No. Granted, the issue of children was certainly a justification in my mind of how I was treating John, but no. The children (or lack thereof) was not the root issue.
The root issue was we both began thinking more of ourselves than we were of one another. It was an almost imperceptible shift between constantly looking out for each other to constantly looking out for ourselves. You can't do that in marriage. Even when you're hurting, your job is to think of your spouse and make the effort to do what's best for him or her.
THAT was why our marriage began to crumble. Somewhere along the way we had begun to worry more about ourselves than about each other, and it was mostly a struggle of feeling appreciated / unappreciated and constantly expecting acknowledgement for every little thing. It was childish, ridiculous, and thankfully a non-issue nowadays.
4) Did his family treat you any differently once they found out about your marriage issues?
Meh, that's sort of a trick question and has less to do with John talking about divorce than it does with me having worked for the family business.
My MIL/FIL would ask random, tentative questions now and again. They didn't want to let on that they knew (I think to protect my feelings), but at the same time, I know they were just trying to let me know they were doing their best to support us. John's got two very loving, caring parents. I was very lucky to marry into them. I wonder if they'll ever really understand just how much John and I appreciate them.
In all honesty, the only one to treat me any differently was one of his younger sisters. John's got two younger sisters. For most of the years I've known them, we got along really well. The youngest and I distanced ourselves due to discontent while I was working at the family business. Truth be told, I failed spectacularly at most of what I did there and she resented me for it. That's another story in and of itself, but suffice to say the youngest has a leg to stand on in any disdain she might have for me. I doubt she cared one way or the other about the marriage issues. Now that we're no longer working together, I'm hopeful we'll be able to bridge the gap again because much like her parents, she's a genuinely good person.
The older of the two can be nice enough, and in a lot of ways, we are very similar. However, we're also very different, and whereas this SIL used to be more in-tune with meeting me halfway with our similarities, she now seems dead-set on highlighting our differences courtesy of the issues John and I were having. I doubt she actually cared that John and I were having issues. I think she was just thankful that we WERE having issues.
Why, you ask? The only explanation I can think of is her uncanny ability to recognize opportunity. She, herself, had a struggling marriage for a spell. In fact, the entire family turned on her husband (which John and I never understood... we always liked and respected him). So having endured the family spitting fire towards her husband for so long, the relief she must've felt upon realizing they could have a new target (me) probably looked appealing.
Thus, she began treating me in a really childish manner over the course of several months. The more terribly she treated me, the more she pointed out imaginary things she thought I was doing, the more she started drama where none existed, the more she thought she was tossing the spotlight my way to finally rid herself of the stigma, I guess. I really have no other ideas on it because she hasn't let on to anything else.
I've attempted talking to her, I've written her messages, I've even solicited John's assistance. All to no avail.
Ah well. I don't hate her or anything. I understand where she's coming from. I'm just sad that it's come to this. It can be annoying every now and again. Some of the more outlandish things, I admit, set me off, but as of now, I'm taking John's advice and not bothering. I can't really correct it when I don't know what her problem with me really is.
So to summarize, no one treated me severely different. Had my other SIL been anyone else, the situation would've probably flat-lined at awkward moments with a hushed bit of gossip passed around now and again.
However, let that be a warning to any of you struggling with the same issue. Don't drag your in-laws into anything. Don't spout off frustrations to your families about your marriage when they're then forced to sit on the sidelines unable to really help. Asking for advice in calm, fair conversation is one thing. Venting and complaining with the objective being to tear apart your spouse only ends up hurting your marriage, because when you two make up, the damage is still done amongst the family and you can't exactly copulate with all of them in a show of unity.
So steer clear of the issue in the first place by refraining from venting to family under such circumstances.