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IT and Divorce? 943

Posted by Cliff
from the career-hazards dept.
frank_tudor asks: "I am graduate student and work as a web developer. I am also getting a divorce and I have a son caught in the middle. I believe my profession had a part in it. For my graduate thesis I am writing a paper about Dads who work in the computer industry, divorce and custody. I think our industry causes a high rate of divorce but I need some help from the Slashdot community. My questions are: How many of you computer Dads have also gone through divorce and have retained either half or full custody of your children? Do you think your job had something to do with it? What were some of your hardest challenges and are your kids happy?"
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IT and Divorce?

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  • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:49PM (#16426377)
    IT didn't cause your divorce. Stop trying to look for external causes when they were internal. My Dad worked in IT and my parents are still married, nearly 40 years now.
    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:51PM (#16426441)
      I know! My one anecdotal case is more than enough to completely invalidate yours!
      • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gunnk (463227) <gunnk&mail,fpg,unc,edu> on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:23PM (#16429575) Homepage
        Okay, the grandparent's case is one anecdotal case, but I think you'll find it's one of many. Given enough cases in both directions you end up building statistics... we have 9 people in our IT unit and only one divorce (and I think it was HER career that caused the problem there, not his).

        Life is one big quest for balance. You choose your priorities. In this case we're looking at someone working in IT AND going to grad school. Full-time employment plus grad school means SOMETHING else is likely to give. Grad school + work + kids is a combination that really stresses a marriage to the max. Yes, it can be done, but you have to actively MAKE IT WORK. You have to make sure that almost every day you devote time to your spouse and kids. If you can't devote enough time to work + school + your family, be prepared to fail in one of those. It doesn't matter if the work is IT or sales or accounting or anything else.

        Unfortunately, we tend to manage our time by prioritizing whatever has the next pending deadline. Family seldom comes with deadlines attached, so it often gets pushed to "low priority" -- meaning family never gets the attention it deserves. It therefore gets neglected and that's where the failure occurs. The person involved ends up blaming their other activities rather than their failure to make their family a priority.

        I'm working quite a bit lately because I'm in the process of starting a company while working full-time. When I make up a priority list for the day and find it's packed I add a section for "personal life" which says I must do something to let my wife feel special, something to make my daughter feel special, and something to take care of my own mental health. In a pinch, I may neglect me, but my family is important, so I consider those "family priorities" to be drop-dead items. Sometimes the most I can do is give my wife a backrub for 15 minutes or walk the dog around the block with my daughter, but they each DO get my undivided attention.

        Most "job-related" or "school-related" marriage failures are really "time-management" failures. You can't "turn off" your family while you pursue other priorities. If you can't devote a little time every day to each important part of your life you will see the neglected portion fail whether that's school, work, personal health, or family. Something WILL give!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pnutjam (523990)
          Don't 1/2 of all marriages end in divorce? I think any profession has a relatively high divorce rate. Marriage takes work.
          • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Informative)

            by gunnk (463227) <gunnk&mail,fpg,unc,edu> on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:43PM (#16429853) Homepage
            40% ( http://www.divorcereform.org/nyt05.html )

            Still, the number IS very high. I still think the number one cause of failure is the fact that looking after your family is something that most people would rate "very important", but would not say needs to be one of TODAY's priorities. It gets put off, and put off again, until it fails from neglect.

            It's a big issue in all time management -- items you need to do "sometime" but which don't have deadlines. Working out is another great example. Fitness is critical to a long, happy life, but when you have a big to-do list it tends to get postponed until that most mystical of days: "tomorrow".
          • by E++99 (880734) on Friday October 13, 2006 @04:25PM (#16430425) Homepage
            Don't 1/2 of all marriages end in divorce?

            Yeah, and the other half end in death. Pretty grim institution. ;-)
          • by r00t (33219) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @12:09AM (#16433837) Journal
            Some people fail at 2, 3, or more marriages. They drive up the numbers.

            The chance of any 1 person being divorce-free is much better than 50%.

            Tip: divorce runs in families. Be wary of this when you choose.
        • by snuf23 (182335) on Friday October 13, 2006 @06:03PM (#16431565)
          we have 9 people in our IT unit and only one divorce (and I think it was HER career that caused the problem there, not his)

          Never marry a stripper.
        • by Rikardon (116190) on Friday October 13, 2006 @06:59PM (#16432161)
          I agree that if your family is or wants to be supportive, they don't usually require a lot of time each day. What my wife and kids DO require is some amount of time, however limited, that is theirs and theirs alone (nearly) every day. Also, they need to know that whatever else is taking my time is in pursuit of some concrete, beneficial goal.

          I have bedtime traditions with my kids. Not the same one every night, but a handful we can use on different nights depending on everyone's energy level. Sometimes I wrestle with them before bedtime. Sometimes I read to them out of a slim blue volume of Robert Louis Stevenson's poems for children. With my daughter I'm teaching her a song in French; sometimes we dance around the livingroom and sing together. With my oldest son I'm now listening to him learn to read before bedtime.

          None of those take more than fifteen minutes each, but they happen (nearly) EVERY night, at or about the same time, and my children and I have come to count on them.

          With my wife it's similar. Some nights we're lucky, and all three kids are asleep early enough that we can talk (and do other things) for some time. Other nights we're really tired but we make time to exchange a simple kiss or two when passing in the hallway, or to rub each others' shoulders, or something.

          I guess if I have anything to add to the parent post it's that you need to sell your family on the benefits of whatever else is consuming your time. If your family truly believes that what you're doing is in pursuit of some shared goal, there's less resentment at your being busy. Couple that with consistent time together, even if it's short, and it sends the message "I value you" rather than "I don't have time for you." I myself am very task-focused and tend to deal brusquely with interruptions when I'm focused on something, so when I'm with my family I try to be WITH them, and I apologize when I'm too harsh.

          I'm rambling a bit, and I'm deeply sorry if this post is hard to read for the original poster since he's past the stage where these ideas have any value for his current situation. But I wanted to chime in with my two cents in support of the immediate parent post to this one, which contains a lot of useful wisdom.
      • by Valdrax (32670) on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:42PM (#16429833)
        Funny you should mention that when he's essentially soliciting anecdotal evidence in favor of his thesis by asking for people to tell their own stories.

        He's not taking a representative sample group and testing whether or not his thesis is true but is instead trying to find data points that agree with his thesis and ignoring the context of how many others disagree with it. It's not exactly scientifically rigorous work so much as an attempt to find other people to reassure him that he's normal, and that's it's less his fault than if there was no correlation.
    • yes, but.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Steve_Jobs_HNIC (513769) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:54PM (#16426491) Journal
      His job smacked his wife around. Now seriously, who's gonna stay in a relationship like that? I mean come on...

      His job was also very lazy, never did anything around the house. And it would never listen! If you're going to be in a relationship with a man, women, and a job, everyone needs respect each other and their personal space. But job just didn't know when to back off either... it would keep pressing and pressing... jesus, I'm in the bathroom. Just leave me alone!
      • by operagost (62405) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:05PM (#16426731) Homepage Journal
        I hate when Job leaves the toilet seat up!!!
        • by unity100 (970058) on Friday October 13, 2006 @08:58PM (#16432963) Homepage Journal
          If we find the toilet seat down, we put it up and do our thing. We dont yell or bitch about it being up or down.

          WHY dont women do the same ?
    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ucklak (755284) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:54PM (#16426493)
      Exactly. The writing is there: good student, good employee, horrible spouse. You can't do it all. You have to choose what is important to you and don't you ever put your children second.
      • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

        by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:01PM (#16426631) Homepage
        "don't you ever put your children second."

        Actually, I think many marriage councilors recommend never putting your spouse second. Second is exactly where the kids belong. It's kind of like when the oxygen masks on an airplane pop-out. You put on your own mask before helping others. You can't help anyone if you pass out. The same is true with family. It's hard to help the kids if you're getting divorced.

        I started a company in NC in 2000 with my wife. We already had a 6-month old baby, and a couple years later we had another. I worked like heck, ignoring the family, until one day my wife declared, "This isn't a marriage. You've got to either choose work or our family." I chose the family, and yes, things at work do suffer somewhat as a result. However, I'd be no good to anyone if my family broke up.

        My personal goal is now to work no more than 45 hours/week on average. I'm getting there, but it's hard.
        • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

          by A. Bosch (858654) <anonymous.bosch@gm a i l . com> on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:22PM (#16427099) Homepage
          > Actually, I think many marriage councilors recommend never putting your spouse second.

          I couldn't agree more. Your parents will pass away. Your kids will grow up and move away. You're with your spouse for life, or at least that's the plan.
        • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:46PM (#16427663) Homepage Journal
          Amen. Too many people sacrafice their lives on the altar of their children's "wellbeing". It's like this, barring some catostrophic screw ups on your part, your kids will turn out fine, They will turn out even better if you don't in fact live your life for them, and instead show them how to lead a good life by example. OK, obviously a newborn will require a substantial amount of your time, but as soon as they enter school, the pressure is off, and you can being to wean them off dependance on you.

          Wean them off you, rather than smother them against your chest.
        • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Interesting)

          by shmlco (594907) on Friday October 13, 2006 @02:11PM (#16428185) Homepage
          Precisely.

          There are LOTS of demanding jobs out there, and plenty where you're "on call". Doctor, lawyer, cop, IT, executive, manager, in fact, practically anything above "Would you like fries with that?"

          IT isn't a special case.

          In fact, I'd say he needs to be careful in his thesis, because there's a chicken-and-egg issue at play: Does IT cause people to have more problems... or are the types who're attracted to IT less likely to have good social/interpersonal skills, and as such be more prone to issues outside the workplace?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shoeler (180797) *
      You sir are an idiot. First off, stop trying to answer for those of us who ARE married with kid(s) - you can't relate. Don't try. Second, one good marriage doesn't mean a damn thing. If he's been in IT for 40 years, he got in and may have the kush job at IBM with the awesome retirement, etc. I've been in IT for 12 years, married for almost 6. It almost ruined my marriage because of the IT bomb post-20001 / post-9/11. I took a job where I hated the job and the boss hated me because I knew more then hi
    • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ksheff (2406) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:24PM (#16427149) Homepage
      IT certainly doesn't help. Having to stay late to wrap up code for a release deadline, fix a production problem or getting calls from the computer room in the middle of the night didn't mesh too well with a wife who thinks that a developer job is a strictly 9-5 occupation. Arguments with my ex over my job were way too common. Not getting a calls at 5:30pm from an irate spouse wondering why you're still at work at least makes the job a little less stressful. Now, at least I can do what I need to get done at work and relax some when I get home instead of getting into a fight.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zxnos (813588)
        did you ever call her and let her know you would be late? my wife is understanding when i communicate with her. then the next day leave early by the same amount of time. if your employer cant give you that, leave.
  • Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:49PM (#16426383) Journal
    Aren't you worried that, in light of your personal life issues, this thesis might come across a little...I dunno...biased? Just a tad?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 0rbit4l (669001)
      Aren't you worried that, in light of your complete lack of understanding of what a Thesis defense is, that your question might come across as a little...I dunno...ignorant? Just a tad?

      It's his committee's job to present alternative views, put him on the spot, be impartial, and even by sincerely proposing the "devil's advocate" position. It's his job to be prepared for that and be able to answer tough questions. This is part of the whole "peer review" thing - look it up. Just because a person's experie

    • Re:Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Otter (3800) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:17PM (#16426981) Journal
      I would also suggest that, in my ignorant layman's opinion, turning your trauma into your new career is likely to impede your rebuilding your life.
  • by also-rr (980579) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:49PM (#16426389) Homepage
    The first step? My wedding next year.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:49PM (#16426393) Journal
    It was a couple patches ago when my wife filed for divorce. I'll never forget the day because that night, my epic tier two helm piece dropped and I won it for only 150 DKP. I don't think I'll ever understand why she did it. I was by her side the entire time she was being charged with child abuse. I know she never abused our son because I was in the other room on TeamSpeak when the alleged beating occurred and I didn't hear any screams except those of my guildmates dying from Nefarion. I know I should have attended the custody hearings for our son but the only night of the week I don't raid on is Tuesdays and the judge refused to move the dates. Call me crazy, but I never saw it coming.

    Yep, the only reason she left me is because I'm in the IT field. I make a lot more cash on average & my job as software developer is one of the most highly sought after in the nation. Computers are becoming more and more prolific in everyday life so I maintain a solid job. But from what I've told you, it's pretty obvious that being in the IT field is what separated me and my wife. Looking back, I miss the times she brought me a beer as I was stacking sunders.

    Sorry to make light of your situation, Frank, but honestly I think that a lot of IT people know how easy it is to find pr0n online. I've heard this is a growing concern [divorcewizards.com]. Honestly, the perks of an IT job would probably be desirable for the wife, I think it's just the fact that the person is more clued in to how to use computers for pleasure and addiction. IT filed offers more money and doesn't ravage your body (at least not like construction or farm work does). Whether it be Warcraft or pr0n, these addictions pay a toll on a happy marriage. If you find a correlation, it's probably in those topics, not just IT.

    About the questions with kids, I don't have any but I would think that it would be very simple to get them involved with a computer project and spend plenty of weekend time with them. Then again, that's just what I would dream of happening ... it would probably fail miserably with "I don't want to be a nerd like you, dad!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:50PM (#16426411)
    Like spoons made Rosie fat.
    • by bcat24 (914105)
      Seriously, if you've come to the point of getting a divorce, it's a problem with you and your spouse. Don't blame your job, your health, your astrological sign, or whatever. They might contribute to the problem, but the problem was there long before then. If, e.g., you work too much and don't spend quality time with your husband/wife/kids, that's a family problem. Either you or your spouse (probably both of you) need to recognize that everything starts with you.

      Damn, I'm starting to sound like Dr. Phil. :)
  • Are you serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nasor (690345) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:51PM (#16426433)
    Are you seriously planning to use responses here as "data" for a graduate-level academic thesis?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by catfood (40112)
      Checking with the college's Institutional Review Board would be a really good idea at this point.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:51PM (#16426443) Homepage
    Married? Kids? I'm still running girlfriend 5.0 since I'd heard the upgrades to wife 1.0 came with so many problems I'd stick with what already works for me. :-P
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by eln (21727) * on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:37PM (#16427461) Homepage
      Sure, but the problem is eventually Girlfriend 5.0's constant nagging to be upgraded gets on your nerves and you end up having to buy the upgrade or uninstall the software.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by paranode (671698)

        Sure, but the problem is eventually Girlfriend 5.0's constant nagging to be upgraded gets on your nerves and you end up having to buy the upgrade or uninstall the software.

        Exactly, and the ultimate problem is that eventually your hardware is incompatible or too old to run the latest version of Girlfriend. Then the prospects of upgrading to Wife obviously become bleak. Now you should be warned that if your system is not running any version of Girlfriend then you may get infected by Hookers and Blow, Alco

  • A few points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ellem (147712) * <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:52PM (#16426467) Homepage Journal
    1) Ask /. is now officially worthless
    2) Your thesis is horribly flawed
    3) Your wife is leaving you because you whine too much
  • by Illserve (56215) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:53PM (#16426477)
    Surely you can't discount the fact that IT workers are drawn from a different portion of the population which makes it difficult if not impossible to prove that there is a causative factor?

    It sounds like an interesting topic, but be careful with overstating the implications of your correlational results.

  • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:55PM (#16426517)
    ... I just want you to know that I'm sorry that you and your family are in this situation. It's painful for everybody, and I feel for you.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:55PM (#16426519)
    For my graduate thesis I am writing a paper about Dads who work in the computer industry, divorce and custody. I think our industry causes a high rate of divorce but I need some help from the Slashdot community.

    I realize this may come across as a cheap shot but...

    If you're writing a graduate level paper, shouldn't you actually do some, you know, statistical analysis to support your core hypothesis rather than go with, "I have a feeling and asked some other nerds."?

    You're far more likely to get results with, "Statistics show that while divorce is at n%, n+y% of male IT workers experience divorce. This thesis looks at prime causes for that y% and performs a statistical breakdown of their effects." than "I got divorced, I work in IT, it sucked. This paper's about how I'm pretty sure IT made it happen. I asked some other nerds what they think."
    • Some Real Research (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chagatai (524580)
      I'm writing a book right now and one of the topics upon which I touch is how the divorce rate is higher amongst executive managers. In the research I did, I looked at the executive biographies for the CEOs of the top 50 of the Fortune 500. Out of these 50 bosses, only 6 of them mentioned their families in any way, shape, or form. They are more proud of their MBAs than they are about having a loving wife or children. Steve Ballmer's mentions that he is a really funny guy, but leaves out any traces of per
  • by Agent Green (231202) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:57PM (#16426569)
    Not sure if any of the data you have here is going to be significant ... and since this _is_ slashdot, I doubt highly that you could use it as a reference on a graduate thesis. Personally, I've been married for 3 years and have a son, which I'm sure outcasts me in the group. But, I digress.

    I have a couple friends that have been divorced, though they are from different professions. In those cases, the job wasn't the crowning gem in the divorce itself ... far from it. Here are some traits I observed which one side, the other, or both had in those cases: personality conflicts, lack of communication skills, unwillingness to communicate, unwillingness to listen, self-absorption leading to the exclusion of the other, disjoint financial strategies, unfair domestic workload balance, ho-hum disregard for the children. I never saw a particular job or anything actually interfere.

    Where I'm at now in my mid-30s, most of the guys I work with are married and have been for quite some time. There are very few divorcees and the people I know are very loyal to their partners and their families. I'd have to say that here in IT, those of us who are married are a pretty fun, stable bunch.

    I think you need to stop blaming your career for your divorce and do a little more soul searching.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by EtherMonkey (705611)

      Here are some traits I observed which one side, the other, or both had in those cases: personality conflicts, lack of communication skills, unwillingness to communicate, unwillingness to listen, self-absorption leading to the exclusion of the other, disjoint financial strategies, unfair domestic workload balance, ho-hum disregard for the children.

      I think it summarizes down to this: incompatibility between system components, which sort of makes marriage a lot like a PC running Windows: unstable, prone to c

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by booch (4157)
        As a divorced IT professional with full custody of the kids, I fully plan to switch to Linux-based relationship OS before considering any future long-term relationship. :P

        I agree. An Open Marriage would be great. Granted, it's a lot different than a Closed Marriage, and many people will have some difficulty adapting.
  • my divorce- (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jmahler (192217) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:57PM (#16426579) Homepage
    I work as an IT person (net admin, specifically) and I went through a divorce with 2 kids.

    I came out with a shared parenting plan and am considered the custodial or residential parent (the 2 kids live with me, and have structured times w/ their mother). My divorce, however, was not due directly to my workload. It was due to the fact that my ex is an alcoholic with violent tendencies... my long hours irritated her, sure - but that's about it. :)

    Long hours suck the life out of everyone - but they are an unfortunate side-effect of what we have chosen to do for a living. This is beginning to change a bit, I've noticed - I can do my work from home when I need to be home with the kids due to a great implementation of citrix and vpns (not to toot my own horn), and my cell phone keeps me in constant contact when needed.
    • Re:my divorce- (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chirs (87576) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:23PM (#16427117)
      "Long hours suck the life out of everyone - but they are an unfortunate side-effect of what we have chosen to do for a living."

      I have to disagree with that.

      Everyone has a choice as to what hours to work. Granted, there may be consequences if you put your family before your job, but the choice is there.

  • by javabandit (464204) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:59PM (#16426605)
    Marriage is hard. Its a lot of work. If you aren't willing to give up on your child, then why give up on your marriage? I wish people valued marriage half as much as they valued their relationship to their children.

    I've seen divorcees willing to move to other states, pay lots of money, adjust their schedules, adjust their lifestyles... all just to be with their kids. Spouses should do the same thing. Its all a matter of priority. Marriage just doesn't mean as much anymore.

    These days, people divorce because they argue too much. Or because "the spice" is gone. Or because they don't like arguing about money. Or because the in-laws hate each other. Or because wife gained some weight and doesn't look good enough anymore. Get over it. Man up and deal with it and treat the marriage with the importance it deserves.

    I've been married for eight years now and I have a child. Some of that married time has been REALLY hard. But I treat my marriage like my child. It would take a LOT for me to give up on my child. Same for my marriage.

    Its all about priorities.
    • by Percent Man (756972) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:45PM (#16427635) Homepage
      These days, people divorce because they argue too much. Or because "the spice" is gone.

      But "the spice" must flow! The entire galactic economy could collapse, nevermind a single marriage!
    • by tj2 (54604) on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:48PM (#16429937)
      These days, people divorce because they argue too much. Or because "the spice" is gone. Or because they don't like arguing about money. Or because the in-laws hate each other. Or because wife gained some weight and doesn't look good enough anymore. Get over it. Man up and deal with it and treat the marriage with the importance it deserves.


      Okay, but what if you're the only one working on it? I'm going through some tough times right now with my wife, and I seriously doubt the marriage will survive. We've tried counseling, and I've learned some shit that makes me want to go out and piss on her dad's grave, and I didn't much care for him before I knew what I now know. But here's the deal: *now*, she can continue forever wallowing in her repressed anger (and taking it out on me and our daughter) and never take responsiblity for her actions when angry, because she has a perfect excuse for being angry. And if I stand up for myself/my daughter/my beliefs/etc, I'm just an insensitive prick.

      I can't even begin to tell you the times I've swallowed my pride so as to "man up" and keep the marriage going. I always figured, in time, she'd get over some of it. Nope. I'm still taking the heat for shit that happened *years* before I met her. We've been married for 23 years, and it's just getting worse.

      The sad thing is, she's great when she's not mad, but there's no telling what will make her mad. She doesn't have a state such as "upset", or "miffed", or "put out". Nope, if she's mad at all, it's instantaneous and unequivocal rage, and it lasts a long, long time. It can be something I say, or don't say, or a commercial on TV, or something she reads. Doesn't matter, I'll have to pay the piper for it.

      Now, after this many years, am I a quitter?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KlomDark (6370)
        Holy shit, that sounds pretty much exactly like my story! I think I'm the only one working on it. She cannot see anything good, only the bad. She cannot let go of the past. I think she has somehow moved my image in her mind to the place occupied by her dead, abusive father. Very nice when not mad, but goes off with no apparent trigger. Got mad and moved out last week when I asked her what her problem was after she gave my daughter (her step daughter) enough shit that she started crying.

        Oh well, trying couns
  • Scapegoat? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JLavezzo (161308) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:00PM (#16426625) Homepage
    I'm married with two happy children. I know several people who have gotten divorced and have shared custody of children. None are IT professionals.

    The high instance of divorce in the US is much more related to materialism, disconnectedness (also called "independence") and ideas of "self", attitudes towards relationships and the myth of satisfaction than any scapegoat, popular (homosexuality) or unpopular (IT professionals).

    I always tell my single friends that finding a spouse and marriage is more about being the right person than finding the right person.

    Good luck on your thesis. I hope it's well researched and well received. Obviously there's more to it than you could put in an "Ask Slashdot."
  • Asperger's Syndrome (Score:3, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:01PM (#16426639) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if there may be a relation with Asperger's Syndrome [wikipedia.org]. According to an article in Wired [wired.com], Apserger's is disproportionally common among IT people.
  • IT and Divorce (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doomicon (5310) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:02PM (#16426677) Homepage Journal
    I've been in IT for some years now. I went through a divorce. Was my profession responsible, no. I have a wonderful son and share custody 50/50.

    I worked at a startup for 1 year, during that year I rarely if ever saw my family. Did that job contribute to my divorce? No, because I decided to quit that job, and find another (That year surely didn't help my relationship, however it wasn't the catalyst to the failure of the marriage).

    Divorce can be a horribly emotional experience, we often soul search to find out "what went wrong, what could've I done differently". Sometimes, you just got to sit back.. take a deep breath, and just realize it didn't work out. Regardless of whether she cheated, you cheated, you were away working all the time, she wasn't a good wife, and the myriad of other reasons, nothing can change the present situation... so...

    Best advice, Keep your cool and move forward. If you feel the job's a problem start looking for a new one.
  • by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:05PM (#16426751) Homepage Journal
    Anyone that works long hours is going to have a hard time maintaining their relationship. It really has nothing to do with the industry itself, but instead is a result of people neglecting their relationship to spend more time at work or on their computer. I've gone through that myself, with my wife and I going through a separation before I realized that I needed to spend more time with her and less time on the computer. Same goes for mechanics, engineers, managerial staff, etc. Leave your work at work and spend some time with your wife.
  • by jamesbulman (103594) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:05PM (#16426759) Homepage
    I was in a relationship for eight and half years with my ex. We'd bought a house together nine months earlier and I thought things were okay. Yes, I'd been working *a lot*, like nearly every weekend for the last three months. She'd got a promotion which took her out of town a few nights a week, I didn't mind, she'd been really supportive of my career in the early days and I figured it was me returning the favour.

    I came home one Sunday evening and she announced she'd met someone else and she was leaving me. She'd known him for a month and was in love with him, she still loved me but she wasn't *in love* with me. WTF?! No it's not up for discussion, I'm moving out. So I got fifteen minutes notice that my relationship was over.

    I knew that we'd been distant but I'd resolved that I was going to put the effort into our relationship as soon as this project was delivered.

    Have you figured out the moral yet?
    • by R2.0 (532027) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:59PM (#16427949)
      The proper response her is to ask when she is moving out. If the answer isn't "within the next 5 minutes", tell her she only HAS 5 minutes. No, she doesn't get to pack, or make arrangements, or any of that crap. Get the checkbook, cancel the credit cards, and show her the door. Immediately change the locks, and arrange for a time for her to come get her stuff, supervised. Close all joint accounts, maintaining scrupulous records of funds, etc.

      If someone is going to bail on a relationship with that little notice, they deserve the same consideration. This worked quite well for a friend of mine - he told her not to let the door hit her on the ass on her way out, charged head with the divorce, and is happy. She is miserable, because it turns out it was all a ploy on her part.
    • by Bozdune (68800) on Friday October 13, 2006 @02:21PM (#16428405)
      Your wife is an asshole. That's the moral.

      The way I look at it is this. Either you are flying signals ("I'm single! I'm looking! I'm available! Look at me!") or you are not. I'm going to bet that your wife was flying signals. If you look back at her behavior totally objectively, you'll probably see it. If you do, internalize this fact -- she was looking to get out.

      The best advice I can offer you is from my own experience.

      1) Don't hang around. She says she still loves you? Bullshit. She doesn't. She's not even THINKING about you. Move on.
      2) Don't believe her if she comes back. She says she wants to try again? She says she wants to "Renew your vows" (that's a rich one)? Move on.
      3) Don't let her set your agenda. Guilt trip about "staying with the kids while she goes away?" Sure, if you want to. If you don't, tell her to drop them off at your place, you'll deal with them.

      And don't -- absolutely don't -- let yourself be angry, bitter, unhappy. This is not your fault. It's not about your job or how many hours you put in. It's not that you didn't "work hard enough" at the relationship. Baloney. I know plenty of people who have ridiculous schedules and see each other rarely, but they're doing just fine.

      Remember: it's about her wanting to leave. It's not about you "failing" in some respect. Dry your eyes, forget your guilt, and find someone who wants to be with you. And if you notice her "flying signals," put her on the "temporary fling" list and start flying your own signals, fast.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by freeze128 (544774)
      Have you figured out the moral yet?
      Yeah. The moral is that you can pick up chicks who are in town on business, even if they are in a relationship, if their SO is in the IT field.
    • by crabpeople (720852) on Friday October 13, 2006 @04:32PM (#16430523) Journal
      "Have you figured out the moral yet?"

      Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks?

  • by fl!ptop (902193) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:06PM (#16426761) Journal

    and in this order of importance:

    1) family - you need me to work during my kid's/wife's birthday party? too bad.

    2) faith - you need me to work on saturday night/sunday morning/holy day of obligation? sorry.

    3) home - my pipes burst and my basement is full of water. i'm not coming in today.....(or i'll be in late)

    4) work - i'm ready, lay it on me.

    the key is to manage your time - you can meet a deadline *and* keep your private life if you're organized and diligent.

  • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:06PM (#16426775) Journal
    Why are you so concerned about your job? If you've put so much work into your job that you've neglected your family do you really think you should get full custody of the children?

    I know it's difficult but think of yourself second to your kids. Your wife is not "the enemy" she is an ally you're struggling with at the moment. If you're working so hard you can't spend time with your kids don't have them for more than weekends you won't be working.

    Some times it's hard to think when you have a knife in your heart, but it's these times you need to.
  • Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zerbey (15536) * on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:08PM (#16426817) Homepage Journal
    In my experience, people in the IT industry have a lower incidence of divorce in general. It is more likely that divorce happens because you do not prioritise what's really important (work vs. relationship). Blaming it on your job is just silly.
  • My replies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by killmenow (184444) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:08PM (#16426827)
    My questions are: How many of you computer Dads have also gone through divorce and have retained either half or full custody of your children?
    /me raises hand (full custody).

    Do you think your job had something to do with it?
    No.

    What were some of your hardest challenges and are your kids happy?
    1. Hardest challenges: being a single father with an eighteen month old son, learning to actually be a parent, growing up, staying focused on the job because...TADA! divorce sucks...regardless of what profession you claim on your 1040.

    2. Happy Kids? You don't have a teenager do you? Happy is a relative term. And, yes, my children are relatively happy.

    I also must say I think your thesis premise sucks. But good luck anyway.
  • by thewils (463314) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:12PM (#16426915) Journal
    They tell the woman that they love 'em, and figure that the woman should understand that the value of love for that woman should be 'true' from now until they tell her that it is now 'false'.

    Unfortunately, the woman needs to have the value of love set every time she boots in the morning, and occasionally during the day also.

    Playing Call of Duty 8 hours a night for a month straight doesn't help either.
  • Actually, no... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rueger (210566) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:17PM (#16426985) Homepage
    ... IT does not "cause divorce."

    Neither do trees. Or the weather. Or hockey.

    What may cause divorce are your choices in how to deal with each of these things.

    If you let technology, or the job, or your boss, take priority over your loved ones and family, that is your decision.

    Sadly North American society places the almighty buck ahead of everything, and that translates to a belief that The Job is more important than any other thing in life.

    There are people and places who have rejected these attitudes to varying degrees. In Europe, where work weeks are often quite less than the 40 hour minimum common here, and vacations begin at multiple weeks each year. In intentional communities, where a balance between work and life and family is central to the overall design of the environment. Or even with a small number of employers who have realized that happy and healthy employees lead to greater long term productivity and profits.

    So don't place the blame on "IT", place it on yourself and take long hard look.
  • Come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:20PM (#16427055) Homepage
    Frankly, your "profession" probably had very little to do with your divorce. I'd bet good money that your personality (and hers) had an order of magnitude more to do with it.

    My wife and I are both in a position where we work long, hard hours. The thing is, we're both willing (and often do) drop whatever we're doing in an instant to help the other out--even if "help out" is nothing more than "just sit here with me for a while."

    Marriage, done well, is hard work. Marriage, done well, is telling your wife to put her feet up and relax while you do the laundry or cook dinner--never mind that you're both exhausted from a long day's work and you'd really rather just play video games if you had the choice. Marriage, done well, is moving to a new city so that your spouse can pursue a promising new job. Marriage, done well, is near-constant attention, care, and dedication. That said, it's easily the most satisfying, fulfilling, entertaining and educational thing I've ever done, and I don't regret a second of it.

    My grandfather-in-law had some sound advice on how to make a marriage work. He told me that marriage is a 90/10 proposition: each partner should expect to do 90% of the work themselves and only expect 10% from the other.

    How much did you give your wife and family? How often did you ask your wife to wait until you were done doing whatever it was you were doing? How many times did you tell your wife not to bother cleaning the kitchen or bathroom and instead do it yourself? How many hours a day did you spend "free time" in front of the computer?

    Do you genuinely believe that the fact that you write web pages played a significant role in the collapse of your own household?

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:32PM (#16427345) Homepage Journal
    I'm the son of a man who's worked IT/EE/DOD for pretty much his entire life. He divorced my mother when I was six months old, and obtained full custody.

    I'll guarantee being in the profession had NOTHING to do with it. When I turned 18 I went thru every document concerning the divorce (and a few old cassette tapes with my mother's adoptive father telling my dad to ditch my mother and take me somewhere else,) and I can easily conclude it wasn't due to him being in the profession, it was a matter of morality and family economics (what should've gone to diapers, food, etc. to me instead went to my mother partying every night and getting FUBAR'd.)

    Now I will say that *YES* it's possible that working in the IT field, which is very demanding (sometimes requiring 30-hour shifts, from what my father's told me from his days at Texas Instruments,) will strain or destroy your relationship, mainly because your job keeps you away from your wife, or the job puts so much stress on you, that while you wish you could vent it at the job, you end up relieving it in unconstructive ways at home.

    But it's a little unfair to place the blame squarely upon your job. Tell me, what did you try to keep the relationship working? She should've known that you would have long hours. Somehow, knowing how many relationships I've been in for the past ten years, not all of it is squarely the fault of the job, or even your girl (well, minus my three lying and stealing ex-fiancees,) but usually upon you. There are always exceptions, but most filed cases I've seen are the woman leaving the man, for infidelity, spousal abuse, drug usage, conflicting interests, etc.
  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:48PM (#16427713)
    If you're going to blame this on your career and you're asking slashdot. Why don't you lay out exactly why the relationship failed and then get her to post her side of it. It would be good input for your thesis. In the meantime, I'm going to make some popcorn.
  • My story.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday October 13, 2006 @02:19PM (#16428369)
    "True" love in high school. We were both going to do college and then have kids.

    She took one semester- said "THIS SUCKS" and went to work full time.

    When I was three years into college she decided, "We need kids now. You need to quit college and work two or three jobs like my brother-inlaw does for my sister." Then she unilaterally decided to have kid (Found that out years later in a tearful confession).

    Was she a bad person- really probably no worse than average.

    Were we both STUPID for getting married so young? YES.

    College takes a LOT of work and is completely unforgiving. If you miss a test- that's it, change schools or just quit because otherwise that is going to be on your GPA 11 years later. If you truly understand that, you can see the conflict when you are studying and she throws a hissy fit because you are not paying attention to her. You get fired from a job- who cares, you can get another one. You fail a course- you are screwed. Maybe so badly that there is no point in getting the degree any more.

    We finally broke up after 10 years together (8 married). She waited about 30 days into the separation period before she started cutting a path through our male friends (which pissed me off back then- but hell these days I figure why lose a good friend over a woman).

    Now-- how about those "working 60 hours a week" guys?

    Okay- 10% of them do get ahead. The rest get NADA, BUPKIS, ZERO.

    It took me about 8 years longer, but I had 20 hours a week more life during those 8 years.

    Having a wife tho? Under today's legal setup (welcome to divorce land- you are screwed guys- enjoy paying the mortgage for her and the new boyfriend who thinks it's okay to spank your kids) I personally won't be going that route. I have my own house, no debt, new car, nice clothes. I have several girlfriends (one for concerts, one for gaming, one for dancing, etc.). It works out great for me; they are happy (I'm open about being a bachelor up front which helps) and I don't have to turn the stereo down or clean house when I don't want to. Plus when I lose one or two (as happened in 2002) then I'm not devastated and I just load up a couple more. I personally do not think people were meant to stay together forever any more. I'm not sure people were meant to invest *EVERYTHING* into one single other person. You always have to give *something* up (this one goes to bed at 9pm- that one doesn't drink- this one doesn't like gaming- that one doesn't like going out dancing, etc.)

    Plus- in my opinion, when you give so much incentive to women to divorce- they are a lot less likely to stay married until the kids are 18. Basically, if you have a good income and kids: they win, you lose. The courts even go so far as to make men pay for kids that do not exist for years and unless you have a super lawyer you get to see the kids six days a month and every other christmas.

    ---

    Basic advice- if you want kids and to be married- at least wait until you are 25 to 27. And yea- don't work 60 hours a week. It's really stupid. Most women won't disconnect emotionally if you pay them any attention at all. Even 3-4 hours a week they can count on will fulfil their needs. But randomly coming home late, skipping important holidays, only touching or kissing them when you want sex, you are asking for the street.

  • by JasonEngel (757582) on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:15PM (#16429403)
    I fall into the category - tech worker, dad, divorced. I don't have any kind of custody of my son, basically because my ex is from a rich family and I was dead broke at the time from paying her credit card bills. I do have standard visitation, though, and I'm always pushing for more.

    Anyway, the point is, I don't think it's so much a question of the tech industry creating situations (lots of time in the office, high stress, bringing work home, etc etc) that lead it's people into divorce. I think, rather, that the tech industry is filled with people who lack the social skills required to make a marriage work.

    First off, techies probably got into the field because they grew up spending more time with computers than humans because they were the geeky social outcasts. Second, because techies were likely geeky social outcasts, they probably glom'd onto the first person willing to marry them (but not necessarily the right person) because of a fear they would never find anyone else (low self-esteem is rampant in the geeky social outcast crowd). Third, not many geeky social outcasts with low self esteem are able to handle confrontation, which is inevitable even in a strong healthy marriage, so they probably avoided the problems (long hours at work) or behaved to aggressively in response (the ol' "yell louder to win" routine). Neither solves problems, both just make problems worse. Eventually, someone calls it quits. Either the techie grows a spine and realizes what a mess he or she is in and jumps ship, or the non-techie spouse gets fed up with the loser and leaves.

    Raise your hand if this sounds familiar to you? It's basically the exact situation almost all of my divorced techie coworkers found themselves. It's pretty much where I found myself. At least I was fortunate to be the kind of techie who learned some self esteem and grew a backbone. While I may not have custody of my son due to my financial circumstances at the time, I do have a strong relationship with him, my experience has taught me invaluable lessons in how to make my second marriage a brilliant success, and . . . I guess i don't really have a third. But anyway.

    To sum up, stop trying to blame someone else for what really is a failure between you and your spouse. The fault lies solely between the two of you and not with your employer. Grow a spine, learn some self esteem, and work harder at your marriage than at your job.
  • by Java Ape (528857) <mike.briggs@nOsPam.360.net> on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:29PM (#16429661) Homepage
    First, IT is not unique in being a demanding career. I'm getting to be a bit of a gray-hair, and have worked in several career fields. IT tends to attract people with obsessive/compulsive tendencies, which we politely describe as drive/curiosity/commitment. And yes, companies encourage our little work-a-holic souls to do their bidding 70 hours a week, if possible.

    In my opinion, a boss saying "you're indespensible" or "there's a dealine friday" is just an ego-stroke, designed to keep you working unpaid overtime for the company. I should know, I've taken that bait more than once. No one is indespensible, and if the company were serious about the production schedule, they'd hire enough staff to come in on time. We're being played. Worse, we offer up our families on the alter to our egos. Grad school is a huge time commitment - having done it, I'm not sure it was worth the price.

    Ultimately, companies rise and fall, whole fields of endeavor wax and wane, and the career that looks like gold today will likely be dross in time. Take time NOW for your wife, and kids if you have them. I know too many nerds that have a shelf filled with company awards, and go home to an empty house at night. No pretty little bauble on your brag-shelf will compensate for failure within the family. If your current job isn't family friendly, start printing resume's today.

    I left a "big" job a few months ago. I kept it because after the dot-bomb I was afraid of being unemployed. They gradually demanded more and more of my time, and were fairly generous with the compensation. Eventually, I found myself arguing my wife of 20 years (a rare occurance), and it became apparent I didn't know the name of the school my daughters went to, or the names of their best friends. The next day, I talked with my boss, and when she wasn't receptive to my needs, started looking for new work. I am poorer financially, but FAR, FAR happier than I would have been had I stayed. I hope my wife will be at my side long after I've bid a final farewell to my career, it would be stupid to ruin something eternal for that which of little worth.

  • by MCTFB (863774) on Friday October 13, 2006 @04:10PM (#16430275)
    You are simply damned if you do and damned if you don't when it comes to being a husband these days. With most women, you just simply can't win anymore.

    Either you put 110% into your career and as a consequence of your long working hours you neglect the inflated emotional needs of your wife, or else you work a regular 9-5 job where you can make enough money to support yourself, but certainly not enough to support a family with a middle class lifestyle.

    Most women don't consider men who don't make well beyond the national income average (around 40K a year) as marriage material, especially if they don't already own property. Try buying a home on 40K a year in a state like California. Good Luck!

    Plus most women these days come into a marriage with massive debt in the form of student loans and other expenses they racked up in their early 20's, so they NEED a guy who makes a lot of money just to rescue them from their financial nightmare which usually is the direct result of student loans for a degree in liberal arts or some other area of study which won't get you the kind of job you need to pay off massive student loans.

    Now, to make the kind of income you need just to be considered "Marriage Material", in America you usually need to work your butt off unless of course you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth (which is a very small minority of men out there). Of course, if you work your butt off then you are probably not going to be coming home at 6:00 PM for dinner every night because your job/career demands that you get the job done because the reality is that if you don't get the job done, then you are going to have to find a job that does not pay enough to be considered "Marriage Material" by most women.

    There was once a time in America's history when it was socially acceptable for men to work their butt off all day long and women would not complain, so long as their man brought home the bacon and he was not off spending his limited free time and resources on hookers or some subordinate such as a secretary. But now, men are expected to make enough money to support a middle-class lifestyle, while at the same time be home at a predictable time as if that is how the professional world (and especially the IT world) actually works. If a man doesn't seem to be earning enough money, or else he is working too much, then those are immediate grounds for divorce. In fact, in any state with no-fault divorce, a woman can divorce you at a whim, take most of the marital assets and then have you paying child support out the wazoo for kids you will be lucky to see for even more than a few times a month. And yes many women work these days , but shortly after they get married and pop out a few kids, few wives want to ever return to work full-time again and the statistics bear that out.

    Hey, but look on the bright side, at least your are not in the military. Divorce among military families since the Afghanistan and Iraq war has been spiraling out of control as brave men and fathers are routinely rewarded for their hard service with Dear John letters from their soon to be ex-wives because they have been "neglecting their family". Even worse than that, their wives get uncontested permanent full custody of the children as well so when a father returns from his tour of duty, he finds he no longer can live in his own home, and that everything he truly fought for, deserted him while he was away defending the country.

    Whatever you do, don't blame yourself and your own hard work for your wife leaving you. There may be other mitigating circumstances in why she filed for divorce, but if your only crime is working hard to support your family, well then she is the one with the problem and not you.
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Friday October 13, 2006 @04:42PM (#16430649) Homepage
    Well, this topic is about to fall off the Slashdot homepage, so I guess my comment is destined to languish in obscurity. However, let's do this for posterity.

    There are many posts here making the point that it's ridiculous to blame your job for your divorce. They make the distinction that human beings make these choices, and the blame should fall there. It's a good point, although maybe some could have said it more kindly. But it doesn't change the fact that some work environments are extremely hostile to marriages.

    I worked at software reporting tools company for a couple of years. At one point, there was a Web site redesign scheduled. As the sole Web person at the time, I worked 2 90+ hour weeks back to back. It was something like 16 days on, each day up at dawn, home at nearly midnight. I was a (relatively) new father. I didn't once speak to my daughter during that time -- I only saw her sleeping at night. I was OK with this because it was a very short-term crunch. But I was a little sad. I launched the redesign Sunday night, got a few hours of sleep, and arrived at work Monday morning at 7:30 AM. I wasn't expecting much, but some acknowledgement of my hard work would have been nice. My boss was there, livid. I don't even recall what the problem was, but it was minor. She ripped into me. I defended myself with the truth -- "I've worked 16 days in a row, I haven't seen my family, there aren't any more hours in the day!"

    Her response? "You'll just have to find a way to do more!"

    You can say that the people in the marriage are always the problem. You can say that it's a cop-out to blame external pressures. And I agree to a certain point. I was at a crossroads, and I could have chosen my job over my family at that moment. It would have been my choice, my consequences. But I also know that certain types of people can and will take advantage. Certain people do NOT care about anything other than their own goals, and if they can manipulate a young, inexperienced worker bee into slaving away, so be it. If the worker bee crashes & burns, "maybe that worker bee wasn't cut out for the job." It is a fairly heartless way to interact with people, and to some degree, I think such people are not blameless for the pain that follows.

    Oh, and I'm still married. I work freelance, my own schedule. We have income that is nowhere near what I used to make, but I'm way the hell happier.
  • Not here... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david.davidmeyer@org> on Saturday October 14, 2006 @06:56AM (#16435129)
    Been in IT for 15 years and travel globally for my company. Three kids and twelve happy years of marriage later (to the same woman) the key for us was my finding balance between work and life. I know a lot of IT guys who can't put their computers down "computersexuals" as that is their only life. When 5:00 PM hits, I step out of my desk and into the Dad / Husband role. From 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM I work a little more once the kids are asleep (while my wife does her thing) and then we do our thing. It's all about balance.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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