True story as told by a bitter ex-wife:

Step 1: As you approach your 20 year anniversary, less than two weeks after your youngest child turns 18, start a conversation about how important the next few years of your life are and how you’re looking forward to being together forever.

Step 2: Maintaining as much masculinity as possible, begin admitting how everything that has gone wrong since the history of time is your fault, and how you wish you could change it. Bring up everything she has ever bitched about in your 20 years together, admit she was right, apologize, and promise to do better.

Step 3: Two weeks before your 20 year anniversary, start dropping hints that you’re planning a surprise for her that will blow her socks off. Tell her you’ll reveal the surprise at the high-end restaurant you booked for the occasion.

Step 4: At your anniversary dinner, tell her you don’t just want to apologize for your horrible behavior as a husband over the past 20 years – you want to show her how sorry you are and you want to make it up to her. Tell her you’re going to sell the house, and you’re going to take her around for the next several weekends looking for a lot to buy. You’re going to build a retirement home to her specs. Whatever she wants, any design, any size – it’s all about her because you’ve been an unbearable dick for so long.

Step 5: The following week, make good on your promise. Put your house up for sale, and spend all day on Saturdays and Sundays for the next month looking at lots. Find a cheap one, and put down a $5k deposit to hold it.

Step 6: Tell her in order to get the best rate on a loan for your soon-to-be-built custom home, the two of you will need to pay down all of your joint debt to improve your credit score. Secretly cancel the contract on the lot and get your money back. Use the deposit and most of your savings to pay down all outstanding debt – especially the debt that’s in both of your names.

Step 7: While she’s busy looking though magazines and blueprints for her perfect home, sell your current home and move into a small apartment while you’re continuing to smooth out the details of your new place. No rush! It’s gotta be perfect for your lovely wife!

Step 8: After your current home sells, take the $37k in profit and the rest of your savings and divide it up between your two brothers and your mother. Tell your wife it went into a special account managed by the builder to be used as a down payment on the new place.

Step 9: Have your two brothers and your mother sign an affidavit stating that you and your wife owed them that money for a past debt.

Step 10: With all your debt paid off, the house sold, the contract on the lot cancelled, and a massive slush fund of liquid cash held by your brothers and parents, pick a fight with your wife. Keep telling her terrible things until she leaves the apartment – the apartment you set up without her name on the lease.

Step 11: When she gets mad and decides to go spend the night with her sister, have your brothers move all her personal belongings to a storage unit. Make sure everything she owns goes. If there’s any doubt on ownership of an item, just give it to her.

Step 12: Move your stuff to a different storage unit. Pay the small fee of $450 to break your lease. You’re free to go. No debt, no woman, no assets to split, and she legally vacated the premises and abandoned your marriage. She’s already been bragging to her friends for two months about what a great guy you are and how you’re building her a new home. Their contempt for her boasting will leave most of them on your side (comes in handy in a small town.)

Step 13: File for divorce and carry on with your new life while your ex sits at a bar bitching about you to the guy who will notch up his first cougar before the stroke of midnight.

Step 14: Replace your near-40 year old ex with a bulldog puppy. Name the bulldog after your ex and text her pics of him every time she blows up your phone bitching about something.

Step 15: Use your current job skills to find a position in your industry that requires travel. Take the $5k pay cut in exchange for being on the road and having your expenses paid. You’ll technically come out ahead. When you’re not “out on the road being a total man whore,” bang your old neighbor’s “20-something year old daughter who was always kind of slutty anyway.”

Step 16: When people accuse you of planning all this out, take a tip from the rationalization hamster and just say “Huh? Whuuuu? Ohhh. Noooo. No. It wasn’t like that!”

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