Your Cost/Benefit Analyzer...  

clevergirl4U 59F
1461 posts
4/22/2006 12:11 pm

Last Read:
4/27/2006 10:54 am

Your Cost/Benefit Analyzer...

I talked with a married friend by phone a few days ago. We have been platonic friends for years. His tremendous sadness and pain was palpable through the line, even as he attempted to be light-hearted about the sorry condition of his marriage and his life. There were several pauses in the conversation because I was at a lost as to what to say to him.

Should he leave or stay? Are single people happier than married people?

I believe that we pay a price for WHATEVER choices we make in life. And I believe that we each have are own very personalized cost-benefit analyzer.

I was VERY willing to trade a standard of living for a conflict-free home and peace of mind. If I had simply been bored to tears with my marriage, living in a conflict-free home, and frustrated with a marriage that was sexless, I MIGHT have stayed? I MIGHT have stayed and taken on a lover?

My cost-benefit analysis was based mostly on my son's well-being. The constant conflict in the home was NOT a healthy environment for him to grow up in. Neither my ex, nor I, had whatever it takes to "pretend that everything is OK."

However, the price I paid was that my son did not have a full-time father in the home. And the lower standard of living did not allow me to do some things for my son that I would have liked to do. It was a balancing act. There was no perfect solution, or ideal arrangement. Every choice I made came at a cost.

I have taken excerpts from an internet article on this subject that that I really liked, and along with my own perspective, I hope that this will open up a conversation:


"Ultimately, the experts agree, mental well-being comes down to your attitude to life, which may be influenced by your marital status (or lack thereof), but is not exclusively defined by it. If you tend to assume that the grass is always greener ‒ you will feel sad and discontent...

...If we are going to play good, better, best: a happy partnership (and, in fact, the socially recognised form of marriage) is statistically best, but happy singledom can be equally fulfilling. Next comes miserable singledom. But the worst condition, it seems, is an unhappy relationship....

...A key psychological definition of happiness is a willingness to explore life, to maintain curiosity and be alive to new experiences. While single life allows greater freedom to do this, a long-term, doubt-free relationship gives many people a level of confidence and openness to life they may otherwise lack. Each state has its unique benefits...."


How does YOUR cost/benefit analyzer work when applied to relationships? What is MOST important to you, and are you willing to pay the price for it? Do you imagine "the grass is greener"? Given the single life, or married life, which do you imagine would be most fulfilling for you?



TheRealThing655 49F
9558 posts
4/22/2006 1:23 pm

Fabulous post. Your description prior the article is EXACTLY what I am going through right now. I tried the "MIGHT" part, then realized it wasn't enough...I had to leave the marriage to create a healthier environment for me and my sons. And I too will pay the price of not having a full time father in the home.
The excerpts from the article are all correct in my view.
Although it is difficult being a single parent, and I am unsure of my financial future right now, I feel a great comfort and sense of relief in making the decision I did. I could be happy with happy singledom, but of course I would like to find a relationship with a man as well, to fulfill that part of my life. Whether or not that leads to marriage I do not know. That is not my goal right now.
Thanks for your comments on my post as well, very well said.


norprin5 56M

4/22/2006 1:29 pm

been married 23 yrs coming up...in many ways my marriage is better than ever, and i've assured and reassured the queen that i will not leave her...and yet i am more than a little frustrated by the fact that there are many things that i'll be unable to experience simply because of that marriage...

King Nor XVIII


angelofmercy5 60F
17881 posts
4/22/2006 1:51 pm

    Quoting norprin5:
    been married 23 yrs coming up...in many ways my marriage is better than ever, and i've assured and reassured the queen that i will not leave her...and yet i am more than a little frustrated by the fact that there are many things that i'll be unable to experience simply because of that marriage...
I have to agree with Noprin here....in many ways my marriage has never been better or more fulfilling. But it is my husband that I fear will face the frustration that noprin talks about by not being able to experience some things because of the marriage.


ArgosPlumyKooky 46F
3902 posts
4/22/2006 2:27 pm

luv your blog. . . my cost analysis is this. . i am with you here, my happiness has no cost or net worth, it has to be. i recently had a break up, we had lived together, and the $ is tighter. . . but my mind is so free and happy i know it was the absolute correct thing to do.


expatbrit49 64M

4/22/2006 2:50 pm

Still fence sitting at the moment but I agree that there is a price to pay whatever I decide. At the moment my marriage has no conflict, but we have a very different approach to intimacy, I want that (and sex) and she is happy without any at all.

Do I want to change that; yes. Would I change this situation ... well that would depend on the situation I was moving too, and as at the moment there is nothing to move to I sit on the fence.

Thank You for Your Time and Attention


rm_4wolfsr 59M

4/22/2006 4:09 pm

To me marriage seemed to be an endless series of compromises until neither of us was the person we started out being. Perhaps in our youth and inexperience our desire to please one another lead to this unfortunate evolution of becoming something neither of us was or wanted to be. Both of us enjoyed the securities that , to a degree, marriage offered. At the same we both began to resent the impact on the freedoms of "self" we craved. The learned compromises and concern for what was thought to be one another's feelings created a wall that hindered the ability to communicate the frustrations each of us felt for fear of causing pain to one another. Secrets are with held and trusts are broken. With out trust there is no intimacy. With out trust and intimacy the relationship stagnates. As people we continuously strive to learn, grow and experience new things or even experience the same things in a new way. Personally, I think the gratification of sharing new experiences with someone else is more rewarding than by myself. I believe that if both people regard them selves as investing in a relationship the essence of who you are as individuals is not lost but the total of who you become is enhanced. It all starts with trust.


clevergirl4U 59F

4/22/2006 4:40 pm

    Quoting rm_4wolfsr:
    To me marriage seemed to be an endless series of compromises until neither of us was the person we started out being. Perhaps in our youth and inexperience our desire to please one another lead to this unfortunate evolution of becoming something neither of us was or wanted to be. Both of us enjoyed the securities that , to a degree, marriage offered. At the same we both began to resent the impact on the freedoms of "self" we craved. The learned compromises and concern for what was thought to be one another's feelings created a wall that hindered the ability to communicate the frustrations each of us felt for fear of causing pain to one another. Secrets are with held and trusts are broken. With out trust there is no intimacy. With out trust and intimacy the relationship stagnates. As people we continuously strive to learn, grow and experience new things or even experience the same things in a new way. Personally, I think the gratification of sharing new experiences with someone else is more rewarding than by myself. I believe that if both people regard them selves as investing in a relationship the essence of who you are as individuals is not lost but the total of who you become is enhanced. It all starts with trust.
Spoken well by a man who has thought about where he has been before moving forward!

I especially related to the phrase "an endless series of compromises until neither of us was the person we started out being."

One of the better results of my divorce is that my son got to know a mother and father who were whole, unique individuals rather than the unhappy, empty shells of ourselves that we had become by the end of the marriage.


grib1876 46M

4/22/2006 6:57 pm

Well...I feel nauseous (spelling?)

I know I am not happy, but I guess I wasn't prepared to look at it that way. NOt your fault, mind you. But I sometimes forget how miserable things are in the busy fuss of days going by. Makes me think about what I really need and if I can really get it at home?

Anyway...(sighs)nice of you to share these thoughts. I am sure that there are others that could use the info too.


clevergirl4U 59F

4/22/2006 7:13 pm

    Quoting TheRealThing655:
    Fabulous post. Your description prior the article is EXACTLY what I am going through right now. I tried the "MIGHT" part, then realized it wasn't enough...I had to leave the marriage to create a healthier environment for me and my sons. And I too will pay the price of not having a full time father in the home.
    The excerpts from the article are all correct in my view.
    Although it is difficult being a single parent, and I am unsure of my financial future right now, I feel a great comfort and sense of relief in making the decision I did. I could be happy with happy singledom, but of course I would like to find a relationship with a man as well, to fulfill that part of my life. Whether or not that leads to marriage I do not know. That is not my goal right now.
    Thanks for your comments on my post as well, very well said.
I'll have to visit you more often, and please feel free to write whenever you need some encouragement, or support. Those early days can sometimes be frightening. I remember the ENORMOUS relief I felt under my own new roof with... no tension, no conflict, no anxiety...peace of mind can be a pretty powerful motivator.

I chose NOT to remarry, but we are all wired differently. I think we come out of very difficult marriages feeling pretty clear about what we DON'T want in a partner. It takes awhile to figure out what we DO want


clevergirl4U 59F

4/22/2006 7:29 pm

    Quoting norprin5:
    been married 23 yrs coming up...in many ways my marriage is better than ever, and i've assured and reassured the queen that i will not leave her...and yet i am more than a little frustrated by the fact that there are many things that i'll be unable to experience simply because of that marriage...
I sometimes think that situations like yours may be the MOST difficult of all. I don't know many of your details, but it seems that you both like and love your wife, and feel a strong sense of loyalty to her. I appreciate and admire those feelings in a man. Is there no chance that she would let you experiment outside of the marriage, if you reassured her doubly that you would never leave?

I ask because my last lover was married and his situation was similar to what you describe. He and his wife had an UNSPOKEN agreement until she one day discovered that he was meeting his sexual needs outside of marriage (prior to me). When forced to discuss the situation, she somewhat agreed to allow his occasional "indiscretions," with the understanding that he would not leave. They structured their lives with room for a lot of "personal space", and it was never discussed between them again. I have NO idea how this works in practice, and I couldn't live like this myself, but it seemed to work for them.


clevergirl4U 59F

4/22/2006 7:33 pm

    Quoting angelofmercy5:
    I have to agree with Noprin here....in many ways my marriage has never been better or more fulfilling. But it is my husband that I fear will face the frustration that noprin talks about by not being able to experience some things because of the marriage.
my question would be, "Would you ever feel comfortable allowing your husband to experiment sexually outside of marriage?"

Such a nosy question! Feel free to NOT answer


clevergirl4U 59F

4/22/2006 7:37 pm

    Quoting ArgosPlumyKooky:
    luv your blog. . . my cost analysis is this. . i am with you here, my happiness has no cost or net worth, it has to be. i recently had a break up, we had lived together, and the $ is tighter. . . but my mind is so free and happy i know it was the absolute correct thing to do.
I think that WE are the lucky ones...the ones who have NO DOUBT over what is healthiest and best thing for us to do. It is those who sit perched on that fence of indecision that have the toughest row to hoe


Northerncomfort2 67M
120 posts
4/23/2006 9:39 pm

"Been there, done that, had the tee-shirt stolen"

So much for establishing credibility. There are so many variables on each of the two sides that books could be written (and have) for dealing with the denoument of 50% of all marriages.

In my own case, I had to simply evaluate, after 20 years, whether or not things were getting "better" or getting "worse," if there was any likelihood of improvement, and the costs of the status quo.

I know: "for better or worse," but there are SOME limits, chiefly those imprinted in state criminal statutes. If things are to get "better" there must be communication (i.e. speaking AND listening). Absent that, no improvement is likely.

The costs of the status quo must be assessed for ALL the members of the family and include emotional cost, developmental cost and, of course, financial cost. The latter is as nothing if the other two are disabling.

In my case, as in yours, Clever, conflict was not an event. It was a "state." There are some who thrive upon it for reasons that I faintly understand only now. The cost to both children and to myself was seen in physical symptoms of sleeplessness, lack of interaction with others, decreased appetite, frequent illnesses, headaches, and nausea. I saw the symptoms develop and worsen over a three-year period and decided, as one in a burning plane, to "hit the silk."

I went on and so did they. The emotional cost is with me still and always will be. As a father, even as the petitioner for divorce, I had few rights to oversee the manner of their rearing. I was demonized to the point where one communicates rarely and the other not at all....after ten years.

One always has to assess and make the judgement call. I don't regret my decision; in fact I think I can attribute what little is left of my sanity to the decision I made. But for anyone facing that abyss, it is wise to have all the facts and possibilities in hand before stepping out in faith.


clevergirl4U 59F

4/24/2006 4:46 am

    Quoting expatbrit49:
    Still fence sitting at the moment but I agree that there is a price to pay whatever I decide. At the moment my marriage has no conflict, but we have a very different approach to intimacy, I want that (and sex) and she is happy without any at all.

    Do I want to change that; yes. Would I change this situation ... well that would depend on the situation I was moving too, and as at the moment there is nothing to move to I sit on the fence.
That fence is not a very comfortable place, as I remember. You and I had/have diffent kinds of marriages...the constant fighting and tension was enough to push me off the fence, even though the only thing I was "moving to" was peace of mind


clevergirl4U 59F

4/24/2006 7:51 am

    Quoting fun1968xxx:
    I've been struggling with this for a while now. The last 6 months has been a whirlpool. For me the lack of sex and intimacy was affecting our friendship and for the first time in 14 years I started to doubt we could make and I was ready to go. We were starting to argue, and worse, not talking at all.

    But I love my son, and remember the good times my wife and I had shared. The experiences, the fun, the sharing. We have had some SERIOUS talks and her knowing how close I was to leaving really helped to put life into perspective. I have strayed over the last 6 months, that helped keep me sane, made me happy for a while, but ultimately made me sad that I couldn't get the love and attention I was craving here at home. I'm not straying now, I'm here and committed to try and make it work. I don't know how it will end up long term, but things have been really good for the last month. I takes making an effort from both members everyday, but it is usually worth it, just to get a smile, a hug, to be able to have a conversation...

    We'll always have our moments, our grumpy days, our disagreements, so long as the good times outweight them, so long as there is love. I don't know how the sex and intimacy differences will end up. We've not always had the same sex drive, and I guess that's a compromise I make for finding someone that I am otherwise compatible with. I took 14 years for me to be unfaithful. I feel guilty AND happy that I finally did.

    How will it end? Will we be together for the rest of our lives? Will things crumble again? Will I get hit by lightning tomorrow? Will I win Lotto (unlikely, I don't buy tickets)? I don't know that many people can answer these questions. I know I don't want to be miserable and resenting my wife, I don't want to make her or my son miserable, if it even gets that bad again these's no point in staying. I know some old couples that are still together and HATE each other. I also know a few who have split up and found happiness elsewhere despite the loss of friends, respect from community and family for leaving...

    This life and love stuff is hard isn't it? My heart goes out to your married friend. Pass on my best wishes! (in a vague I don't know you, but understand some of the issues. It's good to know sometimes you aren't alone...)

    cheers, FUN
There are few absolute black and whites in life, and this is ESPECIALLY true in love, sex and relationships Thanks for sharing YOUR journey!


clevergirl4U 59F

4/24/2006 7:56 am

    Quoting grib1876:
    Well...I feel nauseous (spelling?)

    I know I am not happy, but I guess I wasn't prepared to look at it that way. NOt your fault, mind you. But I sometimes forget how miserable things are in the busy fuss of days going by. Makes me think about what I really need and if I can really get it at home?

    Anyway...(sighs)nice of you to share these thoughts. I am sure that there are others that could use the info too.
It is NEVER my intention to upset Truth be told, there are things in my OWN life that I avoid looking at too closely....


clevergirl4U 59F

4/24/2006 7:58 am

    Quoting grib1876:
    Well...I feel nauseous (spelling?)

    I know I am not happy, but I guess I wasn't prepared to look at it that way. NOt your fault, mind you. But I sometimes forget how miserable things are in the busy fuss of days going by. Makes me think about what I really need and if I can really get it at home?

    Anyway...(sighs)nice of you to share these thoughts. I am sure that there are others that could use the info too.
NORTHERN: Sometimes we have to pay a pretty high price for peace of mind...I am really sorry to hear about your kids...


norprin5 56M

4/24/2006 8:05 pm

Is there no chance that she would let you experiment outside of the marriage, if you reassured her doubly that you would never leave?

by the time my reassurances reach her ears, the words have been translated into a completely different language...she doesn't hear what i say or what i mean, only what she interprets...

so no, no chance...

King Nor XVIII


elysianpleasure 49M

4/26/2006 9:53 pm

A very timely post... I am going through this cost / analysis thing right now. The children are the only real factor. I would make sure economically I am the one who suffers if anyone does. I love her... I live for my kids... but we are no longer happy, there is a constant cloud of tension... and I worry that it ultimately is unhealthy for everyone. Thanks for the post...


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