But I only wonder what happened in the intervening three years, since it seems that you and your wife had such a good, mutually beneficial relationship. Part of the angst that had been directed your way might be the result of others thinking, Wow, if it could happen to J.D. and Kris, then it could happen to me, too.

    In any case, I enjoy reading the blog and wish you both well.

    J.D.’s note: It’s a great question, Sheri, and I’d love to answer it here, but it’s not the place. I spent most of the day with a close friend, one who is a friend of both me and Kris, one who also does some marriage counseling. He told me that our experience has served made him and his wife more aware of their own relationship, and I’m glad. In fact, the message I keep giving people is that if things are bothering you about your relationship, take care of them now, be honest about them now, don’t let them fester. If you wait, it might be too late.
    • As someone said earlier, what we see/read of JD is the “character” of “JD Roth” that he has created.

      That’s not to say he has not had love for Kris, and warm feelings, but when you write for a living, I think you tend to write things that are tied with a neat little bow.

      And of course you can say things in (or write things about) a relationship that are the “right” things, but you might not feel them passionately or with a full heart. It might be something you don’t even realize at the time.

  256. This is totally out of left field, sparked by what Sheri posted. Perhaps Kris had been retincent in those days about travelling and other dreams. Perhaps she refused those dreams, even in derision, because she was the stable one, and you were the dreamer with the debt.

    It looks like now you, JD, are in a position to realize your dreams, and Kris is the one who once said no.

    But have you asked her again? And again? And again since the sale, since that seems to have changed the goalposts? Has she had the time to integrate those changes into her own life?

    I don’t remember who said this, but I too died a little in my soul when my ex left me.

  257. Very sad news. As others have said, i feel for Kris and agree that in my experience, “being friends” only drags it out and causes more pain. In what i have seen from friends, i also think that if the person being left still thinks there is a chance for the relationship, the best way to find out is to cut the leaver off, cold turkey. If he is making a mistake, he will figure it out as the reality of no more Kris sinks in. Dragging it out as friends will only cause more discord in the long run and likely destroy any chance of getting back together.

    JD may or may not be doing the right thing. What he has revealed indicates a huge mistake in the making, but there could certainly be serious issues that he left out. In any case, i think that while it seems harsh, all of these commenters have ultimately done him a service by giving him a pretty blunt wakeup call and plenty of food for thought. If he chooses to proceed and ultimately regrets it, it will not be for lack of good advice.

    While i am sure this is heartbreaking for Kris, if she is half the woman JD portrayed her as, she will be fine. I suspect that there are already a couple of men in her social circle whose ears perked when they heard of her impending divorce. Hopefully she will find one who is already past his midlife crisis.

  258. So I just did some online digging and found out that GRS might have been sold for at least a million…

    http://www.doughroller.net/make-money/list-of-personal-finance-blogs-that-have-sold-for-1-million-or-more/

    I’m guessing that GRS had to be sold for more than $500,000. I’m guessing that the sale of GRS has made JD a millionaire and while I have nothing against the affluent, it really makes me wonder if GRS will be better off under a corporate umbrella?

    I’m happy that you’re succeeding JD, congrats, I like it when people succeed but it does make me wonder if things will change entirely around here, and if the sale of GRS had anything to do with you leaving your wife.

    🙁

    My favorite posts about GRS are of you finding yourself out of debt, talking about your wife, your relationship with your family, you sharing your personal life really made this blog human and not cold. One of my favorite posts was about how Kris had been saving and that she planned to retire in her 50s.

    Plus it was fun reading about Rosings Parks, and your neighbor the multimillionaire who tried encouraging you to keep on going, and how you went to visit him in Alaska or wherever he was vacationing. It was those personal posts that made GRS great.

    J.D.’s note: Okay, I have permission to share some of the stuff that was behind the NDA, so expect an “How I sold my blog” post in the near future. It probably won’t be this Monday, but I hope it’ll be in the next few weeks. This is a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time, and I’ll be glad to share it.
    • Interesting to see how many PF blogs Quinstreet has been acquiring over the last two years. GRS, Five Cent Nickel, Consumerism Commentary…I kind of wish someone would do a story on them.

    • I would like to hear about the sale of GRS, because honestly its all becoming a little too much.

      First you ask for a divorce, then you sell GRS, and the worst part is hearing about it from the comments section. Anyway it would be nice to hear why you sold it.

  259. Never thought I’d be this saddened by a situation that’s removed from me, but since you (and Kris) have been part of my personal finance journey (and success), I’m kinda devastated. Almost as if my parents broke up. 🙁 Good luck and I hope you guys figure it all out.

  260. Like others, I too feel surprised and saddened by this announcement. I’m not one of those who saw it coming!

    But JD, one thing I want to commend you on is your readers. I’ve read the first 300 or so comments and there were some very thoughtful and caring remarks in there. I’ve been contemplating the future of my own long term relationship and the feedback from your readers gave me a lot of food for thought. So thank you for a good blog. Even your divorce announcement and the ensuing comments had educational value for some of us.

    My thoughts are with you and Kris, even though I don’t know you in real life. You both seem like good people and I wish you peace and healing in this difficult time. May you both be happy again, whether that’s together or apart.

  261. For Kris – Read “This is not the Story you think it is” by Laura Munson.

    It may not in fact apply, but it’s a useful, insightful point of view that MIGHT be helpful.

    You are in my prayers.

  262. One more comment and then I promise I’ll shut up.

    In my experience, with couples who have chosen to remain childless, it’s generally one of them encouraging the other. In my experience it’s rare that both feel strongly about it.

    I am upset that in one or two or five or 10 or 20 or 30 years, you can change your mind and have a child. If Kris changes her mind, she can’t.

    I find that really upsetting. My DH left his ex when she was 37 because he desperately wanted kids and she didn’t. He said he preferred to leave her when she could still change her mind.

    She did eventually, but by then it was too late. We are still very close to her, she is part of our family.

    Like I said, I’ll shut up now.

    She is our son’s godmother.

    • Fairly speculative of you…”In my experience” means “the X number of people I know who don’t have kids.” Well, in MY experience the folks who don’t have kids DID both feel strongly about it.
      So who’s right?

      • Ditto. The two couples I know who don’t want kids feel strongly.

        In society, not wanting kids is still the oddity. The expectation is still that people want to marry to have kids.

        So chances are still higher that people who don’t feel strongly will end up having kids than the other way around.

      • Either both of us, or neither. Fair enough Donna. As I stated, I was speaking from my own (limited) experience. There is no “right” answer here, it seems to me.

        • Just wanted to add that I’m another person who uses “Childfree by choice”. I never liked childless because it assumes that I’m somehow “less” without children. If I leave it at “without children” I would get the rude remarks about fertility treatments. My husband and I both felt strongly about not having kids when we met. I would not have married him otherwise.

      • To be candid, I find Donna’s constant banter with commenters to be mildly irritating and inappropriate. Even on her posts, out of 100 comments – thirty may actually be Donna responding to posters and being contentious with people who don’t agree with her. As a long time GRS reader, I think its strength is in its community. I like how the commentary is varied and interesting – the topic grows organically. Frequent interjections from the post’s author interrupt the natural flow of the commentary and are unnecessary, usually adding little to conversation. Her authoritative forebodings are irksome.

        • I don’t think I’m “contentious” with people who don’t agree with me. (Of course, that sounds contentious all by itself…) I just state why I feel the way I do and the reader has the choice to agree or snort in derision.
          In this thread I do sound cranky — but that’s because some of the speculation is pretty bizarre.
          As for “constant banter,” the whole point of a comments section is to foment dialogue. I’m just adding my voice to the chorus. Additionally, at times I’ll comment in direct response to questions/speculations.
          And as always, you have the right to continue to find me mildly irritating and inappropriate. But you’re wrong. (Kidding!)

    • the term for people who chose not to have kids is childfree, not childless
      Personally not calling it childfree reveils how little you understand about people ‘s choices.

      • It’s true that most of the people I know have chosen to have children. I don’t live in the US anymore (although I’m American) and I have never heard the term “childfree” before. Language changes all the time and as an expat I am not necessarily familiar with every new term.

        I’m sorry that I did not use the term “childfree”, I agree that it’s a much better word. I’m truly sorry if I caused any offense.

        • ‘childfree’ is a horrible term.

          But ‘childfree’ implies children are some horrible thing you need to be free from. Like saying debt-free, lice-free etc…

          No one I know uses it and I have lots of friends who have chosen not to have children. They simply say I/we don’t have children.

        • For some people, children IS something they need to keep free from. Not that children is horrible in itself, just maybe horrible for people who don’t have it in them to be parents or the people who would make awful, abusive, parents. As a CASA, I see it all the time- people who should have adopted the “childfree” lifestyle/choice.

        • @Anne childfree is a pretty commonly used term in the circles I know of.

          Of course there are a lot of people in the “childfree” communities who *do* think children are horrible and something to be free of.

          There’s also childfree by choice, which denotes more of a – I/we like kids, we just don’t have any rather than “we don’t like kids”.

          Of course there’s a still a stigma for women who don’t want to have children for whatever reason and I can say it sucks to have your decisions constantly questioned. This happens to me “I don’t have kids” “Oh I’m sure you’ll have some!” “No, I don’t want kids” “But! Kids are wonderful/amazing/there’s nothing better than motherhood!”

          Or my very least favorite – being it’s told it’s selfish I don’t want kids. I never could understand why not wanting kids was selfish.

        • The stigma particularly sucks when the people questioning your decision hold your life in their hands.

          I was reminded of this essay I read before, from a woman who didn’t want children but whose doctors ignored her.

          http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/on-becoming-infertile-part-1/

          “Expectations about what families should look like are harmful. They stigmatize families that fall outside the white-picket-fence idyll. And they make life harder for people in situations that are already perfectly hard enough.”

    • In *my* experience, plenty of couples that choose to have kids it was one spouse encouraging the other. In my social cohort, I would say it is 50/50 – half of the couples I know with kids both wanted them, half had at least one spouse that would just as soon have remained childfree. So, what is worse? Forcing someone to be childless that wanted one, or forcing someone to parent a child they never wanted?

  263. I am not pointing my finger at you both but I believe your sex life was not good. Maybe it never was. Sorry , but nobody divorces a loving sexual partner.

    • I agree. I know it might be rude to theorize, but I noticed this long before the divorce post — JD was always warm towards Kris, but never had the hots. If you re-read old posts, there is a platonic vibe that was apparent even back then.

      I’ve been with my partner for six years and still have the hots. It gets us over rough spots, no doubt. I never truly lusted for my last partner despite being together for twelve years! Respect, yes. Caring, yes. But sexual attraction does so much for a relationship! Even when I’m irritated or we disagree there is a spark that won’t die. I never thought I’d get so lucky, to have the hots for someone that I also love to just hang out with.

      • Its hard not to wonder why he wants a divorce esp. when he won’t share any more details. My hope is that they will each go to individual and couples counseling before they decide to officially divorce. Its probably best if he doesn’t share his private life anymore.

      • News flash: It IS rude to theorize. Their sex life is nobody’s business.
        And try looking at it this way: J.D. wrote about Kris in a loving and respectful way, and saved “the hots” for their real life vs. giving TMI to the reading public.
        Seriously, folks. Why this need to assign some sort of blame?

    • @Emma: How do you know that “nobody divorces a loving sexual partner”?
      People can love each other and have a good sex life when they marry. But if they grow and change in different directions, a breakup may occur some years down the road.
      Or it could be a simple case of “the kind of life I want now is not the life I could ever have envisioned in my early 20s.”
      Again: Nobody’s business but the two folks involved.

      • Hmm, I replied to Donna but the comment didn’t post.

        @Carla — I never said it was the only glue. Just that it’s important. With my current partner I have love, respect, deep caring, and also…the hots. Comparing to a past relationship where I only had the first three — it’s night and day.

        Thanks for your concern, however misplaced.

        • What do “the hots” stem from?

          When the boyfriend gained weight it definitely killed my sexy for him. Is “the hots” as easily lost as that?

          Is “the hots” something that needs nurturing and care just like any other aspect of a relationship, or is it always there and if you don’t have it should you just move on?

  264. I’ve been reading your blog for years; not right from the start, but most of the time this site existed. I started reading sporadically when finishing High School and you guided me through College, helping me to avoid mistakes and planning my financial future. Thanks to you I know much more about personal finance than many people my age, and through your blog I found others who inspired me, and I like that the staff writers and guest posts give insights to other questions that I might be facing soon.

    Even though I mostly only read the posts as they appear in my RSS reader, this was one of the rare posts I read the comments, and I even went through all of the 500+ comments, hoping to get more information, to be able to understand why you took this step, as I was shocked to hear that.

    And guess what? I don’t think any more you owe me (or any other reader) an explanation. Only by going through these comments and your answers to some of them I found out that Sparky’s death was not an accident but suicide, that you sold your blog, and by reading this I realised that there must be much more going on behind the scenes we readers don’t know about. It’s your private life, and you should keep it exactly that: private. Only because you shared so much of your life over the past years that we think we know you that doesn’t mean that we really know you that well to judge you.

    I’m really sorry for all that judgemental comments you received. I can’t offer you any advice, so I just wish you all the best, both of you. I will keep reading your blog to know how your story will continue.

  265. I was sorry to read about this J.D. I’m coming late to the party, but saw your post days after I got back into town from a trip, and then mulled over things for a while.

    I am in a similar situation, in that I asked my husband for a divorce over the summer – although we’d been together for ten years.

    There was no major precipitating factor, it was just something that I needed to do. It’s taken time, and there were several months that were horrible, but at this point, I’m happy with my decision.

    It’s frustrating to me that (like here) so many people insist that I should get counseling, or act like I hadn’t tried to figure out how to make things work. Sometimes, when things are broken, even if it’s not in an obvious way or dramatic way, they just can’t be fixed.

    In my case, my ex and I are remaining friends. We work together on a daily basis. We have a business together. Neither of us want to give that up. The physical separation that occurred when he moved out helped quite a bit – and we still talk, and bounce ideas off each other, and have meals together. Your relationship can be whatever the two of you decide it can be – despite what many of the people here seem to be saying.

    Thank you for sharing with us, although I’m sorry that I’ll be reading blogs in the future that are applicable to my life (if that makes sense). I wish you and Kris the best.

  266. Hi J.D.,

    I somehow missed this post last week — all I want to say is that you both are in my thoughts and prayers. Even though we don’t really know each other in real life, the Internet provides a unique reader-blogger bond (and in this case, a unique reader-blogger’s wife bond). I suppose it’s a virtual relationship in its own way.

    Take care of yourselves — both of you.

    Michelle

  267. I’m sorry to hear about the divorce. I think JD is making a big mistake and once the divorce is final, Kris should make a clean break. No vacations together and no hanging out.

    I am wondering if Kris has her own blog, I would like to follow it.

  268. At some point in the future when you’re both healed and are able to speak openly and objectively about it, I’d like to see a post about the financial implications of divorce. I’ve told my high school students that the two life changes that affect your financial future the most are 1) having a child–even if you never marry the other parent, and 2) divorce. Even with no children involved, going from one household to two is definitely more expensive, and if there are children involved, child support is a long-term commitment.

  269. WOW… haven’t been as dedicated a follower as I used to be which is why I just saw this today, and spent half the day reading these comments. I echo the sadness most of all and wish the best for both JD and Kris, as well as their “real life” friends and family who are mourning with them. I can’t imagine 1) going through this scenario and 2) doing it so publicly. Thanks to both of you for sharing. And thanks to the many posters who shared their own very personal stories of similar experiences. I really am feeling for Kris.

    I stumbled across this news (though it wasn’t that surprising to me, just sad) via the “other” big, 5+ year old personal finance blog by a male author who recently posted openly about his own selling of the blog, final debt freedom, and credit and love he gives to his family and especially his wife for getting him to this point, as well as dedication to following a mutually fulfilling path from here. I always favored GRS over TSD for many many reasons. I will continue to be a regular reader here but my formerly clear preference for this site over the other has been graying and blurring recently.

    And just to throw in a plug for the “new generation” of PF bloggers, my absolute favorite right now is Mr. Money Mustache!

    I loved the conversation toward the end about the “hots”, I needed the LOL…

    Whether I like it or not -since I only know you as the “characters” of JD and Kris and you don’t know me at all- you both will be in my thoughts.

  270. I have read through these comments a lot and am going through a similar situation in my own life. I feel very much like what I think JD feels like in his situation (or at least these comments are hitting very close to home). I’ve been doing a lot of reading/thinking about my own situation, and came across this book, called “I love you, but Im not in love with you” by Andrew Marshall. I think I am going to read it – it sounds interesting and like it can offer some insight.

  271. I stumbled through this news. Sad of course, and I don’t know why he’s doing it (i’ve read his “no-causality” protestations) but well, let’s keep it real peeps: mid-life + new-found $$ + hot new bod? Surprise?

    I second the earlier commenter: Give it 6 months for some new chick to surface whom he just happened to meet ‘after the divorce.’

    At least Kris wasn’t dying of cancer or just diagnosed with MS like the cases of our politician role models.

  272. @561 Dorothy: I jumped out of a 23-year marriage without a soft place to land.
    Does that mess with your beliefs at all?

  273. JD,

    I just found out about the sale of this blog and your decision to ask Kris for a divorce. I’ve read every single comment on this article. It took me several days, but I was looking for insight.

    What advice can you give to others to avoid falling into the same trap? Pre-marital counseling? Outsourcing the unpleasant household tasks? More “date nights”? Professional money management services? What would you do differently in your next relationship? Was this inevitable or could it have been prevented somehow?

    I know you don’t want to publicly discuss the reasons for your divorce, but I think it would be helpful to those readers who feel their own relationships are vulnerable, if they are able to learn from the failure of your marriage. Otherwise, we’re left to wonder if this could happen out of the blue to us, with no rhyme or reason.

    I’m sure you’ve thought about a lot of this yourself, and if you could share some insights into how one can minimize the risk of a long term relationship falling apart given your hindsight, I think it would be a tremendous resource for your readers. Remember, sometimes we learn a lot more from our failures than we do from our successes.

    Meanwhile, I wish you an Kris all the best.

    • Hey, Buddy,
      I can give you a wealth of advice. GET OVER YOURSELF. Marriage is 2 way street. If you’re being self-absorbed – knock it off. If your spouse is being self-absorbed, tell her/him to knock it off. If all either of you need is some down time or space, take it. Then count your blessings. And BUST your a## making it work. It’s good for you, your spouse and your kids. Been there, done that and don’t regret one nano-second of the sacrifices. It results in well-adjusted,well-educated, happy, contributing members of society type of kids. GROW UP. What is with this generation?????

  274. In time, you will discover that this decision is a mistake. Most people who initiate divorce realize that what they had was very good. They should have tried harder. They still have to live with THEMSELVES! In my life, I have discovered that many people are seeking to fill that spiritual void that only God can fill. It is a certain kind of contentment that eludes most of us. I would recommend a separation, not divorce. When two people build a life together for over 20 years, you have a foundation and a strength that cannot be easily splintered. Yes, it can be difficult, even predictable at times, but marriage is a decision more than anything.

  275. I’m always late to the party. I live in the great land of PDX and in the last several months saw a JD-looking face walking down the street. If I had read this sooner, I probably would have confirmed it was you and thanked you for your writing. Oftentimes we become defined by one major decision in our lives and I hope that is not the case for you and Kris in this matter. I am very lucky that my husband and I had crossed off our individual to-do lists before we got married. The only things left on the list were things we wanted to do with a partner. It’s sad that I often find myself apologizing to people that I know because I have a happy marriage. Many people today are miserable, and whatever the decisions may have been or may be, I wish you both open, happy, and honest lives, with much laughter, and no discontent. “Do not go gentle…”

  276. Hey J.D.,

    Sorry to hear about this. Most other people’s relationships are a mystery to me even with people I know in person, and I don’t know enough about the situation to be able to offer much advice, but it sounds as though you’re at least dealing with things in as calm and reasonable a way as is possible in such an emotional situation. No matter what happens, I wish both of you well.

    Matt

  277. I can only imagine how deep and strong your emotions run right now. I pray that you’ll get clarity in all the areas where you are questioning and that your “new normal” comes quickly.

  278. So, I have to ask. Would you still be doing this if you were debt free? The reason I ask is that I see value in people working though life’s challenges together. While we’re in the trenches together we overlook many small irritations. My point is not to pry into your personal life but to point out that many times what we want most (like enough money never to think of it again) often bring unexpected consequences. And often not for the better. I sincerely hope you’ve both found peace.

  279. Sorry about the news JD,

    I assure you with time and practice the small, house chores don’t seem as foreign! I know of someone who made a similar “tiny house” to live in when their retirement funds weren’t comfortable enough to live on with their current housing situation. They sold the house, built a smaller one for around $30,000 and can now live debt-free with plenty of money to sit back on and travel the world.

    Best of luck in your new journeys.